The integration of information technology into the elementary school curriculum: Focus on Computer Contact Teachers
Valerie Anne Nielsen, University of Toronto , Canada
University of Toronto . Awarded
This study of a large Ontario school board focussed on the issues facing Computer Contact Teachers (CCTs) in their support of the use of information technology in elementary schools. In this Canadian baseline study, utilizing quantitative and qualitative data obtained from 108 CCT questionnaire responses received from 94 schools and 13 interviews with CCTs, principals, and board-level administrators, the needs for more time, training and technical support were heard frequently.
To promote the use of technology in education, several issues of concern were identified. These included: discrepancies in wide-ranging CCT services offered; less tertiary computer education; the need for greater training, with a shift in focus; inequitable workloads; minimal staff development funds; inconsistent technical support; conflicts in technical training requests; significant increases in time commitment; frustration with fulfilling role; problems associated with the role's voluntary nature; lack of supportive documentation; and conflicts associated with the varying roles.
Recommendations for CCTs, trainers, districts, and provinces include: the creation of a formal CCT job description; the provision of regular, accountable, in-school technical support; the redirection of technical expectations to the technicians to reduce the CCTs' time commitment, allowing a greater focus on curricular issues; an overall increase in CCT training, with limited CCT technical training and a shift from software introduction training to curricular integration of software; the provision of compensation for CCTs; the creation of provincial or district expectations for the use of computer technology; the promotion of networking among CCTs; the budgeting of 20% of information technology funds for staff development; the reduction of inequities in technology among the schools; and the promotion of CCT-teams in schools. These recommendations will help to offer the CCT greater success in the implementation of technology.
The major implication for schools is that progress toward computer literacy and integration will be limited without proper support and training. While these issues have been identified a decade ago, they have not yet been resolved. It is not enough to purchase hardware and software without staff and students knowing what to do with them. The CCTs are a key to this resolution, but need greater support.
Nielsen, V.A. The integration of information technology into the elementary school curriculum: Focus on Computer Contact Teachers. Ph.D. thesis, University of Toronto.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
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