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Eileen Brennan Freeman Visiting Research Fellow

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1 Eileen Brennan Freeman Visiting Research Fellow
Centre for Research in IT in Education (CRITE)
Trinity College Dublin, IRELAND.
 Greendale Community School
Kilbarrack, Dublin 5. IRELAND. 

2 Policy Implementation?
I am a teacher, who took two years from school, supported by the Ministry, to research the area of ‘ICT in School Education Policy’, because of my ‘discontentment’ of the ‘effects’ of the ‘implementation of policies’ on my classroom practice, with particular regard to curriculum and assessment. I do not wish to personalize my situation, BUT I do so because my research (INTERNATIONAL) points to the fact that my experience is NOT AT all unique… Many teachers in Europe and indeed worldwide are frustrated by the effects of policy implementation at the grassroots: in the classroom. I would like to thank Hans Leugessen, the co-ordinator of the ELFE project for his invitation to this conference. I AM VERY HONONOURED BY THIS INVITE… I would like to thank THE ETUCE SECRETARIAT FOR AN WHICH I RECIEVED ACKNOWLEDGING their support to me TO MAKE TIME TO BE HERE DESPITE the ‘bureaucratic constraints’ PUT IN MY WAY.

3 Policy Implementation
Policy Implementation? Teachers ‘empowered by technology’, ultimately ‘disempowered’? Empowered by the ‘system’ and disempowered by the ‘system’… and so too are our students… empowered by the ‘system’ and disempowered by the ‘system’. This is not my unique experience This is the experience of teachers who are in ’systems’ where summative assessment, this is, end of year examinations ultimately decide a student’s future..NOT where formative as in on-going assessment is a priority….. So persons from countries in similar systems to mine, will heartily identify withh the following quote…with regard to ELFE, perhaps, the UK, German and Portugese participants can identify with what I am saying and perhaps the Norwegian and Danish colleagues…WILL IDENTIFY FROM A DIFFEREN PERSPECTIVE.. How children learn? is complex enough, but computers have added a new urgency to debates about: what do they learn?, how do we know that they’ve learned it? and what do we assess?. At present some national education systems are struggling with the dimensions of these problems, while rather more countries are struggling to be aware that they are issues; none yet have solutions.

4 Curriculum & Assessment “Imagine a nation of horse riders with a clearly defined set of riding capabilities. In one short decade the motor car is invented and within that same decade many children become highly competent drivers extending the boundaries of their travel as well as developing entirely new leisure pursuits (like stock car racing or hot rodding). At the end of the decade government ministers want to assess the true impact of automobiles on the nations capability. They do it by putting everyone back on the horses and checking their dressage, jumping and trotting as before. Of course, we can all see that it is ridiculous … ”. S Heppell (2002) yet in schools all round Europe we are arming children with spreadsheets and assessing the same old mathematics capabilities, we are arming them with collaborative, mutable writing tools, like word processors or desk top publishers, and then assessing them individually as writers through a typically linear writing form This is increasingly frustrating for them. In the UK we have even gone as far as to ban some of the powerful tools from the assessment process - having supported writing, appropriately, with spelling checkers and thesauruses we then remove them at the point of assessment. In terms of our analogy we take away the car and put them back on the horse, in time for the test. Patently foolish. Allowing children to author multimedia essays and assessing their performance with a handwritten summative test is equally foolish.ハ

5 (1998) How learning is changing. - 9 Recommendations
Holistic approach to policy development Bottom-up/top-down convergence Sustainability The Curriculum Teacher Training A wider concept of learning The importance of research Content and national languages Monitor and evaluate the system In the time allocated to this presentation, it is not possible to go through each of these recommendations, but you have a copy of them yourselves. From looking at the ELFE findings in detail, it, is my understanding, that many, if not all, of these recommendations, are still valid Perhaps, we can find this out in our sessions later to-day and to-morrow. This 1998 report is currently being re-written and we have considered calling it ‘ How learning has not changed’! The report: How Learning is changing’, was a deliverable of the EU funded eWatch project where EENet was a partner, another deliverable of this project was the publication Education in e-europe public policies for ICT in Schools. Both these publications are available on the EENet website.

6 eWatch Observatory General educational facts and figures
ICT initiatives and programmes/projects Policies and policy making bodies (in general) Expenditures on education ICT funding ICT infrastructure and usage Teacher education and training Co-operation with private sector Content development Evaluation and research School practice, models and projects As mentioned earlier EENet was a partner on the EU funded eWatch project one of the mechinisms put in place to support the gathering of information with regard to national, regional policies for ICT in education across 12 European countries was this observatory. The information, categorized, in this way was never available before. These are the categories (READ OUT CATEGORIES) The EU funding supported twelve European education systems (all members of EENet) to continuosly and consistently update information in each of the above areas. When the funding stopped EENet no longer had the support of the member institutions to put time into updating the observatory. The Austrian ministry is the only ministry that has continued updating its information which is available from the ministry website. In case I have not mentioned it earlier, EENet is not funded by the EU. All our members, including board members pay a subscription. This currently our only funding. What we learnt from eWatch was that no country has managed to implementate all nine recommendations. Each country still has a lot to learn. At a time when many governments around the world seem to be investing less in ICT, we feel that there is an urgent need to show the impact of government investment. Is it also your view that there is still a need for such an observatory. We are actively seeking funding to put such an observatory in place.

7 Policy for Impact and Sustainability = Holistic Approach, with concurrent top-down and bottom up convergence accompanied by consistent planning, monitoring, research and evaluation. Supported by a ‘Strategic Implementation Strategy involving: Concurrent ALIGNMENT of policies in the following areas: Equipment and Infrastructure Teacher Training/Professional Development Curriculum and Assessment Content and Resources As I mentioned in the last slide, no country seems to have got it all right. Perhaps it is in the words of Moonen & Voogt: …the integration of technology cannot only be perceived as a technical issue. It should be considered as a complex endeavor from a social viewpoint as well. This complexity is depicted in the slide above. So if EENet were to be successful in sourcing funding we would observe this complexity.

8 Learning from other country initiatives
Holistic/ICT as part of education reform (Chile, Singapore) Bottom-up supported projects (Ireland) Sustainability (Elfe) The Curriculum (UK) Teacher Training (Sweden, Finland, France, Denmark) Content and national languages (Spain) Monitor and evaluate the system (Finland) Infrastructure and access (Chile, Slovenia) National portal (Germany) Gender (Finland) School management structure (Singapore) Student involvement, technical (Slovakia) Student involvement, pedagogical (Sweden, Finland) Awards (Slovakia) I would like to point to some examples of good practice from a number of countries in Europe and beyond. If time does not permit, and you are interested in these examples, please me and I would be happy to provide you with the information.

9 Future Policy Implementation?
Let’s stop trying to ‘recreate the wheel’, Let’s share what we have learnt, Let’s build something special together!

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