Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Three Reasons Why The Use Of I.T. In Schools Is NOT Leading to Improved Learning


Recent reports from different parts of the world show that computer / IT supported learning programmes are not yielding the learning improvements expected. 

So why is this happening?

After looking at a fair number of IT-based programmes, software, and reports from different sources, this appears to be because something critical is being ignored: that improved learning requires both improved relationships and processes, and a clearer focus on outcomes considered worthwhile. Let me explain this a little. 



1. IT Use Doesn't Seek to Impact Relationships 

Relationships among the key stakeholders - teachers, students, parents / community, school heads, supervisors and administrators, and academic support personnel - cannot be bypassed; without improving them, it is difficult to see learning outcomes improve. Living in the hope that IT usage will make a difference here, is to be unrealistic. For relationships to flourish, apart from changing the teacher's role (and several other aspects), activities that require real group thinking would make a difference. At present the IT material has not paid sufficient attention here, though it is uniquely placed to do so, especially in gaming software. 

In addition, of course, several governance changes are required (e.g. in how school 'inspection' takes place) as well as in management of learning (through better preparation for teaching, classroom organization and use of assessment). Again, a misplaced emphasis on IT will not see changes here.


2. IT Use Could - But Doesn't - Sufficiently Impact Processes:

Some parts of the curriculum require face time between teachers and students, and among students themselves. Some parts are better handled through IT - I believe such an analysis of curriculum has not been done, resulting in everything being dumped on to IT, much of which it is not really in a position to support. (Khan Academy does try to increase the face time by 'reversing' the class, but it still does not do this analysis sufficiently and could benefit from it).


3. IT Use Doesn't Always Focus On The Outcomes It Should

The tendency is to focus mainly on a limited number of scholastic outcomes. In fact, even within the subjects themselves, higher order learning objectives are often ignored, or under-represented. Believe it or not, this affects the learning of other aspects as well! E.g. children who have the opportunity to make creative use of language end up being better in grammar and spelling than children who get an overdose of grammar and spelling. A great deal of IT material is geared to towards getting children to answer tests / exams rather than help in real, long-term learning.

But other than the subjects, larger curricular goals - such as cooperation, respect for diversity, development of a scientific outlook and an ecological perspective, developing a questioning mind, democratic values - hardly figure in much of the IT based material / activities. Implying that it is, at best, supporting some parts of subject-oriented learning rather than  education as such.


So is all this emphasis on 'modern technology' wrong and misguided? No, not necessarily wrong, but our expectations are certainly misplaced. In our desire to find the one single magic solution we have ignored the many other actions that need to be taken before learning improves. Perhaps focusing on IT seems easier and more exciting than than the hard work that the other stuff requires.

At any rate, IT is clearly not the silver bullet that many desperately believe it to be. It needs to be treated as just one more tool to be used, rather than as a solution for problems that it can't solve. And even as a tool, it needs to be used much better than is the case at present. 

4 comments:

ankurjain said...

hi,
i am agree with your statement , i am realy very impress with your blog
i am also working in this field so i know importance of education .
i have an NGO which is working on this field .
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Saakhi said...

एक किस्सा इस समय याद आ रहा है. एक विद्वान किसी संस्थान में आमंत्रित किये गये. बच्चों को उस सत्र में अनिवार्य रूप से उपसिथत रह्ने के निर्देश दिये गये. अचानक एक दिन विद्वान की सूचना आयी कि वे किसी कारण से नहीं आ पा रहे हैं. वे अपने भाषण की सी.डी. भेज रहे है. बच्चों तक भी यह सूचना आ गयी. तय दिन पर हॉल में सी.डी. लगा दी गयी, बच्चों ने अपनी टेबिल पर रिकार्डर लगाया और फुट्बाल खेलने चले गये. खैर यह तो है किस्सा लेकिन विषय तो अच्छा उठाया है. सही कहें तो शिक्षा में इसकी मॉग भी बहुत है. खासतौर से अभिभावकों एवं शिक्षा से जुडे‌ अभिकर्मियों द्वारा बातचीत में यह मॉग जरूर उभरकर आती है. हालाकि इस बात से पूरी सह्मति है कि स्कूलों में प्रक्रिया और बच्चों एवं शिक्षकों के बीच संबंधों की के लिये अनुपयुक्त ही है. फिर जैसी हमारी व्यवस्था है, उसमे इसका प्रबंधन मुशिकल ही है.
पर शिक्षकों और अन्य अभिकर्मियों के लिये क्यों अनिवार्य नहीं किया जाना चहिये ? अपनी शिक्षण की तैयारी में संदर्भ के रूप में क्यों नहीं उपयोग किया जाना चाहिये ?

Saakhi said...

एक किस्सा इस समय याद आ रहा है. एक विद्वान किसी संस्थान में आमंत्रित किये गये. बच्चों को उस सत्र में अनिवार्य रूप से उपसिथत रह्ने के निर्देश दिये गये. अचानक एक दिन विद्वान की सूचना आयी कि वे किसी कारण से नहीं आ पा रहे हैं. वे अपने भाषण की सी.डी. भेज रहे है. बच्चों तक भी यह सूचना आ गयी. तय दिन पर हॉल में सी.डी. लगा दी गयी, बच्चों ने अपनी टेबिल पर रिकार्डर लगाया और फुट्बाल खेलने चले गये. खैर यह तो है किस्सा लेकिन विषय तो अच्छा उठाया है. सही कहें तो शिक्षा में इसकी मॉग भी बहुत है. खासतौर से अभिभावकों एवं शिक्षा से जुडे‌ अभिकर्मियों द्वारा बातचीत में यह मॉग जरूर उभरकर आती है. हालाकि इस बात से पूरी सह्मति है कि स्कूलों में प्रक्रिया और बच्चों एवं शिक्षकों के बीच संबंधों की के लिये अनुपयुक्त ही है. फिर जैसी हमारी व्यवस्था है, उसमे इसका प्रबंधन मुशिकल ही है.
पर शिक्षकों और अन्य अभिकर्मियों के लिये क्यों अनिवार्य नहीं किया जाना चहिये ? अपनी शिक्षण की तैयारी में संदर्भ के रूप में क्यों नहीं उपयोग किया जाना चाहिये ?

UNIQUE 1 said...

Dear Subir,
The concerns you raised are important in a learning context. But is there a possibility to develop computer based learning programmes consistent with, for example, theories of reading, writing, listening, speaking, creative expression etc and that also encompass multiple dimensions, such as world knowledge, language and cultural background, type of texts and tasks and learning preferences? Of course you may remember the hiatus caused by the words 'interactive', process-oriented and 'coherence' while we were developing the textbooks in Malayalam in 1997. But today these wrods have become the major factors to be addressed while developing textbooks or nay learning material.
Unni