Impact On Their Communication Behaviour Education Essay

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ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION

Education especially higher education is undergoing a paradigm shift by integrating technology. The turn towards the information and communication technologies (ICT) based teaching-learning over the past 20 years is assumed to have revolutionized and revitalized the higher education sector tremendously. Thus, stark ultimatums continue to be made by education technologists that universities must either 'transform or die' in the face of technological progress (Bates, 2004). The ICT-driven changes have left concepts like distance and time totally redundant. What is needed now is the right kind of frameworks for different modes of learning and it is essential that changes anticipated over the next decade or two be taken into consideration.

Educational institutions have begun to realize that the adoption and integration of ICT. They have also begun to realize that there is still much to learn about how to strategically position the ICT to ensure the greatest positive effect on university success (Romaniello et al 2010). In a study Zeleňáková et al (2012) pointed out that, ICT has a significant impact in the way teachers and students communicate. Communication in the learning process provides a transfer of information between university teachers and students. Many institutions are now heavily investing on ICT infrastructure and try to exploit it utmost level.

These efforts and velocity is high in several developing countries. India is one of the countries which follow the technology adoption in a rapid manner. It has huge investment in the ICT sector through public, private and foreign direct investment. The estimated worth of ICT in India is Rs 4,00,000 crore and is growing at 20 per cent annually. "By the year 2020, almost 25 per cent of India's economy will be accounted by ICT alone" (Bhatkar, 2011).

The organizational culture of traditional higher education institutions is still defined largely by the role of the faculty. The proclivity of the average faculty member to invest in new pedagogies is undermined by two characteristics of traditional academic culture: the dearth of incentives to promote innovation in teaching excellence and the isolation in which most pedagogical decisions are made. In fact, faculty members have almost absolute autonomy over decisions regarding instructional quality within the classroom, leading one observer to refer to higher education as "one of the last centers of craft-based production" (Taylor, 1998).

In recent years enormous interest has been shown by academicians, developers and policy makers on how ICT can be effectively used for education at all levels. Impact of ICT cannot be directly measured and can only be measured by examining its indirect effects on the process of teaching and learning. Universities need to consider how technology-based instructional programs are mounted to ensure that students use the Internet efficaciously as a learning tool for various authentic learning activities such as conducting research on a given topic or finding relevant information for an assignment. The Internet can provide the following three basic types of tools in the educational domain: Tools for inquiry, Tools for communication, Tools for construction (Gudanescu, 2010).

Despite huge efforts to position ICT as a central tenet of university education, the fact that many students and faculty make only limited formal academic use of ICT during their teaching and learning is less discussed by educational technologists. Belying the notion of the 'cyber-campus', the actual formal use of new technologies in undergraduate and graduate studies remains inconsistent and highly variable from course to course and institution to institution (Breen et al. 2001; Marriott et al. 2004). Classroom uses of potentially powerful information technologies are seen to often take the reduced form of 'mindless activities' that do little to alter the expectations, assumptions, and practices of higher education teaching (Moule, 2003).

Regardless of the benefits of ICT, it is seen that ICT supported higher education has not been promoted at a desired level. Among the reasons stated are the concerns that students interest in subject will decrease and students get distracted. On the part of teachers they have not get the required training to use ICT effectively for teaching learning and are reported not to find sufficient time to be able to use computers, due to the lack of technical support and intensity of the curriculum. Above mentioned are some of the issues that are barriers in effective achievement of ICT in higher education.

There is a problem in implementation and effective way of usage of ICT in the higher education sector. Many reasons inlcluding less ICT infrastructure, low level of capacity to handle the technical gadgets, not affording enough time are causing to the under utilization of ICT in higher education. To study the usage of ICT among the students and teachers of higher education and its impact on their communication behaviour is the need of the hour to solve the problme and better utilization. This research has aim to study the usage of ICT among the students and teachers of higher education and its impact on their communication behaviour.

PREVIOUS RESEARCH

To know the exact situation of ICT, recent developments and its impact on the higher education, the researcher has analyzed secondary sources. The major outcomes, points are discussed below.

ICT is transforming all aspects of society from education to civic involvement, employment to leisure. Some authors are optimistic and argue that ICTs can lower costs, provide users with more information, make markets more efficient, and improve public service. Some go further and argue that ICTs can make societies healthier, wealthier and more democratic, while others are more sceptical about the adoptability of ICT in higher education. ICT is offering different petnames for the new generations who use the gadgets. Millennial, Electronic Natives, the Net Generation, many names have been used to describe the new generation of students. Prensky (2001) says that any child born since the beginning of this century is growing up in a digital world. Those born at the start of the century, already in the middle years of primary school, have been dubbed the Net generation or, more descriptively, digital natives.

Oblinger and Oblinger's (2005) describe the characteristics of the net generation students that these students fundamentally differ from previous generations in the way they process information and communicate. They argue that these students are comfortable with technologies and suggest that the ways in which they learn is task orientated and experiential. These learners prefer to receive information quickly, are adept at processing information and multi-tasking, and using multiple communication channels to access information and communicate. Younger students have greater levels of comfort or proficiency with new technologies than elders.

However, Kennedy et al. (2006) concur with Sharpe et al.'s (2005) view that there is a dearth of studies looking specifically at student use of technologies, arguing that more empirical research is needed to support the claims made about the net generation. They conducted a study looking at students' use of emerging technologies, focusing on how students were using these to communicate, publish and share information. Their initial findings point to extensive use of technology by students; they argue that this has considerable implications for institutional policy and practice.

Kirkwood and Price (2005) reported on students' attitudes to and experiences of technologies. They found that there was a dramatic increase in students' access to and use of ICT over the five-year period. Their meta-analysis revealed that there were differences in student access to, experience of and attitude towards technologies across subject disciplines. Taken together these studies suggest that technologies are fundamentally impacting on the ways in which students learn, but that more in-depth research is needed to understand the nuances of how students are using technologies to support their learning.

Studies that focus at a more fine-grained level of analysis of students' use of technology are also important in the context of our research. De Laat (2006) studied emergent student roles and engagement with e-learning activities and found that students are actively involved in coordinating and regulating personal and shared learning activities. The findings showed that students at various stages of their course developed particular learning strategies and facilitation skills to support their online learning.

Sweeping predictions are often riveting, but most change processes play out in nuanced and incremental ways. While change in higher education expedited by technology is a safe bet for the future, it is equally certain that technology adoption will proceed unevenly across the higher education landscape and be driven by a wide range of factors. Shifting demographic, market, political, and other forces will require many colleges and universities to redefine their institutional cultures and missions.

In an exploratory study conducted by Glenda Gay, et al (2006) examined the attitudes and usage of ICT among undergraduate management students in Barbados. They observed that the students were generally favourable towards ICT. Males were more inclined to incorporate ICT in web based instruction compared to other teaching activities. Older students were more interested in using ICT only as a supplement to teaching activities. They suggest that university administrators need to address the gender and age differences regarding ICT usage as well as develop strategies to maintain positive student attitudes and high usage of ICT.

Our emphasis on digital ICT tools and applications in education mirrors profound structural changes occurring worldwide in communications and information industries. The ability to digitize analog signals and transmit them over telecommunications networks is resulting in the restructuring of the radio, telephone, television, publishing, entertainment, and computer industries into new multimedia industries that create digital products combining voice, video, text, graphics, images, and animations, and deliver these signals electronically (Bane, Bradley, & Collins, 1995).

Indeed, the formal use of computer technologies in many areas of higher education could best be described as sporadic, uneven, and often 'low level' (in stark contrast to the often imaginative and informal uses that students and faculty make of technologies like mobile telephony and other personal digital devices). This situation has prompted some commentators to dismiss ICT in higher education as nothing more than a 'service' area of curriculum and pedagogy which many students and faculty are reluctant to engage with in an active or sustained manner (Reffell &Whitworth 2002).

Students are ultimately the main beneficiaries of the push to capitalize on ICT to improve the access to and quality of higher education (UNESCO, 2011). Students in the 21st century are ICT natives who welcome the introduction of technologies in their learning process. They may even demand the universities to modernize their systems and teaching practices to keep up with workplace requirements. The anywhere, anytime mode of learning and the networked communities harmonize very well with young people's lifestyles and the communication media of their time and age. All e-learning courses will have to be designed to match their learning styles and needs.

A study on students and university teachers querying who mutually benefit from the Internet communication in the learning process point to lack of a generally acceptable level of the internet communication. It indicates that on the one hand, students complain about the rather long time for responses to their e-mails from teachers as well as the reluctance of university teachers to participate in online communications. University teachers to a greater extent criticize the quality of the Internet communication with students but their demands are not declared clearly enough or are not declared at all. Both educators and students need to be trained to use ICT to increase the overall quality of education and the effectiveness of the communication between teachers and students(Zeleňáková, Pavolová, & Bakalár, 2012).

Bennett and Bennett (2003), who studied the impacts of perceived characteristics of instructional technology on faculty members' willingness to integrate it in their teaching, found out that the most important factor which impedes the use of technology in higher education is not the lack of technological facilities or financial funds, but faculty members' reluctance and their disbelief in the use of technology.

Medlin (2001) studied different variables and identified the factors which are likely to affect teachers' decisions on making use of electronic technologies throughout the teaching process and found out that the personal motivation is an important factor which forces faculty members to improve their teaching methods and contribute to the learning of students by technological means.

Jenny Waycott, et al (2009) stated in their study that investigated Australian university staff and students' perceptions and use of current and emerging technologies both in their daily lives and in teaching and learning contexts says that for staff, the key limitations of using technologies in higher education were: increases to their workloads; usability/technical issues; the loss of face-to-face interaction.

The review of literature implies that the ICT is playing an important role in the higher education, but its effectiveness is differing place to place and groups. However ICT can empoer the students and techers worldwide.

3. OBJECTIVES

To know the teacher's attitude and usage of ICT in teaching learning.

To know the student's attitude and usage of ICT in teaching learning.

To identify the gaps in the effective usage of ICT among the teachers and students.

To suggest new approaches to improve the effective usage of ICT.

4. METHODOLOGY

This study is to explore the issues on ICT availability, usage and its effectiveness on the communication behaviour among the students and teachers. Survey and in-depth interview methods were used to gather the data on the ICT usage and its effectiveness. The data was collected through a self-administered questionnaire among the students from different disciplines of engineering from Anna University. Sampe size is 500 and the stratified random sample technique was used. The survey was conducted during the month of December 2011. The study has involved an in-depth interview with 50 teachers from various departments to understand their perception on usage of technology in teaching-learning process. Anna University is one of the biggest univeristies in India has taken several initiatives to enhance education both by being the content provider and by providing the ICT infrastructure. This has lead to a dramatic increase in students' use of ubiquitous technologies over a period of one year.

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