ICT and Learning: Dust or Magic?. Prof Angela McFarlane Graduate School of Education University of Bristol. "An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it." Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). Dust or Magic?. ICT improves learning Assessment drives up standards.
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Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
Dust or Magic?
(1) What is the involvement of pupils with computers and the Internet at home and in school?
(2) Does curriculum centred usage have a measurable effect on performance and attitude ?
(3) Are these effects confined to usage in school?
(4) Are all kinds of computer usage equally productive of learning?
(5) If ICT based learning involves interactions between home and school, what are the attendant problems and how can these be met?
75% primary pupils, 90+% secondary pupils have a computer at home
Use in school subjects – never or hardly ever
5 from 13 subjects show a small positive correlation between ICT use and added value of attainment
Use at home seems to correlate to improved attainment in school
The data on types of ICT usage was inconclusive
There is no consistent relation between the average amount of ICT reported for any subject at a given key stage and its apparent effectiveness in raising standards.
It therefore seems likely that the type of involvement is all-important.
Representation of dynamic processes
The ability to edit
Multiple representations of knowledge
Shared work space
All depend on the prevailing learning culture
and style of the teacher.
Assessment drives up standards
Theme One: the use of computer-based assessment tools
which broadly replace conventional measures—although they usually if not always in fact change and/or develop the measure, e.g. through the use of adaptive testing in computer-based tests. The key point here perhaps is that the assessment criteria remain largely unaltered between conventional tests and the computer-based versions of them.
Theme Two: the use of computer-based technologies to assess skills and/or knowledge which are difficult or even impossible to assess using conventional media.
Here the assessment criteria will differ from those used in conventional tests, although they may well apply to formative, task-based and teacher administered assessments.
Theme Three: the use of computer-based technologies in learning, and an examination of the outcomes and how to measure them.
Currently there is little evidence that the kinds of learning validated through tests, and the kinds of learning supported through the use of ICT, necessarily overlap.
‘It is very noticeable that all the authors, to a greater or lesser extent, address the way in which assessment shapes the curriculum.
There is a recognition of the phenomenon of ‘teaching to the test’ and the subsequent damage poor tests, or tests that credit only a restricted range of valuable learning, can do to education.
There is also a common view that the advent of digital technologies has led to a shift in emphasis, or even a complete change, in the skill set that will serve pupils well when they enter the world of work.
Key learning outcomes are seen as skills not knowledge, and require a dynamic environment in which to capture the practice of these skills in action.’
Speed is a task for 13 year-olds which presents students with a video of a car travelling along a road. They are required to represent the journey as a graph, which they build from line segments. Students find this task easy.Ridgway and McCuster 2003
Understanding and representing problems
SUNFLOWER is a task for both 9 and 13 year old students which presents students with the task of growing the world’s tallest sunflower, using some combination of the two nutrients that are provided. The task rewards systematic work such as controlling variables, recording results, and careful exploration of the search space.
The intended outcomes must be part of a wider vision of the curriculum and its assessment, which are compatible with the chosen application of ICT to support learning.
There must be a shared model of valid learning and its manifestations.
[There has been] a chorus of pronouncements that "the information society" both requires and makes possible new forms of education. We totally agree with this. But we do not agree that tardiness in translating these declarations into reality can be ascribed, as it often is, to such factors as lack of money, technology, standards or teacher training. Obviously there is a need for improvement in all of those areas, But the primary lack is something different - a shortage of bold, coherent, inspiring yet realistic visions of what education could be like 10 and 20 years from now.
Papert, S. and Caperton, G., 1999
Becta (2002/3) Impact2 reports see http://www.becta.org.uk under ‘Research’
Burns, T. C and Ungerleider, C. S, (2002) Information and Communication Technologies in Elementary and Secondary Education. International Journal of Educational Policy, Research and Practice, Vol 3 no 4 p 27-54
Harlen, W and Deakin Crick, R. (2003) Testing and Motivation for Learning Assessment in Education, Vol 10 no 2
Kozma, R.B. (ed) (2003) Technology, Innovation and Educational Change – a global perspective. ISTE ISBN 1-56484-230-4
McFarlane, A.E., (2003a) Learners, Learning and New Technology. Educational Media International (Routledge) Vol 40 3/4
McFarlane, A..E. ed (2003b) Assessment for the Digital Age, Assessment in Education vol 10(3)