There are many ways to benefit from Information and Communication Technologies for Education (ICTE). Of course equipment and communication are essential; without them, digital processing and technology-mediated interaction is not possible. Nevertheless, without qualified educators and directives that support innovation and foster the redesign of educational processes, it would be difficult to accomplish anything of educational value.
Even though children and youth of today are “digital natives,” that is, were born and grew up in a digital culture, we cannot think that giving them access to digital equipment in an educational institution will necessarily imply that educational improvement will take place. While a myriad of technological initiatives have been introduced to close the digital divide in education, we cannot be deceived into thinking that the tools themselves are sufficient. There are thousands of pieces of equipment in educational institutions that have not made a difference with regard to student learning or teaching innovation. Fortunately, there is an increasing number of cases that also indicate improvements in student retention and advancement, the development of positive attitudes toward learning, and an increase in competence for competing in the 21st century (Galvis, 1998a, 1998b).
The acronym, PLACE is a way to understand the opportunities that ICTE can provide to educators and students. Information and communication technologies embrace all of those artifacts that are of value in processing, storing, or disseminating information in a digital format. They also include all those artifacts that allow human interaction by using digital devices. This book offers different paths and strategies that educators may use to reengineer educational processes when they integrate ICTE. Keeping this in mind, we wish to invite the reader to understand ICTE by analyzing the following five dimensions which we will mnemonically refer to as PLACE; with each letter illustrating a way of using ICTE.
P ICTE that improve individual Productivity, simplifying activities and increasing personal capacity.
L ICTE that support the creation of technology-enhanced Learning environments.
A ICTE that foster Access to cultural and intellectual wealth.
C ICTE that support individual or group Communications, synchronously or asynchronously.
E ICTE that aid the Exploration of learning objects which support knowledge construction.