Synergy Equations of ICT and ELT in a Global World

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Globalization has largely changed the face of Asia in the last ten years. India is on the threshold of third generation reforms. Factors like e-governance and a number of technological experiments, have shown better results and led us to digital empowerment, scientific progress and economic development. A wave of change can be felt in Govt. offices, Agriculture, Industry, Business and Education sector, as well. IT & ICT related innovative techniques are being used in these sectors. Education is no more a philanthropic activity. LPG reforms have tremendous impact on education and training, directly or indirectly. The education sector, here, has a vital role to play in bringing about major changes in the society to lead the country to the path of competitive growth and progress. There is a rising demand for IT related education. Soft skills with communicative and language ability are on high demand. The old order is changing fast, yielding place to new pedagogical techniques in education which is growing student centric day by day. The traditional role of a teacher has been challenged and needs to be redefined. They have no other option than to be techno friendly and to evolve innovative methodologies to woo their students into classrooms. In the changing scenario, English language has come to assume a global status in terms of acceptability, and is no longer seen just as a colonial legacy. Non-English economic Gurung 2 powers like China and Japan are vying for higher English-language competence. English in India is being increasingly seen as an instrument of empowerment. Even in professional fields, such as Engineering and Technology, Communicative English is the new buzz word. Thus IT and ELT are not new to the educated masses of the world. The term Information Technology (IT) is referred to an industry which is entirely related to the retrieval and dissemination of information. Information Technology is also referred as Management Information System (MIS) or simply as Information Services (IS) by some companies. Information Technology also inculcates the use of computer and software along with other devices to manage information. Information Technology is not a thing of past, but a recent and comprehensive term which defines and uses a wide range of process engaged in the generation, storage, processing and transmission of information. Diving into history of Information Technology we find that this term dates back to 5000 years. Since then, it has followed the mechanical path on the onset and followed the electronic path in the later phases. Primitive signs, hieroglyphics, the alphabet writing, the printing and computer, all point to a more or less linear development of the term Information Technology. In recent years, one can clearly see the qualitative changes in the Information Technology with the advent and use of various mechanical and electronic devices as the television, radio, telephone, computer, satellite and the micro-processor to name a few or many more devices used in the collection, processing and dissemination of information. With a closer look to the more comprehensive definition of information technology, it can be termed as science of handling information with the support of modern devices as computers to enhance the communication of knowledge in scientific, economic and social fields. Macmillan dictionary defines IT as "the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pInformation and Communication Technology orial, textual and numerical information by a micro-electronic based combination of computing and telecommunication", from this definition we can conclude that Information Technology is not just transmitting of information but formulating and processing of information. This also highlights that modern information and communication technology deals with a wide variety Gurung 3 of ways which represent information. It inculcates not only the textual but also numerical, visual and auditory information. According to UNESCO, IT is "scientific, technological and engineering disciplines and the management and engineering disciplines and the management techniques used in information handling and processing information, their applications, computer and their interaction with man and machines and associated social, economic and cultural matters" (stokes).This definition emphasizes the role of computers and exclude the communication system which is an essential terminology of IT without which the information system would be empty. The communication system has greatly been affected by IT. The inclusion of IT in communication system has lead to the advent of a new terminology known as communication technology. This technology helps to communicate rapidly over great distances. They help to generate certain paths through which the messages are sent to specific areas in the desired times between any two communication instruments. Information Technology and communication technology together has new made it possible to commercialize the services as well as benefit from it. Thus, we find it true that Information Technology in a compact form of three strands of technologies i.e. computers, micro-electronics and communications. This combination of technology-products and techniques has indeed provided new dimensions to Information Technology and its management. Today's era is an era of IT revolution. It has made the world shrunk into a "Global village" and opened up new vistas and indefinite number of avenues in the various fields, be it education, health, agriculture, entertainment, trade and commerce, communication etc., in other words, it has offered solution to a wide range of problems. It is thus considered as one of the important engines of economic growth and development in these days of global economy. Information and communication technology has influenced the economic development of many nations around the globe. It has become indispensable in the developmental programmes envisaged for a locality, society, country and even the whole world. The importance of Information Technology is felt and seen almost in every sphere of life. Gurung 4 "Third Wave", the most celebrated works of Alvin Toffler has mentioned that the world is accelerating towards an information society. The main aim of this society is easy acquisition, production and dissemination of information. People have increasingly feeling and witnessing the overwhelming impact of information activities without least effect of who and where they are. Information Technology and its products have been incorporated in business, machines, homes as well as schools. Wherever possible the Information and Communication Technology is available for immediate use (one of the most loved feature of Information and Communication Technology) and are also transforming the ways in which people live and communicate with one another. Global economy has been changing dramatically during the last two decades. Along with the manufacturing and primary sector, the Information Technology or the service sector is significantly contributing to the global economy. Information And Communication Technology plays an important role in providing timely access to quality goods and services to the various target customers and knowledge seeking groups of students and educationists. Information and Communication Technology with its allied service sectors has provided and continuously providing the world, huge opportunity to facilitate from the global industry of technology. In this 21st century along with other sections, the education sector has contributed a lot to the advances made in the world. Education is considered as a most crucial input for empowering people with skills and knowledge and for giving them access to the productive system in the future. With globalization the education sector has developed a lot. Education now is not tagged only for recruitments and jobs but it is meant for mental enlightenment, disciplinary thinking and self dependence. The powerful education is thrusting the whole world towards a more prosperous future. The impact and importance of English has grown with leaps and bounds due to globalization. In the modern world, English has established itself as an international language. Every nook and corner of the world has adopted English as one of the principal language. The standards of English has surged high with the globalization. All over the world, English education is attracting attention. Every country is engaged in making its education rich and productive in English. This need calls for expert teacher in their field of specialization. The teacher should act as a facilitator and guide to rich and exclusive knowledge. In English language learning and teaching, efficiency and quality demands the provision of competent and quality teachers, learning resources sound Gurung 5 infrastructure etc. Infrastructure here stresses on the use of modern improvised learning aids and accessibility of modern techniques like computers, e-books, e-media, internet etc. Information And Communication Technology lends a helping hand in empowering the education system with new innovations in its development. Many new software packages are easily available along with the latest technology of "compunication" in the field of education. The term "compunication" is derived from the union of the two terms, the computers and the communication system which enables the teachers of English language to add quality to their teaching. Computer assisted learning, computer aided instructions, language laboratories, and video conferencing are some of the systems of Information and Communication Technology which enriches the English Language Teaching (ELT) and learning. An important trait of a successful English teacher is that he should be able to bring forth a variety of personality and style of teaching to his work. He should be a highly skilled technician who systematically improves his instructional qualities. With Information and Communication Technology of the globalized world, he should update himself with the new vistas and ventures along with the latest trends in education. The English teacher can be considered as an unofficial ambassador of a country. He should have ample subject knowledge, scientific practical knowledge, and knowledge of reformed methods, language, literature and civilization of foreign countries. He should have a systematic and pragmatic approach to ELT which is possible only if he familiarizes himself with the process of learning and linguistics experiments of teaching English as a second language with the practical means of Information and Communication Technology. In today's, English language has become an indispensable part of sustainable development and growth of people along with their country. It has become all the more important to promote English language teaching from the all round development of the world as a whole. Thus, education of English language must be made available to every child without discrimination on the basis of economic class, geographical location and cultural identity. Adequate resources and supports especially the new innovative technologies of Information and Communication Technology should be availed for essential development. The key decision makers of a country should promote an understanding of the potentialities of education which leads to the development of initiatives in the field of education. The Gurung 6 emphasis should be on the needs seen in science and technology through improved collaboration among the educational and the research institutes, the private sectors, NGO and government for improved education system especially for ELT and Learning. Information And Communication Technology has indeed proved as a system for effective teaching and research. Both the creation of knowledge and exploring the new ways of doing things forms the heart of Information and Communication Technology. The global terrain of Information and Communication Technology in this first decade of 21st century is full of promises and expectations for advancement in the teaching of English language which is now an internationally claimed language. Economic and technical resources should be addressed to find new avenues in education and solve the various problems related to it with special thrust on teaching of English language. With the practical engagement of Information and Communication Technology in language teaching in education sector, most of the faculty and students have come up with the idea that it is a powerful learning experience. It not only gives theoretical knowledge but also practical. Information And Communication Technology has made the educational institutes a sight of expertise and a domain of powerful knowledge derived from the exclusive process of knowledge production and resources applied to process and disseminate that knowledge. With English language as a universal language, the most widely understood and spoken, it won't be an exaggeration to say that with the assistance of Information and Communication Technology it is capable of changing the face of the world. This language is not only spoken in developed countries but also in the developing one's as a means to convey their needs, desires and expressions of the desperation to reach the level of excellence. In relation to this context, globalization plays an important role. It is one of the most important features of the changing world. It imposes a multidimensional impact on the developing as well as the developed countries. Globalization is seen in every sphere of life. It has tried to loosen the global relation of power between the countries in the world. It contributes to the innovative and transformative character of modern education system and has made it more open and dynamic. Globalization has promoted new tools and techniques in the education sector like, e-learning, flexible learning, distance education programmes, overseas training and educational franchising. It is here, when need of English language with innovative Gurung 7 character of Information and Communication Technology is felt. Both the English language teaching and Information and Communication Technology become crucial tool for the development of a particular country and its citizen in the global world. We all are aware of the knowledge explosion and its character of changing, quickly with time. This can be termed as one of the important issues developed due to globalization. Thus, in this ever changing world of knowledge, English language has worked as an intermediary to understand the various kinds and character of knowledge which are bursting one after another and fading quickly. Information And Communication Technology on the other hand has enabled English language to grope and adapt according to the changing trends. The new information and communication technologies are trendy a helping hand to make English language not only the most sought language for understanding but also exchange of ideas for better development. The phenomenon of globalization, has transformed world social order and economic relation in having a profound effect on communication and information technology, and education. Students opting for higher education are no longer constrained by national boundaries. With English language knowledge, it further becomes easy for a student to accommodate with ease in the new changed environment. English language knowledge rescues the students of several complexities of language bar and help to adapt and learn the distinct culture and technology. Information and communication technology rescues a student further from the constraints of being secluded and excluded from the continuous flowing and changing trend of development in the world. It helps the student to access and adapt the new invention and innovation in the field of transnational education and its complexities. Thus both the knowledge of English language and Information and Communication Technology helps us to cope with the good as well as the dire consequences of globalization. They rescue us from the complexities which have arisen due to the globalization. In the modern education sector globalization holds both threats and opportunities; threats in the form of brain drain and opportunities as choice of students to seek universities abroad for higher education. This leads to unnecessary competition between countries to attract and retain students as well as world class faculty members. Opportunities of education, on the other hand in this global world can be connected as the upcoming of more structured, regulated, stronger and more globally higher competitive education i.e. the level of education will be more systematic with greater opportunities. Gurung 8 English language teaching has been one of the most effective means of communicating the recent development in education. English language learning has been more enhanced with information technology. English language has made the transmission of knowledge of latest technologies more easier, effective and more wide. Thus English language teaching Information and Communication Technology and globalization are interrelated. Each one has its own special impression which is indispensable and co-related. In this modern globalized world, Information and Communication Technology has lead to the production of various kind of Information And Communication Technology product which have relevance to education such as e-mail, teleconferencing, video conferencing, television lessons, radio broadcast, CD ROMs etc. Each one of them is used for different purposes of education. English language has added more importance to these technologies as it has wider scope. The relationship between Information and Communication Technology and ELT is interrelated. They are continuously found to be enhancing and supporting each other. One is found crippled in absence of the other. Today, Information and Communication Technology, including laptops, wirelessly connected internet, personal digital assistants, video cameras and cell phones have become affordable, accessible and integrated in the large sections of the society throughout the world. The use of English language in the Information and Communication Technology can be seen abundantly. Information And Communication Technology along with ELT has helped to restructure organization, promote collaboration, improved transparency, education more widely available, foster cultural creativity and development in social integration. It is only through ELT and integration of Information and Communication Technology in education that one can teach students to be participants in the growth process in this era of rapid change. Information And Communication Technology in ELT has not only proved its impact on higher education system but its importance is felt even at the grass root level of primary and secondary education. New technologies are used to enrich the language and make it imparted more conveniently in a more understandable way. Information And Communication Technology can also be used as a tool in ELT with more impact. It can be used as an informative, constructive and communicative tool to remove the communication barriers such as that off time and space. Information And Communication Technology also allows the creation of digital resources like digital libraries and labs where the students, teachers and professional can access research and course Gurung 9 material from any place and at anytime. Such facilities allow the networking of learning and sharing of scholarly materials, especially in the field of English language which is more complex and complicated as it is adapted and adopted round the globe as second language. The use of Information and Communication Technology in education and ELT in particular aims at developing higher skills to improve the perception and understanding of the world of the information society and the new global economy. The main aim of using Information and Communication Technology in ELT is to generate better understanding between the communities of the world, improving course quality, meeting the needs of the less developed countries in education, increasing enrollments and making education more affordable and accessible. E-learning in ELT further help to eliminate the geographical and time barriers in education for teachers as they can log on from any place. It provides speedy dissemination of education of English language to the disadvantage groups. It has also widened the international dimension of educational services and use of new education approaches in English language teaching. E-learning allows higher participation and greater interaction. It challenges the traditional education and employs greater use of new knowledge in a new language. Information And Communication Technology in ELT has proved that beside cost reduction, it is more effective to solve the problems related to learners of English language. E-learning helps access to the best intellectuals of English language and best practices or knowledge available. It also allows delivery, dialogue and feed back through internet which facilitates rich and constructive English language teaching and learning. In addition to the facilities and advances relished by Information and Communication Technology in ELT, some challenges are to be faced and shared intellectually. In the present scenario of popular use of English language in various field and the ever increasing Information and Communication Technology in various sectors of education, calls for an immediate evaluation and implementation of new technologies in the process of ELT. One cannot think of ELT without the use of Information and Communication Technology in the modern era where globalization is the key word. Although Information and Communication Technology offers a whole lot of benefits in the field of English language teaching, certain risk and challenges are to be mitigated in order to foresee the initiatives of use of Information and Communication Technology in ELT. Some of the challenges prominent in ELT can be enumerated as the lack of proper infrastructure related to e-learning, the lack of expertise or faculty experts, less monetary aids Gurung 10 by the government, diverse student and teacher arena, lack of training in the latest technologies, plagiarism and many more. As ELT is related to the teaching of a foreign language, not many of the faculties are trained. The matter worsens if they are technically illiterate as the English language teachers can not adopt the new methods in their teaching. The aids from government and organizations further are not sufficient to cope with a higher cast of hardware, software and infrastructure needed for e-learning. The use of Information and Communication Technology in ELT sometimes seems to increase the transactional distance. The bonding process in the course of teaching is lessened. This bonding is very important in the teaching English language which is used as a communication tool in teaching as English language enhanced only through practical conversations. Another challenge confronted with e-learning is plagiarism. Students tend to copy the information rather than learning and developing their own skills which is an important aspect of ELT and learning. Lack of training to the English language teacher creates another challenge. The teacher should be given training related not only to the subject but also the use of latest technologies which helps to make them stand strong among the different expertise of the world. The more frequent use of Information and Communication Technology has led us to become slaves of technologies. We sway away from the ultimate goal of enriching ELT through Information and Communication Technology. We turn to be techno-slaves whose thinking is debarred by technology. Thus, Information and Communication Technology in ELT holds a strong place but the challenges make the ELT more complex with the use of fast increasing and changing technology. ELT has to keep pace with the new Information and Communication Technology, only then the objective of rich and innovative English language will be accomplished. This synergy between ICT and ELT further helps one's country as well as the world to make and take initiatives regarding English language, popularly known as the second language or the universal language.

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