Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Information and Communication Technologies to Raise Quality of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Information and Communication Technologies to Raise Quality of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Future professionals and the entire workforce in the private and public sectors of any economy deserve the sort of education that equips them and, consequently, their economy to make steady progress. This sort of education ought to be initiated and sustained with a learning model that enables students to develop the required skills for the future. In its white paper, Intel World Ahead Program (2009) mentions some of these skills, as identified by The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) that will help students to work and live in the twenty-first century. The skills include conducting independent research, thinking critically, solving problems, using technology to communicate and collaborate, and understanding societal issues related to digital citizenship.

All over the world, teacher-centred pedagogy is prominent. Teachers talk and students are directed to listen, as Cuban (1993) observes. The assumption is that learners are empty or are just passive observers, an observation Wilson & Peterson (2006) made of schooling in the United States of America. Yet, in explaining the way learners get, organise and apply knowledge and skills; behavioural, constructivist, developmental and social learning theories and practices reveal that teacher-centred approach to delivering subject contents as impotent for producing the calibre of graduates the twenty-first century society and beyond need. Constructivist, developmental; and social learning theories-collectively called cognitive learning theories-have been discussed by numerous authors including Kruse & Wilcox (2013), Kruse (2013), Kruse (2009), Bransford et al. (2005), National Research Council (2000), Anderson & Pearson (1984), LaBerge & Samuels (1974), Judd (1908), and Bryan & Harter (1897). In summary, these theories point to the following: (1) Learners should be active participants in planning and evaluating what they learn; (2) Learners are most interested in subjects that are immediately relevant to personal life and employment; (3) Learners learn better when they are exposed to solving real life problems than when they are exposed only to theoretical course contents; (4) Knowledge is constructed from experiences; (5) Learners prefer learning new contents based on their existing knowledge and experiences to learning completely strange contents. All these statements place the learner at the centre of the instructional method that must enable twenty-first century students to acquire needed skills, including two advanced skills stipulated by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO, 2007).

According to UNESCO (2007) two advanced skills required of graduates in this century were the skill of expert thinking and the skill of complex communication. Expert thinking is the ability to solve problems that lack explicit rules-based solutions, unlike algebra. The skill of complex communication is the ability to make effective oral and written arguments, eliciting information from others. These two skills are embedded in information, visual, and technological literacy which are rarely acquired through teacher-centred pedagogy. Higher education institutions (HEIs) have always strived to justify their existence as centres of excellence. To earn this justification, HEIs have a duty to guide students to adequately acquire information, visual, and technological literacy. This requires a shift to student-centred, project-based teaching and collaborative learning in all programmes. ICTs' role in this direction is critical. Before looking at particular ICTs that teachers and students in HEIs can deploy to raise the quality of teaching and learning, it will be helpful to know what are considered as ICTs generally, the scope covered by this paper, and the benefits highlighted by use of ICTs in elementary and high schools where much attention had been given.

What are ICTs?

There are numerous definitions of ICT, but the definition by UNESCO is accepted by this author as adequate. …

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