Improving the quality of education through the diversification of contents and methods and promoting experimentation, innovation, the diffusion and sharing of information and best practices as well as policy dialogue are UNESCO's strategic objectives in education. Educational systems around the world are under increasing pressure to use the new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to teach students the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st century. The 1998 UNESCO World Education Report, Teachers and Teaching in a Changing World, describes the radical implications ICTs have for conventional teaching and learning. It predicts the transformation of the teaching-learning process and the way teachers and learners gain access to knowledge and information. With the emerging new technologies, the teaching profession is evolving from an emphasis on teacher-centred, lecture-based instruction to studentcentred, interactive learning environments. Designing and implementing successful ICT-enabled teacher education programmes is the key to fundamental, wide-ranging educational reforms.
Teacher education institutions may either assume a leadership role in the transformation of education or be left behind in the swirl of rapid technological change. For education to reap the full benefits of ICTs in learning, it is essential that pre- and in-service teachers are able to effectively use these new tools for learning. Teacher education institutions and programmes must provide the leadership for pre- and in-service teachers and model the new pedagogies and tools for learning.
Some practical answers to the increasing challenges posed by the new technologies to the teaching profession are offered in the present publication, entitled Information and Communication Technologies in Teacher Education: A Planning Guide. The document provides resources to help teacher educators, administrators and policy-makers better apply ICTs to teacher education programmes. The resources were developed by an international group of experts with extensive experience in the integration of ICTs into teacher preparation programmes.
The document proposes a framework for ICTs in teacher education, describes the essential conditions that must be met for successful technology integration and provides guidelines for the development of a strategic planning process. It also identifies important strategies for managing the change process in the teacher education programme as technology becomes a catalyst for transforming the teaching-learning process.
UNESCO would like to thank the contributors to this document, which we hope will generate great interest in Member States and will largely contribute to achieving UNESCO's main and overwhelming priority – the drive to meet the challenges of scope and scale of Education for All.