Teaching and learning with ICT in Western Australian government primary schools
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Have you ever wondered how far educators have come in response to the political push for improvements in teaching and learning with ICT? As a society, we have a responsibility to prepare young people to make a strong contribution to our future. This is characterised by rapid technological change in global communications and interactions. Since the early 1980s, governments around the world have committed vast resources to the provision of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in schools. This means that schools have been implementing the introduction of ICT for nearly thirty years!This research examines how successful Western Australian primary schools and their teachers have been in implementing the use of ICT in teaching and learning. The research has been informed by a previous study that took place nearly ten years ago and resulted in the Pearson report (2001) and later the DET Teacher ICT skills survey (2005). The current research examined the role that leadership, teacher attitudes and professional learning played in ICT implementation. The study utilised a mixed methods approach to data gathering which included participant observations as well as auto-ethnographic methods.The key outcomes of this research indicate that teacher proficiency and skills in utilising ICT in teaching have not significantly improved over time in the sample schools used in this study. This is despite successive Western Australian governments making substantial investment into new technologies, high-speed broadband and professional learning opportunities for teachers and schools.The study concludes that for the successful integration of ICT into teaching and learning teachers and administrators must have time to develop and reflect on technology based pedagogy, as well as time and opportunities to engage in continuous, meaningful professional learning that not only considers the technical aspects but also new pedagogy and best practice to better meet the needs of their children. This can only be done if administrators and teachers change their attitudes and beliefs about how technology can enhance their teaching and learning. In addition, they must rethink the philosophical and pedagogical assumptions of education by making better use of the technologies that already exist in their schools by changing what we do in the classroom.
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