The Implementation Of Ict In Education Education Essay

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INTRODUCTION

To nurture children's abilities, we are to start from the basic of primary years. Children are to be provided with opportunities for their personal growth and character development. To nurture the children's abilities, there should be an emphasis on basic communication, literacy, numeracy and Information Communication and Technology (ICT) skills. At this technology era, it is only appropriate for teachers to implement the use of ICT in their teaching and students learning. Students are very much anticipating a lesson with ICT and if students are well knowledgeable and skilful with the ICT technology. It can be seen in schools I've observed in Birmingham, United Kingdom that they have placed a lot of effort in regards to ICT in the school. The schools have Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) in all the classroom, there are ICT labs, multimedia room, and students do know how to handle and use ICT.

As technology continues to advance, schools have been seen to increase efforts into improving its school ICT standards. This has been discussed by Sauders and Klemming (2003) Developments in ICT have increased incentives to changes different and more flexible approaches to learning, involving the increased use of ICT in the classroom.

According to Tearle (2003), ICT has impacted on all aspects of society over recent years, and its potential to transform education continues to be widely approved. There has been a wide range of literature focusing on ICT in education but has their research proven that the implementation has been successful? Therefore, in this report, focus will be on how implementation of ICT has been done in education from research that is available from the available literatures, to see whether successful or not.

ICT IN EDUCATION

DfEE, mentioned in Tearle (2003:567), stated that "technology has revolutionised the way we work and is now set to transform education." Education, be it at any level, technology has definitely become a major reform and this has certainly become its phase. Though however the use of ICT is increasing, the changes has yet to be successfully mastered. This is agreed by Tearle (2003) where the transformation of ICT has not yet occurred and the extent and nature of ICT application in schools is still varied and in many cases limited. Teachers would usually use their own initiatives to find resources if they do want it to be different from those provided by the government and at times, some teachers would choose to make their own ICT materials themselves. The 2001 Ofsted report mentioned in Tearle (2003:567) about ICT in schools, in reference to the impact of Government initiatives noted that "while effective use of ICT in teaching subjects across the curriculum is increasing, good practice remains uncommon." It is undeniable that ICT has become a current trend in the classroom and teachers and students are using it but whether it is a successful technique is still quite uncertain.

According to Tearle (2003) there was, and still is a lack of approval or consideration of the complexity of the processes and culture shift required to achieve the maximum potential of ICT and even though advances in technology means that the scope of opportunities have moved on persistently, the changes in teaching and learning with ICT that has been taken place are not fully recognised and appreciated. The high expectation of the role of ICT in eduation could place opportunities and challenges for those involved in its implementation and application for teaching and learning. In this matter, in order to implement ICT in education properly, all party, i.e. government, school administration, teachers and staff, should be involved in its planning and application.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF USING ICT IN EDUCATION/TEACHING

Sauders and Klemming (2003) has stated in their research that the majority of students interviewed over a two-year period did not think that the electronic materials or approach to module delivery would change their level of performance in comparison with other modules. Though a few did note that it would be easier to take exams since the materials were readily available to read and get revision notes. Their two years of research showed that students valued the availability and accessibility of the electronic materials though students also believed that electronic material are a supplement to classroom events and definitely as a replacement. Their study also stated that a small percentage of students in the two years study that hardly ever attended classes because they considered that the electronic materials provided them with all that they require to pass.

OBSTACLES TO IMPLEMENTATION

Tearle (2003) questioned on why some maintained schools seem to have risen to the ICT challenge and managed to successfully use ICT in teaching and learning within many subject areas, whilst others, despite obvious desire, determination and even provision of major resources for ICT advancement have struggled almost ineffectively. There are schools that have chosen to focus on strengthening the core ICT provision, often making considerable impact on student ICT skills.

Internationally, there has been a growing emphasis in educational policy on ICT. Ward and Parr (2010) noted that there has been limited evidence that ICT has impacted on either teaching or learning despite major advances in the level of infrastructure provided in schools and in the extent of professional development provided for teachers. Shakeshaft, mentioned in Ward and Parr (2010:113), noted that "just because ICT is present does not mean that students are using it". Loveless (1996) pointed out that regular use of ICT is far from common and where teachers do use it, it is probably confined to a limited number of resources and applications. The regular use of ICT for students and teachers alike has definitely increased with more than just a few minutes per individual due to the availability of ICT in the household, schools and elsewhere. But according to Ward and Parr (2003), in accordance to two reports from Britain by Cox et al. pointed out that regular use of ICT is far from common and where teachers do use it, it is probably confined to a limited number of resources and applications. Ward and Parr (2003) also noted that a study was found that the more widely a school used ICT, the better the results. This proves how the impact of ICT was strongest where a particular subject use of ICT was supported by the use of it across the curriculum. It has yet to be clear that there are no current evidence that represents a test of the educational potential of technology.

Ward and Parr (2003) has made an interesting research for the implications for the integration of ICT in education. The research includes four large secondary schools that are deemed to have both sound infrastructure for ICT and a commitment to professional development in the area of ICT. According to the research that has been done, they have noted that while there are evidence to support the use of computers for skill and content related activities, the findings presented suggest that teachers are more likely to use them for student-centred practices. This would prove that there would be a lesser need to use computers where traditional practices continue to work appropriately such as in the delivery of specific content and skills, which means that there are no reasons for the change for the need to implement ICT in the lesson. Teachers that has been teaching for quite some time and are quite experienced with the traditional method and is successful with their teaching, would definitely be quite unwilling to implement the need to use ICT in their teaching because it may change their rhythm and may even change the students way of learning, since they are used to the traditional method. Teachers that I have interviewed during my teaching years did mention that they are willing to implement ICT in their lesson but it may change the way they teach. They said that they would prefer to use the traditional method for the students that are in the upper primary level because they have been their students for quite some time and therefore tend to get confused with the introduction of new teaching methods.

In the research done by Ward and Parr (2003) also concluded that the low levels of use for lesson planning, preparation and research can perhaps attribute to a lack of perceived need. It may be the initial cost, in terms of the time needed to develop computer-based material, is perceived as too high for the results achieved, particularly if teachers already have resources created that they believe meet their needs and those of their students, at least sufficiently to make extra work unwarranted. In a discussion I made with teachers at the school that I thought showed me their proper filing of exercises and homework sheets and other activities for each lesson that they have prepared over the years to hand to their students. With all the effort that they have made in making sure the work are of benefit for their students, it would definitely mean that they are unwilling to change their method. As veteran teachers, and accounted top graded teachers in the school, they believe that there is no need to change and implement ICT in their lesson since it has worked for the past average of 5 years. This is proven by Ward and Parr (2003), where they mentioned that teachers may lack motivation to change practice and use new tools without clearly recognised benefits such as increased efficiency in administrative tasks. This shows how teachers will and may only adopt an innovation if they believe it will yield some relative advantage to the idea they overtake.

Ward and Parr (2003) suggested that whenever or where the teachers are motivated enough to use computers in their classroom practices, they will do so, despite the fact that there are potential barriers such as a lack of access. They believed that this reinforces the idea of perceived need being a primary motivating force for the use of computers. According to their research, when there is a need to attempt to increase the use of computers in the classroom practice, there are two core antecedent factors that are needed to be considered and they are; i) readiness to use ICT, and ii) classroom activities. The term readiness has more to do with confidence in ability to use technology in the classroom, with self-efficacy, than with skill level alone. Kennedy (2004) has supported this by suggesting that teachers are more concerned about avoiding what they fear than accomplishing what they hope for. So, why would teachers change their way of teaching when they are still uncertain with what may become of the lesson and their students learning.

Russell, Bebell, and O'Dewyer, mentioned in Ward and Parr (2003), where they reported that newer teachers used technology more for preparation but less frequently for delivering instruction. This shows how ICT should be used by teachers equally for preparation and delivering instructions. Ward and Parr (2003:120) has drawn two main hypotheses from considering school and subject, and the first hypotheses would be appropriate to be discussed. They stated that the most consistent differences by school and subject across the core academic subjects where the 'grammar of schooling' is likely to be the most powerful and where teachers perhaps feel the most pressure to show traditional academic success for all students, that is achievement in national qualifications. They have noted that those are the subject areas where the canon of knowledge, what students are expected to learn, is the most clearly determined and where the match between traditional methodologies and desired outcomes, success in national examinations, is likely to be the strongest, lessening the need to either change practice or to use computers. The changes to implement ICT in the lesson would not necessarily mean a difficult task but it may be risky as it may lead to a potential negative result, for example, students not doing well in the national examinations. If ICT is not used to enhance or would not provide enhancement to the teaching and learning, it would mean that the implementation is not necessary or is not needed.

Ward and Parr (2003) found in their study two crucial areas for further consideration in terms of increasing use in ways likely to impact on student learning. Firstly, the perception of need, and therefore motivation, appears to be a primary factor when attempting to explain levels of use in ICT. Though if computer use is to increase in the classroom, the type and level of professional development needs to be planned properly in order to ensure that the impact does not affect the students outcomes directly. Secondly, they mentioned about the "readiness to use" is a key mediating factor to consider along with classroom activities. They suggested that teachers need to feel confident in their ability to facilitate student learning with technology, to integrate technology into their classrooms, and this means that it requires more than just professional development by aimed at a more increasing skill. ICT can be successfully integrated, multi-facated professional development may be needed. So such professional development would not only help teachers understand the educational benefits to using ICT, providing them with sufficient motivation to try, it would also raise their self-eficacy in the area of facilitating learning with computers so they feel ready to do so.

Ward and Parr (2003) stated that due to the need of professional involvement in the matter of integrating ICT, there would also be a necessity for a professional development, which would then provide teachers with an understanding of the practices implicit in the use of computers and the benefits to teaching and learning of using these practices. If proper involvement is practiced, the need for ICT integratin would be set up before its implementation and computers would be seen as a tool to be used to support changed practices rather than as a driver of change. Ward and Parr (2003) concluded that with sufficient use, teacher confidence will rise and the key to ensure sufficient motivation is there for teachers to take the initial steps. Once the motivation and need has been established, the need to create capacity can be attended to with greater likelihood of engagement and a greater willingness to try. Teachers should be given sufficient support and encouragement to enable them to take risks and experiment. They should be helped to overcome their fears and shown new ways of doing things that allow them to retain control while facilitating learning with computers and they should be supported while attempting to use new practices and tools in their classroom.

IDENTIFYING THE DIFFERENT METHODS OF IMPLEMENTATION

There are many different methods to implementing ICT and the basic can start with making it available in the classroom, and according to Fullan, mentioned in Sauders and Klemming (2003), there are three dimensions of change for the teacher using computers in the classroom which are; i) the use of new hardware and software materials, ii) the adoption of new activities, behaviours or practices, and iii) changes in beliefs and understanding. Mooji and Smeets (2001) suggested ways in which schools could learn from each other's ICT implementation experiences and indicated intervention possibilities for national policies, school management and leadership to support desired school development. Sauders and Klemming (2003) stated that implementation of ICT necessarily involves stakeholders and issues of leadership. Yee (2000:291) defined eight types of ICT leadership which Yee stated was "equitable providing, learning-focused envisioning, adventurous learning, patient teaching, protective enabling, constant monitoring, entrepreneurial networking, and careful challenging."

DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSION

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