Using Information Technology Effectively inTeaching and Learning
Computers are not often associated with passion or culture, yet the use of informationtechnology still has a surprisingly emotional effect on many people, including teachersand learners. This emotion may be anything from excitement and enthusiasm toanger or a sense of threat. Often, this strongly emotional response can prevent usfrom learning how to use IT effectively as a tool for learning.
This book explores how IT can make a real difference to the quality of learning.Its approach takes account of some of the cultural, sociological and psychologicalfactors which influence how IT is used.
The chapters are arranged in three parts. Part One explores the potential of IT asone of many tools which can influence the quality and experience of learning.Part Two looks at how teachers professional development can help them to use ITeffectively in the classroom. Part Three examines strategies for co-ordinating andmanaging IT development across a whole school or department.
Whether you class yourself as technophile or technophobe, this book will showyou how you can use IT more effectively in teaching and learning.
Bridget Somekh is Depute Director of the Scottish Council for Research inEducation. Niki Davis is Professor of Educational Telematics in the University ofExeter School of Education.
Using Information TechnologyEffectively in Teaching and
Studies in pre-service and in-serviceteacher education
Bridget Somekh and Niki Davis
London and New York
First published 1997 by Routledge 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.
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Selection and editorial material 1997 Bridget Somekh and Niki Davis; individual chapters 1998 the contributors
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List of figures and tables vii
List of contributors viii
IntroductionBridget Somekh and Niki Davis
Part One IT as a learning tool: the potential and the teachers role
Introduction to Part One 9
1 Can quality in learning be enhanced through the use of IT?Niki Davis, Charles Desforge, John Jessels, Bridget Somekh, ChrisTaylor and Gay Vaughan
2 Children writing words and building thoughts: does theword processor really help?John Jessel
3 Number education for very young children: can ITchange the nature of early years mathematics education?Gay Vaughan
4 Do electronic databases enable children to engage ininformation processing?Helen M. Smith
5 Does data logging change the nature of childrensthinking in experimental work in science?Roy Barton
6 Can design software make a useful contribution to the artcurriculum? The experience of one schoolJohn McGowan
7 Children exploring the Queens House in hypertext: hasthe hype any educational potential?
John Jessel and Vicky Hurst
Part Two Learning to use IT as a teaching tool: strategies for teachertraining
Introduction to Part Two 95
8 Computers and the teachers rolePeter Scrimshaw
9 Classroom investigations: exploring and evaluating howIT can support learningBridget Somekh
10 Using IT in classrooms: experienced teachers and studentsas co-learnersMalcolm Bell and Colin Biott
11 Getting teachers started with IT and transferable skillsBridget Somekh and Niki Davis
12 Partnership in initial teacher educationGraham Byrne Hill
13 Do electronic communications offer a new learningopportunity in education?Niki Davis
Part Three The management of IT development in educational institutions
Introduction to Part Three 181
14 IT and the politics of institutional changeBridget Somekh, Geoff Whitty and Rod Coveney
15 Managing change in educational institutions: reflectionson the effects of quality audit and a staff developmentprojectRod Coveney
16 Organising IT resources in educational institutionsChris Taylor
17 Managing curriculum development: using school teacherappraisal to find the meansJon Pratt
18 Strategies for staff and institutional development for ITin education: an integrated approachNiki Davis
Figures and tables
4.1 Graph of children in Year 3 554.2 Graph of distance travelled to school 565.1 Predicting graph shapes 688.1 Curricular elements of the pre-computer classroom 10017.1 Appraisal Man 23517.2 Appraisal phases 24417.3 Features of effective learning in Information Technology 24617.4 Tally systems 248
8.1 Types of software and their educational characteristics 1039.1 Subject disciplines of the secondary teachers who carried out action
research in PALM 116
9.2 The project officers retrospective assessment of teachers level ofcompetence with computers at time of joining the PALM project
16.1 Requirements to comply with basic health and safety regulations forextended computer use
17.1 Communicating information 24918.1 The greatest problems of IT co-ordinators 264
Roy Barton, University of East Anglia, NorwichMalcolm Bell, University of Northumbria at NewcastleColin Biott, University of Northumbria at NewcastleGraham Byrne Hill, Goldsmiths College, University of LondonRod Coveney, Worcester College of Higher EducationNiki Davis, University of ExeterCharles Desforges, University of ExeterVicky Hurst, Goldsmiths College, University of LondonJohn Jessel, Goldsmiths College, University of LondonJohn McGowan, Arthur Mellows Village College, CambridgeshireJon Pratt, Cambridge Curriculum AgencyPeter Scrimshaw, The Open UniversityHelen M.Smith, King Alfreds College, Winchester, HampshireBridget Somekh, Scottish Council for Research in EducationChris Taylor, University of ExeterGay Vaughan, Worcester College of Higher EducationGeoff Whitty, Institute of Education, University of London
How can developments in IT be put to the service of learning? This was the centralquestion that faced the collaborators in Project INTENT. It is a multifacetedquestion, each facet raising more questions of both a theoretical and practical kind.What is quality learning? What are the relationships between curriculum andlearning? How can pupils be engaged in quality learning through the managementof classroom work? How can classroom work be promoted through IT? How canteachers at all levels of experience be enskilled in IT for learning? How should thepromotion of IT for learning be managed in teacher education institutions in orderto support teachers in their work?
These questions are inter-connected and any one of them creates a need to knowa need to know more and a need to know different. And each required a scepticalstance: little could be taken for granted. Project INTENT was thus a research projectvery close to practice and a practical development project riding incessantly on theresearch of the participants.
The participants, all working in teacher education, evinced a wide range of IT andmanagement experience. Some were from the cutting edge of research anddevelopment in technology and its curriculum implications. Some, including me,were novices in IT use.
Some had managerial responsibility at the classroom or course level whilst othershad whole-institution management responsibility. It was a carefully chosen rich mix,a mixture that never allowed the group to stray far from the imperatives of high-quality learning and the practicalities of resource limitationsincluding people skills,technical skills and time and money.
The products and some of the processes of our thinking are presented in this book.The editors have carefully selected and organised the material to focus on matterswhich endure rather than matters of some moment in the mid-1990s. The questionsalways will endure. Our way of working, shaped as it was by our skills andcircumstances has less permanence but, I feel, no less relevance now than it did at thetime of the project. In banal terms we were collaborative action researchers promotinginstitutional change in the name of student learning through IT. Time was never onour side: it is not now. We worked intensely as we must work now.
Our broader canvas was the so-called Learning Society, a society committed at alllevels to continuous learning in order to make the most civilised adjustments to socialchange driven by economic competition and catalysed by developments in IT.
If our society is to adjust and avoid turmoil, alienation and the threat ofdisintegration, then the impact and potential of IT must be at everyones fingertips.The lessons we learned in INTENT are offered here as part of that bigger socialproject. They were exciting lessons to learn and they left us all wanting more. Theeditors have, I feel, captured this broad canvas, the technical details, the feelings ofcompetence and mastery in lessons learned and the feelings of excitement aboutlessons yet to be learned.
IntroductionBridget Somekh and Niki Davis
This is a book about the development of effective learning and teaching. It comesabout through our research and development of information technology in educationand so a major focus of the book is IT in education. New technologies have asurprisingly emotional effect on people for something that is essentially inanimate.While we do not feel passionate about the technology itself, we have found it to beextraordinarily provocative in encouraging teachers, senior management and teachereducators to re-appraise how they manage and develop learning and its organisation.
Our approach has been in depth over time as co-workers using action researchtogether. We have been engaged in the development of effective teaching and learningin a wide range of partnerships. The partnerships are with our colleagues in universitydepartments of education, with teachers in schools and with our senior managers andstudents. These collaborative teams have given us, the agents, an enormouslyenriching experience of professional development and, we believe, an understandingof the processes through which to strive for effective use of IT in teaching and learning.It is this understanding that we aim to share with you.
THE PURPOSES AND STRUCTURE OF THIS BOOK
First, and most importantly, this book explores ways in which IT can make adifference to the experience and quality of learning. We begin with the understandingthat learning is not neutral and unemotional. Learning involves intellectualexcitement and emotional commitment but it is also an act involving practical skills.All the learners whose work is represented in this bookchildren in schools,practising teachers, student teachers, mentor teachers, tutors in universitydepartments of educationhave brought both their intellects and their emotions tothe learning process. We have all, in the broadest sense of the term, been researchersexploring ideas, gathering and interpreting evidence and constructing knowledge.But we have all, also, been active learners because changes in the way that we carry outdaily tasks, interact with others and use a variety of learning toolsincluding IThave been an integral part of our learning.
Second, this book presents an approach to learning to use IT which takes accountof some of the psychological and cultural factors which strongly influence how it isused. Computers are not often associated with passion in our culture. The word
computer is more likely to conjure up images of robots, machines, remote controland technology. Yet most people respond initially to using computers with very strongemotionsexcitement, enthusiasm and hype, or anxiety, anger and a sense of threat.These emotions tend to be polarised into positives and negatives depending uponwhether we see the computer as an opportunity or a threat, which in turn depends agreat deal upon our past experience. We all have a well-developed sense of our ownidentitya self-imagewhich for reasons deeply rooted in our culture often meansthat we see ourselves as either technophiles or technophobes. In both cases thisstrongly emotional response can prevent us from learning how to use IT effectivelyas a tool: anxiety and anger tending to result in non-use or minimal use, and uncriticalenthusiasm in unthinkingand therefore often low-leveluse. This tendency tocast ourselves as pro or anti computers is, of course, strongly influenced bypracticalities such as: whether or not we have guaranteed access to a computer on ourdesk; the availability or not of a person who can provide us with support; and whetheror not the hardware and software are easy to use. All this depends increasingly on themanagement and structure of the organisation in which we work.
Third, therefore, this book presents an approach to managing change which takesaccount of some of the sociological factors which influence how IT is used in aneducational institution such as a school or a university department of education. Forexample, computers are costly and can usually only be purchased at the expense ofsomething else, thus creating winners and losers; and computers take up space andtheir introduction often means a re-organisation of rooms, again resulting in winnersand losers. Thus the introduction of computers into an educational institutiondisturbs the existing balance of power between individuals and groups, and createsopportunities for those with political acumen to increase their personal and/ordepartmental power and status. An understanding of this process, and the ability touse it as a lever of change while limiting its negative consequences, are crucial to thosewho have a role in co-ordinating or managing IT development.
We have divided the book into three sections which broadly approximate to thesethree foci. Part One explores the potential of IT as a tool which can influence theexperience and quality of learning. Part Two looks at strategies for teachersprofessional development to enable them to use IT effectively as a learning tool inthe classroom. Part Three looks at strategies for co-ordinating and managing ITdevelopment across a whole school or university department of education.