Integration of ICT in Teacher Education Mrs Gurinder Kaur is Lecturer in Education, SMDRSD College of Education Pathankot, Gurdaspur Dr Gursharan Singh Kainth is Director GAD Institute of Development Studies, 14-Preet Avenue, Majitha Road, PO Naushera, Amritsar-143008 Teaching is becoming one of the most challenging professions in our society where knowledge is expanding rapidly and much of it is available to students as well as teachers at the same time (Perraton, Robinson and Creed, 2001).
As new concepts of learning have evolved, teachers are expected to facilitate learning and make it meaningful to individual learners rather than just to provide knowledge and skills. Recent developments of innovative technologies have provided new possibilities to teaching profession but at the same time have placed more demands on teachers to learn how to use these technologies in their teaching. (Robinson and Latchem, 2003).
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Globally, educational systems are under great pressure to adopt innovative methodologies and to integrate new Information and Communication Technologies (NICTs) in the teaching and learning process, to prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st century. Apparently, teaching profession is evolving from an emphasis on teacher-centered, lecture- based instructions to student-centered interactive learning environments.
NICTs integration is understood as the usage of technology seamlessly for educational processes like transacting curricular content, students working on technology to do authentic tasks and developing technology supported products, providing authentic assessments and institutional development. Today a verity of NICTs can facilitate not only delivery of instruction but also learning process itself. Moreover, NICTs can promote international collaboration and networking in education and professional development.
There is a range of NICTs options- from Videoconferencing through multimedia delivery to websites which can be used to meet the challenges teachers face today. In fact, there has been increasing evidence that NICTs may be able to provide more flexible and effective ways for lifelong professional development of teachers. Undoubtedly NICTs has brought about many challenges and opportunities for education. The educational system needs to come to terms with these new challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities.
If educational institutions have to ensure that their students leave the institutions as confident individuals capable of using new technology creatively and productively then their teachers should have the competence to integrate the emerging technologies and the digital content with all their operations. Therefore, the challenge for higher education institutions, particularly teacher education, has been to create a new generation of teachers capable of employing a variety of technology tools into all phases of academic, administrative, research, and extension functions.
A teacher being a pivot in the process of teaching learning, knowledge of ICT and skills to use ICT in teaching learning has gained immense importance for today’s teacher. A teacher is expected to know successful integration of ICT into his/her subject area to make learning meaningful. This knowledge development during pre-service training has gained much importance with the notion that exposure to ICT during this time is helpful in increasing student teachers’ willingness to integrate technology for classroom teaching.
ICT integration in institutions is being perceived as a necessity and is growing exponentially. The pervasive use of technology in all spheres of life, the knowledge economy and the paradigm shift together, generate demands on the institutions to adopt ways that help inculcate 21st century skills amongst students. APPROACHES TO ICT INTEGRATION IN TEACHER EDUCATION Use of ICT within teacher-training programs around the world is being approached in a number of ways with varying degrees of success. These approaches were subsequently described, refined and merged into four primary approaches as follows.
ICT skills development approach: Here importance is given to providing training in use of ICT in general. Student-teachers are expected to be skilled users of ICT in their day-to-day activities. Knowledge about various software, hardware and their use in educational process is provided. ICT pedagogy approach: This approach emphasizes on integrating ICT skills in respective subjects, drawing on the principle of constructivism, pre-service teachers design lessons and activities that centre on the use of ICT tools that will foster the attainment of learning outcomes.
This approach is useful to the extent that the skills enhance ICT literacy skills and the pedagogy allows student to further develop and maintain these skills in the context of designing classroom-based resources. Students who have undergone this type of training have reported significant changes in their understandings associated with effective implementation strategies, as well as their self-efficacy as to their ICT competencies. Subject- specified approach: Here ICT is embedded into one’s own subject area.
By this method teachers not only expose students to new and innovative ways of learning, but also provide them with a practical understanding of what learning and teaching with ICT looks and feels like. In this way, ICT is not an ‘add on’, but an integral tool that is accessed by teachers and students across a wide range of the curricula. Practice-driven approach: Here the emphasis is on providing exposure to use of ICT in practical aspects of teacher-training also. Emphasizing on developing lessons, assignments etc. sing ICT and implementing these in their practical work experience at various levels, the students are provided with an opportunity to assess the facilities available at workplace and effectively use their own skills to manipulate these facilities. Based on the concept that the pre-service teacher is a learner, manager, designer and researcher, he is expected to research their practicum school’s ICT facilities, design ICT activities with their tutor-teacher, manage those activities in the classroom, and evaluate their effectiveness in terms of student learning (http://ww. nd/edu. au).
Ideally, an integrated approach is to be followed for developing ICT skills in teaching. Whatever may be the approach followed in the institutions to develop knowledge about ICT, it has its own limitations and coupled with other reasons, they are not making student-teachers fully confident of using ICT in their day-to-day classrooms and other situations. In the opinion of authors, all the four approaches are required to develop awareness of expert level skills in student-teachers. Changing role of teacher educator Under the changing scenario, there is a need to redefine the role of a teacher-educator.
The National Council of Teacher Education, Jaipur (NCTE), based on a thorough job analysis, has come out with three areas in which a teacher-educator needs to acquire mastery. These are i) five performance areas; ii) ten competency areas; and iii) five commitment areas (NCTE, 1998). For the successful integration of ICT in teacher education, the teacher in addition to taking up the role responsibilities mentioned in these areas, must shoulder the additional, rather survival responsibilities outlined below :- • Act as a role model for pre-service trainees and in-service teachers, demonstrating the use of technology across the curriculum. Encourage technology integration among the trainees, colleagues, teachers and parents. • Be involved in planning and implementing ICT professional development training. • Be up-to-date with the latest technological developments and advise the institutions concerning technology advancements and upgradation. • Interact through e-mail/forum/communities/blogging with trainees, participating schools, and parents. • Aid in the implementation of technology plans of the institutions. • Plan, design, and demonstrate the use of multimedia applications for instructional use through multimedia projects. Examine a variety of evaluation and assessment tools including electronic portfolio assessment. • Become active, competent online users of telecommunication services and act as model in the use of internet as an instructional tool. • Direct trainees and teachers to digital resources that will be able to answer their questions. • Address issues related to acceptable user policies, student safety, ethics, security, copyright, etc. • Be involved in marketing the best practices of technology integration. Manage the available resources more productively to face the ever increasing financial crunch. • Use information literacy to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources. • Have the competencies in software evaluations and advise the institutions in making the right choices. Developing 21st century skills Globalization and advancements in technology are driving changes in the social, technological, economical, environmental and political landscapes at such a pace and magnitude that is too great, and too multiple to ignore.
As society changes, the skills that students need to be successful in life also change. Basic literacy of reading, writing and mathematics are no longer sufficient. Our students need to master those basic skills as well as read critically, write persuasively, think and reason logically, and solve complex problems. A successful student must also be adopting at managing information-finding, evaluating, and applying new content understanding with great flexibility. They must be equipped with skills and perspectives designed to help them anticipate change and plan accordingly.
This will equip them to thrive in a world characterized by rapid continuous change. A simple question to ask is “how has the world of a child changed in the last 150 years? ” and the answer is, “it is hard to imagine any way in which it hasn’t challenged! But if you look at school today versus 100 years ago, it is more similar than dissimilar. ” There is a profound gap between the knowledge and skills most students acquire in school and those required in today’s world and technology-infused workplaces.
The technology that has become so pervasive in our daily lives is still outside our comfort zone in the school environment. The challenge is to overcome traditional ways, and change pedagogical practices in ways that reflect the changing social, political and economic landscape in which 21st century students will learn. In order to thrive in a digital economy, students will need digital age proficiencies. It is important for the educational system to make parallel changes in order to fulfill its objectives, namely, the preparation of students for the world beyond the classroom.
Therefore, the educational system must understand and embrace the 21st century skills within the context of rigorous academic standards. Schools, just like businesses, industries and families, must adapt to these changes and “bridge the gap between how students live and how they learn”. Accelerating technological change, rapidly accumulating knowledge, increasing global competition and rising workforce capabilities around the world make 21st century skills essential.
The following is a list of 21st century skills, which allows students to prepare for careers, requiring them to acquire new knowledge, learn new technologies, rapidly process information, make decisions and communicate in a global and diverse society. Information and media literacy skills: Analyzing, accessing, managing, integrating, evaluating and creating information in a variety of forms and media. Understanding the role of media in society. Communication skills: Understanding, managing and creating effective oral, written and multimedia communication in a variety of forms and contexts.
Critical thinking and systems thinking: Exercising sound reasoning in understanding and making complex choices, understanding the interconnections among systems Problem identification, formulation and solution: Ability to frame, analyze and solve problems. Creativity and intellectual curiosity: Developing, implementing and communicating new ideas to others, staying open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives. Interpersonal and collaborative skills: Demonstrating teamwork and leadership; adapting to varied roles and responsibilities; working productively with others; exercising empathy; respecting diverse perspectives.
Self-direction: Monitoring one’s own understanding and learning needs, locating appropriate resources, transferring learning from one domain to another. Accountability and Adaptability: Exercising personal responsibility and flexibility in personal workplace and community contexts; setting and meeting high standards and goals for one and others; tolerating ambiguity. Social Responsibility: Acting responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, demonstrating ethical behaviour in personal, work place and community contexts.
There is a need for students to develop learning skills that enable them to think critically, analyze information, communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve, and the realize the essential role that technology plays in realizing these learning skills in today’ knowledge-based society. Representative of the ICT literacy skills are the following six arenas critical to student’s success in the workplace. Communicate Effectively: Students must have a range of skills to express themselves not only through paper and pencil, but also audio, video, animation, design software as well as a host of new environments. e. g. E-mail, websites, message boards, blogs, streaming media, etc. ) Analyze and Interpret Data: Students must have the ability to crunch, compare, and choose among the glut of data now available web-based and other electronic formats.. Understand Computational Modeling: Students must possess an understanding of the power, limitations, and underlying assumptions of various data representation systems, such as computational models and simulations, which are increasingly driving a wide-range of disciplines.
Manage and Priorities Tasks: Students must be able to manage the multi-tasking, selection, and prioritizing across technology applications that allow them to move fluidly among teams, assignments and communities of practice.. Engage in Problem Solving: Students must have an understanding of how to apply what they know and can do to new situations. Ensure Security and Safety: Students must know and use strategies to acknowledge, identity, and negotiate 21st century risks.
Looking into the role and importance of 21st century skills in the present world, it becomes vital for colleges of education to incorporate 21st century skills in their curriculum so that future teachers are equipped with skills and strategies to promote 21st century skills among students. Incorporating various methodologies like activity-based learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning and effective technology integration in everyday class rook practices will lead to promote 21st century skills among students.
Role of technology in promoting higher order thinking skills Technology enabled the development of higher order thinking skills when students work in collaborative groups while using computers to solve problems or are taught to apply the process of problem-solving and then apply technology in the development of solutions. Higher order thinking by students involves the transformation of information and ideas. This transformation occurs when students combine facts and ideas and synthesize, generate, explain, hypothesize or arrive at some conclusion or interpretation.
Manipulating information and ideas through these processes allow students to solve problems, gain understanding and discover new meaning. In helping students become producers of knowledge, the teacher’s main instructional task is to create activities or environments that provide them with opportunities to engage in higher order thinking. Technology is most powerful when used as a tool for problem solving, conceptual development and critical thinking. Using technology as a tool, students spend time productively creating strategies for solving complex problems and developing a deep understanding of the subject matter.
It becomes imperative for the students to present, publish and share their idea or products resulted from critically analyzing and evaluating the information. Apparently, technology plays a key role in developing constructive publications that would effectively translate the ideas of the learner. ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN FOSTERING A STUDENT-CENTRIC LEARNING ENVIRONMENT With the adoption of 21st century technology, there is a major paradigm shift in instructional methods to reflect the challenges present in today’s society.
The role of the teacher and student has changed dramatically over the years. The teacher was responsible for disseminating information to students. The students’ primary responsibility was to consume and retain as many of the facts and figures as they could. In student-centric classroom, the role of the teacher changes to that of facilitator and resource person often acting as a catalyst, the teacher help the student to promote his or her individual learning. With the use of technology, the teacher can extend his or her role beyond the class room.
Technology provides students with the opportunity via E-mails or discussion forums to ask questions and also collaborate with other students in the understanding of the course content. This use of technology virtually gives the students access to the teacher at all times where they can ask and receive answers to their questions without having to speak in front of large group. It also makes possible for the students to access lectures, demonstrations or discussions when required, rather than being lied down to a fixed schedule.
These resource materials are stored and available in digital format (CD – Rom or DVD) and can even be delivered on demand via the Internet. Each technology is likely to play a different role in students learning, e. g. , word processing and e-mail promote communication skills, database and spreadsheet programs promote organization skills and modeling software promotes the understanding of science and math concepts. There are numerous multimedia programs designed to meat the special needs of diverse learning, e. g. , a student learning English language would benefit from a computer program where they could learn the language at their own pace.
They could spend as much time as needed on the computer, without feeling pressured to keep up with other students. One can not expect all teachers to teach in this fashion but a computer program or multimedia application may have the capabilities of doing so without taking additional time away from other students. By utilizing such programs a single teacher can employ many more resources and methods within one class room, rather then teaching the information in one manner to all students. In technology rich student- centered classrooms, there are many observable changes:- 1. There is shift from whole class to small group instruction. . Coaching occurs rather than lecture and recitation. 3. Teachers work with weaker students more often rather than focusing attention on brighter students. 4. Students are more actively engaged. 5. Students become more cooperative and less competitive. 6. There is an integration of both visual and verbal thinking instead of the privacy of verbal thinking. By integrating technology with constructivist methods, such as problem- based learning and project- based learning, teachers are more responsible for and active in the learning process (Grant, 2002) ROLE OF ICT IN THE CURRICULUM
One can generally differentiate three distinctive roles for ICT in the curriculum • Learning about ICT: ICT as a subject of learning in the school curriculum, such as computer literacy, computer sciences and information literacy. • Learning with ICT: The use of various computer capabilities such as computation multimedia, internet or World Wide Web (WWW) as a medium to enhance instruction or as a replacement for other media without changing beliefs about the approach to and the methods of teaching and learning. Learning through ICT: Here ICT is integrated so completely as essential tool in a course/curriculum that the teaching and learning of that course/curriculum is no longer possible without it. As per the report published by UNESCO in 2003 the advanced countries including Australia, South Korea and Singapore have integrated ICT’s into their educational system. Countries using ICT’s but have not fully integrated ICT’s in educational include China, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and India. The best use of information communication technologies in India has been i. e.
Video conferencing facility which was introduced to import knowledge about the new technologies by UGC-CEC network with the help of ISRO and Doordarshan in the year 1994. CEC (Consorting for educational communication-an inter university centre of University Grants Commission) is responsible for maintaining the quality of e-content material on higher education. All the CEC material will be available on website through internet all over the world which can be accessed and used for educational purpose in most of the subjects taught in the country in two to three years time.
IMPACT OF ICT ON TEACHER-EDUCATORS AND STUDENT TEACHERS 1. It acts as the gateway to world of information and enables teachers to be updated. 2. For professional development and awareness of innovative trends in instructional methodologies, evaluation mechanism etc. 3. For effective implementation of certain student – centric methodologies such as project -based learning which puts the students in the role of active researches and technology becomes the appropriate tool. 4.
It is an effective tool for information acquiring – thus students are encouraged to look for information from multiple sources and they are now more informed then before. 5. It has enabled better and swifter communication, presentation of ideas are more effective and relevant. 6. The dissemination of ideas to a larger mass now seems possible due to technology. 7. Student-teachers are transformed into self learners. 8. ICT creates awareness of recent methodologies and thus teacher educators feel empowered.
ICT TRAINING INPUTS FOR TEACHERS AND TEACHER- EDUCATORS For the successful implementation of ICT, teacher trainees, teachers and teacher- educators need to be trained in the following dimensions. The commercially available training programs are designed to provide exposure only to system software, some of the application software and the basics of internet. 1. Awareness phase: The input should be to make the teachers aware of the importance and possibilities of ICT-the current trends and future projections. 2.
Learning theories and technology integration: Traditional and modern view of learning, shift from teaching to learning, constructivism, role of ICT in lifelong learning. 3. Basic hardware skills : Hands on experiences in operating a ) the PC and laptops-switching on, shutting down, and networking, b) storage devices- using floppy drive, CD ROM drive, flash drive, and burning CD-ROM , c) output devices-using printers and speakers, d) input devices-using keyboard (Including shortcuts), mouse, modem, scanners, web cam, digital camera, camcorders, date loggers and d) display devices- data projectors, and interactive white boards. . Understanding system software: Features of desktop, starting an application, resizing windows, organizing files (Creating, editing, saving and renaming), switching between programs, copying etc. 5. Using application/productivity software: Word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation, publishing, creation of Portable Document Format (PDF) files, test generation, data logging, image processing etc. 6.
Using multimedia: Exposure to multimedia CD ROMs in different subject, installing programs, evaluating CD ROMs, approaches to using CD ROMs, creating multimedia presentations. 7. Using internet: e-mail, communities, forums, blogging , wiki: subscription to mailing lists, e-mail and internet projects, web searching strategies (navigating, searching, selecting, and saving information ) videoconferencing, designing web pages, freeware and shareware, evaluating website resources, virtual fieldtrips, learning opportunities using the web, and netiquette. Pedagogical application of ICT tools: Specific use of application software in different subject, appropriate ICT tools and pedagogy, unit plan integrating ICT tools, approaches to managing ICT-based learning groups, assessment of learning, electronic portfolio and assessment rubrics, creating teacher and student support materials, supporting students with special needs. 9.
Introduction to open source software: Concept, types, advantages, working on open sources application software. 10. Social, legal, ethical and health issues: Advantages and limitations of computer use, privacy violations, copyright infringement, plagiarism, computer security (hacking, virus, misuse, abuse and staying safe) healthy use (seating, light, sound, radiation, exercise) 11.
ICT for professional and personal productivity: ICT for administration, record keeping, reporting and transfer of information, attendance, research, careers in computers and professional development opportunities. As an advanced training website development, installation and use of server based applications, training in course management system, e learning course content development using various authoring tools, audio/video /image editing, animation etc. can be introduced.
In addition to the hands on experiences every training program could include an ICT awareness /familiarity quiz, exhibitions of ICT books and multimedia CD ROMs by commercial agencies, poster session on success stories, case study presentations and analysis, ICT based demonstration lesson in the schools (whole class, small group, internet based, etc) exhibitions and presentations by commercial agencies on emerging technologies. Teacher Educator’ Initiatives
Whatever may be the inputs in the training and however well designed it is, the transformation can’t be achieved without the leadership, commitment and initiatives of the teachers and teacher educators, both could take up initiatives like: • Self-learning using the tutorials available on the net, or print medium. • Hiring an ICT expert by a group of teachers/teacher educators • Enrolling for online professionally development courses. There are many websites offering free training modules. • Enrolling for the best commercially available ICT training programs • Coaching by a colleague-Mentoring Attending ICT training courses, seminars, conferences and workshops. • Communities of teachers’ collaborative groups to integrate ICT into their curriculum (same subjects, different subjects, same school/college, different school/college) • Online learning by means of videoconferencing, discussion forum, chat, blogging etc. • Visiting institutions where the ICT is already being integrated. • Action research trying out various models of technology integration and publishing the result of the same. • Membership and active participation in national and international associations, whose primary concern is technology.
The organizations like international society for technology in education (ISTE), All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT), Society for Educational Technology, Research and Development (SETRAD) etc. could be considered. • Take up diploma or Certificate courses on ICT offered through distance mode by national or international universities and organizations. The University of Hull currently offers a course “M Ed. In e-learning” through online mode (http://ces. hull. ac. uk/courses/ MEdineLearning. tml) • Exploring the possibility of faculty exchange program to get placed in an organization where the ICT integration in already in place. • Taking up short-term or long-term projects related to ICT from ERIC, UGC, and ICSSR. This may be in collaboration with the schoolteachers • Keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in ICT through journals, magazines, newspapers and the internet. • Teacher educators modeling the ICT integration in their academic work. • Planning and implementing ICT in-service training programs for schoolteachers- the best way to learn is to teach. Creating a pool of ICT competent past teacher trainees and involving them in the training programs. • Designing and implementing self financing certificate course in ICT for in-service teachers. unesco planning guide for ICT in teacher-education cites three key principles for effective ICT development in Teacher Education that were put forward by the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. 1. That technology should be infused into the entire teacher education programme, implying that ICT should not be restricted to a single course but needs to permeate in all courses in the programmes. . That Technology should be introduced in context. Accordingly, ICT application like word-processing, databases, spread-sheet and telecommunications should not be taught as separate topics rather encountered as the need arises in all courses of Teacher-Education programmes. 3. That students should experience innovative technology supported learning environment in Teacher-Education programmes. This requires that students should see their lecturers engaging in technology to present their subjects utilizing power point or simulations in lectures and demonstrations.
Students should also have the opportunity to use such applications in practical classes, seminars and assignments. The application of these three principles will be a mile stone towards effectively integrating ICT in Teacher-Education. REFERENCES Journals 1. Anjali Khirwadkar, R. L. Madhav,”ICT in education, An integrated approach”Edutracks, pg. 14-17, July, 2006 2. Jasmeen Kaur, ‘ICT and changing roles of teacher” Education New Horizons, vol. 6,no. 22,Jan-March,2009 3Dr. M. U. Paily,” Integration of ICT in Teacher Education” Edutracks, vol. 5 no. 6 pg. 5-11, Feb. 2006 4 S. K. Thakur,”X-PDITTE Towards Excellence in Education” Intel Teach Program,2008 5. Steketee Carole,” Integrating ICT as an integral teaching and learning tool into pre-service teacher training courses. ‘ http;www. nd. edu. au. WEBSITES 1http//www ifets. info/journals/8_2/8. pdf. 2. www. Wikieducator. Org/ images/e/ef/PID_619 pdf 3. www. unescobkk. org/education/ict. in. eduction/online resources 4. www. winona. edu/21st century/success. html 5www. ncrel. org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technology/te800. html#skills 6. http// psychology. wichita. edu