Information Technology and Human Development
Is there a reciprocal relationship between information technology and human development? According to Yan and Fischer, most researches have only posited findings demonstrating how information technology influences human development, as opposed to how human development influences information technology (Zheng, and Fischer, 41). In their article How Children and Adults Learn to Use Computers: A Developmental Approach, Yan, and Fischer set out to provide evidence that this relationship is two-sided. My evaluative thesis is that the two authors succeed in demonstrating a reciprocal relationship between information technology and human development.
First, Yan and Fischer use literature review to support their arguments concerning the existence of a reciprocal relationship between technology and human development. The authors use Vygotsky’s study on social-cultural approaches. The study “emphasizes that social contexts have the ability to influence the thinking of human beings”(Zheng, and Fischer, 42). This is mainly through the process of internalization that uses cultural media. Besides, the researchers cite Piaget’s constructivist approach to stress the active interaction between human beings and the surrounding environment through the constructive process (Zheng, and Fischer, 42). Yan and Fischer propose the adoption of Vygotsky and Piaget’s work to describe the relationship that exists between information technology and human development. This is an excellent beginning point for research. This is because theories are particularly crucial in order to suggest a likely cause and action that can rightly direct research. A theory serves to give the research work a solid background that can suggest the further development of the study. Besides, Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories concerning the environment and human interaction fit exemplary well in this research.
The researchers have used several diagrams to help communicate their point of view. These include diagrams developed to support the position and viewpoint. The figure by Huston, Wright, Salomon, Globberson, Guterman, Scaife, and Spence shows the interaction between technology and the development of humans (Zheng, and Fischer, 42). The figure successfully indicates that the interaction between technology and humans beings is a reciprocal entity. It shows that the effect of technology on the development of humans involves the process of internalization, which begins with the context of the society. It then passes through a medium, and; finally, humans take it into their thinking and behaviors. Besides, the diagram shows that humans interact with technology using the process of interaction. This process begins with an individual’s knowledge system using accommodation and assimilation. The use of a diagram by researchers in the presentation of these ideas eases comprehensibility. Diagrams enable readers to see in pictures rather than words. Diagrams have the ability to simplify ideas that may seem complex to readers. This is a positive point of the paper.
In addition, Yan and Fischer use micro developmental analysis to prove the existence of a relationship between technology and human life (Zheng, and Fischer, 46). They use micro developmental methods to investigate a small number of students’ individual, developmental changes for a period of one hour. The authors use statistics to analyze their research findings. The study establishes an informative picture of learning processes when computer users interact with computer programs. This enables the establishment of the significance of the use of new methods to understand developmental differences in learning to use computers. A key point to consider is the use of an empirical study to support a claim. Besides, the researchers present in-depth analysis of their scientific study (Zheng, and Fischer, 47-50). In fact, it is difficult to disapprove the results of the research because Yan and Fischer take into account almost all the requirements of the scientific research.
In addition, the researchers reveal some scientific literature that indicates the way cultures can affect the attitudes of people towards computers (Zheng, and Fischer, 51). Other effects include what people perceive, prefer, expect, and believe. Besides, culture affects the disposition and anxiety of people. The literature reviewed includes that of Rosen and Maguire (1990), Rosen, Sears, and Weil (1987) and Rosen and Weil (1995). Yan and Fischer succeed in showing significant patterns in the attitudes of people towards computers. They posit that computer learners coming from cultures with little technological advances seem to exhibit more positive attitudes towards computers than those coming from technologically advanced cultures (Zheng, and Fischer, 51). This suggests that computer learners form cultures that do not have access to computers transform their naivete to positive attitudes to study computers.
However, the structure of the paper seems to want. The paper seems repetitive and unfocused in some respects. It is difficult for any reader to follow the flow and outline of the paper. For instance, there is no direct information about the reciprocal relationship between information technology and human development. The reader has to add up unrelated content in the voluminous text in order to establish the purported relationships. It would be exemplary if the authors found a straightforward way of showing the relationship. Moreover, the paper reviews a lot of literature that talks about the same ideas. The paper would be straightforward if the authors limited their literature review to the most significant studies. Besides, the literature review becomes scattered in different parts of the paper. It would be excellent if the researcher could have put all the literature in one topic so that the reader easily follows.
Yan and Fischer succeed in showing a reciprocal relationship between information technology and human development. The content of the paper that is mainly a review of literature is exemplary in showing the relationship. Besides, the inclusion of a science-based research gives the paper added credibility. The authors just need to improve the structure of the paper to make it an excellent endeavor.