ICT-enhanced content is one of the most forgotten areas, but evidently the most crucial component. Introducing TVs, radios, computers, and connectivity into schools without sufficient curriculum-related ICT-enhanced materials is like building roads but without making cars available or buying a CD player when there are no CDs. Development of ICT-enhanced content that is integral to the teaching/learning process is a must.
ICT-enhanced educational materials primarily include:
- Audio/radio educational programs
- Video/TV educational programs
- Computers-related and web-related multimedia educational materials
The list changes as new technologies are introduced and applied to the development of teaching and learning materials.
This toolbox is based on the premise that ICT-enhanced content an integral part of a process of curriculum and instructional development. In fact, it is the third step in this process:
Step 1. Identification of curriculum objectives (what students are intended to learn in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, etc), content, and instructional methodologies.
Step 2. Instructional plan: the best ways to teach the identified curricular elements, and most suitable measures to help students learn them.
Step 3. ICT-enhanced content plan: The translation of an instructional plan into an ICT-enhanced content plan should take many forms. Teaching/learning activities require a variety of channels, patterns, structures, emphases and technologies. Thus ICT-enhanced content offers combinations of learning channels and appropriate technologies to be utilized in light of their comparative advantage, availability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Should ICT-enhanced content be acquired or created?
This is one of the most difficult questions. But the answer is not necessarily an either/or. Acquisition saves time but not necessarily money. In most cases, a country has to buy the material or pay a licensing fee. There are also important suitability issues both from the point of view of learning objectives and acceptability of the means of communication. On the other hand, creating new materials requires sophisticated expertise, substantive time, and significant up-front financing. Depending on the number of schools using the materials, the unit utilization cost may be very high.
The ideal answer may be:
- acquire, as is, when suitable and cost-effective;
- acquire and adapt when not exactly suitable but cost-effective; and
- create when no suitable or cost-effective materials are available
What this Toolbox Offers
To address the different dimensions of ICT-enhanced content, Toolbox 4 provides a set of five tools.
Tool 4.1 assist planners in identifying the ICT-enhanced content requirements for the implementation of the ICT Program formulated in Tool 2.2.
The next three tools assist in collecting and organizing reliable information on existing ICT-enhanced content and mechanisms relevant to the required ICT-enhanced content identified in Tool 4.1.
- Tool 4.2 focuses on available audio, video, and digital materials
- Tool 4.3 concentrates on web-based educational content
- Tool 4.4 deals with course authorship and learning management systems
If it is still necessary to create new ICT-enhanced content or adapt existing ones, the last tool (Tool 4.5) offers a guide for the design, construction and testing of ICT-enhanced content.
The plans for implementation should not be once-for-all exercises. No matter how well a plan is conceived, feedback from implementation may show gaps and flows that need filling and adjustments. So, the process of planning should be looked upon as a continuous process of monitoring, assessment and revision. It is, therefore, recommended that the Planning Tools in the Toolbox be used in a flexible and open-ended manner and reused whenever implementation.