Information Technology in the learning process

INTRODUCTION

This paper examines how the implementation of information technology has had a profound effect on improving the learning process. The assessment follows the report compiled by Seppo Sirkemma from the Turku School of Economics in Finland.. The concept of e-learning has evolved from the development of computer technology and sophisticated communications networks, in particular the internet. This new digital world has enabled student's access to education and learning from virtually any country in the world. The technology has also increased the need for teachers to become computer literate and take full advantage of this toolbox. Despite the implementation of this technology there has remained a considerable debate on the subject on online vs. classroom based teaching and many believe that e-learning is not necessarily an adequate substitute for classroom learning.

DECIDING ON NEW TECHNOLOGY

IT Management Consultants play a vital role in helping large business organizations in the procurement of Information Technology and related services. They bring a level of external expertise that is often lacking in the organization. This being in subject matter expert areas that help the organization find the most optimum solution for the business. Certain large corporate firms like IBM and HP have become global service solutions providers offering customised solutions around open architecture and their own hardware and communications systems. Similarly Enterprise Solutions like Oracle, J.D.Edwards and SAP offer large-scale systems integration advice for the placement of international business information systems.

The important factor in the implementation of computer technology is that it should not take a central role over that of the teaching process but viewed as having an important supportive role. It is an essential aid to studying and learning and a facilitator for completing essential research and tuition modules. In addition the videoing of important lectures, in overcrowded lecture theatres across the country, has allowed student to listen on a 1:1 basis and increased the absorption rate of the main points resulting from the lecture. The mobility factor of laptops and notebooks has enabled the student to carry a library of information, lecture notes and other educational data in a portable carrying case.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF E-LEARNING

The concept of e learning has become one of the fastest development components of the educational field. It embraces computer hardware, supporting educational software and sophisticated wireless based communications. It has liberated the student and changed the way of learning forever. There is no longer a need to haul around a number of heavy books. Electronic Readers (E-Readers) can store hundreds of books and this can almost relate to a small library being retained on a single USB drive that can be inserted in a computer or PC that has an access port. The technology is also available 24/7 and providing you have gathered the requisite information, you can continue studying after the college or university has shut down for the day. Equally, week-end trips away means that you can take your entire study component with you e.g. tutorial notes, lecture notes, study modules, books, research papers, video clips etc. All instantly available for audio / video interaction from your computer notebook or personal computer (PC).

One of the emerging trends is mobility and miniaturization. The technology is increasing in capacity but reducing in size. We have seen the new tablet computers and how mobile phones are being expanded in capability to offer a full multi-media experience. This has increased the communication element allowing students to communicate with one another and transmit files and other information by means of hand held devices. The future may well be astonishing if we move into the concept of neural networks and the ability to have a small device attached to the ear that replaces the hand held device. Video stream may be by projecting holographic images – the concepts and ideas are boundless for technological advancement in the 21st century.

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

The implementation of Information Technology (IT) has radically changed the thought process of both students and teachers. The teachers are taking on more of a facilitation role in the direction of the e-learning material. The objective being to increase the direction or orientation of the learning process. The emphasis moving away from lectures and more towards the tutorials. Facilities like U-Tube have allowed the video streaming of important lectures and once placed on the internet are available to all students worldwide. A lecture from Harvard or Yale for example may now be freely available for others to view and listen by means of the internet. This degree of collaborative learning has strengthened the entire system and is rapidly moving education from the privilege of the few to that of all people worldwide and creating a new sense of equity and democratisation.

SUMMARY - IMPLEMENTING TECHNOLOGY

The basic pedagogical aspects of Education remain unchanged by the influence and implementation of Information technology. The movement is more towards the behavioural conditions of acceptance and adaption to change. Computer literacy is now expected from both Teacher and Student alike and has created a new bridge of communications that has developed and enhanced the learning process. Technology will continue to develop and enhance the shape of education and learning and the future may well see a new kind of classroom emerging comprising a sophisticated array of e-learning communication and technology toolsets.