Living in the age of the internet, computers and other devices have become integral to our lives and has become inseparable from our modern world. Much of our world runs on these devices, and it has become paramount for many of us to be adept at using these machines and the internet in order to do well in school. Many sectors, from robotics to cloud services and even entertainment and healthcare, leverage technology to improve their productivity. However, education has only recently started integrating technology into its curriculum.
Incorporating information and communication technologies, or ICT for short greatly benefits students in not only their education but also prepares them to leverage these technologies to better prepare them for a work environment, where technology is heavily leveraged to perform tasks. It also helps educators and education institutes to better monitor and track student performance and better tailor their learning experience so that students maximise their potential!
What does ICT even mean?
Information and communication technologies focus on the use of technology to collect, hold, process and disseminate information over the internet. ICT helps to increase the spread of information by collating information and providing channels to access that information. Already, we see various education organisations like universities using ICT to hold information as well as to coordinate collaboration between students and professors to streamline the learning system.
How can education organisations and students benefit from using ICT?
ICT is used so frequently in our everyday lives, both personal and professional, that it’s only obvious that we should also integrate ICT into our education system to better prepare them to use it when they eventually leave school. Another important aspect of teaching them how to leverage ICT from an early age is to instil the proper behaviours and caution in them to ensure that they use these tools safely and in a way that can benefit them. As much as ICT is a boon for our society as a whole, it is also a tool that can bring considerable harm and detriment to those who are not able to use it in a conscientious manner.
Education should begin to shoulder the responsibility of introducing children and students to using ICT and its technologies so that there is a safe, paced manner so students can fully understand each layer of complexity. In this manner, ICT skills can be instilled into them while also ensuring that they are able to use them safely.
Education organisations can also use ICT tools to tailor the learning curve for each individual student through the tracking of performance or highlighting of struggles they may be facing. ICT tools can calculate metrics, either inferred or expressed by the student themselves, that can highlight when a student is struggling with certain aspects of their education. These same tools can then be retooled and adjusted to better suit the student, and address their inadequacies in their understanding. It also helps education providers filter through students with ease, and categorise them according to their required need for attention. Both students and education providers are better able to fulfil their roles, which only helps to increase the quality of education provided and gained.
Students also often become more motivated when ICT is implemented into their curriculum. This is because there exists a treasure trove of educational resources that are available for use which can teach students concepts and ideas in new, unconventional ways that retain student interest. This creates active collaboration between students, as well as their teachers or professors, which enables discourse and increases the quality (and enjoyability!) of their learning experience.
Because there is so much information available online, implementing ICT into our education will also help students better filter between information and their sources in order to identify what information is best to rely on. In this age of information, it has become an increasing issue that many are unable to discern reliable information from information that isn’t, which has led to many holding less-than-factual views and opinions that can and have resulted in unrest in society. Teaching them these skills from a young age not only allows them to be a more aware member of society but to also be better gatherers of information, which enables them to find solutions to problems more effectively. This is doubly important for the students of today, who will be facing increasing information and a data-centred workplace where they will likely be expected to discern with precision information that is relevant to them and not, in an ever-increasingly information-dense world.
Students can also better collaborate with each other, without having to worry about distances between them or having to match schedules in order to do so. ICT enables students to collaborate with each other online, meaning that they can have more conducive discussions and team productivity as they are able to better leverage the various tools ICT provides. It also means that they can contact other, more knowledgeable people on certain topics (like their teachers or professors!) with greater ease, allowing them access to more information and guidance.
ICT also enables greater interaction among students, as ICT has many tools that help students adopt a more active role in the learning process of education. This is better for many students who may feel more disengaged with the lesson and topic at hand if it were through one-way communication like lectures.
ICT is fundamental for educators to integrate into their curriculum and education systems as it only helps students to prepare for life outside of education. Not only that, but it can also better help education providers to increase the quality of their education, which means that the workload of educators is streamlined and they can focus on teaching their students at the best pace possible for them. The internet and an information-centric world are the future that students will be living and engaging with, and it is vital that education can provide them with the necessary tools to tackle this new frontier with confidence and understanding.