Defining the Value Proposition

The increasing global move toward knowledge societies, wherein knowledge is the primary production resource rather than capital and labour, has placed increasing emphasis on the need to ensure that individuals are educated and become skilled participants in society and the economy. Information and communication technology (ICT) is regarded as an essential means to support the achievement of genuine knowledge societies, often compelling education systems worldwide to adopt strategies to encourage its integration into education systems.

The possible benefits of introducing ICT at the school level are widely documented, and its value and significance are particularly noted with regard to its potential to improve teaching and learning strategies, enhance communications and productivity, and improve management and administration. For example, teachers indicate that the use of productivity software provides powerful tools to demonstrate learning. Furthermore, access to the Internet has provided a cost-effective way to supply staff and students with the latest quality resources where previously under-resourced media centres and libraries struggled to meet this demand. Additionally, teachers and school management use software solutions to streamline and automate class and school administration tasks. In some instances, school data is collected within a school information system that integrates all aspects of school life, from admissions, marks, and student and staff information to report creation, library records, finance and even the generation of student promotion schedules required by district, provincial and national education offices. As more schools adopt digital systems, the collection, sharing and analysis of school data with district officials and central education ministries also promises improved educational planning at a national level.

Harnessing ICT effectively to build knowledge societies and more effective education systems has implications for changing skills requirements, particularly for teachers. As teachers are at the heart of curriculum delivery, they play a pivotal role in the adoption and integration of ICT in education. However, despite the potential contribution of ICT in education, many countries have a shortage of ICT professionals and lack teachers with ICT skills. The relatively recent appearance of user-friendly educational technologies means that older generations of trained teachers are either ignorant of the potential ofICT and/or lack the skills and confidence to deploy it effectively. In addition, ICT in Education curricula for both pre- and in-service teachers are often either non-existent or have been tacked onto existing subject curricula and treated unevenly, almost as an afterthought, rather than being properly integrated into learning programmes.

There are as many schools of thought on how best to equip teacherswith skills and knowledge to use ICT for teaching as there are tried-and-tested models for professional development. The dominant schools of thought regarding ICT integration are divided on the issue of whether teachers need ICT literacy skills regardless of how those skills will be applied pedagogically, or whether ICT integration should be deployed in a manner that equips teachers with ICT literacy skills and at the same time shows teachers how to use these skills to plan lessons and utilise technology for teaching and learning. Increasingly, approaches toward the latter are becoming more widespread, moving towards ICT skills being deployed in a context of broader educational reform, which embraces a shift away from teacher-centred, lecture-based instruction toward student-centred, interactive, constructivist learning. As one example, the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers emphasises that it is not sufficient for teachers to have ICT skills and be able to teach these to their students; they need to help students become collaborative, problem-solving, creative learners by using ICT so they will be effective citizens and members of the workforce.

It is clear that teacher professional development is essential to create new learning environments. Thus, ongoing investment in continuous teacher training and professional development offerings is vital for successful use of ICT in education.

Toolkit Directory
Defining the Value Proposition
Where the Tools Come From
An Overview of Available Tools:
- ICT Competency Framework
- Surveys
- Professional Development Strategy
- Curriculum Map Template
- ICT Readiness Assessment
- Course Materials
- Advocacy Strategy
- Monitoring & Evaluation
Using the Tools
Deployment Scenarios:
- Need for Govt. Frameworks
- Need for Institution Driven Change
- Need to Ascertain Success
Appendix A:
Approach to Curriculum Revision
& Materials Development
Print friendly version of the toolkit