ICT in Education Toolkit Version 2.0a
September 2006
Manage Users |   How to Use the Toolkit   Concept and Blue Print   Logout
  Welcome , NIUE
Toolkit Map Filing Cabinet Team Bookshelf Search Handbook Toolkit Library My Messages
ICTs for Education: Analytical Review
1 Introduction
2 Myths and Realities
3 Challenges
4 The Role and Nature of ICTs
5 The Potential of ICTs
  Expanding Educational Opportunities
  Increasing Efficiency
  Enhancing Quality of Learning
  Enhancing Quality of Teaching
  Faciliating Skill Formulation
  Sustaining Lifelong Learning
  Improving Policy Planning and Management
  Advancing Community Linkages
6 From Potential to Effectiveness
7 Conclusion

ICTs for Education: A Reference Handbook
1 Decision Makers Essentials
2 Analytical Review
3 Resources
4 PowerPoint Presentation
View Toolkit Map
View ICT for Education Handbook
  5.4 Enhancing Quality of Teaching

5.4.1 The Objective

Teaching is one of the most challenging and crucial professions in the world. Teachers are critical in facilitating learning and in making it more efficient and effective; they hold the key to the success of any educational reform; and they are accountable for successful human development of the nation and for preparing the foundation for social and economic development.  Yet they are usually ill-prepared and left on their own to understand and address the needs of students, parents, administrators, society, the economy, the past, the present, and the future.

Modern developments may have eased some teaching burdens, but they certainly have not made life easier for teachers:

  • The objectives of education have become more complicated. It is no longer sufficient to teach a certain body of knowledge and skills. Teachers are expected to help students to acquire higher levels of cognitive skills-problem solving, creativity, collaborative learning, synthesis, and, above all, the skill of how to learn new knowledge and apply that knowledge to new situations.
  • Our understanding of the nature of learning has evolved. For learning to take place, learners have to be active, learning has to be meaningful and authentic, and the learning environment should be challenging but not stressful-all easier said than done!
  • Knowledge is expanding rapidly, and much of it is available to teachers and students at the same time. This puts an unavoidable burden on teachers to continue updating their knowledge and exposing themselves to modern channels of information.
  • The social environment in many countries is making it more difficult for teachers to manage classrooms and learning processes. Teachers' authority is challenged and their knowledge questioned continually. Students, in many instances, are becoming less respectful and more belligerent, and in some extreme cases, teachers are functioning in the face of physical threats and psychological duress.
  • Information and communication technologies have brought new possibilities into the education sector, but, at the same time, they have placed more demands on teachers. They now have to learn how to cope with computers in their classrooms, how to compete with students in accessing the enormous body of information-particularly via the Internet, and how to use the hardware and software to enhance the teaching/learning process. 

Obviously, teachers cannot be prepared for these unfolding challenges once and for all. One-shot training, no matter how effective and successful, will not suffice. A new paradigm must emerge that replaces training with lifelong professional preparedness and development of teachers, along the following continuum:

  • Initial preparation/training that provides teachers with a solid foundation of knowledge; proficiency in pedagogical, social, and organization skills; deep understanding of the teaching/learning policies and materials they will be dealing with; and broad familiarity with sources of educational materials and support. It is equally crucial that candidates have a sophisticated grasp of the continuous exploration, assessment, and acquisition of new knowledge and competencies, according to future demands.
  • Structured opportunities for retraining, upgrading and acquisition of new knowledge and skills. Many professions have such requirements to renew certification for practice. It is only logical for the critical profession of teaching to demand recertification every two or three years based on evidence of professional upgrading, and it is equally imperative for education authorities to ensure that opportunities and facilities for such upgrading are provided systematically.
  • Continuous support for teachers as they tackle their day-to-day responsibilities.

5.4.2 The Potential

Implementing the emerging paradigm with conventional measures and techniques will face, in most countries, insurmountable financial, organizational and institutional obstacles. ICTs may make the difference. ICTs can contribute significantly to all three components of the continuum:

  • First, ICTs and properly developed multi-media materials can enhance the initial preparation of teachers by providing good training materials, facilitating simulations, capturing and analyzing practice-teaching, bringing into the training institution world experience, familiarizing trainees with sources of materials and support, and training potential teachers in the use of technologies for teaching/learning.
  • Second, ICTs open a whole world of lifelong upgrading and professional development for teachers by providing courses at a distance, asynchronous learning, and training on demand. ICTs have the advantage of ease of revisions and introduction of new courses in response to emerging demands.
  • Finally, ICTs break the professional isolation from which many teachers suffer. With ICTs, they can easily connect with headquarters, with colleagues and mentors, with universities and centers of expertise and with sources of teaching materials.

5.4.3 Specific Solutions

The above potential can be translated into a variety of ICT-enhanced interventions. Among them are: Multimedia Training and Support

See the cases of South Africa and Aula Mentor, Spain in Resource 2.3.1. Videos for Training

Videos can serve an important role in microteaching, demonstration of special instructional techniques, on-demand training and uncorrupted expert instruction - in contrast with the cascade model (whereby, training flows down through levels of less experienced trainers until it reaches the target group; in the process, complex information tends to be lost). See Resource 2.3.2. Teacher Development Portal

Teacher development portals provide an integrated teacher development program utilizing the potential of ICTs. The Portal can provide the resources, tools and platform for all three phases of the Teacher Development Continuum: initial training at teacher training colleges, in-service training opportunities, and continuous teacher support.

More specifically, a portal provides the following resources, tools and collaborative channels:

  • Simulation and good practice.  New technologies, both computer- and web-based, allow for simulation of specific skills through mini- and micro-lessons that can be watched, manipulated and tested. Also demonstrations of real teachers in real classroom settings, representing different subjects, approaches and methodologies, may be brought into the teacher education center without having to travel to schools. More fundamentally, these good practices can be dissected, analyzed, watched again, and assessed over time without disrupting an actual class.
  • Multi-media Modules. These are teaching/learning activities related to specific pedagogical skills.
  • Resource materials, including solutions to common teaching problems, innovations in teaching specific concepts, lesson plans, and links to other portals developed by centers of excellence and professional organizations. The Portal site not only finds and links to these other sites, but also provides a special directory or search engine to help users find what they want and avoid the rest.
  • Moderated and un-moderated chat room, bulletin boards, discussion forums, and virtual conferences.
  • Synchronous and asynchronous on-line seminars on specific topics, using web casting and audio technology.
  • Free email and personalized web space.
  • Free educational software for downloading.
  • Policies and procedures can be posted on the Portal for easy access by teachers and administrators. This also allows revisions to be made inexpensively and distributed immediately to all schools with Internet access. Furthermore, through the e-mail link, teachers and administrators can provide feedback on the postings to the policymakers.
  • Resource teachers, assigned full-time or part-time, provide, through the Portal, advice to classroom teachers about problems and best practices. They can also prepare and provide supplemental lesson plans to capitalize on learning opportunities created by new developments. Furthermore, resource teachers can help design lesson plans and curriculum where textbooks and other traditional sources are unavailable. The resource teacher can be available by e-mail, and by Portal chat rooms and bulletin boards. Chat rooms and bulletin boards allow easy archiving and retrieval of prior queries and answers, which can substantially reduce the number of times the resource teachers have to respond to similar inquiries. Internet Resources for Teachers [5]

There are thousands of websites for educators that provide assistance to teachers on a wide range of needs, including lesson plans, instructional tools, student activities and professional development opportunities. Resource 2.3.3 contains a selective list of web sites that are intended to provide assistance to a wide range of teachers in their day-to-day classroom work.The sites have been selected to illustrate the variety of supports that can be provided to teachers through the Web. Although most of the sites are in English, they serve as models of the types of resources that could be prepared to serve other language groups.

5 Gregg Jackson and Nina de las Alas. November/December 2000. "WorthWhileWebs." TechKnowLogia. Available at: www.TechknowLogia.org


  Acknowledgements | Terms & Conditions

Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

Site designed and maintained by: Sonjara

UNESCO Bangkok JFIT InfoDev (World bank) AED Knowledge Enterprise