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Teaching and Learning: Research Briefing

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The InterActive Education project aimed to examine ways in which ICT can be used in schools to enhance teaching and learning. We took a holistic approach. We examined learning with ICT as it affects the learner and the whole class, and looked at the
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   Teaching and Learning Research Programme Using computers to enhance learning: integrating ICT into everyday classroom practices  Animportant aspect of schooling is to enable students to enter new knowledge worlds,such as the world of history, of English, of foreign languages, of science, of music, orofmathematics. In the InterActive Education project we have worked in partnership withprimary and secondary school teachers, to investigate ways in which information andcommunications technology can be used to enhance learning, with a particular focuson improving subject knowledge. September 2006Number 19  Teaching RESEARCHBRIEFING Learning and www.tlrp.org Schools have interpreted enthusiasm forInformation Communication and Technology(ICT) in education as being about equipmentacquisition.Effective teaching and learning with ICT involvesbuilding bridges between ‘idiosyncratic’ and‘intended’ learning.Personalised learning with ICT should focus onthe construction of ‘common’ knowledge whichhas currency in wider communities outside schoolas well as in the classroom. There is a two-way exchange of knowledgebetween home and school use of ICT. Itimpacts on learning in school.Students should be encouraged to build on theirout-of-school learning, whilst also bridging the gapbetween ‘idiosyncratic’ and ‘intended’ learning. The teacher remains key to the successful useof ICT for learning.Professional development needs to enableteachers to take risks with ICT and learningPolicy-makers and senior managers shouldprioritise support for teaching and learning withICT in schools.  www.tlrp.org  Teaching and Learning Research Programme  The research  The InterActive Education project aimedtoexamine ways in which ICT can beused in schools to enhance teaching andlearning. We took a holistic approach. Weexamined learning with ICT as it affectsthe learner and the whole class, andlooked at the learner in settings outsideschool. We were careful to take intoaccount the institutional and societalfactors which structure learning. The project was designed from the outsetto bridge the divide between research andpractice. At its heart was a partnershipbetween university researchers, teachereducators and teachers. Ten schoolsand colleges from Bristol and SouthGloucestershire and just under 60teachers were partners in the research. They came from primary, secondary andfurther education. The project was organised aroundSubject Design Teams (SDTs) in English,mathematics, science, modern foreignlanguages, music, history and geography. Subject designinitiatives  All of our interventions were developedat a local level, whereateacher and aresearcher worked intensively together onthe design, realisation and evaluation of aSubject Design Initiative (SDI). These initiatives started out as simpleideas which exploited the use of availabletechnology.Over time and with iterationthey were transformed into powerful newuses of ICT for learning. The followingexamples illustrate this: Learning to spell 10–11-year-old students used WordRoot,amultimedia sound and word package,and the presentation packagePowerPoint, to analyse the structure andetymology of ‘hard words’. Students’spelling improved, as shown by paper andpencil tests. Learning to write in a foreignlanguage 13–14-year-old students used drop-downmenus in Word to support their writing inGerman. They wrote more in the foreignlanguage and took more risks withgrammar.Students’ writing on paperwas also enhanced after this exercise. Learning statistics in the primary school 8- and 9-year-old studentsused spreadsheets and an interactivewhiteboard to learn about frequency andthe representation of data. This initiativecentred on a whole-class investigation of the distribution of the colours of Smartiesin a tube. Learning mathematical proof 13–14-year-old students used dynamicgeometry software and presentationsoftware to learn about geometrical proof. They worked in groups and presentedtheir work to the class for feedback on thevalidity of the proofs they had produced. Learning to compose in music Primary and secondary students usedsoftware to learn about composing inmusic. Linking literature and Hypertext 17–18-year-old students made hypertextsto develop their understanding of intertextual relations in World War 1literature. The importance of traditionalreading practices was reaffirmed whilstthe technology offered opportunities forstudent-centred knowledge creation anddisplay. Using computersfor shared writing 9–10-year-olds in pairs composed anextra chapter of Alice in Wonderland,writing direct to screen. Analysis of pupils’interactions and writing suggests that thecomputer affords a more visual way of conceptualising the narrative voice andstructure of a text than pen and paper. This challenges traditional notions of thewriting process. Understanding ICT as atool for transforminglearning  This project drew on socio-culturaltheories of learning, which claim thatall human action is mediated by tools.We interpreted the idea of a ‘tool’ toincorporate both digital and non-digitaltechnologies. The study emphasised that ICT is amultipurpose digital tool that can be usedin the classroom to transform learningthrough:•the development of radically newknowledge domains, which includemultimedia literacies and web-basedinformation systems•providing access to knowledgedomains that have previously beeninaccessible to the majority of students,for example, composition in music,film-making, and 3-D design•the simplification of complexknowledge domains through thespeeding-up of normally time-consuming practices, for examplethe study of functions and graphs inmathematics, or of language changein linguistics•the provision of digital tools as‘scaffolds’ for particular learning aims,for example, dropdown menus toscaffold writing in modern foreignlanguages•the creation of distributed on-lineknowledge creation communities,as exemplified by Wikipedia. Creative tensionbetween ‘individualand idiosyncratic’ and‘intended’ learning We collected large amounts of video data,analysis of which shows that students canwork with ICT for extended periods of time, investigating their own questions andexperimenting with ideas in an interactiveand iterative way.Wehave seen thiswhether students arelearning aboutlanguage and spelling, investigating theproperties of quadrilaterals, developingtheir own compositions in music or writinge-mails to a German correspondent.But a tension is inherent in the powerof ICT. We have found that extendedindividual engagement can lead to the  construction of idiosyncratic knowledgewhich is at odds with intended learning.For example:•When secondary students were usingthe internet to learn about theRenaissance, some students spenttime developing a project on Florenceinthe USA.•When secondary students were usingdynamic geometry to support theirconstructions of mathematical proof,many students started to usemeasurement instead of logicaldeduction.•When primary students wereinvestigating spelling rules using theWordRoot software, they sometimesconstructed incorrect rules.Constructivist views of learning havetended to assume that it is possible tomove seamlessly from informal knowledgeworlds into the more formal worldsof school knowledge in a self-guidedmanner.We disagree with thisperspective. For example, without thesupport of a teacher students are unlikelyto develop knowledge of mathematicalproof from knowledge of everydayreasoning, knowledge of the ItalianRenaissance from knowledge of popularculture, knowledge about the etymologyofthe English language from everydayexperiences of speaking and writingEnglish, or knowledge of science fromgame-like simulation software.Effective teaching and learning with ICT involves finding ways of building bridgesbetween ‘individual and idiosyncratic’ and‘intended’ learning. Within successfulsubject design initiatives (SDIs) the teacherbecame aware of idiosyncratic knowledgeconstruction and worked with the wholeclass to share, challenge and confrontknowledge construction. This couldinvolve students presenting their work to acritical audience, with the teacher com-menting and directing. Here the interactivewhiteboard, a projected computer image,or the non-digital whiteboard, are valuable(Godwin and Sutherland, 2004).In many SDIs that were unsuccessfulin delivering the intended learning, theteacher did not orchestrate a knowledgecommunity. They seemed to believe thatknowledge was embedded within thesoftware and that ICT would somehowreplace the teacher. www.tlrp.org  Teaching and Learning Research Programme Major implications Policy and managementof ICT   The mandate for ICT in education hasoverwhelmingly been interpreted by schoolsas a licence to acquire equipment. This hasbeen costly, but in addition, has detractedfrom teaching and learning. Theseinstitutional conditions make it difficult forteachers to incorporate ICT into teachingand learning. Policy-makers and seniormanagers should prioritise support forteaching and learning with ICT in schools.  Teaching and learningwith ICT   The work of the Subject Design Teamssupported teachers to take the risk of experimenting with ICT in the classroom. The majority (70 per cent) of teacherpartners used ICT successfully to enhancestudent learning. This result is significantgiven overwhelming evidence from the UK and elsewhere that the vast majority of teachers are not using ICT to enhancestudent learning (Ofsted, 2004). Analysis of video data also showed thatstudents can work with ICT for long periodsof time, investigating their own questionsand experimenting with ideas in aninteractive way.However,some youngpeople engaged with ICT to learn thingsthat were at odds with what the teacherintended.Effective teaching and learning with ICT involves finding ways of building bridgesbetween ‘idiosyncratic’ and ‘intended’learning.  Teachers as enabledpractitioners Professional development needs to enableteachers to take risks with ICT and learning. The InterActive Project showed that asuccessful model for professional develop-ment is to create networked communities,in which teachers and researchers work inpartnership to design and evaluate learninginitiatives which use ICT as a tool forlearning.Such professional development requirespeople to break out of set roles andrelationships, in which researchers aretraditionally seen as knowledge generatorsand teachers as knowledge translators orusers. For meaningful researcher-practitionercommunities to emerge, trading zonesare needed where co-learning and theco-construction of knowledge take place. The capacity to engage in dialogue aboutimplicit theories of learning and teaching,and a willingness to see them in the contextof particular knowledge domains, wereessential to the success of SDIs. Thefollowing quotes are illustrative of this: It was encouraging …. we’re all trying towork it through together. If you had a lot of experts going ‘this, this, this and this and English and ICT works well in this particular way’ I think this would bedaunting to the rest of us. (partner-teacher) Working closely with my university  partner and the whole team was without doubt the biggest influence on my  learning. I was introduced to new subject  knowledge and new theories of teaching and learning. I was reading new thingsonlanguage, and research on language learning, as well as discussing ideas. (partner-teacher) Learners’ out-of-schooluses of ICT   T  he research found that teachers oftenunderestimate the impact of students’out-of-school experience of ICT on the waythey learnin the classroom. Analysis of datarevealed the positive impact of contempo-raryand popular music on composition inschools, the use of search engines onlanguage investigation in English, andexperience of spreadsheets influencing howprimarypupils learndata handling.Home computer ownership and internetaccess were high, with 88 per cent of students from partner schools reportinghome computer ownership and 73 per centreporting home internet access in 2003. The home remains the main site forcomputer use outside school. The studyalso highlighted the two-way traffic betweenhome and school in which young peoplepassed on skills (such as PowerPoint) totheir parents. The first time I tried PowerPoint (at  school) I really got used to it and Ithought, ‘This will be fun if I can show Mary (sister) and my Dad’. When I went  home I said ‘Dad, have we got PowerPoint?’ and he had it, he never used to know what it was. So I had to go and show him everything, which took  ages. He kept complaining, and then I said ‘It’ssimple ’cos I know’.  These findings imply that teachers shouldencourage students to build on their out-of-school learning with ICT. References Godwin, S. and Sutherland, R. (2004)Whole class technology for learningmathematics: the cae of functions andgraphs. Education, Communication &Information (ECi), 4 (1), pp. 131–52.Ofsted (2004) ICT in Schools: The impact of government initiatives .London: Officefor Standards in Education.  Further information, including articles, canbe downloaded from the project websiteas below. In addition the followingresources are available: Publications for practitioners Mills, S. (2004) Who’s a Smartie? Micromath 20 (3), pp.17–23.Weeden, M. (2002) Proof, proof and moreproof, Micromath 18 (3), pp.29–32. CD-Roms (available frommary.oconnell@bris.ac.uk)Sutch, D. (2004)  AThinking Approach toSpelling .CD-Rom.Mills, S. (2004) Narratives of Learning:Developing tools for ‘thinking together’ about mathematics .CD-Rom.Olivero, F., Sutherland, R. and John, P. It’s about InterActive learning of  mathematics .CD-Rom. Books  ATLRP Gateway book in the ImprovingLearning series is in preparation:Sutherland, R., John, P. and Robertson, S.(2007) Improving Learning with ICT  .London: Routledge. The following book draws on the work of the mathematics Subject Design Team:Sutherland, R. (2006) Teaching for Learning Mathematics .Maidenhead: OpenUniversity Press. Refereed articles  Aspecial issue of  Education,Communication & Information (ECi), Vol. 4,No. 1 was published in August 2004 onthe project. The InterActive Education Project was acollaborative partnership between theUniversity of Bristol, a further educationcollege, five secondary schools and fourprimary schools. The secondary schoolswere chosen so that their studentsrepresented a spread of socio-economicand ethnic backgrounds and their historyof ICT use ranged from extensive tominimal. All had adequate ICT provision. Three of the primary schools were chosenbecause they fed into the secondaryschools, while the fourth approached us to join the project. Fifty-nine teachers, sevenresearchers, six teacher educators andthree research students worked togetherwithin the project.Claims about teaching and learning withICT centred on video case studies of Subject Design Initiatives, which capturedthe interaction between teacher andstudents and between the student andthe computer.Claims related to out-of-school learningwith ICT were based on quantitativeanalysis of questionnairedata from allstudents in years 4, 7, 10 and 12 in thepartner schools in 2001(N=1818) and2003 (N=1471), focus group interviewswith young people (N=192) on their out-of-school uses of ICT (2002), and casestudies of young people using ICT in thehome (2003).Claims related to policy and managementwere based on discourse analysis of policy documents, qualitative analysis of interviews with senior managers in thepartner schools, and quantitative analysisof questionnaires administered to teachersin all partner schools. Claims aboutprofessional development were basedon qualitative analysis of interviews withproject teachers and interactions withinSubject Design Team meetings.  TLRP involves over 30 research teamswith contributions from England, NorthernIreland, Scotland and Wales. Work beganin 2000 and will continue to 2008/9. Learning:  TLRP’s overarching aim isto improve outcomes for learners of allages in teaching and learning contextsacross the UK. Outcomes:  TLRP studies a broadrange of learning outcomes, includingthe acquisition of skill, understanding,knowledge and qualifications and thedevelopment of attitudes, values andidentities relevant to a learning society. Lifecourse:  TLRP supports projectsand related activities at many ages andstages in education, training and life-long learning. Enrichment:  TLRP commits to userengagement at all stages of research.It promotes research across disciplines,methodologies and sectors, andsupports national and internationalco-operation. Expertise:  TLRP works to enhancecapacity for all forms of research onteaching and learning, and for researchinformed policy and practice. Improvement:  TLRP develops theknowledge base on teaching andlearning and policy and practice inthe UK. TLRP Directors’ Team Professor Andrew Pollard | LondonProfessor MaryJames | LondonProfessor Stephen Baron | StrathclydeProfessor Alan Brown | WarwickProfessor Miriam David | Londone-team@groups.tlrp.org TLRP Programme Office Sarah Douglas | sarah.douglas@ioe.ac.ukJames O'Toole |  j.o'toole@ioe.ac.uktlrp@ioe.ac.uk TLRP I nstitute of EducationUniversity of London20 BedfordWayLondon WC1H 0ALUKTel +44 (0)20 7911 5577  Teachingand Learning Research Programme www.tlrp.org Furtherinformation The warrant Project website: www.interactiveeducation.ac.uk  Project Directors: Rosamund Sutherland, Peter John, SusanRobertson Project team: Dele Aboudrin, David Badlan, Rebecca Ball, SallyBarnes, RichardBrawn, Bryan Berry, Rob Beswetherick, Andrew Biggs,Chas Blacker,Adrian Blight, Helena Brazier,Nick Breeze, LindaBridgeman, Natalie Butterworth, Chris Carter, Ruth Cole, Ellie Coombs,Roger Dale, Chris Davies, Tim Davies, Richard Eon, Keri Facer, FernFaux, Marina Gall, Alan George, Marie Gibbs, Steve Godwin, AndrewHarman, Jo Heppinstall, Suzanne Houghton, Ben Houghton, Sally Jenkins, Judi Johnston Hubbold, PeterJohn, Pam Kelly, Naomi Kent, Linda Baggott LaVelle, Elisabeth Lazarus, Kerry Manley, Ross Martland, SashaMatthewman, Angela McFarlane, Sam Mills, Simon Mills, Heidi Moulder, Federica Olivero, Pat Peel, RichardRees, Sven Rees, Catherine Robertson, Susan Robertson, Andrew Rome, Emma Scott-Cook, Joe Sharp, PaulStephens-Woods, Daniel Sutch, Rosamund Sutherland, Alison Taylor, Paul Taylor, Ian Thompson, Maria Thompson, Celia Tidmarsh, Neil Todman, Pat Triggs, Toby Tyas, Nigel Varley, Marnie Weeden, Paul Wilson,Jocelyn Wishart, Rachel Yates, Rachel Zewde Project contact: Professor Rosamund SutherlandGraduate School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA  Tel: +44 (0) 117 928 7108 Email: Ros.Sutherland@bristol.ac.uk  September 2006

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