ICT and Quality Education

ICT and Quality Education

Extending the Reach of High Quality P-12 Education through ICT

by Mark Sivy, Ed.D.

Realizing that a well-educated populace is essential for boosting national prosperity and competitiveness in an international economy, top-level education departments and ministries around the world are now focused on ensuring that their P-12 curricula and instruction are adjusted to modern standards. In Oman and around the GCC, this task involves ensuring that students have the specific skills, literacies, knowledge, and expertise that will ensure their success locally, regionally and in the global marketplace. A crucial piece in accomplishing this, both in terms of learning outcomes and instructional delivery, is ICT (Information, Communications and Technology).

 ICT

As a driver of learning outcomes, ICT can play an important role in the development of new Omani curriculum and instruction strategies. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has been at the forefront of providing a basis for the remodeling and modernization of teaching, learning and curriculum, with ICT being a significant consideration. Even though established as a US K-12 education initiative, the organization’s recommendations have relevance and implications for GCC educational systems. One of the major categories found within the Partnership’s renowned publication, P21 Framework Definitions, was created in response to the fact that we live in a global environment that is infused with and dependent upon technology and media. The ICT portion of the document offers the following highlights about the knowledge, skills, and expertise that student should possess as a result of the learning process:

Information Literacy – 1) accessing and evaluating information and 2) using and managing information

Media Literacy – 1) analyzing media and 2) creating media products

ICT Literacy – 1) applying technology effectively, ethically, and legally

 

Mobile LearningAs a medium for instructional delivery, ICT can play a significant role in the modernization of Oman’s educational system. One of the challenges in many countries has been the provision of a quality and equal education to all children regardless of their circumstances. Around the world, ICT infrastructures are being updated and expanded to provide Internet access to both urban and rural destinations and recipients. In Oman, the development of this infrastructure is underway and when finished it will be able to facilitate learning through the Internet-based transfer of instructional content.

Additionally, Omani schools and learners will need to be provided with devices to receive and make use of educational web content. This e-content should be specifically designed and developed by subject matter experts, master teachers, and instructional designers who are highly specialized in e-learning and the variety of learning devices. Of particular interest and development are mobile learning, One Laptop per Child (OLPC), and other one-to-one initiatives. The implementation of educational ICT is an intricate and complex process that should only be attempted through the direction of a project management team that has curriculum, instruction, and education technology expertise.

Reflection Point – When faced with a steam-rolling technology, you either become part of the technology or part of the road! ~Nigel Willetts

ICT in Emerging Markets

The Role that ICT Plays in Emerging Markets

By Fathi AlRiyami

In developing countries, small and medium enterprises are experiencing challenges created by the globalization of production, a shift in market competitiveness and the existence of emerging markets. Because ICT is linked to a firm’s ability to revolutionize how it introduces existing and new products, services or even business processes into these new marketplaces, it is important for organizations to innovate and remain emerging marketstechnologically savvy. It is estimated that by 2025, the earth will contain more than 25 trillion connected devices that can allow people to communicate. This creates a major opportunity for businesses to leverage digital ecosystems, thus it is important to have human resources with the skill-sets and supporting infrastructure that allows them to take advantage and be part of the international market. As enterprises adapt to newer technology, the demands on staff such as programmers, developers, designers, creative teams and managers’ will shift. They will need to access information remotely, manage the projects using innovative online tools, carryout tasks and conduct meetings on the go, and maintain global connections. To be able to keep with the advancement of technology and the international market demands, companies need to provide training and professional development for their employees.

ICT advancement has taken emerging markets by storm and has motivated organizations and governments to empower citizens, end-users and clients by adopting and developing technology-based information, services, and communications. If done properly, the downstream experiences are memorable, rewarding and highly effective. Economically, ICT offers pathways that benefits everyone by providing jobs, business growth, global presence and competiveness. Socially, ICT advancements offer the opportunity to enrich society, improve human well-being, and strengthen nations in unconventional ways and in an environmentally friendly manner.

Reflection Point: Emerging markets’ share of global market capitalization could overtake developed markets’ share by 2030. ~Goldman Sachs.

Mobility in Business

The Role of ICT for Business Mobility

By Fathi AlRiyami

Technology supports mobility and virtual attendance that enable a person who is on-the-go to participate in activities such as meetings and conferences. This can be done from the comfort of their office, during their travels in places such as the airport, taxi, and hotel, or their home. International virtual events can also be planned, organized and held, thus providing a wider audience outreach. Additional online activities for the mobile individual include attending professional development events, developing one’s knowledge and skill sets online courses, viewing and purchasing products, and arranging services.

mobility

Other advantages of mobility and ubiquitous access are many. Using technology it is possible to make educated and timely decisions based on current information feeds. This information can be used by an individual or processed and shared in real-time with a team. By taking advantage of technology it is possible to develop on-demand self-paced learning processes and methodologies that have been proven to be effective for learners, consumers and businesses. Technological advancements have enhanced mobility’s role and importance in such areas as virtual services, online educational tools, e-government, blogs, social media, and e-books. The number of people searching online for commodities such as flights, hotel rooms, real estate, cars, household products, and electronics is increasing as consumers continue to rely upon accessing information and making purchases while they are on the move. ICT can now be used for business purposes such as but not limited to service delivery, customer support, product review and enhancement, and business continuity.

Reflection Point: There are three major issues now that are becoming important, not only for cities, but for all mankind: mobility, sustainability – which is linked to mobility – and social diversity. ~ Jamie Lerner

 

Role of ICT

The Role of ICT in International Business

By Fathi Al-Riyami

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) claims the total number of people connected to the Internet worldwide is surpassed 2.7 billion in 2013, while the total number of applications downloaded over all types of devices exceeded 50 billion. Emerging markets stand to gain from innovative and disruptive information and communication technologies (ICT). Valerie D’Costa, a program manager with World Bank says “developing countries’ roles in the digital world have been mostly limited to users and consumers, not producers. But today, a growing mesh of digital services is giving rise to a new layer of entrepreneurial opportunities with very low entry barriers”.

ictOrganizations use websites to compete in the global market as a means to provide information about their products or services. In addition, merging ICTs such as virtual environments, social media and other online tools allows companies to communicate, display and promote their products and services to customers in real time through customized designs and platforms. With the use of innovative and disruptive technologies it is possible to reach out to different demographics through the use of trendy platforms and media. Such advanced setup can facilitate connections between businesses and new markets.

Businesses that rely on information, exposure and international trade stand to gain from ICT through increased customer interaction, clients receiving better product knowledge, increased sales, better customer service, reduced costs, and increased productivity. These are just some of the vast benefits they stand to gain as small business, large corporations and governments use technology to achieve various goals. Having the ability to empower the potential client by carefully crafting a creative process through the use of technology can provide beneficial opportunities of engagement within the international market. To do this effectively and in a manner that offers a simplified and humanized end-user experience is both a science and an art.

Reflection Point: In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later. ~ Harold S. Geneen

Tourist Destination

Making a Location a Tourist Destination

By Mark Sivy

There is a rich assortment of cultural, historical, natural, and commercial tourist destinations around the globe that are relatively unknown. For those tourists who discover these places, the experience can be as rewarding and relaxing as going to comparable popular locations anywhere around the world.

Tourism has become a lucrative trillion dollar international industry. In many countries tourism now represents a significant share of gross domestic product (GDP) and makes up 6-8% of the world’s employment. The trickle-down effect of tourism-related businesses, employment opportunities and markets is broad. With the global increase in the frequency of vacations, competition between regions and nations to capture a market share is on the rise, with many competitors are beginning to heavily leverage information and communication technology (ICT) strategies to their advantage.

Most of these ICT efforts related to tourism consist of standard websites and web-based services that provide text information and images.  However, to be a market leader it is vital to create a tourist destination image that has a competitive edge. Research has shown that to do this with ICTs, the solutions must be capable of catching the potential visitor’s thoughts, feelings, motivations and impulses. This requires an online experience that is engaging, interactive, empowering and memorable.

tourist destination

Using advanced web-based technologies and strategies can give a tourist destination the competitive edge in being a top choice. Properly planned, these solutions can be used for:

– Bringing attention to a diversity of tourist services such as cultural heritage, contemporary culture, protected natural sites, health and well-being tourism, education, food, history, sports, religion, rural tourism, and maritime tourism.
– Attracting more consumers, thus supporting the hotels, restaurants, retailers, product producers, and other goods and services providers
– Hosting virtual publicity events, exhibits, tradeshows, and conventions
– Creating a compelling destination image
– Presenting information in multiple languages
– Improving communication
– Enhancing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities

Reflection Point: Travelers never think that they are foreigners.  ~Mason Cooley