Information and Communication Technology is a marvelous changing force in 21st century. Technology has its influence and reshaped every field of life. In daily routine jobs one cannot do anything without technology. According to Johannessen (2009) “ICT (information and communication technologies) in education lives a life at the crossroads between evidence based policymaking, learning and the fast-changing world of technology” (p.13).
It is fact that technology has provided routine tools of all peoples’ life. Technology has enforced people to change. It is now imperative that people have change themselves in accordance with the advancement of technology.
In future, economy of the world will be the digital economy so education systems have to train ICT skilled persons. Therefore, it is responsibility of all national education systems to train digitally literate teachers (Paun, 2003). The role of teacher is very vital to apply Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) so that all people may acquire the required skills and knowledge of communication society (Davis, 1997). She states that the professional development of teachers in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and appropriate academic skills are critical.
The integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has changed pace of development in the education system with a challenge to develop a capacity for change. Many initiatives have been taken to integrate ICTs in teaching learning process but there are many areas of concern. ICTs skill development in teacher educators is very important of their ICTs skills in teaching methodologies. The quality of teacher educators in use ICTs and its impact on the confidence and competence levels of teacher educators is most important in ensuring that ICTs continue to be an integrated part of the teaching learning process. The uses of technology have a significant impact on the training of teacher educators especially in the areas of comprehension, problem solving, composition and mathematical layout that will sustain both learning and effective functioning in the life. Integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education is a systematic approach to assessing the total process of learning, designing, developing, utilizing and evaluating the instructional strategies, and their management (Venkataiah, 2008). It is fact that technology has not only reshaped the student learning through involvement with challenging tasks but they provide new roles for students and teachers, professionalism of teachers and creation of a culture that supports learning both in the classroom and beyond the school walls. Therefore, it is requirement of time for impelling teaching-learning process. Technology and teachers must work together to render ambitious learning opportunities. Integration of ICTs in teacher education training programs could bring advances that would improve teaching and learning process. Even an ordinary student would make massive gains, and restraints on bright students would dissolve.
Some of the educators believe that use of ICTs in teaching- learning and learning methodologies represent the solution to many problems. Other group of educators is of the opinion that through ICTs teacher educators gets new ways of accomplishing tasks and of teaching the skills that students need to learn. The Association for Educational Communication and Technology (1994) has identified the five domains of educational technology, they are: design, development, utilization, evaluation and management.
“Microcomputers offer exciting approaches to teaching that were not even dreamed of twenty years ago, but the extent to which the educational potential of microcomputer technology will be realized remains to be seen. “Some teachers will use microcomputers to revolutionize their classrooms, perhaps you will be one of them” (Geisert & Futrell, 1995).
There is no doubt that applications of ICTs in education are necessary due to the fact that ICTs are the pre-eminent tools for information processing, new generations need to become competent in their use and for required necessary skills. It is also believed that ICTs should be fundamental management tools for teaching learning processes at all levels of an educational system. Therefore, teaching institutions should profoundly revise present teaching practices and resources to create more effective learning environments and improve life-long learning skills and habits in their students.
It is fact that ICTs can be applied to improve teaching learning process and its application in education in turn support sustainable economic development including social transformation. However, ICTs can be used to improve students understanding and learning, increase the quality of education, knowledge creation and knowledge sharing which can contribute to the transformation of the education system from stereotype teaching to modern ICTs integrated teaching methodologies (Kozma, 2005).
In Pakistan, introduction of technology in education within the framework of National Education Policy (1998-2010) resulted in increased computer labs but proper utilization of ICTs is still big question.
Thus it is necessary to study the use of Information and Communication Technologies by teacher educators and strengthening teacher education in Government Colleges of Education in order to better implementation of ICTs in teaching methodologies and integrate ICTs based training programs. The purpose of this study is to assess the current use on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), explore the relationship between teachers’ understanding of teaching methodologies and their understanding in use of ICTs in teaching learning process including strengthening ICTs integrated training for teacher educators.
Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are as an electronic means of capturing, processing, storing and disseminating information (Adeya, 2002). According to another definition, ICTs are embedded in networks and services that affect the local and global accumulation and flows of public and private knowledge (Adeya, 2002). ICTs are defined diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information. These technologies include computers, internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television), and telephony. ICT is the broad subject concerned with all aspects of managing and processing information (Mayer, 2008).
At the end of the 1980s, Information Technology (IT) replaced the term computers signifying a shift of focus from computing technology to the capacity to store and retrieve information. This was followed by the introduction of the term ‘ICT’ (Information and Communication Technology) around 1992 (Pelgrum & Law, 2003).
United Nations report (1999) defines ICTs covering provision of internet service, telecommunication equipments and services, information technology equipments and services, media and broadcasting, libraries and documentation centers, commercial information providers, network-based information services, and other related information and communication activities.
While discussing difference between information technology and information and communication technology, Galloway, & Norton (2011) stated:
The term IT (Information technology) and ICT (information and communication technology) are often used interchangeably, although the later term is little known outside of education. Generally school think of IT as being the technology, the equipment and the infrastructure, and ICT as what we do with it, the subject and the way it is used to support learning. Sometimes the term is pluralized, ‘information and communication technologies’ as there are now number of different tools, devices, functions and possibilities that ICT covers- a range that continues to to grow and diversify. (p.22)
According to Sharma (2005), educational technology is used as systematic tool for the achievement of educational objectives. Use of Information and Communication technology is increasing day by day to achieve the educational objectives and various tools are used for enhancement of quality education. There is huge impact of ICTs on educational objectives. Integration of Information and communication technology provides innovative, modern, systematic and well organized procedures for instructional design and education which offers countless promising opportunities for teacher educators to achieve the objectives of education (Sharma, 2005). ICTs in education have changed the teaching and learning process. Integration of ICTs in education has reformed in teaching and learning process and changed teaching paradigm.
Plomp, Brummelhuis, & Pelgrum (1997) explain “ICT provides a means to bring about the revolutionary changes called for by the evolutionary transitions in society. As a tool to support the learning process, ICT holds a promise of new solutions for the challenges facing education” (p.429).
Johannessen (2009) point out that:
The role of ICT in education must also be linked to educational needs. In many countries, the role of ICT is linked to issues of educational attainment and the importance of ICT for advancing robust learning strategies on the side of the students. A second area is ICT as a tool for the support of personalization strategies in teaching and learning. (p.13)
Use of ICTs in educational process to achieve the goals of education has revolutionary impact in instruction and education using various instructional tools. Narasaiah (2007) point out that “Technology related skills among the staff concerned, n particularly teachers and trainers, need to be improved” (p.6). It is fact that integration of information and communication technology has transformed way of instruction which has great potential for learning.
Advantages of Information and Communication Technologies in education
Information and Communication Technology has changed the paradigm of education and instruction. It provides s best opportunities to enhance perception, comprehension using ICT tools and way of communication.
According to Heyneman & Haynes (2004):
The adoption of new technologies requires the adaption of ICT to educational settings as well as cultural changes in the role of teachers and other stakeholders in the educational process. Educational technology may be altering schooling in developing areas, including both the teaching and learning processes. (p.60)
Easy access to information has provided opportunity to share the information of common interest and understand others’ ideas. Using technology in education is an innovative idea and instructors have to be receptive to adopt new methods in teaching. Integration of technology in methods of teaching uses machine instruction and technological tools which are very useful for lifelong learning (Sharma, 2005). Day by day improvements in the field of ICT is changing the application and usage which directly affect the education teaching and learning process that support sustainable development and conducive environment enhancing learning capabilities (Paas, 2008).
Using computers, various tools and internet in instruction provide best learning environment to new generation students for jobs. In the age of digital literacy new skill are required which are provided with integration of ICTs in education (Tino, 2008). Erstad (2009) mentioned the advantages of ICTs and their impact on natinal disposition , local disposition, institutaional framing, teacher education, learning environment, collective collaberatve and outcome and individual use and outcome.
Technological tools i.e. audio-visual aids, computers, internet, USB, multimedia, CD ROM has proved very effective tools in teaching and learning process. These tools are very useful and effective to revolutionize teacher education for trainees and teacher educators. Digitalization of education and supportive means for teacher education motivate trainees to learn modern techniques in instruction.(Sharma R. C., 2010). The important benefit of intergation of ICT in education is availbility infromation. Chandra (2004) recognized that “The intense involvement of ICT in the teaching and learning process is directly interconnected with the performance of teachers and learners proficient in education system”. (p.27). According to Alade 2010) use of information and communication technologies in instruction facilitate the students towards self – learning nad gives them freedom to make their own view according to requirment. The impact of Information and communication technology on learning achievements of pupils has been remarkable (Cox, & Marshal, 2007).
Integration of ICT in education not only provides opportunity to students to access the information but it helps them to learn according to their own needs. Speedy advancement in ICT supports student to find out resources and fulfils specific learning desires in accordance with their requirement (Murphya, & Greenwooda, 1998) . It is fact that the capabilities required for job and professional expertise have been reshaped with the integration of ICT in education “ICT have changed the nature of work and types of skills needed in most of the filed and professions” (Sharma, 2009). Access to resources highly influenced teaching methodologies and nature of instruction.
Planning for ICTs integration into classroom
ICTs is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing, radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as video conferencing and distance learning. Education reforms are occurring throughout the world and one of its doctrines is the introduction and integration of ICTs in education system. The successful integration of ICTs into the classroom requires careful planning and depends largely on how well policy makers understand and appreciate the dynamics of such integration.
ICTs should be combined with more traditional technologies, such as print and broadcast radio, to achieve better effectiveness in the students’ achievements. Skillful teachers require the skills they use through knowledge and practice (Venkataiah, 2008). It is fact that ICTs are for instruction but technologies skills are acquired as a means to an end, and students receive practice in selecting and using various technologies applications to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. Technologies applications that can be used as a tool or a communications vehicle (e.g., overhead projectors, presentation on multimedia, video conferences, word processing and spreadsheet software, drawing programs, networks) can support any curriculum and can be fully assimilated into a teacher’s ongoing core practice (Becker, 1994).
Chandra (2004) summarized that use of information and communication technologies in classroom have many effective impacts on learner and learning process. He identified following impacts when ICT is integrated in classroom:
Allow materials to be presented in multiple media for multichannel learning.
Motivate and engage students in learning process,
Bring abstract concept of life.
Enhance critical thinking and other higher intellectual skills and process.
Provide opportunities for students to practice basic skills on their own time and at their own pace.
Allow students to use information acquire to solve problems, formulate new problems, and explain the world around them: provide for access to worldwide information resources.
Be the most cost effective means for bringing the world in the class room.
Offers teachers and students a platform through which they can communicate with colleagues from distant places, exchange work, develop research and function if there were no geographical boundaries. (Chandra, 2005, p.22)
Information and knowledge of students increases with the use ICT in class room teaching and using technological tools in teaching and learning activities. Pelgrum & Law (2003) summarizing the imapacts of integration of ICTs in class room define that “Access to ICT and ICT-supported educational experiences potentially offers learners valuable opportunities to learn new skills and new competencies for effective functioning in the twenty-first century” ( p.120).
Use of technological tools in class room offers high quality learning environment which leads toward maximum possibilities for learning achievements. “The challenge of integrating technology into the classroom has provided a motivation for teacher educators to engage in continual improvements in the curriculum to equip teachers who could cope with the multifarious demands in the school environment”. (Teo, Chai, Hung, & Lee, 2008, p.170).
Use of Information and Communication technologies in teaching provide systematic mechanism to explain the concepts according to the requirement of class room environment, application of teaching models, teaching methodology and linking theories and practice (Sharma, 2005). According to State, Kern, Starosta, & Mukherjee (2011) “Within the school system, teachers play a critical role in reducing students’ social, emotional, and behavioral problems through routine practices, such as creating a positive and supportive classroom environment and providing specific prompting of and feedback for appropriate behavior”( p.13).
Relationship between education and ICTs
Advancement of technology has started debate to find out the relation between ICTs and education. The most important factor is role of teacher, teaching learning process and professional development. Owen (2004) recognized that “use of information technology will fundamentally change the way we think and learn and thus change education and curriculum” (p.34).
There is close relationship between ICT and Lifelong learning and digital literacy which is pre-requisite of digital world. Frequent use of ICTs in teaching methodology is linked with efficiency of teacher and performance of student ( Pulist, 2010). According the Chandra (2004) “in the world of technology, ICT is contributing the long term possibilities, adult training and e-training for the work place.” (p.17)
Pelgrum & Law (2003) mentioning rationale on the relatioship between ICT and education stated:
In the knowledge society, the half-life of knowledge will become progressively shorter;
Due to growing specialization of knowledge, it will be increasingly necessary to work in teams;
Citizens need to be prepared for lifelong learning and be introduced to the basics of team-and project-work as part of basic education;
Educational innovations in basic education are necessary if these new demands are to be met, and such innovations should have a strong pedagogical focus on student-centered and increasingly student-directed didactical approaches facilitated by ICT, whereby teachers should play more of a coaching role. (p.20-21)
Computer, software, internet, CD-ROM, video and application of technological tools have changed the structure of society and the world is considered as an interconnected global village. Information and communication technology helps to communicate with each other regarding personal growth of individual and his responsibilities in education system (Volman, 2005). It is not matter of concern whether ICT is used by teachers in teaching practices but how it has been integrated to change teaching methodlogy and provide learning oportunities to students (Engida, 2011).
Advancement of technology and its applications bring radical shift in society to attain new knowledge and modernize teaching methodologies, therefore, connection between ICT and education is requirement of time to achieve goals of education. UNESCO recognizing the relation between ICT and education stated:
With the challenges faced by the international community in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) targets, it seems unrealistic to assume that conventional delivery mechanisms will ensure quality and equal educational opportunities for all in affordable and sustainable ways by 2015. Indeed, the biggest challenge for many education systems is to be able to offer training or learning opportunities on a lifelong basis to all individuals and, more importantly, to the traditionally under-served or marginalized groups (i.e. girls and women who face barriers to schooling; rural populations that are too dispersed to populate regular schools cost-effectively with reasonable class sizes; children from families in extreme poverty; special needs groups or persons with disabilities who have no access to learning centres; etc.).(UNESCO, 2009, p.11)
Integration of ICTs in teaching and learning process
Integration of ICT provides opportunity to the teachers to become more effective in their classroom, offering numerous solutions and make teachers more efficient in teaching. The advancement and increased utility of information and communication technologies has proved that it is now very important for students and researchers to use ICTs in teaching and learning process (Beauchamp, 2006).
Use of information and communicating technology not only increase efficiency of teacher educators but over simplify their teaching and learning process. ICT tools in teaching help teacher educators to modify training material according to need of teacher trainees. According to Pelgrum ( 2001) “active learning can be facilitated by ICT.”(p.165). Exploring ideas, understanding concepts, communicating knowledge, and correcting development process are directly influenced with integration of information and communication technology in teaching and learning (Pritchard, 2007).
On other hand integration of ICTs improve learning outcomes of students due to student centered approach. UNESCO ( 2013) emphasized that “technology can support teachers by increasing their efficiency in and outside the classroom; help teachers respond better to students’ individual needs; and facilitate communication between teachers, students, parents and administrators” (p.18).
Outcomes and impact of self learning is greater than that of learning from teachers. With the support of teacher educator, a trainee teacher learns the concepts, gets information and knowledge but using various tools of information and communication technologies he expand his ideas on same topic (Ram, 2007). Kalogiannakis (2010) pointed out that “teacher shows a really positive attitude towards the ICT not only by the occasional use of technology with his students but also by the creative use of the ICT possibilities so that the educational environment, in which he acts, can be changed”( p.4). With the advancement of technology digital lterecy is important element of integration of ICT in teaching methodology (Owen, 2004). It is fact that ICT infrastructure facilities are provided to the insitutions in Pakistan are not more but Arneson (2010) supports integration of ICTs in developing coutries and stated:
Although most students in developing countries don’t carry laptop computer to class, they frequently do carry flash drive with them. Students often have access to students computer centers or internet cafes on or near campus, so they appreciate the opportunity to receive the lectures on a flash drive after the presentation to view on a computer or to print out handouts for additional study. (p.185)
Integration of ICT in teaching methodology increases knowledge of students, find out reality, provide opportunity for active learning, increases motivation of pupils, enhances output, provide opportunity for critical thinking and improve coordinated efforts for the achievement of education objectives (Newhouse, 2002). Information and knowledge is directly linked with instructional media (McNaught, & Kennedy, 2010)
Significance of ICTs in teaching learning process
Integration of ICT in teaching has very important significance on learning attitude of students, creativity, knowledge construction, learning environment, teaching strategies, problem solving skills and understanding concepts using various tools. Learner has opportunity to keep record of information in electronic version and understand dfifferent concepts on the basis of self- learning (Owen, 2004). Different forms of Multimedia channels provide information about content knowledge, understanding of different concepts, variety of approaches and expertise (Sharma, 2005).
Trinidad (2003) recognizing significance of ICT stated that “Technology rich learning environment using e-learning can engage the learner giving them a sense of empowerment where they are no longer dependent of the specific and often limited knowledge of their educator.” (p.110). However, Pelgrum discussing importance of ICT in teaching explores that use of ICT is very supportive tool for teacher which is helpful for students to explore effective methodology, proper guidance for self -learning, critical evaluation of their performance and high quality skills for communication( Pelgrum, 2001).
According to Loveless, Burton, & Turvey ( 2006) “ICT made a contribution, not only to the creative processes and outcomes of the activities themselves, but also to a deeper understanding of pedagogy and purpose in using ICT to support learning”(p.9). It is expected that by using ICT in teaching, teachers can enhance their competency and effectiveness in classroom teaching (Ertmer, & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010). Teacher educators have to recgnize and set up classroom settings for assignment in way so that ICT tools must be inetgral part of teaching methodology (Kalogiannakis, 2010).
“Teachers have had to learn new things and handle new teaching skills. Indeed, there are now a range of media competencies teachers must have to maximize the value of ICT learning in classrooms.” (Watson, 2006, p.206). Use of ICT is increasing day by day to achieve educational objectives and its application have great influence in teaching and learning process which encourage teacher educator to use technological application for training programs. Wang ( 2008) pointed out that “Pedagogy, social interaction and technology are three key components of a technology enhanced learning environment. A sound design of these components should enable teachers to integrate ICT into teaching and learning in an effective way” (p.417). Use of ICTs in education has reshaped the conventional teaching approaches and provided innovative methods in teaching and learning process ( Skinner, 2010). “ICT are innovations in teaching and learning inspired by a constructivist perspective”. (Volman, 2005, p.20)
Innovation of use of ICTs in teaching learning process
ICT- supported solutions have manifold functions for learning outcomes which enable learning achievements (Rickards, 2003). Supporting the innovative nature of ICT, Jung (2005) affirmed that “selecting appropriate ICT tools and supporting students in the use of those tools, using ICT to promote learning activities, developing new methods of facilitating learning and evaluating student performance, and so on.” (p.95). The European Schoolnet in the The ICT Impact Report:A review of studies of ICT impact on schools in Europe has classified following innovations with the integration of ICT ion teaching:
Constructive (and instructive)
Project based teaching
Based on themes
Subject focus- based on a firm outline and standards
Must be fulfilled- individual and collective
Having particular knowledge – everybody does the same
Understand the context
Divided by skills and interests- differentiation
Divided by age
Mistakes are source for improvement and guidance
Marks and grading as part of the evaluation of students
guider and mediator
has several roles
has one role
(Balanskat, Blamire, & Kefala, 2006, p.45)
Trainee teachers can be trained through ICT-supported teaching strategies in subject area. Teacher educators can easily manage trainee-centered learning method using ICT tools (Goktas, Yildirim, & Yildirim, 2008).
Teacher Preparation and Pedagogical Approaches
Teacher education plays vital role in reforming and strengthening the education system of any country. Pre-service teacher education provides knowledge and skills to the prospective teachers that are practicum to their workplace as a teacher. The most important problem in teacher education is the preparedness of teachers in their workplace as the studies attest the relationship of theoretical knowledge and practical skills provided to the students in their pre-service education with their effectiveness in their classrooms as a beginning teacher (Good et al, 2006).
Most reports about teacher education focus more on curricular issues, such as what prospective teachers should learn, or on structural issues, such as professional development schools or the length of the programs, than issues of instruction. Neither the research reports nor the reform reports had much to say about how prospective teachers should be taught. Yet in teacher education, attention to pedagogy is critical; how one teaches is part and parcel of what one teaches (Marilyn, Kenneth & Zeichner, 2009).
To strike a balance between theory and practice is a long standing challenge in the pre service teacher education programs (Korthagen, 1996, Bates, 2002, Smith, 2006). To apply the knowledge in the workplace for teachers is a crucial challenge of the pre-service teacher education and the significance inadequacies have been identified in the research studies in this regard (Bates, 2002). The effectiveness of pre-service and in-service depends on to narrow down the disparities lying between theory and practice provided to the student teachers in their pre-service teachers training (Singh, 2005).
Teacher education sector in Pakistan has been criticized by the academicians and researchers for low quality. Dilshad (2010) identified following common problems related to teacher training in Pakistan: “lack of funding and resources, poorly equipped training institutions, short training period, undue emphasis on quantitative expansion, narrow scope of curriculum, imbalance between general and professional courses, over-emphasis on theory as opposed to practice little/no coordination between education departments and training institutions, deficient quality of instruction, lack of in-service training of teacher educators, failure in implementing useful reforms, vague objectives, poor quality of textbooks, defective examination system, lack of supervision and accountability, and lack of research and evaluation of teacher training programs”. The National Education Policy: 1998-2010 has rightly highlighted the quality problem by observing: “The qualitative dimension of teacher education program has received ma