Long before the e-learning era, Plato (428 BC– 348 BC) said: “Someday, in the distant future, our grandchildren’s grandchildren will develop a new equivalent of our classrooms. They will spend many hours in front of boxes with fires glowing within. May they have the wisdom to know the difference between light and knowledge”.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a medium for teaching is becoming more and more acknowledged. ICT in education is the mode of education that uses information and communications technology to support, enhance, and optimise the delivery of information. An increase in the use of ICT in education with integrating technology into the curriculum has a significant and positive impact on students’ achievements. Students who are continuously exposed to technology through education has better knowledge, presentation skills, innovative capabilities, and are ready to take more efforts into learning as compared to their counterparts.
ICT assumes the use of such telecommunication technologies as computer training and test programs, electronic dictionaries for teaching students both professional vocabulary and reading in a special setting; telecommunication technologies, which allow students to participate in the dialogue of cultures through audio and video conferences. ICT combines the advantages of various technologies within a single resource placing educational material in the form of electronic textbooks, audio and video files using hyperlinks. Using ICT, a teacher has an opportunity to monitor the knowledge and skills of students in the network, making the learning process more individual. Training based on ICT technologies is an important competence of a modern teacher.
One way to improve the quality of education is to make use of efficient technology in an institution. The Internet offers users various options that can be used by students and teachers: e-mail, participation in video conferences, publication of research articles in the online system, numerous reference catalogues and search systems. This will open up more opportunities for the teachers and students as well. Online interactions would facilitate learning without time constraints and it will be much easier to conduct assessments and generate reports since the necessary information doesn’t have to be manually handled. All these would result in a flexible and considerably smoother learning environment and this would facilitate better results, and accreditations too.
ICT supports the modern principles of learning and language acquisition. Individualisation, interaction and student motivation, often considered paramount in modern education theories, are necessarily a part of the process in ICT. Helping students find value in learning through the implementation of various instructional strategies and multiple alternatives and authentic forms of assessments, while maintaining high standards of student performance in an environment which encourages students to do their best work by effective, nurturing teachers, will help increase the motivational levels of all students. A well-balanced ICT environment will enable students to feel the above and stay motivated throughout the learning process. Motivation, individualisation, learning in context and the activation of the learner – all buzzwords in modern education – are often a part and a parcel of successful ICT support.
An equally important aspect is learner responsibility – the students’ capacity to envision and pursue their goals. A modern student, especially at the university level, must know why and what she/he needs to study and to be able to design and stick to their study plan. The student growth occurs through an invariant sequence of stages or levels in which progress from stage to stage implies a restructuring and reorganisation of what went before. ‘Higher’ stages are qualitatively different from ‘lower’ stages in terms of the way the individual thinks, feels or acts. Another influential view is that student development is to be seen in terms of mastery of a series of developmental ‘tasks’ which involve the individual´s maturation in the different aspects of intellect, emotions and social relationships.
Today, the role of the teacher is that of an advisor, an expert in the field whose task is to support the student’s development. This is much more creative and much more challenging than the more traditional ‘design and controls the study process’ concepts. Being the officially designated leaders within the classroom, they embody group conscience, symbolise the group’s unity and identity, and serve as a model or a reference/ standard. They also function as an ’emotional amplifier’ of the group whose appeals and examples are critical for mobilising the group. In education, as elsewhere, increased cooperation and neglecting the earlier rigid borderlines, is becoming more and more common practice. The core democratic professionalism is an emphasis on collaborative, cooperative action between teachers and other educational stakeholders. Trust becomes a required element in the knowledge building process, and at the same time, the responsibilities going along with the teaching profession per se increase. The teacher has a wider responsibility than the single classroom and thus includes contributing to the educational institution, the system, other students and the wider community.
Mobile learning (m‐learning) as a form of e-learning is a rising trend where education has outgrown the physical constraints of the classrooms and acquired mobility. Students access information whenever and wherever they want, and institutions that provide such advanced technological terrains is rising in number day by day.
Various devices/technology in ICT include
- access to course materials through remote devices
- online digital repositories for lectures, course materials, and digital library
- online/ cloud-based academic management systems
- employing the flipped classroom concept
- making use of handheld computers, tablet computers, audio players, projector devices etc.
Also, the rising number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) tells us that there is a huge demand for off-the-classroom learning facilities.
Policymakers accept that ICT in education can help the students to compete in the global economy by being part of a skilled workforce and facilitate social mobility by
- enhancing learning experiences and providing new sets of skills
- reaching more students with Massive Open Online Courses(MOOCs)
- facilitating the training of faculties
- minimising costs and saving time associated with information delivery and automating regular day-to-day tasks
Improving the administration of institutions to enhance the quality and efficiency of service delivery
According to UNESCO, it is therefore important to measure ICT in education, to inform policymakers in setting national priorities and developing ICT in education policy. The undoubted advantage of using ICT is to achieve mobility of learning because using e-mails and forums, teachers and students can provide feedback, they can receive the necessary consultations, using the time in the classroom more effectively. The use of ICT is more efficient within the framework of a certain model of training, developed in terms of educational goals.
With the development of Web 2.0 and 3.0, there are still endless opportunities for novelties, development and change. Students are becoming more and more engaged, the communication and learning are less and less teacher-centred. In these developments, the role of teachers, students, and learning itself is continuously changing to offer exciting possibilities for further development. Many of these developments are to be discovered in the work process together with the students and colleagues from all over the world. Thus enabling ICT in education, and making use of technology in education creates an easy-to-manage learning environment where the delivery of information is so much smoother and the learning easier. Also, ICT is the path to take for institutions, especially in countries like ours, as our growth is directly aligned with technology and the field of education is no exception. And assuring higher quality education for its students will define whether the institution should move forward or perish. A student-centred approach based on individualisation, increasing the student motivation, and responsibility, can be of support in this way.
The ICT’s are now the intrinsic tools in many educational institutions and their use increases the scope of teaching. It provides quality learning materials, creating autonomy of learning. Curriculum must be made easy by including technological aids so that learners can share their work which can promote cultural diversity, have positive motivational effects and raise their self-esteem.