Understanding The Role Of ICT In Higher Education

ICT – Information and Communications Technology has the proven power to change the world.

This acronym  refers to the merging of audiovisual and telephone networks with the computer single unified system of cabling. Thus, ICT includes any communication device – including radio, television, cell phones, computer and network hardware, satellite systems, etc.

Today, ICT technologies have embedded themselves as commonplace entities in all aspects of life. This gives us further evidence that the world is rapidly moving towards increased adoption of digital technology.

The role of ICTs in education is becoming more and more critical. The higher education sector has advanced with the help of various ICT tools such as laptops, smartphones, whiteboards, smartboards, digital cameras, projectors, video conferencing tools, audio recording tools, and many more.

However, ICT has benefited the higher education sector in more than just new tools.

Let’s see how ICT has evolved the higher education :

1. The Role Of ICT In WHAT IS LEARNED In Higher Education

Traditional teaching has revolved around content with great emphasis laid on textbook-based learning. The teachers headed the classroom and used lectures, tutorials, and presentations to help the students understand the material being taught.

With the introduction of ICT and various EdTech tools, students are no longer restricted to learning from the textbook, class lectures, and presentations. With the help of the internet and ICT tools, higher education learners can access a variety of sources for information, including videos, documentaries, podcasts, and speeches by experts.

The sources of learning are endless.

The onus of learning has also shifted from teachers to the students as there is an increased focus on student-centered learning that is based on the access of information. This has also changed the role of the teachers from being content experts to being guides and mentors for the students.

It is opined that as students and teachers gain access to higher bandwidths on internet connectivity and more direct forms of communication, the trend of student-driven learning will continue to grow in higher education institutes.

2. The Role Of ICT On HOW STUDENTS LEARN In Higher Education

ICT is not only influencing, changing, and supporting the content that is being learned in higher education institutes but also changing the way students are learning.

There has been a systematic movement from content-centered curricula to a competency-based curricula with the aid of various ICT tools.

Similarly, there is a movement away from teacher-centered learning to student-centered forms of knowledge. ICT has facilitated a modern learning approach where students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.

Students are increasingly turning towards the web and online subject matter experts from who they will learn, thus creating an environment of independent learning.

3. The Role Of ICT On WHEN STUDENTS LEARN in Higher Education

In traditional high schools, colleges and universities, institutions provided minimal choice for students for when the learning would take place. Typically, the students would accept the learning schedule prepared by the institute and follow the same

The use of ICT tools allows students to optimize their learning experience by choosing when they wish to study based on their routine or body clock. Learners are free to participate in learning activities when time permits or be assured of no interruption. This freedom and flexibility have significantly increased the opportunities for many students to participate in formal programs.

It has also provided learning opportunities for many more learners who previously were constrained by other commitments.

The use of online technology learning has enabled learning to become an activity that is no longer set within programmed schedules and slots.

The various technologies can provide asynchronous support for learning so that the need for real-time participation is avoided while the students can benefit from the communication and collaboration that the online system provides.

It is not only students, but even teachers benefit from these tools as they can decide what periods in the 24X7 envelope can be utilized for teaching and interacting with the students?

4. The Role Of ICT In WHERE STUDENTS LEARN In Higher Education

The continued and increased use of ICTs has also changed where the students learn.

While the concept of flexibility in the location of education is not new to the prevalence of distance education programs for years. Yet,  for most institutes, students do not choose the place of their location.

With ICT and advancements in EdTech tools, off-campus delivery of courses is an option for students who were unable to attend the class for any number of reasons.

Additionally, the use of ICT tools instead of a traditional classroom setting has given way to learning in work-based settings with students able to access courses and programs from their workplace.

The advantages of education at the location of choice is not only increased convenience to the students but also financial savings and time-related savings with travel.

The concept of technology powered ‘any place learning’ also ensures that learners enroll in courses offered by any institute across the world rather than only applying for local educational institutes. The advantages of this include extended course offerings and the opportunity to digitally interact with co-learners and students from differing backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Higher education systems have grown exponentially in the past few decades to meet the increasing demands of quality education.  The swift advancements in ICT have also helped to propel the higher education sector to serve the students and teachers better.

Today, ICT applications can provide many options and choices and for the students and institutes can create competitive edges by offering these choices to their students. 

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