A framework for Implementation of ict in Schools



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A Framework for Implementation of ICT in Schools
Sue Trinidad, Curtin University of Technology,

Barney Clarkson, Edith Cowan University,

Paul Newhouse, Edith Cowan University,

Perth, Western Australia


Abstract

This paper reports on research carried out in Western Australia to develop a framework to support, describe and promote good practice in the use of ICT in learning and teaching in schools. The framework is multi-faceted and flexible enough to be used by individuals, groups, schools or educational organizations. It is modelled on the concept of the Curriculum Framework, with the layers allowing various levels of investment in the processes of the teacher using ICT in teaching and learning.
Background

As educational institutions move towards the mainstream use of Information and Communications Technology or ICT in teaching and learning there appears to be some critical steps and vital ingredients needed for the successful infusion of ICT into educational environments. Although standalone computers have been in most schools for more than two decades now, networked ICT is relatively new for many schools as they continue to grapple with how to use ICT to enhance teaching and learning environments. The rationale for the use of a technology to support learning should arise from dissatisfaction with the educational opportunities offered to learners and a striving to do better. Warnings have been made for decades about falling into the trap of what Papert (1987) calls ‘technocentric thinking’. Most educators would claim not to be technocentric; however, when discussing the use of ICT in schools there is always the danger that the focus will be on the technology, particularly the hardware. When making decisions about the use of ICT in schools, particularly budgetary decisions, there is a tendency to start with a consideration of the hardware, then the software and perhaps consider the users and learning last and least. Rather, most educators (Fullan, 1995; Means & Olson, 1994; Papert, 1987) would agree that all discussions and decisions should be prefaced with a consideration of learning theory and the learning environment; for, indeed, educational technologies are only a mediator in learning processes, and only one of many.


Purpose

This paper describes the research process undertaken to develop a “Teacher Professional ICT Attributes” framework that can be used to assess the ICT integration to support student learning in schools. The project team was given a brief to provide a study to the Western Australian Department of Education on the characteristics of effective learning and quality pedagogy as they relate to ICT integration; and the stages of progress by teachers as they move towards quality pedagogy as it relates to ICT integration. This framework was based on a review of the literature on the progression of teachers in their integration of ICT in learning and teaching processes. This framework was to be positioned within the broader framework for the implementation of ICT in schools to connect with students, learning environments, school and system organizations.



The aims and purposes of the framework were:

  1. To describe what quality pedagogy in the use of ICT to effectively support student learning in schools.

  2. To assist teachers in planning to integrate ICT into learning environments.

  3. To describe progress by teachers as they move towards quality pedagogy as it relates to ICT integration.

  4. To assist teachers in the development of their own practice in the use of ICT to support student learning.

  5. To provide a tool for teacher dialogue in ICT integration linked with good pedagogy. This provides topics or questions that describes concerns teachers may have.

The aim of the framework was to support, describe and promote good practice in the use of ICT in learning and teaching in schools, not to describe good teaching. It is believed that good teachers always aim to look for better ways of doing things and therefore their use of ICT should support this. In itself using ICT does not make a teacher better. Research has shown that teacher-class combinations should be judged in terms of use of ICT not teachers in isolation. This means that for most secondary teachers a number of assessments would be required as they are likely to be involved with classes that vary considerably.

Literature Review


A review of the literature suggested five dimensions that became the context of this framework, that is, Students, Learning Environments, Teacher Professional ICT Attributes, ICT Capacity, and School & System Environment. These are listed with possible components of each dimension given in brackets.


  1. Students [ICT Capability, Engagement, Achievement of Learning Outcomes]

  2. Learning Environments [Learner-centred, Knowledge-centred, Assessment-centred, Community-centred]

  3. Teacher Professional ICT Attributes [Vision & Contribution, Integration & Use, Capabilities & Feelings]

  4. ICT Capacity [Hardware, Connectivity, Software, Technical Support, Digital Educational Resources]

  5. School & System Environment [Leadership & Planning, Curriculum Organisation, Curriculum Support, Community Connections, Accountability]

Any framework must include key features that address a number of issues. The framework needs to focus on student learning and what the teacher inputs into the creation of the learning environment not what technology they use and how often they use it. It must incorporate the reasons for using ICT such as computer literacy, support of pedagogy, increased productivity, and consider the context for implementation of ICT support such as the phase of schooling (underlying principles), area of the curriculum, etc. It must also distinguish between individual, school, and system factors to focus on the individual teacher. That is an individual teacher may not have much control of the quantity of access to ICT students have and be inclusive of a range of relevant, well supported world views whilst acknowledge the complexity of teaching.

In the 1990s, several major research efforts, in various countries of the world (Cicchelli & Baecher, 1990; Collis, 1994; Marcinkiewicz, 1995; Rieber & Welliver,1989; Sandholtz et al., 1992) began to develop and apply models for investigating the implementation of computers in classrooms. Many of these are based on teachers' concerns about innovations, and are often called concerns-based models (CBAM). The application of CBAM, or models based upon CBAM, to research concerned with the use of computers in classrooms is gaining interest throughout the world. Most interest appears to be with the Levels of Use (LoU) and Stages of Concern (SoC) dimensions (i.e., user focus) (Marsh, 1988), more recently there has been more interest in including an Innovation Configuration (i.e., innovation focus). This is really the basis of many of the frameworks being developed. Two of the few to apply all three dimensions to a study were Carbines (1986) and Hope (1995), who both considered the use of computers in primary school classes. A number of smaller studies have also been reported (Cicchelli, 1984; Overbaugh & Reed, 1995) while some of the researchers in Europe (Vernooy-Gerritsen, 1994) and USA ( Marcinkiewicz & Welliver, 1993) have worked at modifying the SoC and LoU to describe the use of computers in classrooms by teachers. Some, for example, Moersch (1995) were attempting to construct instruments to measure the LoU of a teacher or class. Typically the models and instruments have developed around large projects to place computers in schools. A number of models are in their early stages of development but appear to have difficulty in capturing the breadth of innovation involved in bringing computers into the classroom. In many cases these models have substantially modified the original dimensions and instruments, which is not condoned by the originators of the CBAM model. Hall and Hord (1987) explain that such modification would require further validation in line with the original development and could not rely on the validation of the original CBAM instruments.

Reiber and Welliver (1989) and later Marcinkiewicz (1994) developed the Instructional Transformation model, which has been used by a number of researchers ( Knee, 1996), to help schools design their restructuring plans using technology. Their model developed from a study of adoption behaviour drawing on the CBAM model and the work of Rogers (1983). They saw much value to educators in the model, particularly in “recommending staff development, remediation, or differential staffing” (Marcinkiewicz & Welliver, 1993, p. 5). The Instructional Transformation Model proposes a hierarchy for the successful application of technology to education using a LoU type of approach. This hierarchy involves the following five steps (a) familiarization, (b) utilization, (c) integration, (d) reorientation, and (e) evolution (Rieber & Welliver, 1989, p. 21) which gives a six level model with the inclusion of the Non Use level prior to the first step. The model is shown as a diagram using stairs to represent the different levels in the hierarchy.

These stages suggest that the educator must go through a period of familiarisation (Entry) representing baseline exposure to technology, utilisation (Adoption) occurring when teachers are trying out the technology, integration (Adaption) when teachers are beginning the appropriate use of ICT, reorientation (Appropriation) where ICT becomes a part of the learning context and evolution or revolution (Invention) where there is a change in methods and media to facilitate learning. This is confirmed in long-term projects like the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT, 1995) studies where they show, teachers must travel through a number of stages to integrate ICT fully into their classrooms and their teaching programs (see Table 1).



Stage Examples of what teachers do

Entry Learn the basics of using the new technology.


Adoption Use new technology to support traditional instruction.
Adaptation Integrate new technology into traditional classroom practice. Here, they often focus on increased student productivity and engagement by using word processors, spreadsheets, and graphics tools.

Appropriation Focus on cooperative, project-based, and interdisciplinary work—incorporating the technology as needed and as one of many tools.

Invention Discover new uses for technology tools, for example, developing spreadsheet macros for teaching algebra or designing projects that combine multiple technologies.

Source: A Report on 10 Years of ACOT Research (1995, p16)

Table 1: Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) Stages of Development


An extended version of the stages approach was developed and validated by Clarkson & Oliver (2002) which utilises a 4 x 3 table with four stages of teacher development and three characteristics at each stage, namely intellectual, attitudinal and performance. The increased level of sophistication of models such as this reflects the need to accommodate more than teachers in isolation.

Structure of the Framework


Therefore this framework focuses on teachers but sits within a context of schools and school systems. In terms of the use of ICT this context could be described in terms of a range of dimensions that would include a Teacher Professional ICT Attributes dimension. It is this dimension that is addressed by this framework.

This Teacher Professional ICT Attributes dimension may be described by one outcome that may be taken from a set of teacher professional attributes outcomes. The framework is structured around this single Teacher Professional ICT Attributes outcome using the following set of concepts as illustrated below:



  • Layers to describe the outcome in increasing detail

  • Stages of progression in the demonstration of this outcome

  • Instruments to collect data on the demonstration of, and progress within, this outcome.

  • Processes within which to apply the instruments and address the connection between the framework and context.

Outcome The teacher exploits the characteristics of ICT to support the learning of students by, effectively integrating the use of ICT, wherever appropriate, into constructivist learning environments, and contributing to relevant learning communities.

Layers This outcome is described in three layers. A fourth layer of ‘pointers’ was envisaged but not developed.

1 Overall outcome.

2 Components – Vision & Contribution, Integration & Use, Capabilities & Feelings.

3 Elements – each component has a number of elements.



Stages Progression in the outcome is described in five stages: Inaction, Investigation, Application, Integration, and Transformation.

Instruments There is a tool for each layer and connected with the levels of demonstration. Each tool may have a number of forms depending on the purpose of its use.

Layer 1 Type of Response

Layer 2 Typology of ICT Uptake

Layer 3 Stages of Dialogue



Processes There are sets of processes associated with the use of the instruments and addressing the context of the framework. The sets most directly connected to the Teacher Professional ICT Attributes dimension are the “School Planning for ICT to support learning and teaching” and the “Supporting Teacher’s Decision-Making” sequences.

An Example


At this point it may be instructive to illustrate some parts of the framework. The outcome is described in layers while progression in the outcome is described in stages. First, here are the three major layers (see Table 2).





Description and Components

LAYER ONE

Overall Outcome



The teacher exploits the characteristics of ICT to support the learning of students by, effectively integrating the use of ICT wherever appropriate into constructivist learning environments, and contributing to relevant learning communities.

Note: It is envisaged that this would be one outcome taken from a set of outcomes for General Teacher Attributes.

LAYER TWO

Components of Outcome



Vision & Contribution [V & C]

Integration & Use [I & U]

Capabilities & Feelings [C & F]

LAYER THREE

Elements of Components



Each element describes more specifically aspects of a component of the outcome as it may relate to the teacher and his/her skills, work practices and beliefs.

[V & C] – Purpose, Focus, Rationale, View of ICT, Contribution to Communities

[I & U] – Frequency of Use, Implementation Strategies, Type of Activities & Pedagogy, Tasks for Applications, Assessing, Relevance, Connection with CF Outcomes.

[C & F] – Potential, Roles, Source of Direction, ICT Skills, Affective Response, Concerns.


Table 2: The three major layers of the model so far


In Layer One, progression is described in the five stages just in terms of the overall outcome with no reference to the detail of components or elements (see Table 3).





Description of Key Difference(s)

Inaction

At this stage there is a general lack of action and/or interest.

Investigation

At this stage the teacher has developed an interest in using ICT with students and is beginning to act on this interest.

Application

At this stage the teacher is regularly using ICT with students and knows how to do so competently and confidently.




Critical Use Border

Integration

At this stage the use of ICT becomes critical to the support of the learning environment and the opportunity for students to achieve learning outcomes through the learning experiences provided.

Transformation

At this stage the teacher is able to take on leadership roles (formal or informal) in the use of ICT and be knowledgably reflective on its integration by themselves and others.

Table 3: The stages of teacher development as an overall outcome

The literature review indicated that the Layer One model in Table 3 is reminiscent of many of the early attempts at indicating the stages of teacher development in relatively simplistic form.

In Layer Two progression is described for each component but only for four of the five stages, as it was evident that the Inaction stage needed no further description. For example, progression for the Vision & Contribution component of the outcome is described as follows four stages of:



Investigation

  • Regards ICT as an object and rather incomprehensible. Accepts that it has some uses but has reservations.

  • Considers student ICT literacy needs.

  • Little contribution to school ICT planning.

  • Largely unaware of how or whether their teaching will change.

Application

  • Treats ICT as an instrument. Agrees they have a place in teaching and learning.

  • Considers student productivity and engagement in use of ICT.

  • Some contribution to school planning mainly to request items.

  • Has undifferentiated and even confused but changing views on their changing teaching role.

Integration

  • Uses ICT as a tool to address multiple learning outcomes.

  • Considers opportunities for students to use ICT to demo­nstrate learning outcomes.

  • Consistently contributes to school communities and planning both in terms of engagement and policy.

  • Expects their learning approaches to develop as ICT integration grows.

Transformation

  • Envisages and uses ICT as catalyst to appropriately support all learners in a collaborative way.

  • Considers the two-way relationship between learning and ICT use.

  • Is a leading contributor to school communities and planning in the use of ICT.

  • Envisages and can discuss multiple learning roles all of which are changed by ICT integration.

The instrument/tool for the outcome at Layer Three, referred to as Stages of Dialogue, is based around an interview. For example, the section related to the Vision & Contribution component is as follows (see Table 4).





Dialogue Questions
Stage

Response

Steps to Progress

Purpose

What are the main purposes you want to use ICT for with your students?










Focus

What are you focusing on at the moment in the use of ICT?











Rationale



What is the value in having your students use a computer?











View of ICT



How does ICT fit into your teaching overall?










Contribution to Communities



How do you contribute to school ICT planning? What would you like to contribute? What involvement do you have with learning communities that use ICT?










Table 4: The Stages of Dialogue Tool, for the Layer Three outcome

Finally, the framework and instruments need to be used within the context of sets of processes conducted by schools and/or systems. Broadly there are six sets of processes a school may take to support progress in the use of ICT:



  • school planning for ICT to support learning and teaching,

  • the development of student ICT literacy,

  • the use of learning and information management systems,

  • the development of school ICT policy and planning,

  • the development of staff ICT capabilities, and

  • the development of policy and planning for system support and direction.

  • teacher’s decision-making about using ICT.

For example, within the first set of processes, school planning for ICT to support learning and teaching, may include the following processes within which to utilise the framework and instruments.

(1) Targets

School community determines targets. Any of the layers may be used depending on the level of investment available.

(2) Teacher Maps

Each teacher maps his/her use of ICT to support learning with students. This may be in consultation with peers and/or leaders (e.g. coordinator). Use a version of one of the instruments.

(3) Compare

Compare teacher maps with the targets set in step 1.


(4) Support

In collaboration with knowledgeable others (e.g. coordinator) determine what challenges are inhibiting each teacher’s progress and what support they require to progress. Use a version of one of the instruments.

(5) School Profile

Aggregate maps of all teachers in school to create a school profile.


(6) School Resources

Aggregate challenges and support requirements and compare with school and system resources

(7) School Plan

Create a school plan for progress that will include the development of: curriculum, teachers, ICT infrastructure, ICT and other policy and practice.

(8) Teacher Plans

Develop individual teacher plans for progress that may include professional development, professional support, ICT resource allocation, etc.

This holistic approach to the development of teachers’ professional ICT capability through a consideration of their attributes is arguably more likely to provide the setting and lead to the changes in pedagogy and school reform that many have argued that the use of ICT should be coupled with.


Conclusion


This framework is not trivial and has been developed with a strong theoretical framework behind it. It is no more complex than the Curriculum Framework, with the layers allowing various levels of investment in the processes. Its complexity mirrors the real world, where it is multi-faceted and flexible enough to be used by individuals, groups, schools or educational organizations, and to accommodate the range of investments in time and energy that they might wish to devote. Furthermore, because of its breadth and multifaceted nature previous efforts can provide helpful staging points for subsequent investigations using the model in greater depth. This paper presents an attempt at encapsulating the complexity of issues involved in teacher competencies in ICT usage and uptake. It considers teacher competence, the system environment and the ICT capacity of the setting in which they find themselves in this endeavour, and encourages a multifaceted approach to its investigation.

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