What Are Icts and What Types of Icts Are Commonly Used in Education?

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What are ICTs and what types of ICTs are commonly used in education? ICTs stand for information and communication technologies and are defined, for the purposes of this primer, as a “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information.” These technologies include computers, the Internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television), and telephony. In recent years there has been a groundswell of interest in how computers and the Internet can best be harnessed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of education at all levels and in both formal and non-formal settings. But ICTs are more than just these technologies; older technologies such as the telephone, radio and television, although now given less attention, have a longer and richer history as instructional tools. For instance, radio and television have for over forty years been used for open and distance learning, although print remains the cheapest,most accessible and therefore most dominant delivery mechanism in both developed and developing countries. The use of computers and the Internet is still in its infancy in developing countries, if these are used at all, due to limited infrastructure and the attendant high costs of access. Moreover, different technologies are typically used in combination rather than as the sole delivery mechanism. For instance, the Kothmale Community Radio Internet uses both radio broadcasts and computer and Internet technologies to facilitate the sharing of information and provide educational opportunities in a rural community in Sri Lanka.Similarly, the Indira Gandhi National Open University in India combines the use of print, recorded audio and video, broadcast radio and television, and audioconferencing technologies. The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education Abstract: Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become commonplace entities in all aspects of life. Across the past twenty years the use of ICT has fundamentally changed the practices and procedures of nearly all forms of endeavour within business and governance. Within education, ICT has begun to have a presence but the impact has not been as extensive as in other fields. Education is a very socially oriented activity and quality education has traditionally been associated with strong teachers having high degrees of personal contact with learners. The use of ICT in education lends itself to more student-centred learning settings and often this creates some tensions for some teachers and students. But with the world moving rapidly into digital media and information, the role of ICT in education is becoming more and more important and this importance will continue to grow and develop in the 21st century. This paper highlights the various impacts of ICT on contemporary higher education and explores potential future developments. The paper argues the role of ICT in transforming teaching and learning and seeks to explore how this will impact on the way programs will be offered and delivered in the universities and colleges of the future.

Keywords: Online learning, constructivism, higher education
Introduction
Information and communication technology (ICT) is a force that has changed many aspects of the way we live. If one was to compare such fields as medicine, tourism, travel, business, law, banking, engineering and architecture, the impact of ICT across the past two or three decades has been enormous. The way these fields operate today is vastly different from the ways they operated in the past. But when one looks at education, there seems to have been an uncanny lack of influence and far less change than other fields have experienced. A number of people have attempted to explore this lack of activity and influence (eg.Soloway and Prior, 1996; Collis, 2002).

There have been a number of factors impeding the wholesale uptake of ICT in...
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