Information and Communication Technologies in Education

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 10
Words: 2748
Reading time:
10 min
Study level: PhD

A Significant Issue that Influences the Present Educational Setting

ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies), innovation, and knowledge are associated with vast impacts in various economic sectors. These include the transportation, finance, communication, and informatics sectors. It is also worth emphasising that the education sector has significantly been influenced by ICT. For example, an economy that is based on knowledge gives education a novel face. On the other hand, there arise novel prospects and bottlenecks in the sector. It is worth noting that education is regarded as a prerequisite for the economy that is based on knowledge. Furthermore, the utilization and production of novel knowledge both call for a workforce and population that is highly educated.

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Another key thing is that ICT comes in as an exceptional tool for information and knowledge diffusion. This is an extremely vital aspect as far as the education process is concerned. At this level, therefore, they are involved in a pedagogic obligation which may either compete or complement the contemporary practices used in the sector (Bucher, 2010). Hence, these are the two key bottlenecks that the education sector will continue facing if it continues expanding with the assistance or pressure resulting from the novel learning forms.

Sometimes, ICT brings about innovation in the way the education sector conducts business. For instance, since the invention of GPS (Global Positioning System), navigation has changed the cognitive processes it uses. Moreover, scientific research in the majority of the fields has been revolutionised as a result of the novel possibilities brought about by ICT. This includes simulation, processing of data, novel recording, and information digitisation. There is a key concern whether ICT can revolutionise education in a similar manner, particularly because education is directly involved with the transmission and codification of information and knowledge. The ICT revolution is responsible for decoupling transmission and codification.

Assessing the features of education is vital before deciding whether ICT should be used to revolutionise education. In the education sector, there has been slow progress as far as innovations are concerned. This bears significant results in teaching activities. Educational development and research do not have a solid role in enabling the accessibility to systematic knowledge. This results in work in lecture halls and classrooms being carried out by programmes. It is worth emphasizing that education is not a sector where experimentation is much welcome. This is partly due to the fact that education’s experimental approaches cannot be described adequately to safeguard their replication. Only minimal codified knowledge can be obtained from the education sector. It is worth noting that learning is basically founded on learning inputs which cannot be obtained from the class setup or formal education strategies. The effectiveness of learning is dependent on numerous family and social aspects, which educators cannot control.

Irrespective of this, communication and information technologies bring about more chances for knowledge codification. This is essential for teaching as well as the activities involved teaching innovations. This is achievable through cognitive activities and learning delivery. Distance learning is usually more effective as more problems are solved, it is paced at the learner’s pace, and learner- centered compared to teaching on a face- to- face basis. Here, the traditional media is used. Using networking through social media creates an avenue where the students and tutor interact without necessarily meeting. However, it is vital to point out that virtual means cannot solely coordinate the majority of the learning activities. The spontaneity and emulation which is present as a result of the group and physical presence is of extreme significance. Moreover, teaching on a face- to- face basis ensures transmission of some sensory perceptions which are absent if electronic frameworks are used. It is important to note that the influence that results from time and distance is reducing. This is because there is accessibility to technological capacity, which allows for teamwork, sharing of knowledge, coordination and organization of tasks in vast areas.

Presently, the majority of the students use the internet in academic research and doing class assignments. This is mostly carried out in cybers and personal computers. Moreover, students are able to communicate among and between themselves through the use of mobile phone technology. The utilization of cellular phones has enabled cohort socialization. In addition, it acts as a mechanism for supporting students engaging in distance learning studies (Folger, Poole & Stutman, 2008). When students socialize through the use of cell phones, it eliminates isolation feelings, promotes a belonging sense among students, as well as psychological and sociological aspects which were missing from the older generations.

The use of ICT is extremely important in education as it enables extensive development and research. ICT has been explored severally as an area of study. Many researchers have tried to explore the various ways through which ICT can impact on education. This involves an assessment of the various features and forms of ICT which can have a significant impact. On the other hand, ICT is often as the method of collecting required from subjects who are distributed geographically. This can be students, staff from learning institutions, and across universities. Stated otherwise, this can be achieved through online surveys, emails, videoconferencing, online interviews through the Skype or VOIP, as well as other audio forms. It is quite impressive that gathering and analysing data can be made automatic. This is through applying proper software, which analyses data very easily. Another thing is that questionnaires to be used in a survey can be obtained from the internet, and distributed online. Moreover, the data gathered can be tabulated automatically, and evaluated using statistical software.

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How it Brings Conflicts in the Educational Setting

There are several underlying legal, ideological and sociological roots surrounding the introduction of ICT in the education sector. Just like any other aspect that is bound to have a significant impact on the education sector, the issue of ICT and specifically the integration of ICT in the education sector should be undertaken in such a way as to facilitate the alignment of its operation with the sectors legal, ideological and sociological frameworks. As it is currently constituted, the integration of ICT in the education sector has managed to raise various issues on both the legal, ideological and sociological fronts and in most cases, these issues have arisen due to a conflict on the traditional perspective and the new perspective that has been brought about by the ICT revolution on the three fronts. Starting with the legal front, there are various legal issues that have come up over the years as more and more learning institutions embrace ICT as an integral part of the learning process. Due to the nature of technological advancements made in the ICT sector, access to information has undergone significant simplification whereby at the touch of a button or click of a mouse, a student can have access to information pertaining to just about anything under the sun. As much as information obtained through such means is easily available, some of the information might contain copyrighted material that places a legal limitation on their use. Copyrighted information is actually recognised in the legal sphere as intellectual property and therefore, the owners of such property have the same sort of rights just like those associated with the ownership of physical property. This implies that the use of such intellectual property has various legal limitations and thus, student intending to use such information must be aware of these limitations and abide by their legal requirements (Pulliam & Van Patten, 2006). For instance, for most copyrighted material, the student or any other party for that matter who uses such material must acknowledge the owners of such material in any of their works in the form of proper citation that clearly outlines the authors and publishers of the materials in question. Additionally, other intellectual property owners might require the person using any information contained in their publications or any other online posting to actually pay for the use of such material. As much as there is a clear legal framework for the use of intellectual property, a practice that has become increasingly popular with the ever increasing of ICT in most of the learning institutions, students and even tutors in most of these institutions have always tended to ignore the legal provisions surrounding the use of such property thus increasing the risk of a potential law suit being met out to their respective institutions. This presents an area of conflict between the learning institutions and the law because of the failure by most of these institutions to comply with the law as far as intellectual property use is concerned.

In addition to the legal issues and the conflict that might arise thereon as far as the impact of ICT in the education sector is concerned, there have also been a lot of issues that have arisen on the ideological front when it comes to the impact of the same on the education sector. Just like any other sector, the education sector and the developments that have been made in the sector over the years have been brought about by a set of ideological believes and assertions that have all been geared towards establishing the sector (Ozmon, Craver & Ozmon, 2011). Among the many ideologies that have come to inform on the functioning of the student-teacher relationship. Ideologically, this relationship has been defined over the years as one in which the teacher is the source of knowledge and information delegating the student to the role of the recipient of such knowledge and information. As much as this relationship has for many years conformed to its ideological expectations, the integration of ICT has managed to present a paradigm shift as far as this relationship is concerned. The paradigm shift has come about due to the fact that integration of ICT into the education sector meant that for the first time probably since the inception of the sector itself, student’s access to information has greatly been simplified whereby students can now easily access vast amounts of information concerning any topic and this implies that their capacity to construct their own knowledge independent of the teacher has been greatly enhanced. However, this is not to imply that the teacher’s role in the learning process has completely changed but the role of the teacher is now that of provision of guidance in the learning process. This is because as much as the integration of ICT in the education sector has meant that students can now easily access information, this does not imply that all information available to them is useful as far as the learning process itself is concerned. It is therefore the role of the teacher to guide the students in integrating information that is relevant to them and discarding information that might be of no relevance to them and this implies that the teacher still has a very important role to play as far as effectiveness of the learning process is concerned.

Having looked at the legal and ideological issues concerned with the integration of ICT in the education sector, will next analyse the impact of this integration on the sociological front. It is indeed true that the introduction and subsequent integration of ICT in the mainstream education sector has managed to raise a lot of issues on the sociological front. According to…..most educational scholars have asserted that the influx of technological gadgets in the school learning system has negatively impacted on the students’ live to the extent of interfering with their social interactions both at school and at home. Andrews (2004) notes that most students have become too preoccupied with their phones, laptops, IPads and other such devices that have all been made accessible to them in an effort to increase the integration of ICT in the education sector. The problem is not really the preoccupation but the fact that these students are spending most of their times in social networking sites and other non-educational sites which is counterproductive as far as the learning process is concerned. This is because most of these students end up ignoring their studies and instead dedicating most of their time on these ‘fun’ sites thus resulting to an overall decline in their performance (Lamorte & Dayton, 2011).

Empirical Work of Theorists and Their Contribution to the Solutions

Having discussed the issues surrounding the impact of ICT in the education sector and the conflicts that can arise thereon, it is imperative that this paper addresses some of the solutions that can be effective in resolving some of these conflicts. Starting with the legal issues arising from increased uptake of ICT in the education sector, the main source of conflict can be attributed to the ignorance of the legal provisions touching on the use of intellectual property. An effective way of resolving this conflict will be perhaps undertaking a nationwide educational promotion that seeks to educate both students and other stakeholders within the sector on various issues surrounding intellectual property law and the importance of complying with the law. A mechanism for reprimanding students who fail to observe the intellectual property requirement within the learning institution setting can also be an effective way of resolving this conflict. In line with the work of behavioural theorists such as Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), which applies the use of classical conditioning to influence the behaviour of a child, learning institutions can also adopt various deterrent mechanisms meant at deterring the student in engaging in intellectual property law infringement.

The second source of conflict has been brought about by the conflicting role of the teacher and the student due to the impact of ICT on the education sector. A solution to this source of conflict might be perhaps to reassure the teachers of their role as the overall effectors of the learning process. The teachers should be made aware that the impact of technology in enhancing the students’ ability to access knowledge is not an implication that their role as teachers has been taken over by technology but that such technology can assist them to be more effective in the undertaking of their duties and responsibilities. This is in line with Maria Montessori’s (1870-1952) theory of learning that emphasizes the role of the learner in constructing their own knowledge ( Hall & Hord, 2010).

The final source of conflict as far as the impact of ICT in the education sector is on the sociological front. In this area, the teachers, the student’s guardian and other stakeholders should play a more proactive role in guiding and monitoring the activities of the students. The teachers and guardians can for instance take measures to ensure that students do not spend most of their time engaging in activities that might not be beneficial to them as far as their education is concerned. However, such activities in appropriate doses can be helpful in the overall development of the student as they can enhance their knowledge in many areas and increase their social skills. Moreover, a study by Jean Piaget (1896-1980), famous educational theorists, emphasizes on the need to develop all the cognitive abilities of the learner and therefore, the use of technology for social interaction and other entertainment purposes is very helpful as far as the overall cognitive development of the leaner is concerned.

All in all, the impact of ICT in the education sector is one that cannot be understated. This is because integration of ICT into the mainstream education sector has greatly transformed the way the learning process is conducted. The availability of vast amounts of information online on just about any topic has increased student’s capacity to access and construct their own knowledge. Be that as it may, there are various underlying sociological, ideological and legal roots that have brought to the fray issues regarding this integration. On the social front, most students end up using technological devices for social entertainment and interaction at the expense of their school work. On the legal ideological front, integration of ICT has resulted to conflicts in the student teacher-relationship and on the legal front, most students and even teachers tend to overlook the legal provisions when it comes to the use of intellectual property (Guthrie & Schuermann, 2009).These conflicts can be resolved through the use of various mechanisms such as effective education, clear definition of the student-teacher relationship in line with the current times and proper monitoring of student activities. Such resolutions mechanisms, if properly implemented will ensure that the education sector reaps maximum benefit from the introduction of ICT within its midst.

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