Transforming Education: The Power of ICT Policies
Type of work: Report
Categories:e-Learning and Instructional Technology
In all regions of the world, the penetration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in schools has led to a major transformation of the education landscape. Although there is no consensus as yet regarding the actual benefi ts of technology in ensuring quality learning, ICT are increasingly seen as an integral part of modern education systems. Policy-makers are thus attentive to the need to ensure alignment between the development of ICT in society, their integration in schools and their use in pedagogy.
While recognizing the potential value of ICT in education, many countries face signifi cant challenges in transforming the promises of technology into tangible benefi ts for learning. Many of these challenges are related to costs or infrastructural and technical issues, such as lack of access to technology or poor connectivity. This is particularly the case in low-income countries. Other barriers include the lack of relevant content in a language understood by the user and limited access to open education resources. However the main challenge, including for the most advanced education systems, lies in teachers’ capacities to use technology effectively in the classroom.
International experience shows that conditions for the effective use of technology in education vary from country to country. Indeed, formulating a policy on ICT in education requires taking a set of variables into account such as objectives, the availability of technologies, applications and content, and teacher capacities. These are defi ned as a combination of competencies, motivation and the characteristics of teachers’ working environment.
Technology is not neutral; the penetration of ICT in schools can eventually transform pedagogy and the creation of knowledge. As a result, ICT are contributing to building new relationships between schools and their communities, and to bridging the gap between formal, non-formal and informal education. Eventually, technology may also lead policy-makers to rethink the skills and capacities that children need to become active citizens and workers in a knowledge society.
UNESCO has contributed to the ongoing debate on technology and learning by launching a programme of studies, consultation and exchange on policies on ICT in education. This publication is the result of that work.
It is hoped that beyond providing useful information on contemporary challenges for and approaches to public policies in the fi eld of ICT in education, the publication will offer useful insights into the experience of specifi c countries and offer road maps to help policy-makers better plan the integration of technologies in education. In so doing, it will enable them to make the best use of ICT potential to transform learning and, ultimately, the relationship between school systems and society.
This publication is the product of a collective effort. It was edited by Robert Kozma, in collaboration with Shafika Issacs and includes contributions by Tayseer Alnoaimi, Juan Enrique Hinostroza and Siew Koon Wong. The book is part of a UNESCO programme on ICT in education policies directed by David Atchoarena, Director, Division for Planning & Development of Education Systems (ED/PDE) in collaboration with Francesc Pedró, Chief, Section for Policy Advice & ICT (ED/PDE/PAD).