The combination of education and technology has been considered the main key to human progress. Education feeds technology which in turn forms the basis of education. It is therefore evident that information technology has affected changes to the methods, purpose and perceived potential of education.
Changes to learning
Being able to access large databases of information fundamentally changes education, since learners can now be creators and collaborators in the access and construction of discourses of information. Due to their technological literacy, young people can derive cultural capital from their understanding of modern information technologies, and thereby have input into educational change. The same technology also facilitates the rapid exchange of information by researchers on specific topics, so that the speed of the distribution of information is greatly increased. The increased access to huge amounts of data means students need help selecting, evaluating and analysing information, and they need to learn how to determine the currency, validity and veracity of the information itself. All of these changes in learning
Changes to teaching
The highest level of change occurring in relation to information technology and education is in the way teaching is increasingly being seen as occurring via the medium of technology, rather than utilising technology as an additional extra in the classroom. Information technology particularly impacts course content and teaching methodology and the recruitment and training of teaching staff as well as the content of courses . Information technology requires teachers to learn new sets of skills. Utilising computer technology improves the educational experience of the students – not so much because of the media itself, but because software programs require teachers to think laterally and systematically, and produce better teaching materials.
The role of teachers will change with the advances of information. Students do not lack information, but rather the time to find, analyse, understand and apply information. A teacher’s role is therefore to help students develop skills in order to determine how to find, analyse and interpret information.
Information Technology and the purpose of education
While education in the past has been centered on teaching and learning, information technology has affected changes to the aims of education, therefore now education is increasingly perceived as the process of creating, preserving, integrating, transmitting and applying knowledge. The perceptions of knowledge itself have also changed whereas knowledge could once have been perceived as unchanging, it should now be perceived as “revisionary, creative, personal and pluralistic”. The future of education is not predetermined by modern information technology, but rather that this “future will hinge prominently on how we construct (and construe) the place of technology” in the education process. We are moving from “just-in-case” education to “just-for-you” education” where education is targeted to meet the needs of individual students.
Information Technology and the potential of education
Information technology frees education institutions from the constraints of space and time, and enables the delivery of education services anywhere,anytime. Therefore we can foresee a future where physical libraries would be replaced by digital libraries available to anyone; and that scholars could cease to be located around a geographical focus and will probably become increasingly “located” around a specialization, but physically located anywhere in the world. We could also imagine a day when modern technology will enable students in a given location to access the best of teachers in a given field and to interact with them, whether “live” or via video.
Changing the educational institution
The sheer scope of change underway in communication technology, with changes to the methodology, and modes of education suggests that the educational institution itself may need to be revised at the organisational level as well. Therefore we could foresee a future of increased competition and alliances in which education institutions avoid monolithic approaches to education, and embrace more strategic and collaborative approaches.