THE APPLICATION, ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ICT4D
In our last post, we defined ICT4D as Information Communication Technology for Development. Now we look at the applications and benefits.
One might wonder, why delve into ICT? Does it add money to my pocket? How can I benefit from it and many more puzzling questions? Let us glance through some of the numerous applications of ICT4D.
ICTs are powerful tools for extending educational opportunities, both formal and non-formal, to the general populace either in scattered and rural populations or metropolitans, groups traditionally excluded from education due to cultural or social reasons, and the elderly, as well as all others who for reasons of cost or because of time constraints are unable to enrol on campus.
ICT4D can also be of great help to other sectors, apart from the education sector but in this post we started to focus mainly on education. Students, Parents, Individuals, Government as a whole can all benefit from ICT. Some of ways they can be of help are highlighted in different sections.
Gains for teachers
· Gains in ICT literacy skills, confidence and enthusiasm.
· Easier, better and faster planning and preparation of lessons and designing materials
· Students are generally more ‘hands on’ and are more willing to work when they use computers than when they are given other tasks to do.
· Computer use during lessons encourages after-school learning among students
Gains for students
· Development of writing skills (including spelling, grammar, punctuation, editing and re-drafting), also fluency, originality and elaboration.
· It increases self-confidence and self-esteem of the students
· Students prefer learning in a technology-enhanced setting than in a traditional classroom
· Broadband technology supports the reliable and uninterrupted downloading of web-hosted educational multimedia resources
Gains for parents
· Easier communication with teachers and the school
· Increased involvement in education for parents and, in some cases, improved self-esteem
· Increased knowledge of children’s learning and capabilities, owing to increase in learning activity being situated in the home
ADVANTAGES OF ICT4D
• Anytime, anywhere you go. Just like MTN’s slogan is anywhere u go, u can get materials online anytime regardless where you are, hence “anytime, anywhere you go. One defining feature of ICTs is their ability to blend the two concepts time and space. ICTs make possible asynchronous learning, or learning characterized by a time lag between the delivery of instruction and its reception by learners. Online course materials, for example, may be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ICT-based educational delivery (e.g., educational programming broadcast over radio or television) also dispenses with the need for all learners and the instructor to be in one physical location.
• Access to remote and online learning resources. Teachers and learners no longer have to rely solely on printed books and other materials in physical media housed in libraries (and available in limited quantities) for their educational needs. With the Internet and the World Wide Web, a great wealth of learning materials in almost every subject and in a variety of media can now be accessed from anywhere at any time of the day and by an unlimited number of people. This is particularly significant for many schools in developing countries, and even some in developed countries, that have limited and outdated library resources. ICTs also facilitate access to resource persons, mentors, experts, researchers, professionals, business leaders, and peers—all over the world.
· ICTs help prepare individuals for the business environment.
One of the most commonly cited reasons for using ICTs in the classroom has been to better prepare the current generation of students for a workplace where ICTs, particularly computers, the Internet and related technologies, are becoming more and more ubiquitous. Technological literacy, or the ability to use ICTs effectively and efficiently, is thus seen as representing a competitive edge in an increasingly globalizing job market.
Disadvantages of ICT
One of the major barriers for the cause of ICT not reaching its full potential in the foundation stage is teacher’s attitude. In theory some people may have the opinion that the teachers who had not experienced ICT throughout their learning tend to have a negative attitude towards it, as they may lack the training in that area of the curriculum.
Another important drawback to using ICT in schools is the fact that computers are expensive. According to the IT learning exchange (2001), in most schools ICT will be the single largest curriculum budget cost. This may be seen as a good thing but on the other hand there will be little money left over for other significant costs but on the plus side, cheaper tools are being introduced reading tablets ( kindle,nexus 7 etc)