Preparing Students for the World of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D): The Role of the Internet in the Teaching and Learning Process

Maxwell Constantine Chando Musingafi, Kudzayi Chiwanza, Shupikai Zebron


A variety of technologies are currently being used to deliver education on the Internet. These technologies include the use of the World Wide Web (WWW) for online lecture notes, newsgroups for collaborative discussions and class announcements, e-mail correspondence between students and instructors, interactive video over the Internet for remote participation in classes and discussions, and virtual reality for exploring three dimensional scenes. Multimedia is increasingly being used in online education to enhance the learning process. A critical question that needs to be asked is ``how effective are Internet-based learning methods?''. This paper sought to review existing Internet-based technologies and implementations for education with special focus on encouraging developing countries to adopt and use ICTs in their education systems. The paper uses current examples of Internet-based learning and analyses the benefits and limitations to the student and the institution.The paper established that the main advantages of ICTs and e-learning to the student are the flexibility to pursue education at personally convenient times and to progress in the course material at the student's own pace. However,the paper also noted that the feeling of isolation, lack of motivation, or lack of support and feedback can lead students to drop out. The main advantages of Internet-based education for the institution providing courses is the ability to re-use lecture materials, provide links to externally stored resources materials on the Internet, and a potential source of new revenues. A review of technologies and student learning styles showed that no one technology is suited for all students and all courses. The paperargues that technologies should be chosen to support the types of students expected and their learning styles. Individual learning styles are described with examples of appropriate Internet technologies to support each style of learning. A summary of evaluations of these technologies is then given.

Keywords: Internet, teaching, learning, World Wide Web, technology, email.


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ISSN (Paper)2224-5758 ISSN (Online)2224-896X

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