One of the driving global forces of ICT development is UNESCO.
Unesco has a theme for ICT whose mission statement is both powerful and meaningful.
UNESCO believes that ICT can contribute to achieving universal education worldwide, through the delivery of education and training of teachers, improved professional skills, better conditions for lifelong learning, and the potential to reach people that are outside the formal education process.
UNESCO takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to promote ICT and to enrich learning used and adapted to serve educational goals. Access, inclusion and quality are leading challenges for ICT in Education.
UNESCO’s mission is to promote education as a fundamental human right, to improve the quality of education and to facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building.
Their site contains policies, resources and links to the richness of ICT integration going on around the world. Here are a few links and descriptions directly from their site.
ICT in Education
ICT can help strengthen democratic and transparent education planning and management. Communications technologies can expand access to learning, improve quality and ensure inclusion. Where resources are scarce, judicious use of open-source materials through technologies can provide the means to bypass the bottleneck of textbook production, distribution and updating.
The need for wide-scale innovations has led UNESCO to focus principally on system-wide improvement and change. The Organization studies the role that ICT can play in shaping policies for education. Its role is both normative and informative, gathering facts, data and examples of ICT in education and making this information widely available.
The quality of teachers and their continuing professional education and training remain central to the achievement of quality education. Yet today, the number and quality of teachers, teaching practice and teacher education are facing serious systemic challenges across the world. The situation must be redressed at a time when the world needs an estimated 9.1 million new teachers to reach internationally-agreed education targets by 2015. UNESCO believes that these challenges can be addressed through a holistic, systemic approach to education and teacher development systems in ways that also incorporate the enabling role of ICT. UNESCO facilitates initiatives related to the integration of ICT in teacher education by supporting existing teacher development communities of practice, multi-stakeholder partnerships, capacity building of policy-makers and the development of international standards on ICT competencies for teachers.
Today over 6 billion people have access to a connected mobile device and for every one person who accesses the internet from a computer two do so from a mobile device.
Mobile technology is changing the way we live and it is beginning to change the way we learn.
UNESCO is working to help governments and individuals use mobile devices to advance Education for All Goals; respond to the challenges of particular educational contexts; supplement and enrich formal schooling; and, in general, make learning more accessible, equitable and flexible for students everywhere. (click the subheading to go to UNESCO for the rest of the resource)
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or that can be used under an intellectual property license that allows re-use or adaptation (e.g Creative Commons). The potential of opening up educational resources for use and adaptation by everyone, especially those in resource-poor environments, is a great opportunity to achieve quality education for all.
Within a broad movement working to encourage creators of knowledge and information (including software), UNESCO has been active in promoting OER. Its Communication and Information programme on OER allows learners, teachers, administrators and governments to freely access, create and share open document-format educational resources. The UNESCO Education Sector focuses on promoting the introduction of OER in teacher education, HIV and AIDS and Literacy and education in post-conflict and post-disaster situations.
In order to be innovative and inclusive, learning and education strategies must recognize all places where learning takes place: at work, in the community, in the family, and in social and civic life. ICT has tremendously broadened the opportunities for people to acquire information, interact, network, address issues of common concern, generate income and participate in society.
However, there is a risk that advanced technological requirements may lead to the exclusion of large numbers of people from sharing the advantages of the new global communication channels. It is UNESCO’s concern to enable all people around the world to make use of the huge potential of ICT for learning and self-empowerment.
Education and learning are central to UNESCO’s mandate and to most of the gains that are anticipated from the widespread use of ICT. One of the basic requirements for education in the 21st century is to prepare populations for participation in a knowledge-based economy, including the social and cultural perspectives.
E-learning is a cornerstone for building inclusive knowledge societies. UNESCO, with its unique mandate to promote the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, has played a key role in World Summit of Information Society. UNESCO’s contribution incorporated the ethical, legal and socio-cultural dimensions of the Information Society and helped to grasp the opportunities offered by ICT by placing the individual at its centre.
Information is the basis of management, planning and evaluation of an education system. During the education management process, the education management information system (EMIS) should inform the different actors and partners on the state of the sector, its internal and external efficiency, its pedagogical and institutional operation, its performance, shortcomings and needs. A solid information system should not only aim to collect, store data and process information but help in the formulation of education policies, their management and their evaluation. Like any therapy, a plan should be based on a precise and exact diagnosis if it is to be effective. Problems should be identified through a detailed and critical analysis in order to be able to propose solutions.
The UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICTs in Education, funded and established since 2005 by the Kingdom of Bahrain, rewards individuals, institutions, and Non-Governmental Organizations for projects and activities which demonstrate best practices in, and creative use of, ICTs to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance. It is UNESCO’s only prize in the field of ICT in education and seeks to recognize the organizations and individuals that are embracing ICT as a pedagogical ally and, in turn, make learning more effective. While acknowledging the importance of teaching innovations supported or enabled by ICT, it is essential that innovations ensure the security of children and promote the values and attitudes that are relevant to the building of sustainable and peaceful societies.
The theme for the 2015 Prize is Pedagogical Innovation in the Use of ICT in Teaching and Learning. (click the subheading to go to UNESCO for the rest of the resource)
UNESCO also has a resources section containing