ICT in education (by SG Psych Stuff team)

Remember we were once being banned to bring mobile phones or tablets to school? These days, the usage of technology is an integral part of students’ learning. Lessons that are used to be boring has now becoming engaging with the increasing use of information and communication technology (ICT).
ICT is described as the devices involved in information processing, as well as all electronic communications involved in teaching and learning. Students now can use the smartphones or tablets to assess the learning project from school, use Facebook to generate ideas in class, use iPad in both music lessons and art classes. However, that may only appear workable for students whose socioeconomic status is medium to high. Those students with low socioeconomic status may not have the luxury to enjoy this benefit. This in turn, may also lead to some negative impacts on the students such as low self esteem or bullying in school.
Godfrey (2001) stresses that ICT allows individuals to adopt multiple perspectives on complex phenomena in rich learning environments. ICT not only serves as the backbone of the Information Society, but also importantly serves as a catalyst and tool for inducing educational reforms.
Table 1 shows the expectations mentioned in several influential policy documents (Pelgrum, ten Brummelhuis, Collis, Plomp, Janssen Reinen, 1997), reflecting a change from passive learner to active learner in education. This table was continually used in Pelgrum’s later study (2001). Similar ideas were also discussed in other papers (Chinnammai, 2005; Jordan, 2011).

Education in the Industrial Society
Education in the Information Society
·       Isolated from society
·       Most information on school functioning confidential
·       Integrated in society
·       Information openly available
·       Initiator of instruction
·       Whole class teaching
·       Evaluates student
·       Places low emphasis on communication skills
·       Helps students find appropriate instructional path
·       Guides students’ independent learning and helps them to evaluate own progress
·       Places high emphasis on communication skills
·       Mostly passive
·       Learns mostly at school
·       Hardly any teamwork
·       Takes questions from books or teachers
·       Learns answers to questions
·       Low interest in learning
·       More active
·       Learns at school and outside school
·       Much teamwork
·       Asks questions
·       Finds answers to questions
·       High interest
·       Hardly actively involved in learning process
·       No steering of instruction
·       No life-long learning model
·       Very active in learning process
·       Co-steering
·       Parent provide model
Table 1: Expected changes from education in the industrial society to education in the information
Source: Pelgrum, ten Brummelhuis, Collis, Plomp, Janssen Reinen (1997)
Since 1997, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has drawn up five-year national blueprints for the use of ICT in the classroom. In 1997, the Masterplan 1 is to build the foundation of ICT in education where ICT is being accepted to be a learning and teaching tool. There are core ICT trainings provided for all teachers, ICT infrastructure and supports provided for all schools, education software and resources are provided for relevant subjects in school. In 2003, Masterplan 2 is launched is to seed innovation where they have established baseline ICT standards for students and managed to generate innovative practices through devolved ICT funds. In 2009, Masterplan 3 in education harness ICT and transform learners. Teachers have capacity to plan and deliver ICT-enriched learning experiences. Students, on the other hand, develop competencies for self-directed and collaborative learning through the effective use of ICT as well as become discerning and responsible ICT users.  
The introduction of ICT in education leads the teachers to form a new belief on how to plan and implement practices with ICT in the teaching process on top of the established pedagogical beliefs (Prestridge, 2007). However, believing that ICT can benefit the teaching process and knowing how to use specific ICT per se are two different continuums. Prestridge (2007) noted that beliefs are more influential than knowledge in impacting behavior as beliefs are formed from affective feelings and personal experiences. Pedagogical beliefs are formed over many years of teachers’ experiences. They can be resistant to change due to strong authority and broad consensus (Albion & Ermer, 2002).
The constructivist believes that students can learn better if they are given projects to learn through hands-on experience. Guidance should be given when necessary to further support the students in understanding the material which is considered as conducive. On the other hand, the reductionist believes that concepts should be passed along one at a time which can be obstructive. Cox and colleagues (2003) suggested focusing on the teachers’ perception on utilizing ICT either by reinforcing the existing approach or trying new approaches whereas Loveless, Buron and Turvey (2006) emphasized getting the teachers to participate in the learning process with the students rather than simply being instructors of ICT.
As we move further into the twenty-first century, students in Singapore must be developed as lifelong learners to ensure that the country remains competitive and moves towards more value-added industries that produce high-tech and knowledge-intensive products.  Students need to learn how to seek out new information, think critically and show initiative to meet up with the challenges of the fast-changing world.  Only the effective use of ICT in schools will support this development process.  To achieve this, teachers and students are equally important to make this works.
Albion, P., & Ertmer, P. (2002). Beyond the foundations: the role of vision and beliefs in teachers’ preparation for integration of technology. TechTrends, 46(5), 34–38
Chinnammai, S. (2005). Effects of globalisation on education and culture. ICDE International Conference, November 19-23, 2015, New Delhi.
Cox, M., Webb, M., Abbott, C., Blakeley, B., Beauchamp, T. & Rhodes, V. (2003). ICT and pedagogy: A review of the research literature. ICT in schools research and evaluation series, no. 18. Becta for the Department for Education and Skills. Norwich: Queen’s Printer.
Godfrey, C. (2001). Computers in school: Changing technologies. Australian Educational Computing, 16(2), 14–17
Jordan, K. (2011). Framing ICT, teachers and learners in Australian school education ICT policy. The Australian Educational Researcher, 38, 417-431. DOI 10.1007/s13384-011-0038-4
Loveless, A., Burton, J. & Turvey, K. (2006) Developing Conceptual Frameworks for Creativity, ICT and Teacher Education. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 1(1) 1871.
Pelgrum, W. J. (2001). Obstacles to the integration of ICT in education: results from a worldwide educational assessment. Computers & Education, 37, 163-178.
Pelgrum, W. J., ten Brummelhuis, A. C. A., Collis, B. A., Plimp, T. J. & Janssen Reinen I. A. M. (1997). The application of multimedia technologies in schools: technology assessment of multimedia systems for pre-primary and primary schools. Luxembourg: European parliament, directorate general for research.
Prestridge, S. (2007). Engaging with the transforming possibilities of ICT. Australian Educational Computing, 22(2), 3-9.