August 2008

ICT in Schools-Glimpses from Afar

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From leaders in the government to leading pedagogues, all face decisions as to why and how to integrate ICT (read computers and the allied technologies) into education of children. The decisions are not easy, because choices are complex and demanding and the impact of the technology on education is open to debate. Research says little to guide decision-makers. To make the matter further complicated, the technology keeps changing.   
 
Social scientists acknowledge the changes that are taking place towards a global, knowledge-oriented economy. There is no general agreement on the pace at which these changes are taking place, but people do agree that the knowledge society – or at any rate, the information society – is here. South Korea, among the Asian nations, made the clear statement that the goal of its ICT in schools is 'adapting education to the information age'. The rhetoric that curriculum reform should make use of the technology, to prepare the present and the coming generations for the information age, is also the rationale for new mechanisms for lifelong learning using information technology to bring about changes in the content, process and outcome of education.
 
This article is a cursory glance at the school ICT programmes in 35-odd randomly se-lected countries to note  the variations in policies and practices and is an invitation for policy analysts to explore 'what' is happening to technology-mediated educa-tional processes,  'where', 'why' & 'how'.
 
The available policy statements from different countries converge on two prominent themes, namely, 'ICT skills for all' and 'ICT integration to enhance the teaching-learning processes'. The latter often gains support from the assertions that integration of the new technology calls for a new pedagogy and that the new pedagogy is emerging. 

Within Asia and the Pacific region, advanced countries like Australia, Singapore and South Korea have policy goals linked with overall national ICT policies

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