Review of Related Literature- Second Draft

            This chapter is organized accordingly to comply with the study’s objectives. First, it is essential to know the nature of computers and its relationship with the society. Later in this chapter, a more specific discussion about computer usage among college students is given. It is equally important to know the retention of the human brain. Then the relationship between retention and school performance is then further explained. Before this chapter ends, previously existing methodologies on remembering are discussed. Factors that might also affect student’s retention are also discussed, these includes: teacher, environment and topic. With these guidelines, the relationship between the computer usage and the retention ability of the students can be derived.
The Nature of Computers and How it Affects the Society
            According to the Effects of Computers on Workplace Stress, Job Security and Work Interest in Canada (2002) technology, specifically computers changed the way of our living today. They added that computers have increasingly improved the productivity and speed of the workers today, and even in schools it provides faster solutions to school works of students. The research also pointed out that today’s firms take computer as a part of their success or even as their way of achieving success because computers provides accurate and faster solutions to any of their problems. Many other views from the said research also reveal how important computers are to the employment of an individual a good example of the importance of computers in our society is this dilemma unemployment on which15 percent unemployed job seekers use the internet in seeking for jobs.
            Carr (2010) also mentioned that, “Google seemed to be making people smarter”, due to tons of brain activities that users can find when using it. In his experiment, Small (as cited in Carr, 2010) cautiously pointed out that “more brain activity is not necessarily better brain activity.” Carr(2010) added that Small’s research was not about having enhanced “brain activity” it was more on “how quickly and extensively Internet use reroutes people’s neural pathways” or simply how the internet rewires our brains. The internet is not just making our lives better, it’s not just making us closer to everyone, it’s not just about having many friends on Facebook, as Small(as cited in Carr, 2010) added, “it is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”
            How TV can ‘rewire’ brains of tiny tots (2004) states that young children ages from 1 to 3 may be less affected by what they watch on televisions like “Sponge Bob Square Pants”, “Barney” and any other kiddy movies other than, television programs watch by their parents while the kids playing at their feet with their toys, “panda bears and building blocks”. It points out,  how negative the effect is for the children whose ages are from 1 to 3 who accidentally to be in the same room with their parents watching the television shows of their mom and dad or could be their dad playing “Crossfire” as the children hears the noise, fights and the cracking of the guns.
The article also stated that this action can be considered as “low-level child abuse”. If we were to make a contrast between first-hand smokers and second-hand smokers, experts say that second-hand smoker is more likely in a dangerous state  compared to the first-hand smoker. It is the same as well with the situation of the children as “second-hand television” because their mental health is at stake.
Computers and How It Affects the Human Brain
            Elias (2005) said that most kids do not focus on their tasks as much compared to kids before based on the observations of school psychologists and teachers. Walsh (as cited by Elias, 2005) who conducts about 150 workshops a year, entailing about media for parents and teachers stated that, “It’s become harder over the last 10 years to keep kids’ attention. The expectation is to be constantly entertained and, if they’re not entertained, they quickly lose interest.”
            Walsh (as cited in Elias, 2005) added that studies being conducted among college students and adults imply that the brain is not as much efficient as it is when it focuses on many tasks. He also added that there are no any existing studies on how kids manage to multi-task. An example of multi-tasking as cited by Elias (2005) is using instant messaging while listening to an iPod and at the same time doing tasks such as school assignments. He added that there is a need to pay attention in this certain field of behavioral sciences for it is somehow increasingly bothering.
            Another psychologist, Mandan (as cited in Elias, 2005) affirmed that children are more focused onto the distractions that surround them. They tend to respond to every single movement or action that is around them, like whispers of other classmates, the sound of falling pens, the rhythm of some nice beat on the streets, it is seen that students are most likely to “bounce from task to task” Mandan added. He also said that teachers report that kids have difficulty in being organized.
            Goldstein, (as cited in Elias, 2005) a neuropsychologist at University of Utah has a  different view as compared to the statements of Walsh and Elias, Goldstein said that the scores of the students of the “intelligent tests” that he conducted had been constantly rising. This “intelligent tests” measured the ability of a child to “alter and split interest and to solve problems and comprehend. Having a high score on the intelligent test doesn’t directly mean that the child has great memory retention or if the child is having a great memory span.
            As what we can see, we are surrounded by technology, objects that are new to us and things that we want such as tablets, androids, apples, blackberries, and all sorts of media. We might not notice it, but these technological devices do not only give us its treats but also their bad effects. For Carr (2008) the worldwide web is turning into a common source of information for everyone. He also added that having instant access to these great pools of information has been highly praised by almost anyone in the world.
            Car r(2010) asked, “What kind of brains is the Web giving us?” This question might sound stupid to most of us, but he added that the question will surely be the main topic of scientific studies in the coming years. News about these diverse effects on the web are already around us and we might not notice it, but it’s been giving us bad results. Carr (2010) added that more research studies conducted by psychologists, neurobiologists, and as well as educators arrive at a same conclusion:
When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. Even as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain. para 5      
            Thompson (as cited in Carr, 2008) said that this “Net” is a great privilege. But the privilege has its price, McLuhan (as cited in Carr, 2008) stressed out that, “Media are not just passive channels of information, they supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought.”
            Scientifically speaking, Fuzzy brain article by CNN Health (2008) said that concentration takes place when the human brain’s “prefrontal cortex”, that has the function to manipulate “high-level cognitive tasks,” is then flooded with a seemingly exact amount of “neurotransmitters, hormones and other body chemicals, particularly dopamine.” It also stated that this dopamine is usually released when eating delightful treats, having sexual intercourse or simply facing something new and exciting.
            Furthermore, Greenfield (2009) stated that we humans are greatly reactive to change and can easily adapt to new things compared to other beings because of the prefrontal cortex. She also added that when this prefrontal cortex is harmed, it does not mean that one becomes impaired, but only shows symptoms of changes in behavior, such as: being more inattentive or careless, loss of sense of “sequence and consequence”. Greenfield (2009) sited some common situations that proved his idea:
We know this from studies of gamblers. We know it from obese people: the fatter you are, the lower the activity of your prefrontal cortex. We know it from small children in whom the area is not developed and from schizophrenics, whose prefrontal cortex is damaged. (para 6)
What do all these people have in common? Well, a gambler is aware of the consequences of gambling but does it, regardless, for the thrill. People know that if you eat too much you get fat but an obese person will keep eating. Small children have no understanding of consequences. The schizophrenic inhabits a world of dazzling colours but it is all about them: they live entirely in the moment.”(para 7)
            Russell (1959) stated in his book that both physiological and clinical observations have shown that our reflexes that are vital to a specific stimulus becomes “less effective on frequent repetition”. An example of this “repetition” is our habit of using computers. He also added that these might cause a “loss of response”. This so called “loss of response” is referred to our brain activities, such as processing data into information.
            Ebbinghaus (as cited in Klatzky, 1975) discovered that if a person is presented a list with seven words in it, one can easily remember the words in the list, but if the number of words on the list goes beyond seven ,one will have a difficulty on remembering the list.
            Middendorf (1996) and Kalish (1996) stated that many scientific studies had already been done regarding the method or the type of processing that our brains have. In these researches as stated by Millendorf(1996) and Kalish(1996), it is concluded that our brain does not record all sorts of idea chronologically, but instead it divides it into “chunks” or a more formal term called, “categories”. These “chunks” can form new “categories” or sort unprocessed information into existing categories. Furthermore, “categories” establish how a impression is obtained, how we take it out from one’s memory, and how it is set to work in “abstracting or generating inferences.” This proves that traditional lecture in school doesn’t match the “current cognitive science research”, Middendorf (1996) and Kalish (1996) concluded.
            How TV can ‘rewire’ brains of tiny tots (2004) sited in a research of 2,600 children which stated that between the ages of 1 to 3 that the greater  the expose to televisions or any media gadgets the greater it affects the attention-span loss by the age of 7. How TV can ‘rewire’ brains of tiny tots.  (2004) says:
“They have trouble concentrating or paying attention to a toy or a doll for very long. Although the initial finding sounds like parents ought to keep the tots away from all television at that age — a valid opinion — the study was begun in the 1980s before most of the shows geared to the younger child (like “Teletubbies) were first aired, which suggests that the children were exposed to shows watched by other adults or older children. The children under 3 may not have focused on the television, but they could have been influenced by background light and sound. The medium and not the message might have been the culprit. This radical theory — and it’s only a theory — is that fast-paced visual images can alter normal brain development.” (para 5)
            Furthermore, the article stated that five years ago, the American Academy Pediatrics advised that too much exposure of children below two years old could affect the mental and emotional health of the children. The article also clearly pointed out that families did not take this advice seriously.
            Beckham (2009) provided tips on how to improve the retention span of a child by practicing it just like any musical lessons that needs to be practice daily to perfect the task. Since it has been a challenge for many parents that their child gets good grades and does homework well but during evaluation or achievement tests that will base on their retention to their lessons it is highly opposite to their everyday scores. That is why, Beckham (2009) hand over tips to overcome this problem, he mentioned that “the best way to give the child a practice” is to give workbooks or other materials that would help increasing their retention through applying the concepts they have been studying in school, because just like again any musical instruments they need application to improve performance.
Computer Usage among College Students
            In the study of Fairlie (2003) about the “Effects of Home Computers on School Enrollment” he mentioned in his research about how different the results are to the surveys made by other researchers. He stated that in Israel the use of computer or other media gadgets has increasingly lessen the scores of the students to there academic performance specifically on the course of Math. However school teachers and principal on the said institution supports the use of computer or the usage of the modern technology, even in the recent reports of the national survey supported by the US Department of Education almost all principals reported that technology plays an important role to the education of the students today and will be in great contribution for the coming years, and majority of the teachers agreed that technology is essential as a module of their teachings. In the research of Fairlie (2003) he provided the survey of the 1988 National Educational Longitudinal Survey (NELS) that the result of the survey confirmed that the exam scores and grades of the students positively affected their academic performance, 3 to 5 percent higher than students who do not have computers at home.
Retention and the Student’s Academic Performance
            Martinez (2011) thinks that now is the exact time to give concern to our little knowledge about retention and success matters in the education sector of our society. Furthermore, he also stated that this issue regarding student retention is mostly addressed on the college level.
            Jeffreys (2004) alleged that retention is not only affected by the student’s college experience, it also includes pre-college variables such as high school performance, prenursing college course (for nursing students only). He also added that majority of students who have a high grade-point average during the secondary level and who have lesser absences during high school has a higher tendency in succeeding college.
            As Mascareigne (2009) stated on his study on the field of marketing, retention in customer has been a great problem and thus many researchers have already conducted different strategies in order to maintain these customers. Mascareigne (2009) has suggested many solutions like creating value processes, monitoring customer relationships and many more. Even if this particular research is not purely academic due to the fact that it is all about marketing, it still shows the nature of the problem on retention.
            Crosling, Thomas, & Heagney (2008) pointed out in their book that retention is indeed a great issure, especially now that students are more diverse, some speaks in different languages, different races but still on the same field. Their solution to student retention is the Activating Work Groups on which the students do tasks or assignments in groups of 4 and 5. Furthermore, another research in Nigeria by Chianson, Kurumeh & Obida (2010) has also concluded that students who were subjected to “cooperative learning” was able to retain the concepts in circle geometry compared to those students who were taught with the conventional way which is more individualistic. 
Experiments on Remembering
            Bartlett (1967) has shown five different methodologies on experimenting the human mind’s capability to remember, these are: (a) The Method of Description, (b) The Method of Repeated Reproduction, (c) The Method of Picture Writing, (d) The Method of Serial Reproduction I and (e) The Method of Serial Reproduction II – Picture Material.
A. The Method of Description
            In this experiment conducted by Bartlett (1967), he used five picture post cards that represented the forces of a naval or military officer or a man. Respondents where then given one or two periods with ten seconds each period for the respondent to be prepared for their future examination. The subject was then asked to describe the cards according to its order and answered some questions about the physical features of the image in the post cards.  It has also been clearly stated by Bartlett (1967) that this study has been conducted when people during the early days of the Great War has a very extensive curiosity in the “fighting services”.
            The study has concluded that even if the materials were ordered in a series; “short, small in bulk, or simple in objective structure” and even if the observers are aware that he/she will be asked to describe it later, our capability to remember is greatly affected by “unwitting transformations. in addition, Bartlett (1967) said that “accurate recall is the exception and not the rule”.
B. The Method of Repeated Reproduction
            In his study, Bartlett (1967) gave his subjects a story to study under “prescribed condition”. He then asked the subjects to create their first reproduction of the said story after an interval of 15 minutes. Then, he conducted further reproductions at a more varied set of intervals. By using this method, Bartlett (1967) hoped that he can study the effects of varying length of time on a person’s ability to recall.
            It has been concluded that from a series of reproduction obtained from an individual, the outline of the story is notably persistent once the first reproduction has been given and at the same time, the style, rhythm and the mode of construction are rarely observed. 
C. The Method of Picture Writing
            Bartlett (1967) has conducted another experiment on remembering with the use of picture writing due to the fact that, among the social materials which shows the “process  of conventionalization”, none can be more striking than the “signs of written language”.
            In this particular method, Bartlett (1967) prepared eighty signs based from the Tenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, the subjects were then asked to study these set of symbols (set 1 and set 2) for seven minutes and another set (set 3) was also provided and was studied for 15 minutes. For testing, a story was then narrated and every-time a “sign-word” comes, the subject must write it corresponding symbol as instructed by Bartlett (1967).
            Bartlett (1967) then concluded that the grouping of signs has aided in the confusion and then, substitution of different signs was rare, but most likely to occur when similarity of the meaning of different symbols is combined with greatly varied forms. Bartlett (1967) also concluded that, “Determination to remember is directly associated to the actual forgetting.” He added that forgetting is inevitable if there is no relationship between the name of the symbol and the symbol itself.
D. The Method of Serial Reproduction I
            The three methods that were previously stated were all about individual observers. This particular methodology involves several people, thus, the individual observer’s social origin and character might be shown or can be observed in the actual testing – Bartlett (1967) .
            This certain methodology is done by giving the original text to person A, the person A will make his own reproduction. This reproduction made by person A will then be reproduced by person B then person B’s reproduction will be made into another reproduction by person C and so on, until the number of reproductions is already enough for the corresponding experiment.
            In this experiment, Barlett (1967) concluded that:
            “Epiphets are changed into their opposites; incidents and events are            transposed; names and numbers rarely survive intact for more than a few             reproductions; opinions and conclusions are reversed.” p. 175
            He added that nearly each possible variation seems to occur even if the subjects were only tasked to reproduce a very simple short story.
E. The Method of Serial Reproduction II
            This particular methodology is patterned by Bartlett (1967) from the previously cited Method of Serial Reproduction I but the only difference is that instead of having textual type of material, a graphical form of different random object is given.
            Bartlett (1967) concluded that (1)these seemingly unrecognizable object will turn into “accepted conventional representations”. A typical example that was given by Bartlett (1967) was the portrait d’ home which seems to look like an abstract human face, but later on, when there were already 9 reproductions, the visual transformation of this said portrait turned into a person’s face.      
Student and his Teacher, Environment and his Interest
            A study on gender composition of faculty and its effect on student retention was conducted by Keil, Robst &Russo (1996), this issue is usually addressed on science and engineering programs. Their study concluded that female students have higher first year – retention rates when most of their subjects were taught by female teachers.
            Based from the Student Retention Theory by the Curtin University, in order for a teacher to be effective in solving student retention, there must be noticeably conversed information regarding teaching roles, staff accessibility and scheduled staff/student social activities. And also, Chickering and Gamson’s (1991 As stated in the Student Retention Theory) Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, the first principle clearly stated that schools must encourage contact between students and faculty in order to have good practice in undergraduate education.
            Stephanie (2011) said that school environment can greatly affect how the students interact. Enhanced wellbeing and efficiency are extra benefits that can result from greener institutions, she added.  In fact, “anecdotal evidence demonstrates that cleaner air, brighter, natural light and closely monitored heat and cooling has had a positive impact across the board” – Stephanie (2011).
            These factors (teacher, physical environment and topic) create a learning environment that affects positive college outcomes and performance – (Kuh and Hu as stated by Karemera Reuben & Silliah, 2003).
            The abovementioned related studies, journals, books and articles clearly explained the two variables used in this study: computer usage and retention ability. Based on these theories and ideas, there is indeed a need to study how technology, specifically computers affects our brain especially to those people who use computers frequently such as Computer Science students wherein their soon profession and even in their current college life they are already exposed to extreme usage of computers.
Note: 2 printed rsearch paper and 1 printed journal is still not included
Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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