RELEVANCE OF ICT TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
1.1 INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITION OF ICT
The acronym ICT represents information and communications technology. ICT is a composite term made up of three important concepts which are information, communications and technology. To understand ICT, one must understand the three concepts. Information can simply be defined as data that has been processed, that aids decision making. It can also be defined as any potentially useful fact, quantity or value that can be expressed uniquely with exactness (Gilberto, 2000). Communication can be defined as the exchange of information and ideas from one person or from one place to another, which is understood by the sender and the recipient. Technology refers to the use of scientific knowledge to invent tools that assist human beings in their effort to overcome the environmental hazards and impediments to comfort. De Watteville and Gilbert, 2000 defined technology as the acquisition, analysis, manipulation, storage and distribution of information and the creation and provision of software and equipments for these purposes. Information and communications technology can therefore, be defined as the hardware and software that enables data to be digitally processed, stored and communicated. ICT can be used to access, process, manage and present information, model and control events, construct new understanding and communicate with others (State government of Victoria, 2007). 1.2 DEFINITION OF TERM: RELEVANCE OF ICT TO
In explaining what is meant by the relevance of ICT to human development, there has to be comprehension of the words ‘relevance’ and ‘human development’. The word relevance can be briefly defined as the possibility of something to be important to the matter at hand. It can also be defined as the relation between things or events as in the case of one causing the other or sharing features with it. Human development is the process of a human becoming biologically mature, developing psychologically and, as it relates to economics a standard of living. Therefore, the relevance of ICT to human development can be said to be, how information and communications technology is of great importance to the development of human life.
1.3 HISTORY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
The history of ICT originates from humble beginnings, which include the abacus. The abacus is thought to have been invented 3000 years B.C. Revisions to the use and design continued for many years. For example, in 500 B.C a bead and wire version was developed in Egypt. Early visions of the calculator were gradually replacing this primitive method of mathematics. In 1624, Wilhelm Schikard built the first-four-function calculator at the University of Heidelberg and mechanical versions of this calculator followed in the years. Calculators as we know them now did not exist until 1780, when Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity through experimentation. The first general purpose computer was designed by Charles Babbage around the year 1833. In 1835 George and Edvard Scheutz built a practical model based on Babbage’s original designs. Quickly approaching the computers that are used today, 1971 was the year that the Intel Corporation released the first microprocessor called the ‘Intel 4004’. Apple introduced its personal computer alternative, the Macintosh during 1984. The worldwide web was developed by Tim Lee in 1991, LERN created the first web server (Schwartz E, Digital Darwinism). According to the Wikipedia, the expression ‘Information and communications technology’ was first used in 1997. Dennis Stevenson in his report to the United Kingdom government was the first to use the term. ICT was later promoted in the year 2000 by the New National Curriculum documents for the UK....
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