What are ICT? How do we learn new ICT?

Until a few years ago I had never heard of the acronym ‘ICT’.  Information and Communication technologies.  Wow, what does that mouthful mean really?

For me the ‘Information’ refers to the sourcing, availability of and ability to participate actively with information, for example via computers, mobile phones, tablets. ‘Communication’ surrounds the ability to collaborate with others, that is have a virtual and meaningful conversation with people for example via the telephone. ‘Technologies’ suggests the myriad of ways you can access the information and communication, such as via blogs, websites, mobile phones, skype, kindle etc.

Toomey (2001, para. 3) defines ICT as “… generally relates to those technologies that are used for accessing, gathering, manipulating and presenting or communicating information. The technologies could include hardware (e.g. computers and other devices); software applications; and connectivity (e.g. access to the Internet, local networking infrastructure, videoconferencing). What is most significant about ICT is the increasing convergence of computer-based, multimedia and communications technologies and the rapid rate of change that characterises both the technologies and their use”.

So, now we know what ICT is how do we learn a new ICT? Professionally I have always had the luxury of calling a 1800 number to have a technician remotely log into my computer and identify and solve any issues I may have been experiencing.  Regarding the question of how we learn a new a new ICT my strategies have always been rather simple.  Use the help button, ask a peer how also uses the program, ring for help, press buttons and observe what happens and if that fails turn the computer off, wait a bit and turn it back on.  Perhaps not the most scienctific approach, but one that has served me well enough. Trial and error with keen observational skills are the foundation partnered with remembering the issues and solutions for future use.  Also sharing your knowledge with peers and through collaboration my skills for the program were enhanced.

Essentially my (the student if you will) strategies were inquiry based learning driven by a scenario adopting a problem-based learning experience.  This enabled the use of prior knowledge of the program and general IT practices to identify, hypothesis, test and hopefully find a solution to the problem.  This approach, whilst at times may have been frustrating enables the making of a meaningful connection in context for the creation of a new schema for future reference.  The opportunity can be enhanced when used collaboratively, such as face-to-face, a phone conversation or virtually to explore alternative solutions to ICT systems.

My suggestions are based on the people around me having equal access to ICT, equal or similiar computer literacy skills and similiar socio-economical circumstances.  I recognise this is an assumption unique to my situation, and broadly speaking may not always equal.

The key to learning a new ICT for me, is to realise it is unlikely you know everything about the program, so share what you know, ask questions were needed and keep an open mind to new ICTs.  A new ICT can have exciting potential, just give it a go!



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