What is the role of ICTs in Education?


Nowadays the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT),especially internet in the education sector plays an important role, especially in the process of empowering the technology into the educational activities. Education sector can be the most effective sector to anticipate and eliminate the negative impact of ICT. Technology (internet) in another side can be the most effective way to increase the student’s knowledge.

The main purpose of the Strategy for Information and Communication Technology Implementation in Education is to provide the prospects and trends of integrating information and communication technology (ICT) into the general educational activities.

By: Saverinus Kaka, S.Pd.

Nowadays, people are surrounded by many technological resources that allow them to have access to any kind of information, culture, people, etc. Internet, cell phones, blackberries, and some others, from the most common technological tools used by people, from any range of age, who manipulate those resources as important and necessary tools for their communication and social interaction. Thus, researchers and professors agree that technology must be a relevant tools used in learning processes in order to help students to approach current resources to achieve their future goals. However, during their learning process, some students are not able to conceive the idea that technological features could be a relevant instrument to reinforce their learning skills, due to some schools and institutions do not count with technological resources.
According to Victoria Tinio, information and communication technologies (ICTs)—which include radio and television, as well as newer digital technologies such as computers and the Internet—have been touted as potentially powerful enabling tools for educational change and reform. When used appropriately, different ICTs are said to help expand access to education, strengthen the relevance of education to the increasingly digital workplace, and raise educational quality by, among others, helping make teaching and learning into an engaging, active process connected to real life. Moreover, studies suggest that the full realization of the potential educational benefits of ICTs is not automatic. The effective integration of ICTs into the educational system is a complex, multifaceted process that involves not just technology—indeed, given enough initial capital, getting the technology is the easiest part—but also curriculum and pedagogy, institutional readiness, teacher competencies, and long-term financing, among others.
Improving the quality of education and training is a critical issue, particularly at a time of educational expansion. As globalizations and technology evolves, some teachers are more concerned about how to integrate technology to their teaching program and, also how to motivate their students to make a productive use of technology in order to improve their communicative skills such as listening, speaking, reading, etc. They realize how ICTs can enhance the quality of education in several ways: by increasing learner motivation and engagement, by facilitating the acquisition of basic skills, and by enhancing teacher training. ICTs are also transformational tools which, when used appropriately, can promote the shift to a learner-centered environment (Tinio, 7). On the other hand, some teachers focus their attention on the issues that ICT’s represents in the public schools such as the access to all schools, the technical support, the economical benefits, etc. Hence, it is expected to inform the advantages and disadvantages to use ICTs in education, especially in public schools.
According to Ron Oliver, the use of ICT’s has developed a diverse number of advantages in the field of Education and these benefits are not only for teachers, but also for students. Here we include a list of these advantages:

a) Competency and performance-based curricula:
The moves to competency and performance-based curricula are well supported and encouraged by emerging instructional technologies (e.g. Stephenson, 2001). Such curricula tend to require:
· Access to a variety of information sources
· Access to a variety of information forms and types
· Student-centered learning settings based on information access and inquiry
· Authentic settings and examples
· Teachers as coaches and mentors rather than content experts.
In this case, students and teachers gain access to higher bandwidths, more direct forms of communication and access to sharable resources, the capability to support these quality learning settings will continue to grow.
b) Information literacy:
ICT’s encourages computer literacy that is helpful in an increasingly technologically orientated world. Already there has emerged a need for educational institutions to ensure that graduates are able to display appropriate levels of information literacy, “the capacity to identify and issue and then to identify, locate and evaluate relevant information in order to engage with it or to solve a problem arising from it” (McCausland, Wache & Berk, 1999, p.2).
c) Student-centered learning:
Technology has the capacity to promote and encourage the transformation of education from a very teacher directed enterprise to one which supports more student-centered models. Evidence of this today is manifested in:
· The proliferation of capability, competency and outcomes focused curricula
· Moves towards problem-based learning
· Increased use of the Web as an information source, Internet users are able to choose the experts from whom they will learn students using ICT’s for learning purposes become immersed in the process of learning and as more and more students use computers as information sources and cognitive tools (e.g. Reeves & Jonassen, 1996), the influence of the technology on supporting how students learn will continue to increase.
d) Flexibility:
Students are starting to appreciate the capability to undertake education anywhere, anytime and any place. This flexibility has heightened the availability of just-in-time learning and provided learning opportunities for many more learners who previously were constrained by other commitments (e.g. Young, 2002).

Moreover, ICTs is an important tool when attempting to teach English as a second language, but it also has some disadvantages that can create problems for teacher and for the students, for example, most of the schools do not have the technological resources, some schools may have computers but the majority may not be working properly, or, they can have good computers but without internet service.
On the other hand, nowadays schools are working hard to obtain good technological equipments but teachers are not prepare to plan a class using ICTs, that is why teachers must be taught about how to use a computer, and then how to implement their knowledge. Another disadvantage about using technology in a classroom is that some teachers tell students to sit down in front of a computer and surf on the internet without the necessary supervision and that is when students can click on those consider as dangerous web pages in which pornography and disinformation are everywhere or they can enter to facebook and not working on the class activity, and the main reason of that problems is that teachers do not know how to prepare a class in which students can develop appropriated activities on the web.

To conclude, depending on many important facts like the necessary technological resources, the correct use of them and a good and complete training can ensure a successful learning and teaching process. It is important for teachers to give as much as they can in order to apply this useful technology in a good way.



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