COVID-19 reminds us that ICT is a principal component of pedagogy in the 21st century. The expansion of technology adoption in education has enabled the adjustment of teachers’ teaching techniques from the traditional to modern approach – allowing them to dispense knowledge more flexibly. Technology tools, in a sense, act more as mentors, facilitators and motivators that can invigorate students, especially undergraduates, to be more engaged. The rapid development of ICT and its application as well as other digital services has great influence on higher education institutions. These technologies play a pivotal role in promoting access to education as higher education institutions try to reach their targets to enhance the teaching and learning process.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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). The significance of ICT in the Australian economy was emphasized in the recent article by Alan Patterson, CEO of the Australian Computer Society, in his statement that the “ICT industry now rivals mining in terms of the contribution to the economy.
By PIA LICUDINE