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Are schools truly providing a fertile soil to develop the ‘global child’ of the ‘Sonic Generation’? A Case Study of two Northern Ireland Schools in the SELB
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|Title: ||Are schools truly providing a fertile soil to develop the ‘global child’ of the ‘Sonic Generation’? A Case Study of two Northern Ireland Schools in the SELB|
|Issue Date: ||Nov-2005 |
|Abstract: ||ICT usage is a way of life for the ‘Sonic Generation’ which enjoys great diversity of ICT tools such as the World Wide Web, mobile phones, ipods, palmtop computers, play stations, DVDs and cabled network TV – all or most of which are in every home. Today’s child is a ‘global child’ whose perception of the world is increasingly shrinking as he keeps pace with fast-moving technology.
The impact of ICT and new media usage on life outside of school has led to a complete demassification of the media and has spawned a whole new kind of culture. A culture that challenges schools in developing ICT skills in their pupils and one that requires teachers to expose children to open and distance learning systems. This case study of two Northern Ireland schools in the Southern Education and Library Board tests whether schools (primary and secondary) are truly providing fertile ICT soil for the ‘global child’ of the Sonic Generation’ and measures how far schools are in advancing towards virtual learning systems.
The study involved reviewing the history of ICT development in Northern Ireland from the early 1980’s to the present day’s ‘emPowering Schools in Northern Ireland Strategy’ published by The Educational Technology Strategy Management Group (ETSMG) in 2004. Coutt’s (2001) Scottish-based study outlining a framework for reflection, planning and evaluation in school development in the use of ICT in learning and teaching provided the continuum against which the schools could be measured in terms of moving from a ‘traditional’ type school towards what he calls ‘Advanced Cyberschool’ status. Coutt’s framework also allowed teacher’s views on ICT to be placed into the category of ‘instrumental’, ‘tranformational’ or ‘revolutionary’. Coutt’s study has implications for Northern Ireland schools in that it was influenced by a series of centrally-funded initiatives across the United Kingdom that included target setting, network access and training for teachers –some of which Northern Ireland schools were involved in.
Data was collected from quantitative surveys carried out amongst teachers and pupils and qualitative case study data and interviews conducted with ICT leaders in both schools. The study concluded that ICT is moving forward but at a slow pace. It further concluded that 40% of all pupils never receive or only ever receive ICT in all its forms once a month, therefore, in the main, schools are not truly providing a fertile soil for the ‘Sonic Generation’. Pupils make greater use of ICT at home, which teachers do not exploit to the full by making home/school links. Both schools fall into Coutt’s ‘traditional’ model of teaching and learning in their use of ICT but in particular the secondary where 44% of teachers never or only ever deliver ICT once a month. The secondary sector lags behind the primary in terms of teachers’ views and pedagogical developments in line with ICT and it is clear that the professional development of practicing teachers needs to be up-graded.
Schools will have to build on what they have already begun and look to ‘The Way Forward’ as milestoned in the ‘emPowering School’s Strategy’in order to make a much more fertile ICT soil for the ‘Sonic Generation’.|
|Appears in Collections: ||St. Marys University College|
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