Tuesday, 19 July 2016

What is ICT education? and Why is it important

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) education is basically our society’s efforts to teach its current and emerging citizens valuable knowledge and skills around computing and communications devices, software that operates them, applications that run on them and systems that are built with them.

What are these things? How do they work? How do you use them productively? How are they deployed, assembled, managed and maintained to create productive systems? How they are used in specific business and industry settings? What are the underlying science and technologies behind them and how might those be developed to advance ICT fields?

ICT is complex and quickly changing, and it is confusing for many people. It is so pervasive in the modern world that everyone has some understanding of it, but those understandings are often wildly divergent.

There are many important dimensions to ICT education, including:

  • ICT/Digital Literacy – Today, everyone needs a basic understanding of ICT and how to make productive use of it, just to be good students, workers and citizens. Teaching people how to be competent basic users of ICT technologies is an important role of ICT education, so they will be successful in their academic and work careers, and so they can efficiently participate in modern technical society. As part of its study validating U.S. Department of Labor IT Competency model content in California, MPICT determined with 99% confidence California employer agreement with the following statements regarding Digital Literacy:
    • “Information and communication technologies (ICT) competencies are increasingly important for most of our employers, regardless of role. If there was an agreed-upon standard for "digital literacy", or ICT competencies expected of all workers, regardless of workplace role, my organization would value a credential based on that standard as a way of validating ICT skills for non-ICT workers.” (70.5% agree or very much agree)
    • “In the 21st century, an ability to work with information and communication technologies is becoming as essential to education, life and workplace success as "reading, writing and arithmetic".” ICT Digital Literacy should be considered a basic skill by educational systems, something taught to and assessed for all students. (85.2% agree or very much agree)
    • This study details 49 competencies for ICT User level knowledge and skills, as an actionable, teachable and assessable definition of what people need to know and be able to do to be “digitally literate.”
  • ICT Infrastructure and Support Applied Technologists – Beyond a basic user competency, our society also needs more knowledgeable and capable technical people to deploy, manage and maintain ICT equipment, software and systems, so they work well for users. In all industries, these people manage computer and communications hardware, software and applications; networked systems; online information sharing, communication and commerce systems; business processes making use of these systems; and user support.
  • Specialized Business and Industry Uses of ICT – As enabling technologies, ICT is used strategically in almost all businesses and industries. Many have developed specialized systems and uses of ICT, and many have specialized legal and regulatory requirements; quality control systems; integrations with production and research equipment and systems; security requirements; and software applications. For example:
    • Bioscience industries rely on specialized ICT systems and applications to conduct research, analyze organic materials, produce biotech products and do required reporting;
    • Financial services industries rely on ICT to maintain customer records, do business, conduct trades, do financial reporting, secure proprietary information and comply with regulations;
    • Manufacturing industries use specialized computer controlled systems and robotics to design, produce and test products.
    • Property management operations use ICT to network and control heating and cooling, lighting and building access systems.
    • Electric utilities use ICT to monitor and manage electricity distribution, customer billing and smart metering systems.
    • Telecommunications, cable TV and other entertainment industries use ICT to store content, manage customers and deliver their services.
    We need to develop a competent workforce that understands not only relevant technologies, but also specialized business and industry environments and operations, to meet these specialized needs.

  • ICT Research and Development Scientists – ICT fields themselves are under constant pressure to evolve and improve. We need people who deeply understand the science and technologies underlying ICT and who can work to advance the fields.
In virtually all modern businesses and industries, and in modern society in general, ICT has key strategic roles. It is strategically important to develop citizens and workers who can competently and efficiently operate and add value in these systems and environments.

No comments:

Post a Comment