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Evaluate the Effectiveness of Using ICT

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Evaluate the Effectiveness of Using ICT to Support Teaching and Learning The use of ICT to support teaching and learning incorporates more than the obvious use of computers in the classroom. It includes technology that is used to help children with disabilities. For example children with hearing impairments may need to use hearing aids which is a piece of technology that allows the child to have enhanced hearing. There are six types of hearing aids open to those with hearing impairments; completely in the canal, which fits inside the canal of the ear and due to this it is easily hidden. As it is a small hearing aid it has a short battery life and it can be used for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. In the canal, is a larger version of the completely in the canal hearing aid, so it doesn’t usually fit smaller ears. It is also used for mild to moderate hearing loss.

The half shell hearing aid is custom made to the person’s lower outer ear which contains a microphone and volume controls, its helps people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The full shell is also custom made, but it fits the whole outer ear so therefore is not easily hidden. It can be used for a larger severity of hearing loss from mild to severe. The behind the ear hearing aids are the strongest type that is available, it covers mild hearing loss to severe hearing loss. Lastly, an open fit hearing aid is a smaller version of the behind the ear hearing aid. It is commonly used for those who have issues with high frequency sound and for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Digital technology is also used with those who have hearing loss, it is a computer chip that changes the sound to electronic codes then adjusts and interprets the sound so the person can hear. Hearing aids can also contain 4 different types of enhancements which are; directional microphones, which gives better receptions of sound from all directions. Telephone adapters, this allows the hearing aid to be used with a phone. Bluetooth technology, which is similar to telephone adapters, just means the hearing aid can be used with a mobile. Finally, remote controls, which allow for volume changes and reception adjustments.

Since the revolution of ICT, resources have been easily accessible for children and professionals. The children are able to learn about history, new concepts, theories and polices across many cultures. It is important ICT gives access to information and skills as well as incorporating social responsibility, planning, creativity, decision making and application usage.

There are different components to ICT, mainly hardware and software. Hardware are the components of a computer that allows it to work. In the computer systems the different parts used all have individual jobs. Hard disk drive keeps the information that’s not currently being used, if the computer loses power then the information is not lost. RAM stands for random access memory, it stores and processes the information that is being used, it does not keep the information when the computer loses power like the hard disk drive. Video/graphic/sound cards all provide the information to the screen, speakers and video functions. It is the part that supports the output of visual and audio features.

Circuit boards and motherboards are the component which functions as the ‘brain’ of the computer. Chips are part of the overall brain system which supports function, memory and speed. Educational hardware are the external additions that can be plugged into the computer. Touch panels react to touch and provide clean and clear high tech demands. They can be used to do lessons plans or to encourage interactive learning for children of all learning style; visual, audio and kinetic. Smart/whiteboards work in a similar way to touch panels. Microphones can be used to help project sound, especially to help those with hearing issues hear. Hand held devices have been proven to help children who have autism as they give the child a sense of consistency and normality.

Software is the programs that are used on the computer to tell the computer what procedures to do. Software uses binary code which a form of language the computer understands, there are general types of software, one being system software which helps run the hardware. Application software focuses on helping the user perform certain tasks with certain functions. Utility software is maintenance that does small tasks that act as a regular review, such as virus scans. Backup and recovery software keeps a copy of all data and makes the lost data easily restored. The software may or may not come with a license; common licenses are custom software which is developed especially for a person so generally no license is needed. Free software is free to everyone, and the user has the freedom to copy and modify the software. Proprietary software has their legal rights held with the developer, the trial version is free which would usually last around 30 days, then it would cost to buy the full software and get upgrades.

Having ICT within the curriculum has allowed support to teachers and HLTA’s with learning techniques such as audio, visual and kinetic. ICT with the use of internet has also opened an array of resources for teachers and children including information and new experiences. Due to children being able to access a lot more via technology, they are able to have more control of their learning after being shown what to do by professionals. Teachers can use ICT as a use for assessments; it will keep records of individual results of personal strengths and weaknesses which can then be accessed appropriately. Recording assessments is not the only function ICT can be used for by teachers, it can also be used in lesson plans. However, using ICT for lessons should only be used an enhancement to the child’s learning because technology can sometimes fail and therefore the lesson must still be able to carry on without the use of ICT. ICT within a classroom can only be used effectively when the teachers and HLTA’s have been given the correct training so that they can help the children when needed. Not only will they need to learn the basics, but as technology changes and upgrades are brought in, new training will need to be introduced to help stay up to date. Also training will be needed to help with individual needs of everyone as people change.

There is plenty of software available which can be used within the classroom setting to enhance the child’s learning. Mind Reading is a piece of software that is designed to help those children with autism, as children with autism can struggle with social interaction this software helps the child to understand facial expressions and understand unspoken messages. Earobics is another piece of software; this is used to help develop phonic skills by using scientific theories to help use the child’s hearing.

Using ICT to support learning has its negatives like most things, schools that have the best ICT resources available will see it as an enhancement to
learning for the children; however schools that do not have these resources will cause an inconsistency in the wide use of ICT. Primarily ICT will have English as their first language and so software will be in English, but professionals need to take into account the vast range of cultures and that some of the children’s first language may not be English. This should not mean that those children cannot use the ICT resources or not have the enhancement, it is up to the teachers and HLTA’s to accommodate for these children. ICT can have many faults within itself, such as the cost of keeping up to date with fast changing upgrades, this can become very expensive and the upgrades may be a necessity. Not only that, but extra training will need to be provided which can also cost. Another disadvantage is if lessons become too dependent on the use of ICT then lessons may fall behind, then the more lessons that fall behind, the more the children are behind in the curriculum, ICT is a big part of today’s society and children are growing up with technology at their disposal and so will soon be very dependent on ICT both outside of school and inside.

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