Are ICTs the Best Educational Investment?
New information and communication technologies are exciting. Everyone loves to ogle the shiny, flashy products developed by the IT industry and imagine the change that can come from them. The educational field is no exception. Technologists are always thinking of ways to apply the newest and most cutting-edge innovations to try and increase learning outcomes - from the current fascination with the XO laptop to previous excitement around television, radio, even ditto machines.
Yet education is is not a simple task, and educational systems are complex and notoriously resistant to change. Education is steeped in tradition, with educators often working within strict hierarchy and the explicit requirement for exact replication. Add to this the immense pressure to show quantitative results in what is inherently a qualitative experience, and chronic underfunding, and the educational system has few resources available to integrate new technologies and the changes it requires.
So whenever there is talk of investing in ICTs for education, especially educational devices that while cheap individually, require a massive invest to scale nationally, a basic question is raised that needs to be answered:
Are ICTs the best investment for scarce educational funding, or should investments be made first in the familiar tools and methodologies that are already being used?
Over the next month, we hope to engage in a conversation around this question here on the ETD. Weâ€™ll have two divergent opinions presented - one favoring greater investment in current tools, another suggesting that ICTs can empower a leap in productivity. We hope youâ€™ll join us by adding your options and commentary to enliven the debate and add to our knowledge.