ICT in Education Toolkit
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ICTs for Education: Analytical Review
1 Introduction
2 Myths and Realities
3 Challenges
4 The Role and Nature of ICTs
5 The Potential of ICTs
  Expanding Educational Opportunities
  Increasing Efficiency
  Enhancing Quality of Learning
  Enhancing Quality of Teaching
  Faciliating Skill Formulation
  Sustaining Lifelong Learning
  Improving Policy Planning and Management
  Advancing Community Linkages
6 From Potential to Effectiveness
7 Conclusion

ICTs for Education: A Reference Handbook
1 Decision Makers Essentials
2 Analytical Review
3 Resources
4 PowerPoint Presentation
  4. The Role and Nature of ICTs
 

4.1 Necessity of ICTs

These five far-reaching implications pose a daunting challenge for the education strategist. On one hand, there is a backlog that must be fulfilled, a set of global challenges that must be faced, and an escalating demand for education in both traditional and uncharted territories. On the other hand is the need to provide the whole spectrum of education services to everyone, anywhere, anytime, with a focus on learning acquisition—all under conditions of an ever-expanding base of education clientele and limited physical and human resources.

 

It is going to be very difficult—if not impossible—for countries to meet the objective of effective learning, for all, anywhere, anytime. Our inability to meet this challenge, however, is self-inflicted because we tend to think of linear scaling, that is, using the same model of education (a school constrained by space and time) but more of it and on a larger scale. What we really need is to think differently and radically. Through the advancement of ICTs, the world is experiencing a real revolution in the dissemination of knowledge and the enhancement of instruction. This is the third revolution in learning, the first being the invention of the written language and the second being the development of moveable type and books. ICTs make both the content of learning and the interactions of high-quality (and other) instruction affordable and available anytime, anywhere.

 Section 5 of this paper describes in detail, supported by case studies and specific experiences, the potential of ICTs in:

  1. Expanding educational opportunities
  2. Increasing efficiency
  3. Enhancing quality of learning
  4. Enriching quality of teaching
  5. Facilitating skill formation
  6. Establishing and sustaining lifelong learning
  7. Improving policy planning and management
  8. Advancing community linkages

4.2 ICTs for Instructional Objectives

Learning objectives differ in scope, level and complexity. They relate to hierarchical levels of thinking and cognitive processing. When we design teaching/learning activities and experiences, as well as ICT interventions, we must plan explicitly for the type of cognitive processing that we hope to foster.

The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives was created by Benjamin Bloom in the 1950s to describe these levels. During the 1990s, Lorin Anderson (a former student of Bloom’s) led a team of cognitive psychologists in revisiting the taxonomy to examine the relevance of the taxonomy as we enter the 21st century. Table 4.2.1 is a summary of the Revised Taxonomy.(For a full description with examples, see Resource 1.1 - Revised Bloom's Taxonomy.)

Table 4.2.1. Revised Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Objectives

1. REMEMBERING
Recognize, list, describe, identify retrieve, name ….
Can the student RECALL information?
2. UNDERSTANDING
Interpret, exemplify, summarize, infer, paraphrase ...
Can the student EXPLAIN ideas or concepts?
3. APPLYING
Implement, carry out, use …
Can the student USE the new knowledge in another familiar situation?
4. ANALYzING
Compare, attribute, organize, deconstruct …
Can the student DIFFERENTIATE between constituent parts?
5. EVALUATING
Check, critique, judge hypothesize ...
Can the student JUSTIFY a decision or course of action?
6. CREATING
Design, construct, plan, produce ...
Can the student GENERATE new products, ideas or ways of viewing things?

Selection of a technology and the way it is applied should be driven by the nature and level of the learning objective it is meant to stimulate and enhance. Table 4.2.2 translates the above taxonomy into ICT-fostered learning objectives. The lowest level of this taxonomy involves using technology simply to store or display material for students to use; it places them in a passive role. The highest taxonomic level represents active students synthesizing material and using ICTs to construct projects such as hypermedia presentations.

Table 4.2.2 ICT-Fostered learning Objectives

ICT-Fostered Learning Objective

Description

1. Allow the storage or display Information This level involves the passive hearing or viewing of stored information, individually or as a group.
2. Foster exploration of materials and ideas At this level the learner is engaged in the conscious pursuit of information that will lead to a better understanding of an existent issue, question or concept.
3. Enable the application of understanding At this level, ICTs can provide a powerful tool for applying a concept or understanding to a new situation.
4. Organize materials or ideas to foster analysis Here ICT tools allow individuals to analyze materials or ideas by organizing them and manipulating them as a means of understanding their relationship.
5. Support evaluation and problem-solving This level represents the use of ICTs to support the process of evaluation. This can be done by compiling information and resources into a digital repository, developing simulations that will immerse students in an environment that will help them evaluate relevant dimensions and solve the problems that are posed, and collaborative Web-based environments that support or foster evaluation and problem-solving.
6. Facilitate constructing or designing projects At the highest level ICTs are used to foster the design or construction of integrating projects, whereby students must explore wide range of ideas and resources, analyze and evaluate them, and synthesize them in a project. ICTs can fully utilize the multimedia environment to support this process.

For further information, see http://education.ed.pacificu.edu/aacu/workshop/reconcept2B.html

Similarly, there are teaching objectives for the use of ICTs, such as

  • Presentation of a piece of information
  • Demonstration of a concept, idea, phenomenon, law, or theory
  • Drill and practice to achieve student competence in the application of knowledge
  • Simulations and animations to abstract reality and offer an efficient and inexpensive environment to reach generalizations or to draw implications from a law or theory
  • Research for professional development and preparation of lessons
  • Collaboration on projects with other teachers in the school or in other schools in the country or elsewhere, or with scientists in the field
  • Management of student learning

Tables 4.2.3 and 4.2.4 depict the potential of use of different technologies to foster different learning and teaching objectives.

Table 4.2.3 Learning Objectives vs. Technologies

Learning Objective

Technology

Text Audio Video Computer Internet
Storage or display x x x x x
Exploration x x x x x
Application x x x
Analysis x x
Evaluation x x x
Constructing or design of project x x x x x

Table 4.2.4 Teaching Objectives vs. Technologies

Teaching Objective

Technology

Text Audio Video Computer Internet
Presentation x x x x x
Demonstration x x x x x
Drill & practice x (e.g., language lab) x x
Animation and simulation x x
Research x x x x x
Collaboration/ communication networked x
Management of student learning x x x

Considering the variety and levels of learning objectives and teaching goals, the question for each objective becomes: What is the most appropriate technology, and what is the best way to apply it to get the best results in achieving the particular goal? If technology is to be used for presentation and demonstration only, investment in computers and connectivity may not be justifiable. On the other hand, the potential for interactive and collaborative learning can best be achieved by networked computers and connectivity to the World Wide Web.

Since there is no one-to-one correspondence between instructional objectives and technologies and their application, the next question becomes: What is the value added for using one technology compared to a simpler and cheaper one? For instance, why use a video instead of a photo, a digital text instead of a textbook, or a simulation instead of an animation?

4.3 ICTs and Learning Location

Technologies may be used to support learning and teaching on location or at a distance. In most cases though, technology-enhanced materials used on location can be used at a distance as well, using the appropriate dissemination technology. This makes it possible to invest in materials that may be used on location and at a distance, thus widening the circle of users and lowering the unit costs (see Table 4.3.1).

Table 4.3.1 Technologies on Location and at a Distance

Technologies on Location Technologies at a Distance
Printed matter Correspondence
Slides, transparencies
Scanners
Digital notepads and white boards
Audiotapes Radio
Films and videos TV broadcasts
Digital books Web pages
CDs Web: Internet, intranet
Computer projection Webcast

It is also important to distinguish between instructional technologies and dissemination technologies. Instructional technologies (print, audio, video, digital) foster learning and teaching in any location. Dissemination technologies foster the distribution of instructional technologies via media such as print, correspondence, radio, broadcast television, CDs, and the Internet.

4.4 ICTs and the School

ICTs do not substitute for the school or diminish its role. On the contrary, ICT tools can improve performance of conventional schools by improving teaching, learning, and management. More important, ICTs can broaden the concept of the school beyond the traditional confines of space and time, by evolving its components into the corresponding components of an enhanced model (see Table 4.4.1).

Table 4.4.1-Evolution of an Enhanced School Model

From To
A school building A knowledge infrastructure (schools, labs, radio, television, Internet, museums…)
Classrooms Individual learners
A teacher (as provider of knowledge) A teacher (as tutor and facilitator)
A set of textbooks and some audiovisual aids Multimedia materials (print, audio, video, digital...)

Education will not be a location anymore, but an activity: a teaching/learning activity. This is the ultimate raison d’être of ICTs for education. The foundation of this “educational system” is a knowledge infrastructure that includes the traditional school, broadcast television, digital radio, virtual courses, Internet chat rooms, Web portals, telecenters, and other information and communication technologies that have not yet been conceived. In this learning structure, students will learn through a variety of ways: face-to-face, in groups, or in a synchronous or asynchronous online course. They will pursue expeditions with scientists on the Web, follow space flights, perform simulated experiments, take virtual archeological and geographic tours, do research in digital libraries, and perform collaborative projects with students in other schools in their country and all over the world.


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