Reasons why Schools should invest in ICT
The world is as a result of constant changes. Whatever is there today may not be there in future. We have witnessed technological changes in the world. Such changes has led to a new era where people are doing several things online. Technology has made it possible for people to work at home and students to learn at home.
What is ICT?
The term ICT simplified means any technology that has to do with information and communication.
Information can come in many forms such as sound, video, text, and images, so when you think of what technology it is available that produces these aspects of information and sometimes a combination of all these, we refer to such technology as mobile phones, digital cameras, video cameras for example.
Today information and communication technologies are the one thing and so the repertoire of technologies expands further to encompass computers and computer-related products, email, MMS, and other forms of communication (Finger et al., 2007).
The Importance of ICT
Today we do not need to go any further than our own home or even room, to see some form of ICT in our lives. Whether it be a computer, plasma TV, or mobile phone, we all have them in some part of our lives. In today’s society, people as consumers of ICT, all strive for the one dream – the dream of a connected life.
This makes ICT a lifestyle choice for much of the population. In addition, this lifestyle choice is changing the way we communicate, increasing the rate of consumerism, and changing how we interact and gather information (Sherringham, Dec 2008/Jan 2009).
ICT has invaded and transformed many aspects of our lives to the extent that we live in an environment that is dominated by technology which itself is consumer-driven (Semenov, 2005). No matter how we perceive its presence, there is no denying that it is an important part of our lives and that it is here to stay.
Importance of ICT In Education
- E-learning or Online Learning: The presence of ICT in education allows for new ways of learning for students and teachers. E-learning or online learning is becoming increasingly popular and with various unprecedented events taking place in our lives, this does not only open opportunities for schools to ensure that students have access to curriculum materials whilst in the classroom but also allows them to ensure students outside the classroom such as at home or even in hospitals can learn.
- ICT brings inclusion: The benefits of ICT in education is of such that students in the classroom can all learn from the curriculum material. Students with special needs are no longer at a disadvantage as they have access to essential material and special ICT tools can be used by students to make use of ICT for their own educational needs. Despite this, it opens up new issues related to the ‘digital divide’ and providing access to ICT tools and resources for those who are less fortunate.
- ICT promotes higher-order thinking skills: One of the key skills for the 21st century which includes evaluating, planning, monitoring, and reflecting to name a few. The effective use of ICT in education demands skills such as explaining and justifying the use of ICT in producing solutions to problems. Students need to discuss, test, and conjecture the various strategies that they will use.
- ICT enhances subject learning: It is well known these days that the use of ICT in education adds a lot of value to key learning areas like literacy literacy and numeracy.
- ICT use develops ICT literacy and ICT Capability: Both are 21st-century skills that are best developed whilst ICT remains transparent in the background of subject learning. The best way to develop ICT capability is to provide them with meaningful activities, embedded in purposeful subject-related contexts.
- ICT use encourages collaboration: You just have to put a laptop, iPad or computer in the classroom to understand how this works. ICT naturally brings children together where they can talk and discuss what they are doing for their work and this in turn, opens up avenues for communication thus leading to language development.
- ICT use motivates learning: Society’s demands for new technology has not left out children and their needs. Children are fascinated with technology and it encourages and motivates them to learn in the classroom.
- ICT in education improves engagement and knowledge retention: When ICT is integrated into lessons, students become more engaged in their work. This is because technology provides different opportunities to make it more fun and enjoyable in terms of teaching the same things in different ways. As a consequence of this increased engagement, it is said that they will be able to retain knowledge more effectively and efficiently.
- ICT use allows for effective differentiation instruction with technology We all learn differently at different rates and styles and technology provide opportunities for this to occur.
- ICT integration is a key part of the national curriculum: The integration of digital technologies or ICT is a significant part of the Australian Curriculum for example, and this is a trend that many global governments are taking up as they begin to see the significance of ICT in education.
- We live in a “knowledge economy”: This is an economy where it is vital to have the ability to produce and use information effectively (Weert, 2005). It is a time when ICT is pervasive and permeates throughout all industries in the economy whether it may be health, education, environment or manufacturing (Moon, Feb/Mar 2007).
Importance of Students Engaging with ICT
It is important for students to engage with ICT so that:
- Learn 21st-century skills and develop their ICT capability and ICT literacy.
- Improves their attainment levels.
- Prepares them for an integrated society dominated by ICT developments.
- So that they learn the notion of using ICT as a tool for lifelong learning.