Since the advent of technology in the second half of nineteenth century, the world has seen a paradigm shift in the way different industries work. It is the society’s intent and actual usage of technology which results into its ongoing development and improvement. Education industry, after accepting ICT, has completely revamped itself and is now preparing the future demographic dividend of the world keeping in mind the challenges of the I-generation. ICT is just one component of the diverse range of educational technologies deployed by teachers in the classroom.
The ICT commonly found in classrooms include:
• Hardware: interactive whiteboards, computers and printers.
• Portable devices: cameras (digital), smartphones, laptops and tablets.
• Software: Microsoft office products, games, simulations, web browsers and emails.
• Web Applications: social networking sites, video streaming, cloud computing and virtual worlds to name a few.
Integration of ICT in teaching has given birth to the new pedagogies which in turn have brought about some commendable changes in the learning outcomes of the students, but it has its share of challenges as well.
In the 21st – century classroom, ICT is extensively used for teaching literacy, numeracy and science. To integrate ICT in teaching, teachers need to upgrade their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) to technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK or TPACK). Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is when a teacher knows ‘what’ to teach and ‘how’ to teach whereas technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK or TPACK) is when a teacher knows how to integrate ICT in teaching to attain its full potential.
In literacy teaching, ICT has an enormous scope. In addition to the features which can be found in a traditional printed text, a screen provides visual design, animation, audio and video. These features make it multimodal literacy which is interactive and interesting. In numeracy teaching, ICT can be integrated effectively to teach every possible topic of mathematics. There are numerous online games available which can help students in understanding the concepts like even and odd numbers, for example, number ninja. There are various online softwares available which can help in teaching complex learning areas such as geometry. ‘Dynamic Geometry’ and ‘Geometer’s Sketchpad’ are two such educational softwares which help students in visualizing three-dimensional shapes. The best way of teaching and learning science is the scientific inquiry based tasks. In the primary school years, the use of SMART Boards aid in learning about living and non-living things and rocks and fossils formation. In the secondary school years, ICT can be used by students to explore their own virtual ecological world and look after their own creatures. This makes a necessary link to STEM teaching.