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The Impact of ICT Across the Learning Community

By SharonCronin Jul 17, 2013 5243 Words
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The Impact of ICT across the learning community|

Table of contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…….. 3 Literature review………………………………………..…………………………………………………….……………… 5 Methodology.......................................................................................................................... 10 Presentation and Analysis of the Case study Findings.......................................................... 13 Conclusions and Recommendations..................................................................................... 16 References............................................................................................................................. 18 Appendices............................................................................................................................ 20

Introduction
I have decided to complete my assignment on the impact of ICT across the curriculum. I work in an Academy mixed secondary school situated in Essex. For the purpose of anonymity I will call this school; school X. School X has an age range of 11-18. We are in partnership with a primary free school and two other primary schools in the community. All of these schools including school X have recently linked together and are now under one learning community, working under one umbrella.

I have recently been appointed to ‘Director of ICT’ across the learning community (To commence from September 2013). One of my main tasks is to ensure ICT is embedded effectively and consistently across the learning community to help with the progression of teaching and learning. In this technological age the use of ICT is seen to be an important tool to help enhance with the development of teaching and learning in the classroom across schools today. The main reason why I wish to carry out this research project on the impact of ICT across the curriculum is to find out how ICT is being used across the learning community and what impact it is bringing to the learning of the students within the learning community schools.

School X and the free school have recently invested in some new IT equipment and are therefore hoping that this investment will help improve teaching and learning with the use of ICT across the curriculum.

ICT is currently a core subject in school X and therefore students are given set hours during the school week both at KS3 and KS4 to enhance and develop their ICT skills. For students to be able to apply their ICT skills across the curriculum will largely depend on the skills that they have gained with the teaching and learning of ICT in the first place. Students should be able to apply the use of the skills learnt in an ICT lesson and transfer these into non- ICT subject lessons to enhance there own learning. Therefore measures will need to be taken to ensure firstly these skills are being taught to all students in the early stages and then students overtime can develop these skills and transfer them across the curriculum to help enhance their own learning by using IT.

The school which this research project is concerned with has recently had to deal and adapt with becoming a much wider school, looking at nursery right the way up to sixth form. Where as previously it was just school X the academy school, the school is now part of the learning community.

To ensure that ICT has an impact across the curriculum within our learning community it is important that ICT the subject is effectively developed in the early years of our learning community. Within the development plan within our learning community one of the objectives is to develop and unify the ICT curriculum across the learning community from early years to all of the way up to sixth form.

Through my research I was interested in exploring the following questions before implementing this project across the learning community:

1. What is the evidence that ICT can help impact teaching and learning across the curriculum? 2. What are the barriers of using ICT across the curriculum? How can they be overcome?

Literature Review
1. What is the evidence that ICT can help impact teaching and learning across the curriculum? It is difficult and maybe even impossible to imagine future learning environments that are not supported, in one way or another, by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). When looking at the current widespread diffusion and use of ICT in modern societies, especially by the young – the so-called digital generation– then it should be clear that ICT will affect the complete learning process today and in the future (Punie.Y et al, 2006).

A report carried out by Becta stated that there is a strong relationship between the ways in which ICT has been used and pupils’ attainment. They suggested that the crucial component in the appropriate selection and use of ICT within education is the teacher and his or her pedagogical approaches (Becta, 2000).

DfES, (as cited in Gray.T 2001), stated that in 2001, the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, contended that digital technology: … have the potential to improve achievement in our schools and colleges, to boost the prospects of British industry and commerce, to offer opportunities to all learners, particularly those who would otherwise be excluded, and to significantly enhance our quality of life (Gray.T, 2011).

In 2010, BESA (Cited by Collie .P et al) stated that 65% of primary schools and 63% of secondary schools consider themselves to have good computer access for learners. This compares to around 25% for primary schools and 18% for secondary schools in 2005. Only 5% of primary and 2% secondary schools consider themselves to have little access for learners. Increasing numbers of teachers are making use of ICT resources in their lessons. Interactive whiteboards and other display technologies have been in wide use for some time now. Some 84 per cent of primary teachers use these at least once a day, compared to 72 per cent of secondary teachers. Other types of technology resources are also heavily used by teachers. Around half of teachers in both sectors make daily use of the internet in their work, for example (Collie.P et al, 2011).

A study of learning platform use found that this technology promoted consistency in areas such as lesson planning and lesson delivery, and helped with sharing ideas among staff. These in turn helped to encourage resource development by staff. In the schools studied this helped build teacher confidence and skills, and enabled the schools to develop a repository of materials that could be adapted each year to suit new groups of learners (Collie.P et al, 2011).

In a recent study of the impact of technology carried out by Becta they stated that there is a “growing body of national and international evidence demonstrating the positive impact of digital technologies on measurable learning outcomes” (Collie.P et al, 2011).

Other studies have looked at whole school impacts. One study looked at the role of technology within strategies for school improvement. This study showed that of 181 schools that had been removed from Special Measures and Notice to Improve, 82 per cent reported that technology had played a key role in improvement. Strategies for using technology in these schools included greater use of information systems for monitoring and analysing learner achievement and progress; IT systems for managing and monitoring attendance and behaviour (lesson registration, parental alerting) (Collie.P et al, 2011).

In a recent report released by the BBC news they stating that a project based around the use of tablets can help increase pupils’ reading. A comment made by the Welch education minister stated that “A new way of using tablet computers in schools could change how children are taught in Wales”. When tested at another primary, Year Six children saw average reading ages leap from nine to 13 (BBC news, 2013).

Many studies report an improvement in pupils’ motivation and attitude to learning, shown through an increased commitment to the learning task and greater interest in the subject, and through pupils taking more responsibility for their learning and making sustained efforts in difficult tasks (Cox. M, et al, 2005).

Overall it looks like over the years ICT has become a very strong tool within teaching and learning. Evidence from the literature shows the positive effects of specific uses of ICT on pupils’ attainment across the curriculum.

2. What are the barriers of using ICT across the curriculum? How can they be overcome?

The use of ICT in the classroom is very important for providing opportunities for students to learn to operate in an information age. Studying the obstacles to the use of ICT in education may assist educators to overcome these barriers and become successful technology adopters in the future (Bingimlas.K, 2009).

Through extensive research it is very clear and evident that ICT has mostly a positive impact with teaching and learning within schools. However, one of the key elements that come across in the literature is the concerns about ensuring effective teaching and learning of ICT is established in the first place.

In a report issued by the DfEE, pupils’ use of ICT in other subjects may be ineffective if they do not already have an appropriate level and understanding of ICT capability. This may result in a lack of progress in both ICT and the subject area. For example, asking pupils to produce a presentation in a given subject will be unproductive if they have little experience of using the software or understanding of how to create meaning and impact for a given audience. Pupils who try to learn new areas of ICT at the same time as new subject content will often fail in both endeavours. (DfES, 2004)

A report carried out by Ofsted which inspected ICT in a number of schools in primary, secondary and special schools showed some key areas that need to be improved across the schools in the UK. Some of these key areas involved the use of assessment, curriculum and qualifications in Key Stage 4, professional development of staff, E-safety, Use of virtual learning environments, embedding ICT in learning and securing best value in ICT investment (Ofsted, 2011)

Kang et al, (Cited by Aristovnik. A, 2012) stated that accomplishments that are convincingly the result of the direct causal impact of ICT use are not always easily identifiable (Aristovnik.A, 2012).

In a report released by Ofsted they stated that some common issues were raised about the complementary use of ICT across subjects. Saying it has been slow to develop and is uneven across schools and subjects. The effective balance between the teaching of ICT skills, knowledge and understanding on the one hand and the application of these as part of learning across subjects on the other hand remains a difficult and elusive goal for the majority of schools (Ofsted, 2003). As pupils become more confident and capable in using ICT there will be opportunities to apply and develop higher levels of ICT capability in subjects.

In recent literature a statement was made, “despite successive government training initiatives, policies and extensive funding over the last 15 years, little has been done to effectively tackle the disparity of ICT skills and the training of the UK teaching workforce. The current Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, is committed to an agenda of promoting computer science in schools which overshadows previous governmental initiatives aimed at tackling teachers’ digital literacy and computing skills. There therefore needs to be consideration not just of how to bolt and weld computer science into the curriculum, but also how to ensure that teachers remain equipped to teach pupils fundamental ICT skills” (Morris. D, 2012).

In a literature review compiled by Gray (2011), he identifies that Continued Professional Development (CPD) for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) faces a growing challenge of establishing and implementing strategies to develop knowledge and skills for the teachers to effectively use technology in the classroom. Reports from Ofsted (Ofsted, 2003) have highlighted concerns about the apparent lack of success of such training initiatives.

There are many contributing factors such as lack of skill or unreliability of equipment. But use of words such as ‘confidence‘ and ‘anxiety‘ by the government and Ofsted to describe teachers‘ attitude to ICT raises the question of whether factors other than skill and method of delivery need to be considered.(Gray, 2011).

In a recent survey carried out by BESA (2010) called ‘Tablets and apps’ survey revealed an increase in the adoption of the technology but also highlighted the fact that 67 per cent of surveyed schools believe that schemes such as ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) are very important to tablet adoption (BESA, 2010).

Summary of main points

ICT within schools have become more and more powerful as a teaching and learning tool across schools within the UK. Since the last Ofsted report based on ICT across the UK improvements have been made, however there is much more steps to be taken for improvement. The main issue is to do with teachers and teachers’ confidence with using technology within the classroom. Teachers’ seem reluctant to give new learning technologies a chance in the classroom and this seems to be as a result of poor skills and lack of training with these new devices.

Methodology
I have decided to use a case study approach to present my methodology. One way to do this according to many qualitative researchers (Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994; Maykut and Morehouse, 1994) is to use a 'case study' – gaining a more in-depth knowledge of a research question by going to the places where the research question can be addressed in a contemporary and real-life context (Gray, 2011).

To conduct my data which I collected across the learning community I used a variety of methods. The methods and reasons for my choices are as follows: 1. Questionnaire
I began by carry out a questionnaire on teachers based on the impact of ICT in the classroom, informing those involved that the questionnaire was for my own personal research. Examples can be found in the Appendices. The questionnaires were paper based and were hand delivered to each faculty across the learning community. I tried to get a broad range of teachers to complete the questionnaire, from primary to secondary, NQTs and senior leadership. Once all were collated I received 21 responses. I made the questionnaire anonymous which I hoped would get a more honest and therefore clearer judgment on how teachers felt ICT impacted teaching and learning. Since I am secondary school trained and have little experience with working in a primary school I had hoped to gain some insight into how much ICT is being used in our joining primary schools across the learning community. As I am based within school X I already had some knowledge of how ICT is being used across the secondary curriculum. Through the questionnaire I ensured I had some open and closed question so to give the respondent an opportunity to write any thoughts or frustrations they might have with regards to the question being asked. 2. Learning walks

With permission I was allowed to carry out some learning walks across the learning community. This involved me going into classrooms and observing how ICT was being used to imp act the teaching and learning within the classrooms. Before I carried out the learning walks I was given permission from SLT and I also sent out an all-teaching staff email asking if anyone would rather I didn’t carry out a learning walk within their lesson. Again I also informed staff that this was an informal learning walk and that this was all for my own personal study. Before I carried out the walks I created an observation sheet which would be filled out by me in each lesson I observed. Within the observation sheet I tried to make clear points of what I was looking for. I tried to make this as accurate as possible to help me gage a clear judgment on how ICT was being used across the learning community. From carrying out the learning walks I wanted to see what hardware and software was being used. I also wanted to see if I could compare good practice of ICT being used against a weaker practice of ICT being used and see if changes of learning behaviours were evident. I also wanted to compare teachers’ confidence and see if this was evident across our learning community. Overall to see if ICT was being used effectively to enhance subject teaching. 3. Meetings

I also decided to set up a meeting with the head of the learning community and the principals within school X, the free school and the two principals in our joining primary schools. I met up with each of them individually. The main outcome I wanted from the meetings was to get an overview of how firstly they felt about the importance of ICT being used across the curriculum. I also wanted to know how they felt ICT was being used within their schools and if they thought it had a positive impact within teaching and learning within their school. I also wanted to see if they felt there were any barriers when using ICT with teaching and learning within their school and if yes how they felt best to tackles these. I wanted to find out if they were happy with the resources that they had in their schools or were they interested in developing their resources to help improve the use of ICT across the curriculum. I wanted to overall get a feel from the meetings to see if they were willing to develop and put time into the weaker areas of ICT and if they were interested in adapting new technologies into their schools and curriculum, such as tablets computers. Lastly I wanted to ask how they felt ICT supported teaching with regards to administration, planning and preparation, also asking about the VLE (Virtual learning environment) and if they felt this was a positive and useful tool within teaching and learning. Were I to carry out this research again I would have liked to have had more responses’ from a wider range of teachers as I only got a response from 21 teaching staff. I also think I would have carried out a survey on pupils asking their views on how they would like to see ICT used within their lessons and also their views on how they feel ICT is currently being used within their lessons, and if they feel it is helping them with their learning. With regards also to learning walks I would have liked to have carried out some more within the secondary school but due to exam timetabling I was unable to carry out a learning walk within some of the key faculties. Finally, I would have carried out an audit report of ICT provision across the learning community from Nursery to Year 13 to help me with developing a plan to achieve consistency.

Presentation and Analysis of the Case Study Findings
1. What is the evidence that ICT can help impact teaching and learning across the curriculum? An average of 67% of teaching staff who answered the questionnaire said that ICT is an important and effective tool for teachers to use within the classroom, showing that the remaining 33% do not see ICT as an important tool. The majority of the teachers that said ICT is seen as a good impact stated that ICT is a must within the classroom because of the generation that we are in. One teacher commented on how most students carry with them a hand held device and are more clued up than most teachers when it comes to using technology. Also suggesting that we should find a way on how to implement these hand held devices into the classroom. As stated in the literature review over 67% of schools surveyed by BESA stated that ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is very important to tablet adoption (BESA, 2010). Within a sixth form lesson that was observed through the learning walks all students were given a tablet computer to work from. The students excelled in their ability when using this device which proved very effective with the impact of teaching and learning within this lesson. However, within the learning community tablet computers are only available for the sixth form classes.

When asking the question about how teachers feel they use ICT to help impact teaching and learning within the classroom 86% said they do not use ICT enough within their lessons. The majority stated that they had the resources and capacity to use ICT but just don’t have the time to really implement ICT effectively within their own lessons. Some also stated that they didn’t feel they had enough experience or training when it came to using the more advanced tools such as the iPad and white board tools. A lot of the feedback from the teachers showed clear evidence that most were using their interactive whiteboards as just a projector and failed to use the board as an interactive device. Using the interactive device as just a projector was a common theme displayed during the learning walks. Just over 66% of all lessons observed used the interactive board as a projector. Most if not all of these teachers were using Power Point to display lessons tasks and notes.

Where ICT was used effectively was in rooms where the apple TV screens were used as their boards which were linked up and controlled via the teachers’ iPad. However, only a number of teachers across the learning community have this in their classrooms instead of the majority working from their interactive whiteboard. Teachers with this technology were able to use a number of apps from the iPad to use within the lesson to help ICT impact the teaching and learning with the lesson. It was also evident in these lessons when students were given the iPad to use the positive impact and enthusiasm from the students learning was very clear to see. When speaking also with the principal of school X it was very clear that all classrooms within school X will be getting their interactive boards replaced with the apple TV screens and iPad as through lesson observation and feedback that has been feedback to SLT staff were keen to move towards this method rather than the interactive whiteboards.

When asked the questions about CPD 85% said they would like to get more training on the use of iPad and apple TV screens that have been implementing in some of the classrooms across the learning community. One teacher also commented on the lack of time spent planning cross curricular, stating they would like to work with the ICT faculty to see if they could get some ideas to help implement more ICT into their own faculty curriculum. One comment was made about investing on tablet computers to use with literacy skills such as reading. As mentioned within the literature review the BBC news have recently commented on the use of tablet devices and how they have helped improve reading ages in a primary school in Wales. It was also very evident when carry out some of the learning walks that staff are failing to use the devices given to them effectively. This would suggest that time in CPD would help improve teachers’ skills when using these devices.

Within the questionnaire teachers were asked to tick off what devices they have used within their classroom. 100% said they had used an interactive whiteboard, however, I don’t think all would have used it as an interactive whiteboards and just used it as a display board. As through lesson observations this was very clear to be seen. Only 14% said they had used a tablet PC, this was most likely the teachers who have the apple TV and iPad installed in their teaching rooms. 54% said they had used a video camera/flip camera. Only 4% said they had used a robot device and a web camera. One teacher had replaced other with a USB microphone. The comments that were made about the use and impact of these devices were mostly positive. One teacher said that when using the flip camera within the lesson it encouraged group work and saw the lesson move away from teacher led teaching. Students were much more engaged and eager to complete tasks set. Another comment made was the use of the tablet PC where the teachers said they used an app which gave students the opportunity to self assess their own work throughout the lesson and feedback to the group via this app which captured the results on the apple TV screen for the rest of the group to see. Feedback from the last question of the questionnaire was very broad and ranged from suggestions for more hardware, such as more tablet PC’s and the apple TV and iPad. However, most left this question blank. One teacher asked to go out and visit schools where ICT is being used really effective in their subject area.

2. What are the barriers of using ICT across the curriculum? How can they be overcome?

Some barriers were very clear from feedback within the questionnaire. Firstly, 33% of teaching staff who were surveyed said that they didn’t think ICT as an important tool for teachers within the classroom. If a teacher has no reason to believe ICT is of a good impact, then they are less likely to use ICT. However the lack of using ICT could be down to the lack of the teachers’ ability and training on how to use ICT. As discussed In the literature review, reports from Ofsted (Ofsted, 2002) have used words such as ‘confidence‘ and ‘anxiety‘ by the government and Ofsted to describe teachers‘ attitude to ICT raises the question of whether factors other than skill and method of delivery need to be considered. (Gray, 2001) When asked about CPD it was very evident that some staff would like to see some time working with other faculties to help improve cross curricular links and would like to work with the ICT faculty to help improve and embed more ICT into their teaching and learning. This however is something that does not currently happen within our learning community and therefore some faculties require training on how to develop their skills when using ICT. Lack of teacher training on how to transfer skills from ICT the subject into ICT in subjects was very clear through the learning walks. The ability to allow students to use their ICT skills developed in the subject of ICT was not evident in lessons which were observed. This is a view also shared by Gray (2011). One questionnaire from a teacher stated that they struggled to use the apple TV and iPad within their lessons and therefore were using the marker whiteboard. The same teacher also suggested for CPD training to be focussed on new technologies that have been given to new teachers and for urgent training on the use of the apple TV and iPad which are in some of our classrooms in the learning community. Lack of training was also a very clear barrier that was referred to in the literature.

Conclusions and recommendations
Reviewing the results of my case study (as summarised in the presentation and analysis section); I have put together a plan for September 2013. This will require careful preparation and groundwork throughout the coming weeks to ensure that plans are in place before my new post begins in September. When compiling this proposal I have used the results carried out within my research. Once I have completed my conclusion and overall plan I will then present my findings to the head of the learning community to ensure these steps and actions can be implemented to develop and unify the ICT curriculum across the learning community. Therefore ensuring ICT has a positive impact on the teaching and learning across the learning community.

ICT Task group:
Establish a task group; the task group will consist of a teacher from each of the primary schools and from school X. Each teacher within the task group will represent their school and feedback to their school and share input and ideas into this task group. This will ensure that any discussions or proposals to be implemented will first be discussed by the link person within the task group who will then liaise back to their school.

Steps to be taken:
1. Compile an audit report of ICT provision across the learning community from Nursery to Year 13 and develop a plan to achieve consistency. The reason for the audit is to try and get a clear overview on where the schools are currently at in terms of ICT. The audit will include information on the following areas: * Equipment

* Access and networking
* Staff capacity
(More detailed audit in appendices)

2. Support the development of reading in partnership with the Literacy Task Group by pioneering the use of E-reader technologies. * Evidence in the literature suggests that the use of tablets can help pupils’ reading. It was also evident in the learning walks when a group of sixth form students worked effectively with tablet computers. The students excelled in their ability when using this device which proved very effective with the impact of ICT within this lesson.

3. Develop a pilot scheme based on BYOD (Bring your own device). This will be carried out on one year 9 class to see how effective having your own device can be within teaching and learning. * As stated in the literature review over 67% of schools surveyed by BESA stated that ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is very important to tablet adoption (BESA, 2010).

4. Monitor and evaluate young people’s progress and provide training for teachers and other staff as necessary. * From the analysis and findings it is very evident that training and CPD is a strong factor which will need to implement into my development plan. This was very evident within the staff questionnaire. * It is also important to evaluate progress as this whole project will need to be measured to see how much, if any, of a positive impact ICT will have over the coming year on teaching and learning and therefore overall improve students’ attainment.

References
Aristovnik.A (2012) 'The impact of ICT on educational performance and its efficiency in selected EU and OECD countries.', MPRA, 1(39805), pp. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: http://mpra.ub.uni-uenchen.de/39805/1/MPRA_paper_39805.pdf).

BBC News, (2013) Computer project boosts pupils' reading. [Online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-22806246# [accessed 10 June 2013] BESA, (2010) ICT in the UK state schools Vol 1: Opinions and Trends. (Vol 1 ed.) London: C3 Education. BECTA (2000) A preliminary report for the DfEE on the relationship between and primary school standards, Coventry: BECTA Bingimlas, K. (2009). Barriers to the integration of ICT in Teaching and Learning Environments: A review of Literature. Eurasia Journal of Math, Science & Technology. 5 (3), 235 - 236. Collie.P, and Lewis L, (2011) A guide to ICT in the UL education system. Cheltenham: Schoolzone. Cox, M, Abbott.C, Webb.M, Blakeley.B, Beauchamp.T and Rhodes. V (2005) ICT and attainment, London: DfES. DfES (2004). Using ICT to enhance learning. London: DfES Publications. 2 DfES (2004) Leadership guide, London: DfES Publications..

Gray.T (2011) Barriers to integrating ICT into the UK primary school curriculum., London: . Ofsted. (2003). Information and communication technology in schools. Ofsted subject report. 1 (1), 3. Ofsted (2011). An evaluation of information and communication technology education in schools in England 2008–11, Ofsted subject report, 1

Morris D, (2012) ICT and educational policy in the UK: are we on the way towards e-maturity or on the road to digital disaster?. Research in Teacher education. Vol. 2: 3-8. Punie.Y, Zinnbauer.D, Cabrera.M (2006) A review of the impact of ICT on learning, Luxembourg: EU Publications Office.

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