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THE PHASE OF ICT IN EDUCATION

Education is in an interesting transitional phase between its ‘ICT-free’ past and its ‘ICT-aware’ future. That it is in such a transition is a fairly safe claim. Over the centuries prior to digital technology, education evolved into a system that used paper technology in a variety of highly sophisticated ways to fulfill its mission to develop and accredit knowledge and skills. Its future must certainly be one in which it extends this capacity to a sophisticated use of digital technology. Like every modern enterprise, education is currently learning and adapting to the opportunities afforded by information and communication technologies, although it’s slow. Learning technologists have made it their business to accelerate the process because the learning cycles of the education system are long, while those of its immediate environment youth culture, employment demands, and scientific knowledge are changing ever more rapidly.

Leaders in the education system know that it derives its support from the communities that recognize its value but have been slow to realize that this increasingly depends on how well it exploits the transformational potential of digital technology. All educational ambitions for the post-compulsory sector are challenging: personalized learning, higher attainment standards, wider participation and improved retention in further and higher education, closer relationships between education and the workplace, lifelong learning, a more highly skilled workforce for the knowledge economy. We do not lack ambition. Achieving these ambitions, or even significant progress towards them would have a significant value for the communities served by education. Every one of these communities requires the improved quality and economies of scale that proper use of technology will confer. Yet so many institutional and organizational strategies for education consign digital technology to the merely incremental tasks involved in improving our current systems supporting education, not to the transformational task of changing them.

In teaching and learning currently, the use of technology is to support traditional modes of teaching by improving the quality of lecture presentations using interactive whiteboards, making lecture notes readable in PowerPoint and available online, extending the library by providing access to digital resources and libraries, recreating face-to-face tutorial discussions asynchronously. Education is in an interesting transitional phase between its ‘ICT-free’ past and its ‘ICT-aware’ future. That it is in such a transition is a fairly safe claim. Over the centuries prior to digital technology, education evolved into a system that used paper technology in a variety of highly sophisticated ways to fulfill its mission to develop and accredit knowledge and skills. Its future must certainly be one in which it extends this capacity to a sophisticated use of digital technology. Like every modern enterprise, education is currently learning and adapting to the opportunities afforded by information and communication technologies, albeit slowly. Learning technologists make it their business to accelerate the process because the learning cycles of the education system are long, while those of its immediate environment youth culture, employment demands, scientific knowledge are short, and changing ever more rapidly.

 

 

 

Article by: Busayo Tomoh

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