whole-pullen-thesis-2012.pdf (3.25 MB)
Australian students' information and communication technology (ICT) use in middle school and at home
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 02:25 authored by Darren PullenDarren Pullen
Over the past three decades Australian governments, school systems and schools have made considerable investments in providing information and communication technology (ICT) to support teaching and student learning. These investments have been strongly endorsed by national and international organisations, as well as by businesses and schools themselves. Key rationales for providing ICT in schools have been to enhance the quality of teaching and students' learning; to prepare students for participation in the emerging knowledge economy; and for participation in life-long learning. Previous studies have provided accounts of the use of ICT in schools and classrooms, yet the literature and findings from the current study indicates that the use of ICT in Australian schools is not a daily occurrence; nor is it transformative. In particular the literature and the current study reinforces the need for a number of ICT inhibitors to be overcome before the potential of ICT to transform teaching and students' learning can be realised. This study sought to understand how six Australian schools used and viewed their use of ICT for teaching and students' learning from the perspective of parents, students, teachers and the school principals. These issues were investigated using a case study survey methodology involving 84 parents (guardians), 120 students, 56 teachers and 6 school principals across two Australian states, Tasmania and Victoria. Data were analyzed using inferential and descriptive statistics and structural equation modeling procedures. There were five main findings: (a) parents who were involved in school decision-making were more supportive of school uses of ICT than the less involved parents; (b) students who used ICT at home more frequently tended to use the same technologies at school and were more confident users; (c) younger teachers, female teachers, and teachers who had worked in four or more schools or regional schools were more positively disposed towards the use of ICT in their teaching practices, than their colleagues, although teachers with good ICT skills felt that technology could be a distraction for students' learning, (d) principals were supportive towards the use of ICT in their schools and provided staff with equipment, ancillary support staff, and teacher professional development opportunities, and (e) there was an iterative interaction between ICT and home and school use, particularly in terms of ICT that was used for producing an assessable assignment and an output that linked to the students' writing of text, use of visual media and multiliteracies, seeking new information, and using software to solve problems. Schools played a major role in enhancing students' confidence about ICT, while home provided opportunities to practice with that technology and to facilitate communication using ICT. An important finding was that both home and school enhance students' ICT skills and make the student a more independent learner and user of ICT. Whilst the current study identified that teachers were not yet taking full advantage of technology's ability to offer students a greater variety of learning experiences and learning opportunities, the school principals reported that in the future their schools would offer students more access to online resources, more remote access to these resources, more opportunities for learning, and a change in the pace of learning. To improve teachers' use of ICT in their classroom this study recommends the adoption of a cyclic process for continuously adapting to ICT, based on review, application and innovations. This model for evaluation of the application of ICT into schools incorporates the elements of: the needs of the students; the planned use of the technology into the students' program, the social support and resource structures of the home and the community and their ICT expectations, and the inter-relationships between these elements.
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