Information and communication technology

Information and communication technology (ICT) has become, within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now regard understanding ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of ICT as part of the core of education, alongside reading, writing, and numeracy.

This book deals with ICT in secondary schools, and with the changing competencies required of both students and teachers if they are to function effectively in today’s society. It specifies an ICT curriculum for secondary schools and outlines an accompanying programme of teacher development to implement such a curriculum.

UNESCO aims to ensure that all countries, both developed and developing, have access to the best educational facilities necessary to prepare young people to play full roles in modern society and to contribute to a knowledge nation.

All governments aim to provide the most comprehensive education possible for their citizens within the constraints of available finance. Because of the pivotal position of ICT in modern societies, its introduction into secondary schools will be high on any political agenda. This book gives a practical and realistic approach to curriculum and teacher development that can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively, according to available resources. The curriculum is designed to be capable of implementation throughout
the world to all secondary age students. The programme of teacher professional development relates closely to the ICT curriculum, and particularly to the stage of development that schools have reached with respect to ICT.

ICT permeates the business environment, it underpins the success of modern corporations, and it provides governments with an efficient infrastructure. At the same time, ICT adds value to the processes of learning, and in the organization and management of learning institutions.

The Internet is a driving force for much development and innovation in both developed and developing countries. Countries must be able to benefit from technological developments.
To be able to do so, a cadre of professionals has to be educated with sound ICT backgrounds, independent of specific computer platforms or software

Technological developments lead to changes in work and changes in the organization of work, and required competencies are therefore changing. Gaining in importance are the following competencies:

• critical thinking,
• generalist (broad) competencies,
• ICT competencies enabling expert work,
• decision-making,
• handling of dynamic situations,
• working as a member of a team, and
• communicating effectively.

A secondary ICT curriculum should contribute to the building up of teams of professionals with these new competencies. The use of ICT cuts across all aspects of economic and social life. Technological developments in ICT are very rapid. Technology quickly becomes obsolete requiring new skills and knowledge to be mastered frequently. Adaptation is only possible when based on a sound understanding of the principles and concepts of ICT.