Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Great Review of ICT in Schools

I was directed to the Becta research paper "The Impact of ICT in Schools - a landscape review"


recently. My reflection was that it really does mirror where we are at here in Sydney (and pretty well everywhere else I have seen). Some of the conclusions from the executive summary:

Overall Summary:

The development of ICT in schools is progressing unevenly across and within schools and technologies. Some seem to be content with achieving the government’s targets in terms of numbers of computers and connectivity, while others are being highly innovative, attempting to capitalise on the benefits that ICT has been shown to bring.

As schools grow in e-confidence, ICT becomes embedded in the everyday practices of the school, drawing on a range of technologies to support learning, teaching and attainment. The literature is very positive about some aspects of ICT use, rarely negative, but mainly incomplete or inconsistent. Further studies, particularly with a longitudinal element, should shed light on the processes that schools go through in becoming e-confident and e-capable, the impact on relationships within the school, between home and school and across networks, and on pedagogical practice. Using ICT effectively in schools is about more than changing resources; it is about changing practices and culture.
  • basic provision (computer-to-pupil ratios, broadband (sic!) access, quality of networks) is pretty good. However there is considerable variation within and across schools.
  • where ICT seems to be most effective in enhancing the learning experience teachers can integrate a number of technologies toedther - this leads to innovative approaches.
  • Critical factor! - school-level e-strategy, whole school committment.
  • Teachers' confidence and skills have improved significantly in recent years.
  • much of the evidence of impact on attainment and a range of intermediate outcomes such as motivation and engagement is derived from smallscale case studies which are often snapshots of impact early in the life of the implementation of a new technology
  • At present the evidence on attainment is somewhat inconsistent
  • evidence on the impact of ICT on intermediate outcomes, such as motivation, engagement with and independence in learning, is greater and more persuasive
  • impact is most clearly observed where tasks have clear educational aims, are designed to maximise the potential of the ICT in use and are perceived as purposeful by pupils.
  • Apart from initiatives to support literacy and numeracy, evidence of positive impact has been reported in mathematics, modern foreign languages, science, history, geography, physical education and the creative arts. Much of the evidence is the result of small-scale studies
  • learning of modern foreign languages has benefited greatly from the increased availability of online resources as well as technologies such as digital video and photography, while animations and simulations have enabled pupils to grasp more complex concepts in mathematics and the sciences
  • Digital video and photography have also been proven to improve performance in physical
    education, sport and the dramatic arts where performances can be recorded, watched time and again, and improvements of skills targeted.
  • Interactive Whiteboards - The outcomes are almost universally positive
  • Laptops, which teachers have found particularly useful for management and administration, have been less enthusiastically received by pupils, who prefer the smaller technologies such as PDAs and multi-function mobile phones
  • Whole-school approaches to implementing ICTsupported education have often been more
    successful in primaries than in secondary schools
  • Technologies with a visual dimension – digital video, photography, video conferencing – engage pupils and provide a stimulus for collaborative working and discussion and, where the pupils are in control of the technology, give them a sense of ownership and control of the learning process.
  • Learning platforms and virtual learning environments .. are .. becoming central to a whole range of activities
  • There is a growing body of evidence on the positive impact that ICT can have on the learning of pupils with special educational needs
  • growth has been limited by the need to provide fast connectivity and a virtual learning environment (VLE) or learning platform
  • good resources can have an impact on motivation and attainment
  • e-learning can offer flexible, personalised learning and bridge the gap between home and school learning
  • there is not yet a good understanding of how teachers can support pupils and make the most of e-learning packages
  • ICT can make the learning experience more personalised, more targeted at the needs of
    the individual learner .... Such systems can give the pupil more autonomy and independence with regard to learning and a range of sources ..... This can be unsettling for
    some teachers and may well change the dynamics of the pupil–teacher relationship
  • Improved communication within schools has led to centralised attendance, assessment and recording systems, while links with the external world can support communication with parents and others
  • Intranets are being used to support a range of administrative activities including attendance monitoring, assessment records, reporting to parents, financial
    management and the sharing of information
    amongst staff.... some are used as repositories for learning resources. .... schools are extending their use of ICT through the introduction of learning platforms to meet various learning and teaching and communication objectives.
  • Better management systems usually mean more data-gathering procedures.
  • improved home–school links are as yet unrealised in many instances
  • schools also have to consider how they ensure that all pupils have similar learning opportunities and the ‘digital divide’ does not develop into a system-wide disadvantage for those who have limited or no access to ICT out of the school.

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