Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘school culture’

How can the Web support Differentiation in Elementary Classrooms?

Gail Arakaki (2011)  The Use of Websites as an Aid in Differentiating Instruction, TCC Worldwide Online ConferenceEmerging Technologies: Making it Work 

In a typical heterogeneous elementary school classroom, one might find highly motivated students, struggling readers, those reading two levels above grade level, unmotivated students, and students with behavior problems. Teachers are faced with the challenge of teaching these students the skills necessary to be successful 21st Century students as well as motivating them to attain proficiency. In order to provide effective instruction for all, many teachers have turned to differentiated instruction (DI). In differentiated instruction, student differences form the basis of planning and many instructional strategies are employed. This study focused on the development and evaluation of a class website to facilitate differentiation of instruction in a science lesson, and its potential use as a tool to increase instructional time and address all learners. Research results indicated the use of a class website can be a valuable tool for teachers to use in providing differentiated instruction. A class website was successfully utilized to disseminate information and assignment directions, as well as provide instruction, scaffolding, and additional resources to nine second grade students, based on their level of readiness. Further research is necessary to determine if its use results in an increase in instructional time.

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At what level does social capital impact workgroups?

Y. Connie Yuan (2011) Social Capital and Transactive Memory Systems in Workgroups: A Multilevel Approach, Cornell UniversityDepartment of Communication, Best Papers Proceedings of the Sixty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management

A multilevel, multi-theoretical model of transactive memory was developed by integrating the mergence model with social capital theories. Empirical tests showed that individual social capital significantly impacted the development of the micro-level component of transitive memories, but collective social capital did not significantly influence the development of macro-level transitive memories.

Does research overemphasize the need for technology in education?

M. Oliver (2011) Technological determinism in educational technology research: some alternative ways of thinking about the relationship between learning and technology, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (2011), 27, 373–384

This paper argues that research on the educational uses of technology frequently overemphasizes the influence of technology. Research in the field is considered a form of critical perspective, and assumptions about technology are questioned. Technological determinism is introduced, and different positions on this concept are identified. These are used to discuss the ways in which work within the field might be described as technologically deterministic. Four theoretical perspectives (activity theory, communities of practice, actor–network theory, and the social construction of technology) are then briefly characterized, demonstrating that alternative positions are viable, and positioning each in relation to the earlier discussion of technological determinism. The paper concludes by arguing that research, building on such alternative conceptions of technology, is important in developing our understanding of the relationship between technology and learning, as well as identifying potential methodological implications.

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How might technology be transforming the literacies of children entering the classroom?

Joanne O’Mara, Linda Laidlaw (2011) Living in the iworld: Two literacy researchers reflect on the changing texts and literacy practices of childhood, English Teaching: Practice and Critique, December, 2011, Volume 10, Number 4,  pp. 149-159

Within the article we demonstrate, using media links and images, the ways in which our own children have begun to navigate digital devices and texts and to create new sorts of narratives that open possibilities for literacies in multiple ways, as “creators”, “designers”, and experts. We argue that, once translated into classroom practice, technological tools tend to be “domesticated” by practices that resist the transformative affordances of these tools, and may even provide barriers to student engagement and practice. Finally, we conclude the article by making some practical suggestions for creating opportunities for transformative technology use in education.

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Can 3D virtual worlds be literacy learning environments?

MERCHANT, G. H. (2010). 3D virtual worlds as environments for literacy learning. Educational research, 52 (2), 135-150.

Although much has been written about the ways in which new technology might transform educational practice, particularly in the area of literacy learning, there is relatively little empirical work that explores the possibilities and problems – or even what such a transformation might look like in the classroom. 3D virtual worlds offer a range of opportunities for children to use digital literacies in school, and suggest one way in which we might explore changing literacy practices in a playful, yet meaningful context. From a Foucauldian perspective, the article suggests that social control of pedagogical practice through the regulation of curriculum time, the normalisation of teaching routines and the regimes of individual assessment restricts teachers‟ and pupils‟ conceptions of what constitutes literacy. The counternarrative, found in recent work in new litearcies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006) provides an attractive alternative, but a movement in this direction requires a fundamental shift of emphasis and a re- conceptualisation of what counts as learning.

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How are School Leaders using Data-Driven Decision-Making to Improve Schools?

Guadalupe H. Simpson (2011) School Leaders’ use of Data-Driven Decision-Making for School Improvement: A Study of Promising Practices in two California Charter Schools, A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of USC Rossier School of Education University of Southern California In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor Of Education

The current interest in using data-driven decision-making in schools has focused on how best to use student achievement data to meet the demands of current accountability requirements. The purpose of this study was to investigate promising practices specific to school leaders’ use of data-driven decision-making for school improvement at two California charter schools. The study found that the greatest impact of using data-driven decision- making was on results of high student achievement and on the improvement of teaching strategies to meet student needs. By establishing a strong data-driven school culture, daily classroom observations, professional development, and providing teachers with ongoing support, school leaders experienced a profound impact on student achievement.

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What is the role of Principals in implementing ICT?

Mojgan Afshari, Simin Ghavifekr, Saedah Siraj and Rahmad Sukor Ab. Samad (2012) Transformational Leadership Role of Principals in Implementing Informational and Communication Technologies in Schools, Life Science Journal, 2012; 9(1)

The implementation of information and communication technologies is very important to schools. Transformational leaders provide greater contributions to implement technology in education. This paper examines the relationship between two independent variables (computer competence and computer use) and transformational leadership role of principals in implementing ICT in schools. This paper based on responses from 320 school leaders in Iran, reports that computer competence and ICT usage are key factors that influence technology leadership behaviors. It is suggested that decision makers should provide professional development for principals to become proficient in all the competency areas.

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What are parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home? Habitus and social class.

S. Hollingworth, A. Mansaray, K. Allen, A. Rose, (2011) “Parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home: social class and the role of the habitus”, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 347–360, August 2011

Sociologists of education highlight that parent’s ability to engage with their children’s education and learning is not a straightforward issue. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, this paper attempts to open up a space for examination of the differential experiences of parents from different social class backgrounds, of technology in the home, and how this informs the potential they see for family learning using technology. We use Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘cultural and economic capital’ and ‘habitus’ to explore several themes. Firstly, the paper explores the impact of material inequalities of access on families and how this structures parental engagement with technology in relation to their children’s schooling; secondly, how the harms and risks of technology are differentially experienced, negotiated and managed by parents from different social class backgrounds – with varying amounts of social and cultural resources available to them; thirdly, through discussion of the ‘generation gap’, we examine the significance of the parents’ working lives (in terms of the privileged forms of engagement with technology, which professional employment increasingly requires and facilitates) in shaping parents’ own relationships to education and learning.

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Can teachers be trusted to accurately assess their acceptance of educational technologies?

Bram PYNOO, Jo TONDEUR, Johan VAN BRAAK, Wouter DUYCK, Bart SIJNAVEd, Philippe DUYCK (2011) Assessing teachers’ acceptance of educational technologies: Beware for the congruency between user acceptance and actual use, T. Hirashima et al. (Eds.) (2011). Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Computers in Education. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education

In this study, we investigated the extent to which self-reported measures for user acceptance (attitude, behavioral intention, self-reported frequency of use), added to the prediction of several aspects of use of a portal for education. Data from 835 teachers was collected: questionnaire “acceptance” data on one occasion and five parameters for observed use (number of logins, downloads, uploads, page views, and reactions) were extracted on two occasions from the portal database. We found that the self-reported measures for acceptance primarily predicted search behavior (monthly number of logins, downloads and page views), and not share behavior (monthly number of uploads and reactions). So, researchers aiming to assess teachers’ acceptance of a technology to contribute information, should adjust their measures for user acceptance so that these correspond with the targeted actual behavior.

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How can Social Capital inform the actual and potential use of IT?

Marleen Huysman, Volker Wulf (2005) The role of Information Technology in building and sustaining the relational base of communities, The Information Society (TIS), Vol. 21, No. 2, 2005, pp. 81 – 89

One of the most important potential fallacies of the debate on IT enabled communities, is the over-enthusiasm towards technological possibilities. The trap lurks particularly in the assumption that IT can positively support and improve knowledge sharing while ignoring the social conditions that trigger or hinder people to share knowledge. As many scholars have already argued, the tendency to perceive IT as independent from the social environment of which it is part, has caused disappointing acceptance rates (e.g. Ciborra 1996, McDermott 1999). It is not the technology itself but the way people use it that influence whether or not and how IT will be used. Moreover, in case of communities of practice, it is not the technology itself that enables connecting people, it is the motivation for people to relate to each other (Lesser 2000). We postulated that social capital analysis of communities informs us better about the actual and potential use of IT. Based on theory we proposed that the higher the level of social capital, the more members are stimulated to connect and share knowledge. This implies that communities with high social capital will be more inclined to use – or continue using – ICT to share knowledge than in case of low social capital.

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How can the diffusion of ICT in Schools be better Understood Using the Concept of Social Capital?

Kenneth A Frank, Yong Zhao, Kathryn Borman (2004) Social Capital and the Diffusion of Innovations Within Organizations: The Case of Computer Technology in Schools, Sociology of Education Volume: 77, Issue: 2, Publisher: American Sociological Association, Pages: 148-171

Although the educational community has learned much about better educational practices, less is known about processes for implementing new practices. The standard model of diffusion suggests that people change perceptions about the value of an innovation through communication, and these perceptions then drive implementation. But implementation can be affected by more instrumental forces. In particular, members of a school share the common fate of the organization and affiliate with the common social system of the organization. Thus, they are more able to gain access to each others’ expertise informally and are more likely to respond to social pressure to implement an innovation, regardless of their own perceptions of the value of the innovation. This article characterizes informal access to expertise and responses to social pressure as manifestations of social capital. Using longitudinal and network data in a study of the implementation of computer technology in six schools, the authors found that the effects of perceived social pressure and access to expertise through help and talk were at least as important as the effects of traditional constructs. By implication, change agents should attend to local social capital processes that are related to the implementation of educational innovations or reforms.

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What does ICT look like in Eastern Education?

Jianwei Zhang (2007) A cultural look at information and communication technologies in Eastern education, Educational Technology Research & Development (2007) Volume: 55, Issue: 3, Pages: 301-314

The Eastern cultural tradition, together with other social factors, has shaped a group-based, teacher-dominated, and centrally organized pedagogical culture. Drawing upon this cultural perspective, this article reviews the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) in Eastern schools, including ICT planning and management, hardware infrastructures, software resources and services, professional development, and ICT-supported educational practices. It highlights the impact of the pedagogical culture on technology use, as well as the role of technology in pedagogical change. The review suggests a number of critical challenges Eastern educators need to address.

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How can schools develop their own ICT curriculum?

Vanderlinde, B. R., Braak, J. V., Windt, V. D., Tondeur, J., Hermans, R., & Sinnaeve, I. (2008). Technology Curriculum and Planning for Technology in Schools: The Flemish case. TechTrends52(2), 23-26.

As a significant step in the consolidation of the importance of technology in education, the Flemish Government recently (September 2007) introduced a formal technology curriculum for schools. This compulsory curriculum replaces already existing but non-binding technology guidelines and is an important action in the Flemish policy of educational technology support. The introduction of a technology curriculum brings educational technology in schools to a turning point: Technology is no longer considered as being dependent on teachers’ individual efforts or willingness, but is becoming compulsory at the school level. The Flemish educational technology curriculum is written in terms of attainment targets. These targets are minimum objectives concerning the knowledge, insight, skills, and attitudes the government regards as necessary for and attainable by pupils at different educational levels. The formulation of a compulsory technology curriculum opens new perspectives for Flemish schools when working on putting technology into practice. Schools are challenged to translate the technology curriculum into concrete teaching and learning activities. For this purpose, they can use the online tool PICTOS (Planning for ICT on School) to establish their school-based technology plan. This article discusses the five design principles which, at the same time, act as characteristics of PICTOS

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Are Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration?

Ertmer, P. A, (2005) Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration? Educational Technology Research & Development (2005) Volume: 53, Issue: 4

Although the conditions for successful technology integration finally appear to be in place, including ready access to technology, increased training for teachers, and a favorable policy environment, high-level technology use is still surprisingly low. This suggests that additional barriers, specifically related to teachers pedagogical beliefs, may be at work. Previous researchers have noted the influence of teachers beliefs on classroom instruction specifically in math, reading, and science, yet little research has been done to establish a similar link to teachers classroom uses of technology. In this article, I argue for the importance of such research and present a conceptual overview of teacher pedagogical beliefs as a vital first step. After defining and describing the nature of teacher beliefs, including how they are likely to impact teachers classroom practice, I describe important implications for teacher professional development and offer suggestions for future research.

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How do school cultures influence technology transformation?

Kitchenham, A. D., (2009) School cultures, teachers, and technology transformation, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (2009) 35(2) Spring

This article outlines a recent study on school culture and technology adoption. Adapting Hargreaves’ (2003) model of school cultures, research findings are presented on three schools involved in a study on teacher transformation using educational technology to explain how each school represents a separate school culture and school regime. Each school is profiled to demonstrate, through direct quotes from the participants, how a specific school culture or regime can reflect varying degrees of transformation, and subsequent technology adoption.

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How can true collaboration transform school culture?

Lam, SF; Yim, PS; Lam, TWH (2002) Transforming school culture: can true collaboration be initiated? Educational Research, 2002, v. 44 n. 2, p. 181-195

While Western educators caution against contrived collegiality in the midst of enthusiasm for peer coaching as a form of teacher development, Hong Kong educators are struggling to detach discussion and observation of classroom teaching from staff appraisal. The challenges for this task are twofold: To secure a niche for peer coaching in the practice of staff development, and to ward off contrived collegiality in the course. Using an action research paradigm, the present project attempted to meet these challenges in two schools. As a joint work between various parties, the present project had to negotiate its way cautiously to achieve genuine collaboration and avoid imposition from the administrators and outsiders to the frontline teachers. During the course, innovative strategies were taken to cope with  various difficulties including time constraints, teachers’ psychological pressure, and the possibility of contrived collegiality and implementation partnership. The evaluation of the project showed that the teachers generally accepted peer coaching and found it helpful to their professional development. The experience in the two schools indicated that true collaboration might emerge from organisationally induced collegiality under certain conditions.

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How does the culture and structure of a school affect ICT integration?

Jo Tondeur, Geert Devos, Mieke Van Houtte, Johan Van Braak, Martin Valcke (2009) Understanding structural and cultural school characteristics in relation to educational change: the case of ICT integration, Educational Studies (2009) Volume: 35, Issue: 2, Pages: 223-235

This study builds on the idea that school characteristics affect educational change, such as ICT integration. The goal of this inquiry is to explore both structural school characteristics (i.e. infrastructure, planning and support) and cultural school characteristics (i.e. leadership, goal orientedness and innovativeness) and how they contribute to ICT integration in the classroom. A survey of 527 teachers in 68 primary schools in Flanders (Belgium) was conducted that focused on teacher perceptions about structural and cultural school characteristics and their use of ICT in the classroom. In order to study the variables at school level, teacher responses were aggregated. The next step was to delineate school profiles originating from structural and cultural school characteristics by using a cluster analysis. Finally, the relationship between these school profiles and ICT integration was studied. The results suggest that (1) structural and cultural school characteristics fit together and (2) are relevant catalysts for ICT integration in the classroom.

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