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Conditions for implementing ICT in Swedish uppersecondary schools: How national strategies for implementation relate toexisting local educational practices.Conditions for implementing ICT in Swedish uppersecondary schools: How national strategies for implementation relate toexisting local educational practices.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences. (IT i Lärande)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5592-2964
Umeå Universitert.
Umeå Universotet. (IT i Lärande)
2017 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The implementation and use of information- and communication technology (ICT) in education are high on the educational agendas of most countries. In principle, all western countries now have a policy or strategy for ICT in K-12 schools. Although countries may have similar economic preconditions, they often implement different ICT policies in school (Austin & Hunter, 2013; Ottestad, 2010).  ICT policies may also have different rationales and are often over-optimistic about ICT options (Convery, 2009; Egea, 2014; Jordan, 2011) and the use of ICT as a tool for teaching and learning in education (Hammond, 2014). Most research on ICT policies seems to focus on issues such as policy rationale or how policy is implemented in schools. However, few studies focus on the existing educational practices in schools as preconditions for ICT implementation. In this paper, the focus is on how policy implementation strategies, as they are understood in the recently proposed Swedish ICT policy, relate to already established educational practices in upper secondary school settings. Specifically, the aim of the paper is to discuss how policy implementation strategies relate to the existing local practices in three upper secondary contexts as preconditions for integration of ICT.

Traditionally, policy has often been viewed as a top-down process, where policy is formulated in one arena and then realized in another (Lindensjö & Lundgren, 2000). However, policy formation processes are rather more complicated than that and can be understood as processes of interpretation and enactment (Ball, Maguire & Braun, 2012). Acknowledging these processes of policy formation (Edwards, 2012) is to acknowledge processes of micro-political manoeuvring, power and negotiation in practice, and to relate the policy enactment processes to the existing preconditions, structures and activities of the contexts in which the policy is to be realized. Thus, understanding how the proposed policy implementation strategies relate to existing practices as preconditions in schools may help us to understand what kind of challenges an ICT policy may face and to formulate more realistic expectations for the use of ICT in education.

The kind of analysis that is suggested in this paper may also clarify why the implementation and use of ICT in school is so challenging and why there seems to be a discrepancy between expectations in the policy formulation arena and its use in the realization arena (Author 1, Author 2, Author 3 & Colleague, 20**; Tondeur, van Braak and Valcke’s, 2007). It has been suggested that national and political initiatives and governing have little impact on the use of ICT in school (McGarr, 2009). Rather, it has been emphasized that teachers want to see compelling reasons why they and their students should use ICT for teaching and learning (Howard, 2013; Lim, 2015). This might be related to ‘teacher culture’ and a reason why principals have been identified as key persons when implementing ICT. However, different leadership styles have also been found to give different results when it comes to implementing ICT (Hadjithoma-Garstka, 2011). Indeed, different leadership styles seem to fit different educational cultures. Implementing an ICT policy in local schools has been found to be a multifaceted phenomenon rooted in educational culture (Vanderlinde, van Braak, & Dexter 2012). If contextual matter is of importance for implementing ICT, it is therefore of interest to study how the proposed policy implementation strategies relate to existing educational practices in schools.

 

Methods/methodology

The discourse and qualitative content analyses of a Swedish national ICT policy (Miles, Huberman & Saldaña, 2014) identified several suggested strategies for its implementation. These were then related to data from a 4-year research project in three upper secondary schools ‘known’ for their advanced use of ICT for teaching and learning. However, the narratives of advanced use appear to have been projected onto the schools. It is possible to trace this to different specific contextual circumstances: for school A, to the reputation of the municipality regarding the use of ICT in its K-12 schools, for school B, to a specific centre of technology at the school sponsored by a private founder, and for school C, as being known for remote teaching. All three schools are so-called one-to-one schools, meaning that every student and teacher has their own computer.

 

In the three municipalities involved in the project, interviews were conducted with three centralized ICT strategists. In each school unit (A, B and C above), interviews were conducted with the principals and with the local ICT coordinators. These interviews were conducted between September 2015 and February 2016 and focused on the use of ICT in schools in a general sense, policies and routines related to ICT, the challenges and opportunities with ICT, infrastructural issues and professional development for principals and teachers. In total, the three interviews lasted almost three and a half hours.

Data has also been collected from teachers and students in the three upper secondary schools. At each school unit, teachers and students were interviewed and observations of the teaching situations were performed. These interviews and observations were conducted between October and November 2015. In school unit A, ten teachers and 13 pupils were interviewed and approximately 22 hours of teaching was observed. In school B, nine teachers and 15 pupils were interviewed and approximately 20 hours of teaching was observed. In school C, six teachers and 10 pupils were interviewed and approximately 9 hours of teaching was observed. In spring 2016 seven subject-oriented group interviews were conducted with in total 21 teachers.  

 

Expected outcomes/results

The analyses of the policy document identified the following ICT policy implementation strategies:

(a) the importance of strategies and plans for policy implementation,(b) local processes of policy enactment, (c) principals strategic leadership,(d) professional development for teachers, principals and management, (e) organized collegial learning and(f) cooperation and strategic alliances.

In this proposal, three of the strategies (c, d and e) are used to exemplify and discuss how they relate to existing practices in the three upper secondary schools as preconditions for ICT policy implementation. In the full paper, all six strategies will be discussed in relation to existing educational practices.

Regarding principals’ strategic leadership (c): existing practices show that at present the extent to which the principals act as strategic leaders is not clear when it comes to digitization and the use of ICT in the schools. The principals express that digitization is important, but it is not clear which strategies they deploy and how they operate as active strategic leaders in this regard. The ‘ICT issue’ competes with the many other issues that principals have to deal with and does not seem to be prioritized or generate any significant activities.

Regarding professional development for teachers and principals (d): there are several issues that teachers and principals are expected to learn about. Analyzing professional development regarding ICT at four levels – the municipal, school, collegial and individual level – suggests that teachers learn most about ICT and its use in teaching and learning at the individual and collegial level, usually as informal learning when two or more colleagues create an informal self-organized professional development activity around a specific issue, application or lesson. This kind of activity could be regarded as informal “collegial learning”. The strategy proposed for organized collegial learning (e) appears to be less frequent.

 

References

Author 1, Author 2, Author 3 & Colleague (20**). [details removed for peer review]. Published as an international book chapter. 

Ball, S. J., Maguire, M., & Braun, A. (2012). How schools do policy: Policy enactments in secondary schools. London & New York: Routledge.

Convery, A. (2009). The pedagogy of the impressed. How teachers become victims of technological visions. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(1), 25–41.

Egea, O. M. (2014). Neoliberalism, education and the integration of ICT in schools. Acritical reading. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 23(2), 267-283.

Edwards, D.B. (2012), “Researching international processes of education policy formation: conceptual and methodological considerations”. Research in Comparative and International Education, 7(2), 127-145.

 Hadjithoma-Garstka, C. (2011). The role of the principal’s leadership style in the implementation of ICT policy. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(2), 311–326.

 Hammond, M- (2014). Introducing ICT in schools in England: Rationale and consequences. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(2), 191–201,

 Howard, S. K. (2013). Risk-aversion: understanding teachers’ resistance to technology integration. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 22(3), 357–372.

 Jordan, K. (2011). Framing ICT, teachers and learners in Australian school education ICT policy. The Australian Educational Researcher, 38(4), 417-431.

 McGarr, O. (2009). The development of ICT across the curriculum in Irish schools: A historical perspective. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(6), 1094–1108.

 Miles, M.B., Huberman, A.M., & Saldaña, J. (2014). Qualitative data analysis: a methods sourcebook. (3. ed.) Los Angeles: Sage.

 Lim, M. H. (2015). How Singapore teachers in a pioneer ‘School of the Future’ context ‘deal with’ the process of integrating information and communication technology into the school curriculum. The Australian Educational Researcher, 42, 69-96.

 Lindensjö, B., & Lundgren, U. P. (2000). Utbildningsreformer och politisk styrning [Educational reform and political control]. Stockholm: HLS förlag.

Tondeur, J., van Braak, J., & Valcke, M. (2007). Curricula and the use of ICT in education: Two worlds apart? British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(6), 962–976.

Vanderlinde, R., van Braak, J. & Dexter, S. (2012). ICT policy planning in a context of curriculum reform: Disentanglement of ICT policy domains and artifacts. Computers & Education, 58, 1339-1350.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
ICT, implementation strategies, upper secondary school, policy
National Category
Educational Sciences Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25227OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25227DiVA: diva2:1141061
Conference
The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), 22-25 August 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Projects
Making IT Happen
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2014-1762
Available from: 2017-09-13 Created: 2017-09-13 Last updated: 2017-09-13

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