The IT Integration in the classroom

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The title of this article is ICT integration in the classroom: Challenging the potential of a school policy written by Tondeur,J.,Keer,H.,Braak,J.&Valcke,M.(2006) ICT integration in the classroom: Challenging the potential of a school policy. Computer & Education 51(212-233).

This article had been written for two purposes. First to describe the state of the art regarding ICT school policies in Flemish primary schools with respect to five areas emerging from the school improvement approach: the presence of an ICT policy plan, leadership supporting the process of ICT integration, school internal support, evaluation of ICT use and between-school cooperation. Secondly explores the extent to which the use of ICT in the classroom practice can be associated with these school factors.

The research questions that have been raised by authors were; the examination of the local school policy with respect to ICT integration from both the principal's perspective and perceptions of teachers. Furthermore, it studies the relationship between school policies and the actual use of ICT in the classroom. These sound interesting due to authors research were basically focused ICT in schools. According to previous research the success of ICT integration depend partly on factors at school level.

Analysis

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The data collection was restricted to actors involved in primary schools in Flanders, the Dutch speaking region of Belgium. A stratified sample of 60 schools was involved in the study. The sample comprises 574 teachers, of which 430 were female.

Teacher age varied from 22 to 61 years, with an average age of 38. Representative sample of 53 primary school principals of the same 60 schools were willing to participate in the interview. School principals were 49 years old on average. Eighteen principals were female.

There are two view stated by authors. In view of the first objective of the study a structured interview with the principals was organized. Open-ended questions were formulated for each variable, and a number of pre-defined response categories were prepared for each question. All interviews were audiotape after obtaining informed consent from the participants.

In view of the second research objective, data from the school principals were linked to the data from the teacher survey. A questionnaire was developed in order to gather information from teachers about the central dependent variable 'class use of computers' and about the determinants of class use of computers. All responses to the questions in the principal interview were analyzed as quantitative variables

The result of the research conform that teachers in schools with an explicit ICT school policy that stresses shared goals are using ICT more regularly in their classroom. From the interviews, teachers in the present study were often overlooked during the development of the school's ICT policy.

The results point at a lack of communication between principals and teachers. Three other significant determinants of ICT class use are subject to the influence of school policies, namely the number of teachers' attended in-service trainings, the availability of school internal ICT support, and the pupil/PC-ratio at school. Parallel with the result about the ICT plan, only the perceptions of the teachers and not the principals with regard to school-based ICT support were statistically significant. It appears that teachers reporting a high degree of ICT-related support incorporate more often these technologies in their practice.

According to my understanding, author suggest that successful ICT integration is clearly related to actions taken at the school level, such as the development of an ICT plan, ICT support, and ICT training. The results also suggest that principals have to develop a more collaborative approach when defining this policy. The study underpins the importance of a shared and school-wide vision about ICT integration that reflects the opinions and beliefs of the principal, the ICT coordinator, and the teachers.

In addition, using ICT in the classroom is a culture of creativity whereby teachers and students use technology as a tool for their own understanding besides teachers will select pedagogical strategies appropriate to both learning goals and individual needs of students. Teachers and students also work together creating professionalism as well as learner communities.

It will create learning communities extend goals beyond the classroom, engaging parents, community members and experts. Learners become more knowledgeable in choosing their own aims, constructing their own activities, assessing their own knowledge and monitoring their own success.

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Successful integration as described in this paper can be found in a number of individual schools and classrooms across the country. Some programs have been undertaken specifically to nurture the level of innovation that is required to transform traditional learning environments and to understand under what conditions such transformations take place where and what issues needed to be resolved with it

Attitudes, knowledge and skills required for effective use of ICT as a tool for learning. Staff development is the single most frequently identified factor in successful ICT integration. There is a difference between the acquisition of an innovation in education (ICT infrastructure) and its deployment for intended purposes (teaching and learning). Large scale analyses of student performance data in which no or little correlation between reported computer use and student

achievement may well reflect the difference between acquisition and deployment.

Schools and school systems have been described as loosely coupled systems or layers.

When instructions (or policy) are for changes not well regarded at the school level, they can be 'muted, delayed, or deflected."

The aims is to believe ICT integration is cheaper, better and faster means of information  but yet I disagree because not everyone can get all information needed on the internet and less privilege to gain all the information and knowledge.

 The rapid development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made information ubiquitous and computers cheaper and more powerful. Much evidence indicates that technology has great potential to increase learners' motivation, link learners to various information sources, support collaborative learning, and allow teachers more time for facilitation in classrooms (Moallem, 2003; Roblyer, Edwards, & Havriluk, 2004; Wilson & Lowry,

2000).

Conclusion

While the importance and take up of new technology and new media in the

workplace, in the home and in community shows few signs of abating, we cannot be sure that education will follow. The criticism of continued investments in ICT in the absence of what has been referred to as 'policy-relevant' research demonstrating an adequate return on investment through improved achievement is growing.

 

 Reports that school districts are focusing on school improvement and not technology is evidence that the real or potential contribution of technology as a tool for learning is not ignored in the sector. It remains for many an add-on to an already burdened school.

 

Some strategies for consideration include: development of a vision or goals for the outcomes of successful technology integration that is rooted in a broad conception of student achievement; "partnerships between partnerships" to bring coherence to selected   initiatives in school improvement and technology innovation; standards for technology infrastructure to guide the acquisition and deployment of technologies

 

This paper describes several paradoxes confronting efforts to successfully integrate new technologies as learning tools in the education systems: applying new tools to old practices; either teaching for basic skills or higher order thinking; expecting teachers to learn workplace skills in non-workplace settings; providing technical capacity but not providing human capacity. These dilemmas are not resolvable.