ICT in Teaching-Learning in Higher Education

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1 ICT in Teaching-Learning in Higher Education Madhura Mukadam Department of Zoology, Gogate Jogalekar College, Ratnagiri, , Maharashtra, India. Abstract Information is growing at an exponential rate and in a variety of formats, especially the digital media. The present age is called as Era of Information technology. Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become commonplace entities an all aspects of life. The new information and communication technologies of internet and multimedia have revolutionized the field of education. In education 87% of information enters out brain through eyes, 9% by ears and 4% via other senses. So visual aids gain much attention of students more than verbal teaching. The use of ICT in higher education is very important for providing opportunities for students to learn in an information age. Within education, ICT has begun to have a presence but the impact has not been as extensive as in other fields. Wider availability of best practices and best course material in education, which can be shared by means of ICT, can foster better teaching. The use of ICT in education lends itself to more student-centered learning and often this creates some tensions for some teachers and students. But with the world moving rapidly into digital media and information, the role of ICT in education is becoming more and more important and this importance will continue to grow and develop in the 21 st century. This paper argues the role of ICT in transforming teaching and learning and seeks to explore the factors related to planning, technical requirements as well as the training required for the stakeholders for the successful implementation of ICT in an education system. Key word: ICT, Higher education, students etc. 1. INTRODUCTION: Education is one of the main keys to economic development and improvements in human welfare. As global economic competition grows sharper, education becomes an important source of competitive advantage, closely linked to economic growth and a way for countries to attract jobs and investment. In addition, education appears to be one of the key determinants of lifetime earnings. Countries therefore frequently see raising educational achievement as a way of tackling poverty and deprivation. In developing countries, education is also linked to a whole batch of indicators of human development. In richer countries, education is seen as important not just in the early years, but also in later life. As the pace of technological change quickens and as the workforce in many rich countries grows older, education offers a way to improve and update the skills and capabilities of the workforce. 33

2 There are, however, many constraints on delivering education to right people at the right time. In developing countries, there is frequently a shortage of qualified teachers. People may live in scattered communities in rural areas. Money for books and teaching materials may be scarce. Whereas in wealthier countries, money is also a problem: in particular, the cost of university education has risen sharply, and students are increasingly expected to meet all or part of the cost directly. All these factors have encouraged an interest in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to deliver education and training. In the more advanced countries use of computers has been started around the early 1980s and broadband connections to schools and universities became commonplace in the second half of the 1990s. India Like any other knowledge economy depends on the development of its educational sector. Higher education drives the competitiveness and employment generation in India. However, research findings have shown that the overall state of higher education in miserable in the country. There is a severe constraint on the availability of skilled labour (1). There exist socio-economic, cultural, time and geographical barriers for people who wish to pursue higher education (2). Innovative use of information and Communication Technology can potentially solve this problem. The last two decades have witnessed a revolution caused by the rapid development of information and communication technology (ICT). ICT has changed the dynamics of various industries as well as influenced the way people interact and work in the society (2, 3,4). Internet usage in home and work place has grown exponentially (5). ICT has the potential to remove the barriers that are causing the problems of low rate of education in any country. It can be used as a tool to overcome the issues of cost, less number of teachers and poor quality of education as well as to overcome time and distance barriers (5). India has billion plus population and a high proportion of the youth and hence it has a large formal education system. The demand for education in developing countries like India has skyrocketed as education is still regarded as an important bridge of social, economic and political mobility. 2.THE IMPORTANCE OF ICT IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE FUTURE Several studies argue that the use of new technologies in the classroom is essential for providing opportunities for students to learn to operate in an information age. It is evident, as argued that traditional educational environments do not seem to be suitable for preparing learners to function or be productive in the workplaces of today s society (6). She claimed that organizations that do not incorporate the use of new technologies in education cannot seriously claim to prepare their students for life in the twenty-first century. This augment is supported by Grimus, who pointed out that by teaching ICT skills in primary schools the pupils are prepared to face future developments based on proper understanding (7). ICT can play various roles in learning and teaching processes. According to Bransford et al. several studies have reviewed the literature on ICT and learning and have concluded that it has great potential to enhance student achievement and teacher learning (8). Wong et al. pointed out that technology can play a part in supporting face to face teaching and learning in the classroom (9). Many researchers and theorists asserts that the use of computers can help students to become knowledgeable, reduce the amount of direct instruction given to them, and give teachers an opportunity to help those students with particular needs. In the current information society, there is an emergence of lifelong learners as the shelf life of knowledge and information decreases. People have no access knowledge via ICT to keep pace with 34

3 the latest developments (10). In such a scenario, education, which always plays a critical role in any economic and social growth of a country, becomes even more important. Education not only increases the productive skills of the individual but also his earning power. It gives him a sense of well being as well as capacity to absorb new ideas, increases his social interaction, gives access to improved health and provides several more intangible benefits (11). The various kinds of ICT products are available and having relevance to education such as teleconferencing, , audio conferencing, television lessons, radio broadcasts, interactive radio counseling, interactive voice response system, audiocassettes and CD ROms etc. have been used in education for different purposes.(2, 12, 13). ICT can be used as a tool in the process of higher education in following ways: Informative tool: it provides vast amount of data in various formats such as audio, video, documents. Situating tool: it creates situations, which the student experiences in real life. Thus, simulation and virtual reality is possible. Constructive tool: to manipulate the data and generate analysis. Communicative tool: it can be used to remove communication barriers such as that of space and time.(15). Use of ICT in education develops higher order skills such as collaborating across time and place and solving complex real world problems (2, 14, 15). It improves the perception and understanding of the world of the student. Thus, ICT can be used to prepare the workforce for the information society and the new global economy (11). There is worldwide need felt for integrating ICT into education in order to improve the pedagogy to reflect the social change. The main goals of ICT adoption in the education field are reducing costs per student, making education more affordable and accessible, increasing enrollments, improving course quality and meeting the needs of local employers(16). 3.BARRIERS TO INTEGRATION OF ICT INTO EDUCATION The act of integrating ICT into teaching and learning is a complex process and one that may encounter a number of difficulties. These difficulties are known as barriers. Teacher level barrier: Lack of teacher confidence: Several researchers indicate that one barrier that prevents teachers from using ICT in their teaching is lack of confidence. Dawes sees this as a contextual factor which can act as a barrier (17). According to Becta, much of the research proposes that this is a major barrier to the uptake of ICT by teacher in the classroom. ICT knowledge makes them feel anxious about using ICT in the classroom and thus not confident to use it in their teaching. On the other hand teachers who confidently use technologies in their classrooms understand the usefulness of ICT. Cox, Preston and Cox found that teachers who have confidence in using ICT identify that technologies are helpful in their teaching and personal work and they need to extend their use further in the future (18). Lack of teacher competence: Another barrier, which is directly related to teacher confidence, is teacher s competence in integrating ICT into pedagogical practice. Many teachers lacked the knowledge and skill to use computers and were not enthusiastic about the challenges and integration of supplementary learning associated with bringing computers into their teaching practices. 35

4 Resistance to change and negative attitudes: Much research into the barriers to the integration of ICT into education found that teachers attitudes and an inherent resistance to change was a significant barrier. In the past, the conventional process of teaching has revolved around teachers planning and leading students through a series of instructional sequences to achieve a desired learning outcome. Educational institution has provided a little choice for students in terms of the method and manner in which programs have been delivered. ICT applications provide many options and choices and many institutions are now creating competitive edges for themselves through the choices they are offering the students. These choices extend from when students can choose to learn to where they learn. With the help of ICT, students are able to access courses and programs from their workplace. It is convenient and cost saving. It has provided learning opportunities for many more learners to undertake education anywhere, anytime and anyplace. Learners are free to participate in learning activities when time permits. As we move in the 21 st century, many factors are bringing strong forces to bear on the adoption of ICTs in education. Conventional teaching has emphasized content. For many years courses have been written around textbooks. Teachers have taught through lectures and presentations interspersed with tutorials and learning activities designed to consolidate and rehearse the content. Contemporary settings are now favouring curricula that promote competency and performance. Curricula are starting to emphasize capabilities and to be concerned more with how the information will be used than with what the information is. For many years, teachers wishing to adopt competency and performance based curricula have been limited by their resources and tools but with the proliferation and wide spread availability of contemporary ICTs, many restrictions and impediments of the past have been removed and new technologies will continue to drive these forms of learning further. As students and teachers gain access to higher bandwidths, more direct forms of communication and access to sharable resource, the capability to support these qualities learning setting will continue to grow. 4.EMERGING ISSUES: A number of other issues have emerged from the uptake of technology whose impacts have yet to be fully explored. Expanding the pool of teachers: in the past the role of teacher in an institution was a role given to only highly qualified people. With technology-facilitated learning there are now opportunities to extend the teaching pool beyond this specialist set to include many more people. The changing role of teacher has been increased opportunities for others to participate in the process including workplace trainers, mentors, specialists from the workplace and others. Expanding the pool of students: In the past education was not available to many students whose situation did not fit the mainstream. But with the flexibilities provided by technology, many students who previously unable to participate in educational activities are now finding opportunities to do so. Compared to traditional forms of off-campus learning, technology-facilitated learning has proven to be quite expensive in all areas of consideration, infrastructure, course development and course delivery. ICT may not have had a large impact to date; their use will grow to play a significant role in many aspects of the design, development and delivery of educational programs in the coming years. ICT increases the flexibility of delivery of education so that learners can access knowledge anytime and 36

5 from anywhere. It can improve the quality of learning and thus contribute to the economy. It provides several tangible and intangible benefits for all stakeholdes involved in economic growth of the country. Similarly wider availability of best practices and best course material in education, which can be shared by means ICT, can foster better teaching. However there exist some risks and drawbacks with introducing ICT in education which have to be mitigated. Successful implementation of ICT to lead change is more about influencing and empowering teachers and supporting them in their engagement with students in learning rather than acquiring computer skills and obtaining software and equipment. Also proper controls and licensing should be ensured so that accountability, quality assurance, accreditation and consumer protection are taken care of. ICT enabled education will ultimately lead to the democratization of education. Besides cost effectiveness, research has proved that ICT is most effective to tackle problems like expanding number of students in each class (19). ICT enabled distance education provides environmental benefits, as there is a major reduction in the amount of student travel. Student housing is not needed which further saves costs. E-learning allows delivery, dialogue and feedback over the Internet. It allows mass customization in terms of content and exams. ICT can play a valuable role to monitor and log the progress of the students across time, place and varied activities. In absence of ICT, most of the responsibility of teaching and learning lies on the teachers. However with the help of ICT one can transfer the responsibilities to the students so that they can self manage. It also boosts the confidence level and the self-esteem of students who acquire the ICT skills through the process of being exposed to such kind of learning (20). It facilitates the evaluation and examination of the learning process and results by the students and the parents in a flexible and convenient way. The globalization process has also created a large market of offshore students. To reach them, information technology is the only convenient medium, which can offer education as a service.(2,21). It increases education provision substantially and can contribute to mass education. It also creates competition among the Institutions for providing education and hence improves the quality (22). 5.POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS OF USING ICT IN EDUCATION Although ICT offers a whole lot of benefits there are some risks of using ICT in education which have to be mitigated through proper mechanisms. They are: i)it create a digital divide within class as students who are more familiar with ICT will reap more benefits and learn faster than those who are not as technology savyy. ii) It may shift the attention from the primary goal of the learning process to developing ICT skills, which is the secondary goal. iii) It can affect the bonding process between the teacher and the student as ICT becomes a communication tool rather than face to face conversation and thus the transactional distance is increased. iv) Also since not all teachers are experts with ICT they may be lax in updating the course content online which can slow down the learning among students. v) The potential of plagiarism is high as student can copy information rather than learning and developing their own skills. vi) There is a need for training all stakeholders in ICT. 37

6 vii) The cost hardware and software can be very high. In spite of all these facts, the overall literature suggests that successful ICT integration depends on many factors. There needs to be an ICT plan, support and training to all the stakeholders involved in the integration. There needs to be shared vision among the various stakeholders and a collaborative approach should be adopted. Care should be taken to influence the attitudes and beliefs of all the stakeholders. ICT enabled education will ultimately lead to the democratization of education. 6.REFERENCES: [1] Agarwal, P., Higher education in India: the need for a change, Indian council For Research On International Economic Relations, (2006). [2] Bhattacharya, I. & Sharma, K., India in the knowledge economy an electronic paradigm, International Journal of Educational Management. Vol. 21 No.6, (2007), pp [3] UNESCO, Open And Distance Learning Trends, Policy And Strategy Considerations, (2002), UNESCO. [4] Chandra, S. & Patkar, V. ICTS: A catalyst for enriching the learning process and library services in India, The International Information & Library Review 39(1), (2007), pp [5] McGorry, S. Y., Online, but on target? Internet based MBA courses: A case study, The internet and Higher Education 5(2), (2002), pp [6] Yelland, N., Teaching and learning with information and communication technologies (ICT) for numeracy in the early childhood and primary years of schooling, Australia: Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, (2001). [7] Grimus, M. ICT and multimedia in the primary school. Paper presented at the 16 th conference on educational uses of information and communication technologies, Beijing, China, (2002). [8] Bransford, J., Brown A.L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.) How people learn: brain, mind, experience and school (2 nd ed.) Washington, D. C. : National Academy Press, (2000). [9] Wong, A.F.L., Quek, C. L. Divaharan, S. Liu, W. C. Peer, J.& Williams, M. D. Singapore students and teachers perceptions of computer-supported project work classroom learning environments. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(4), (2006), pp [10] Plomp, T.; Pelgrum, W. J. & and Law, N., SITES2006 International comparative survey of pedagogical practices and ICT in education, Education and Information technologies 12(2), (2007), pp [11] Kozma, R. National policies and strategies in Higher Education in South Africa: National and Institutional Pathways, Higher Education Policy 20(1), (2005), [12] Sharma, R. Barriers in using technology for educational in developing countries, (2003), IEEE [13] Sanyal, B.C. New functions of higher education and ICT to achieve education for all, Paper prepared for the expert roundtable on university and technology-for-literacy and education partnership in developing countries, International Institute for educational planning, UNESCO, September 10 to 12, Paris, (2001). [14] Mason, R. From distance education to online education, The internet and Higher Education 3(1-2), (2000), pp [15] Lim, C. P. & Hang D., An activity theory approach to research of ICT integration in Singapore schools, Computers and Education 41(1), (2003), pp [16] Ozdemir, Z. D. & and Abrevaya, J., Adoption of technology-mediated distance Education: A longitudinal analysis, Information & Management 44(5), (2007) pp [17] Dawes, L., What stops teachers using new technology? In M.Leask (Ed.), Issues in Teaching using ICT (2001), (pp ). London: Routledge. [18] Cox, M., Preston, C., & Cox, K., What factors support or prevent teachers from using ICT in their classrooms? Paper presented at the British educational research Association Annual Conference. (1999), Retrieved August 2, [19] Fluck, A. E., Why isn't ICT as effective as it ought to be in school education?, in 'CRPIT'03: Proceedings of the 3.1 and 3.3 working groups conference on International federation for information processing', Australian Computer Society, Inc., Darlinghurst, Australia, Australia, (2003), pp [20]Casal, C. R., 'ICT for education and development', info ISSN: ( 4), (2007), pp.3-9. [21] Collins, L. J.,'ICT education and the dissemination of new ideas: Channels, resources and risks.' 'Paper presented at the Australian Association of Educational Research, Freemantle (2001)'. 38

7 [22] Cross, M. & Adam, F. 'ICT Policies and Strategies in Higher Education in South Africa: National and Institutional Pathways', Higher Education Policy 20(1), (2007), pp AUTHOR S BRIEF BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Madhura D. Mukadam : She is Assistant Professor in Department of Zoology, Gogate Jogalekar College, Ratnagiri Maharashtra. She has nearly 25 research papers to her credit. She is a Member of Various Professional Bodies. He published four books on Toxicology. 39

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