UNIT ONE – THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

This unit is primarily structured to discuss the information society, the advent of the information society, the role of the computer as the transforming agent in the information society and the requisite skills for the information society. Learners are to patiently study the unit and post pertinent questions for discussion.

Learning Outcomes:  After going through this unit you should be able to explain basic concepts related to:
1. The advent of the information society
2. The Role of the Computer in Transforming Information Society
3. Positive Impacts of Technology on Society
4. Negative Impacts of Technology on Society
5. Requisite skills for the information society

What is ICT?

We have been hearing the acronym ICT from all sources of media and we can easily tell the meaning of ICT. But the question is

What is information and communication technology?

Although there is no single, universal definition of ICT, the term is generally accepted to mean all devices, networking components, applications and systems that combined allow people and organizations to interact in the digital world.

Information and Communication Technology or “ICT,” also includes products that store, process, transmit, convert, duplicate, or receive electronic information. In the past few decades, information and communication technologies have provided society with a vast array of new communication capabilities. For example, people can communicate in real-time with others in different countries using technologies such as instant messaging, voice over IP (VoIP), and video-conferencing. Social networking websites like Facebook allow users from all over the world to remain in contact and communicate on a regular basis.

Modern information and communication technologies have created a “global village,” in which people can communicate with others across the world as if they were living next door. For this reason, ICT is often studied in the context of how modern communication technologies affect society.

  • Examples are: software applications and operating systems; web-based information and applications such as distance learning; telephones and other telecommunications products; video equipment and multimedia products that may be distributed on videotapes, CDs, DVDs, email, or the World Wide Web; office products such as photocopiers and fax machines; calculators; and computer hardware.

ICT in Education

  • ICT in education is the mode of education that use information and communications technology to support, enhance, and optimize the delivery of information.
  • It is also the use of technology as a mental instrument by the students, which supports their learning and promotes the achievement of their learning goals.

Information and communication technologies are currently being used in education to assist students to learn more effectively by providing teachers with access to a wide range of new pedagogy. These technologies are also being used to enable teachers to do administrative tasks more efficiently.

THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Before we talk about the Information Society let us talk about the society.

  • A society can be defined as the community of people living in a particular country or region, associated to one another and having shared customs, laws and organizations or an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another.

Examples of Societies/Economic eras:

  • Agricultural era
  • Industrial era
  • Information era
  • Knowledge era

Agricultural Era

Early humans were hunter-gatherers and lived in nomadic groups. An agrarian society, or agricultural society, is any community whose economy is based on producing and maintaining crops and farmland.

Industrial Era/society

The Industrial Revolution, was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.

Information Era/Society

The present age is known to be the information era. Another term which refers to this phenomenon is the so-called the third industrial revolution. People begin to realize the power and the importance of information and knowledge.

Knowledge Era

The Knowledge Age is a new, advanced form of capitalism in which knowledgeand ideas are the main source of economic growth (more important than land, labour, money, or other ‘tangible resources).

INFORMATION ERA

     

AGRICULTURAL ERA                                                               INDUSTRIAL ERA


 

Comparison of Agrarian, Industrial and Information Era

 

INFORMATION SOCIETY

An information society therefore, is a society where the creation, distribution, use, integration and manipulation of information is a significant economic, political, and cultural activity. The aim of the information society is to gain competitive advantage internationally, through using information technology (IT) in a creative and productive way.The technological vision of an information society puts emphasis on ICTs and their transformative powers i.e, technological innovation: new possibilities in transmission and storage of information.

 

INFORMATION SOCIETY AT PRESENT

  • The Internet & the computer networks have made the whole world a family.
  • No need to meet the buyer & seller in the business activities.
  • Less use of books & the literal resources.
  • Mental power is more important than the physical power.
  • Organizations make predictions without making any huge effort.

 

Impact of the Information age on Society

Technology impacts the environment, people and the society as a whole. We will look at the Positive and negative impacts.

 

Positive Impacts of Technology on Society

  1. Technology has mechanized agriculture: Modern agricultural technology allows a small number of people to grow vast quantities of food in a short period of time with less input which results into high yields and return on investment”

  2. Technology has improved transportation:  Transportation is one of the basic areas of technological activity. Both society and businesses have benefited from the new :  transportation methods. Transportation provides mobility for people and goods.

  3. Technology Has Improved Communication: Communication is used for a number of purposes. Both society and organizations depend on communication to transfer information. People use technology to communicate with each other.

  4. Technology Has Improved Education and Learning Process: Many schools have started integrating educational technologies in their schools with a great aim of improving the way students learn. Technologies like smart whiteboards, computers, mobile phones, iPads, projectors, and internet are being used in classrooms to boost students moral to learn.

 

Negative Impacts of Technology on Society

  1. Resource Depletion: There  is a more demand for new technologies and advancement of current technologies, the more pressure we put on earth’s natural resources.

  2. Increased Population: Technology has helped us live longer by improving health facilities and aiding in the research for solutions for most health problems which affect humans. This is good news for developed countries but is bad news for developing countries which have not been in a position to access these health care benefits brought by technology.

  Increased Pollution :  Pollution affects the land we grow crops on, the water we drink and the air we breathe. The increased demand for new technologies and advancement of technologies has resulted in many manufacturing and processing factories.


REQUISITE SKILLS FOR THE INFORMATION SOCIETY


  1.  Communications skills:
  2. The ability to learn independently
  3. Ethics and responsibility
  4. Teamwork and flexibility
  5. Thinking skills
  6. Knowledge management etc.

Watch this piece on the need for ICT in education. thanks.

 

 

Further Reading

  • Shelly, R., Cashman, T.J., Gunter, G.A., and Gunter, R.E. (2013). Teachers Discovering
  • Computers. Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom. (7th ed). Thomson Course Technology
  • **Selected articles and online resources (YouTube.com, MOOCS: Khan Academy, TESSA [www.TESSAfrica.net], Udemy etc).

 

ASSIGNMENT : EBC 121 Unit one Assignment MARKS : 10  DURATION : 4 months, 4 weeks

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