ICT, which stands for Information and Communications Technology, has become an essential component of our everyday life. The creative use of ICT in education has the capacity to increase the quality of people’s lives by enhancing teaching and learning.
An increasing number of educational organizations are adopting ICT and replacing the traditional educational practices with it. Since, technological skills are increasingly important for advancement in education and work, the educational curriculums of schools and colleges should integrate ICT into them to refine their teaching and learning processes and provide students with the opportunities to use modern technology to advance and improve their learning. For educational institutions, ICT can include computer, computer networks (Internet/Intranet), external devices, multimedia and other assistive technologies as well. When ICT is effectively integrated in educational curriculums, it offers teachers and students a powerful set of tools to aid in their teaching in learning and helps them realize their true potential. ICT should be carefully incorporated in the curriculum, keeping in view the individual needs of students, the philosophy and content of the curriculum and the learning experience that the teacher wants to provide to the students.
ICT provides students and teachers with the educational tools and resources that extend the overall learning environment. These tools support the aims and principles of the curriculum to rejuvenate classroom learning and teaching. There are a wide range of benefits of embedding ICT literacy in the curriculum, which make it a “must” today, these are:
Improves motivation and engagement with learning: It leads to increased collaboration, greater engagement and persistence, more task specific behavior and better understanding of concepts. It also enhances creativity, critical thinking skills and develops problem-solving abilities.
Provides tools for all purposes: A wide range of technologies are available for use in the classroom, such as Interactive Whiteboards (IWs), display and presentation software with animations and simulations, help students develop understanding of concepts through concrete examples and graphical illustrations. Mobile technologies support educational initiatives that focus on communication. Laptops can be also be used by teachers for management and administrative purposes. The inclusion of games, improves decision-making and information processing. Video conferencing engage students and encourage them to work in collaboration with others.
Aids students with special needs: ICT offers individualized support. It has a positive impact on the learning of students with special educational needs, through adaptive and assistive technologies specially designed to support students with specific disabilities or through the use of mainstream technologies such as digital video and photography.
Personalized learning experience: E-learning offers flexible and personalized learning and makes learning a possibility even outside schools. It makes learning more targeted towards the needs of an individual learner. Combinations of technology and applications give greater choice in relation to what, when and where to study, selecting according to interests, learning styles, preferences and needs. Such systems can give students more autonomy and independence with learning.
Improves communication between schools and the broader community: Schools are linked internally and also to their outer community through online networks, which has improved communication between them and has led to centralized attendance, assessment and recording systems, better communication with parents, stakeholders, staff, etc.
Improves administration and management: Schools use Intranets to support administrative activities such as attendance monitoring, assessment records, finance, sharing of information and more. They make use of data-gathering tools for better management, monitoring and evaluation.
Promotes Active learning: ICT tools can promote active learning by enabling the child to find, manage, evaluate and use information retrieved from online sources. The child can discuss his or her findings, and share them with others using presentation and authoring software.
Develops higher order thinking and problem-solving: ICT incorporates in the curriculum such authentic learning resources which can develop a student’s ability to question, analyze, investigate and think critically. Content-free software like databases, spreadsheets, allows students to interpret and manipulate data representations.
Develops Collaborative learning: It allows students to construct knowledge collaboratively when working together on tasks using one computer. They can also work collaboratively when they use communication technologies such as E-mail or video-conferencing.
Apart from all these reasons, there are a lot more reasons to incorporate ICT into the educational curriculum. Schools should aim to identify innovative and authentic contexts for developing skills and understanding which provide a clear purpose for using ICT. The planning process should be creative, reinforcing the fact that technology can support learning in all curriculum areas. Share why you think ICT should be embedded in educational curriculums. The Comment Box is waiting.
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