Oh, the famous ICTs that so many people talk about ... How much influence on education! They have positive and negative aspects, but do you know what is behind these initials? What is the importance of ICT in education?
Starting at the base, ICTs are Information and Communication Technologies. In other words, all those resources, tools, and programs used in the processing, administration, and exchange of information through various technological supports.
In recent years, we have been able to observe how the evolution of technology has gradually taken over classrooms and conference rooms. Many were the programs that have been implemented in different schools and institutes, such as, for example, the ABALAR plan.
UNESCO firmly believes in the wide opportunities that these technologies could provide if their expansion and use are correct. Strengthening the integration of students, supporting the development of teachers, and improving the quality and relevance of learning are some of the aspects that, according to this institution, will be favored by them.
At an early age, these technologies open the doors to a new world, full of easily accessible information. Not only for teachers but also for students. Similarly, the learning environment is downloaded and it becomes more enjoyable. Thus, teachers and students adapt to new strategies, allowing creative cognitive development, and above all fun, in traditional areas of education.
With the use of computers, for example, students develop the ability to understand. But also of logic, thus favoring the learning process significantly in students. And they also begin to get a sense of the basis of many jobs, as well as a dose of management and personal organization.
At the university stage, on the other hand, the student builds his knowledge by combining the previous knowledge he already has with the acquisition of new skills. These, he learns through inquiry and information search with the support of new technologies.
Also, ICTs promote collaborative work environments and active and flexible learning. And these environments, in turn, reduce the resignation that both the word "study" or "group work" produces.
In today's professional stage, the market demand for education is advancing very fast. With each passing hour, new knowledge and skills emerge that we are expected to acquire, even when we are already in the job market. ICTs allow us to access continuous training, even when working hours prevent us from attending in person.
But it does not only provide benefits at the level of teaching and learning processes. The educational centers themselves are also favored with its use.
The ways of teaching and learning change, the teacher is no longer the manager of knowledge. His role has evolved into that of a guide who guides the student towards his learning: In this aspect, the student is the “protagonist of the class”. In other words, it is he who must be autonomous and work in collaboration with his colleagues.
But just as the student changes from being an almost purely passive receiver to being the active subject in the educational equation, the role of the teacher also changes. And it is that this must be adapting to the appearance of new technologies. With ICT, the teacher goes from being the transmitter of knowledge to the mediator between them.
The contents become more dynamic, interactive, attractive (simultaneous presentation of text, sounds, and images) and more varied. New information formats such as presentations, videos, applications, and many more can facilitate learning, by applying more active and less expository methodologies. But, above all, because they represent a change in the face of an immutable educational model over the years.
And it is that now, thanks to ICT, we have functions and accesses that our grandparents considered impossible. New sources of information and resources allow us to make immediate inquiries. Access to new communication channels (email, Chat, forums ...) allows you to exchange jobs, ideas, various information ... Not to mention word processors, image editors, Web pages, multimedia presentations ... And also the use of interactive applications for learning: resources on web pages, virtual visits, historical recreations ...
The advantages of Information and Communication Technologies are several and of weight. Among all the list of advantages, we have selected the ones that have seemed most important to us:
The Internet allows us to create discussion forums of all kinds. In this way, all members can participate even if they are not physically close. Thus, meetings, distance classes, teleworking are made possible ... They are also quite useful solutions in unusual situations, such as a last-minute emergency, or situations of viruses or pandemics.
Anyone can be informed about the latest news on practically any topic. Another story is which sources you can trust and which ones you can't. As they say, we are in the Information Age. And in this, only those who want are ignorant.
Each student can study at their own pace and at the time that suits them. So it saves a lot of time and money since students do not have to transfer to an academy. And also, the possibilities of this learning and their fields of study multiply.
Each student is responsible for the learning process. This supposes a need for management and personal organization, that although the student could not, now must adapt. And it is not, precisely, a futile skill in the future.
Immediate feedback system when the user makes a mistake in a response. This system allows the student to know at the moment if they have answered in the wrong way, avoiding the misinformation that occurs in the period between taking an exam and reviewing it in person with the teacher in question.
It is indeed very easy with this tool to waste time from time to time. Therefore, each person must self-censor and carry out the correct management of their work time and breaks.
The fact of not being in direct contact with classmates and teachers gives this touch of dehumanization to education.
Much of the world population does not have access to this tool. The differences between countries, regions, and social classes continue in our world, and access to the network continues to be non-global.
Handwriting benefits cognitive development. In fact, for those with certain types of memory, this disadvantage is a big problem. Also, the permanent use of the machines will cause many people to "forget" what it is like or stop practicing the art of writing. If today is a small problem, we will see how much it will affect the children of the future.
In addition to education platforms, the importance of ICT in education also translates into educational mobile applications. This trend seems to be going strong. Some assist in the learning process, others provide innovative and interactive options. Here are some examples.
Udemy: One of the first educational apps offering courses from mobile devices, which can be free or paid. With more than 32,000 courses in total, they range from technology and science to foreign languages. And there are even some to learn how to use different software!
EdX: This mobile application, instead of offering professional courses, provides those of real universities. Even though you won't get a legitimate university degree, you can be sure that they are good, valid, high-level courses. It has online or offline videoconferences, various tutorials, and announcements, and information about other courses or titles. And, best of all, it's free.
Kahoot! It is a tool used by teachers to carry out questionnaires, discussions, or surveys in class. This way they get their students to review and test their knowledge.
Duolingo: In a list of modern and dynamic learning apps, Duolingo could not be missing. Considered the queen of languages, this mobile application allows you to easily learn to speak a new language with just 10 minutes a day. You are the one who sets your pace of progress, and the languages you want to speak.
The importance of ICT in education focuses on both students and teachers. With the comprehensive implementation of ICT in education and the use of e-learning at mature ages, the student will have a much more leading role. But you will also have a greater responsibility towards your educational process. Added to this is much more freedom to manage your time, attend classes, or do exercises. Not to mention, you can perform these tasks from any electronic device at any time of the day.
But you will also have to think about the innovation that new technologies bring. Examples of upcoming technology trends in the education sector are augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
In summary, Information and Communication Technologies offer opportunities for education that humanity has not witnessed until now. But it should be remembered, and keep in mind, that not all fields of study accept them in the same way. Certain recommendations must be followed for the proper use of ICT. First of all, we will have to analyze whether its use and application in the class or lesson would be of benefit at the cognitive level. And, above all, if it would be interesting and useful for the participating students. Except for those who end up dedicating themselves to the tech sector, technology should not be the end, but the means to improve learning as a whole. ICTs are complementary (and sustainable) tools) to the current system, not to say that they represent a previous step to the future labor market that students will have access to.
To conclude, emphasize that the importance of ICT in education around the world grows more and more every day. Once all the excuses for implementing them in the educational system have been dismantled, what prevents you from adopting these new methodologies? If you are a teacher, do not wait any longer, and jump into the pool.