TIES2012 (XII). Educational policies on ICTs and educational innovation: Analysis of the programme Escuela 2.0

Notes from the III European Conference on Information Technology in Education and Society: A Critical Insight, in Barcelona, Spain, in January 1-3, 2012. More notes on this event under the tag ties2012.

Educational policies on ICTs and educational innovation: Analysis of the programme Escuela 2.0

(this symposium, coordinated by Manuel Area Moreira, is framed in the research project Las políticas de un “ordenador por niño” en España. Visiones y prácticas del profesorado ante el Programa Escuela 2.0. Una análisis comparado entre Comunidades Autónomas.)

Manuel Area Moreira
An introduction to Escuela 2.0

Escuela 2.0 is a 1-to-1 or one laptop per child project that aims at:

  • Offering social equity.
  • Develops a national industry in the Knowledge Economy.
  • Breaks the isolation of the school.
  • Prepares the student to be a XXIst century citizen.
  • Enables the innovation of teaching-learning methodologies.

But is technology changing the way we teach and/or students learn? What is being the impact of this project at the methodological level?

Juan de Pablos Pons (Universidad de Sevilla).
Educational policies and good practices with ICTs.

Beyond the typical issues related to infrastructures, it is still difficult that the teachers accept ICTs as an educational tool. And only after this has happened we will be able to talk about producing and/or reusing educational content.

To foster this adoption of ICTs in teaching, a good practices project was started so that actual implementations were shared and, after them, critical elements of success be identified. Good practices, to be qualified as such, must generate a transformation and cause a change.

Good practices were chosen in the field of training, pedagogical guides, teaching innovation, usage of the LMS and international projection.

As an overall conclusion on how the Andalousian teachers felt about Escuela 2.0, they are happy to have more infrastructure, quite well on being able to be trained on the use of instructional technology, but not very confident on the impact of ICTs on teaching.

Cristina Alonso Cano (Universitat de Barcelona).
Policies and practices around ICTs in compulsory education: implications for innovation and improvement.

The consolidated research group “Esbrina, Subjectivitats i Entorns Educatius Contemporanis” (2009SGR 0503) is dedicated to the study of the conditions and current changes in education in a world mediated by digital technologies and visual culture. The research group has a clear goal to acknowledge the potential of ICTs in education.

What should change in policies, schools and people so that the potential of ICTs in education can be realized?

  • Questioning policies is a healthy exercise to be able to tell what is causing an impact and what not.
  • It is very different to speak about Information and Communication Technologies and Learning and Knowledge Technologies, which ones are we talking about when we speak about technology and transformation in the learning process?
  • Local and educational leaders and the community are normally banned from participating in ICT for education policies.

José Miguel Correa Gorospe (Universidad del País Vasco).
Eskola 2.0 Programme: What is it bringing to the educational change in the Basque Country?

(Eskola 2.0 is the Basque version of the Spanish state-wide Escuela 2.0)

Teacher training has been one of the most important flaws of the Eskola 2.0 programme. The programme was also imposed to the Basque school system, ignoring the dynamics of the centres, causing several tensions within the educational system and within schools.

Jesús Valverde Barrocoso (Universidad de Extremadura).
Escuela 2.0: unlearning and transformation vs. continuity and tradition.

During 2002, the region of Extremadura began introducing computers at school, on a one-computer-per-two-children basis. This happened in a much broader initiative (LinEx project) in the region to opt for free software and technological autonomy for the government as a whole, and for the educational system in particular.

Escuela 2.0 had several (and sometimes opposing) goals:

  • Academic performance.
  • Economic development of a local IT and digital content industry.
  • Equity and fight against the digital divide.
  • Digital competence.
  • Quality of teaching.

Reality in schools: 1/3 of teachers use computers in the classroom on a daily basis, 1/3 use it occasionally, 1/3 never use it. 4/10 teachers use often the interactive digital whiteboard in the classroom.

Related to the methodologia, lectures are still the norm and there is few collaborative work. Indeed, the textbook is the pedagogical resource per excellence, even if there is an increasing demand of digital content.

The role of the IT coordinator is highly valued.

What are the effects of ICTs in the classroom? Above all, engagement. Then, digital competence. And at a distance, some minor improvements in academic performance in general or in some specific tasks.

Hints for the future:

  • Flexibility in the kind of resources at the students’ reach.
  • Adaptability, getting rid of the syllabus, use of Personal Learning Environments.
  • -kess teaching, more learning.
  • Sociability, teamworking, networking.
  • Creativity.

Ángel San Martin Alonso (Universidad de Valencia).
Educational policies on ICTs and educational innovation: Analysis of the programme Escuela 2.0

When we foster innovation, is it to solve an emerging problem or because we need to keep the wheel of innovation moving and some innovation niches be fed?

Discussion

Teacher training appears on and on during the discussion. There is a total agreement that teachers have to be trained on the application of ICTs in education, on changing curricula, on adapting and transforming learning methodologies. But ICT for Education policies keep on insisting and spending most of the resources in infrastructures.

III European Conference on Information Technology in Education and Society: A Critical Insight (2012)

TIES2012 (IX). Educational projects based on laptops in the school

Notes from the III European Conference on Information Technology in Education and Society: A Critical Insight, in Barcelona, Spain, in January 1-3, 2012. More notes on this event under the tag ties2012.

Educational projects based on laptops in the school

Jesús Valverde, María José Sosa, María del Carmen Garrido (Universidad de Extremadura).
Expectations of educational change before “one laptop per child” or “1:1” projects in the classroom.

Evaluation of the project “Escuela 2.0” in Extremadura (a region in south-western Spain)

In projects based on laptops in the classroom, there has been a dominance of technological innovation over pedagogical innovation, without the educational community taking part of the decision-making, and with insufficient support of the educational system to this new organizational and conceptual model.

Surprisingly enough, ICTs tend to preserve the traditional teaching styles, and the “adaptation” stage usually takes quite long, as teachers do not take up on new roles.

Innovation happens without the support of either formal teams (e.g. departments) or informal teams (e.g. social networking sites), thus leading to frustration: only those that work collaboratively, share experiences, help others “survive”. Technological and organizational problems only come to worsen the situation.

Conclusions for policy:

  • Necessity to build a community of teachers.
  • Training in educational centres, with the help of virtual learning environments.
  • Enhance the role of the ICT coordinator with a trainer in the same area of knowledge of the teacher.
  • Strengthening of the technical support and improvement of infrastructures.

Fernandez Olaskoaga, L.; Losada, D.; José Miguel Correa (Universidad del País Vaco).
1 to 1 model: An implementation study in the Basque Country.

Evaluation of the project “Escuela 2.0” in the Basque Country (a region in northern Spain)

Prior to the “Escuela 2.0” state-wide initiative, there already was a 1-to-1 initiative in the Basque Country. The state-wide initiative “only” implied a change of model, but not the development of a brand-new project.

“Escuela 2.0” provided netbooks for the kids, wifi connectivity in the classroom and digital classrooms (mainly digital interactive whiteboards).

An initial training was also scheduled, but only consisted in a very small test on general “computer science” knowledge. “Eskola 2.0” (the basque version of “Escuela 2.0”) introduced some more training by programming several workshops. At last, a digital material aggregator was created (Agrega) where schools would upload their digital production.

Eskola 2.0 had three axis:

  • A provision of resources: one laptop per child.
  • A technological training, based on the TPACK model.
  • Digital materials, uploaded to the Agrega initiative.

The teachers of the project answered a survey on the expectations about the project.

The most interesting outcome of the survey is that, in the short run, it was good to get devices (laptops, whiteboards) but that the rest (training, information, educational model, etc.) was negative or very negative.

In the medium run, though, the teachers expect to have the opportunity to follow some training, that there will be some pedagogical innovation, that the communication with families might be enhanced.

Telma Panerai; Gomes de Carvalho, A.B.; De Souza, B. (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco).
Embedding digital culture in some public schools in Brazil: the case of the one laptop per child.

One of the biggest problems in Brazil when it comes to the use of computers at school is cost. Cybercafes are an option for accessing the Internet or using a PC, but still, it does cost money. On the other hand, international connectivity is far from being optimal.

The first OLPC projects in Brazil started in 2007. In 2010 the project got to Pernambuco (a poor state in north-east Brazil). 4,000 laptops where provided to a 26,000 inhabitants city: that was quite a shock. Students would own the laptop, which provided both empowerment and responsibility… and the possibility of being robbed up. The computers were made by the Brazilian firm CCE and were called “uquinha” (small UCA, from Um Computador por Aluno – one laptop per child).

An action-research project was conducted from June to December 2010.

Students quickly stablish a process of digital immersion. The teachers, on the other hand, were anxious and insecure in the pedagogical application of the laptops, fearing loss of control. The learning process, though, was deeply changed: more students attended classes and the way they learnt was transformed. Public spaces were also reshaped, as students used them to access the Internet or study.

Noemí Martín; Cabré, J.; Sampé, M. (Universitat Rovira i Virgili).
Dialogical learning in a digital society: the experience of a rural school in Ariño.

(project in a rural school in Ariño, Teruel, a rural province in middle-east Spain, quite isolated from its surroundings)

How has the usage of ICTs in a rural area? How has affected learning? And kids’ lives?

What means “dialogic”? A dialogue amongst all the members of the community, where goals, means and processes are acknowledged by consensus.

The centre decided becoming pioneer in adapting ICTs in learning and evolving into a learning community. The centre, thus, went through different projects since 1999, ending up adopting the state-wide programme “Escuela 2.0”.

The project has implied new ways of learning, but also new social relationships, new relationships between the two local schools (which operate under the centre’s guidance), etc. Motivation of students increased, as did academic results. Families also were more implied in the learning process of their children, learning too how to operate computers, how to use them to learn, etc. And not only kids learn more, but master different competences that are understood to be crucial in an information society, like problem solving, autonomy, etc.

Discussion

Joan-Anton Sánchez: how can we go from the laptop as a mere digital container to a learning tool? A: it depends on your starting point. If, like in many Argentinian schools, books are scarce, having 100% of the children having a (digital) textbook that is a great improvement.

Joan-Anton Sánchez: laptops as institutional infrastructure or bring your own device? Again, it depends on whether the student already got an own device (and the new one is just an added cost) or the device is but a means to overcome the digital divide.

There is a growing consensus among the participants that more resources should be devoted to training, but not to courses or workshops, but to building communities of practice, not relying these communities of practice on everyone’s good will, but on liberating resources or workload for specific leaders.

III European Conference on Information Technology in Education and Society: A Critical Insight (2012)