One can identify various approaches to the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in secondary education. These approaches are related to the situation in a particular school across all areas related to the growth of ICT in their system. A matrix has been developed (see Table 1) to help schools determine their stage of development in various areas. A school may find itself more in one area of the matrix while being less involved in other areas. The identified approaches and areas of development are in line with international trends of the use of ICT in education.
Each school must work within the context of its own system to fit choices to what best suits its unique situation and culture. The advancement of technology and the way it is incorporated into a system is a dynamic process. Even within one school, various units or courses may use different approaches. The approaches are hierarchical with the «emerging» approach as a beginning point, and the «transforming» approach as goal many perceive as the future of education.
This approach is linked with a school in the beginning stages ICT development. The school begins to purchase or has had some equipment and software donated. In this initial phase, administrators and teachers are just starting to explore the possibilities and consequences of adding ICT for school management and the curriculum. The school is still firmly grounded in traditional, teacher-centred practice. For example, teachers lecture and provide content while students listen, take notes, and are assessed on prescribed content. School organisation provides discrete time periods for each subject. Learners access to technology is through individual teachers. Curriculum that increases the basic skills and awareness of the uses of ICT assists movement to the next approach.
This approach is linked with a school in which new understanding of the contribution of ICT to learning has developed. In this phase administrators and teachers use ICT for tasks already carried out in school management and in the curriculum. Teachers largely dominate the learning environment. For example, teacher lectures may be supplemented with ICT such as presentation programs and word-processed handouts. Students listen to lectures and add notes to teacher prepared handouts. They use ICT tools to complete required lessons and are assessed on prescribed content. School organisation provides discreet time periods for each subject with some flexibility to combine subjects and time periods. Learners access to technology is through one or two classroom computers and computer labs. Up till now ICT has been taught as a separate subject area. To move to the next phase, the school chooses to implement an ICT-curriculum that increases the use of ICT in various subject areas with specific tools and software.
This approach is linked with a school that now has a range of technologies both in laboratories, classrooms, and administrative offices. The school staff explores new ways in which ICT changes their personal productivity and professional practice. The curriculum begins to merge subject areas to reflect real-world applications. For example, content is provided through multiple sources including community and global resources through the internet. Learners access to technology enables them to chose projects and ICT tools to learn and demonstrate their knowledge across subject areas. School organisation provides overlap and flexibility to combine subjects and time periods. Learners have more choices with regard to learning styles and pathways. They take more responsibility for their own learning and assessment. ICT is taught to selected students as a subject area at the professional level. To advance to the next phase, the school chooses and ICT-curriculum that allows a project-based, ICT enhanced approach that These schools begin to involve the community in the learning environment and as resource providers.
This approach is linked with a school that has used ICT creatively to rethink and renew school organisation. ICT becomes and integral though invisible part of the daily personal productivity and professional practice. The focus of the curriculum is now learner-centred and integrates subject areas in real-world applications. For example, students may work with community leaders to solve local problems by accessing, analysing, reporting, and presenting information with ITC tools. Learners access to technology is broad and unrestricted. They take more responsibility for their own learning and assessment. ICT is taught as subject area at the professional level and incorporated into all vocational areas. The school has become a centre of learning for the community.