What a nightmare it would be if you woke up, from a peaceful dream, in the Stone Age. Can you imagine your world without all the knowledge mankind has amassed and the many devices that make life easier? Information and communication technology (ICT) has become, within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now regard understanding ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of ICT as part of the core of education, alongside reading, writing and numeracy. How has technology changed the way in which information is managed, stored, and disseminated?
Information is easily accessible nowadays. People can gain access to the internet or other networks via mobile devices such as phones, tablet s, and e-readers. The internet has provided a right of entry to information outside of the classroom and other traditional learning environments. The post-modern era scholar can choose to do classes online rather than to sit in the actually classroom, no longer labours with heavy books, and hardly ever visits a physical library.
Technology has also changed the manner in which people communicate, from the electronic versions of traditional media such as mail to video chat and conference. Persons, for example, spend hours communicating via Skype to family and friends thousands of miles away. Social networking sites offers the option of IM (instant messaging), and multinational corporations such as apple provides its users with the option of face time chat.
The Internet is a driving force for much development and innovation in both developed and developing countries. Information Technology and Communication permeates the business environment, it underpins the success of modern corporations, and it provides governments with an efficient infrastructure. At the same time, it adds value to the processes of teaching and learning, and in the organization and management of learning institutions.
Countries must be able to benefit from technological developments. Northern Caribbean University (NCU) is among one of the prestigious tertiary institutions that utilize technology to boost the country’s economy. The university recently opened an agriculture research centre which facilitates guidelines for increased crop yield, laboratory services and consultation for farmers. The agricultural centre is also equipped with state-of-the art technology to test soil, water quality, combat diseases, and improve the level of nutrients in the soil.
Technological developments have led to changes in work, and in the organization of work. These changes have also influenced the manner in which teachers disseminate information. Teachers no longer use a black board and a chalk. Instead, projectors, power point presentations, and eco-friendly white boards with erasable markers are now used. In some classrooms portable computers are used to enhance the learning process for the students. Students are provided with an interactive environment in which they can take notes directly on lecture slides, and ask the instructor for clarifications through a chat window during class.
Here at Northern Caribbean University, the Aeorion Learning Management Software allows students to submit assignments online thus reducing the amount of paper that has to be used. Lectures are given the opportunity to upload course outlines, reading material, assignments and lectures to students so that they can download the lessons at their own time. The use of information and communication technology has greatly enhanced the education experience at NCU.