What Factors Support or Prevent Teachers from Using ICT in their Classrooms?
Margaret Cox, Christina Preston and Kate Cox
King's College London, MirandaNet Project University of Surrey
Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Sussex at Brighton, September 2-5 1999.
The purpose of this paper is to report on the findings of asmall project funded by the Teacher Training Agency and Oracle through the MirandaNet project, set up to investigate the factors which have contributed to the continuing use of ICT by experienced ICT and ICT teachers in their teaching. Evidence has been collected through a literature search, teacher questionnaires, teachers' reports and interviews. The factors which were found to be mostimportant to these teachers in their teaching were: making the lessons more interesting, easier, more fun for them and their pupils, more diverse, more motivating for the pupils and more enjoyable. Additional more personal factors were improving presentation of materials, allowing greater access to computers for personal use, giving more power to the teacher in the school, giving the teacher moreprestige, making the teachers' administration more efficient and providing professional support through the Internet.
This research project was set up to investigate the factors which motivate teachers to use ICT and to sustain their use of ICT in teaching. The aim of the project was to use the factors identified to inform the professional development requirements of practising teachersto enable them to use ICT appropriately in their teaching. The idea from the project came from the experience of two projects, MirandaNet, directed by Christina Preston, and the ICT and Motivation project, conducted by Margaret Cox to investigate the effects of ICT on the motivation of pupils. More details about the project is reported in Cox, Preston and Cox (1999).
The purpose of this paper isto present the findings of the literature review conducted by the project and the research results relating to the uptake of ICT in teaching obtained from a range of data collected through a survey of ICT and ICT teachers, records of MirandaNET members' uses of ICT.
2 Evidence from previous research
Over the past 25 years, alongside a series of national and local programmes for the developmentof ICT in education, there have been research studies of the uptake of ICT in education. These include studies of the effects of teacher training (Cox, Rhodes & Hall 1988), levels of resources (Cox, 1993), teachers' pedagogies and practices (Watson, 1993), and teachers attitudes (Woodrow, 1990). For detailed research papers on many of these aspects see Passey and Samways (1997). Many of thesestudies have shown that inspite of teacher training programmes, an increase in ICT resources and the requirements of national curricula there has been a disappointingly slow uptake of ICT in schools by the majority of teachers. Some of the reasons for this lack of more widespread uptake of ICT are discussed in more detail below.
2.1 Understanding the need for change
In a study of projects to promoteeducational changes in America, Canada and the UK, Fullan (1991) found that one of the most fundamental problems in education reform is that people do not have a clear and coherent sense of the reasons for educational change, what it is and how to proceed. Thus there is much faddism, superficiality, confusion, failure of a change programme, unwarranted and misdirected resistance and misunderstoodreform. They maintain that teachers who resist change are not rejecting the need for change but they are often the people who are expected to lead developments when they lack the necessary education in the management of change and are given insufficient long term opportunities to make sense of the new technologies for themselves.
2.2 Questioning professional practice
There are many studies...
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