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A Review of the Impact of ICT on Learning - page 14 / 26





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performance, to both the teaching and the learning processes, and to knowledge-sharing, communication and home-school cooperation (ELNORD 2006). The analysis of perception by headmasters, teachers, pupils and pupils’ parents of the impact of ICT on learning shows a positive impact and beneficial consequences for the above mentioned actors and processes. In the case of pupil performance, the areas where such an impact is most significant include subject-related performance and learning of basic skills such as reading and writing. ICT is seen positively by teachers as a valuable tool for tailoring learning, with beneficial effects on both academically strong and academically weak pupils. Nonetheless, avoiding exclusion is still an issue. For example, not everyone enters schools with similar computer skills. More girls than boys learn all their computer skills at school. Also, disadvantaged immigrant students, whose first language is not the language of the country in which they live (i.e. a Nordic language in the case of the ELNORD study), depend more on schools to teach them computer skills.

ICT generally has a positive impact on learning but the expectations that ICT could in some ways revolutionise processes at school have not (yet) been realised. This goes beyond the use of computers by teachers since not only PCs and the Internet but also digital cameras, mobile phones and other technologies can help to change teaching processes. But clearly, ICT has not revolutionised teaching methods so far. The use of ICT is mostly focused on supporting the subject content. ICT-based activities by pupils are far more to do with consuming than producing. These work individually more often than together. However, the impact of integrating ICT in teaching can be measured in pupil engagement, differentiation, creativity and by the fact that less time is wasted, though the impact of ICT is very dependent on how it is used. Head headmasters typically view ICT as a valuable tool for pedagogical development but very few of them actually experience this impact (ELNORD 2006).

As with many other knowledge-based activities in modern societies, the use of ICT organisationally has not yet fully matured. The preconditions for using ICT for knowledge- sharing, communication and home-school cooperation are almost in place, though the positive impact as yet is only moderate. Many schools, teachers, pupils and parents use the ICT infrastructure for informational and collaborative purposes. The tools are mostly used for communication among teachers, while the use of ICT to support dialogue between teachers and pupils, and to improve home-school co-operation is more limited. In spite of the high volume of ICT-based communication between the teaching staff, the positive impact on co- operation and knowledge-sharing is only moderate. A prime example of parents-school communication is given by ELNORD (2006) in that 50% of the parents use ICT but these parents report that they feel better informed or find that the dialogue between parents and school has improved only to a moderate degree. Positive however, is that teachers do not perceive home-school collaboration enabled by ICT as too time consuming.

This is related to another trend which will increasingly affect education and training of the present and future generation of youngsters growing up with digital technologies. Many studies refer to the need for educational institutions to be adapted to the requirements of the knowledge society and to the way the digital generation is learning by using technologies intuitively in their everyday life. The latter is very different from their lives at schools, and this is exactly one of the problems: it is not that students do not want to learn but rather that their learning environment is radically different (Veen & Jacobs 2005: 26-28; Punie & Cabrera 2006).

The digital generation is making use of weblogs, social networking sites, podcasting, and other bottom-up ICT tools outside the formal learning environments. As the number of these


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