Rebooting Education

Learning to Change: ICT in Schools
OECD Observer
Page 68 

Learning your ABC is no longer enough; you can now add a D for digital, as well as an E for electronic. But while information technology has changed society, school has changed hardly at all.

A US study showed that while 68% of teachers used the Internet to find resources for use in lessons, only 29% of students used the Internet in school. As schools stock up on computers and invest in Internet connections, how can teachers best use information and communications technology?

A starting point is classroom use of quality software and digital materials such as CD-ROM encyclopaedias and educational games. New forms of curriculum and testing are also called for, as well as updated professional development for teachers, and even new ways of organising schools.

Access to the Internet provides a richness and variety of resources that a conventional school library cannot hope to keep up with. Apart from straightforward research, NASA, for example, offers a suite of interactive projects allowing students to direct a telescope or chat with an astronaut or astronomer.

On a Swedish site, “Science, Technics and Ethics”, students plan a simulated island environment and see the consequences of their decisions. ICT is changing the professional role of teachers. A number of countries expect beginning teachers to have developed both ICT skills and pedagogical competence. In the Netherlands, teachers are required to obtain the European version of the International Computer Driving Licence. When the students they teach have grown up, this test will be obsolete. Today’s children are the most computer-literate generation, but educators need to learn to tap into those skills and teach the “digital learner”.

©OECD Observer No 229, November 2001 

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