The Curriculum and the Learner

 

Download article (.pdf)Download article (.pdf) | By OECD/CERI Secretariat | Published in Learning to Change: ICT in Schools, 2000

 

Integrating ICT in school subjects’ curricula has the potential to transform and enrich the learning environment and teach digital literacy.

 

Just as “conventional” literacy is more than the basic ability to read a sequence of words, digital literacy is more than the ability to use a computer in simple way. It implies a sophisticated set of competences pervading workplace, community and social life, including information-handling skills and the capacity to make judgements about relevance and reliability when searching on the Internet. Digital literacy is a vital part of the foundations for lifelong learning and must have a high priority within the curriculum.

 

ICT can serve quite different educational purposes and methodologies, some of which extend well beyond the traditional curriculum. The closed, traditional curriculum, based on well-defined content and rules which students must learn and reproduce, stands in the way of ICT integration. In more open, skills-based approaches supported by ICT, there is greater room to focus on the skills needed to build and communicate knowledge. Used wisely, ICT enhances knowledge, language and communication skills, collaborative learning, understanding and respect for others.

 

The notion of constructivism – individuals developing understanding, through building on previous experience – is widely acknowledged. It favours the use of projects, group work, problem solving, reflective writing and other tasks that stimulate thinking, all of which can be sustained by ICT. Nevertheless, the potential of ICT will not be realised as long as assessment is primarily in terms of student achievement in single subjects, by means of conventional written tests. The pervasive adoption of ICT not only requires different assessment procedures but provides a variety of means to meet this need. Several countries are experimenting with ICT-based examining and have adopted major programmes to promote the use of ICT across all aspects of school life.

 

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