The rapid, seemingly relentless growth of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is having a major impact on just about every industry in the UK nowadays. One of the prime examples of this is the education system. Statistics reveal steady increases in the use of ICT in teaching and learning in primary, secondary and special schools across the England, as traditional teaching methods are increasingly being replaced by computer-based methods. But how can we be sure that this transition will have a positive impact? After all, it has no proven track record whatsoever. Despite this, spending continues to rise. The average expenditure on ICT per school in the England has risen from £9,4K per annum in 1998 to £31.5k provisionally in 2002.
Undoubtedly, the potential benefits are great. For one, it gets children familiarised in the use of ICT at an early age. It enables pupils to work at their own pace, and it is widely thought that interactive learning is more productive. But are these potential rewards blinding us from possible negative repercussion? There are possible adverse effects to health, with over-exposure to computers at a young age, and a lack of human interaction could have a negative impact on social development.
Official statistics reveal several significant increases in the use of ICT in schools over the last five years. The average number of computers used for teaching and learning per school has risen from 27.1 in 1998 to 64.1 (provisionally) in 2002, with an average of some 155.6 computers per secondary school. This shows the reality that is the impending movement towards computer-based teaching and learning in schools.
One of the major factors contributing to this boom in computer use in schools is the emergence of the Internet over the last decade. As a research tool it provides a massive range of information on just about any subject, and a huge increase in Internet access in schools shows us that this has been recognised.