• IMPROV e English Team

(ICT) in education

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can impact student learning when teachers are digitally literate and understand how to integrate it into curriculum.

Schools use a diverse set of ICT tools to communicate, create, disseminate, store, and manage information. In some contexts, ICT has also become integral to the teaching-learning interaction, through such approaches as replacing chalkboards with interactive digital whiteboards, using students’ own smartphones or other devices for learning during class time, and the “flipped classroom” model where students watch lectures at home on the computer and use classroom time for more interactive exercises.

When teachers are digitally literate and trained to use ICT, these approaches can lead to higher-order thinking skills, provide creative and individualized options for students to express their understandings, and leave students better prepared to deal with ongoing technological change in society and the workplace.

ICT issues planners must consider include: considering the total cost-benefit equation, supplying and maintaining the requisite infrastructure, and ensuring investments are matched with teacher support and other policies aimed at effective ICT use.

Flipped Classrooms: The flipped classroom model, involving lecture and practice at home via computer-guided instruction and interactive learning activities in class, can allow for an expanded curriculum. There is a little investigation on the student learning outcomes of flipped classrooms. Student perceptions about flipped classrooms are mixed, but generally positive, as they prefer the cooperative learning activities in class over lectures.

ICT and Teacher Professional Development: Teachers need specific professional development opportunities in order to increase their ability to use ICT for formative learning assessments, individualized instruction, accessing online resources, and fostering student interaction and collaboration. Such training in ICT should positively impact teachers’ general attitudes towards ICT in the classroom, but it should also provide specific guidance on ICT teaching and learning within each discipline. Without this support, teachers tend to use ICT for skill-based applications, limiting student academic thinking. To sup­port teachers as they change their teaching, it is also essential for education managers, supervisors, teacher educators, and decision-makers to be trained in ICT use.

Ensuring benefits of ICT investments: To ensure the investments made in ICT benefit students, additional conditions must be met. School policies need to provide schools with the minimum acceptable infrastructure for ICT, including stable and affordable internet connectivity and security measures such as filters and site blockers. Teacher policies need to target basic ICT literacy skills, ICT use in pedagogical settings, and discipline-specific uses. Successful imple­mentation of ICT requires integration of ICT in the curriculum. Finally, digital content needs to be developed in local languages and reflect the local culture. Ongoing technical, human, and organizational supports on all of these issues are needed to ensure access and effective use of ICT.

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