In the 21st Century, with the rapid advancement of ICT, the adaptation of ICT technology has become a vital integral component of education and more specifically in the learning experience of learners across the globe. Technology is of increasing importance in our everyday lives and that presence will most certainly increase in the coming years. No longer relegated to specialized workplace settings, information and communication technologies have become increasingly common in community settings, at school, and at home. Whether looking up a book on a computerized card catalogue at the public library, making a withdrawal from an automated teller machine, or accessing telephone messages, everyday activities have been transformed by ICT. As a result, the notion of a literate populace must be expanded to include the technology-based skills and abilities that will enable citizens to function in an increasingly technological world. Education is a pivotal aspect for the human development. Due to rapid advancement of ICT, governance in education today demand changes to accommodate desired transformation of teaching and learning at all levels using ICT which can help to focus on performance in education service delivery, and in turn, provide policymakers with a basis upon which to raise performance in human development.
ICT fundamentally changes the way we live, learn, and work. As a result of these changes, technology tools, and the creative application of technology, have the capacity to increase the quality of our lives by improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning, the productivity of industry and governments, and the well-being of nations. Besides, good governance in education systems promotes effective delivery of education services through cross-platform integration with broad range of ICT technology devices including personal technology like iPad, Tablet PC etc. This infuses students into education through increased access to course content and encourages students to engage creatively with the content. As a result of infusing technology in the classroom, countless opportunities unveils for students including collaboration and communication both with fellow students and with students or experts around the globe on any time and any where basis. It makes complete sense that technology can support the invention of powerful new forms of learning to serve levels of expectation higher than anything imagined in the past.
ICT can be a powerful enabler of development goals because its unique characteristics dramatically improve communication and the exchange of information to strengthen and create new economic and social networks. There are striking results around the world in ICT development. Research shows that ICT can play a significant role as part of an overall national strategy for development. In this respect, countries have pursued diverse strategies: some have focused on developing ICT as an economic sector — either to boost exports (Costa Rica and Taiwan) or to build domestic capacity (Brazil, India and Korea). In Gambia, for example, it is being used to achieve better health outcomes. In Chile, it is starting to reap significant results in primary school education. In Bangladesh, it has led to the creation of direct employment for thousands of local women and men, while in parts of India new Internet-enabled centers mean better access to different government services for remote communities. In Indonesia, ICT is allowing local citizens’ groups to monitor compliance with environmental standards (Digital Opportunity Initiative, 2001).
Digital Transformation of Education
Digital transformation of education in line with the core underlying principles of Digital Bangladesh is most challenging and demands strategic planning to achieve the desired goal. The following figure is an expected form of transformation layout.
As seen in the Figure 2, the whole framework is centered around Student being at the core evolving around Leadership, Supporting High Quality Teaching, Involvement and Expectation components. Student is continuously evolving from past achievements to future aspirations based on personalized learning environment. The leadership component comprises communities of learning integrated with SMS system and intra-school networks for schools operating in the clouds. Supporting high quality teaching component requires integrated digital learning environments comprises of blending of media and learning repositories with open learning standards. Besides digital assessment tools to be integrated with the expected learning outcome of digital repositories to support high quality teaching is most crucial. This provides continuous improvement in the teaching and learning process. In order to strengthen the inclusion, involvement component demands integration of parents into the process of learning through parents website, parents portal and data dashboard etc. The final component
of the framework is based on expectation for improving student centered pathways to ensure career planning and further demands for the higher education.
In most cases, applications and practices based on the above framework vary widely and are customized to suit the different needs and knowledge of individuals and organizations based on contextual settings across the globe. There are felt need of standard or straightforward framework to scaffold blended learning to suit a range of needs and subjects. The common use of digital transformation is the provision of supplementary resources for traditional courses using an institutional virtual learning environment such as Moodle and other LMS (Learning Management System) and LFS (Learning Feedback System) which is integrated in the cloud.
Digital Transformation: Challenges
Given the benefits to be gained from digital transformation, the key challenges are transformation based on contextual which vary across different countries. The time and complexity of designing and development of a teaching and learning repository are key factors as well as lack of internal expertise and cost along with the attitude of learners to solutions. Besides, the challenge lies with the time for training, and to re-design and administer the course unit and getting the students on board with the new format of learning.
Based on the literature review, the following challenges are part of the adoption of blended learning:
Support: Getting formal support to ensure funding that could support professional or course development agenda. Different countries can collaborate together for bridging the gap and sharing the best practices in the adoption of continuous digital transformation.
Content Development Training: Re-designing a course to work in this format is not easy. Learning how to effectively integrate online with face-to-face instruction so students see the connection with the content with necessary transformation. Along with the development, different countries can share common repositories supporting learning and OER.
Collaboration: Collaborate with other faculty members who are using hybrid or online instruction. Digital transformational learning is a “collegial” process. Working with other faculty builds up confidence, maintains energy, and minimizes mistakes. The cloud integration can formulate common unified platform for collaboration among faculty members of different educational institutes operating at both primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Time for Change: Change always takes time. It will take time to redesign the course based on digital transformation is an evolving process. But through collaboration and resource sharing among different institutions, the change can be triggered for faster momentum.
Digital transformation, though challenging, can only help transforming learning for 21st century education for effective education governance which offers a unique opportunity to fully integrate pedagogy and technology with teaching and learning. The shown framework may lead to significant enhancements of curricula and pedagogy, optimized work integrated learning experiences and an internationalized approach to learning, teaching and curriculum design within different institution.
By Prof Syed Akhter Hossain
Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Daffodil International University, Bangladesh
Honorary Professor, Amity University, India
Syed Akhter Hossain is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Daffodil International University, Bangladesh. Professor Hossain is also Honorary Professor of Amity University, India. He carries passion to work with industry and academia and has deep interest towards research. His research interests include computational areas covering Bangla NLP, signal and image processing, machine translation, embedded systems and software engineering. He is also member of several national and international professional bodies including IEEE, ACM, IIE etc.