The Pedagogic Use of Information Technologies in Higher Education

In the field of education, information Technology is defined as a method of study where the student is provided learning materials via digital media like the internet, CD-ROM, intranet, interactive television, extranet, etc.

Indeed, with the exponential growth of technological developments, this form of education is expected to affect a greater part of the population within the next ten years. Great strides have already been made in this area with regard to teaching languages.

The term ICT, while encompassing information and communication technologies for education, brings together different elements. Let’s try to break this down by simple reasoning, without necessarily being exhaustive. The two major elements that emerge from the term ICT are; the dematerialization of documents and the increase in communication tools. These elements shall be discussed in the paragraphs that follow.

To begin, there is the dematerialization of documents: this means the use of electronic books (text books, workbooks) on CD-ROM, and teacher’s documents in form of presentations that may contain illustrations, animations, and interactions, making the course more attractive to students. This method of study equally promotes the exchange of educational materials among teachers. The inclusion of accessible Internet links and references in the lectures makes it possible to better orientate students towards a specific knowledge base while permitting the most advanced students to learn more.

To add, there is an increase in communication tools. Uploading video recordings of synchronized courses online, as is the case with tel-conferencing, gives access to the opening of teaching arenas. This facilitates the use of external lecturers and international exchange. As a matter of fact, electronic dialogue increases exchange between teachers and students through ‘frequently asked questions’, or custom questions. The interaction can take place during the course itself (for instance, through the provision of a multiple choice questionnaire used to assess the impact of a certain chapter that has been taught). Moreover, once the investment in technology is recovered, the computer management of institutions can become a good way to reduce expenses.

On the other hand, the illustrative examples discussed in the paragraphs above are not without risk and limitation, especially with regard to the use of such tools in education. Some setbacks include, but are not limited to, the following:

To begin, the social divide between students whose families would have allowed or refused them early access to information technology, would necessitate the provision of financial support or a means to update students that are not up to par.

Furthermore, the economic impact on commercial publishers of textbooks is often poorly assessed, especially in terms of human resources. It would therefore be necessary to work in a concerted, progressive and clearly planned manner.

Elementary Educational Videos Promote Cultural Awareness and Communication

Classrooms are full of a variety of cultures today, which can create both excitement and controversy. As the teacher, it is your job to embrace these different cultures so communication between students, families and teachers flows freely and positively. Educational videos can be an important tool in the process of teaching students how to embrace cultures different from their own.

A recent industry study explored how teachers and families perceived relationships and how parental involvement among diverse families with children in kindergarten was affected by these perceptions. Surprisingly, findings from this study suggest that both teacher and parent perceptions played a role in how teachers reported parental involvement. Teachers tended to report African American and Latino parents as less involved with their children’s education. Teachers also reported more involvement where parents had more education.

Such misconceptions can be damaging to the parent/teacher relationship, ultimately impacting the child. When educational videos are used to introduce the reality of other cultures in the classroom, students and teachers learn how valuable these cultures are and how to incorporate them into their own. This effectively changes the overall dynamic for a more positive experience for all involved.
The Affect on the Parent

No matter what the situation is at home, perceptions play a greater role in overall beliefs when facts are missing. This study found that both parent and teacher perceptions of the quality of home and school relationships impacted parental involvement. If the parent perceived they weren’t welcome or needed at school, they tended to stay away. Likewise, if the teacher felt the parent had nothing to offer, they didn’t encourage them to participate.

Race and Culture

It is very easy for anyone to make an assumption about someone or something about which they know very little. This country has a history of racial and cultural prejudices that still remain strong in many areas, despite laws to the contrary. For African Americans and Latino families especially, there is a legacy of institutional and individual racism that could easily impact a parents’ sense of acceptance, belonging and a shared community. As a result, parents and teachers have preconceived notions based on years of misguided thoughts and actions.

These misperceptions can continue on with students unless intervention takes place. Educational videos can help to create an environment of equality where students accept other races and cultures as equal to their own. Such an approach eliminates those barriers to acceptance, creating a more positive learning environment for everyone.

Social Class

When teachers or other educators perceive a mother’s educational level to be lacking, it can impact the way they view the mother. Research showed that higher maternal education was associated with increased teacher reported parental involvement. Again, this can carry over into the classroom, creating tensions where they shouldn’t exist. When educational videos are used to demonstrate diversity and how it can add to instead of take away from the classroom, everyone benefits.