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There have definitely been many approaches to integrating different ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) in education. However, the truth of the matter is that there is no single solution that covers all of the bases and applies in every context. Many challenges face planners, administrators, educators, and all the other stakeholders that are important to the process of policy formation. These challenges include planning infrastructure, the educational policy, financing, capacity building, and issues of language and content.
For ICTs to be well integrated into education with a view toward positively reforming it, it is important to have well-defined objectives, clear guidelines, and targets that are time-bound. The required resources all need to be mobilized and the commitment of politicians needs to be firm if the initiative is going to be successful. There are many aspects to this.
For example, a comprehensive analysis of the current state of education needs to be done in order to help the planning process for integrating ICT into the education system. There are clear drivers for the integration of ICT as well as barriers to the same that need to be identified. Whether it is matters of pedagogy and curriculum, or capacity building, or financing, none of the significant factors can be identified without the state of the current educational institutions being taken into account.
It is also important to specify what goals each educational level has in the country and how ICTs can be used in the achievement of these goals. To achieve this, policy makers need to understand the potential of different technologies in different contexts and when applied for different purposes. They also need to have a deep understanding of the human resources and financial capacity of the country and the constraints associated with these capacities and identify what educational priorities need to be made for ICTs.
Capacities must be built in various areas of competency for the integration of ICTs in technology to be successful.
Teachers, for example, need to be trained, and not just on how to use ICT tools, but also on how to use them to teach. There are many different areas of focus that should be considered. The teachers should be taught skills in the use of particular applications, they should be taught on how to integrate technologies to the existing curricula, they should be taught about their changing roles as teachers, and the educational theories that underpin the use of ICTs.
As for educational administrators, it is important that they play the right leadership roles in the process. Without adequate support from above, many ICT projects initiated by teachers and students are stymied before they go very far.
There should also be technical support specialists to help in the application of ICTs in schools and to make the whole process viable. Without such specialists, ICTs won’t go very far in their application in the education sector.
Content developers are also important. Original content is important in building the ecosystem that will thrive on top of ICT integration in the education industry. With most of the content on the World Wide Web today being in English, there is especially need for content developers who can translate the content into local languages to make it more accessible to everyone.
Content also needs to be geared to the needs of the people consuming it. For example, many students understand the importance of studying, but when English is not their first language, they may have trouble keeping up. An essay services review that works individually with the student would help them to navigate essay writing in their particular context. With the right content developers in place, this makes it easier for many students to learn what they once found difficult.
The substrate on which the infrastructure for educational technology sits is the national infrastructure for technology and communication. Therefore, it is important for some considerations to be made before an ICT-based educational program is launched.
For example, consider the buildings and rooms where the technology will potentially be housed. Can they handle it? Will they need retrofitting for the wiring, ventilation, and security and safety features that are associated with the program?
The electricity and telephony supply should also be considered. Are wireless technologies available by which leapfrogging of the program can be achieved? The availability of the different technologies themselves should also be considered. If you want to introduce computer-based learning in schools then it is only natural that computers should be ubiquitous not only in schools, but also in households and the community at large and such things as an internet connection are available and affordable.
Usually, it is easier and cheaper to pivot a technology into the field of technology when it has already developed on a large scale for another purpose, such as entertainment. Television channels didn’t begin to introduce educational documentaries until they were fairly popular for entertainment. Social media, for example, is a ripe area to explore for the application of education since it is already popular for other things. For ICT to pivot well into technology, it needs massive support from governments and the private sector to become ubiquitous for other uses as well.
ICTs present numerous benefits for the education sector, if only the numerous challenges to their integration can be overcome. With the right kind of planning and foresight, as well as a concerted effort by all the stakeholders to do their part, many counties can integrate ICTs to drive the quality of education to unforeseen levels.
Bobby Sanchez is a writer and editor with a focus on education and technology. He loves to write about how technology can be brought to bear on educational more effectively, ensuring more people have access to quality education. He also enjoys writing about personal development and success.