Smeets, E. (2005) Does ICT contribute to powerful learning environments in primary education? Computers & Education Volume: 44, Issue: 3, Pages: 343-355
In powerful learning environments, rich contexts and authentic tasks are presented to pupils. Active, autonomous and co-operative learning is stimulated, and the curriculum is adapted to the needs and capabilities of individual pupils. In this study, the characteristics of learning environments and the contribution of ICT to learning environments were investigated. A questionnaire was completed by 331 teachers in the highest grade of primary education. Results show that many teachers apply several elements of powerful learning environments in their classes. This especially goes for the presentation of authentic tasks and the fostering of active and autonomous learning. However, the methods employed by teachers to adapt education to the needs and abilities of individual pupils proved quite limited. The use of ICT in general merely showed characteristics of traditional approaches to learning. Chances of using open-ended ICT applications, which are expected to contribute to the power of learning environments, were greater with teachers who created powerful learning environments for their pupils, and when there were more computers available to pupils. In addition, teachers’ views with regard to the contribution of ICT to active and autonomous learning, teachers’ skills in using ICT, and the teacher’s gender appeared to be relevant background variables in this respect.
Read Full Text