In this chapter, I will offer a brief historical background of the developments in computing over the last fifty years that is intended to set the context of my enquiry. I argue that these developments have implications for teaching and learning in higher education. I explore findings of an international study that deals with the current uses of ICT by youth and highlight its implications for my enquiry e.g. its conclusion that institutions need a strategic view or policy on the use of ICT. I set out my findings from a quickscan of the literature on good/best practice that relates ICT policy to practice in the contexts of teacher education. The benchmarks that the scan offer supports my argument that ICT can shape new ways of teaching and learning in the context of the professional development of teachers. As Oblinger and Rush say, “These new tools challenge the education establishment to rethink itself and education as well” (Oblinger & Rush, 1997, p. 55). It is appropriate that I adopt a critical stance to the appraisal of my own pedagogy and that this should be informed by insights arising from researching into my own practice in the use of ICT to optimize the teaching and learning process.
Developments in Technology
Fifty years ago saw the invention of a computer, which modern computing is founded upon with ENIAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer) at the University of Pennsylvania. ENIAC was the world's first electronic digital computer. It had 30 separate units, plus power supply and forced-air cooling, and weighed 30 tons in total. Its 19,000 vacuum tubes, 1,500 relays, and hundreds of thousands of resistors, capacitors, and inductors consumed almost 200 kilowatts of electrical power, took up a large room, cost millions and had the processing capabilities of a modern pocket calculator. But ENIAC was the prototype from which most other modern computers evolved. From ENIAC...