This report will be discussing the use of ICT in the primary setting. Computers have become an important factor in today’s society. During working hours and in our private lives we are confronted with computers. ICT and technology has had an effect on school and education, we have to agree that computers are un-ignorable now. In education we are faced with a dilemma of incorporating computers and communication possibilities in useful ways. ICT can improve education in many ways when used properly children must learn about computers and how to use them as this will help them greatly in life but also other subjects can be taught this way. Using computers throughout education can be more efficient, providing a chance of better learning results and is very adaptive to the individual learner. A big factor in this is that using computers to learn can be fun and can influence learning in a positive way. Furthermore skills like collaboration, critical evaluation, receiving feedback, planning and organisation can be learned quite easily. In the UK year 2000 there was spending of 34 million pounds to push ICT in education over a four year period involving 28 schools as part of ICT test bed project; furthermore in 2004 a sum of 700 million pounds was invested into ICT in primary schools (Harrison et al, 2002) this is a huge amount the question we must ask is has it made a difference? Most research shows that ICT helps students learn and teachers to teach, however it is not just the fact that it helps educate just by being used. Finding suggests that ICT can improve learning but there are a number of barriers that need to be overcome before it can make a difference in the classroom. Despite literature suggesting information and communications technology has made comparatively little impact on teaching and learning in schools despite widespread claims about its potential to benefit education (Cox et al, 2003, Harrison et al, 2002). UK and international literature has shown that the role of school factors such as location of computers , resources, technical support, the roll of senior staff and that of the ICT coordinator, the school ethos and ICT policies and lack of planning and training effect the outcome of ICT in education (Becta, 2001; Cox et al, 1999; Lawson & Comber, 1999). This is backed up by studies from (Jamieson-Proctor, Burnett, Finger & Watson, 2006) which also thought that ICT needs certain settings and environment to work effectively the finding of this study shows teacher’s levels of confidence in using ICT and their teaching approach with belief that ICT can make a difference in education is a huge factor. ICT has many benefits for teachers and for students learning however this is not all positive, statistics and literature show that quantitive data from exam results and students grades that there is an improvement through the use of ICT (Machin 2006) findings showed that primary school students had an improvement in grades showing at least a 10% rise in examination grades in English but less so in science. This is backed up by a study from (Harrison 2002) where all grades rose over time in subjects English science and mathematics however in this study there was much higher use and access to ICT with teachers having a much higher knowledge from the onset which shows from earlier in this report that situations and environment factors effect results a lot. Looking at the qualitative research from the opinions of students, teachers and parents three studies all looked at the opinions of primary school based students and teachers where findings where positive, they showed that low achievers and high achievers benefit from ICT resources in primary setting, pupils subjects related achievement improved specifically with calculation, reading and writing (Ramboll management 2006, EUN 2004, Kessel 2005). A huge part of learning is motivation to learn and though most studies we find that ICT provides motivation for students to want to learn more, 86% of teachers in Europe say that attention is higher and productivity is higher when using computers in classroom (Emperica 2006), however there are still a substantial amount of schools and teachers that say there is not much pedagogical advantage to using ICT in the classroom saying that ICT causes attention to lower (Comber 2002, Higgins 2005) .This brings us back to the argument that teachers skill in using technology and adaptations within the curriculum need to be looked at. We also must look at the social interaction element of using ICT equipment from a young age an issue at the minute is that fact that children are not interacting with each other and learning through play because of the use of ipads and mobile phones, this will effect growth and future prospects. There is a big impact of teaching and using ICT however not all of it is positive. Teachers can use information management systems in a formalised cooperative way to plan sessions and improve skills. This effects teaching practices positively (underwood 2006) however the use of learning management systems is predominantly used for administrative use. (Kessel 2005, Underwood 2005, Ramboll management 2006) Broadband is a major factor in increasing collaboration between teachers. Embedded, reliable and high-capacity broadband in the classroom increases the quality and quantity of educational activities that can be undertaken (Underwood, 2005). The main issue that comes up a lot in the literature and main findings are that the competencies of teachers and general use of ICT is insufficient. National competence development programmes have had limited impact on teachers’ pedagogical competences. School leaders estimate that the impact of ICT on teaching methods in their school is low (Ramboll Management, 2006).
In conclusion it seems it’s not so much about having the technology available to use in subjects but how the technology is used. There are barriers to learning in relation to using ICT in schools such as socio economic background of the children, age of the children, curriculum, sustainability and school timetable. The evidence for mathematics is less compelling than for English and Science, but we do know that longer use of ICT by young people is linked to improved mathematics scores. I great implication seems to be the knowledge of the teaching programme being given with use of computers in the classroom. We also must look at the issue of social factors using technology too much within education could have a negative effect on children’s ability to interact with others. I recommend that to progress further with ICT in education we must look at the following points, new competencies in the curricula and assessment schemes should be included. I form of CPD (continuous professional development) should be included within training in relation to ICT in the workplace environment. To enforce these teachers should be motivated and rewarded for the competent use of ICT. Incorporate the ICT strategy into the schools main strategies such as making national research into ICT impact accessible.
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