The abbreviation ICT means information and communication technology. And the term defines not only a school subject but also all the variety of computers and other modern digital devices and technologies used at schools, colleges, and universities worldwide. When we speak about ICT we speak about desktop computers, laptops, tablets, interactive whiteboards, e-readers, smartphones as well as a variety of software, websites, blogs, podcasts, etc. used for educational purposes. The blogger Jim Davis from bio writer service claims, that the process of involving modern technologies in education is inevitable as it’s a demand of life. Let’s consider the possibilities ICT provides for enhancing thinking and learning.
Ways ICT Can Stimulate Students’ Thinking and Learning.
Modern technologies provide great possibilities for developing high levels of thinking and new ways of learning. Let’s consider some of them.
- Educational games, different simulations, etc. that have become available due to the Internet and modern software make the learning process more interesting and involving for students of all ages.
- The Internet gives students access to different resources worldwide and the necessity to evaluate the credibility of those resources develops students’ high-level thinking.
- The flipped classroom model of the studying process can serve for expandingthe curriculum. Students listen to lectures and do some activities at home having got computer-guided instruction and in-class they have interactive learning activities.
- ICT gives great possibilities for students with special needs. Due to technology they can be easier involved in the learning process along with all other students.
- ICT provides great opportunities for differentiation. A teacher can give different level tasks to different students simultaneously. It’s especially great as due to technology the tasks can be checked and commented on by special software.
- A combination of technology and teaching methodology gives ways to develop students’ high-level thinking. Examples of this approach are Web-quests (students research the given topic using the Internet resources provided by their teacher) and computer-based projects (when students research a topic using mostly the Internet resources and questions provided by their teacher).
Problems and Difficulties of Using ICT in Education.
Nowadays ICT is widely used in all spheres of life, but its usage in education is still not as wide as you might expect. Education is a conservative sphere, besides, with hundreds of institutions and hundreds of thousands of students and teachers involved, this sphere of life is not very mobile. What are the main problems and difficulties of wide usage of ICT in education?
- To make ICT effective for the development of thinking and learning, it’s necessary to combine modern devices, software, and the possibilities of the Internet with an effective teaching methodology. Although the first computers appeared at schools dozens of years ago, the methodology of using them and all other devices is still at the initial stage of development comparing with the traditional organization of learning. So, it’s necessary to support scientific research as well as practical inventions of ICT usage in education.
- Not all schools within a country (not speaking about individual students) have enough modern devices and reliable Internet access. The way of solving this problem is investing more into education, including donations to developing countries.
- With the technology developing very quickly and a lot of software and new educational Internet resources appearing just daily, teachers often just can’t catch up with all the innovations and implement them into the teaching process. So, governments, as well as non-profits, should organize more regular training for teachers to make them aware of the latest technology trends and possibilities of their usage in education.
- The majority of software and the Internet resources are in major languages, like English, German, French, Chinese, etc. while students speaking some small language are deprived not having access to a great number of educational resources (https://www.colorado.edu/silc/educational_resources). On the one hand, it’s necessary to develop national segments of the Internet and so educational resources in small languages. Translation software can also help someway. On the other hand, to give students access to all the range of resources, for example in English, it’s necessary to provide wider language learning.
Lockdowns because of Covid-19 forced schools, colleges, and universities worldwide to implement distance learning. That was hard both for students and teachers. But at the same time, the lockdowns have boosted the interest in distance learning. Lately, just all professional webinars for teachers are devoted to the usage of different ICT in education. This is great and we are to achieve changes in the educational approaches due to the wider usage of ICT soon.