In recent times, information and communication technologies (ICT) has been among the most spoken of technologies. The hype is based on the benefits and opportunities it presents. Innovations that have either been facilitated or driven by ICT have contributed to how individuals in modern society think, live, work, or socialize with one another. In business, the transformation it has brought has been tremendous. It has not only contributed to cost savings in business operations but also changed the competitive landscape in the contemporary marketplace.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of our educations system. Even though regarded by the UNESCO as an efficient instrument for developing knowledge societies, this potential is yet to be exploited. UNESCO believes that ICT can play a crucial role in the achievement of global universal education. The rationale is that online education has the prospect of reaching students whose ability to access physical classroom is inhibited by aspects such as geographical limitations, job commitments, or other unavoidable circumstances. This theory has already been proven by the concept of online courses offered by campuses across the world. Education institutions that are expected to prepare students that are capable of thriving in such knowledge societies are still lagging.
Advantages of ICT Integration
There is a general agreement ICT should have a more influential role in the education system. Further, automation in the educational sector is becoming an emerging trend in most countries. This has led to increased pressure on the education stakeholders to improve their efforts in ICT integration. This is why there is a need to review some of the benefits to be achieved through integration.
- Bridging of the digital divide
Digital divide refers to differences of internet and digital media access within a country and across the globe, including the disparity between individuals that possess digital literacy skills in terms of internet and media usage. Its main drawback is that it fortifies the socio-economic disadvantage among the world’s poor people. However, ICT integration into a curriculum will help bridge the digital divide gap. This is achieved through facilitation of universal education access across the globe irrespective of resource availability or socio-economic status of a student.
- Development of technological competence among students
If incorporated into curriculums, ICT is capable of equipping skills with necessary competencies required to thrive in the globalized world. Experts view ICT as a key technology to contemporary society’s functionality. For example, in education, to be a competent essay writer, you will require basic ICT skills. But remember that you are always able to buy essay from professionals.
- Increased efficiency in learning
Schools and colleges that have adopted ICT enjoy greater teaching-learning interactions. Through ICT, digital whiteboards are replacing chalkboards, while mobile devices are now being used to facilitate content delivery. Moreover, technologies such as flipped classrooms make it possible for students to access lectures at a convenient time. This way, classrooms are used for more interactive discussions with your lecturers.
Challenges to Integration
Irrespective of the benefits ICT integration offers to education; stakeholders have been having challenges achieving this objective. The main problems associated with ICT integration into the curriculum include: Lack of qualified trainers, minimal infrastructure, funding challenges, and disagreements among education stakeholders on the relevance of ICT integration into the curriculum
How to Achieve the Dream of Integration
The challenges identified reveal that there is still work to do in achieving the dream of integration. However, through simple planning, reality can be nearer than we think. Some of the strategies that can help minimize the barriers include:
- Teachers training
A recent study by the National Science Foundation identified the lack of ICT skills among teachers was a major reason for their resistance to ICT integration. They were just not confident in their ability to handle the technology without the right skills. This is why the foundation launched the CS10K project aimed at equipping enough teachers with ICT skills.
- Investing in ICT infrastructure
Integration is not possible if the right infrastructure is not available. This is why the government and other players have to allocate funds for the acquisition of equipment and services such as internet connection, ICT software, and hardware.
- Collaboration with organizations
In contemporary times, most businesses are demanding basic ICT skills from potential employees. This need is brought about by the current business environment demands. Therefore, more than ever, companies have the right motivations to venture more into education by playing an active role in ICT projects implementation. For example, financing the acquisition of ICT infrastructure. This may help them save costs of having to train their employees in ICT skills.
Like any other project, challenges will always exist. However, this does not mean the dream of ICT integration into our education system is not achievable. Implementing countermeasures such as those identified in this article may help make the dream a reality.