Education Technology (EdTech) matters more than ever before!
With the proliferating role of technology in education, formal education quality can easily drop without technology use in this era!
Educators should be very concerned about the relationship between technology and education. Every new day, new technologies emerge and technology use continues to spread widely across all parts of our lives. In education, it is increasingly becoming present.
While there are many benefits of using devices like projectors, tablets, smartboards, and computers in a classroom. A school enjoys additional benefits when it integrates ICT in education management operations.
Like any service industry, the education sector makes decisions and plans to remain competitive based on the available information generated in operations for its stakeholders.
Integrating ICT in school management operations makes a school electronic with an element of real-time information flow (information creation, processing, sharing and storing) among the education stakeholders (teachers, students, parents, support staff and suppliers) using the internet.
ICT should not only be used for pedagogical purposes in teaching and learning or entertainment but rather be used in ways that smoothen other education management processes.
How ICT simplifies the New Lower secondary Curriculum implementation
In 2020, NCDC introduced a new learner-centred curriculum in lower secondary. The new lower secondary curriculum aims at equipping learners with 21st-century employable skills as required in the world of work, such that by the time a learner completes the secondary level of education, she is employable in any organisation.
Most of the 21st-century skills are linked to technology, which gives it the following dual functions in the new curriculum settings;
1. ICT as a subject and examinable by UNEB.
2. ICT as a pedagogical tool for teaching and learning and a service for managing the new curriculum.
Schools mainly concentrate their efforts on teaching ICT as a subject; those that try to use ICT, focus only on pedagogical purposes. The latter function is ignored for reasons like varying ICT knowledge background, limited ICT exposure, hesitant mindset towards change!
Recently, the Government of Uganda allowed students to have smartphones at schools purposely as one way of supplementing school ICT infrastructure. However, to date, it is still debatable by many schools whether to permit smartphones which may distract learners from their education and also promote cheating and academic dishonesty.
Such drawbacks only become valid when learners lack clear directions on the constructive ways of using smartphones to support their education. When learners are well directed, we can register positive impacts on smartphone use; the same way we regulate the fire that cooks food because it can cook us if not regulated!
Our attention should focus on the best strategies for addressing the appropriate ways of using ICT in managing the new curriculum and education. The only way to effectively manage all activities associated with the New lower secondary curriculum is by using standard ICT systems like dotShule.
From planning for the Topic Activities Of Integration to recording learners’ attendances and observations during lessons to processing learners’ report cards and issuing reports online as well as keeping learners’ score records in an organised form that is easy to interpret and submit to UNEB! All these activities call for ICT deployment!
NCDC published a sample reference report card for the revised curriculum for schools to follow while addressing its stakeholders. The report content includes subject competencies as covered in the topic Activities of Integration, learner’s observations remarks made by the subject teachers during their lessons. The observations remarks describe the context of the descriptors (Basic, moderate and Outstanding) and how they apply to the learner.
The information enables learners to understand their weak areas for improvement. Parents who want to get involved in their children’s education can know where to start.
Since teachers’ observation remarks and attained skills make most of the content on the reports, you can imagine the number of pages of a single learner’s report card and all the associated costs of producing and distributing it to parents! That is why some schools compromised by issuing a single-paged report -leaving competencies and generic skills out!
Producing learners’ termly reports start from the first class lesson where the teacher record observations on learners using ICT. In this regard, ICT is considered an enabler for further innovations that supports the transformation of education and schools once utilized effectively.
Schools that have not yet embraced ICT are deeply challenged and choose to compromise by issuing out outlined reports with competencies and observations ignored even when ranking is unacceptable in a competency-based curriculum.
ICT will continue to play a vital role in helping to overcome the new curriculum and educational problems faced by most learning centres even when schools base on word of mouth to make decisions about education technologies rather than evidence of effectiveness.