ducation and Learning.
ICT as a Transformation Agent for Education.
OYEWO SAHEED ADEKUNLE MRHONS EDUCATION MANAGEMENT.STUDENT NO: 2130488019
The purpose of this research is to inquire about the facts and findings of different,but significant literature available on ICTs for Education and ICTs in Education.The research aims at identifying and evaluating different strategies embraced by National and InternationalResearches associated with measuring theeffective use of ICT for education and learning purposes; ICT as a Transformation Agent; ICT as an Enhancing tool for delivering quality education;andICT as a tool to improve Scholastic performance.
Over the past two decades, Information & Communication Technology (ICT) has become an essential tool for all areas of life. In many countries information and communication technology hasa clear impact on the development of educational curriculaandhas fundamentallytransformed all business and governance across the world.Education is a very socially oriented activity and quality education has traditionally been associated with strong teachers having high degrees of personal contact with learners. The use of ICT in education lends itself to more student-centred learning settings. Moreover,with the world moving rapidly into digital media and information, the role of ICT in education is becoming more and more imperative, and will continue todevelop in this age. In thisproposal, a literature review regardingtheeffective use of ICTs foreducation will beinvestigated,along withits effectiveness inteaching learning process;qualityand accessibility of education,learning motivation.
Information and communication technology (ICT) plays an important role in society when we take into account the social, cultural and economic role of computers and the Internet. Taking into consideration the fact that all youngsters move through compulsory education, school is the appropriate place to develop crucial ICT competencies.
According to Daniels (2002) ICTs have become,within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now regard understanding ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of ICT as part of the core of education, alongside reading, writing and numeracy. However, there appears to be a misconception that ICTs generally referto computers and computing related activities’. This is fortunatelynottrue,although computers and their application play a significant role in modern information management, other technologies and/or systems also comprise of the phenomenon that is commonly regarded as ICTs.Pelgrumand Law (2003) state that near the end of the 1980, the term computers’ was replaced by IT’ (information technology),signifying a shift of focus from computing technology,to the capacity to store and retrieve information. This was followed by the introduction of the term ICT’ (information and communication technology) around 1992, when e-mail started to become available to the general public (Pelgrum,W.J;Law, N., 2003).
According to UNESCO(2002), Information and Communication Technology may be regarded as the combination of Information Technology’ with other relatedtechnology,specifically CommunicationTechnology.Reflecting on all these fundamental definitions, ICTS claimed to be innovative, transformative,withthe potential to accelerate, enrich and deepen learners’ understanding and skills for better academic performance. Furthermore, ICTshave a significant impact on the Transformation of School holistically,andstrengthening teaching for the delivery of quality education (Davis &Tearle, 1999; Lemke & Coughlin, 1998; cited byYusuf, 2005).
When the potential use of computers in schools was first mooted, the predominant conception was that students would be taught’ by computers (Mevarech; Light, 1992). In a sense it was considered that the computer would take over’ the teacher’s job in much the same way as a robot computer may take over a welder’s job. Collis (1989) refers to this as “a rather grim image” where “a small child sits alone with a computer”.The absence of a formal and established ICT curriculum leads to theambiguoussituation, because there is nevertheless an observable policy towards the adoption ofICT in Schools. This policy fosters the integration of ICT in teaching and learning processes, but builds on the professional attitude and willingness of the individual teacher and school principal (Tondeur & VanBraak&Valcke,2007)
The use of information and communication technologies in the educative process have been divided into two broad categories:ICTs for Education and ICTs in Education(Syed, 2005),ICTs for education refer to the development of information and communications technology specifically for teaching/learning purposes, while the ICTs in education involve the adoption of general components of information and communication technologies in the teaching learning process.
However, the questions is,to what extent does ICT enhanceteaching and learning; quality and accessibility of education; learning motivation; scholastic performance?A study byHennessy &Deaney,(2004) reports that teachers are gradually starting to integrateICTsinto their teaching strategies, and the recent results haveindicateda positive improvement in scholastic performance.
The main objective of this research is to investigate if, ICTs are effectively used for Education and learning purposes, how ICTs enhance teaching and learning quality, accessibility, and moreover; enhance scholastic performance.
The research findings will be presented according to the following questions:
To what extent does ICT enhance teaching and learning?
To what extent does ICT enhance the quality and accessibility of education?
To what extent does ICT enhance learning motivation?
To what extent does ICT enhance scholastic performance?
ICT enhancing the teaching and learning process
Information and communication technology play an essential role in how individuals work, live, play and more importantly, learn. In the classroom, ICTs profoundly influences the way teachers instruct and the way in which students learn. Today, teachers in high schools are educating learners who will spend all of their adult lives in a technologically rich society. Therefore, teachers are now prepared to utilise both current and emerging technologies in their classrooms.
In any society, educators have the ability to make an enormously positive contribution. This can prove to be quite challenging, and teachers must willingly embrace new teaching and learning opportunities. Technology and digital media are everywhere, and integrated into every aspect of the individuals’ lives. Parents are no longer urging schools to incorporate ICT into their classrooms; instead they are insisting on it. When used appropriately, technology has the potential to enhance student’s achievement and assist them in meeting learning objectives.
An extensive body of education research is showing that technology can support learning in many ways. For example, using technology in the classroom can be motivating. Teachers have found that using ICT can capture a student’s attention and improve his/her outcomes. ICT can also provide many unique, effective, and powerful opportunities for teaching and learning. These opportunities include skill-building practice, real-world problem solving, and interactive learning, thus; linking learners to a multitude of instructional resources. Computers also support communication beyond classroom walls. This enables schools and communities to provide an environment for cooperative learning, development of high-order thinking skills, and solving complex problems. Consequently, the use of ICT will not only enhance the learning environment but also prepare the next generation for future careers and lifestyles Wheeler, (2001). Changed pool of teachers will become changed responsibilities and skills sets for future teaching involving high levels of ICT, and the need for a more facilitative than didactic teaching roles (Littlejohn et al., 2002).
According to Cabero (2001), ” the flexible time-space accounted for by the integration of ICT into teaching and learning processes contributes to increase the interaction and reception of information. Such possibilities suggest changes in the communication models and the teaching and learning methods used by teachers, giving way to new scenarios which favors both individual and collaborative learning”. The use of ICT in educational settings, itself, acts as a catalyst for transformation in this domain. ICTs are tools that encourage and support independent learning. Students using ICTs for learning purposes become immersed in the process of learning. As more students use computers as an information source and cognitive tool (Reeves ; Janassen, 1996), the influence of the technology in supporting how students learn will continue to increase. In the past, the conventional process of teaching has revolved around teachers planning and leasing students through series of instructional sequences to achieve a desired learning outcome.
An American psychologist and educator, Jerome Bruner (1915 -) proposed that learning is an active process in which the learner constructs new ideas or concepts based on his current or past knowledge. Bruner believes that constructivist learners are participatory learners; they are actively engaged in the learning process. Constructivism emphasises an integrated curriculum where students learn a subject in various ways or through different activities. ICT offers many strategies for a constructivist-learning environment. Typically, these forms of teaching have revolved around the planned transmission of a body of knowledge, followed by some forms of interaction; with the content as a means to consolidate the knowledge acquisition. In this domain, learning is viewed as the construction of meaning rather than as the memorisation of facts (Lebow, 1993; Janassen ; Reeves, 1996).
As detailed previously,any use of ICT in learning settings can act to support various aspects of knowledge construction and as more and more students employ ICTs in their learning processes, the moresignificantthe impact of thiswillbecome. Teacherscangenerate meaningful and engaging learning experiences for their students, strategically using ICT to enhance learning. Students enjoy learning, and the independent enquiry which innovative and appropriate use of ICT can foster. Theybegin to acquire the important 21st century skills, which they will need in their futurelives.Within schools, specific technological developments, such as better connectivity via broadband accessto the internet/intranets and laptops for teachers, have boosted professional development and confidence in using ICT;particularly with regard to the personalisation of the learning experience.
ICT enhancing the quality and accessibility of education
ICT increases the flexibility of delivery of education so that learners can access knowledge anytime and from anywhere. It can influence the way students are taught and how they learn as now the processes are learner driven and not by teachers. This in turn would better prepare the learners forlifelong learning as well asimprove the quality of learning. In concert with geographical flexibility, technology-facilitated educational programs also remove many of the temporal constraints that face learners with special needs (Moore ;Kearsley, 1996). Students are starting to appreciate the capability to undertake education anywhere, anytime and anyplace.
One of the most vital contributions of ICT in the field of education isEasy Access to Learning. With the help of ICT, students can now browse through e-books,review pastexamination papersetc. and can also have an easy access to resource persons, mentors, experts, researchers, professionals, and peersall over the world. This flexibility has heightened the availability of just-in-time learning and provided learning opportunities for many more learners whowerepreviouslyconstrained by other commitments (Young, 2002). Wider availability of best practices and best course material in education, shared by means of ICT, can foster better teaching. ICT also allowsacademic institutions to reach disadvantaged groups and new international educational markets. As well as learning at anytime, teachers are also finding the capabilities of teaching at any time to be opportunistic andadvantageous. Mobile technologies and seamless communications technologies support 24×7 teaching and learning. Choosing how much time will be used within the 24×7 envelope and what periods of time are challenges that will face the educators of the future (Young, 2002). Thus, ICT enabled education will ultimately lead to the democratisation of education.This is especiallytruein developing countries like India,where theeffective use of ICT for the purpose of education has the potential to bridge the digital divide (Syed, 2005).
ICT enhancing learning motivation
The body of evidence regardingthe impact of ICT onintermediate outcomes, such asmotivation, engagementwith and independence inlearning, isgreater and more persuasive. The benefitsidentified in the literature include increasedcollaboration, greater engagement andpersistence, more on-taskbehaviorand betterconceptual understanding. Understanding ofthe extent to which ICT can supportcreativity, includingcritical thinking skills and problemsolvingabilitiesis developing,however ;some ofthe evidence appears contradictory. In the studiesencountered, positive findings were associatedwith a range of technologies, particularly thosewith strong visual elements such as digital video,drama-oriented software and multimediapresentations. Much of the evidence is drawnfrom small-scale case studies and there is a paucityof large-scale, methodologically rigorous researchfrom which generalisations may be drawn.In general, impact is most clearly observed wheretasks have clear educational aims, are designed tomaximize the potential of the ICT in use,and areperceived as purposeful by pupils.
ICT enhancing scholastic performance
There are few studies that attempt to discern adirect, causal relationship betweenthe use of ICTandattainment, although many identify improvedattainment as one of a number of outcomes ofincreased ICT use. Unfortunately, it is not alwaysclear how attainment is defined or measured insome of the research reports. In some,attainment’ refers to performance onstandardizedtests while in others, the definitionis broader and impact relates to observedimprovements in pupils’ understanding within
specific subject areas, that is, domain-specificcognitive development. In discussing therelationship between ICT use and attainment,more weight has been given to those studies thatusedstandardizedtests or similar reference points,while those drawing conclusions on the basis ofthe arguably softer’ evidence ofteachers’, parents’ or pupils’ perceptions of improvementin performance have been used to elaborateupon or supplement the findings.
In an extensive review of the literature on ICT and attainment, Cox et al. (2003a) found evidence of positive effects on pupil attainment in almost all National Curriculum subjects. This was most marked in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, where there has been greater investment in the development of subjectspecificICT resources to support learning andteaching. These are also the areas where theevidence of change in attainment levels wasmore robust, often drawing on national testingresults. The evidence of the effects of ICT in othersubject areas was considered by the authors tobe inconsistent, patchy and somewhat limited inthe range of technologies investigated.
Most of the research thatthey encountered on the use of ICT hardware andsoftware was limited to a small range of resources,many of which were used by individual teachersworking in relative isolation. They concluded thatthe frequency and range of ICT use influenced theeffect on attainment and that, when usedeffectively, there was evidence of a positiveinfluence on attainment. The most effective use
waswhere ICT use was directly linked tocurriculum objectives and specific concepts andskills,thus;becoming an integral part of the learningexperience. In a similar vein,Passeyet al. (2004)concluded thatwhere ICT was clearly embeddedin classroom activity, there was a positive impacton pupil attainment athigh school level.
Clarification of key concepts
The evidence of the impact of ICT onattainment is, as yet, inconsistent,although there are indications that insome contexts, with some pupils, in somedisciplines, attainment has been enhanced.There is not a sufficient body of evidencein any of these areas, however, to drawfirm conclusions in terms of explanatoryor contributory factors.
One fairly consistent finding is that thegreatest impact is observed where ICT hasbecomeembeddedor integrated within theeveryday classroom experience of pupils.
At present, the evidence of impact onintermediate outcomes such as motivationand behavior is more compelling. The useof ICT seems to engage pupils, resulting inmore on-task behavior, greater persistenceand deeper understanding. Appropriatelydeployed, ICT appears to support andencourage greater collaborative activity,inquiry or problem-based learning andindependent study.
Where the use of ICT is effective, thetasks/activities must be seen as purposefulby pupils and the ICT dimension should beintegrated into the experience in such away that it genuinely enhances learning(provides added value) if the benefits areto be sustained in the longer term.
ICT can support the development of basicliteracy and numeracy skills, particularlywhere pupils are experiencing difficulties.
Learning has been enhanced where computers and word processing and/or presentational software were combined with other technologies, most notablyinteractive whiteboards.
The use of ICT improves presentation ofpupils’ work and has also been shown tosupport collaboration, improve the qualityof discussion and facilitate thedevelopment of problem-solving skills.
The newest technologies, such as GIS, areavailable within the geography classroom,while online resource banks of artefactsand documents can be used to supportlearning in history and religious education.
ICT has reduced teachers’ workload as their skills havedeveloped and applications, technologies and networkinghave become more readily available and easy to use.
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