South Sudan: The Essence of ICT in Learning, Teaching and Working Process

Posted: July 2, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Education, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

Importance of Using Information Communication and Technology Education (ICT) In Learning, Teaching and Working Process

By Ustaz John Garang Ayii Riak, Zhejiang, China

The author, Ustaz John Garang Ayii Riak, is a Master’s Degree Student on Comparative Education Program, Zhejiang Normal University, East China
The author, Ustaz John Garang Ayii Riak, is a Master’s Degree Student on Comparative Education Program, Zhejiang Normal University, East China

Tuesday, 02 July 2019 (PW) —- In recent years, several studies and reports have highlighted the opportunities and the potential benefits of using ICT for improving the quality of education and work. ICT is regarded as a “main tool for constructing knowledge culture (UNESCO, 2001). It can be noted that ICT education in schools in the 21st Century continues to face some challenges in developing societies. The European Commission is promoting the use of ICT in learning processes through its eLearning Action Plan, one of the aims of which is “to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services as well as remote exchange and collaboration” (Commission of the Europe, 2001).

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, 2002).

Definition of ICT

The ICTs stand for information and communication technologies and are defined, for the purpose of ICT, as a “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information.”These technologies include computers, the Internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television), and telephones. ICT is the way of stressing the role of unified communications such as conveying and receiving information and message.

Briefed History of ICTs Development in Earlier 1970s-2000s

The ICT Development started in 1970s and there have been five major phases in the history of using ICT in education.

  1. Late 1970’s – early 1980’s: programming, drill and practice: The pedagogical reason to teach programming was not to train programmers, but they believe that it will develop students’ logics and math skills. This didn’t help many students to reach any deeper understanding, as they were mainly simulating students’ short term memory and “trial, error.
  2. Late 1980’s – early 1990’s: Computer Based Training (CBT) with multimedia: This was the golden era of CD-ROMs and multimedia computers. This combination was seriously expected to have a huge impact on the ways we learn. The CD-ROMs didn’t either get people to deep learning and understanding.
  3. Early 1990’s: Internet-Based Training (IBT): At this point computer-based training was brought to Internet, but again without the multimedia. It was text and pictures, some early experiments with animations, video and audio. The purpose and reason to promote it was the belief that it is cost-efficient as there were no more travelling to training or absence from workplace.
  4. Late 1990’s – early 2000: e-learning: The pedagogical thinking around the e-learning is closely related to the computer-based training. The markets for e-learning courses and especially for Learning Management Systems (LMS) were created.
  5. Late 2000: Social software + free and open content: The pedagogical thinking behind the social software and the free and open content can be located to the social constructivist theory and cultural-historical psychology. “Any true understanding is dialogic in nature” wrote Mikhail Bakhtin and Lev Vygotsky wrote that “all higher [mental] functions originate as actual relations between human individuals”.

The use of ICT in the schools should be aimed at pedagogical methods i.e. student centered pedagogy and lecturing new curricular goals i.e. goals related to developing lifelong learning skills. ICT should be used intensively in teaching and learning processes in the school as a whole. The schools should be regarded as advanced in respect of ICT adoption.

The ICT has become an important source of innovation and improvement of efficiency for many sectors across the globe. In the education sector, the application of ICT has become a critical part of the learning process for university students both outside and inside the classroom setting.

The government and other stakeholders in the education sector such as university management and researchers have invested millions of dollars to adopt ICT in the education system during the last two decades. Most universities that have fully adopted ICT have recorded immense advancement in the application of ICT for the improvement of learning methods, teaching, research, and development. It is, however, not clear what impact the ICT applications have on the performance and achievement of students.

Importance of ICT Uses in Teaching and Learning Process

The best use of ICT depends on a number of reasons such as the financial resources available in the school, teaching methods and organizational structures but above all one of the critical factors in ICT is infrastructure available in the school.

It improves communication and availability of information; networking with full access to the web, allows ways of communication that would simply be impossible before it was developed. Instant messaging can now allow users to talk in real time and send files to other people wherever they are in the world, which is a huge boon for businesses. It allows access to a vast amount of useful information, including traditional materials and timely facts, such as news and current events.

Interactive boards; Schools should have the opportunity to get more advanced equipment for computer aided presentations and use Interactive boards, i.e. Smart Boards in some classrooms. The subject content is either commercially produced or prepared by the teachers.

Facilitate experiments; Modern computer equipment is used in several of the schools to facilitate experiments in natural sciences. The use of ICT is a way to improve the experiments and to make the processes more visible and the experiments would not even be possible to do without computers. In some cases standard programs which the schools can use, but there are also examples of teachers who developed their own programs to support experiments they want to do together with their students. As experiments are mainly a part of science subjects this is a methodology more commonly used in science subjects.

Video and sound; Computer equipment for video and sound editing makes it possible for learners to produce audiovisual materials and audio recordings. Video recording systems encourage students’ in-depth analysis and self-made reflection on the sources of success or failure in sport. Internet Web (such as blogs, wiki, social networking, and vide-sharing sites) software such as podcasts is to be used for developing speaking in a foreign language and audio recording software should be used by a teacher to provide feedback.

PowerPoint; PowerPoint presentations are often prepared and used by teachers, but there are also examples of teachers using prepared presentations. Also in many schools, students are encouraged to use PowerPoint to present the results of thematic work, group work or individual work.

Animations; Most schools use different computer programs and web pages to animate issues which they want to show and to explain to the students. The idea behind this is to make lectures more concrete. This way of working could be found in many different subjects, but it seemed to be more frequently used in science subjects than in other subjects.

Finding information on internet; most teachers and students search updated information on internet and this became a reliable and standard way of getting current information. Therefore, ICT is used for finding new information.

Internet and e-mail for communication; Internet and e-mail are frequently used for communication. This includes a large number of different types of communication, for example communication student – teacher, teacher – teacher, student –student, head teacher – teachers and head teacher – students. This communication was facilitated by the use of different platforms for communication and learning in some schools for example Moodle.

Sharing easier; Computer networking allows easier accessibility for people to share their files, which greatly helps them with saving more time and effort, since they could do file sharing more accordingly and effectively.

Highly flexible; this technology is known to be very flexible, as it gives users the opportunity to explore everything about essential things, such as software without affecting their functionality. Plus, people will have the accessibility to all information they need to get and share.

Cheaper system; Installing networking software on your device would not cost too much, as you are assured that it lasts and can effectively share information to your peers.

Increases cost efficiency; With computer networking, you can use a lot of software products available on the market which can just be stored or installed in your system or server, and can then be used by various workstations.

It boosts storage capacity; since you are going to share information, files and resources to other people, you have to ensure all data and content are properly stored in the system.

Learning platforms; Learning platforms such as Moodle, Wechat, Facebook, etc. are used as a means of communication between teachers and students and also used as storage of the course content. The schools use learning platforms only for intermingled learning instruction to facilitate and organize classroom teaching.

Dissemination of information; Web pages and platforms are in many cases used not only to post general information about the school to an audience outside the school, but to disseminate information to teachers and students, to create archives with information. The students could find PowerPoint presentations made on Smart Boards in archives which were available through websites and/or platforms.

Contacts with other schools; the schools had established contact with other schools. These contacts were schools in their own country; it also involved schools in other countries. These contacts could be very different in character. Teachers had established contact with colleagues in other countries and through these organized different types of exchange of experiences and co-operation.

Long Distance learning; none of the schools visited claimed they organized distance education. Due to the participation in other important activities, one can also attend classes through ICT known as distance learning, are organized and send to the students and they either come to do examinations at the end or send him his examinations using email.

Administration and Management System; in developed countries, ICT is used for controlling managerial system such as finance, academic results, administrative and discipline issues and plans. Many activities are carried out through ICT such as theatre, bird watching, film-making and astronomy. In all these activities the use of ICT played an important role. This role varied from being an instrument to produce films to be a tool to communicate with bird watchers in other countries. These activities were also more or less linked to the school. In some cases they were part of regular extra-curricular activities offered by the school and in other cases a private initiative of some teachers who had been allowed to use school computers.

Promotes Gender Equity and equality; The ICT is promoting gender equity especially females’ emancipation in term of job markets because most of the female workers who had studies ICT have got good job opportunities compared to the early time of absence of ICT applications and if you see now the statistical of females who have got white jobs because of ITC are more compare to males. If you go to any institution nowadays majority of people who are working in the offices are females, you can find many females are sitting under computers. This emancipated females from job discriminations from the males and promoted job marketability (Bol Elijah, 2019).

The ICT enriches Special Need Education (SNE); with the emergence of ICT applications blinds can able to be taught using brails and deaf ones also are taught using signs and symbols as mediums of communications for these vulnerable groups and this reduce the tendency of vulnerability in the developed countries. Therefore, ICTs enriches the learning opportunities and potential of students who have SNE, especially in the following areas:

  • Physical disabilities
  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Dyslexia
  • Learning Disabilities and,
  • Emotional and behavioral difficulties

Indeed ICT has greatly improved and enriched the lives of people with disabilities (APC, 27 May 2007).

Improvement of Health and Medication Services; the ICT has much improved Health and Medication services through computerized diagnosing by the use of extra-sound, x-rays, microscope lens, therefore, now no disease that cannot be diagnosed through the help of ICT unlike the previous time.

The ICT has increased productivity of both secondary and primary goods and commodities; the productions of goods and commodities are produce in large quantity and quality compared to the early time. Moreover, they are produced within the shortest time, (ABC Ltd, 2015).

It promotes research work, TheICT encourages everyone to be an independent researcher, and one just voluntarily goes on internet and Google and information he wants.

It Promotes Creativity and Inventive Thinking; the present of ICT has made every person to be creative by trying to come up with something new through computer programming and design (John G. 2018).

Improves Security Services; the ICT camera videos monitor each and every person wherever, he/ she is going and what she/ he is doing and even it has reduce theft.

Quicken Service Delivery; the ICT has reduced time consuming of service delivery in both developed and developing countries through shipping services such as Tabao

Improving E-Library: With emergence of ICT students can find print books and multimedia physically located in the library as well as e-books, e-journals, and streaming multimedia online and the use them freely. One can download the full library on e-library and carry it on the disk which is affordable compare carrying textbooks; this is unlimited access to online information.

Speedy and essay access to information; There is a lot of chances for each and every one of us to get access to information freely online any time unless one is too lazy to make independent research, this help people to get free information.

Economy Development; Entrepreneurship is crucial for economic development around the world. In countries such as Nigeria, Egypt and Indonesia, micro-entrepreneurs generate 38% of the gross domestic product. Analysis from the World Bank in 2011 indicates that small businesses create a disproportionate share of new jobs. They generate new ideas, new business models, and new ways of selling goods and services.

Wireless technology and ICT infrastructure development is also vital for entrepreneurship and small business development. In many emerging nations, it is a major challenge to gain access to capital and market information. Developing nations specifically do not have functioning infrastructure or much in the way of financial resources. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, approximately 29% of roads are paved, barely a quarter of the population has access to electricity, and there are fewer than three landlines available per 100 people. In Indonesia, 75% of the country has household incomes below $2.50 per day. Therefore, ICT make everything possible to develop.

Disadvantages of Using ICT in Teaching, learning and working

Although computers can be a valuable tool, there are also some disadvantages associated to these technological devices in a classroom. Computers offer suitable information and allow students to be creative and polish products, but with these advantages come prospective problems that could results to decreased educational effectiveness within a classroom and workplace, and allow for problems down the line in the child’s schooling and bring work to standstill.

Creation of Technological Dependence; When computer plus other technological devices are used continuously, students develop a tendency dependence of these devices. Just as students who are never required to do single calculation without a calculator lose the ability to solve mathematical problems manually, I had observed in our class, whenever a teacher ask a question that need students-teacher discussion, those computer mentally addicted-students, they first run to consult their master-controller phone or computer by googling their answers before they raise their hands to answer. We had nick named them Googlers or Google students who use to computer and phones for almost every task, these experience a decline in their ability to spell and even write by hand. Students must practice these simple skills without technological devices frequently to make ensure that their skills do not deteriorate.

It cause security difficulties; Because there would be a huge number of people who would be using a computer network to get and share some of their files and resources, a certain user’s security would be always at risk.

It lacks robustness; as previously stated, if a computer network’s main server breaks down, the entire system would become useless. If it breaks down, for if the generator or electricity went off, the system would become useless, making users idle. To deal with these problems, huge networks should have a powerful computer to serve as file server to make setting up and maintaining the network easier.

It allows for more presence of computer viruses and malware; There would be instances that stored files are corrupt due to computer viruses. Thus, network administrators should conduct regular check-ups on the system, and the stored files at the same time.

It requires an expensive set-up; though computer networks are said to be an inexpensive system when it is already running, its initial set up cost can still be high depending on the number of computers to be connected. Expensive devices, such as routers, switches, hubs, etc., can add up to the cost. Aside from these, it would also need network interface cards (NICs) for workstations in case they are not built in.

Varied Computer Literacy; Computers present an added challenge to educators because teachers must deal with students of varying computer literacy levels. Some students enter the classroom fully versed in the applications of a computer, while others come with no prior experience. It is difficult for teachers to deal with this vast difference and ensure that they provide students who need assistance, while not requiring capable students to slow their academic progress and wait. I have witnessed this in our ITC class this year, some of us who are better off, could not patient to wait the teacher when she was repeatedly explain the topic to slow learners and some students felt that the teacher is wasting their valuable time on those students she has been trying to help them to learn something, whereas those students were seriously in need of help.

Blindness; Usage of computers over the years lead to blindness due to the computers’ rays and light that goes direct into one’s eyes without reading glasses. One should have reading glasses to protect him or her from eye effect.

It requires an efficient handler; for a computer network to work efficiently and optimally, it requires high technical skills and know-how of its operations and administration. A person just having basic skills cannot do this job.

Back pains: Over sitting under computer especially those who are employed in the bank and secretaries affect them, over staying under computer lead into back pain and affect physical health.

Children Cultural decayed; as English said that, “Too much of anything is bad”. Children who are addicted to computer don’t listen to their parents, even if one is call by parent, he/ she say that I am coming when he don’t mean it, he can continue playing games and play even forbidden games. Also some tend to watch phonographic movies which are not good to the children.

It causes obesity; over sitting under computer lead into obesity according to the World Heald Organization (2019) because one misses exercise which is very vital.

Time Consuming; ICT games had created wasting of time for many youngsters and adults, one can spend a lot of times playing games on his/ her computer or cell phones hence, forgetting his duties awaiting him or her.

Political Instability; Currently most of the opposition political leaders use social media to mobilize youths and other allies to overthrown the incumbent presidents for example what had happened in Sudan when Sudanese toppled Former President Omar Hassan Al Bashiir was a face book coordinated peaceful demonstration which later on  resulted of his coup de tat.

Creation of Hackers; Different types of hacking for much of the new Millennia, computer network and security administrators have faced an ever-growing generation of evil hackers wreak havoc on computer networks that do have proper protection in place. They steal information and sell it to highest bidder. Not thinking about what it would do to the person or company that they hacked. For example Edward Snowden, who is currently in Russia seeking asylum from the United Nation. Mr. Snowden illegally hacked the CIA network, stole classified documents and sold them to the highest bidder, therefore, hacking is a dangers part and disadvantage of the ICT.

Recommendations for the possible solutions

  • Training programs that are relevant and responsive to the needs of the education system.
  • Professional development for lifelong learning.
  • Teachers should be train to have sufficient subject knowledge and a repertoire of teaching methodologies and strategies.
  • Recruiting suitable candidates for the profession (with the appropriate attitudes, skills and knowledge).
  • ICT should not be introduced to children at the early age.
  • A awareness should be given to the children how to use ICT.
  • ICT laws should be enacted to control ICT usage, children protection, data security and E-commerce and security of transaction online.

Conclusion

Computer networking will always be a fast and convenient means of transferring and sharing information, but people should be aware of its consequences as well. They should remember that often relying on this system can put them at certain risks that can be cause by its flaws and other malfunctions. Information communication technology (ICT) is among the latest innovations that has revolutionized various operations in the world. It is particularly important in the field of education since it has recently created such platforms and opportunities that have facilitated to some extent the acquisition of knowledge.

In short, ICT offers wide-ranging help on numerous forms of social and economic development. Wireless communications broaden access to information, improve capital access, overcome geographic limitations, and expand market access. With mobile phones and tablets booming at a significant rate, these communications tools enable women, in this case the disadvantaged and other individuals to access a wider range of investors, suppliers, and customers. Combined with social media platforms, people can extend their reach through mobile devices and pool resources in meaningful ways.

Thank God for the gift of ICT which became part of life and it is therefore, possible to be used in all aspect of human life, but deserve tolerant in application and nothing can work effectively without the knowledge of ICP. Lastly, if one claims that he is educated but he does not know ICT application which meant that he/ she is not actually educated, the really education involved computer application.

Before I come to China, I thought, am educated, but lack of massive and intensive ICT applications I considered myself that I know nothing and I have to study computer seriously not to depend on common basic computer’s knowledge and I am appealing to all the learners and workers to study intensive ICT because it is very important in learning, teaching and working environments, without better ICT applications you cannot be excellent worker, teacher or giant students, for instance, computer is the leading factor in labor market in this 21st century.

The author, Ustaz John Garang Ayii Riak, is a Master’s Degree Student on Comparative Education Program, Zhejiang Normal University, East China. He can be reached via his email: John Garang Ayii <johngayii2014@gmail.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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