The Outstanding Importance of ICT Professional development for Teachers
Every modern education system depends on the quality of teachers and the information technologies that are used in the process of teaching. Adequate use of information technologies represents innovation and modernization of teaching and education techniques, where teacher is the key motivator in the complex process of modernization of teaching. On the other hand, students stand in the center of absorption of educational process. ICT Professional development for teachers, in terms of information technology implementation, increase the quality of teaching and education, following a simple, but effective logic that investment in education is an investment in the future.
Complete and quality implementation of information technology in the organization of the teaching process requires fundamental changes in IT education of teachers and education system of all educational institutions. Dynamic development of society and reform of the education system demand openness and constant willingness of teachers to adopt new knowledge and gain different skills throughout their lives, and all with the help of implementation of information technology in teaching. Good teaching results in the modern education system have started to depend on professional development courses for teachers and the implementation of information technologies in education.
1. ICT Professional development for teachers
Under the influence of reforms and information technology, the education system has been constantly going through various changes. According to the demands of society, schools are becoming more modern and attractive, and the teachers have continuous professional training in order to adjust for the implementation of new technologies. Most teachers have an undefined attitude towards innovations. Changes require flexibility, better communication, and inevitable education.
The most common reasons for non-acceptance of changes are the fear of changing themselves, altered working mode, and lack of information about innovations, as well as duties and responsibilities imposed by the introduction of innovations. Therefore, motivation is very important for the implementation of changes, understanding the goals of changes and the ways of achieving them.
The most effective way of change tracking and society’s development can be done through professional development courses for the implementation of information technologies and multimedia teaching strategies. Some organizations invest 3-5% of their annual income into human resources training, which presents an investment in their own growth and future development.
It is a known fact that knowledge gained during formal education eventually goes obsolete, and becomes unusable. In addition, it is estimated that every five to eight years the entire human knowledge doubles. Being educated nowadays does not only mean to possess a diploma, but also to be armed with additional special skills and abilities (communication, information, IT, technical expertise, time management, troubleshooting, strengthening motivation, team building, and goal setting).
Knowledge is acquired through non-formal education (seminars, courses, training) and informal education (reading professional literature both domestic and foreign, exchange of experiences, etc.). The goal of the professional development of teachers is constant increase of teacher's potentials, in order of better performance and teaching improvement. If a teacher wants to develop his abilities, he or she needs to consider all aspects of their profession during their education and to continuously work on increasing awareness of his or her work. Concept of professional development for teachers is based on the upgrading of formal education, innovation of knowledge acquired during schooling for the work of teacher, improving skills and abilities, application of knowledge and practice by using information technologies.
Understanding that our society is moving towards a learning society, should increase the readiness for training and continuous education of teachers, in order of arming them with the abilities to manage and use information technologies in the teaching process. Vocational education should provide opportunities for each individual to achieve social participation, improve the quality of life, make a personal choice, find a suitable job, and the possibility of continuing professional development. This means that education is the essence of social and economic transformation. All of that is even more related to the question of further development of education system and the introduction of information technologies, as well as its strategic basis in relation to the development of society and economy.
2. Implementation of information technologies in education
In the recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the application of computers in classrooms. Computers, internet and multimedia have become an integral part of the educational process. For the changes in the area of science and technology to be successful, certain steps on the modernization of educational system have to be taken. The education system must adapt to innovations, and therefore teachers should follow that pattern as well.
Knowledge and use of information technology in the modern world is one of the basic elements of human literacy and culture. There is no doubt that the use of computers significantly eases the processes of learning and work. The development of information technologies over the past decade has also brought important changes to the education system.
Students should be taught how to use information technologies from their earliest school days. Each student should leave school as a literate person in terms of information technologies. This means that the student knows how to learn, because he knows the way in which knowledge is organized, how to find the needed information, and how to process and use that information in a way that others can learn from him. It is a teacher’s task to lead the student throughout this journey. Only then, the student will be prepared for a lifelong learning process, because he will always be able to find the necessary information for any task or to make the right decision on any occasion.
The latest researches conducted worldwide confirmed that computers are effective teaching tools. What’s more, it is now clear that computers allow control, regulation, and management of teaching and learning through continuous feedback, which has strong motivational power and presents the basis of the evaluation system and equitable assessment of student work. Computers enable an entirely new organization of teaching methods, adjustable to individual abilities and interests of students. Consequently, that leads to faster and more efficient emission, transmission, and absorption of knowledge. With the help of computers, students learn faster and preserve their knowledge longer than ever before.
Teaching with the help of information technologies improves the development of memory, fantasy, and independence in learning raises the educational level, builds sensitivity to problems, openness, flexibility, tolerance, and work independently.
More and more schools and educational institutions form specialized classrooms in which multimedia has the final word. The truth is that computers can be used with all teaching subjects. The success of the application of information technology largely depends on the system of knowledge, skills, and abilities of teachers, and their professional competencies, including the use of computer systems, assessment and data manipulation, the use of communication, cooperation, and troubleshooting. The teacher in today's modern teaching process should be familiar with the changes in society and new discoveries. Actually, the teacher should lead the way.
The use of information technology has changed the roles of teachers and students. The teacher is teaching and learning at the same time. He is the source of information, the organizer of the teaching process, and the evaluator of learner's knowledge. The student becomes an active participant and very often the creator of the teaching process. The bottom line is that information technology has become an inevitable component in all aspects of life. Therefore, ICT professional development for teachers is not an option anymore. It has become a necessity.