Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Discovery of the Traits of Gifted and Talented Students in ICT

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Discovery of the Traits of Gifted and Talented Students in ICT

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study discovers talent development among the individuals who are gifted and talented in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). Using qualitative research methods, data was gathered via interview sessions with three groups of respondents who have excelled in the field of ICT, namely the academicians in ICT, the practitioners, and the students who have exhibited their intelligence in ICT. The data was analyzed and structured based on Gagne Differentiated Model of Gifted and Talent (DMGT). Based on DMGT, the data was categorized to natural abilities, interpersonal catalyst, and environmental catalyst. The findings of the study discussed the pattern of talent development among the gifted and talented individuals in ICT from the aspects of life background, educational background, education and experience in ICT, and the support factors towards talent development. The findings of the study indicated that gifted and talented individuals in ICT should be recognized as a unique talent at par with the other fields regarding the context of gifted and talented. Schools should provide the assessment methods as well as the sources to identify and develop the potential of another group of extraordinary individuals in the 21^sup st^ century.

Keywords: ICT gifted, ICT talent, Gagne Differentiated Model of Gifted and Talent (DMGT), computer technology talent

1. Introduction

Students nowadays have been exposed to the usage of technology since their early childhood (Wilkinson, 2006). Therefore, they have become utterly skilled in technology when they reach their adolescence years, and their fascination towards technology has become normality (Cross, 2005). Thus, it is not impossible that among the students in school, a group of students who can be regarded as gifted and talented in ICT may possibly exist. However, in schools, ICT tend to be utilized as the support material in the teaching and learning of other subjects such as Science, Language or Communication, and it is not regarded as a specific field (O'Brien et al., 2005). The failure of the school to identify the gifted and talented students in ICT, as well as to provide specific course which focuses on the development of their talents will lead to a number of negative consequences towards the economy of the nation (Cakeda, 2007). For example, in the United States of America, companies related to computer technology strive to look for talented individuals to fill in the vacancy. The positions, among all require knowledge in information technology. In order to deal with it, USA government has decided to reduce the limit on visa to enable workforces from all over the world to fill in the vacancies which require high skills (Cekeda, 2007).

Drastic increase towards the usage of technology in the community nowadays leads to an all-day access to computers to majority of the students. Since the 1980s, the access to computer, Internet and other digital technologies in schools and residence has been increasing drastically, and the percentage is continuously rising up to the present day. This phenomenon has created the difference in terms of students' ability to use and integrate ICT in their lives. The difference of students' ability should be identified and specific adaptation need to be implemented for the students with extraordinary ability. It is proven by previous research that without challenging surroundings, a lot of students with intellectual talents can be bored hence losing their interest towards the subject they learn about (Winner, 1996). The findings from this study can be used as the reference as to assume that the same possibility will occur to the students with talents and intelligence in ICT. According to Siegel (2004), the identification of the gifted and talented students in ICT need to be formally implemented, as the first step in developing any talent is to identify the talent owned by the individuals.

In Malaysian context, the policy of ICT in education stated in Pelan Induk Pendidikan 2001-2010 (Malaysia Education Blueprint 2001-2010) has the objective to produce students who are not merely the users of ICT but are also able to create innovation (KPM, 2006). …

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