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A Review of the Impact of ICT on Learning - page 21 / 26





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on a variety of human tutors, counsellors and experts and summon a variety of automated help systems (Visions 2020: Randy Hinrichs).

The case of science learning and teaching deserves special attention, as the intersection of scientific disciplines with ICT will be at the core of educational systems in the near future. Scientists will need to be completely computationally literate, and they will simply be unable to practice science if they are not. This therefore has important implications for education policy right now. The output of computer scientists today barely meets the needs of the public and industrial computing sectors, let alone those required for future science sectors. Education policy makers need urgently to re-consider what needs to be done to produce the kinds of scientists we shall need in the next decade and beyond, not just at the undergraduate and postgraduate training level, but also at school level since today’s children are tomorrow’s scientists. For children, we should make teaching of computing more than just ‘IT’ classes. We should make the basic principles of computer science, such as abstraction and codification, a core part of the science curriculum. Computer science (again, not just 'computing') should be a key element of the undergraduate science curriculum and the concept of 'computational thinking' should be built into their education. Finally, computational research methods should be included in PhD student training (2020 Science).

As a general statement, it might be said that ICT proficiency will be at the centre of required skills in the future. Integrating ICT literacy will be crucial, as it means harnessing technology to perform learning skills. It must encompass the use of ICT to manage complexity, solve problems and think critically, creatively and systematically towards the goal of acquiring thinking and problem-solving skills. Literacy must also comprise the use of ICT to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information in order to develop information and communication skills (21st Century Skills Partnership). Finally, the role of ICT future learning should also be seen in the light of its contribution to emancipation, empowerment and self-fulfilment. Learning objectives such as social competence, critical thinking, knowledge sharing and cooperation techniques will become more and more important as we move further into the knowledge society. As a result, it is clear that thinking about the future of learning cannot avoid asking the fundamental questions about the objectives of learning (Punie & Cabrera 2006).

9. Conclusion

It is necessary to take a broad view in order to understand and determine how ICT impacts on learning. This is because educational achievements are shaped not only by the way education is organised but also by the socio-economic background of the learners, their socio-cultural environments, the changing skills and competences that are necessary for employment, education and training, self-development and participation in society. This clarifies partly why non-formal learning, informal learning and adult learning are increasingly seen as crucial for the future of learning.

There is evidence that educational achievements are positively influenced by ICT, but not only by ICT used at school. Indeed, it seems that experience with ICT at home, in particular the computer, is a more important factor for school achievement in certain cases than the use of computers at school. However, it is still the case that access and use of computers at home is shaped by socio-economic differences. Thus the socio-economic background of students continues to be important for their educational achievements.


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