What is ICT?
ICT Is the acronym for Information and Communication Technology, according to the webpage TechTerms.com, it “refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications (…). (It) focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.”
People from all over the world use modern communicational technologies daily since all types of works and any professional field can take advantage of it. Education is also changing faster because of the new technology influence.
In order to understand the impact that ICTs has had in the learning process, is important to know the following basic concepts of ICT used in education.
E learning: refers to the use of electronic, information and communication technologies in education. Technology enriches the learning environment providing information and resources to find, understand and create knowledge.
E learning implies a broad spectrum, from using a C.D-rom for a listening comprehension exercise to a complete online course; from an audio recording to webinars. The main characteristic is the use of technology in the learning process.
Regarding the use of technology on English Learning Teaching (ESL), I have experienced:
- Listening comprehension exercises using a CD.
- Using of intelligent boards.
- Interactive grammar exercises on the Web.
- Creating Sites about English and sharing information through it.
- Using Power Point Presentations on the classroom
- Using email as a communication tool with my students.
Distance Education: it refers to educational process through distances, started in the 19th century with correspondence courses by mail.
It requires huge amount of compromise and motivation from students and teachers. It can be done using digital technology or not, or mixing new technology with traditional educational ways, e.g. online sessions in adition to face to face classes.
Nowadays, the distance learning supply and demand has been increasing, but is important to consider that not all offers are legitimate, frauds are frequent, especially in superior education.
Online or virtual education: represents a whole new challenge for the face to face traditional class paradigm. Virtual education allows taking courses, semester and even entire careers without actually going to a physical setting. Nowadays, first world universities are facing the challenge of mixing traditional classes with virtual education. From this necessity, appeared Blended courses as an excellent alternative that allows maintaining personal human contact, the guidance of teachers, colleages and friends, plus benefits represented by the fast changing digital technology.
This is my first experience in a Blended course, taking an ICT course from my Master program. It has been challenging, because I used to be digital illiterate. However, I perceive that, actually, I’m learning much faster than I had thought. Is rewarding being aware of how fast I can improve by using technology.
On the other hand, Mobile learning is based primarily is sharing and creating information using any type of mobile device (e.g. cell phones, smart phones, iphone, etc.). New generations, and specially teenagers, are using mobile learning daily: it could be by sharing a video about a class, or receiving an email on their smart phones about homework.
Definitely, education is changing faster than ever thanks to technology, and it does bring great advantage and convenience. However, we should think about the consequences for our mental and physical health. Even though I appreciate the benefits of technology, I'm afraid we might be overusing these recourses. As a consequence, we are putting behind real human contact. I’m concern about the amount of time that we are spending in front of computers or any other type of digital device. From my personal experience, when I’m working (or “distracting”) in front of my computer, I completely lose the awareness of time, and I can spend an entire night working, just to realize at one moment that the sun has risen, it is 6:00 am, and I haven't had any rest.
Technology has invaded our life too much!!! Of course, it is an excellent source of information and education, but on the other hand we must learn how to use it in a healthy and proper way.