Education is experiencing a paradigm shift through the use of technology and more innovative ways of learning from online courses and tutorials to conference calls or web attendance etc. Incorporating new age technology in the learning process seems to be the future of education. However, is Nagaland ready for this? While there may be mixed responses to this question, we are rapidly witnessing education in emerging societies employing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to facilitate large-scale learning needs for social and economic development. This week’s writer reviews the use of ICT in education, its merits and demerits while calling attention to all educators to study more about how we can maximise its benefits wisely.
How Are ICTs Affecting the Education System of our Naga Society?
Knowledge is a major asset and product of the society, upon which continued economic well-being and social development depends on, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are in the mainstream of these developments. ICTs are the means for providing an access to the continuous learning which is necessary for successful participation in the society and development of all social groups of the population. ICTs have in fact become a critical tool for professional training; the sooner learners know how to use ICTs, the easier they can find their way to capture the newest methods of data acquisition and transformation to knowledge. The level of technological development is used as an indicator not only of the economic power and standard of living of a country, but also of the place and role of this country in the global community.
Tinio (2002) in his article “ICT in Education: UN Development Programme” has stated the potentials of ICTs in increasing access and improving relevance and quality of education in developing countries. D. M. Watson (2001) describes that, ICTs have revolutionized the way people work today and are now transforming education systems. As a result, if schools train children in yesterday’s skills and technologies they may not be effective and fit in tomorrow’s world. This is a sufficient reason for ICTs to win global recognition and attention. ICTs are dependable tools in facilitating the attainment of one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is achievement of universal primary education by the year 2015. Kofi Anan, the former United Nations Secretary General, pointed out that in order to attain the goal of Universal Primary Education by the year 2015; we must ensure that information and communication technologies (ICTs) unlock the door of education systems. Thus this directs our attention towards the growing demand and the progressively more important place which (ICTs) has received in education.
The Benefits of ICT use in Education
The uses of ICT is making major differences in the learning of students and teaching approaches. Several studies revealed that students using ICT facilities mostly show higher learning gains than those who do not use. For instance, J. A. Kulik’s (1994) findings indicated that primary school students who used tutorial software in reading scored significantly higher on reading scores. It has been put up by M. Volman (2005), that there is a common belief about the use of ICTs in education as a contributor to a more constructivist learning and an increase in activity and greater responsibility of students. He further stressed that the gradual progress in using computers changes from learning about computers, to learning computers, and finally to learning with computers.
Limitations of ICT use in Education
ICT which simplifies and facilitates human activities is not only advantageous in many respects, but also has many limitations. Although teachers’ attitude towards use of these technologies is vital, many observations have revealed that teachers do not have clarity about how far technology can be a beneficial for the facilitation and enhancement of learning. Teachers’ resistance and lack of enthusiasm to use ICT in education may be one of the first limitations common in our Naga society. Furthermore, many teachers may not even have the required IT skills and feels uncomfortable. Therefore unless teachers develop some basic skills and willingness to experiment with students, ICT use in education will remain a disadvantage to our society.
On the other hand, the limitation of ICT use in education is related to students’ behaviour as well. A student tends to misuse the technology for leisure time activities and thus have less time to learn and study. A. B. Yousef and M. Dahmani (2008) in their article “The Economics of E- Learning: The Impact of ICT on Student Performance in Higher Education: Direct Effects, Indirect Effects and Organizational Change” described online gaming, use of face book, chat rooms, and other communication channels as perceived drawbacks of ICT use in education, because, students easily switch to these sites at the expense of their study. Therefore, the impact of availability of ICT on student learning strongly depends on its specific uses.
Thus, if ICT is not properly used, the disadvantage will overweigh the advantage. And therefore it is very important to identify the major limitations of ICT use in education in order to rectify the causes and maximize its positive effects in providing quality education for a successful and constructive development of education system in our Naga society.