16 SES 10 A, Implementation and Impact of ICT
High on the agenda of education policy makers in a number of countries is introducing ICT into the classrooms. More specifically, opportunities offered through one-to-one technology programs, where each student has a laptop or tablet in classrooms equipped with internet and interactive white board (IWB), excite students and parents as well as politicians, and companies selling hardware and software, each with different reasons and motives. It is neither self-evident nor proven that ICT in classrooms will automatically improve teaching and learning. In fact, there are some counterexamples (NYT, 2011). However, due to pressures arising from different interest perspectives and motives, in many cases, it is axiomatically assumed that ICT will improve education and will enhance learning in classrooms. Moreover, it is often assumed that investments for ICT in education will improve the national economy and technology sector, either directly through manufacturing or indirectly through human capital development; even if such a causal relationship is not established (Kozma, 2005). Nevertheless, in Europe (Final Study Report (FSR) - February 2013) and elsewhere (Trucano, 2013), including Turkey (Education Reform Initiative, 2013) there are major ongoing projects with significant investments to incorporate ICT into the education systems.
In addition to the foregoing, recent findings in the brain and cognitive sciences regarding how do ICT affect millennials’ minds and habits have some compelling, albeit somewhat premature and controversial, implications for learning processes and hence the role of ICT in education in the 21. Century (Sousa, 2011; Davidson, 2011). Thus, we believe that these findings should be kept in view during the design, implementation and evaluation of the ICT projects in education.
The focus of this paper is the FATIH project of Turkey. Although it is one of the most ambitious national initiatives to introduce ICT into classrooms, not much is known about the FATIH project inside (Education Reform Initiative, 2013) and outside (Trucano, 2013) the borders of Turkey. FATIH, which is an acronym that stands for ‘Fırsatları Artırma ve Teknolojiyi İyileştirme Hareketi,’or 'Movement to Increase Opportunities and Improve Technology,’ was announced by the prime minister of Turkey just before the June 2011 national elections without any previous work or plan. It entails buying around 11 million tablet computers, one for each and every student from 5th to 12th grade, and around 450,000 IWBs, one for each classroom. In the first phase of the hastily prepared project, 52 cities were selected for a pilot study. Some schools in these cities were planned to receive tablets and IWBs while the teachers were to be trained. This phase lags behind, but some implementation results have started to emerge.
The main objectives of this research are: (1) To understand initial results of using tablets and IWB’s in one of the small pilot cities, namely Uşak – in which the first author is a teacher herself – in order to provide feedback for the subsequent phases of the project. (2) To explore the similar projects in other countries and analyze FATIH in the light of those experiences. (3) To develop recommendations that are relevant to ICT projects in education in general, by combining the results of the first and second objectives. (4) To identify recent findings in the brain and cognitive sciences which may have some and preliminary implications for learning, hence, ICT projects in education.
Yıldırım, A.,Şimşek, H.(2003). Sosyal bilimlerde araştırma yöntemleri. Ankara:Seçkin Kozma, R. (2005). National Policies that Connect ICT-Based Education Reform to Economic and Social Development. Human Technology: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, P.117-156 Carr, N. (2010). The Shallows. W.W. Norton & Company. New York. Willingham, D. T. (2010). Have Technology and Multitasking Rewired How Students Learn? American Educator. P. 23, Summer 2010. Davidson, C. N. (2011). Now You See It, Viking Adult Richtel, M. (2011, September 3). In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores New York Times. Final Report : Surveys of Schools ICT in Education (2013). Final Report for the European Commission February-2013. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/59o72024aj81gt7/G3_0T-yPIt/surveys%20of%20schools%20ICT%20in%20Education.pdf Cengiz, D. (2013). Descriptive and Prescriptive Aspects of ICT in Education – Case of FATİH Project, AACE SITE 2013 Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana United States, March 25-29 2013. Turkey’s Fatih Project: A Plan to Conquer The Digital Divide or A Technological Leap of Faith? (2013). Education Reform Initiative Report of Sabancı University. http://erg.sabanciuniv.edu/sites/erg.sabanciuniv.edu/files/Fatih.rapor_.ENG_.son_.pdf Trucano, M. (2013, December 18). Observing Turkey's Ambitious FATIH Initiative to Provide All Students with Tablets and Connect All Classrooms, http://blogs.worldbank.org/edutech/node/724.
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