Information Technology (IT), as defined by the Smart Computing Dictionary, is
“A general term used to describe any technology that helps to produce, manipulate, store, communicate, or disseminate information. IT refers to the most expensive, complex computers, with devices usually dealing with electronic data in binary format. However, these IT machines are not able to communicate with one another.”
And, Communication Technology (CT) is “the term used to describe telecommunications equipment through which information can be sought and accessed”. (New Zealand MOE, 1998). Examples include: video conferencing, teleconference phones, and modems.
Globally, educational systems are adopting new technologies to integrate ICT in the teaching and learning process, to prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need in their subject matter. In this way the teaching profession is evolving from teacher-centered to student-centered learning environments. “ICT integration is understood as the usage of technology seamlessly for educational processes like transacting curricular content and students working on technology to do authentic tasks” (Kainth and Kaur). Nowadays ICT facilitate not only the delivery of lessons but also the learning process itself. This includes computer based technologies, digital imaging, the internet, file servers, data storage devices, network infrastructure, desktops, laptops and broadcasting technologies namely radio and television, and telephone which are used as instructional tools at schools.
INTEGRATING ICT IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCESS In Mauritius government has spent tremendously to promote ICT integration in teaching and learning. Is it worth investing so much money? What advantages do ICT have in education? Many researchers have given their view points about the advantages and how ICT can be integrated in curriculum.
Allen (1997) believed that the basic skills of the future are the use of powerful technologies. The traditional textbook can no longer fulfill the need in the rapid changing and the information-explosion world. He asserted that the traditional teacher-centered approach makes classroom no longer an effective system to prepare students for the realities which they face in the near future.
Parmley et al. (1997) stated that technology works best as a supporting tool-making complex processes or creative experience either possible or easier to accomplish. He thought that technology can offer new ways to provide meaningful, real-life context for learning, it also allow students to collaborate with peers and experts across the country and around the World.
Rosener (1997) described IT as good as, or even better than, traditional method of teaching and learning as it being limitless of time and space. Poole (1998) pointed out that suitably integrated computer use can contribute to successful results in the classroom as to: support teaching and learning, support children’s socialisation, enable children with disabilities to integrate and enables a teacher to duplicate excellence.
According to Kennewell et al. (2000), integration of ICT in teaching requires understanding at a deeper level to facilitate the development of strategies and process to identify opportunities, solve problems and evaluate solution. They believe that these higher-level objectives require not only technical knowledge and skills, but the ability to choose an effective strategy for a problem. Poole (1998) shared his view that the technology is only a tool to both teacher and student. The effectiveness of the tool depends entirely on the skills they bring to the learning process. He believed that the teachers’ task is thus to nurture the students willingness to learn.
Gregoire et al (1996) provided the following important points in respecting student learning in analysing that the contribution new technologies can make to teaching and learning:
New technologies stimulate the development of intellectual skills
New technologies contribute to the ways of learning knowledge, skills and attitudes, but still dependent on pre-requisite knowledge and type of learning activity.
New technologies spur spontaneous interest more than traditional approaches of learning.
Students using new technologies concentrate more than those in traditional settings
Moreover the above outlined points are balanced by further genuine observations:
Benefits of ICT for students are greatly dependent on the technological skills of the teachers and their attitudes towards technology.
Skill and attitude in turn are largely dependent on the staff training in this area. (UNESCO Paris, 2002).
2.2.1 Impact of ICT on education In educational context, ICT has the potential to increase access to education and improve its relevance and quality. Tinio (2002) asserted that ICT has a tremendous impact on education in terms of acquisition and absorption of knowledge to both teachers and students through the promotion of:
Active learning: ICT tools help for the calculation and analysis of information obtained for examination and also students’ performance report are all being computerised and made easily available for inquiry. In contrast to memorisation-based or rote learning, ICT promotes learner engagement as learners choose what to learn at their own pace and work on real life situations’ problems.
Collaborative and Cooperative learning: ICT encourages interaction and cooperation among students, teachers regardless of distance which is between them. It also provides students the chance to work with people from different cultures and working together in groups, hence help students to enhance their communicative skills as well as their global awareness. Researchers have found that typically the use of ICT leads to more cooperation among learners within and beyond school and there exists a more interactive relationship between students and teachers (Grégoire et al., 1996). “Collaboration is a philosophy of interaction and personal lifestyle where individuals are responsible for their actions, including learning and respect the abilities and contributions of their peers.” (Panitz, 1996).
Creative Learning: ICT promotes the manipulation of existing information and to create one’s own knowledge to produce a tangible product or a given instructional purpose.
Integrative learning: ICT promotes an integrative approach to teaching and learning, by eliminating the synthetic separation between theory and practice unlike in the traditional classroom where emphasis encloses just a particular aspect.
Evaluative learning: Use of ICT for learning is student-centered and provides useful feedback through various interactive features. ICT allow students to discover and learn through new ways of teaching and learning which are sustained by constructivist theories of learning rather than students do memorisation and rote learning.
And a mentioned in “Teaching of ICT” by MIE/IGNOU (2005), improvements in telecommunication technologies can lead education to provide more independence to teachers and students by:
Better use of learning resources- a presentation once made through use of technologies can be showed to students over and over again.
Motivating to learn-ICTs combine text, sound, and colourful, moving images that increase learners’ motivation and their interest to learn.
Facilitating the acquisition of basic concepts that are the foundation for higher order concepts and creativity can be facilitated through drill and practice as repetition and reinforcement of content and skills are being focused.
Aspect Less ‘traditional pedagogy’ More ’emerging pedagogy’ for the information society Active Activities prescribed by teacher
Whole class instruction
Little variation in activities
Pace determined by the programme
Activities determined by learners
Many different activities
Pace determined by learners
Everyone for him/herself
Working in teams
Supporting each other
Creative Reproductive learning
Apply known solutions to problems
Find new solutions to problems
Integrative No link between theory and practice
Integrating theory and practice
Relations between subjects
Teams of teachers
DiagnosticTable 2.2.1 Overview of Pedagogy in the Industrial versus the Information Society
While theoretical arguments can be put forward to provide a strong rationale for the use of ICT in enhancing the teaching and learning process, the only real rationale is based on whether, in practice, it has a positive impact on learning, the learners, and teachers (Newhouse, 2002).
learning environment entities and external entities.
IMPACT OF ICT ON LEARNERS ICT has very strong effect in education and it provides enormous tools for enhancing teaching and learning. There have been many studies that have highlighted the various ways that ICT may support teaching and learning processes in a range of disciplinary fields such as the construction of new opportunities for interaction between students and knowledge and accessing information. ICT enable new ways teaching and learning when used appropriately under right conditions such as suitable resources, training and support. ICT also offers the potential to meet the learning needs of individual students, to promote equal opportunity, to offer learning material, and also promote interdependence of learning among learners (Leach, Ahmed, Makalima
Example Statement of Purpose – Teacher
The genesis of my intense interest in education, an interest which has now evolved into an aspiration and a pursuit for a career in the field, happened during my undergraduate studies, while I was a student of humanities. Eventually became the primary motivation for graduate and now for further Studies in Education – Language, Culture