Thursday, March 12, 2015

Forever Young

Technology: Makes my job easy

Teachers’ job could be the most difficult if there is no technology. This is a job that does not only end in teaching and learning. Teachers have many related works which really need technology to process and make it easy. From the time we plan our lesson we start using technology to write it on a well-designed Daily Lesson Log. One of the hardest parts in the job of a teacher is the making of grades, not just because of the recording, but the actual computing, now with the use of technology; it is very easy with the use of computing software. Another time-consuming and very-tiring and yet most of the teachers complain about is the preparing and making of students forms. With this technology in Education, we can now easily prepare them and making it more presentable than the traditional way.

More than above, the assistance of a computer technology during the teaching learning process is essential
The role of a computer in the teaching learning process can also be used as a way to interact with students away from the school environment as an aid to homework and assignments. This added benefit means that an E-mail system can be setup or a discussion board so that if the students are experiencing any difficulties with their work they can either have the option to ask the teacher discreetly for assistance or alternatively they can discuss issues with their peers to solve problems between them. This concept allows assistance to always be at hand with the added benefit of making a task more interactive. 

The benefits of a computer system are that it is fast and efficient, gathering information almost immediately, with the ability to process and access information that would take too long manually.  Furthermore, different types of learning material or teaching aids can be accessed from the internet, which can be used to make classroom activities more interactive. This system allows for flexibility to teaching style with the added bonus of promoting responsiveness to the variations of teaching methods that are available and that have been promoted by a computer system.

Computers and the Internet are a great resource for classroom teachers. Teachers can find suggestions, lesson plans, practical support, information, and materials through the Internet. In fact, using a computer can make a teacher's life easier and more efficient. 
In fact, there are a variety of websites for different teacher/education professional organizations that provide a simple way for teachers to be part of these organizations. As well as offering many helpful resources to teachers, these organizations help teachers keep current with the field and the research.

Of course, the websites for these organizations are not the only source for finding research and information. A variety of other websites provide research on any topic about which a teacher might be interested. For instance, perhaps the teacher has a student with a particular special need or wants to know how to use a particular strategy or teach a particular lesson. Search engines can be particularly helpful to teachers in finding almost any kind of information on the Internet. 

When teachers become aware of how to find information online, they can help their students begin to tap into this huge resource. This skill is useful to students not only for accomplishing their homework, but also as a survival skill in the modern workplace. Teachers who are aware of these resources can recommend useful websites to the parents of their students, thus creating a positive school-home interaction.

Another wonderful resource is a large variety of online books, often organized by subject, with the text and pictures of each page easily viewed on the screen by the student, who can click on the arrow to turn the page. For students who may not be interested in reading but love computers, online books can be a helpful teaching tool, as well as providing an easy way for a teacher to expand the classroom library. 

One particularly exciting feature of going online is the ability to e-mail anyone in the world. Teachers and students worldwide are beginning to use this ability to talk to each other. They can even do projects together and help each other learn. E-mailing back and forth with another classroom also provides excellent opportunities for students to practice writing skills for a real-life purpose. Word processing can be used before documents are pasted into e-mails, so that students not only practice this essential skill of word processing but also can edit much more easily to produce a well-crafted piece of writing.

So the Internet is an exciting resource for teachers. Using the Internet can make teachers' lives simpler and can provide more information and resources than ever available before. The Internet is a way for students and teachers to learn and to connect with others. Last but not least, the Internet can be just plain fun for students and teachers alike.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ICT: Its Importance to Education

Today, from the time we awaken in the morning to the time before we sleep, we are surrounded by media, such as newspapers, radio, television, and computers. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are surrounded by these media. All these media come under the overall umbrella of what are known as today’s ICTs. Knowing and using ICTs is important in today’s fast changing knowledge society, but we very often are confused about what these media are. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are often associated with the most sophisticated and expensive computer-based technologies. But ICTs also encompass the more conventional technologies such as radio, television and telephone technology.

While definitions of ICTs are varied, it might be useful to accept the definition provided by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): ‘ICTs are basically information-handling tools- a varied set of goods, applications and services that are used to produce, store, process, distribute and exchange information. They include the ‘old’ ICTs of radio, television and telephone, and the ‘new’ ICTs of computers, satellite and wireless technology and the Internet. These different tools are now able to work together, and combine to form our ‘networked world’ – a massive infrastructure of interconnected telephone services, standardized computing hardware, the internet, radio and television, which reaches into every corner of the globe’. Livingstone (1999), in an extensive exploration of the idea of newness, has argued that the notion of “new” argued that the notion of “new” can either be seen with reference to the “newness of technology” or in the context of “what’s new for society” about these media. Livingstone further argues that what is new for the western world is not necessarily so for the rest of the world. Within a social context, the introduction of radio or television may be as “new” as the introduction of Internet. While there is much euphoria about the ICTs, after more than half a century of research, social scientists are still skeptical about tall and ill-defined claims about potential societal changes that may follow a technological innovation. This means that ‘new” cannot merely be defined either in terms of time and time scales or in terms of the technology innovation. (REDDI, 2012)

Two of the most powerful forces in the world today are the spread of Information and communication technologies (ICT) and the global effort to achieve more widespread social and economic development according to Digital Opportunity Initiative (DOI). ICT could bring broad and in-depth information to those who have been hitherto denied such knowledge and thus opportunities for social and economic mobility. It could open up new possibilities for more transparent and inclusive public administration/governance everywhere by opening up direct channels to the arenas of decision making, and by engendering a proliferation of public spheres and stronger civil-society networks brought together by the “death of distance”. It could become the engine of redistribution of knowledge and expertise in the areas of education and public health. It could pave the way for an inclusive economic sphere by lowering entry barriers for e-commerce and provide two-way flow of good knowledge and ideas to any and all. (Kuyoro Shade O., 2012)

Historically, a lack of access to ICT was defined as a „digital divide‟, a separation of society, based upon who has or not effective access to digital technology. Studies of the digital divide keep us aware that access and use of ICTs are unequally distributed both across geographic areas and within communities. The digital divide is the disparity that exists in access to ICTs between countries or regions, communities, ethnicities, the sexes, or age groups. It can manifest itself internationally and within communities and is shaped by the economic, political, and sociological context in which it occurs (Guillén and Suárez, 2005). The digital divide is especially relevant to those who value and advocate the fundamental role of ICTs today. When considering the impact of ICTs on human development, one need to be very cognizant with the disparities and inequalities on access and use that exist between groups and amongst countries because these have serious implications on human development. ICTs entail a set of capabilities that can be harnessed and fostered to further human development through access to information and increased potentials for communication. The basic purpose of development is to enlarge people’s choices, which also includes access to information that leads to knowledge (Haq, 1995). The link between access to information and development is embedded in the fact that the first step in overcoming challenges in human life consists of evaluating the predicament and identifying the alternatives that would make life better (Drèze and Sen, 1989). The knowledge of those alternatives is central to the outcome of such a reflection. Knowledge can therefore be liberating and as such it has the potential of changing traditional understandings and ways of doing things (Hill, 2007). ICTs and access to the wealth of knowledge available through the Internet can be powerful sources of such information and in this sense; such information can be highly beneficial and influential for human development. The application of ICT technologies requires human capabilities to handle such technologies (Lee, 2001).

The benefits of online information are a source of great optimism and offer immense potentials for ICTs to fill a large learning resource gap in the developing world. This is a primary reason for many in the field of education to advocate that the biggest role of ICTs in education is their use as means to enhance learning. Interestingly, the creation of new learning materials coupled with a push for increased technology in the classroom is not new. No one would argue against the potential added benefits that distance education can bring to the learning opportunities of people around the world. It is generally believed that ICTs can empower teachers and learners, promote change and foster the development of the 21st century skills, but data to support these beliefs are still limited. On the other hand, ICTs are also believed to be able to contribute to the enhancement of learning in the world since these tools can play a role in reforming education systems, increasing access to pedagogical resources, improving the management of education and enhancing pedagogical techniques. ICTs are seen as well suited means to distribute and access learning resources which in turn have great potential for impact in rural areas where resources such as books and libraries are scarce and ICT infrastructure is present. ICT can be a catalyst by providing tools which teachers use to improve teaching and by giving learners access to electronic media that make concepts clearer and more accessible. (Kuyoro Shade O., 2012)


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