Advantages and Disadvantages of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
ICTs stand for information and communication technologies and are defined, for the purposes, 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, broad casting technologies (radio and television), and telephony.
THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ICT
Benefits/Advantages of ICT
Greater efficiency throughout the school.
Communication channels are increased through email, discussion groups and chat rooms
Regular use of ICT across different curriculum subjects can have a beneficial motivational influence on students’ learning.
Access to information: Possibly the greatest effect of ICT on individuals is the huge increase in access to information and services that has accompanied the growth of the Internet. Some of the positive aspects of this increased access are better, and often cheaper, communications, such as VoIP phone and Instant Messaging. In addition, the use of ICT to access information has brought new opportunities for leisure and entertainment, the facility to make contacts and form relationships with people around the world, and the ability to obtain goods and services from a wider range of suppliers.
Improved access to education, e.g. distance learning and on-line tutorials. New ways of learning, e.g. interactive multi-media and virtual reality. New job opportunities, e.g. flexible and mobile working, virtual offices and jobs in the communications industry.
New tools, new opportunities: The second big effect of ICT is that it gives access to new tools that did not previously exist. A lot of these are tied into the access to information mentioned above, but there are many examples of stand-alone ICT systems as well:
ICT can be used for processes that had previously been out of the reach of most individuals, e.g. photography, where digital cameras, photo-editing software and high quality printers have enabled people to produce results that would previously required a photographic studio.
ICT can be used to help people overcome disabilities. e.g. screen magnification or screen reading software enables partially sighted or blind people to work with ordinary text rather than Braille.
The use of ICTs help improve the quality of education
ICTs can enhance the quality of education in several ways: by increasing learner motivation and engagement by facilitating the acquisition of basic skills, and by enhancing teacher training. ICTs are also transformational tools which, when used appropriately, can promote the shift to a learner-centered environment.
Motivating to learn. ICTs such as videos, television and multimedia computer software that combine text, sound, and colorful, moving images can be used to provide challenging and authentic content that will engage the student in the learning process. Interactive radio likewise makes use of sound effects, songs, dramatizations, comic skits, and other performance conventions to compel the students to listen and become involved in the lessons being delivered. More so than any other type of ICT, networked computers with Internet connectivity can increase learner motivation as it combines the media richness and interactivity of other ICTs with the opportunity to connect with real people and to participate in real world events.
Facilitating the acquisition of basic skills. The transmission of basic skills and concepts that are the foundation of higher order thinking skills and creativity can be facilitated by ICTs through drill and practice. Educational television programs such as Sesame Street use repetition and reinforcement to teach the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes and other basic concepts. Most of the early uses of computers were for computer-based learning (also called computer-assisted instruction) that focused on mastery of skills and content through repetition and reinforcement.
Enhancing teacher training. ICTs have also been used to improve access to and the quality of teacher training. For example, At Indira Gandhi National Open University, satellite-based one-way video- and two-way audio-conferencing was held in 1996, supplemented by print-materials and recorded video, to train 910 primaryschool teachers and facilitators from 20 district training institutes in Karnataka State. The teachers interacted with remote lecturers by telephone and fax
Disadvantages/ Negative Effects of ICT
One of the major barriers for the cause of ICT not reaching its full potential in the foundation stage is teacher’s attitude. According to Hara (2004), within the early years education attitudes towards ICT can vary considerably. Some see it as a potential tool to aid learning whereas others seem to disagree with the use of technology in early year settings. Blatchford and Whitebread (2003:16), suggests that the use of ICT in the foundation stage is “unhealthy and hinders learning”. Other early years educators who are opposed to offering ICT experiences within the educational settings take a less extreme view than this and suggest that ICT is fine, but there are other more vital experiences that young children will benefit from, (Blatchford and Whitebread, 2003). In theory some people may have the opinion that the teachers who had not experienced ICT throughout their learning tend to have a negative attitude towards it, as they may lack the training in that area of the curriculum.
Another important drawback to using ICT in schools is the fact that computers are expensive. According to the IT learning exchange (2001), in most schools ICT will be the single largest curriculum budget cost. This may be seen as a good thing but on the other hand there will be little money left over for other significant costs.
Job loss: One of the largest negative effects of ICT can be the loss of a person’s job. This has both economic consequences, loss of income, and social consequences, loss of status and self esteem. Job losses may occur for several reasons, including: Manual operations being replaced by automation. e.g. robots replacing people on an assembly line.Job export. e.g. Data processing work being sent to other countries where operating costs are lower. Multiple workers being replaced by a smaller number who are able to do the same amount of work. e.g. A worker on a supermarket checkout can serve more customers per hour if a bar-code scanner linked to a computerized till is used to detect goods instead of the worker having to enter the item and price manually
Reduced personal interaction: Being able to work from home is usually regarded as being a positive effect of using ICT, but there can be negative aspects as well. Most people need some form of social interaction in their daily lives and if they do not get the chance to meet and talk with other people they may feel isolated and unhappy.
Reduced physical activity: A third negative effect of ICT is that users may adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. This can lead to health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Many countries have workplace regulations to prevent problems such as repetitive strain injury or eyestrain, but lack of physical exercise is rarely addressed as a specific health hazard