infoDev’s Knowledge Maps on ICTs in education are intended to serve as quick snapshots of what the research literature reveals in a number of key areas. They are not meant to be an exhaustive catalog of everything that is known (or has been debated) about the use of ICTs in education in a particular topic; rather, taken together they are an attempt to summarize and give shape to a very large body of knowledge and to highlight certain issues in a format quickly accessible to busy policymakers. The infoDev knowledge mapping exercise is meant to identify key general assertions and gaps in the knowledge base of what is known about the use of ICTs in education, especially as such knowledge may relate to the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Locating and identifying the uses of
information and communication technologies (ICTs) to benefit
education in developing countries is a tedious, difficult,
time-consuming, and ad hoc task. No standard reference or
methodology exists for identifying such investments.
Observations and conclusions on how ICTs are actually used
in schools are drawn almost exclusively from Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) experience.
Little such data exists for least development countries
LDCs, and essentially none for countries most at risk of
meeting education-related Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs). Emerging evidence from OECD countries suggests that
even massive investments in ICTs in schools may not bring
about the desired changes in teaching and learning processes
unless such investments are supported by similar initiatives
to improve access to ICTs outside of the school environment.
This may be especially important for uses of ICTs to support
education for all (EFA) goals, as effective use in school
may require high levels of access outside school if gains in
such investments are to be maximized, especially where ICTs
are to be used for communication purposes.
Teacher training and on-going, relevant
professional development are essential if benefits from
investments in information and communication technologies
(ICTs) are to be maximized. A shift in the role of a teacher
utilizing ICTs to that of a facilitator does not obviate the
need for teachers to serve as leaders in the classroom;
traditional teacher leadership skills and practices are
still important (especially those related to lesson
planning, preparation, and follow-up). ICTs seen as tools to
help teachers create more 'learner-centric'
learning environments in Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, research
consensus holds that the most effective uses of ICT are
those in which the teacher, aided by ICTs, challenge
pupils' understanding and thinking, either through
whole-class discussions or individual/small group work using
ICTs. ICTs are seen as important tools to enable and support
the move from traditional 'teacher-centric'
teaching styles to more 'learner-centric' methods.
Pedagogical practices of teachers using ICTs can range from
only small enhancements of teaching practices, using what
are essentially traditional methods, to more fundamental
changes in their approach to teaching. ICTs can be used to
reinforce existing pedagogical practices as well as to
change the way teachers and students interact.
Equity issues are critical and acute. It
is clear that there are critical equity issues related to
the uses of information and communication technologies
(ICTs) in education. There is a real danger that uses of
ICTs can further marginalize groups already excluded or
marginalized from existing educational practices and
environments. Solid documentation from Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
There is a richly documented history of what works and what
doesn't related to the uses of ICTs to assist in the
education of students with a variety of disabilities, both
cognitive and physical based on OECD experience. Certain
applications of ICTs have been shown to have positive and
important effects on the educational development of students
exhibiting a great variety of special needs (including
blind, deaf, and learning disabled students). While ample
evidence exists that ICT use can have a positive impact on
student motivation, such gains in motivation tend to
correlate most closely with students who are already the
most academically motivated and highest achievers.