Approaches to ICT Development at School Level Areas of ICT Development
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Areas of ICT Development

A school can determine progress in various areas of ICT development. Below general descriptions of those areas in the matrix of Table 1. are given.

Vision

This area refers to the aspirations and goals of both individuals within a school and the school system as a unified whole. As the system advances, the vision should become more unified, be written down, and provide a basis for decision-making. It should help individual members of the learning community visualise the future and act in harmony.

Philosophy of Learning and Pedagogy

This area refers to ways in which teachers and students interact and the system is managed for learning. These philosophies will necessarily characterise the ways in which ICT is incorporated into the system. A setting that is dominated by the teacher as the provider of content, is a teacher-centred philosophy. ICT in this setting is controlled by the teacher as well. A learner-centred philosophy describes a setting where content comes from a variety of resources, then projects are chosen and designed by the student. ICT tools and resources are selected to by the student to match the project.

Development Plans and Policies

This area refers to the detailed steps of how the vision and philosophies are carried out. In this plan, goals and objectives are further defined providing interim and long-term targets. Policies are set, budget is allocated, facilities are dedicated, roles are defined, tasks are delegated, and an evaluation plan is created to define the direction ICT development will take.

Facilities and Resources

This area refers to the learning environment in which ICT is used. It includes infrastructure such as, electrical wiring, internet access, lighting, air-conditioning, and space. Decisions on inclusion or lack of ergonomic design and choice of furniture impact not only use of ICT, but the health and well-being of users. This area also includes various types of technological devices from computers with peripherals and video equipment to specialised tools like digital microscopes. Resources include various types of software as well as traditional tools like books, videos, and audio-tapes.

Understanding of the Curriculum

This area refers to the progression of ICT in the curriculum in following various stages of development. First (A.) is an awareness stage in which students become ICT literate with regard to what is available and how it might be used. Second (B.), as students learn basic skills, they begin to apply various ICT tools to their regular tasks and projects. Third (C.), as students become more capable and confident with ICT, they begin to integrate and overlap both subject areas and tools. Last (D.) is the vocational use of ICT in which students are now enabled to tackle larger, more complex, real-world professional applications.

Professional Development of School Staff

This area involves various stages of development that parallel the curriculum for students. The personal productivity and professional practice are enhanced with the use of ICT. First, is an awareness stage (A.) in which teachers and staff become ICT literate with regard to what is available and how it might be used. Second (B.), as teachers and staff learn basic skills, they begin to apply various ICT tools to their regular tasks and projects. Third (C.), as teacher and staff become more capable and confident with ICT, they begin to integrate and overlap both subject areas and tools. Last, is a change in profession practice in which teachers are now enabled to design lessons to incorporate larger, more complex, real-world projects using ICT tools and resources. As ICT is introduced into systems, there is a tendency to move from discreet skills training to reflective practice and integrative professional development. Budget allocation and provision for release time for professional development seriously impacts the ability of the system to incorporate ITC in a meaningful way.

Community Involvement

Community involvement may include parents, families, businesses, industry, government agencies, private foundations, social, religious and professional organisations, as well as, other educational institutions such as vocational schools and universities. Community involvement could be donations of equipment and resources or, may be human resources provided for training and technical assistance. As the community gives to the schools, the school can give back in many ways. For example, the school may decide to provide the community evening access to computer labs or have students offer training to parents. ICT provides an opportunity for the school and its students to interact with both local and global communities. Interaction may range from building web-sites for community organisations to sharing projects with remote schools.

Assessment

This area includes both assessment of students, as well as overall assessment of the system. These two parts are intricately interwoven. An improvement in one area should predicate an improvement in the other. Means of student assessment should reflect choices in learning pedagogy and the understanding of ICT in the curriculum. For example in the emerging and applying stages of ICT, assessment may be linked to pencil and paper test, while in the in integrating and transforming stages project based portfolios may be more appropriate. Each area of the system as described in the matrix should be assessed to determine its the impact on learning. Assessment should inform practice and support the management of learning. It should allow the system to determine whether outcomes have been met, then, review and revise accordingly. Budget allocations, policies and procedures for ICT should match vision, philosophies, and curriculum choices.