ICT in Education
The web revolution of today has not only changed the way we play, study and conduct ourselves but has created a new global economy fuelled by information, driven by knowledge and powered by technology with global exchange of ideas, opinions, know-how and technology. As the half life of information continues to shrink and access to information grows exponentially, educations institutions cannot remain mere venues for transmission of prescribed set of information but must promote acquisition of knowledge and skills which would make possible continuous learning over a life time.
The illiterate of the 21st century said Alvin Toffler will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot ‘learn, unlearn and re-learn’.
ICT stands for Information and communication Technology and can be defined as diverse set of technology and resources which can be used to create, communicate, disseminate, store and manage information. These include the computer, internet, broadcasting technologies, radio, TV and telephone. E-learning encompasses learning at all levels formal and non formal which uses information network, internet, intranet and extranet wholly or in part for course delivery, interaction or for facilitation. Online learning is thus a subset of E-learning. When traditional classroom practices are integrated with E-learning we get blended learning.
A distinct feature of ICT is its ability to transcend space and time apart from comprehensiveness in covering special groups like women, persons with disabilities and the elderly who traditionally remained excluded from education. The access by ICT becomes global covering multiple geographically dispersed learners. It promotes ‘just in time’ learning where the learners can chose what to learn and when to learn. The 21st century will essentially be an era of fierce competition where constant skill upgradation will become essential. The digital age jobs in the new global economy will require new skills. These 21st centuries skills as EnGuage of North Central Regional Education Laboratory specifies consists of
- Functional and visual literacy –The ability to decipher meanings and express ideas in a range of media graphs , graphics, charts, videos and images
- Technical Literacy – Competence to use information and communication technology
- Information Literacy- The ability to find, evaluate appropriate use of information via ICT’s
- Cultural literacy – Appreciation of diversity of cultures
- Global awareness – the ability to understand how nations, corporations and communities all over the world are inter related.
- Inventive thinking skills – the adaptability to manage in a complex world.
- Creative skills – the ability to use imagination to create new thinking
- Higher order thinking skills- this includes creative problem solving and logical thinking resulting to sound thinking
- Effective communication skills – Teaming abilities to work in a team.
- High productive ability – the ability to plan, prioritize, programs and projects to achieve desired results. It also involves the ability to apply what is learned in the classroom to real life situation.
ICT can create frontiers without boundaries in the acquisition of knowledge and skills which can empower today’s citizens to acquire 21st century skills. The ICTs have also been used to improve access and quality of teacher training. Tele collaboration which is a web based collaborative tool with email, message board, real time chat, web based conferencing can connect a learner to other learners, teachers, educator and scholars. Similarly the organized use of web resources and collaboration tools for curriculum appropriate purposes was adopted by the UNICEF under Voice tele-collaboration of Youth 42 programme to encourage students to share their views on global issues such as HIV/AIDS, child labour with youth and adults around the world. The IT tele-mentor programme (ITP) 43 links students with mentor experts through email and discussion forum.
The reluctance to adapt to ICT exists even today due to poor software design, sceptism about the effectiveness of computers, lack of administrative support and increased time and effort to learn the technology and its usage for teaching along with the fear of losing traditional teacher authority.
Can the ICT’s replace the teacher? Certainly Not! With the ICT’s on the classroom, the teacher’s role in the learning process becomes very critical .Learning shifts from ‘ä teacher centric model’ to a ‘learner centric model’. With ICT’s the role of the teacher changes to a facilitator, mentor and a coach from that of an instructor. Teachers also become co-learners in this new journey.
WHAT IS NEW....
Sakshat The tablet PC costing only Rs2200 has been launched by the government. Initially about 10,000 of them will be given to the IIT’s for testing. After testing 300 tablets each are to be given to the states for trial. These will be available only to undergraduate and post graduate students to begin with as a part of the of National Mission on Education through Information Technology which aims to link 25000 colleges and 400 universities in the subcontinent. The program will be available on Sakshat web portal which students can access through the device.
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