16 SES 02 A, ICT, Inequalities and Ambiguities
As members of the research team within the project Digital technologies in everyday life and learning of students (supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, project number 17-06152S) explore various sources of data, from large-scale international datasets like PISA or ICILS, through focus groups in schools, and case studies in families including young people, ambiguities in ICT-related learning become visible.
In the Czech Republic, as well as in other developed counties across Europe, ICT has been one of the priorities of the Czech educational policy during the past decades; the assumption of keeping up with the ICT-related developments in the school classroom as well as the efforts to use the ICT in learning-related situations have been the main reasons for these policies to occur (Zounek et al., 2018). At the same time, the Czech pupils score above-average in ICT-related learning area (Fraillon et al., 2014), and a link between the ICT usage and school performance of the students has been proven (Juhaňák et al., 2018). Nevertheless, qualitative studies conducted by the team bring forward evidence for a rather ambiguous treatment of ICT in both the school and the family environments. PC classrooms closed during breaks; Wi-Fi at school password-protected to prevent students from using it; school rules banning cell-phone usage for any purpose during school hours; these are only some of the examples of school-related strategies which are directly opposing the official Czech ICT-related educational policy.
The above-mentioned ambiguities are discussed, and their potential outcomes described in the submitted paper. Given the vital implications of such ambiguities, avenues are open to conduct similar studies also in other European countries, in order to support ICT-related learning and remove obstacles the young people may face in this respect.
This particular research strand within the above described project employs focus groups and case studies as its data collection methods. Focus groups are held with young people attending 9th grade of the compulsory schooling in the Czech Republic (14-15-year-olds) directly in the school classrooms and focus on mapping of the concrete techniques and methods the young people utilize in ICT-related learning, both within and out of the school environment. Case studies take place in selected families of 15-year-olds and consist of initial interviews with the family members as well as with the young people themselves, diaries kept by young people over a timespan of one week, and of subsequent interviews with the young people after the week of keeping the diary. All of those data collection activities are focusing, again, on ICT-related learning and generally also on the strategies the youngsters and their parents are employing in the ICT-related domain (e.g. smart phone or PC usage by youngsters, etc.).
Focus groups and case studies show that young people are in many respects not above-average users, but on the contrary, often fall into the "passive consumer" category. This is in a striking contrast to some theories (e.g. digital native narrative) as well as to the perceptions of some teachers who believe young people are much more skilled in the ICT usage than themselves. It also shows that schools are only a problematic source of ICT-related knowledge both in terms of basic ICT-related skills such as PC operation, etc., as well as in terms of ICT-related learning strategies. Young people bring such knowledge from outside of the school and often limit the knowledge to the basic ICT-related skills than venturing into the area of ICT-learning as such. ICT in schools are often used only to enhance and enrich the experience of the classical frontal teaching approach, rather than to establish a virtual classroom. Last but not least, students are often discouraged from using the ICT in schools and in their learning in general, leading to the situation in which students are much more versed in using the ICT for cheating than for learning. The submitted paper suggests that the ambiguities outlined above are an integral part of ICT-related learning in Czech schools, with a rather strong drive for ICT usage by teachers on one end, and an equally strong drive to limit the ICT usage by students. Given the potential for harsh implications of such situation (e.g. the cheating dimension mentioned above, etc.), potential solutions are outlined and discussed.
Arnseth, H., Erstad, O., Juhaňák, L., & Zounek, J. (2016). Pedagogika a nové výzvy výzkumu ICT: role digitálních technologií v každodenním životě a učení mládeže. [Educational sciences and new challenges of ICT research: the role of digital technologies in young people’s everyday lives and learning.], Studia Paedagogica, 21(1), 87–110. Chaudron, S., Di Gioia, R., Gemo, M. (2018). Young Children (0-8) and Digital Technology. A qualitative study across Europe. European Union: JRC Science Hub. Fraillon, J., Ainley, J., Schulz, W., Friedman, T., & Gebhardt, E. (2014). Preparing for Life in a Digital Age. The IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study International Report. Melbourne: Springer. Juhaňák, L., Zounek, J., Záleská, K., Bárta, O. & Vlčková, K. (2018). The Relationship between Students’ ICT Use and Their School Performance: Evidence from PISA 2015 in the Czech Republic. Orbis Scholae, Karolinum, 12(2), 37−64. Strategie digitálního vzdělávání do roku 2020. [Strategy of Digital Education until 2020]. Praha: MŠMT. Zounek, J. (2006). ICT v životě základních škol. [ICT in the lives of schools.] Praha: Triton. Zounek, J., & Šeďová, K. (2009). Učitelé a technologie: mezi tradičním a moderním pojetím. [Teachers and technologies: between the traditional and the modern approach.] Brno: Paido. Zounek, J., Záleská, K., Juhaňák, L., Bárta, O., & Vlčková, K. (2018). Czech Republic and Norway on their path to digital education. Studia paedagogica, 23(4), 11-48.
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