Meaning of ICT
ICT is an acronym that stands for Information Communications Technology. ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots, radio, television, cellular phones, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning.
Uses of ICT
- Teachers use computers to research for teaching materials, participate in online forums and online conferences as well as to aid their teaching.
- Students use the computers as a reference tool. They use computers to browse the Internet to look for information.
- Computers are used in offices for administrative purposes to make sure that the entire office operations run smoothly.
- Word Processing – Word Processing software automatically types, corrects, rearranges, or deletes text in documents. If the content of a document repeats, you don’t have to type it each time. You can use the copy and paste features. You can also print documents and make several copies.
- Mathematical Calculations – Thanks to computers, which have computing speeds of over a million calculations per second we can perform complex mathematical calculations.
- In banking, all financial transactions are done by computer software. They provide security, speed and convenience.
- 2In travel, one can book air/ railway/bus tickets and make hotel reservations online.
- In business, shops and supermarkets use software, which calculate bills and manage stock levels.
- Airplane pilots train on software, which simulates flying.
- Supercomputers are used to analyze and predict weather.
- In industry computers are used to facilitate production planning and control systems, to support chain management and to help in product design. In some productions, robots are used to take over jobs that are dangerous to the workers.
- E-commerce helps in boosting the economy. It makes buying and selling activities easier, more efficient and faster. For this application, computers, Internet and shared software are needed
- Other programs include recreational programs for playing games, composing and hearing music. Programs have also been written that turn household appliances on and off.
ICT equipment/facilities found in organizations
A computer is an electronic device designed to accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed, and display the results of these operations.
The computer as we know it is a group of pieces of hardware put together to get a job done faster. To accomplish its various tasks, the computer is made of different parts, each serving a particular purpose in conjunction with other parts.
A computer is primarily made up of the CPU, the monitor, the keyboard, and the mouse. Other pieces of hardware, commonly referred to as peripherals, can enhance or improve your experience with the computer.
A photocopier (also known as a copier or copy machine) is a machine that makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. Most current photocopiers use a technology called xerography, a dry process using heat. Copiers can also use other technologies such as ink jet, but xerography is standard for office copying.
Photocopying is widely used in business, education, and government. There have been many predictions that photocopiers will eventually become obsolete as information workers continue to increase their digital document creation and distribution, and rely less on distributing actual pieces of paper.
The telephone often referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sound, most commonly the human voice. Telephones allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other. It is one of the most common appliances , and has long been considered indispensable to businesses, households and governments.
All telephones have a microphone to speak into, an earphone which reproduces the voice of the other person, a ringer which makes a sound to alert the owner when a call is coming in, and a keypad (or in older phones a telephone dial) to enter the telephone number of the telephone being called. The microphone and earphone are usually built into a handset which is held up to the face to talk. The keypad may be part of the handset or of a base unit to which the handset would be connected. A landline telephone is connected by a pair of wires to the telephone network, while a mobile phone or cell phone is portable and communicates with the telephone network by radio.
The microphone converts the sound waves to electrical signals, which are sent through the telephone network to the other phone, where they are converted back to sound waves by the earphone in the other phone’s handset.
Fax (short for facsimile), sometimes called telescoping, is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material (both text and images), normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device. The original document is scanned with a fax machine, which processes the contents (text or images) as a single fixed graphic image, converting it into a bitmap, the information is then transmitted as electrical signals through the telephone system. The receiving fax machine reconverts the coded image, printing a paper copy.
In computing, an image scanner—often abbreviated to just scanner—is a device that optically scans images, printed text, handwriting, or an object, and converts it to a digital image. Common examples found in offices are variations of the desktop (or flatbed) scanner where the document is placed on a glass window for scanning.
Scanners have become an important part of the home office over the last few years. Scanner technology is everywhere and used in many ways:
- Flatbed scanners, also called desktop scanners, are the most versatile and commonly used scanners.
- Sheet-fed scanners are similar to flatbed scanners except the document is moved and the scan head is immobile. A sheet-fed scanner looks a lot like a small portable printer.
- Handheld scanners use the same basic technology as a flatbed scanner, but rely on the user to move them instead of a motorized belt. This type of scanner typically does not provide good image quality. However, it can be useful for quickly capturing text.
- Drum scanners are used by the publishing industry to capture detailed images. They use a technology called a photomultiplier tube (PMT). In PMT, the document to be scanned is mounted on a glass cylinder. At the center of the cylinder is a sensor that splits light bounced from the document into three beams. Each beam is sent through a color filter into a photomultiplier tube where the light is changed into an electrical signal.
Other Peripheral devices (add)
The impact of ICT on society
Faster communication speed
In the past, it took a long time for any news or messages to be send. Now with the Internet, news or messages are sent via e-mail to friends, business partners or to anyone efficiently. With the capability of bandwidth, broadband and connection speed on the Internet, any information can travel fast and at an instant. It saves time and is inexpensive.
Lower communication cost
Using the Internet is cost-effective than the other modes of communication such as telephone, mailing or courier service. It allows people to have access to large amounts of data at a very low cost. With the Internet we do not have to pay for any basic services provided by the Internet. Furthermore, the cost of connection to the Internet is relatively cheap.
Reliable mode of communication
Computers are reliable. With the internet, information could be accessed and retrieved from anywhere and at anytime. This makes it a reliable mode of communication. However, the input to the computer is contributed by humans. If the data passed to the computer is faulty, the result will be faulty as well. This is related to the term GIGO. GIGO is a short form for Garbage In Garbage Out. It refers to the quality of output produced according to the input. Normally bad input produces bad output.
Effective sharing of information
With the advancement of ICT, information can be shared by people all around the world. People can share and exchange opinions, news and information through discussion groups, mailing list and forums on the Internet. This enable knowledge sharing which will contribute to the development of knowledge based society.
ICT technology has created the term paperless environment. This term means information can be stored and retrieved through the digital medium instead of paper. Online communication via emails, online chat and instant messaging also helps in creating the paperless environment.
Internet offers fast information retrieval, interactivity, accessibility and versatility. It has become a borderless source for services and information. Through the Internet, information and communication can be borderless.
There are some negative effects of ICT. It has created social problems in the society. Nowadays, people tend to choose online communication rather than having real time conversations. People tend to become more individualistic and introvert.
Another negative effect of ICT is:
- Identity theft
This will result a moral decay and generate threats to the society.
A computer may harm users if they use it for long hours frequently. Computer users are also exposed to bad posture, eyestrain, physical and mental stress. In order to solve the health problems, an ergonomic environment can be introduced. For example, an ergonomic chair can reduces back strain and a screen filter is used to minimize eye strain.