16 SES 09 B, Teacher Professional Development and ICT
Parallel Paper Session
This paper summarizes findings from a multi-case study in Cyprus, with relation to the ICT training program. On the basis that understanding teachers' responses in depth is crucial for the implementation of an ICT initiative, the study explored the status of educational technology through teachers' beliefs and practices.
11 primary school teachers serving in a state school in Cyprus participated. A questionnaire, pre-lesson interviews, direct classroom observations, and post-lesson interviews comprised the data collection methods. Following the analysis of these data, a supplementary round of interviews with three Ministry officials involved in the educational technology sector, was undertaken to enlighten the interpretation of the results. The officials were asked to provide their views on the status of ICT in Cypriot education and reflect on the main study findings.
The results showed that the majority of the sample shared positive beliefs overall about technology in the classroom. However, their technology use was limited and simplistic, and did not ‘transform' but merely enhanced existing practice. Several contextual and teacher-related factors were found to interfere with the effective integration of ICT into the classroom, yet the emphasis here is placed on the influence of the ICT training program on the teachers' use of technology. Teachers of low competence with ICT, indicated that the program helped them as it provided them with knowledge and skills they did not possess before. Those who were familiar with basic technological knowledge did not find the program particularly useful, as it did not offer any added value to them. Others indicated that the program should be organized for different competence levels so that the teachers could attend the one that would meet their needs. They all agreed though that there was little link with the reality of classroom pedagogy.
On the other hand, what was found to be effective towards the pedagogical exploitation of the technological tools, was teachers' interaction and collaboration with relation to ICT use. Within a positive and supportive school culture, teachers were found to be learning through their innovative colleagues and were trying to employ similar technology uses and related strategies in their own practice. Based on this finding, novel implications for the ICT training program are left. We suggest, that the designers of the program could investigate how this possibility for informal and convenient learning, which in many cases in the study seemed to suit teachers better than the official training program, could be further exploited and given a more structural and consistent form in order to optimize its effectiveness. It is tenable, that if happened ‘locally' at the school, taking advantage of the diffusion of knowledge among the community of the teachers, the training program, could be dramatically more successful.
It is hoped that the messages from this study are useful for the professional development program of Cyprus and other countries which are struggling to catch up with current demands and deal with the integration of ICT in education, in circumstances where it is still at a novel/novice stage, such as in Cyprus.
Cox, M. & Marshall, G. (2007). Effects of ICT: Do we know what we should know? Education and Information Technologies, 12(2), 59-70. Ertmer, P. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(4), 25-39. Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing TPCK - Handbook of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) for educators. New York: Routledge Mama, M. (2011). Exploring primary teachers’ beliefs and practices with technology in Cyprus. PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge. Preston, C. (2004). Learning to use ICT in classrooms: Teachers’ and trainers’ perspectives, The full evaluation of the English NoF ICT training program 1999-2003. Oxford: Mirandanet. Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.
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