The advancement of technology has allowed many long and arduous tasks to be performed in the blink of an eye, or more appropriately, with the click of a mouse or the press of a key. So using this technology in employment allows work to be completed much more efficiently and thus, ICT has spread and is used in most types of work
But how is ICT used, how has it helped, and how has it changed or impacted on an adult in employment?
The work of an Atif Ajaib, a teacher at Leytonstone School, is an example of how ICT has greatly impacted on the old work methods of teaching into a more efficient way, using various different technologies.
Mr. Ajaib, like many other teachers, uses lots of different types of technology. These technologies help create a greater and easier way of learning for the students, helping them gain more out of their education, whether by involving them more, using different methods of teaching or applying more direct ways of learning. So, as you should be able to see, technology has helped a lot in Mr. Ajaib’s job of teaching.
How they use ICT at work
Examples of technology used
A simple computer goes a long way in procuring different uses and making the use of technology much more proficient; the term ‘simple’ in fact is a complete misdemeanour in describing a computer as it is anything but simple. The uses can range to storing movies, documents and music to browsing the innumerable amount of data on the world wide web to get hold of information about most, if not, anything. But the World Wide Web is a different form of technology and the computer is simply used as a medium to connect to the internet. This is one of its innumerable uses; using a Wi-Fi source to browse the web.
The ability to browse the web gives the computer an almost unlimited source of potential. In terms of impacting the work of Mr. Ajaib, procuring resources to help his job turns so much simpler. For information unknown or unavailable in books, a computer can use the web to easily search for this.
The computer can provide to a lot, if not all, of the user’s needs. In regards to Mr. Ajaib, his needs would vary from a different range of things.
His need to store various data and carry this data in a portable way is possible as laptops, as well as external hard drives and USBs, all provide portability. Although the latter two are different types of technology, again, the medium they use is from a computer. Without the computer or any other form of USB ports to connect to, these have no function. The need to carry information-something much needed for a science teacher who commonly uses virtual data to teach-is satisfied by the PC. Mr. Ajaib can now store mountains of data in his laptop and bring it to school. He spends much less time obtaining physical data and simply brings in virtual data to teach the whole class. The need to carry thousands of papers is eliminated-those thousands of papers are contained in the hard drives of his PC.
In terms of what could be improved, it’s hard to really specify particular problems. The computer is limitless but such a limitless piece of technology can also have a limitless amount of problems, technological errors and simply be misused. Though these are general errors that can’t particularly be ‘improved’ as such, these are a disadvantage to computers. Without someone who understands/works with computers, errors can halt progress in terms of teaching and novice use can cause lots of problems e.g. not knowing which plugs go in which etc.
The interactive whiteboard can emit data from a laptop and procure it on a whiteboard via a projector. But the thing that makes it different from a normal computer-to-screen projector is due to interactivity; the interactivity to work from a board using touch screen abilities i.e. providing virtual lessons on this big projector in which everyone can see and participate in quizzes, revision and other interactive-based learning methods. The class is taught as a whole from one source. This piece of technology allows Ajaib to attain the method of teaching a whole variety of learning techniques-catering to the varied class of pupils. This technology serves to give different teaching and learning methods and involve more directly the students with interactivity. Ajaib can now perform his job of teaching more successfully and easily using different sources of information to teach his class. The interactive whiteboard is the epitome of advanced learning/teaching.
Demonstrations are much more advanced compared to the usual whiteboard and board pen duo. Problems like low ink, missing pen or a squeaking board-all gone. All these meet the adult’s needs-a more efficient work system.
But what can be improved? The interactive whiteboard may be advanced but it may have some faults albeit not too major. Calibration errors can occasionally occur which creates problems relating to time and provide a general nuisance. Interactivity may not provide its typical function due to a random fault/occurrence, ruining the whole lesson plan; something you won’t be getting with a normal whiteboard and lastly, the expenses. A normal whiteboard holds relatively cheap prices if any, especially compared to an interactive one. You not only need to install a projector but also the whole wire application of the board with the whole system. The jump from non-interactive to interactive can be large for people in terms of prices and with such a complex system, problems can occur and these problems just simply add on to the payment needed. But overall, these problems are minor and the only real problem would be the price.
The projector works with the interactive board and, although previously having a use on its own, its sole uses are relatively outweighed by new technology in terms of teaching. But it does hold a lot of uses in other cases.
It can be used by Mr. Ajaib to view things such as movies, videos and pretty much a whole range of things. This gives the class a chance to relax by allowing them to view the movie as a whole class; otherwise impossible without the projector. It gives Mr. Ajaib the opportunity to occupy the class and go off to have his own free time to do whatever-relaxation time. But for teaching, it has no other real use that isn’t overshadowed by newer technology. Although without it, the interactive whiteboard wouldn’t work so in that purpose, it is extremely useful.
Swipe Card Machine
The swipe card machine is a mechanism that is used to allow Mr. Ajaib and the school to keep track of who has attended or hasn’t attended the class. It also provides details as to who is late and who isn’t and at what time the teacher had started the lesson allowing Mr. Ajaib to be more efficient in keeping punctuality.
This is all done using swipe cards programmed with details which correspond with the school user database. Swiping the card sends a message to the database connected to the swipe card machine that the person whose details correspond with the database field in this card is now present in this lesson.
The teacher swipe card creates a function which provides the ability to differ between people who were on time and who were late to the lesson. It sets off a certain process which means that any students that swipe in after the teacher send data off to the database that labels them as being late.
The swipe card machine allows Mr. Ajaib to save time by taking out the necessity of having to manually register everyone who attended the lesson, everyone who was late to the lesson and everyone who was absent. More focus can be put into getting the class to settle and going straight into working. More discipline is also given to the punctuality of the students as a teacher can’t always keep track of everyone who’s late and whatnot. A teacher can be lenient whereas a machine is programmed to provide its function and the only errors would be technical faults.
The machine is also primarily used to buy school lunches. Though this doesn’t, in particular, affect Mr. Ajaib’s working style, it makes it much easier to organise lunch proceedings and altogether provides Mr. Ajaib to be much more efficient in handling money and other such necessities.
But a system such as this does have faults. Both students and teachers get easy going in terms of usage of swipe card machines and leniency is a major problem. The whole swiping process soon grew out of people’s minds and only in rare occasions teachers or students use it anymore. Not only does this negate the whole discipline purpose of the swipe card function, it entails it completely useless in Mr. Ajaib’s work place with the only use being the handle of money and lunch. Students are unwilling to keep track of whether or not they have swiped in or not and so, the teacher is forced to take the register thus wasting time. Punctuality is affected as people are less pressured to attend classes early on. All in all, the machine stopped being enforced into student’s mind and eventually, stopped being used at all. But it does provide a good service in lunches.
Online Media (internet)
The internet is a vast array of information and the potential of data is unlimited. Within this vast storage space that the internet contains lies information which can serve to a variety of needs and with the growth of the internet, this information can be found in mere seconds-essentially providing an efficient service to anyone in need of certain data.
For Mr. Ajaib, a science teacher, resources which he can use to help students can easily be found on the internet. The internet is essentially a vast network filled with data uploaded by people all over the world, including other teachers who have mutual needs and causes.
So Mr. Ajaib can, in essence, find a limitless amount of information regarding Science and other teaching information from just one source connected to thousands of sources all over the world.
Due to the capabilities of the internet as well as the interactive whiteboard, textbooks are now becoming used less by Mr. Ajaib as the internet can provide learning/teaching programs which Mr. Ajaib can use with his class. It also makes finding information about Science which previously would have to be found in a textbook to be found much easier now with the simple capacity of search features on the internet.
Other sites on the internet such as YouTube allows Mr. Ajaib to be able to show the class videos of a variety of things; this is extremely useful in terms of teaching science and the various processes taught in the syllabus.
The internet doesn’t just help in helping Mr. Ajaib find information faster. He can also use it for social purposes with websites such as Facebook. In terms of work usage, Facebook would allow Mr. Ajaib to keep in contact with other teachers without the need of mutual contact to exchange phone numbers or any other source of contact. www.facebook.com: Facebook doesn’t even need a friend request to contact other Facebook users. The simple message function allows you to send a message to any other user as long as you know their name. Mr. Ajaib can pass on relatively important information using Facebook as a medium, saving the time to locate and meet the person in real life. The simple access to internet is all that is needed which can be found almost everywhere-Wi-Fi connections, libraries, phones, schools and other such places! The internet’s wide availability makes it an extremely efficient feature.
But if you do have the email address of a contact, you can send virtual mail to any recipients via the internet. Emails have a lot of functionality; Mr. Ajaib can send attachments such as work documents, applications to various stuff and other information via emails; much more efficient and professional than using Facebook as a contact source. Resources used for email include hotmail, googlemail, yahoo mail and lots of others.
Online storage: You can also backup files online using storage sites such as megaupload, rapidshare, mediafire etc. Backing up online is much more efficient than backing up on a separate hard drive, USB drive, CDs and other physical data storage devices. Backing up online allows Mr. Ajaib to have a spare copy online. While physical devices can be harmed, lost or become corrupted, online storage devices are kept safe and protected on their respective sites.
But the internet can also have a lot of problems. Becoming too reliant and dependant on the internet can cause a lot of problems. For Mr. Ajaib, if he plans his lesson around the internet i.e. a video on YouTube and YouTube is suddenly closed for maintenance, the internet loses connection, the video simply buffers for too long, all of these can cause the lesson to waste away and for Mr. Ajaib to be unsuccessful in receiving his need to teach the class successfully. Viruses can leak from the internet causing more serious problems; loss of data, such as all of Mr. Ajaib’s work; identity fraud, keyloggers and other such viruses can easily penetrate a novice user’s system without them knowing and then use it to steal stuff such as credit card details, address, bank pink etc; and simple loss of connection.
How they use ICT at home and socially
But as well as ICT used in class, Mr. Ajaib also uses technology at home to ease home life. Whether he may use it for leisure, pleasure, entertainment or socialising, ICT has many different purposes for use at home.
Mobile Phone (BlackBerry)
The BlackBerry is a smart phone with a whole variety of functions; the ability to use an e-reader, store and play different types of media, call people, video call people, message and picture message people, connect to a Wi-Fi or a BlackBerry connection, connect to other BlackBerry phones with the BlackBerry messenger and a whole other variety of features.
Mr. Ajaib uses the BlackBerry at home to allow him to contact various people e.g. co-workers, friends, family, pizza delivery and other takeout services and maybe even a girlfriend (although he is married). This function of the BlackBerry is the simplest of any mobile phone in general-the function to call or send texts via people which is even more useful with the enhanced portability of a mobile phone. Texting and calling can now be from anywhere.
Mr. Ajaib can call his friends and family without even getting up out of his seat. Just take the smart phone out of his pocket and dial! This allows him to be lazy on his day off-a time to relax and not do anything. It also saves Mr. Ajaib time as he can multitask while on the phone instead of walking all the way to a home phone.
The BlackBerry’s e-reader also allows Mr. Ajaib to use it just like a Kindle. Mr. Ajaib can store different ebooks onto his smart phone and have a whole collection of books-an e-library! With this function, not only does Mr. Ajaib save money due to the accessibility of thousands of free e-books that can be accessed from the internet but he can also carry a lot of books at the same time! With the multiple features of the BlackBerry, the need to buy books is not needed as virtual technology has advanced to take away the need for such things. The expensive Kindle is also made pointless when Mr. Ajaib has the BlackBerry. All these uses make Mr. Ajaib save time and money and a BlackBerry is small and portable; Mr. Ajaib won’t need to carry books around anymore thus lightening his load.
Wi-Fi connection also allows Mr. Ajaib to access the internet from his smart phone. He won’t need to use a laptop or a PC; he just connects from his BlackBerry. This stops him from having to connect his smart phone to the computer through a long process to transfer files when he can simply download files directly from internet to BlackBerry!
The BlackBerry messenger works much like an instant messaging program such as MSN, Yahoo messenger, AIM and any other innumerable IM programs there are out there. It simply allows you to connect to other BlackBerry phones as long as you have added their ‘BlackBerry pin’ to your own BlackBerry. This eliminates the need for costly text messaging services.
Overall, the BlackBerry has a lot of functions which can even be enhanced with the use of apps. Different apps can be downloaded which provide more functions-apps to play games, apps to use sites such as Facebook, apps for almost everything. Mr. Ajaib has the ability to do so much on his BlackBerry and eliminates the need for a lot of other technology. But along with these apps, there is one problem with the BlackBerry as a whole. It’s extremely expensive. Not only is just the BlackBerry expensive but purchasing apps, access to internet and BlackBerry messenger all cost quite a bit for Mr. Ajaib.
These features can either need a periodical payment or a one off fee but Mr. Ajaib’s pockets are run dry after purchasing all of these expenses. But it can be argued that the capability of the BlackBerry and the way Mr. Ajaib does not need many other technologies because of it balances out the expenses. What Mr. Ajaib spends extra he also saves by not purchasing so much other different technologies.
Instant Messaging (MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM etc.)
The computer has access to many different programs and software and one of the most useful and frequently used would be instant messaging programs such as MSN. MSN works by connecting to other MSN users via their email. You can call video call, share images, music or other files, share information, play games or just converse with text. Mr. Ajaib can connect with all his family and friends as long as they have access to the internet even if they are somewhere across the world.
Mr. Ajaib saves the need to make country to country calls by simply connecting to MSN and talking over the internet thus saving money. He can also contact and interact with his friends using this useful program despite where they are as long as they can access the internet and a piece of technology which can handle this software.
While Mr. Ajaib can also share images and files, he can also receive viruses from the millions of spyware bots there are on MSN. This is extremely dangerous to the novice user as viruses such as keyloggers can track any information you type onto your computer; your credit card number, your bank details, your passwords and everything else you type in.
Social networking (Facebook, Myspace, Bebo etc.)
Ever since Mark Zuckerberg, the young billionaire, made Facebook, it instantly became a hit. It now has around 500 million active users with more than 60 million status updates posted daily. Mr. Ajaib can find many of his co-workers, friends and family on Facebook. He can connect socially with old friends, re-unite with people he hasn’t seen in a while and make lots of new friends. Facebook has become a web of socialising. The need to socialise outside of the virtual world is eliminated whether that causes a negative or positive effect on our current generation has no impact on meeting Mr. Ajaib’s needs. Being a busy science teacher, he can simply plan events on Facebook, socialise and meet new people without having to go outside, catch up with old friends and all just from his computer. He saves a lot of time.
But there are a lot of problems. Mr. Ajaib becomes addicted; he posts status updates so often and lurks on other people’s photos that he loses track of what he’s doing. He procrastinates on his work and his social life is driven by pixels on a computer. Facebook has a neat outlook but it drags Mr. Ajaib inside its web and causes him to become too addicted that he cannot stop going on Facebook. This addiction wastes time to be used on something much more productive.
Online storage is extremely useful in holding information as a backup source. Online storage can include a lot of things from own personal website storages to public sites such as mediafire or even storing stuff on Hotmail, g-mail or any other email site. Physical storage is basically materialised objects in contrast to virtual data storage. Physical storage can include objects such as USB sticks, internal or external HDDs, CD disks, floppy disks (although out-dated in this day and age) and many more.
This helps Mr. Ajaib in a lot of ways. Being a family man with a wife and kids, he has a lot of files that he would need to keep safe e.g. family photos, movies and other such things that hold memories. He may also be able to store stuff for entertainment such as music, games and films. Online backup allows Mr. Ajaib to store these items securely and send the URL to other friends and families to share the memories and such. Online backup is also secure in that you cannot lose or damage it.
But physical backup hardware are useful in the uses they provide. They are easily portable allowing Mr. Ajaib to easily give/take files to friends or family. He can take dozens of movies on an external hard drive to a friend’s house and enjoy time relaxing while using these as entertainment. He can take thousands of music files to different events/gatherings making Mr. Ajaib not only look technologically advanced to his friends but also provide entertainment and thus making him a high asset in his circle of friends.
This satisfaction of being useful to his friends gives Mr. Ajaib a feeling of self-respect in himself. He can carry all this data with him using physical storage. CDs are also extremely useful. Burning movies onto DVDs using a DVD rewriter allows Mr. Ajaib to make his own movies on a DVD disk and then distribute it around to people he knows or play it on his DVD player for his family and friends and simply sit back on the sofa and watch anything burned onto the disk on his widescreen television.
But there are downsides to all of these different uses. Online backup is mainly used just to store files and is extremely useful in that stance. However, it may take a while to upload and download and a lot of net issues can cause these to fail, wasting a lot of time. Internet servers are also not always reliable and can crash/freeze and lose data. Although using an online storage usually is stable, sometimes errors can happen resulting in data being lost.
HDDs can also have a lot of problems. Being a physical object, it can easily be damaged or lost resulting in a disk drive failure. These can also fail internally or carry and spread viruses around to other computers.
Apple media players (iPod, iPad, iTouch etc.)
Apple is an extremely successful company founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak dealing in the Macintosh series of computers and the development of different multimedia products such as the iPod and the latest product: the iPad.
For Mr. Ajaib, the iPod allows him to have a period of relaxation at home. With the media player, he can simply relax while listening to music from his iPod during whatever task he’s doing making it much easier to stay entertained and avoiding boredom. He can easily keep up with the new and current music using iTunes which is necessary with an apple product. He can also view movies, store notes or play games using the iPod. Mr. Ajaib can simply relax while doing whatever he wants to do.
The iPod is perfect for Mr. Ajaib when he just simply wants to relax. It just may be a long-winded process for Mr. Ajaib when he wants to add more files to his iPod due to the necessity of iTunes.
The Nintendo DS is a new product by Nintendo that has several different models. Nintendo DS is simply the original model, often referred to unofficially as the ‘Nintendo DS phat’. As well as all the other models, it is used to play Nintendo DS games and has two screens-the bottom one providing interactivity via a touchscreen. The DS naturally comes with a stylus. Compared to more later models, it has a blocky appearance and is quite large compared to the sleek figure of the DS lite.
The DS lite is a much more efficient product than the DS lite. It has a slim design and can easily fit into pockets. It comes in different colours unlike the original DS. It also has a longer battery life and a brighter screen.
The DSi was made with a few new features. It contains two cameras-one on the back and one on the front. These can be used alongside the new apps that the DSi comes with.
The DSi XL was made for those with larger hands and has a much bigger build. It generally holds the same qualities as the DSi but varies in its large size.
Overall, the DS is a handheld console perfect for playing with the family. Mr. Ajaib can enjoy playing with his daughters using the LAN to connect to other local DS consoles in range. It can be used as time with the children but it can also be used to play competitively or just for fun alone. The Wi-Fi capabilities also lets Mr. Ajaib play with people all over the world.
Overall, the DS provides a whole lot of interactive fun using the touchscreen and is ideal for all ages due to the range of games. So, Mr. Ajaib, despite apparently being a mature adult, can still enjoy playing the DS and even use it as family time or just to play in general with friends. The interactivity it provides is a breath of fresh air compared to usual products.