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Peering Through Clouds of Uncertainty to a ICT4E Future

Kevin Donovan

If anything is certain about the future, it is its uncertainty. The amplification of changes brought about by globalization makes it essential that today’s educational systems prepare students to be adaptive and flexible to tomorrow’s reality. Information and communication technologies can be harnessed to create a learning paradigm that goes beyond the traditional model of rote learning and instead creates an environment to cultivate a new generation of citizens ready for the knowledge society.

Educational leaders need to commit not to specific technologies or mediums, but to policies that will imbue students with critical thinking, inquiry and analysis. ICT will play an essential role in this, but policy-makers would do well to avoid becoming enamored with a technology itself. For example, the ubiquity and importance of mobile phones in the developing world was hardly predicted ten years ago; now they represent an important platform for economic empowerment. They very well might also be an essential part of distance education initiatives, but their unforeseen meteoric rise should caution against wedding a school (or nation) to specific technologies.

ICT for education (ICT4E) is incredibly dynamic right now with new announcements occurring daily. My vision is one of constant experimentation and innovation. We are entering a brave new world of challenges and opportunities; with the goal of creating life-long learners and productive members of a knowledge society, new and innovative methods of utilizing ICT for education should be encouraged and shared. This is not to say “anything goes” – the costs of failure are too high – but this is to promote new systems for a new millennium. These experiments in ICT4E should have specific, measurable goals and be frequently reviewed and fine-tuned. To avoid duplication and promote best practices, results should be shared widely and collaboration required.

A vision for the future of education in the developing world requires peering through clouds of uncertainty – a task far beyond one individual. But a sector-wide commitment to collaborative experimentation and innovation will make sense out of an uncertain future, and in doing so, equip the next generation with the skills and approaches it needs for that future.

7 Responses to “Peering Through Clouds of Uncertainty to a ICT4E Future”

  1. Tim Kelly

    An interesting application of mobile phones in education is the Nokia-supported "M4Girls" project in South Africa which creates mathematical games on mobile handsets (see: http://www.nokia.com/NOKIA_COM_1/Corporate_Respon

  2. I want to point out to the Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning which is a good resource for educators planning to incorporate technologies in their teaching and learning activities.



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