28 SES 09 B, New Myths for Education Practice? Dispositional Learning, New ICT devices and Social Competences
In both schools and homes, information and communication technologies (ICT) are widely seen as enhancing learning, this hope fuelling their rapid diffusion and adoption throughout developed societies. Ubiquitous, rapidly developing ICT calls for disputable changes in school education, educational policies, theories and research (Attewell et alii,2009; . Digital technology has already become a part of education in the form of laptops, tablets and smartphones used in both formal and informal learning; classrooms in well-resourced schools are now awash with digital equipment, which opens new kind of questions for schoolwork (Selwyn, Facer, 2014). But ICT usage for educational scopes are not yet so embedded in the social practices of everyday life as to be taken for granted, with ICT supporters energetically claiming that schools prove slower to change their lesson plans than they were to fit digital devices in the classroom (Balanskat et alii, 2006; Ofsted, 2009). The use of ICT in education and training has been a priority in most European countries during the last decade, but progress has been uneven. There are considerable differences of ‘e-maturity’ within and between countries, and between schools within countries. Both the widespread rhetoric on the recovery role of digital skills and the variegated but converging national and trans-national policies on ICT benefiting learning environments – (e.g. Eu recommendations and programmes) – tend to establish an automatic and unproblematized nexus between the use of digital device and the awareness of the medium among teachers and students (Cox, Marshall, 2007; Livingstone, 2012). Additionally, there is an implicit assumption that the use of ICT at school and learning via digital media would have a positive impact on both learning achievements in terms of literacy, mathematics and science outcomes and school choices in terms of educational attainment (Korte, Husing, 2006; Shan Fu, 2013). In recent years the apology of ICT massive use in educational environments has been also backlashed by reverse ideas (Grant, 2009): can we be enough confident that ICT devices, digital curricula and teaching&learning via digital tools enhance experiential learning, foster project-based and inquiry-based pedagogies, facilitate hands-on activities and cooperative learning, deliver formative assessment and support learning and teaching communities? Should we gather that technology is only of little help in bridging the skills divide between advantaged and disadvantaged students?
Furthermore, ensuring that every child attains a baseline level of proficiency in reading and mathematics seems to do more to create equal opportunities in a digital world than can be achieved by expanding or subsidising access to high‑tech devices and services. Building deep, conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking requires intensive teacher-student interactions, and technology sometimes distracts from this valuable human engagement. Another interpretation accepted in sociological and pedagogical literature is that educational environments and methodologies have not yet become good enough at the kind of pedagogies that make the most of technology (Livingstone, 2010). We rather hypothesise that those findings challenge the historical question of the contribution of the school and that of the family, peer-groups and extra-school environments may yield to educational outcomes and attainments. What is at stake in the ICT enhancement in education is again the issue of inequalities reproduced via family and social backgrounds. Should we consider ICT usage at school as a potential multiplier of existing social digital divides? Should we expect that inequalities in educational outcomes deriving from social backgrounds could reach wider magnitude via digital learning and digital skills? The purpose of our study is to examine the ICT usage and educational achievement of 15 years old European students via PISA 2015 data.
The problem of defining the use of ICT at school for educational purposes, and the same use at home for extra-educational and leisure purposes, is difficult to solve on an empirical level. To this end, various sets of variables are provided in the OECD-PISA questionnaire on the use of ICT. We than selected only the variables related to the availability of ICT devices at home, the availability of and access to ICT devices at school, the types of use at school and out of school, as well as the students’ attitudes towards ICT in learning and socialization. The analysis is focussed on the following countries (EU and neighbours): Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Holland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, with the addition of Switzerland and Norway. Those latter 2 countries, conceived as a sort of control variable, allow to detect the extent of Europeanisation in ICT impacts for the 14 EU countries. We adopted a “distal” (Giancola, Viteritti, 2014) EU cross-countries interpretation avoiding class&rank approaches (Meyer, Benavot, 2013). We rather prefer to highlight differences in curricula (whether digital literacy is included in the national curriculum) in relation to EU recommendations and national implementations. Data elaboration relies on the aforementioned variables (ICT usage) that we handled to obtain a typological synthesis based on an intensity of ICT use scale (Fuchs, Woessmann, 2004). The scale also recaps convergence and divergence of ICT availability and use among differentiated contexts: formal educational environment (classroom or schools’ contexts; Maslowski 2001), family-house informal environments and peer-groups informal environments. We then estimated if and at what extent intensity in ICT use and convergence/divergence among types of use impact both on PISA 2015 scorings in science, mathematics, and reading and on 15 years old students’ expectations to further studies. Basically, once we have explored ICT use variables, we proceeded via multivariate analysis to a typing of the most relevant combination of variables. Then we made the typing of ICT usages to interact both with gender, family backgrounds (parents’ educational attainment and occupational level), migration backgrounds, eventual delays or drop-outs during the studies, and - where data available – with the school track attended (dichotomized throughout general vs vocational track). These interactions allowed us to analyse the combined effects of different ICT availability and habits on learning outcomes and expected educational trajectories.
Knowing that technologies are an integral part of "family cultural capital" (in the form of "objectified capital"), we expect that their use (in terms of intensity and type of use) is not only variable, but is strictly associated with factors ascribed (such as the possession of other dimensions of cultural capital in the family); we expect to find non-linearity between possession and use of ICT and scholastic results and a non-mechanical relationship (in the sense of cause-effect). The same type of discontinuity and non-linearity can be hypothesized regarding the use of ICT at school, since in this case the individual variables (background and ascriptive ones) simultaneously play with those at school level (aggregate ESCS - as a proxy of the average background in schools -, peer effects, availability of ICT equipment and its use at school and in the classroom). We also hypothesize that the variation between nations is high, due to the different levels of ICT integration in the national school curriculum. Finnally, our aim is to extimate the divergence and convergences between educational and non-educational ICT usages and in what extent divergence and convergences may predicts students’ expectations about further career steps in education. At European level, our hypothesis seems to be confirmed: against the mechanical view prompted by the Europeanisation of a digitalized educational space, we found out several discontinuities among the use of ICT at home and at school, the related effects on digital and traditional skills, students’ anticipation of educational choices and school inclusion.
Attewell, J., Savill-Smith, C. & Douch, R. (2009), The impact of mobile learning: examining what it means for teaching and learning, London, Learning and Skills Network. Balanskat, A., Blamire, R. & Kefala, S. (2006), The ICT impact report: a review of studies of ICT impact on schools in Europe, Brussels, European Schoolnet. Cox, M.J., Marshall, G. (2007), Effects of ICT: do we know what we should know? Education and Information Technologies, 12(2): 59–70. Fuchs, T., Woessmann, L. (2004), Computers and student learning: bivariate and multivariate evidence on the availability and use of computers at home and at school, Munich, CESifo GmbH. Giancola, O., Viteritti, A. (2014), Distal and Proximal Vision: a multi-perspective research in sociology of education, European Educational Research Journal, 13(12014): 47-7 Grant, L. (2009), Children’s role in home-school relationships and the role of digital technologies: a literature review, Bristol, Futurelab. Korte, W., Husing, T. (2006), Benchmarking access and use of ICT in European schools 2006, Bonn, Empirica. Livingstone, S. (2012), Critical reflections on the benefits of ICT in education, Oxford Review of Education, 38(1): 9-24. Livingstone, S. (2010), Interactive, engaging but unequal: Critical conclusions from internet studies, in J. Curran & M. Gurevitch (Eds), Mass media and society, London, Bloomsbury, PP. 122-42 Maslowski, R., (2001), School Culture and School Performance: An Explorative Study into the Organizational Culture of Secondary Schools and Their Effects, Twente: Twente University Press, Enschede. Meyer, H.D., Benavot, A., (2013), PISA and the Globalization of Education Governance: some puzzles and problems, in H.D. Meyer and A. Benavot (eds), PISA, Power, and Policy the emergence of global educational governance Oxford, Symposium Books, 7-26. Ofsted, (2009) The importance of ICT: information and communication technology in primary and secondary schools, 2005/2008, London. Selwyn, N., Facer, K. (2014), The sociology of education and digital technology: Past, present and future. Oxford Review of Education, 40: 482–96. Shan Fu, J. (2013) ICT in Education: A Critical Literature Review and Its Implications, in International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology(IJEDICT), 2013, Vol. 9, Issue 1, pp. 112-125
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