Use of ICT in Education

Use of ICT in Education

Geeta Nair (Department of Business Economics & Research Cell, H. R. College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India) and Robert Hindle (Faculty of Education, University of Manchester, Manchester, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom)
DOI: 10.4018/ijicthd.2013100102

Abstract

The present research paper discusses the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education which is gaining currency in the new era of globalism as the telecom revolution has hastened the pace of globalization and vice-versa; along with the catalyst role ICT-enabled education plays in promoting inclusive growth and human development for all. These smart tools of the emerging smart economy would help to promote mass literacy and also narrow inter, as well as intra-generational gaps. Most importantly, it will provide ‘second opportunities’ to the generation that missed them in the first place, thus helping adult learners, particularly the employed and women; thus attempting to reduce gender inequities. The paper attempts to map the trajectory of ICT and its increased usage across the world in an era of globalism, spanning Asia with a focus on India. Technology helps update, modernize, and revolutionize knowledge, information teaching-learning processes et al that help to bridge the digital divide on multi levels-between the rich and poor nations, between the rich and poor classes within a nation, between the rural and urban areas, between the young and old population, between the first and second generation learners and teachers that have become the essence of the new knowledge economy comprising smart students, teachers, policy makers, and communities all woven together through the yarn of the world wide. Like any other innovation, this one too is a double-edged coin with its intrinsic advantages and disadvantages. It is for us to harness modern technologies and utilize the ICT revolution in education for modern global growth, interconnectedness, and inclusiveness that create ‘win-win’ situations for all stakeholders.
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Introduction

The present research paper discusses the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education which is gaining currency in the new era of globalism as the telecom revolution has hastened the pace of globalization and vice-versa; along with the catalyst role ICT-enabled education plays in promoting inclusive growth and human development for all. These smart tools of the emerging smart economy would help to promote mass literacy and also narrow inter, as well as intra-generational gaps. Most importantly, it will provide ‘second opportunities’ to the generation that missed them in the first place, thus helping adult learners, particularly the employed and women; thus attempting to reduce gender inequities.

ICT in education is defined in various ways and can be broadly categorized in the following manner as:

  • ICT as a subject (i.e., computer studies);

  • ICT as a tool to support traditional subjects (i.e., computer-based learning, presentation, research);

  • ICT as an administrative tool (i.e., education management information systems/EMIS);

  • ICT as a medium of knowledge exchange.

Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, quoted the great Thai poet and teacher Sunthorn Phu who said that “With knowledge, you can stand on your own two feet” (Asia-Pacific Ministerial Forum on ICT in Education 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand). This is the heart of all education - to build confidence in young women and men and allow them to stand on their own two feet. Information and communication technologies can and must serve this essential goal. She further stated that, “We must ensure that information and communication technologies are accessible, that they bridge divides and favour inclusive education, that they draw on appropriate content, and that they support quality teaching. This requires effective capacity development and policy dialogue – this is why this annual forum is so important.”

Technology plays an important role in all walks of human lives in modern times and the gap between the West and the East was largely explained by the digital divide. According to Vrasidas and McIssac (2001), international trends in the applications of ICTs in schools bear a direct relation with the teaching-learning environments and the development of schools. This is supported by documented evidence that rich nations provide adequate technology in schools as average public schools in the USA had 189 instructional computers with 98% of these having internet access & the number of students per computer with internet access was 3 in 2008 (Institute of Educational Sciences Report, 2010). Emerging trends show that students are more sophisticated in technology usage than their teachers in OECD nations, thereby widening the gap in knowledge, information, and its dissemination.

The learning of use of technology takes places in the following 6 stages:

  • Awareness;

  • Learning;

  • Understanding and Application of the Process;

  • Familiarity and Confidence;

  • Adaptation to Other Contexts; and

  • Creative Application to New Contexts (Russell, 1996).

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