Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Evolving Learning Paradigms: Re-Setting Baselines and Collection Methods of Information and Communication Technology in Education Statistics

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Evolving Learning Paradigms: Re-Setting Baselines and Collection Methods of Information and Communication Technology in Education Statistics

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since 2000, there has been enormous progress towards achieving global education targets as part of the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All targets including making progress towards universal primary education, greater numbers of girls in school, falling numbers of out- of-school children, and a dramatic increase in literacy rates. In the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 4 reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven transformative vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education. ICT in education and its significant role was also recognized at the International Conference on ICT and Post-2015 Education where Article 10 states: "Successful integration of ICT into teaching and learning requires rethinking the role of teachers and reforming their preparation and professional development. It calls for promoting a culture of quality in all its aspects: staff support, student support, curricula design, course design, course delivery, strategic planning and development" (UNESCO, n.d).

While information on the physical infrastructure of ICT in primary and secondary education has been collected and studied during the last decade (Scimeca et al., 2009; UIS, 2009), understanding the impact of ICT on pedagogical processes and educational outcomes is paramount for the next stage of policy and implementation. However, measuring the usage patterns of information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching and learning is a challenge for any country. Two challenges arise in particular: the local relevance of the information and the focus of that information on improving the experience of teaching and learning with educational technology. For example, the problematic validity of data sources has been noted by a World Bank report from the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (Trucano, 2012), when a collection activity "comes from data sources outside of the education sector itself and does not appear to be gathered according to common methodologies and definitions" (p. 106). Large-scale efforts such as the International Computer Information Literacy Study (ICILS) provide useful information for comparable systems views but often leave local educators without actionable information. The proposed indicators attempt to address these two issues of validity and relevance to local schools (Fraillon, Ainley, Schultz, Friedman, & Gebhardt, 2013).

Studying the introduction of new technology in education some thirty years ago, Plomp and Akker (1988) noted the lack of research-based knowledge about usage patterns such as the method, frequency and intensity that teachers were using computers to enhance learning as well as the resulting impact on educational practice including the school curricula. This finding still resonates today with current research that often fails to provide hard evidence of the impact of ICT on teaching and learning. While government policies often focus on implementation of infrastructure, access to technology, and teacher professional development, there is still not much known about the implementation and impacts of ICT in learning and teaching practices in many parts of the world. A 2011 report on Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, noted significant gaps and a clear lack of records concerning educational technology implementation (Hinostrosa & Labbe, 2011). Uma and Arulchelvan (2012) confirm in a study in India that there is a dearth of information about student use of technologies; while students are using ICT extensively outside of school, they engage in limited usage for formal in-school learning purposes and still rely primarily on traditional classroom teaching and textbooks for academic progress. …

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