Information and communication technology (ICT) has turned the world into a global village, and its impact is being felt in all spheres of life. Though it has been rightly said that what is wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology; there is no doubt that modern life is dominated by technology. In today’s globalized world, there is a universal recognition of the need to use ICT in education because the free flow of information via satellite and the Internet hold sway in global information dissemination of knowledge. The application of ICT to education brought about the concept of e-education. This chapter considers the concept of e-education vis a vis the provisions of the national policy for information technology, and gives a state of the art with regard to some e-education initiatives that have been embarked upon by the government, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders in the country. It also identified the challenges constraining the effective deployment and exploitation of ICT for teaching and learning in the Nigerian education system, and recommends some policy options for the development of e-education in the country. The next section gives a background to the concept of e-education.
E-education and e-learning are terms sometimes used interchangeably to describe learning through electronic devices or media. That is, a technologically based enhanced learning mechanism that is packaged and targeted towards a broad based population. In other words, the scope of e-education is enhanced on efforts at reaching a widely dispersed population. According to Mac-Ikemenjima (2005), e-education is “an electronic mode of knowledge sharing and transmission, which may not necessarily involve physical contact between teachers and students” (p. 5). Thus, e-education is an alternative to conventional classroom educational system of face-to-face, dynamic, ongoing interaction between teachers and learners, and it is both a computer-aided teaching and computer-aided learning, which ultimately lead to computer-aided instruction. Nenad, Tibor, and Sabina (2005) have noted that e-learning is characterized by the following terms (which give the “e” in e-learning):
Electronic learning – the main medium of the learning is a computer, with all the advantages of the Internet, intranet, database systems, and applications that make the system easy-to-use and easy-to-manage,
Everywhere learning – the student is not bound to one place; the computer can be used wherever there is a computer and Internet access,
Enterprise learning – education is of the utmost importance for the academic community, this way we can offer the materials even to the graduated students to help them improve their knowledge even after graduation,
Experience learning – the system treats the student as a solver of the problem; it simulates real life situations, thus making the education interactive and exciting; it enables the student to test the knowledge and, if needed, to get help from the mentor (Nenad et al., 2005).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Includes technologies such as desktop and laptop computers, software, peripherals, and connections to the Internet that are intended to fulfill information processing and communications functions.
Strategy: A plan or method for obtaining a specific result.
E-Learning: Learning that is facilitated by the use of digital tools and content. Typically, it involves some form of interactivity that may include online interaction between the learner and their teacher or peers.
Policy: An overarching plan of action developed for the achievement of a set of goals.
E-Education: Use of computers and electronics to assist learning
Information Technology Policy: Policy guidelines that concern all forms of technology used in processing and disseminating information.