Information and communication technology (ICT) is a force that has changed many aspects of the way we live. The world is moving rapidly into digital media and information and Communication Technology (ICT) have truly become common place entities in all aspects of life. Over the years, the application of ICT has fundamentally changed the practices and procedures of nearly all forms of endeavour within business and governance. Within education, ICT has begun to have a presence though the impact has not been extensive as in other fields. Education is a very socially oriented activity and quality education has traditionally been associated with strong/qualified teachers having high degrees of personal contact with learners. The use of ICT in education lends itself to more student-centered learning settings, often times, this creates some tension for some teachers and students but with the rapid digital media and information movement, the role of ICT in education is becoming more and more important and this importance will continue to grow and develop in this millennium. This paper aims at highlighting the various impacts of ICT on contemporary higher education. It explores potential future developments. The paper argues the role ICT plays as a change agent in transforming, teaching and learning and seeks to explore how this will impact on the way program will be offered and delivered in the universities and colleges both now and in the future.
Key words: ICT, change agent, student centered learning, higher education.
There are few aspects of life in this present days which are unaffected by ICT. In the office, factory or at home, visiting a bank, supermarket or garage and in many other places. ICT provides information, carry out transactions, record data, make decisions and perform an ever increasing range of tasks (terry Lucey 2005). He further stated that traditionally, the basis of all information systems was a manual one. Data were recorded on paper, stored in filling cabinets and processed manually using simple procedures and office equipment such as typewriters, calculators multi-pat form, duplicating machines and so on. In recent years, the position systems even in small organizations are now almost entirely computer based.
The Concept of ICT
Information Communication Technology are versatile and powerful technologies that have assisted individuals, groups and organizations in many different ways.
Different people have different views on what ICT is all about. Onyegeme- Okerenta in Asodike, Ebong, Oluwuo and Abraham (2013) views ICT as an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing, radio, television, cellular phone, computer and network hardware and software, satellite system, etc, as well as the various services and applications associating and distant learning.
Similarly, Ajayi in Ain (2003) in Asodike et al (2013) view ICT as an electronic based system of information, transmission, reception, processing and retrieval. Abifarm (2003) in Asodike et al defines ICT as the application of computers, telecommunication, equipment to process, store, retrieve and send information to all kinds in whatever form. From the above ICT can be viewed or defined as electronic and communication devices used in transmitting, processing, receiving storing and retrieving information. They assist humans to collect information.
The Concept of Change
Change can be seen as a process of making something different. It is a form of activity or event that takes place around us all the time. The world that we live in and all that around us witness constant change. These changes are experienced virtually in every aspect of life from when one is born even unto death. Change is a systematic paradigm shift. Shannon (1990) in Lu and Ortleib (2009) notes that from historical perspective on education, we are confronting many struggles just to survive, such as the concepts of teaching, approaches to literacy, school system reform, etc.
Change agents according to Lu and Ortlieb (2009) are those who fell unsafe, uncomfortable, dissatisfied with the current situation and plant to change it. They initiate change schedule the change and create the climate for the change. A change agent aims at communicating an innovation to an intended adopter (Ellsworth, 2000). This is accomplished using a change process, which establishes a channel through the change environment.
Concept of Student Centered Learning
Student- centred learning is used widely in teaching and learning. It is linked with such terms as flexible learning, experiential learning and self-directed learning. Student-centred learning focuses on the student learner rather than the teacher, driven by a need for change in the traditional environment which is known as the educational environment.
According to Slarin (2009), learning is much more than memory. For students to really understand and be able to apply knowledge, they must work to solve problems, and to discover things for themselves, to wrestle with ideas. He further stated that the task of education is not to pour out information into the students heads, but to engage students’ minds with powerful and useful concepts. This view is affirmed by Sharma (2007) as he posits that modern methods condemn rote memorization and promote the adoption of lively and effective methods like playway, learning by doing, learning by experience, etc and that these methods stimulate motivation, interest and attention.
The paradigm shift away from teaching to an emphasy of learning has moved power from the teacher to the student. In the past, the teacher focused on the transmission of information in the form of lecturing but now is paving way to a wide spread growth of student-centered learning. Student-centered learning involves the construction of knowledge by the student with the lecturer as the facilitator of learning rather than a presenter of information.
Student learning created room for the reliance on active learning rather than passive learning. It places emphasy on deep learning and unresponsibility and accountability leads to an increased sense of antonomy in the learner; and results in a reflexive approach to on the part of both teacher and learner.
Impact of ICT on Higher Education
Conventional teaching has emphasized content. Before now, courses have been written around textbooks, teachers have taught through lectures and presentations interspersed with tutorials and learning activities designed to consolidate and rehearse the content. According to Amaele (2007). The teacher has upper hand in the class, which the learner is restricted in the activity of the class and that strategies are mapped to make the class more convement to the teacher than to the learner; that learning activities are selected by the teacher. Presently, higher education fapours curricula that promote competency and performance where learners will begin to construct knowledge.
Slarin (2009) posits that students must construct knowledge in their own minds and that the teacher can facilitate this process by teaching in ways that make information meaningful and relevant to students, by giving students opportunities’ to discover and apply ideas and consciously use their own strategies for learning.
Anderson, Greeno, Reder, & Simon (2000); Waxman, Padrun, & Arnold (2001) state that learners must individually discover and transform complex information if they are to make it the own.
Hence curricula are beginning to emphasize capabilities and how information will be used than with what information is.
According to Bilte & Legacy (2008) ICT application in education could be applied in three ways; first teachers use ICT on their classroom teaching or plan instruction and present content to their classes. Second, students use ICT to explore practice ad prepare papers and presentations.
Finally teachers and administrators use ICT to accomplish administrative tasks associated with their profession, such as assessment record keeping, reporting and management tasks and the males teaching-learning experience an appealing one.
Just as technology is influencing and supporting what is being learned in schools and universities, so too is it supporting changes to the way students are learning. Mores from content-centered curricula to competency-based curricula are associated with moves away from teacher centered forms of delivery to student centered forms through technology-facilitated approaches, contemporary learning setting now encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning. In the past students have become very confortable to leering through transitive model. Students have been trained to let others present to them the information that forms the curriculum. The growing use of ICT as an instructional medium is changing and will likely continue to change many of the strategies employed by both teachers and students in the learning process. This (Hoeffler & Leutner 2006; Reed, 2006) concludes when they said that technology is used on the increase to combine text and visual content and that this multimedia approach enhance students’ learning as long as the text and visuals directly support each other.
Chambers et al (2006) in Slavin (2009) in as study of first-grade reading found that adding video content on letter founds, sound blending, and vocabulary to teacher-led reading lessons significantly increased students’ learning.
The many technological tools available they say, make teachers’ lessons more dynamic and leering more exciting. The fears that computers might replace teachers are unfounded.
Technology has the capacity to promote and encourage the transformation of education from a very teacher directed enterprise to one which supports more student- centered models.
Evidence of this today is manifested in the proliferation of capability competency and outcomes focused curricula, moves towards problem-based learning and increased us of the web as an information source, untsnet users are able to choose the exports from whom they will learn Becker (2001) conclude this when he said that computers have replaced typewriter and encyclopedias and that students use technology for a wide variety of purposes in the following categories word processing ad publishing spreadsheets and databases computer-assisted.
Instruction, the internet multimedia, integrated learning system, and computer programming.
The use of ICT in educational settings by itself acts as a catalyst for change in this domain ICTs by their very nature are tools that aid, encourage and support independent learning students using ICTs for learning purposes become immersed in the process of learning and as more and more students use computer as information sources and cognitive tools the influence of the technology on supporting how students learn will continue to increase. This is the view of Bitter & Legacy et al (2008) in Slavin (2009) where they noted the three general types of technology applications in education and stated that first teachers use ICT in their classroom teaching to plan instruction and present content to their classes. Second students use ICT to explore, practice and prepare papers and presentations, finally teachers and administrators use ICT to accomplish administrative tasks associated with their profession such as assessment, record keeping, reporting and management tasks and these makes teaching-learning experience an appealing one.
Information communication technology has become indispensable of schools. Its application in all spheres of human activities has changed the face of the earth. The world is undergoing tremendous change as a result of advance in science and technology. The school needs such advancement. All Stakeholders in the education industry need to encourage a technological based environment for a better learning and quality output.
There is need to make people aware of the benefits derivable from the use of ICT as this will help to make the society a healthy one, enhance productivity and professional practice. Students should be interested in ICT and ensure they get connected
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