Computer technologies and other aspects of digital culture have changed the ways people live, work, play, and learn, impacting the construction and distribution of knowledge and power around the world. Graduates who are less familiar with digital culture are increasingly at a disadvantage in the national and global economy. Digital literacy, the skills of searching for, discerning, and producing information, as well as the critical use of new media for full participation in society, has become an important consideration for curriculum frameworks. Online learning opportunities and the use of open educational resources and other technologies can increase educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning; reducing costs associated with instructional materials or program delivery; and better utilizing teacher time.
Information and Communication Technologies have recently gained groundswell of interest. It is a significant research area for many scholars around the globe. Their nature has highly changed the face of education over the last few decades. Information rich society promotes new practices and paradigms for education where the teacher has to play new role of mentoring, coaching and helping students in their studies rather to play the conventional role of spoon-feeding in the classrooms. Students can learn independently having a wide choice of programme selection and access to information. Students can be involved in skill oriented activities in group learning environments for accumulated knowledge. They can interact and share learning experiences with their teachers and fellow learners in knowledge construction and dissemination process. They can receive and use information of all kinds in more constructive and productive profession rather depending upon the teacher. Branson (1991) stated that students learn not only by the teacher but they also learn along with the teacher and by interacting with one another. Indeed, students can learn much more than that the teacher teaches in conventional learning environments. For productive teaching learning process teachers and students have to use information technologies according to their requirements and availability.
The educational effectiveness of ICTs depends on how they are used and for what purpose. And like any other educational tool or mode of educational delivery, ICTs do not work for everyone, everywhere in the same way. To guide learning processes can be mentioned as one of the core problems of future education One of the dilemmas the teacher has to cope with is whether he should ‘direct’ students learning processes or ‘leave students at their own devices’. A student has to work as independently as possible, but when should a teacher intervene? And in what way can a student accomplish the best (independent) learning activity? How should the teaching-learning process be formed to establish the best learning achievements? The teacher has to constantly consider which teaching aids or materials are most suitable to use. A number of examples include: Tablets are small personal computers with a touch screen, allowing input without a keyboard or mouse. Inexpensive learning software or apps can be downloaded onto tablets, making them a versatile tool for learning. The most effective apps develop higher order thinking skills and provide creative and individualized options for students to express their understandings ; and E-readers are electronic devices that can hold hundreds of books in digital form, and they are increasingly utilized in the delivery of reading material. Students—both skilled readers and reluctant readers—have had positive responses to the use of e-readers for independent reading. Features of e-readers that can contribute to positive use include their portability and long battery life, response to text, and the ability to define unknown words. Not surprisingly, we discovered that, although technology has the ability to provide access to high quality digital learning materials, students in many low-income schools only have “access” to technology solely for the purposes of remediation. Ironically, using technology for remedial purposes rather than for authentic productive and creative purposes, broadens the digital divide between underserved students and their counterparts in wealthier school districts. Unlike students enrolled in affluent school districts, students enrolled in low-income rural and urban districts are more likely to use technology for remedial purposes. Rather than using technology for skill and drill activities, teachers as well as students, should be using Web 2.0 technologies for authentic tasks like Facebook, Google, WordPress, Pinterest, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, Geogebra and the like.
At present, knowledge may be regarded as power and it comes from having information. Information encompasses and relies upon the use of different communication channels or technologies –called information technologies, for its effectiveness and equal access. Information technologies may extend knowledge beyond the geographical boundaries of a state or country providing relevant information to the relevant people round the clock.