Thursday, September 27, 2018

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS A CATALYST TO CHRISTIAN EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT


“.... for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover he sea.” Isaiah 11:9b.









Introduction
Information and communication technology (ICT) has become, within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society.

The history of technology can be traced to the the ‘ stone age .’ People of the Stone Age did not have luxury of turning on the television or surfing the internet. Rather, they had to invent tools and harness the power of fire. But it was their experiments in tool - making that ultimately led to television, cell phones, and computers.

Learning how to tame and use fire proved an invaluable technological advancement in human development. Learning how to sharpen a flint , attach a flint to a piece of wood to create a spear, then understanding how to sharpen a flint on other pieces of wood to create digging tools were all technological leaps. Today, we we live in the computer driven information or ICT Age.

Working Definition of Terms
[1] Information - a message received and understood that reduces the recipient’s uncertainty or a collection of facts from which conclusions of facts may be drawn.
[2] Communication - the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts , messages, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing or behavior. Communication is technological the process by which information is transmitted so that an understanding response results.
[3] Technology - the development over time of systematic techniques for making and doing things. It refers to the “ practical application of knowledge in certain area.”
[4] Catalyst -( Chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected. In this context, it is something that causes an important event to happen.
[5] Christian - A believer in Christianity. An individual who seeks to live his or her life according to the principles and values taught by Jesus Christ. (Christianity) An individual who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
[6] Education -The process or art of imparting knowledge, skill and judgment. Facts, skills and ideas that have been learned, either formally or informally
[7] Development - The process of developing; growth, directed change. (Biology) the process by which a mature multicellular organism or part of an organism is produced by the addition of new cells.
What is ICT?
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is often used as an extended synonym four information technology ( IT ) , but is a more specific term that stresses the role of unified communication and the integration of telecommunications ( telephone lines and wirelines signals) , computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage and audio -visual systems, which enable users toaccess, store, transmit, and manipulate information.

Educational Technology
Educational technology is the effective use of technological tools in learning. As a concept, it concerns an array of tools, such as media, machines and networking hardware, as well as considering theoretical perspectives for their effective application. Educational technology is not restricted to high technology.

Nonetheless, electronic educational technology has become an important part of society today. Modern  educational technology includes ( and is broadly synonymous with) e-Learning, instructional technology, information and communication technology (ICT) in education, EdTech, learning technology, multimedia learning, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), computer -based instructions (CBI), etc.

Impact of ICT in Education
Worldwide research has shown that ICT can lead to improved student learning and better teaching methods. A report made by the National Institute of Multimedia Education in Japan, proved that an increase in student exposure to educational ICT through curriculum integration has a significant and positive impact on student achievement, especially in terms of “ Knowledge Comprehension ” , “Practical skill ”  and “ Presentation skill”.

If ICT has been a catalyst in these educational discipline, it can do the same and even much more in Christian education if properly channeled. The church needs to wake up from the slumber of ignorance and indifference to annex the enormous potentials inherent in ICT to Christian education development.

Main Advantages of ICT Tools For Christian Education
[1] ICT enhances teaching and learning process. Through ICT , images can be easily be used in teaching and improving the retentive memory of students.
[2] ICT enhances the quality and accessibility of education. Through ICT, teachers can easily explain complex instructions and ensure students’ comprehension.
[3] ICT enhances learning environment. Through ICT, teachers are able to create interactive classes and make the lessons more enjoyable.
[4] ICT enhances learning motivation. ICTs are also transformational tools  which, when used appropriately, can promote the shift to a learner centred environment. ICTs such as videos, television and multimedia computer software that combine  text, sound, and colourful moving images can be used to provide challenging and authentic content that will engage the student in the the student in the learning process.
[5] ICT enhances the scholastic as well ad spiritual performance of students. Based on the extensive usage of ICTs in education, the need appeared to unravel the myth that surrounds the use of information and communication technology (ICT) as an aid to teaching and learning, and the impact it has on students’ academic and spiritual performance. ICTs are said to help expand access to education (secular and spiritual ) , strengthen the tevelance of education to the increasingly digital workplace and raise educational and spiritual quality.

Paradigm Shifts -Emerging Trends in ICT for Christian Education and Training
Education around the world is experiencing major paradigm shifts in the parctices of teaching and learning under the umbrella of ICT enabled learning environment. Whereas learning through facts, drill and practices, rules and procedures was more adaptive in earlier days, learning through projects and problems, inquiry and  design, discovery and invention, creativity and diversity, action and reflection is perhaps more fitting for the present times. The major hallmark of this learning transition is the teacher centered to learner focus paradigm.

During the last three decades, the changes in educational environment have bee phenomenal. The model , focus, role, of the Lerner and technology has been changed drastically from traditional instruction to virtual learning environment depicted below;

Changes in Teaching -Learning Environment

Model
Focus
Role of Learner
Technology
Traditional
Teachers
Passive
Chalk and talk
Information
Learners
Active
Personal Computer
Knowledge
Group
Adaptive
PC + Network

Shifting the emphasis from teaching to learning can create a more interractive and engaging learning environment for teachers and learners. This new environment also involves a change in roles both teachers and learners. The role of the teachers will change from knowledge transmitter to that of facilitator, knowledge navigator and sometime as co-learner.

The new role of teachers demands a new way of thinking and understanding of the new vision of learning process. Learners will have more responsibilities of their own learning as they seek out,  find, synthesize and share their knowledge.

ICT provides powerful tools to support the shift from teacher centered to learner paradigm and new roles of teacher, curricula and new media. The major shifts have been described in the tabular form below;  








Changes in Teachers’ Role

From
To
Guide and Facilitator of knowledge
Transmitter of knowledge
Controller of learning
Creator of learning environment
Always expert
Collaborator and Co-learner
Learning to use ICT
Using ICT to enhance learning
Didactive/Expository
Interactive/Exploratory

Changes in Learners’ Role

From
To
Passive learner
Active learner
Reproducer of knowledge
Producer of knowledge
Dependent learner
Autonomous leader
Solitary learner
Collaborative learner
Soley learning content
Learning to learn/think/ create &communicate








Changes in Curricula and Delivery

From
To
Memorizing Facts
Inquiry Based
Artificial Teaching Exercises
Authentic Learning
Rigid delivery (Fixed Time & Space)
Open & Flexible Delivery (Any Time & Anywhere)
Single Path Progression
Multi Path Progression

All these changes taking place in learning and teaching demand a new learning environment to effectively harness the power of ICT to development improve learning . ICT has the potential to transform the nature of Christian education; where, when, how and the way learning takes place. It will facilitate the emergency of responsible knowledgeable church and society , emphasizing life long learning with meaningful and enjoyable learning experience. Christian educationalistsnust must brace up to this inevitable changes to be able to feed the flock of God in this generation and the generation next.








Conclusion
The adoption and use of ICTs in Christian education will have a positive impact on teaching, learning, and research. ICT can affect the delivery of Christian education and enable wider access to the same . In adition,it will increase flexibility so that learners can access the education regardless of time and geographical barriers.It cab influence the way students ate taught and how they learn. It would provide the rich environment and motivation for teaching learning process which seems to have a profound on the process of learning in education by offering new possibilities for learners and teachers. These possibilities can have an impact on the student performance and achievement.

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