Defining ICT

The term ICT is used differently across different contexts, in different nations, often leading to confusion and miscommunication. For example, it has been used to refer to a specialist subject (learning about digital technology); to the use of digital technology across the curriculum (learning supported by digital technology); and to refer to hardware, software and associated digital technology infrastructure.

In order to avoid confusion, ETAG use the following terms:

Digital technology – the technology infrastructure, including hardware and software.

ICT – the cross curricula use of digital technology to enhance learning.

Computing – an umbrella term to refer to subjects which are focused on teaching about digital technology and its use, including: Computer Science, Information Technology, and Digital Literacy.

Computer Science – is a scientific discipline, covering principles such as algorithms, data structures, computational thinking, programming, systems architecture, design, problem solving etc.

Information Technology (IT) – the assembly, deployment, and configuration of digital systems to meet user needs for particular purposes. (Note that this is narrower than the use in industry, which generally encompasses Computer Science as well).

Digital literacy – the ability to operate effectively as a citizen in the 21st century. It covers the following areas:

  • Understanding the impact of new technologies on society, including the ways in which new technologies change disciplines (e.g. history, chemistry, English, etc)
  • Understanding the nature of digital identities and being able to manage your digital identities appropriately
  • Being able to interact safely in a digital world (encompassing e-safety, cyber-bullying, data security, etc)
  • Being able to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, analyze and (re)present information using digital technology (including using dynamic and procedural representations) – what you might think of as ‘the creative’ making and doing aspects of using digital technology (though of course many other aspects of the subject are creative too).

Learning technology – the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment.