ICT – more than a new technology…

Posted: August 21, 2010 in Opinion...

by: Angelito G. Belmonte

What does Information and Technology (ICT) in education consists?  According to world bank, it consist of hardware, software, network media for the collection, storage, processing, transmission and presentation of information (via text and images), as well as related services.

Through the years, ICT increase in demand and become a personalized commodity. The environment which people are operating is becoming more and more based on information and communication technology. The World Wide Web (WWW) services become the playing ground for the conceptualization of the internet. This gain advantage in bringing ICT to ordinary people and in education. Because of its affordability and availability, new generations techno-economic innovations in our society was triggered (Castells, 1996). Few more years, all sectors  in our society will changed the way they operate because of ICT.

What do we actually know about this change and how is the education system part of this change? Is current educational research in educational applications of ICT able to help us to solve new problems related to education and ICT?

ICT has also been a driving force for globalization, but it has also divided the world into those who have and those who have not, information rich and information poor (Dutton et al., 1996). The “digital divide” is not only dividing people  in terms of availability of ICT but also in terms of the availability of education and wealth. As part of this development, education system all over the world are trying to cope with these changes and sometimes even trying to lead the change.

The development is clearly manifested as an explicitly developing and policy-based approached at different levels of the education system. This approach concerned primarily with issues such as equity of access (educational policy), curriculum relevance in technology (technology and technology education as subject), methodological development in technology (ICT learning)  and cultural sensitivity (cultural globalization) (Farrel, 1999). In an article written by Williams (1997), technology can be seen merely as a social product rather than a technology which is separate from society. Each step on the way to developing new technologies is connected to social, economic, and political factors.

According to Alasuutari and Ruuska (1999) these global processes can be understood only from the co-existence of the uncontrollable economic development, its cultural consequences and the policy-based  development related to these phenomena. These processes are influencing the education system at the same time, but not necessarily in the same direction. Therefore, it is important to analyze these perspectives together in order to gain more comprehensive understanding of what kind of changes ICT is bringing along to the education system globally (http: Hercules.oulu.fishbn/html)

A problem with integrating ICT into learning worldwide is that the teachers consider their skills insufficient – regardless of the actual level of training they have received in ICT and education. This may also be an implication of the individualistic approach in teacher development, which has concentrated on the skills of teachers – not on the dynamics of change in schools and education system.

The use of ICTs in the classroom or in distance education does not diminish the role of the teacher; neither does it automatically change teaching practices. Experience has shown that a variety of support and enabling mechanisms must be implemented to optimize teacher use of ICTs. While traditional teacher leadership skills and practices are still important, teachers must also have access to relevant, timely, and on-going professional development. They must have the time and resources to explore this new knowledge base and develop new skills.

Support of school administrators and, in some cases, the community, is critical if ICTs are to be used effectively. In addition, teachers must have adequate access to functioning computers (or other technologies) and sufficient technical support. Shifting pedagogies, redesigning curriculum and assessment tools, and providing more autonomy to local schools all contribute to the optimal use of ICTs in education.

References:

World Bank (2010). ICT and Education- Key Issues.

Retrieved  August 21, 2010, http://go.worldbank.org/M60HG493A0

Vega, Violeta A; Prieto, Nelia G. & Carreon Myrna L. (2006). Social dimensions of education. Manila: Lorimar Publishing.

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