16 SES 06 B, Enablers of and Barriers to ICT Use
In recent years the Israeli Ministry of Education has been implementing a system-wide reform to integrate ICT in schools. As part of this move, some schools were chosen to model how to lead this change. These schools became the spearhead for ICT integration as part of their organizational culture.
Studies show that the teachers’ attitude towards the change is a decisive factor for successful implementation (Avidov-Ungar, 2016; Cuban, 2013). Research also shows that organizational culture reflects the change, and it is only when factors impeding and accelerating the change are part of the organizational culture that one can see the change in activity in practice (Anderson, 2017; Hinde, 2003).
Hence, the purpose of the study is to trace the model of leading change in a particular school that chose to integrate ICT as part of its organizational culture and become a model school in Israel.
The research questions are:
1) What are the accelerating factors that made the change a success?
2) What are the impeding factors blocking further implementation of the change?
3) What are the features of the school’s organizational culture and its strategy?
This is a case study of a single school chosen to be a model for ICT integration in Israel. The research approach is qualitative and data collection was based on in-depth interviews with the teaching staff and the school’s management team. Fifteen teachers were interviewed out of the 35 members of staff, as were four management officials: the principal, the vice-principal, the ICT coordinator, and the social education coordinator. In total, 19 interviews were conducted. In addition, all 35 teachers were asked to write a brief reflection about the model of work on the change at school and the features of the school’s organizational culture. 30 such reflections were received. Data analysis was based on categorization of the themes that emerged from the interviews and the reflections, according to the Grounded Theory of Strauss and Corbin (1997).
Results 1. The accelerating factors that made the change a success are: a. Cooperation between staff members and the desire to learn and develop. b. Systematic staff professional development over time on ICT integration into the school. c. Systematic instruction and guidance for the teachers given by a professional counselor from their discipline. d. An assertive and determined principal with a clear future picture regarding the desired change. e. Maximum ICT equipment in the classrooms and in the school’s learning spaces, and adaptation of the learning environment to encourage the use of online tools. 2. The impeding factors are: a. Teachers concerns and fears that starting a “new way of life” demands continual individual and organizational learning. b. Technical difficulties and malfunctions when operating equipment in the classrooms and in the learning spaces. c. Paperwork from the Ministry of Education relating to the change implementation process. d. Multiplicity of tasks and a heavy workload for the teachers imposed both from within by the school management, and externally by the discipline inspectors. 3. The main finding regarding the characteristics of the school’s organizational culture relates to the teachers' perception of their function in light of the change, as emerged from the comments of the teachers and school officials. Mainly, it seems that the staff speak in a “language” of transition from a ‘traditional teacher’ who is the key source of knowledge for the student to a ‘technological teacher’ who adopts innovation, guides, advises, and mediates – who is a facilitator for the students. The findings regarding the organizational culture also reveal that the school has created management structures and mechanisms that made it possible to lead the change (Avidov-Ungar, 2010).
Anderson, D. L. (2017). History of organizational development. In Organization development: The process of leading organizational change (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Avidov-Ungar, O., (2016). Understanding teachers' attitude among educational reforms through metaphor. International Journal of Educational Research, 77, 117-127. Avidov-Ungar, O. (2010). "Islands of Innovation" or "Comprehensive Innovation" Assimilating Educational Technology in Teaching, Learning, and Management: A Case Study of School Networks in Israel. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects. 6, 259-280. Cuban, L. (2013). Why so many structural changes in schools and so little reform in teaching practice? Journal of Educational Administration, 51 (2), 109-125. Hinde, E. (2003). Reflections on reform: A former teacher looks at school change and the factors that shape it. Teachers College Record. Retrieved from http://tla.gmu.edu/module2/hinde.htm Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. M. (1997). Grounded theory in practice. Sage.
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