Yacine El Maroufi - Casablanca
Yacine El Maroufi – Casablanca
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have recently gained a groundswell of interest, becoming a significant research area for many scholars around the globe. One of the reasons for this surge is that nature of ICT has greatly changed the face of education. For most European countries, the use of ICT, in education and training, has become a priority during the last decade; however, very few have achieved progress. Indeed, only a small percentage of schools, in a few countries, effectively used ICT to support and change the teaching and learning process in diverse subject areas. Others are still in the early phases of adopting ICT.
Balanskat, Blamire & Kefala (2006), conducted a study carried out in national, international, and European schools, with the aim of gathering evidence regarding the advantages and benefits of ICT in school achievements. The study sought to measure the impact of ICT on student performance by trying to establish a link between the use of ICT and students’ results in exams. The findings are interesting. ICT has shown a positive impact on student performance in primary school, particularly in English language, although the effects are less significant in the sciences. Schools with higher levels of e-maturity (E-maturity is demonstrated when students apply ICT in strategic and discriminating ways, taking into consideration a balance of advantages and alternatives.) show a rapid increase in performances in scores compared to those with lower levels.
In addition, schools with adequate ICT resources achieve better results than those that are not so well-equipped. There appears to be a direct correlation to well-appointed ICT schools and a significant improvement on learners’ performances. Finally, many teachers are convinced that educational achievements of pupils are due to high ICT utilization. In fact, a high percentage of teachers in Europe (86%), state that pupils are more motivated when computers and the internet are being used in class.
Many pupils consider ICT tools very helpful for completing assignments. Also, teachers are attuned to the fact that ICT enables students with special needs or difficulties to achieve and grow as well. ICT may also help to reduce social disparities between pupils, since they work in teams in order to achieve a given task or common goal. Additionally, students often assume more responsibilities when they use ICT, such as organizing their work through digital portfolios or projects. The study also showed that ICT has had a significant impact on teachers and the teaching processes.
Government interventions and training seminars have encouraged the use of ICT tools to stimulate teachers. Indeed, an absolute majority of teachers in Europe (90 %), claim to use ICT to complete tasks such as preparing lessons and sequencing classroom activities. Therefore, by utilizing ICT, teachers are able to plan their lessons more efficiently. ICT also helps teachers to work in teams and share ideas related to their school’s curriculum. There is also evidence that broadband (a form of high speed internet) and interactive whiteboards play a central role in fostering teachers’ communications and help to increase collaboration between educators.
The ICT Test Bed Evaluation (Underwood 2006), provides evidence that many teachers use ICT to support innovative education. The report states, “New technologies that provide a good fit with existing practices, such as interactive whiteboards, are first to be embedded, but others, like video conferencing, digital video and virtual learning environments are now being incorporated, providing evidence of ongoing learning by the workforce. Training needs to continue to support innovative pedagogy.”
Both of these examples show that ICT is continuously being integrated into the traditional classroom setting. Therefore, ICT can improve teaching by enhancing prior knowledge and introducing new ways of teaching and learning. Transforming teaching is more difficult to achieve, “changes that take full advantage of ICT will only happen slowly over time, and only if teachers continue to experiment with new approaches.” (Underwood 2006) This evaluation came from a teacher training seminar in Information and Technology (IT) during the Information Technology Management Forum (ITMF) project. It demonstrates that teachers have not fully adopted the use of ICT in education. However, many educators continue to change their way of thinking about the application of ICT in education and the learning process.
Accordingly, although many teachers have increased their use of ICT in lessons where students look for information on the internet and then use it afterwards for subject specific areas, hardly any teachers use ICT for class presentations. Furthermore, teachers do not use ICT to engage students more actively to produce knowledge. Similarly, the e-learning Nordic 2006 study shows an increase in the use of ICT to teach but not to innovate teaching methods, stating, “ICT generally has a positive impact on teaching and learning situations, but compared with the ideal expectations; the impact of ICT on teaching and learning must still be considered to be limited.” (Ramboll, 2006).
Many teachers use ICT to support traditional learning methods, for example, information retrieval in which students are ‘passive learners of knowledge’ instead of ‘active producers, able to take part in the learning process.’ In a document entitled Teaching and Learning with ICT, G. Galea (2002), it is explained how ICT can promote teaching and learning. According to Galea, there are two main reasons to increase the use of ICT in education in the United Kingdom. First, ICT can change the lessons’ pace. She states that children in modern society need to develop sufficient skills to take full advantage of the new opportunities that ICT offers. Secondly, there is a growing rise of academic interest in the UK, especially in how technological tools can enhance the quality of teaching and learning in schools, and by doing so, help learners to achieve better outcomes.
Edited by Peter “Clay” Smith.
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