The information age presents many challenges for those in education and government where there is the need for the whole population to be able to access and use new technologies. This will include use of computers, the internet and digital television which is key in determining and establishing a skilled workforce and empowered citizenry for the twenty first century; the possibility and potential of these new technologies to allow people to learn throughout the life-course is also seen as a ready means of establishing developed countries as a learning society. Governments around the world have come out and set targets and development policies to help all adult technologies – information communication technology- in making these users friendly in their own environments, (Selwyn, Gorard, & Furlong, 2006).
Despite the sums of money being invested in ICT and education, there is the need for establishing how close the society is in establishing technology based learning societies and the challenges that might be faced along the way. There is also the need to recognize the promise and potential of new technologies, mapping how ICT and ICT-based learning fit with the everyday lives of each individual as well as the ability of research in the community. In this time and age, many of us already have a hand held mobile device, a hand held computing device of some description as well as some form of Internet access in the homes or at the office.
As well, the enthusiasts of the power of technology see the need to support and shape our everyday activities proliferate via newspapers, textbooks and television screens. All these are learning avenues and as well these have increased to e-commerce, e-tailing, cybersex, blogging, networked computerized technologies in the nineteenth century revolution; inspired by grand notions of globalization and post modernity, some scholars have taken to portraying adults in the early twenty-first century as living in a plentiful post-physical age where all that is solid melts into bits
The importance of learning in information society
The prominence of education and learning within the post-industrial, information society analysis was in no small part responsible for the high profile reassessment of education and training by educators and politicians in developing countries over the latter half of the 1990s. In countries such as the UK, this was infamously embodied in New Labor’s 1977 election commitment to concentrate on education. The information society and knowledge economy agenda were particularly evident in the rise of political favor during the 1990s of the broad concept of lifelong learning, a notion embracing not only the compulsory phases of education but also education throughout adult life.
This lifelong learning involves more than a narrow technical adjustment to the organization of educational provision; it is an attempted transformation in learning opportunities in order to meet the implicit demands of the information society/knowledge economy. If it is accepted that the production and distribution of knowledge and information are increasingly significant processes in the determination of global economic competitiveness and development, which are reflected in turn, in economic growth, employment change and levels of welfare, then the capacities of organizations and individuals to engage successfully in the learning process of a variety of kinds is an obvious determinant of economic performance.
Policies and usage of ICT in schools
For an effective learning environment in schools that incorporate ICT, the use of computers need to have policy frameworks to specify their use and how effective they will be in their use as this will give a general guideline in use as well as maintenance. In South Africa, the proportion of principles indicating the existence of written policies for both the lower and upper education levels were virtually the same, but emphasis was quite different. In almost all the schools too, there was a common vision on ICT as a policy goal that pay attention to norms and values when using services such as the internet; a survey in south Africa revealed that such visions were fully or partially realized both at the upper and the lower levels as other principals reported that developing a common vision was realized as a goal, (Howie, Muller, & Paterson, 2005)
On the other hand, at the upper level involving mature learning, it is certainly not hard to detect enthusiasms for ICT based technologies within the educational literature, reflecting the proliferation of new technologies such as the computer and internet in adult changing settings. In essence and principle, ICTs are argued to make learning more effective and more equitable, to offer a diverse range of learning opportunities to a diverse range of adult learners on a suitable, convenient and cost effective basis as technology has been heralded by some to facilitate learning which is eclectic, holistic and flexible. In short, this is to say that ICTs are portrayed as making the wider goals of the knowledge economy and information society, (Howie, Muller, & Paterson, 2005)
According to Law, Yuen & Fox, (2011), sustaining or transformative uses of technology do not depend on technology alone, they also depend on the intended use of the technology in the specific educational contexts, often, and specific technologies priorities certain uses and hence can be used more easily for sustaining or transformative purposes. Such prioritization is not deterministic as further, the characteristic that mist influences the choice and deployment of ICT in school education is the pedagogical decision-making of the teacher. This in turn is determined by the curriculum goals and training as well as pedagogical competencies of the teacher, (Law, 2008) Transformative use of technology in schools and education as discussed above are those that are integral to the implementation of innovative pedagogical practices.
This involves the changing roles of the teachers, learners and members of the community, and the power relationships among these three groups. The way learning outcomes are assessed and staff performance is appraised also changes, thus challenging the predominant value and reward system inherent in the education system today. In particular, the integration of ICT in learning can be an effective tool in widening education participation, supporting a diversity of educational provision as well as lead to better form and outcomes of adult learning. ?
“Howie, S. J., Muller, A., & Paterson, A. (2005). Information and Communication Technologies in.” Howie, S. J., Muller, A., & Paterson, A. (2005). Information and Communication Technologies in (n.d.): 1-9. Web. Sept.-Oct. 2014. This journal discusses the benefits of using technology in education, as well as the challenges it has created. The writer’s thoroughly researched paper convinces its readers of the vastness of the technological world. “South Africa: Reforming Higher Education and Transforming the
National System of Innovation.” Academia.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2014. This article is written to inform its readers about, the transformation of education with rapid inventions of newer technologies. “Nurturing Leadership and Establishing Learning Organizations.” Educational Innovations Beyond Technology. N.p., n.d. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2014.Selwyn, N., Gorard, S., & Furlong, J. (2006). This research discuses the methods and technological innovations used in learning. Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Information Technology and the Learning Society. N.p., n.d. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2014. This research discusses the use of technology in education, as well as its impact on education.