ICT Based Teaching Technology

Information and Communication Technology can lead to improved student learning and better teaching methods. A report made by the National Institute of Multimedia Education(NIME) in Japan, proved that an increase in student exposure to educational ICT through curriculum integration has a significant and positive impact on student achievement, especially in terms of "Knowledge Comprehension", "Practical skill" and "Presentation skill" in subject areas such as Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.

Through ICT, teachers can easily explain complex instructions and ensure students comprehension.

ICT is often associated with sophisticated technologies. But ICT also includes the conventional technologies, such as, radio, television and telephone. In todays networked society, the technology used is often blended, and we use multiple technologies simultaneously. We use satellite, internet and video conferencing facilities to connect with people who may be across different geographical locations (Reddi – 2004). Through the application of ICT, one can diminish the impact of space, time and distance.

Advantages of ICT tools for education

» Through ICT, images can easily be used in teaching to improve the retentive memory of students.
» Through ICT, teachers can easily explain complex instructions and ensure students comprehension.
» Through ICT, teachers can create interactive classes and make the lessons more enjoyable, which could improve student attendance and concentration.

The Role of an Engineering College Teacher

Firstly, the role of a teacher must change because, ICT will cause certain teaching resources to become obsolete. For example, the use of overhead projectors and chalkboards may no longer be necessary if all learners have access to the same networked resource on which the teacher is presenting information. Furthermore, if students are distributed throughout several classrooms - which is becoming more common. Localised resources such as projectors and chalkboards have become redundant and new electronic forms of distributed communication must be employed.

Secondly, ICT may also make some assessment methods redundant. Low level (factual) knowledge for example, has been traditionally tested by the use of multiple choice questions. In an ICT environment, on-line tests can easily be used which instantly provide the teacher with a wide range of information associated with the learners score. Comparisons of previous scores and dates of assessment for example, will indicate a childs progress, and each student can be allocated an individual action plan data base stored in electronic format into which each successive tests results can be entered automatically.

Thirdly, the role of the teacher must change in the sense that it is no longer sufficient for teachers merely to impart content knowledge. It will however, be crucial for teachers to encourage critical thinking skills, promote information literacy, and nurture collaborative working practices to prepare children for a new world in which no job is guaranteed for life, and where people switch careers several times.

One of the most ubiquitous forms of ICT - the internet - gives access to an exponentially growing store house of information sources, almost unlimited networks of people and computers, and unprecedented learning and research opportunities. The Internet is a network of networks, providing opportunities for inquiry-based learning where teachers and students can access the largest information archives and could connect with each other, learn flexibly, and collaborate with others around the world. Generally speaking, geographical distance is no longer a barrier, and the age of the "borderless" provision of education is upon us (THES, March 2000). Teaching strategies and resources can be shared through communication with other educators and may be integrated across the curriculum. Internet provides a wealth of information to the extent that it is now impossible to comprehensively track the amount of information available. Unfortunately, misinformation and inaccuracies are similarly present in great numbers on the internet so one of the new roles of the teacher within the electronic classroom will be to separate out quality information from misinformation. Identification, classification and authentication of electronic information sources will be critical new tasks for the teachers.

Teachers must begin to re-appraise the methods by which they meet children learning needs and match curricula to the requirements of human thought. The Internet can be an excellent way to adapt information to meet the characteristics of human information processing. Traditional methods of imparting knowledge, such as lectures, books and conference papers, are characterised by a linear progression of information. Human minds are more adaptable than this, using non-linear strategies for problem solving, representation and the storage and retrieval of information.

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What ICT Brings to the Class Room?

Shared learning resources

One of the most striking examples of ICT in action in American schools is the apposite use of video systems to transmit television programmes and information throughout an entire school and even between schools in the same district. In the Faribault Schools in Minnesota, this integrated approach to the regional sharing of learning resources is enabling elementary and senior schools to minimise expenditure by concentrating time and effort into creating centralised services. Students and teachers enjoy the facility to share information wherever they are in the school. Television monitors provide details of timetables, projects and assessment, mealtime menus and a host of other useful up-to-the-minute information. There are also regular play-outs of short films and videos created by children, and some schools can use several channels for broadcast purposes.

Shared learning spaces

TNetworked computing facilities create a distributed environment where learners can share work spaces, communicate with each other and their teachers in text form, and access a wide variety of resources from internal and external databases via web based systems through the Internet. In Broad Clyst Primary School in East Devon, pupils as young as 8 years old use networked software to communicate with each other and with their teacher, whilst 10 year olds converse with "pen pals" in other countries using e-mail. Using these shared systems, pupils develop transferable skills such as literary construction, keyboard techniques and written communication skills, whilst simultaneously acquiring knowledge of other cultures, languages and traditions. Furthermore, children are able to make links between internal thinking and external social interaction via the keyboard, to improve their social and intellectual developments in the best constructivist tradition (Vygotsky, 1962). Children are quickly mastering the ability to communicate effectively using these new technologies because the experience has been made enjoyable in an unthreatening environment, and there are immediately perceived and actual benefits.

The promotion of collaborative learning

Reil (2000) argues that much of what we now see as individual learning will change to become collaborative in nature. Reasoning and intellectual development is embedded in the familiar social situations of everyday life (Donaldson, 1978) so the social context of learning has a great deal of importance. Collaborative learning is therefore taking an increasing profile in the curricula of many schools, with ICT playing a central role. Schools in the UK have already started using discussion lists, and other forms of computer mediated communication (CMC) to promote collaboration in a variety of learning tasks and group projects.

The move towards autonomous learning

At the same time, computers and the power they bring to the student to access, manipulate, modify, store and retrieve information will promote greater autonomy in learning. Inevitably, the use of ICT in the classroom will change the role of the learner, enabling children to exert more choice over how they approach study, requiring less direction from teachers.

Students will be able to direct their own studies to a greater extent, with the teacher acting as a guide or moderator rather than as a director (Forsyth, 1996: 31). This facilitation will take on many facets and will also radically change the nature of the role of the teacher as we currently understand it. Consider for example the students at a local Devon school who are able to use software based music laboratory in their lunch hours to write, record and produce their own music CDs. Microphones and keyboards have been purchased to encourage the creativity the children are discovering within these self-driven extracurricular activities. Minimal teacher management is required.

Rapid changes in technology will ensure that ICT will proliferate in the classroom. It is predicted that there will be many benefits for both the learner and the teacher, including the promotion of shared working space and resources, better access to information, the promotion of collaborative learning and radical new ways of teaching and learning. ICT will also require a modification of the role of the teacher, who in addition to classroom teaching will have other skills and responsibilities. Many will become specialists in the use of distributed learning techniques, the design and development of shared working spaces and resources, and virtual guides for students who use electronic media. Ultimately, the use of ICT will enhance the learning experiences for children, helping them to think and communicate creatively. ICT will also prepare our children for successful lives and careers in an increasingly technological world.

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