16 SES 03 B, Current and Emergent Theoretical and Ethical Perspectives in Research on ICT in K-12 Education and Teacher Education
As the use of smartphone applications has become increasingly popular over the last decade, it has also become a tool of choice in the education system (Andone, Dron, & Pemberton, 2009; Blau & Shamir-Inbal, 2016; Gikas & Grant, 2013).Smartphones usage allow educators to provide emotional, cognitive and social support in synchronized simultaneous conversations (Ule, et al., 2015). WhatsApp is a user-friendly easily available application that can be used to apply the flipped classroom concept (Tang and Hew 2017; Nirgude, & Naik, 2017). Kindergarten children's parents exploit this application to form message groups, and see Smartphone contact as comfortable means to support their children’s education (Lim, 2016) .
Principals, and school leaders also use various Smartphone applications in their work both outside and inside school (Chipunza & Bere, 2013). Moreover, it seems that principls, who are considered effective problem-solvers and decision-makers use advanced technology (Marke, 2016; McLeod & Richardson, 2013). Modern society, that offers always-on, always-available communication services (Lim, 2016) has impact on parent-kindergarten manager relationships assisted by technology-based decision-making. Sharing decision-making helps managers to improve their work (Moos, et al., 2005) and promote school’s effectiveness, since it improves relations between decision-makers and facilitates the implementation of the decided processes (Thomsen, et al., 2016).
The present study aimed to investigate the influence of the use of the WhatsApp application on kindergarten managers’ decision-making processes. The research questions asked: which characteristics of decision-making processes are reflected in WhatApp communications? And how does this tool influence the decision-making processes?
The research sample consisted of Israeli public kindergarten managers; a population that conducts rich discourse with pupils’ parents, which serves as a fertile bed to understand decision-making processes. Because of the young age of the children and their dependence on adults, parents mediate between them and the kindergarten managers, reflected today in frequent correspondence through a smartphone application, far more than is common with regard to other age groups. The research employed mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology. 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted with the sample and 74 documents underwent analysis including transcripts from WhatsApp correspondence (were written over a period of five months). Additionally, 324 questionnaires were distributed to kindergarten managers and analyzed with deductive and descriptive statistics, including regressive analysis.
Findings indicated that the kindergarten managers used WhatsApp to make administrative decisions through the use of the application. Although use of the application was not formally introduced into the education system, nor encouraged by the Ministry of Education, kindergarten managers have assimilated its use into their professional lives, believing this improves their efficiency at work and helps them share decision-making with pupils’ parents. Nevertheless, the managers only used the application to deal with specific aspects of decision-making and for other aspects they preferred more traditional channels. The findings permitted the identification of a typology of different decision-making types- simple decisions and complicated decisions. Managers limited the WhatsApp decision-making to simple decisions, despite pressure to react fast. WhatsApp helpedmanagers to identify problems in their early stages and to be attentive to needs emerging from these problems. In complex decisions, managers are more hesitant and prefer traditional communications. The findings clarify implications of use of advanced technology in managers’ decision-making, and how they are presented to the community. The findings also relate to the setting of boundaries in discourse with pupils’ parents, as part of the regular management of the educational institution.
Andone, D., Dron, J & .,Pemberton, L.(2009). Developing a desirable learning environment for digital students. Cognition and Learning (TICL. 6(4), 253-271.( Blau, I. & Shamir-Inbal, T. (2016). Digital competences and long-term ICT integration in school culture: The perspective of elementary school leaders.Education and Information Technologies, 1-19. Chipunza, C., & Bere, A. (2013). Towards a novel perspective on the academic use of mobile learning applications: A case of university student perspectives. In N. Delener, L. Fuxman, F. V. Lu, S. Rodrigues, & L. Rivera (Eds.) Globalizing businesses for the next century: visualizing and developing contemporary approaches to harness future opportunities. (pp. 1061-1070): Global Business and Technology Association. Gikas, J. & Grant, M. (2013). Mobile computing devices in higher education: Student perspectives on learning with cellphones, smartphones & social media. The Internet and Higher Education, 19, 18-26. Lim, S.(2016). Through the tablet glass: transcendent parenting in an era of mobile media and cloud computing. Journal of Children and Media, Volume 10(1), pp. 21-29. Marke, K .(2016). Principal use of data dashboards to inform systemic school improvement. Raleigh, North Carolina: NCSU. Lim, S.(2016). Through the tablet glass: transcendent parenting in an era of mobile media and cloud computing. Journal of Children and Media, Volume 10(1), pp. 21-29. McLeod, S. & Richardson, J. (2013). Supporting effective technology integration and implementation. Principal, 2, 249-272. Moos, L., Krejsle, J., Kasper Kofod, K. & Jensen, B.(2005). Successful school principalship in Danish schools. . Journal of Educational Administration, Volume 43(6), pp. 563-572. Nirgude, M., & Naik, A. (2017). WhatsApp Application: An Effective Tool for Outof-Class Activity. Journal of Engineering Education Transformations. Tang, Y., & Hew, K. F. (2017). Is mobile instant messaging (MIM) useful in education? Examining its technological, pedagogical, and social affordances. Educational Research Review. Thompson, B. C. (2008). Characteristics of parent-teacher email communication.. Communication Education, Volume 57(2), pp. 201-223. Ule, M., Živoder, A. & Du Bois-Reymond, M. (2015). ‘Simply the best for my children’: patterns of parental involvement in education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Volume 28(3), pp. 329-348.
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