There is no question that the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools has a significant effect on student performance. Numerous studies have been conducted to correlate the effect of ICT use to the performance of students. According to a research based on the effect of technology in schools, "[e]ducational technology has demonstrated a significant positive effect on achievement for all major subject areas, in pre-school through higher education and for regular education and special needs student"' (SIIA, 2000)…
As a result, ICT and its capability in improving student performance have been marginal as well. How then, should these new technologies be implemented by teachers in order to successfully integrate them into the curriculum As this essay will argue, the successful integration of information technology into the curriculum requires a paradigm shift from the teachers perspective, together with their acquisition of the technical skills required to use ICT, and a good support system from the school to create a contextually relevant environment that will make teachers more receptive in using new technologies and encourage learning from students.
As Jonassen, Peck, and Wilson (2003) claim, ICT today is not simply a medium where information is transferred, but a tool that students learn with, assisting the learning process itself. At the very least, one could infer that ICT is changing the nature of education today - from the school, to its curriculum, each facet of education is being revised to cope with the fast development in ICT in an effort to effectively integrate such new technologies (Williams and Price, 12). However, it is imperative to note that the implementation of ICT is just a single aspect within the larger context of school reform. Thus, it is important to understand that school reform today, insofar as ICT is concerned, places emphasis not just on quantifiable outcomes, such as an increase in the amount of ACT available in schools, but on the quality of learning experiences for students - the degree that ICT enriches students' learning experiences (Godfrey, 2001, p.15).
Unfortunately, most teachers do not fully comprehend such relationship between ICT and education. According to a study conducted in Australian schools, the purpose of ICT in the curriculum continues to be ill defined and poorly understood by teachers (Fifoot, 2000). An implication of such is that ICT causes frustration among teachers, which eventually forces them to abandon it altogether. If not, they just end up using it ineffectively, as a tool to substitute typewriters and calculators, for example. Using ICT in such ways do not only waste valuable investments made for the improvement of learning, but it can also have negative effects in the student's learning process because it leaves them incapable of integrating ICT effectively in their daily lives as well.
Teachers, therefore, need to know how to use technology to successful use it in the classroom. However, it is imperative to differentiate between knowing how to use technology for its sake from knowing how to use technology for the sake of improving student learning (Fishman, et. al, 2001). As Tiene and Ingram (2001, p.xv), puts it, teachers "need to expand their awareness of ... educational technologies [and] the critical issues associated with the effective utilization of these technologies."
Aside from understanding ICT implementation within the context of school reform, it is also imperative to understand the changes and trends surrounding ICT and school reform. Grabe and Grabe (2004, pp.35-39) outlined this shift in terms of changes in student and teacher roles, ...
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