RELEVANCE OF ICT TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER ONE 1. 1 INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITION OF ICT The acronym ICT represents information and communications technology. ICT is a composite term made up of three important concepts which are information, communications and technology. To understand ICT, one must understand the three concepts. Information can simply be defined as data that has been processed, that aids decision making. It can also be defined as any potentially useful fact, quantity or value that can be expressed uniquely with exactness (Gilberto, 2000).
Communication can be defined as the exchange of information and ideas from one person or from one place to another, which is understood by the sender and the recipient. Technology refers to the use of scientific knowledge to invent tools that assist human beings in their effort to overcome the environmental hazards and impediments to comfort. De Watteville and Gilbert, 2000 defined technology as the acquisition, analysis, manipulation, storage and distribution of information and the creation and provision of software and equipments for these purposes.
Information and communications technology can therefore, be defined as the hardware and software that enables data to be digitally processed, stored and communicated. ICT can be used to access, process, manage and present information, model and control events, construct new understanding and communicate with others (State government of Victoria, 2007). 1. 2 DEFINITION OF TERM: RELEVANCE OF ICT TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT In explaining what is meant by the relevance of ICT to human development, there has to be comprehension of the words ‘relevance’ and ‘human development’.
The word relevance can be briefly defined as the possibility of something to be important to the matter at hand. It can also be defined as the relation between things or events as in the case of one causing the other or sharing features with it. Human development is the process of a human becoming biologically mature, developing psychologically and, as it relates to economics a standard of living. Therefore, the relevance of ICT to human development can be said to be, how information and communications technology is of great importance to the development of human life. 1. HISTORY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY The history of ICT originates from humble beginnings, which include the abacus. The abacus is thought to have been invented 3000 years B. C. Revisions to the use and design continued for many years. For example, in 500 B. C a bead and wire version was developed in Egypt. Early visions of the calculator were gradually replacing this primitive method of mathematics. In 1624, Wilhelm Schikard built the first-four-function calculator at the University of Heidelberg and mechanical versions of this calculator followed in the years.
Calculators as we know them now did not exist until 1780, when Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity through experimentation. The first general purpose computer was designed by Charles Babbage around the year 1833. In 1835 George and Edvard Scheutz built a practical model based on Babbage’s original designs. Quickly approaching the computers that are used today, 1971 was the year that the Intel Corporation released the first microprocessor called the ‘Intel 4004’. Apple introduced its personal computer alternative, the Macintosh during 1984.
The worldwide web was developed by Tim Lee in 1991, LERN created the first web server (Schwartz E, Digital Darwinism). According to the Wikipedia, the expression ‘Information and communications technology’ was first used in 1997. Dennis Stevenson in his report to the United Kingdom government was the first to use the term. ICT was later promoted in the year 2000 by the New National Curriculum documents for the UK. A society that is well informed is one that makes the best use of information and communications technology.
According to Ogbomo M et. al (2008), this view is supported by Martin (1995) where he describes that a society in which the quality of life, as well as prospects for social change depend increasingly upon information. This paper, tends to shed more light on how relevant information and communications technology can be to man’s development. It also attempts to survey the achievements attained so far due to its presence, and what more may be achieved if efforts are made to improve the current state of ICT.
Although a general overview of its importance will be made, the specific areas information and communications technology has immensely positively impacted will be shown. CHAPTER TWO THE ROLE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS Information and communications technology has made business transactions easy to perform. Its impact in modern businesses has allowed for their continuous survival. The internet, information systems and communications technology in general, have radically penetrated into our personal and professional lives.
Communications technology has challenged physical, geographical and industry boundaries, on distance, speed and communication on how we work. New business models have emerged, as have new types and new forms of entrepreneurship. E-commerce, applications of ICT to traditional business systems and e-banking will be treated. 2. 1 E-COMMERCE E-commerce, known as electronic commerce can loosely be defined as the buying and selling of goods and services on the internet, especially the worldwide web. E-commerce is often used inter-changeably with e-business; the transaction of business through electronically.
For online retailing or retail selling, the term e-tailing is used (Whatis. com, 2012). E-commerce can be divided into e-tailing, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic business mailing. In e-tailing, there are virtual store fronts on websites with online catalogs, sometimes gathered into a virtual mall. Electronic data exchange is the exchange of business data using an understood data format. It predates that today’s internet. EDI involves data exchange among parties that know each other well and make arrangements for one-to-one connections, usually dial-up connections.
Electronic business, mailing is the sending of letters, proposals and more through an email address. Users voluntarily sign up to receive an e-mail address with which they would operate, send mails, and store their personal information. E-commerce focuses on the use of ICT to enable the external activities and relationships of business with individuals, groups and other business organizations. It enables the linking of internal and external data processing systems by companied, to work more closely with supplier’s needs and expectations of their customers (Wikipedia, 2012).
Through computer networks and the internet, ICT has enabled people to perform business transactions without having to be in the same locations or restricted. Sites like ebay. com and Amazon. com sell commodities online and users pay for their purchase with their credit cards. An online store has a digital global market place with customers and information seekers waiting online not like a physical location restricted by size. The customers buy whatever commodity they want as long as they have a valid credit card and sufficient balance. 2. ICT IN BUSINESS SYSTEMS ICT has helped in replacing some traditional business approaches with electronic means, which make businesses faster and easier to carry out. It is safer sending business mails through the electronic mailing system (e-mail), than writing letters and sending it through the post office with the risk of the person not receiving it. Customer services have become better with ICT inquiries are better made through live chats as opposed to getting on the phone, especially when the business has closed for the day.
The internet serves as a powerful tool for reaching new markets and communicating information to customers and partners. A better understanding of one’s customers will help to improve customer’s satisfaction. A brand new market place to businesses moving online is provided by the internet. Competition via the internet is growing at a high pace, where business not yet online would lose out of the race completely. Easy access to real time information and business researches enable the company to give efficient and valid information, enabling it to gain a competitive advantage over those not online.
Although there are risks associated with it as there is with all business, risk must be taken. There is a higher risk when businesses are not aware of the changing environment change is unavoidable in today’s marketplace. It therefore should be embraced with open arms and more internet sites (Leonard S, 2006). 2. 3 ICT IN BANKING The banking system has improved today because of the emergence of ICT. Banks now have electronic systems of handling their daily voluminous transactions such as retrieving information, storage and processing.
Banks that are computerized respond to their customers request quickly. The statement of accounts, balance and account activity enquiries are responded to in minimal time because of banking computer application and the details of account activities are sent to customers alert by sms. The introduction of automated teller machines (ATM) has made it possible for customers to be served outside the banking hall. The customer can check his account balance and withdraw money without having to enter the hall.
The presence of computers helps banks to reduce their business costs. Electronic mails improve communications between the individuals and the bank keeps the customers up to date with information (Awe J, 2012). The availability of credit and debit card allows the customers to obtain discounts from retail outlets. In electronic banking, the cost associated with is the cost of the time spent online and is only charged by the internet service provider (ISP). 2. 4 In today’s business environment it is safe to say that without ICT very little or no progress would be made.
For example, if a business is set-up and accounting information is recorded on paper by hand, business offers and proposals are sent through written mails. If the business also, cannot be accessed through the telephone and the only way customers can get information is by personally going to the location or sending letters of enquiry. The business would definitely collapse and its rate of turnover will be low, because no customer would be willing to go through that kind of stress in this recent time to transact a business. CHAPTER THREE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY IN
EDUCATION Information and communications technology has made series of impacts in education. Due to its presence there is free access to different resources for learning, and learners can actually get the information they need from the internet and mass media. ICT makes room for immediacy to information, people are imparted with knowledge very quickly as they can access information at their fingertips. Online tutorial classes and courses as well as e-books (electronic books) and educational materials are readily made available to people.
Information and communications technology in education will be used to reference out-of-classroom and in-classroom experiences via technology even as advances continue in regard to devices. 3. 1 E-LEARNING E-learning is essentially the transfer of skill and knowledge enabled by electronic devices and connections such as the computer and internet networks. Electronic learning application and processes include web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual education opportunities and digital collaboration.
Therefore, e-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The information and communications systems, whether networked learning or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process. Content is delivered through the internet, intranet and extranet, audio or video tapes, satellite TV, and CD-Rom. The provision of electronic books (e-books), has allowed for the transformation of written publications into digital forms made available on the internet. E-books are usually read on dedicated e-book readers, personal computers and mobile phones.
Electronic books do exist without printed equivalents, meaning that not all digitally written books are printed books converted. Another great innovation in electronic learning is the introduction of open universities. An open university is an online university which enables people who do not want to or cannot attend conventional universities to study courses and get their degrees online. In an open university, teaching is done online with mostly optional tutorials. Assessment is usually made up of tutor-marked assignments and computer-marked assignments.
Tutor-marked assignments are usually essays or short answer questions, although some courses also require extended dissertations or projects, and assignments submitted on tape to the tutor. The computer-marked assignments CDMAs are made up of a series of questions and one chooses the answer from a given selection. If your course requires one to submit a piece of examined work in place of an examination, it will have a published cut-off date by which it must reach the university. It is likely to be a project, a report, a portfolio or an EMA (end-of-module assignment). The information about the arrangements for submitting it will e provided for students. 3. 2 ICT IN EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT ICT is not only important to the students or scholars but also to the administrators of educational institutions who easily manage their student information and use ICT for both processing and accessing information when needed. In a tertiary institution like Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, information of the students is stored in an online database. The students register their courses online and fill in the required information online as they do so manually and this online registration of the students provides them with their registration number.
The registration number serves as the student’s identity, and will be used during tests and examinations. This system of student records prevents a total loss of information, if files get misplaced or lost in the office. In secondary and primary school education settings, the school administration can actually document results of the students on-screen and send them safely to the e-mail accounts of the parents and students. This will minimize the problems encountered in collection of results and also prevent some students from falsifying the information on the results as, sometimes scores are handwritten. . 3 ICT IN EDUCATING THE DISABLED Information and communications technology has created the opportunity for the disabled not to be left out of the educational process. People profoundly deaf from birth are not able to speak because of their severe sensory deprivation which makes them lack the language stimulation experienced by people who can hear. A delay in learning a language may retard the deaf person’s academic performance and the academic lag cumulates so that a deaf adolescent may be four or more academic years behind (Wikipedia, 2012).
Information and communications discoveries have provided special techniques for the training of this people. 3. 4 Information and communications technology has created the possibility for every individual to participate in the educational process. The implementation of ICT equipment and tools in the teaching and learning process leads to greater achievements. Students are familiarized with the use and workings of computer and related ethical issues. Information is better stored and retrieved in the educational environment, with the presence of ICT. CHAPTER FOUR
In developing countries, preventable diseases and premature deaths are still in high rates. Inequity of access to basic health services affects different regions, communities, and social groups. Inadequate financing of the health sector in most countries has led to quantitative and qualitative deficiencies in service delivery and to growing gaps in facility and equipment upkeep. Inefficient allocation of scarce resources and lack of coordination among key stakeholders have made duplication of efforts, overlapping responsibilities, and resource wastage common and troublesome problems.
Most countries are at some stage of health sector reform, trying to provide expanded and equitable access to quality services while reducing or at least controlling the rising cost of healthcare. Health reform processes have many facets and there is no single model being adopted by all countries (PAHO, 1998). ICTs have potentially made a major contribution to improving access and quality of services while containing costs. Improving health involves improving public health and medical programs designed to provide elective, emergency, and long-term clinical care.
Therefore, improving nutrition and hygiene and providing more sanitary living conditions. These in turn ultimately involve massive social and economic changes, as many health challenges go well beyond the health sector (Chetley A, 2006). The provision of geographical information systems (GIS), laboratory equipments, and mobile health (m-health) have brought developments in the health sector. 4. 1 GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM The geographical information system (GIS) is a system for capturing, storing, integrating, manipulating, analyzing and displaying data related to positions on the earth’s surface.
Typically, a GIS is used for handling one map of one kind or another. It aids the health sector planning, as well as trace and identifies the spread of emerging disease conditions. GIS data has been used to warn health authorities about likely location and spread of cholera in coastal areas of Bangladesh (Chetley A, 2006). The power of a GIS comes from the ability to relate different information in a spatial context and to reach a conclusion about the relationship. Most of the information we have about our world contains a location and reference placing that information at some point in the globe.
GIS can therefore, reveal important information that can allow for the government and health institutions to make better decisions. 4. 2 LABORATORY EQUIPMENTS, MACHINES AND SYSTEMS Information and communications technology has led to the provision of computer systems and other equipments in medicine that help to diagnose ailments and illness. Sensors can be attached to the body to detect signals. These signals are analyzed by the computer. An example of this is the automated auditory brainstem response (AABR). It can be carried out on a baby to check their hearing.
It is done by placing small sensors on the hand and neck, and headphones are placed over the ears. Clicking sounds are played through the headphones and the signals that are picked up by the sensors are analyzed by the computer to determine the response by the brain to sound. The CAT scanner also known as the CT scanner is a laboratory equipment which takes a series of x-ray images at different angles of the inside of the body. A computer is then used to put all the images together to produce 3-D models that can be used to diagnose the problem.
The x-ray scanner which is the most common takes images of the bones or organs in a person’s body. This helps to locate particular spots where bones are broken. Therefore, allowing the doctor to know the best treatment to give the patient. 4. 4 ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS In the health sector, information and communications technology helps to record health information. EHR which represents electronic health record is defined as the systematic collection of electronic health information about individual patients or populations.
This record is in a digital format that is capable of being shared across varying health care settings. In some cases this sharing can occur by way of network connections through wire information systems and other information networks. EHR may include a range of data, including demographic, medical history medications and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test result, radiology image, vital signs, personal stats like age and weight information. HER is maintained and generated within a medical institution such as the hospital, integrated elivery networks, clinics and other health care providers, employees and insurers access to a patient’s medical records about facilities (Wikipedia, 2012). 4. 4 M-HEALTH (MOBILE HEALTH) One of the great achievements of ICT in the health sector is the introduction of m-health or mobile health. Mobile health is a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices. M-health is used in reference to mobile phones, tablet computers and more, for health services and information.
The m-health emergence, has a made it a sub-section of electronic health (e-health); the use of information and communications technology in health. The applications of mobile health include the use of these devices in collecting community and clinical health care information to medical practitioners, researchers and patients. It is also applied in real-time monitoring of the patients vital signs and the direct provision of care. Mobile health has rapidly emerged largely as an application used in developing countries, resulting from the quick pace at which mobile phones penetrated into low-income nations.
It therefore provides greater access to large segments of the population in developing countries. The basic sms function and voice communications, serve as the most common functions in the use of mobile technology. These simple functions of mobile phones provide potential benefits to the health sector workers in remote areas. Workers use mobile phones as a wireless infrastructure to reach more people faster. Most phones today come with web browsers which come in handy, in sourcing for information.
Smartphone technologies are in the hands of most physicians and health projects such as technology-based diagnosis support, remote diagnostics and telemedicine (the use of visual and audio broadcasting to provide clinical health care), internet browsing and the use of health applications. Even other mobile devices such as the micro-computers are also used for these functions. Mp3 players can be used for mobile learning, recorded health tutorials in mp3 formats can be played back. Mobile health technology serves as the best alternative when there is little access to advanced technologies in developing nations. CHAPTER FIVE
RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION This study has briefly shown how information and communications technology has positively affected the life of people, by looking also at the progress ICT has made and its contribution to different areas of human development. ICT, a part of man’s life has made living easier. The development of information and communications technology would therefore, be of more relevance to the world. There is a need for more discoveries and ideas in technology. This would enhance further developments in this area and make human-life to be less stressful because so many applications and software would be at people’s fingertips.
According to cairncross F, (2010) getting the best from ICTs depend on several variables including the appropriate design of software and hardware, the training and the realization of different students have different requirements. It also requires the willingness to experiment and that would take a long time to devise and disseminate. The government should implement policies to support the teaching of information and communications technology. The government should invest and make donations of computers and other equipments to educational institutions to improve learning, and make students get used to computers.
Such educational policies in Nigeria would increase computer literacy as well as improve the development of ICT. Government should also improve electronic democracy to increase participation of the people. This will help in disseminating government policies and improve the relationship that exists between the leaders and the led. The people should make their own efforts in embracing information and communications technology. Students in the tertiary institutions should engage into serving researches in order to make their own discoveries to contribute towards the ICT development.
Students in computer science and ICT related disciplines should be encouraged to have exchange programs with schools abroad as a way of bridging the gap the developed and the developing countries. This is a sure way of acquiring enough knowledge that may lead to new invention from other countries. Parents should also try to enroll their children in good schools and also try to get their children accustomed to the use of computers at home by providing computers for them. The disabled should not be left out from getting the benefits of information and communications technology. The nited nations economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), have recommended that the government should establish reasonable policies for persons with disabilities to improve their capabilities by using ICT products and services. Information and communications technology has brought a lot of positive changes. The human life is getting more stress free as the day passes, hence ICTS acceptance becomes an acknowledgement of the numerous contributions it has made in information storing, processing, sharing and general communication benefitting all fields of human endeavour.
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