Tags: Curriculum Manager | ICT and learning | Learning Mentor | Teaching & Learning Coordinator | Teaching and Learning

Teachers are failing to make effective use of computers in the classroom — the verdict of recent research on school ICT use has revealed the poor impact that the £1bn ICT investment from the Government has had so far.

Many teachers are afraid that the computer would interfere with ‘genuine’ or book-based learning, revealing the need for curriculum managers to change staff perceptions about the potential positive impact ICT can have on learning. This fear was particularly prevalent among staff in the humanities and creative subjects, who tend to use ICT only for administration and routine tasks, found the research for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Bristol, laid a huge portion of the blame for this lack of progress on to the failure of national training to boost ICT skills and knowledge among teaching staff.

Teachers in action
As part of their study ‘Interactive education: teaching and learning in the information age’, the researchers videoed teaching staff in action. This revealed that many teachers were underestimating their role in directing learning, appearing instead to believe that knowledge was embedded within the software and that ICT would somehow replace the teacher. ‘Teachers are the gateway to larger cultures of knowledge,’ said research leader Professor Rosamund Sutherland. ‘No amount of ICT will ever replace teachers in this respect.’

The video data also revealed that students could work with ICT for long periods of time, investigating their own questions and experimenting with ideas in an interactive way, showing how if used effectively ICT can play a part in delivering the personalised learning agenda.

To achieve effective teaching and learning with ICT, curriculum managers need to find ways to build bridges between ‘idiosyncratic’ and ‘intended’ learning, advises the report.

For more details on the project run by the University of Bristol, see: www.interactiveeducation.ac.uk

This article first appeared in Curriculum Management Update – Oct 2005

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