Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education

The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as
a change agent for education
Ron Oliver
Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Abstract: Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become
commonplace entities in all aspects of life. Across the past twenty years the use of
ICT has fundamentally changed the practices and procedures of nearly all forms of
endeavour within business and governance. Within education, ICT has begun to have
a presence but the impact has not been as extensive as in other fields. Education is a
very socially oriented activity and quality education has traditionally been associated
with strong teachers having high degrees of personal contact with learners. The use
of ICT in education lends itself to more student-centred learning settings and often
this creates some tensions for some teachers and students. But with the world moving
rapidly into digital media and information, the role of ICT in education is becoming
more and more important and this importance will continue to grow and develop in
the 21st century. This paper highlights the various impacts of ICT on contemporary
higher education and explores potential future developments. The paper argues the
role of ICT in transforming teaching and learning and seeks to explore how this will
impact on the way programs will be offered and delivered in the universities and
colleges of the future.
Keywords: Online learning, constructivism, higher education
Information and communication technology (ICT) is a force that has changed many aspects of the
way we live. If one was to compare such fields as medicine, tourism, travel, business, law,
banking, engineering and architecture, the impact of ICT across the past two or three decades has
been enormous. The way these fields operate today is vastly different from the ways they
operated in the past. But when one looks at education, there seems to have been an uncanny lack
of influence and far less change than other fields have experienced. A number of people have
attempted to explore this lack of activity and influence (eg.Soloway and Prior, 1996; Collis,
There have been a number of factors impeding the wholesale uptake of ICT in education across
all sectors. These have included such factors as a lack of funding to support the purchase of the
technology, a lack of training among established teaching practitioners, a lack of motivation and
need among teachers to adopt ICT as teaching tools (Starr, 2001). But in recent times, factors
have emerged which have strengthened and encouraged moves to adopt ICTs into classrooms and
learning settings. These have included a growing need to explore efficiencies in terms ofhttp://bhs-ict.pbworks.com/f/role%2520of%2520ict.pdf