ICT Tools and Equipments An Overview yukti pahwa
What do we have and Where are we heading India is a developing nation. Our population has surpassed many countries in terms of people and now the attempt is to produce a productive workforce which is incomparable. Information and Communication Technology is paving way in India for the tools and equipments that are to be used in educational and training institutions, to bring the above goal into a reality. Indian entrepreneurs in India and abroad, who have made a mark with ICT advancements to their dispersal, have ignited a hope and faith amongst a low income developing economy to pursue hopes of rising above all as a developed economy. ICT tools and equipments can make it possible for the economy to grow by spurring education amongst those who are still in schools and colleges; and reaching the young children and youth beyond these traditional educational institutions. In our country there is limited access to resource for those who want to learn. Due to limitations of space, time, money, demography, insufficient knowledge and lack of infrastructure it is still difficult to access many untapped sources and tools that are ICT enabled. We have a gamut of ICT products to our dispersal today in Indian educational institutions. To name a few broader type of tools, equipments and services â€“ Internet, DVD/ CD, computers/ Laptops/ smart books, Interactive Whiteboards, projectors, Audio-Visual devices, smart pens, softwares, cloud computing, eBooks, mobile phones, e-content, blogging spaces, printers, photocopy and fax machines, satellites and communication technology, and so on and so forth. ICT is not only an influential aspect for educational sector but is also a boon to what we call as the online education. Virtual learning environment and multimedia supports smart ways of engaging students to learn and grow into a knowledge economy and an unparalleled workforce. Some Benefits Easy access, instructors convenience and receivers dispersal, increased motivation with faster feedbacks and quality check for continuous learning, access to long distance programmes, wide participation, ways to make learning comprehensive and exhaustive, easy learning mechanisms, easy ways of measurements and evaluation and improved writing styles. Some Barriers Some drawbacks to name a few include lack of training of the trainers, lack of access, quality and equity amongst the users, requires ample time for experimentation and implementation, lack of willingness to let go of the traditional ways of learning, digitising not being able to meet individual needs in classroom situations, high cost of the technology and resources, operational failures, and so on.
ICT tools and equipments can make it possible for the economy to grow by spurring education amongst those who are still in schools and colleges; and reaching the young children and youth beyond these traditional educational institutions.
Commentary The ICT Trends in India Karan Bajwa, Country Head – Public Sector, Microsoft India says “Education in India is, undoubtedly, one of the imperatives for the country and the investment made in it over the years has contributed hugely in propelling India’s growth in the knowledge economy. The fact that, as a country, we need to continue the emphasis on quality education is obvious, as are the challenges in implementing this course of action. Clearly our education system is struggling to meet the aspirations of our youth, and to deliver the quality and quantity of educated and skilled talent that the industry needs. There is today a lack of consistent, effective curriculum content; a shortage of trained, qualified teachers; and a lack of universal access to learning. And technology offers a panacea: the combination of quality content, partnerships, training, and broad access - complemented with the most appropriate technology tools to author, distribute, teach, and
connect - can transform education. The role of ICT in increasing access to education has become more pronounced than ever with the Right to Education bill. At Microsoft India, we have always seen education as a priority area and believe that technology offers new educational possibilities that can help empower both teachers and students. We also believe that technology is the tool, the catalyst, not an end in itself. For instance, if we look at the ratio of qualified teachers versus students in the country, we will never have enough teachers. But technology can help overcome both the problems of staff shortage and standardised study material. Take our flagship project, Partners in Learning, which has trained more than 450,000 government school teachers so far. These educators are also provided a common platform to share the lessons they create using ICT for their own students, making the lessons available to other teachers across the country. This is enhancing the power of the teachers, and in the process, also making learning more relevant for the students.”
“Perspectives quoted” Institutional Representatives
Satish Jha President and CEO, OLPC
Importance of ICT equipment
Opportunities and Challenges with ICT presents to teaching learning process
Security of the ICT equipment and services available
ICT – a suppliment, not a replacement for teachers
Comparison between India and Abroad
Its just as important as having electricity at homes and offices. An education without these technologies in modern times is like keeping the children without access in the dark ages.
That depends on the equipment. If we present what is given out at work place or what is normally created for the adult users, it will not be as useful. Though anything that can actually work will be helpful. However, computers like One Laptop per Child that is designed for children and treats them as children who will grow up to be adults present a much greater opportunity. Simply putting a regular PC may pose infrastructural challenges. It may not work. If it did work, it may require special training. And given the paucity of funds, it may not be affordable when we do not have even a teacher per class. However, OLPC is designed for children in ways that they can learn both with the teachers and by themselves. Its designed keeping in mind the resource challenges our villages have, the quality of teaching currently available and how children learn.
While cities have their own challenges of security and everyone needs to be alert and adequate norms or policies need to be created before deploying these gadgets, in the beginning it may be less of a challenge in the villages and they may grow into good cyber citizens early on. We can draw lessons from the rest of the world as well where young students acquire a great degree of sophistication as they go along with such deployments.
Teachers help structure our knowledge. The represent a filter that helps us add value to society. In that sense its not yet possible or fusible o replace teachers. Replacing teachers may be a good idea from the point of view of costs. However, teachers create a social value that cannot happen without them.
In the affluent countries a school is designed with the idea of making the children have access to all that is socially acceptable and possible. At $9000 per child per year in primary school they can well afford nearly any technology they may want. However, at about $100 per child per year, much less can be afforded. So the schools in India are being created around the very basic of survival where the focus is less on education and a lot more on getting the children come to the school and not learning as such. In the affluent countries the school infrastructure is created around a national goal to excel. In India its around just letting them stand as a human being. Barring the urban, privileged schools that are privately run, Indian schools are nearly ten generations behind the school evolution curve.
Absolutely necessary in this world of globalisation
The ICT equipments present huge opportunities to both teachers and students in becoming life long learners. Knowledge of ICT is the key to globalisation and creating world citizens. The major challenges are financial and availability of trained manpower.
The security issues are connected with ethics and morality of staff and students. Every institution must provide ethical capacity building along with digital training.
ICT equipment is only a tool and can not ever replace the teachers.
In India the use of ICT is very limited compared to other countries. However, the sharp mind of an Indian student is quickly catching up with the rest of the world given the right access and opportunity.
ICT has brought new opportunities in teaching and learning, and hence it is absolutely important to have ICT equipment in educational institutions.
ICT equipment offer the following new opportunities in teaching and learning: • Faster delivery and sharing of knowledge, • 24x7 learning, • Accessibility of knowledge in remote areas, thus bridging the digital divide, • Improving the quality of education, • Education for All.
University and colleges may not have the right security set up to prevent cyber threats and attacks. Students may use pirated version of firewall and antivirus software, without realising their hazards. Operating systems, which are generally come along with PCs and laptops, need regular updating. Students and other users freely download software and other e-material, which may sometimes be virus infected. Internet service providers generally give clear directions for making strong passwords, but such precautions are not seriously taken. Similarly, in opening e-mails from unknown persons/sources, precaution is to be taken, especially opening of attachment files.
ICT equipment may facilitate fast delivery of information and knowledge to billions, may bridge the digital divide through delivering quality education to all, but they can not replace teachers. Even when machines are to be used for knowledge dissemination, the role of a teacher becomes that of a facilitator. Teachers leave their imprints upon the students and they transform a student into a perfect human being.
Lack of ICT infrastructure in Indian educational institutions is the main reason which segregates them with foreign educational institutions. Our classrooms are not well equipped; even LCD projectors, which are the basic equipment for displaying PPTs, are not available in most of the universities and colleges. Due to high Internet bandwidth cost in India, in comparison to foreign institutions, is another factor that has left our country in disadvantage. Also, there is a lack of ITskilled teachers and trained IT technical staff in Indian academic institutions for proper use of ICT equipment that are available.
Dr. Shayama Chona, President Tamana, ex-Principal DPS
Dr. ZH Khan Director, FTK-Centre for Information Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
ICT equipment offer the following challenges: • Affordability of ICT equipment by educational institutions due to cost factor, • Proper maintenance of equipment, • Shortage of trained manpower for using ICT equipment, especially in remote areas, • Lack of IT-skilled teachers in colleges.
Fortunately, during the XI five-year plan, the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India, under the National Mission of Education through ICT, has big plans to provide Internet connectivity to all Indian universities and colleges, develop low cost ICT equipment and also to develop e-content in various disciplines, which will be accessible to all citizens of the country. With such initiatives, the gaps in the use of ICT equipment for teaching and learning, are likely to bring the Indian educational institutions at par or close to foreign institutions.
What do We have and Where are We heading Some BarrierS Some BenefitS Easy access, instructors convenience and receivers dispersal, increased...