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From the first periods when computers were marketable existed, they could be discovered in use in educational association. Teachers had quarreled that computers should be used to support learning. Initially computers were used to teach computer programming but the growth of the microprocessor in the early 1970s saw the introduction of affordable microcomputers into schools at a fast rate. Computers and products of technology became more enveloping in society which then led to a interest about the need for computing skills in everyday life.
As public awareness grew, this need for computer literacy became more powerful and many schools bought computers based on this principle. In 1990s was the year of computer communications and information access, particularly with the popularity and accessibility of internet-based services such as electronic mail and the World Wide Web. At the same time the CD-ROM became the standard for sharing packaged software. Until now, the development of computers still ongoing process becoming more advances every day. Today computers in schools are both a focus of study in technology education and a support for learning and teaching process.
In Malaysia education, ICT known as Information & Communication Technology was first established starting in year 2001 as Ministry of Education sees ICT as a process, not limited to the end itself. So, all attempts are focused in developing the new medium as items in the service of affluent curriculum, to improve teaching skills, more efficient organisational structures in schools, stronger link between schools and public, and the empowerment of deprived students. The Ministry trusts that suitably planned and implemented computing and communications have the latent to revolutionise education and improve learning as profoundly as information technology has transformed medicine, finance, manufacturing and numerous other sectors of society.
Technology is not seen as a "supplement" whose mere existence in schools can speed up better educational results. Technology is also not seen as simply another subject in the curriculum, suited primarily for teaching students to use tools they may encounter as mature. The idea of ICT in education, as seen by the Ministry of Education, comprises a system that allows information gathering, organisation, handling, access, and communication in various forms.
1.1 ICT Policies in Malaysia
Mevarech & Light (1992) had discussed that when the potential use of computers in schools was first established, the main idea of the public was that students would be taught by computers and many of them offended this idea of teaching. They thought it was considered that the computer would take over the teacher's job in much the same way as a robot may take over a mechanic's job at the factory.
In Malaysia as seen by Ministry of Education, they have implemented three policies related to the using of ICT in teaching and learning process especially in schools and universities. They currently have invented three main policies for ICT in education starting in the year 2001. The first policy is that of ICT for all students, significance that ICT is used as a medium to decrease the digital chasm between the schools. The second policy stresses on the role and function of ICT in education as a teaching and learning tool, as part of a subject, and as a subject by itself. Other than radio and television as a teaching and learning instrument, this policy highlights the use of the computer for accessing information, communication, and as a productivity tool. ICT as part of a subject directs to the applied of software in subjects such as "Invention" and "Engineering Drawing." "Information Technology" and "Computerisation" are the subjects that referred to the ICT have been introduced in the school timetable. The third policy highlights the using ICT to increase production, efficiency and effectiveness of the management system. ICT will be broadly used to mechanise work processes such as the processing of official forms, timetable, running of information systems, lesson preparation, financial draft and the care of account.
1.3 The Rationale of ICT in Schools
It is needed to develop a very detailed rationale before beginning to use computers in schools and classrooms. There is no meaning in providing computers in schools unless such a rationale has been done. With the increasing availability of computer hardware, it is very crucial that teachers do not become involved in the machine but focus rather on their main role as teachers. Teachers need to widen their imaginations with the awareness that as developments in computer technology occur they will be able to achieve more of their objectives in teaching the students.
Collis (1989) had described that these view of students sitting behind computer for much of the day have largely not occurred in mainstream schools, and most would not like this to be realised. Since the 1960's the computer has been established they had seen the computers as the solution to many problems in education. With this, many early computer scientists saw the possibility of the computer replacing teachers in schools.
There are three main rationales for ICT in schools; one concerns the organisational productivity of the school, and the other two focus on the needs of students which are technological literacy and support for their learning. The two rationales are assisted by the Australian report Raising the Standards (DEST, 2002, p. 38)
The need for ICT competent teachers stems from the need for ICT competent studentsand for ICT-rich learning environments that enhance students' learning across the curriculum.
Becker et al (1999) have said that despite from in a few excellent schools, computers had only a minimum effect on what happens in classrooms in the 20th century. There has been much argue over the purposes for this difference between the potential and what is realised. The computer is one of a type of technologies now available to teachers and students. In these cases a large amount of money was spent on these resources which some would argue would have been better spent on other resources. It is important that rare resources to support learning in schools are not wasted and therefore care needs to be taken in choosing to use computers to support learning. Historically, technology has been developed to answer problems, develop living standards. Therefore, it is fair that we should assume educational technology to be advanced with same aims that is to increase the productivity and explain problems in teaching and learning syllabus.
2.0 Educational Technology Solves Problems
Actually, computers are the best medium in resolving the problems that the teachers and students encounter. If the computer is a problem-solving machine then it must be applied to normal school problems such as those concerning student learning, teacher instruction, and school administration. Educational Technology should be selected on the source that it has the better features for the achievement of the curriculum. This subject should be used efficiently or better not used it at all as these involves the problem in the implementation of the curriculum, teachers who know how to use the technology effectively and teachers together with students who know how to work with the technology.
There are many possible functions for computers in the learning process. In some conditions changes in related business makes computer use in schools necessary. For example, to provide courses in technical drawing, music, statistics, and business which do not incorporate computer use reduces the relevancy of the courses to the real world.
Any reasons for the use of computers in the large section of schooling dedicated to basic education, such as mathematics, social science, science, communication and language, which are required more crucial examination. By considering the mathematics teaching area and the problems related with student learning. Mathematics has tended to be very abstract which they cannot see while most students are likely to work on a solid level. Using concrete materials in some teaching is practical but often not suitable. The computer can give experiences with virtual solid materials.
In advancing the problems associated with curative and increase of students, computer can be use to provide appropriate material and overcome classroom management problems. However, a computer solution is not necessarily the best solution. The problems associated with student learning are most often discipline and even teacher specific. Therefore each teacher needs to think the problems associated with student learning in his/her subject area and be aware of the computer solutions.
3.0 Impact of ICT in Learning
While academic discussions can be put ahead to give a strong reason for the use of ICT, the only real reason is based on whether, in practice, it has a positive impact on learning, the students, and teachers. While it would be suitable to be able to make a direct relationship between the use of ICT and learning result, most reliable researchers now would consent that there will never be a direct relation because learning is mediated through the education environment and ICT is only one factor of that environment. Studies that have tried to identify this mediated effect of ICT on learning have found it impossible to entirely remove the effects of other aspect of learning environment.
There is small reason in attempting to evaluate the cognitive results when using computers and with the uses of a textbook or some other resource such as articles and journals. This view is supported by Salomon (1994) as he argued that it is impossible to study "the effect of computer function in the deficiency of the other reason" or to "assume that the only a cause independently effected the results outcomes" (p. 80). Meanwhile, De Corte (1990) said that the educational goal is to implement the computer assist in the learning atmosphere rather than trying to separate its effect on learning. Using computers in learning is affected with ways of using the technology to make environments and learning states.
There have been many years of educational research, not necessarily related to using computers but also on which to basic choices about suitable applications of computers to be learned. Mevarech and Light (1992) had suggested that the links between students attribute, learning environments, manners and schooling outcomes are essential and need further research, yet there has been much research which has considered these relationships in other background than ICT.
If the aim is to suggest new learning chances or to develop the methods in which present learning activities are employed then the total effectiveness of learning environments and parts is of major concern, not whether they are more helpful with or without computers. Therefore in implementing computer applications, it is required to begin by choosing what a student, teacher or school wants to gain. To get these results, teachers can then depend on long practises of educational idea, their own experience and knowledge of the educational situation for example the student attributes, to make decisions about what the learning environment should look like and what information into the learning process are needed.
A report from the ImpaCT2 study (Becta, 2002, p. 3) conducted in the UK found that,
There is no consistent relationship between the average amount of ICT use reported for any subject at a given key stage and its apparent effectiveness in raising standards. It therefore seems likely that the type of use is all important.
While there is no direct link between using ICT and student learning as the mass of proof now clearly shows that indirectly there can be a significant positive impact. Schachter (1999) had discovered that students who learned computer-based instruction scored at least sixty four percent on tests of achievement compared to students in the control conditions without computers who scored only at fifty percent. Laferrière, Breuleux, & Bracewell (1999) had found that if the students are given right situation for access and use, there will be a significance gained in students learning with ICT. While, Becta (2002) learned that there are very clear differences in achievement related to the uses of ICT in more than half of all differences made between students's expected scores and actual scores.
As the conclusion, ICT have both its rationales and the reasons why this component should be implemented in the schools and universities although there are some negative impacts that will occur if ICT does not being use wisely. These changes should also support better use of ICT to support learning and teaching processes when they are well implemented in schools. Therefore it is mainly at the school and individual teacher point that changes may be needed. For some schools this will be huge adjustment while for others much of the step has already occurred. Fundamentally any change is aimed at improving the educational opportunities for all students and not just to make use of ICT. At all times the focus must be on improved outcomes for students and not on how the technology is used. Obviously we cannot be assured with the current educational outcomes for Malaysian students and the evidence is rising that we can make significant improvements with the suitable use of ICT. Large savings have been made in ICT for schools and there is a need to take report of how effective that investment has been and where further investment should be made to extend the effect of ICT on learning results for students.