The challenges facing education will escalate, and the struggle between needs and resources will deepen. The quest for radical solutions will intensify, and the pressure on decision makers to “do something” with ICTs will keep mounting. The temptation is to introduce ICTs immediately and full scale. Since the potential is great and the stakes are high, decision makers should be bold but not reckless, cautious but not slow, and calculating but not procrastinating.
The worst that could happen is for each country to deal with these issues in isolation by reinventing the wheel and failing to learn from the experiences (and mistakes) of others. It is essential therefore for decision makers, planners, and practitioners to be well aware of the wealth of worldwide knowledge, research, experience, and thinking. This awareness should not lead to transplantation of ideas and experiences but, rather, should enlighten, guide, and inspire locally conceived and implemented decisions and plans.
Experience has consistently taught us that integrating technology into the educational process is not a simple, one-step activity. It is an intricate, multifaceted process that involves a series of deliberate decisions, plans, and measures:
- Mapping of the present situation in terms of national goals, educational context, ICTs in education, and the dynamics of change
- Identification of educational areas for ICT intervention and formulation of corresponding ICT-in-education policies
- Planning for implementation— infrastructure, hardware, ICT-enhanced content, personnel training, and cost
- Evaluation of ICT intervention and subsequent adjustments and follow-up actions
Technologies have great potential for knowledge dissemination, effective learning, and efficient education services. Yet, if the educational policies and strategies are not right, if ICT-in-education policies are not well thought out, and if the prerequisite conditions for using these technologies are not met concurrently, this potential will not be realized.