This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become a formidable force in the evolution of cultural practices in education centers and the society at large. The young have embraced technology in informal activities but still use the traditional models in the formal settings. In developed economies, ICT has become an essential tool for learning and development and has provided unprecedented learning opportunities. However, modern technology in developing economies has created additional challenges especially in transmission of quality education in schools (Steve, 2004). Educators and the school management have the central authority of tapping learning opportunities that are ICT enhanced in order to reform education. Teachers have been using the computer to prepare lesson plans, calculate and record the grades of students, prepare teaching materials, and communicate with their colleagues. Therefore, computers have become an essential facility that assists teachers to perform their duties (Fallows, Bhanot, 2005). However, many teachers especially in developing countries do not guide students in using computers for learning purposes.
Use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is not an automatic process of increasing the quality of learning and teaching. It can be used for trivial activities that will waste student's time or destroy their morals. However, studies have shown that good use of technology in classrooms equips the student with skills that enables them to be effective citizens in the society (Lani, John, 2004). Studies in West and Central Africa have revealed that use of ICT in teaching and learning brings a huge contribution in developing a child-centered approach to pedagogy (Abbott, 2000).
Tutors who are proficient in pedagogical skills and are willing to transfer the information and assist their students in gaining knowledge make a huge difference in the process of learning. As ICT is continually being integrated into the education system, the functions of the teacher cannot be underestimated just like in the traditional systems. When teachers lack concrete ICT knowledge, a situation which is prevalent in most developing countries, the entrenchment of ICT into pedagogical practices will be highly compromised (Rupert, Dawes, 2004).
Teachers need to practice on techniques of using the ICT pedagogically. When it's used appropriately, ICT contributes to the development of essential cognitive skills, widens learning and enhances the acquisition of lifelong skills required in the modern job market (Way, 2003). In most nations, technology is imported and forced on teachers without giving them the opportunity to learn and internalize them. However, innovation can only be effective if the concern parties-teacher and students, are parties in the process of conceptualization and planning (Richard, 2004). In addition to advancing the process of acquiring generic skills and applied knowledge, apart from transferring mere content and skills, effective integration of ICT in teachers is essential if they are to become designers and not mere transmitters of information (Dore, 2002).
Studies by Bransford et al, 1994 revealed that ICT develops critical thinking, the capacity to conceptualize, the skills of handling information, and the capacity to handle problems. When ICT is integrated into the learning system, it adds value to education and develops a more effective pedagogy through provision of knowledge for students and development of communication that supports learning (Lim, Tay, 2003). The use of ICT in the learning process acts as a system that promotes gathering of information, manipulation, access, management, and communication in different forms. Therefore, teachers use ICT to bridge the digital gap in subjects and between schools, as well as increasing efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the management system.
Instead of the traditional skill and a hierarchical format of acquiring information, the e-portfolio develops learning through an "activity-reflection circle" that leads to an efficient and applied integration between theory and practice (Loveless, Ellis, 2001). During teaching and learning process, integration of ICT is only possible when the resources of the internet and related technologies appear to be well connected with formal learning, as well as access of information, application of knowledge and communication. A well planned process is essential in integrating ICT in the school curriculum, library, the school management and all educational facilities (Moore, 2003). Technology assists teachers in the conveying of information and enables students to acquire new concepts more effectively. Therefore, the changing role of teachers in the twenty first century is made up of an important mission that involves application of technological innovations in the process of teaching and learning (Cook, Finlayon, 1999). This implies that relevant skills and the ability of teachers to convey information using modern technology is essential.
In this context, institution that train teachers has a fundamental role of preparing them to gain knowledge of integrating ICT into the school curriculum. The institution should in a position to equip teachers with technological abilities that enable them to teach in a meaningful way (Steve, Tanner, 2003). For a more effective and educational strategy of applying student-centered ICT, teachers should design modern strategies and techniques of teaching and learning which enhances the applied integration of ICT. Moreover, teachers should avoid separating technology from the planning process of the curriculum and develop an ICT-supported and effective learning activity (Leask, Pachler, 2009). Practical and activity-based learning that utilizes ICT creates the opportunity for an efficient curriculum learning that uplifts the dialogical approach to the general educational structure. This approach to educational design is more effective than the linear, hierarchical teaching process that is commonly practiced in formal education (Lim, Tay, 2003).
Challenges that accompany integration of the internet and relevant ICT in the learning process, and supporting creative and innovative thinking among students, enables the teacher to appreciate the fact that electronic age is connected to skillful organization of concepts (Leask, Meadows, 2000). Interaction technology does not concentrate on material devices and objects alone, but it takes into consideration every communicational and interactive means used in class to enable tutors to socialize and instruct students in a meaningful way (Lim, Khine, 2006). In addition, interaction technology promotes interaction between student and teachers as well as the relationship between the school environment and each institution that is associated to it. This means that pedagogy is a form of communicational and social tool that happen during school time and institutions that are controlled by rules, regulations, norms and procedures (Maria, 2005). Therefore, integration of pedagogy with ICT is not composed of a neutral setting that is technologically empty, but with a device that is full of interaction technologies. In conclusion, ICT acts a communicational and cultural asset in social structures that manage the whole society, especially schooling, which acts as training ground for the society (Haydon, Counsell, 2002).