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the Italian Strategy for Digital Schools
Review of
the Italian Strategy
for Digital Schools
Francesco Avvisati, Sara Hennessy,
Robert B. Kozma and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin
Centre for Educational Research and Innovation
Review of
the Italian Strategy
for Digital Schools
Francesco Avvisati, Sara Hennessy,
Robert B. Kozma and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin
.
OECD DIRECTORATE FOR EDUCATION
OECD EDUCATION WORKING PAPERS SERIES
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[email protected]workingpapers
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Cover illustration: Dennis Hill, fontplay.com.
Copyright OECD 2013
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
5
Table of Contents
Abstract......................................................................................................................................................... 9
Résumé......................................................................................................................................................... 9
Acknowledgements.................................................................................................................................... 10
Executive Summary.................................................................................................................................... 11
The Italian National Plan for Digital Education........................................................................................ 15
Past initiatives on ICT in education....................................................................................................... 15
The National Plan for Digital Schools.................................................................................................... 16
Objectives......................................................................................................................................... 16
Budget............................................................................................................................................. 17
[email protected] 2.0 (class 2.0)......................................................................................................................... 19
Scuol@ 2.0 (school 2.0)....................................................................................................................... 21
Editoria digitale and Impres@ Scuola.................................................................................................... 22
Distance learning initiatives................................................................................................................. 23
Scale up of the National Plan for Digital Schools.................................................................................... 23
Other national initiatives for ICT in education....................................................................................... 24
School information systems and school cloud....................................................................................... 24
The e-textbooks law........................................................................................................................... 24
Support for business R&D: smart cities and communities and social innovation......................................... 25
An assessment of the Italian National Plan for Digital Education......................................................... 27
Mainstreaming ICT use in schools and improving digital skills............................................................. 27
A well-grounded objective................................................................................................................... 27
Strengths.......................................................................................................................................... 29
Recommendations to speed up the use of ICT in schools................................................................... 31
Make even more with severe budget constraints.................................................................................... 34
Support the expansion and distribution of digital resources through resource banks for teachers................ 35
Invest in professional development of teachers (and school principals)..................................................... 37
Monitoring and evaluation................................................................................................................... 40
Recommendations for the plan to catalyse systemic change and pedagogical innovation................. 40
Innovation Laboratory Network............................................................................................................ 40
Create the conditions for system learning............................................................................................. 45
Design a supportive policy environment for the Plan............................................................................ 47
Align evaluation and assessment frameworks with the desired pedagogical change................................... 47
Build an integrated ICT infrastructure and vision.................................................................................... 49
Support innovation and knowledge sharing........................................................................................... 51
Concluding remarks.............................................................................................................................. 54
Notes..................................................................................................................................................... 54
References............................................................................................................................................. 55
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
ANNEX A: Learning from international experiences with interactive whiteboards............................. 59
Introduction........................................................................................................................................... 59
Exploiting the interactive whiteboard to support teaching and learning............................................... 59
Policy initiatives in the United Kingdom and the spread of IWBs worldwide........................................ 62
Lessons learned from implementing large-scale IWB programmes...................................................... 64
Impact of IWBs on pupil outcomes and classroom pedagogies............................................................... 65
Organisational conditions for successful integration of IWBs in schools.................................................... 68
Characteristics of successful approaches to professional development.................................................... 69
A cost-benefit analysis of IWB programmes......................................................................................... 75
Conclusion............................................................................................................................................. 76
Notes..................................................................................................................................................... 77
References............................................................................................................................................. 77
ANNEX B: The transformative impact of ICT policies in education....................................................... 83
Introduction........................................................................................................................................... 83
Case studies.......................................................................................................................................... 84
Selection of Countries, Analytic Approach and Limitations...................................................................... 84
France.............................................................................................................................................. 86
Norway............................................................................................................................................. 87
Korea 2.............................................................................................................................................. 88
Cross-national patterns......................................................................................................................... 89
Lessons learned.................................................................................................................................... 89
Lesson 1: Align strategic goals of ICT policies with implementation initiatives............................................ 89
Lesson 2: ICT policies can create teacher demand rather than resistance................................................. 90
Lesson 3: Curriculum reform can be used to align teachers’ practices with ICT policies............................ 91
Lesson 4: Strive for phased, systemic change....................................................................................... 92
Concluding remarks.............................................................................................................................. 93
Notes..................................................................................................................................................... 93
References............................................................................................................................................. 94
ANNEX C: Comparative indicators of ICT use in Italian schools........................................................... 97
ANNEX D: Visit Programme (5-7 November 2012)................................................................................. 105
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Tables
Table 1. Allocation of centrally administered funds for the National Plan for Digital Schools............... 17
Table 2. The Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale and related initiatives..................................................... 18
Table 3. Number of interactive whiteboards in Italy.............................................................................. 19
Table 4. Schools involved in the interactive whiteboard action: 2008-2011......................................... 19
Table A.1. Possible actions with IWBs and examples of use in classroom activities............................ 61
Table B.1. Comparison of Italy, France, Norway and Korea on various indicators............................... 85
Table C.1. Comparative indicators on country ICT infrastructure AN..................................................... 97
Table C.2. Comparative indicators on school ICT infrastructure........................................................... 98
Table C.3. Comparative indicators on computer use in schools........................................................... 99
Table C.4. Comparative indicators on teachers’ ICT skills and professional development................ 101
Table C.5. Comparative indicators on digital skills and ICT familiarity................................................ 102
Table C.6. Average performance in international assessments of learning outcomes........................ 103
Figures
Figure 1. Percentage of students in schools of different levels of ICT intensity.................................... 32
Figure A.1. Classroom penetration of IWBs across the world............................................................... 63
Boxes
Box 1. The aims of the National Plan for Digital Schools...................................................................... 16
Box 2. Teacher professional development in the National Plan for Digital Schools.............................. 20
Box 3. The impact of [email protected] 2.0 on student outcomes in lower secondary schools........................... 21
Box 4. The Italian Digital Agenda consultation...................................................................................... 23
Box 5. Private sector R&D projects for smart education....................................................................... 25
Box 6. Findings from a European survey of ICT in schools.................................................................. 28
Box 7. Recommendations for the Plan to mainstream the use of ICT in schools................................. 30
Box 8. Public-private partnerships for the development of quality textbooks...................................... 35
Box 9. International examples of web platforms of resources for teachers.......................................... 37
Box 10. Fellowships for teacher champions......................................................................................... 39
Box 11. Recommendations for the plan to catalyse systemic change and pedagogical innovation.... 41
Box 12. Organisational routines for school-wide learning..................................................................... 43
Box 13. The English ICT Test-bed initiative (2002-2006)....................................................................... 44
Box 14. Sample-based student assessments in Australia and New Zealand....................................... 49
Box 15. Awards for innovative teachers................................................................................................ 52
Box 16. Challenge prizes....................................................................................................................... 53
Box A.1. A dialogic pedagogy for using the IWB more effectively........................................................ 62
Box A.2. Existing resources for a collaborative inquiry approach to professional
development for IWB integration............................................................................................. 74
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
ABSTRACT
9
Abstract
The Italian Ministry of Education launched in 2007 a National Plan for Digital Schools (Piano Nazionale
Scuola Digitale) to mainstream Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Italian classrooms and use
technology as a catalyser of innovation in Italian education, hopefully conducing to new teaching practices,
new models of school organisation, new products and tools to support quality teaching. The Italian Ministry
of Education, Universities and Research asked the OECD to review its Plan from an international perspective
and to suggest improvements.
The small budget of the Plan has limited the effectiveness of its diverse initiatives. In its current design,
a significant rise of the budget of the plan through public or private sources is a necessary condition for its
success. Given current budgetary constraints, a significant budget increase may be difficult, and the report
proposes to revise some features of the Plan in order to achieve two objectives: 1) speed up the uptake of
ICT in Italian schools and classrooms; 2) create an Innovation Laboratory Network of test bed schools piloting and inventing new pedagogic and organisational practices to improve Italian education, by refocusing the
innovation projects on the school 2.0 (scuol@ 2.0) initiative.
Résumé
En Italie, le Ministère de l’Éducation a initié en 2007 un Plan National pour l’École Numérique (Piano
Nazionale Scuola Digitale), avec comme objectifs de diffuser les technologies de l’information et de la
communication (TIC) dans les classes d’école italiennes et d’utiliser la technologie comme un catalyseur
d’innovation dans l’éducation italienne, conduisant à l’adoption de nouvelles pratiques pédagogiques, de
nouveaux modèles d’organisation scolaire, ainsi qu’au développement de nouveaux produits et outils pour
soutenir un enseignement de qualité. Le Ministère italien de l’Éducation, des Universités et de la Recherche
a demandé à l’OCDE d’examiner son Plan dans une perspective internationale et de faire des suggestions
pour son amélioration.
Le budget modeste du Plan a limité l’efficacité de ses diverses initiatives. Dans son design actuel, une
augmentation significative de son budget, à travers des sources publiques ou privées, est une condition
nécessaire à son succès. Étant donné les contraintes budgétaires actuelles, une augmentation importante
du budget peut paraître difficile, et le rapport propose de réviser certains aspects du Plan afin d’atteindre
deux objectifs : 1) accélérer l’adoption des TIC dans les écoles et salles de classe italiennes ; 2) créer un
Laboratoire d’Innovation en Réseau constitué d’écoles expérimentales qui pilotent et inventent de nouvelles
pratiques pédagogiques et organisationnelles pour améliorer l’éducation italienne, en recentrant les projets
d’innovation du Plan sur son initiative école 2.0 (scuol@ 2.0).
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Acknowledgements
This review of Italy’s National Plan for Digital Schools was commissioned by the Italian Ministry of
Education, Universities and Research. The Ministry asked the OECD to review its Plan from an international
perspective and to suggest improvements.
The review team was composed of Francesco Avvisati, Analyst at the OECD Directorate for Education
and Skills; Sara Hennessy, Senior Lecturer in Teacher Development and Pedagogical Innovation at Cambridge
University, United Kingdom; Robert B. Kozma, International Consultant, United States; and Stéphan VincentLancrin, Senior Analyst at the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, who co-ordinated the review and
acted as a rapporteur for the review team.
The report reflects the views of the review team, who collectively endorses its analyses and recommendations. Francesco Avvisati and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin drafted the main text of the report based
on the diagnosis and recommendations developed by the whole review team. Sara Hennessy and Laura
London prepared a background paper on the use of interactive whiteboards and Robert B. Kozma, a paper
on international ICT policies. Both papers informed the review and are annexed to the report. Francesco
Avvisati coordinated the review visit and was the main liaison officer with the Italian authorities. At the
OECD, Florence Wojtasinski is thankfully acknowledged for her assistance on the project. Michele Rimini
and Gwénaël Jacotin, consultants at the OECD, helped to compile the statistical annex.
The review benefited from the advice from Paulo Santiago and Simon Field, Senior Analysts at the
OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, from the continuous support of Dirk Van Damme, Head of the
Innovation and Measuring Progress division as well as of Barbara Ischinger and Andreas Schleicher, Director
and Deputy Director for Education and Skills, respectively, and Richard Yelland, Head of the Policy Advice
and Implementation division
In Italy, minister Francesco Profumo initiated the review, which was coordinated by Giovanni Biondi,
Head of the department for planning at the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. Antonella
Tozza, Anna Ficarella and Sara Zoccoli coordinated the review visit. In Florence, the review visit was coordinated by Giuseppina Cannella and Federica Toci. We are very thankful to the interpreters, Silvia Martuscelli,
Ennia Cucchiarelli (Rome) and Maria Fitzgibbon (Florence), who contributed to the quality of the exchanges
with stakeholders. Jessica Laganà, Stefano Catani and Carla Di Paola, at the permanent delegation of
Italy to the OECD, Andrea Maccarini, member of the CERI Governing Board, and Francesca Brotto, at the
Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, are gratefully acknowledged for their support at various
stages of the review.
During the review visit, the team held discussions with a wide range of education stakeholders and visited three schools. The review team wishes to record its grateful appreciation to the many people who gave
time from their busy schedules to inform the review team of their views, experiences and knowledge. The
name of persons and institutions visited is presented in Annex D.
The report uses the conceptual framework of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI)
project entitled Innovation Strategy for Education and Training (www.oecd.org/edu/innovation).
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
11
Executive Summary
Italy lags behind most OECD countries when it comes to equipment and usage of information and communication technology (ICT) in school. For example, in 2011, only 30% of Italian students in 8th grade used
ICT as a regular instruction tool in science classes, compared to 48% on average in an OECD country.
A well-designed Plan with big budget
constraints
In this context, the Ministry of Education launched in 2007 a National Plan for Digital Schools (Piano
Nazionale Scuola Digitale) to mainstream ICT in Italian classrooms and use technology as a catalyser of
innovation in Italian education, hopefully conducing to new teaching practices, new models of school organisation, new products and tools to support quality teaching. The national plan includes four initiatives: a
fund to equip classrooms with interactive whiteboards (Piano LIM), and three test bed projects in which pilot
schools, selected through open competitions, experiment ICT solutions ([email protected] 2.0, scuol@ 2.0, Editoria
digitale scolastica).
The Plan uses its very modest funding to implement a convincing and ambitious vision of innovation at
the margin. It rightly concentrates on schools and teachers eager to initiate change, favours tools that are
not disruptive to current teaching practices, tries to create a demand that can engage other stakeholders
to contribute to the plan, focuses on pedagogic uses of technology rather than merely on equipment, and
addresses the importance of professional development and of expanding the availability of digital pedagogic
resources. It exploits synergies with other ICT policies and has successfully involved regions in its implementation and scale up strategy.
However, the small budget of the Plan has limited the effectiveness of its diverse initiatives. Because of
a lack of budget rather than insufficient school or teacher demand, ICT equipment is entering Italian classes
rather slowly. The Plan has been allocated EUR 30 million per year for 4 years, that is, less than 0.1% of
Italy’s public budget for schooling (or less than EUR 5 per student in primary and secondary education per
year). In its current design, a significant rise of the budget of the plan through public or private sources is a
necessary condition for its success.
Given current budgetary constraints, a significant budget increase may be difficult, and the report proposes to revise some features of the Plan in order to achieve two objectives: 1) speed up the uptake of ICT
in Italian schools and classrooms; 2) create an Innovation Laboratory Network of test bed schools piloting
and inventing new pedagogic and organisational practices to improve Italian education, by refocusing the
innovation projects on the scuol@ 2.0 initiative.
Speed up the uptake of ICT in Italian schools
and classrooms
As of 2013, the Piano LIM is the main measure supporting the equipment of classrooms with ICT, namely interactive whiteboards. (A new law, the Crescita 2.0 decree, may lead to the diffusion of e-readers and
tablets from 2014-15 on.) A big limitation of the Piano LIM so far lies in its slow pace. In 2012, 22% of Italian
classrooms (at most) were equipped with interactive whiteboards – an increase by 17 percentage points
since 2010. But at the current pace, it would take over 10 years to equip 80% of Italian classrooms – that is,
to reach the current level of equipment of the United Kingdom. This has led to a patchy presence of equipment within Italian schools that creates discontinuities in teachers’ experience of ICT in teaching, limits their
opportunities for learning and thus reduces their ability to unleash the full pedagogic potential of technology.
It is crucial to speed up the equipment process so that ICT enters most classrooms and that the use of
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
12
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
ICT leads to peer and informal learning among teachers. This could be done in two ways: 1) use matched
funding schemes to support school equipment: this would incentivise schools and regions to look for extra
funding to equip classrooms; 2) open the plan to other technologies than interactive whiteboards and incentivise schools to develop school-wide equipment plans: for example, visualisers and projectors, in combination with a classroom computer, may offer most of the pedagogic functionalities of interactive whiteboards
actually used by teachers at a lower cost.
The mainstreaming of ICT in school also depends on teachers’ learning and training opportunities as well
as on the availability of a sufficient number of digital pedagogic resources. As the plan reaches beyond the
early adopters, teachers will need more and more support to integrate the use of technology in their teaching
practice. Otherwise the ICT equipment may not be used.
The national plan currently includes professional development provisions, but these provisions do not
meet the scale of actual professional development needs. Speeding up the equipment process would multiply opportunities for individual and organisational learning and address some of these needs. Given current
budget constraints, the professional development provisions of the Piano LIM could be changed so that
schools can choose between the current mandatory formal training of three teachers and a school-wide
entitlement to training that can be used more flexibly on a professional development project tailored to local
needs (with some accountability).
Such a school entitlement would allow schools to fund the participation of individual teachers in externally organised programmes, as is currently the case, but also give them the flexibility to hire external trainers
for whole-school training and to fund teaching release time for their most skilled teachers to animate regular
local on-demand workshops. Year-round, school-based training is generally considered as the most effective
form of professional development for introducing new teaching practices as it encourages informal sharing
among teachers.
Finally, while continuing to incentivise publishers to develop digital resources, Italy should take steps to
develop quickly a national bank of digital pedagogic resources. To this effect, the Ministry of education could
commission the translation and adaptation of a selected number of high quality open educational resources
available in other languages. It could also support the development of a virtual exchange platform where
teachers can post their own open educational resources as well as share their experience about using specific digital devices and resources for teaching and learning.
Refocus the innovation projects on scuol@ 2.0
to create an Innovation Laboratory Network of
test bed schools
The potential of technology for transforming education goes well beyond equipping each classroom with
an interactive whiteboard or other comparable technology. Two initiatives of the national plan give selected
teachers and schools the possibility to pilot a variety of pedagogic uses of ICT and reinvent teaching and
learning in a technology-rich environment: [email protected] 2.0 grants a lump sum for one classroom within a school,
and scuol@ 2.0, for the entire school. These initiatives have two objectives: showcase the power of educational technology and make it even more desirable; pilot new schooling models for the Italian education
system.
Given current budgetary constraints, we suggest to concentrate resources on the scuol@ 2.0 initiative,
to redesign it around school networks (distretti [email protected] 2.0), and to discontinue the [email protected] 2.0 initiative.
Redesigning the initiative as a competitive grant programme requiring matched funding and partnerships
could also allow attracting additional budget.
The school-wide approach of scuol@ 2.0 is more conducive to teachers’ individual learning as they can
teach with ICT in all their classes and thus become more experimented; it also generates more peer learning
as all school teachers are involved in the school project. Teachers are thus more likely to share their ideas,
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
13
resources, and experiences, to support one another, to learn from their colleagues and design appropriate
solutions as new issues arise. In this context, formal training could also be provided more easily and cheaply,
and schools can develop or test new organisational routines (e.g. lesson study).
Ideally, the test bed schools should be clustered at the local level and be part of a national network. This
would enhance local opportunities for learning and sharing across schools and give students more continuity in their ICT-enhanced learning experience. Schools participating in the initiative should also be part of a
national network, that is, a broader community of practice.
The school clusters selected as pilots should be used as test beds to research and develop solutions for
the remaining schools. Prototypes of new resources (such as digital textbooks or digital assessment tools),
new training formats, new forms of work organisation or new assessment frameworks could be piloted in
these schools. To this end, the involvement of external partners should be encouraged in the application
process, whether government agencies or private-sector stakeholders.
Much of this effort would be vain if it were not leading to learn, at the system level, what works among
the variety of local solutions. Italy should thus ensure that a rich documentation and information system is in
place in pilot schools from the onset, fund research on these schools and monitor their progress and varied
outcomes. For example, funding doctoral scholarships and post-doctoral positions for research projects
related to the National Plan for Digital Schools could generate useful evidence for policy-making, and plant
the seeds of a fruitful dialogue between educational research and policy.
A contribution to Italy’s Digital Agenda
Italy’s whole-of-government “Digital Agenda” identified digital solutions as a major source of government savings and pointed to the digital economy as a strategic sector to revitalize Italy’s fragile growth. As a
consequence, ICT is being introduced massively in school administration. An integration of ICT solutions for
administrative and pedagogic purposes may be the next step for Italy’s national plan for digital education.
In the years to come, speeding up the pedagogic uptake of ICT in Italian classrooms and developing
the next-generation pedagogies in clusters of test bed schools would constitute an important contribution of
Italy’s education system to its digital agenda. And a first step to equipping students with skills for the digital
economy.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
THE ITALIAN NATIONAL PLAN FOR DIGITAL EDUCATION
15
The Italian National Plan for Digital Education
The current national policy for large-scale introduction of ICT in all schools, Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale,
was launched in 2007. The current policy marks a clear discontinuity with previous national efforts to introduce
ICT in schools: it aims at introducing the use of ICT equipment directly in the standard, everyday classroom,
rather than in separated computer labs that have to be booked in advance; and it transcends disciplinary
boundaries by seeking ICT adoption in all subject fields and at all levels of education (except tertiary education).
Past initiatives on ICT in education
A brief look at past initiatives confirms this discontinuity. The first national plan for ICT in education dates
back to 1985: the “National plan for Informatics” (1985) was mainly a professional development programme
that targeted exclusively teachers of mathematics and sciences in upper secondary schools and seeked to
update their content knowledge to include elements of informatics1. In the early 1990s, the “Programme for
the Development of Educational Technologies” offered support to all schools to create computer labs and
to invest in the professional development of all teachers. In 2000, a major professional development programme (“For TIC”) targeted 180 000 teachers of all disciplines (i.e. more than one in five teachers in Italy)
(Schietroma, 2011). Starting in 2007, this programme was opened again to science and technology teachers
of all school levels by the “National Agency for the Development of School Autonomy” (Agenzia Nazionale per
lo Sviluppo dell’Autonomia Scolastica, ANSAS, renamed Istituto Nazionale di Documentazione, Innovazione
e Ricerca Educativa, INDIRE, in 2012) (ANSAS, 2012).
Along with these national initiatives, local authorities (regions, provinces and communes) and sometimes
single schools have led their own policies in the field of ICT for education. In Italy, school buildings are built
and maintained under the responsibility of local governments (provinces for upper secondary schools, and
municipalities for primary and lower secondary schools): some communes and provinces made broadband
access and cabling a priority in the context of school renovation or building projects. Recent reforms have
transferred much planning responsibility for education from the central government to regions. Moreover,
schools are granted significant administrative autonomy, and can raise funds from private non-profit organisations or from local authorities to improve their infrastructure. Teachers value their pedagogical freedom, a
constitutional principle in Italy. The central government clearly is not an isolated actor in this field.
This governance structure implies that by 2007, some schools, especially in the richer areas of the country, had already been equipped with ICT infrastructure beyond the standard computer labs, as survey data
show (see statistical annex); and some teachers had started embedding ICT in their instruction tools. Starting
in 2005, for instance, the regional school office (Ufficio Scolastico Regionale) of the Lombardy region (the local branch of the ministry of education) forged a partnership with vendors and raised funds to offer grants of
EUR 1000 to schools to equip their classrooms with interactive whiteboards (IWBs). In 2006, the local school
office in Bologna equipped 108 classrooms with IWBs and clickers (Parigi, 2010).
Starting in 2007, European regional structural funds became available in the four Southern regions with
the lowest per capita income (Calabria, Campania, Puglia, Sicilia) for investments in teachers’ professional
development and in school improvement projects. The implementation programme (Programma Operativo
Nazionale) is administered centrally and was therefore often used to pilot the actions of the National Plan for
Digital Schools. The Digiscuola initiative, for instance, involved 3 500 teachers of mathematics and Italian
at upper secondary level over one year in 2007; their classes were equipped with IWBs, and teachers participated in a blended learning programme administered by ANSAS, with a significant project-based component. In Digiscuola, in the absence of recommendations from the Ministry, many schools chose to install
IWBs in computer labs or dedicated rooms. It clearly emerged, however, that placing IWBs inside the classroom was a key choice influencing its use (Parigi, 2010). In the “National Plan for Digital Schools”, therefore,
it was strongly recommended that all technological equipment be placed in normal classrooms.
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THE ITALIAN NATIONAL PLAN FOR DIGITAL EDUCATION
The National Plan for Digital Schools
The National Plan for Digital Schools comprises one large-scale intervention (interactive whiteboards,
Piano LIM) and three pilot projects ([email protected] 2.0, scuol@ 2.0, Editoria digitale).
The national plan aims at embedding ICT in everyday class activities by making ICT equipment available
in classrooms rather than in separated computer labs (Schietroma, 2011). The plan encourages adoption of
educational technology on a voluntary basis. Only voluntary schools participate and, for the most intensive
interventions, schools have to elaborate and submit a project specifying the intended uses and objectives
of ICT to a call for tender. The interventions are rolled out gradually and progressively, partly in response to
scarce funding, but also to facilitate the evaluation and overcome resistance (“build a shared vision”).
Objectives
The National Plan for Digital Schools has two strategic aims.
The first set of objectives of the Italian plan is to introduce ICT as part of the daily tools of classroom
activities, in order to bring schools closer to society and to enhance the Italian population’s ICT skills and
digital literacy (Schietroma, 2011). In terms of student outcomes, the plan is expected to impact directly on
student engagement and ICT skills.
At a different level, the plan is also seen as a catalyser for innovation in education and specifically for the
renewal of teaching practices (this pedagogical change is sometimes framed as the move from teacher-centred to learner-centred instruction). By creating a technology shock in the school system, the government
expects to change the teaching culture, encouraging more personalised educational paths and promoting
more active learning, without interfering in any direct way with the constitutional “freedom of teaching” principle. In the end, this is expected to result in a more effective and equal education system, with improved
learning outcomes for all students (Schietroma, 2011; Eurypedia, 2012).
Box 1. The aims of the National Plan for Digital Schools
Recent agreements between the Ministry of Education and the Regions to scale up the national policy provide the
clearest enumeration of the strategic aims of the National Plan for Digital Schools.
The framework agreement lists, among more operational objectives, the following aims (art. 1):
a) To overcome the rift between the current modes of teaching and learning in schools and the language of
the digital world [...]: the school of the future must use innovative teaching practices in order to equip young
people with knowledge and competences that are demanded in the information and knowledge society [...].
b) To develop the use of technologies in teaching and learning activities in order to foster the development of
skills for the information and knowledge society.
All operational agreements with single regions then list the following aims (art. 2):
c) To modify the learning environment and adapt it to the needs of the information and communication society
[…];
d) To promote the use of digital contents in teaching and learning;
e) To foster a transformation of the organisational and pedagogical model, promoting more active roles for students in order to sustain the acquisition of competencies, and breaking the traditional organisation of space
and time in schools and at home.
Source: Conferenza Stato-Regioni, Accordo del 25 Luglio 2012 (repertorio atti n. 118/CSR), Regione Lazio and MIUR, Accordo
operativo del 18 settembre 2012.
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Budget
The initial funding for the national plan was decided with the b udget law for 2007 (Legge del 27 dicembre 2006 n. 296, art. 1 c. 6332). The budget law set apart EUR 30 million for each of the three following years
(2007, 2008, 2009) “to equip schools of all level and type with technological innovations to support teaching
and learning activities”. This budget has since been extended and complemented with regional funds.
For the four school years 2007-2011, the centrally funded actions within the National Plan for Digital
Schools amount to a budget of about EUR 120 million in total, or about EUR 30 million per year. This represents less than 0.1% of the yearly budget of the Ministry of Education for pre-primary, primary, lower- and
upper-secondary education (EUR 42 billion for 2011: Ragioneria Generale dello Stato, www.rgs.mef.gov.it).
The detail of this investment is given in Table 1. Investments funded with resources administered and
raised by schools directly from families, private non-profit organisations or local governments are not included.
Table 1. Allocation of centrally administered funds for the National Plan
for Digital Schools (2007-2011, euros)
Purchase of Hardware equipment
Piano LIM (IWB)
91 200 113
Classe 2.0
8 820 000
Scuola 2.0
1 598 704
Purchase of digital contents (not incl. Editoria Digitale)
5 442 381
Overheads: administration and communication activities
750 409
Formal training, tutoring and coaching of teachers
13 323 964
Total
121 135 571
Source: MIUR, personal communication.
Piano LIM - interactive whiteboards
Through the Scuola Digitale – IWB action (piano LIM), the Ministry equipped classrooms with a technological kit (personal computer and interactive whiteboard) and funded specific teacher training for teachers
of the corresponding class (at least three teachers per school had to be trained in the pedagogical use of interactive whiteboards, by participating in courses certified by INDIRE – see Box 2). It is estimated that, before
the beginning of the plan, the number of IWBs in Italian schools was approximately 4 000 (Parigi, 2010). Over
the four school-years 2008-2012, 35 1143 interactive whiteboards have been bought for Italian schools with
Ministry of Education funds, and 64 456 teachers have been trained in using them (Eurypedia, 2012). Table 3
below provides the detail by school level. The most recent census counted 69 813 IWBs in Italian schools
as of August 2013 (MIUR, 2013). Assuming that one IWB is in use by one class only, and that all interactive
whiteboards are still in use, this corresponds to 22% of the 322 134 classes. The number of IWBs requested
by schools in each application round has always exceeded the available funding; apart from certain technical
requirements (e.g. access to broadband), the order of priority is determined by the objective of equalising
existing differences across schools and regions (Schietroma, 2011).
The total expenditure on ICT equipment for this programme, between 2007 and 2011, was EUR 91.2 million (Table 1).
The Piano LIM relied on a procurement procedure whereby all schools, grouped in local consortia, had
to buy their kit through a central marketplace operated by CONSIP SpA, a state-owned company that acts
as the central provider of all the public administration.
Within the Piano LIM, the average price paid for an IWB is 1 216 EUR in 2010. The biggest market share
(39% in 2010) accrued to SmartBoard, followed by Interwrite (17%). The average price paid for a desktop PC
was EUR 368 in 2010; and for a notebook PC EUR 400. The average kit to equip a classroom cost therefore
about EUR 1 600 in 2010 (Abbondanza, 2011; Consip, 2011).
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Technological kits bought with Ministry of Education funds were distributed across all regions (except in
the autonomous and bilingual regions of Trentino Alto-Adige and Valle d’Aosta). In the involved regions, over
90% of lower and upper secondary schools, and 95% of primary schools, have been touched by this action
(Ferraris, 2011). The number of schools involved in each school year is given in Table 4.
Other related initatives
Initiatives in the Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale
aims
Table 2. The Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale and related initiatives
Introduce ICT as part of the
daily tools of
classroom activities
Piano LIM
Purchase of interactive
whiteboard (IWB) kits and
training of teachers in their
use.
start date: 2008
budget: EUR 104.5m (over
4-years; EUR 91.2m for
equipment and EUR 13.2m
for training).
penetration: about 35k
classrooms (10.9%)
equipped over 4 years,
64 456 teachers trained. The
total number of IWBs in Italy
is about 70k in 2012.
Experiment new models of school organisation and
of teaching
Support the development
of new products
[email protected] 2.0
Selected schools pilot their
project of ICT-rich learning
environment in one class
over 2-3 years.
start date: 2009 in lower
secondary schools, 2010 in
primary and upper secondary schools
budget: EUR 8.8m (30k
for each lower secondary
class, 15k for primary and
upper secondary class). Only
equipment purchases are
eligible; schools are encouraged to raise additional
resources
penetration: 416 classes
(0.1%) in 416 schools.
Editoria digitale scolastica
Highly equipped classes
act as test beds for the development of native digital
textbooks.
start date: 2012 (first call
for tender)
budget: EUR 3m (150k per
school), covering 2-year
licences for prototypes of
digital textbooks for specific subjects and grade
levels.
penetration: 20 classes in
20 schools. Each school
is a test bed for a different
textbook.
scuol@ 2.0
Same as [email protected]
2.0, but the project
and funding are not
restricted to a single
class.
start date: 2012
budget: EUR 3.5m
(250k for each
school). Only equipment purchases are
eligible; schools are
encouraged to raise
additional resources
penetration: 14
schools.
State-region agreements, signed in 2012 with 12
regions, extend the funding of [email protected] 2.0 and scuol@
2.0 initiatives to include more classes and schools.
Development of national and school information systems
Anagrafe Nazionale degli Studenti is a national longitudinal information system.
In 2012-13, all schools must phase out the use of paper records and equip themselves with school management
systems and electronic registries that are able to exchange information with Anagrafe directly.
Phasing out of paper-only textbooks
Starting with school-year 2014-15 schools can no longer adopt paper-only textbooks. At the request of families,
schools ensure that ICT devices to access digital contents are available. Families contribute to costs, up to a cap
amount fixed by law.
Smart cities
Call for tender for business-led consortia to support the development of new products and services for smart cities.
Smart education is one eligible area of application (portable devices for digital textbooks, learning management
systems, ...)
It can be estimated that, by the end of 2010, and excluding pre-primary classrooms, 5% of all Italian
classrooms had been equipped with interactive whiteboards; by August 2012, the number had increased to
22%. It is moreover possible that schools share the same kit across classes, so that the above figure constitutes a lower bound for exposure: some schools purchased “mobile kits” (mobile IWB and laptop), or share
classrooms between different classes. Although traditionally, each classroom is used by a single class group,
and pupils stay with the same class group throughout the day and school year, schools are free to adopt
a different organisation of their space. Of all IWBs purchased with funds from the “Piano LIM”, 10.6% are
mobile kits, and 29.1% are located in dedicated labs (science, music or arts labs; multimedia rooms; etc.).
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Table 3. Number of interactive whiteboards in Italy
Total amount
Ministry of education funds (Piano LIM)
(including other private
and public funds)
Schools
School year School year School year
08/09
09/10
10/11
School year
11/12
Total
08-12
6 454
5 796
12 250
Primary level
Lower secondary level
8 939
Upper secondary level
Total
8 000
16 939
2 944
8 939
9 398
as of
August 2012
8 000
2 981
5 925
8 777
35 114
69 813
Source: Eurypedia (2012), MIUR (2013).
Table 4. Schools involved in the interactive whiteboard action: 2008-2011
Level
Primary level
Lower secondary level
Upper secondary level
School years
Number of schools involved
2009-2010
5 157
2010-2011
5 221
2008-2009
3 732
2010-2011
3 786
2009-2010
2 499
2010-2011
2 420
Source: Eurypedia (2012)
[email protected] 2.0 (class 2.0)
The programme [email protected] 2.0 started in 2009 for lower secondary schools, and in 2010 for primary and
upper secondary schools. The goal of this initiative is to pilot IT-rich learning environments that radically innovate on the traditional organisation of teaching and learning, and thereby to identify effective approaches
to embedding ICT in pedagogy and particularly in whole-class activities.
In Italian schools, the class is a very strong organisational unit. The class group of peers remains the
same throughout the day and over an entire school cycle; class teachers (the “class council”) similarly follow
the class over an entire school cycle, and the class often stays in the same physical classroom not only for
all lessons, but for many years. It is therefore not unusual to introduce experimental programmes at the class
level in Italy.
The first public notice of this programme was issued in April 2009 and concerned only lower secondary
schools. It was announced that selected classes would receive funding of EUR 30 000 for each selected
class. This initial endowment was to be spent on capital equipment only (hardware, software, and furniture),
and for a single class (room) of sixth grade (the first year of lower secondary school).
To compete for the funding, schools had to submit an “idea 2.0”, i.e. a pedagogical project spanning
the three years of lower secondary school (from sixth to eight grade) to embed ICT technologies in everyday
teaching. Only equipment mentioned in the class project was eligible for funding; indirect costs (such as
those for teacher training, non-teaching personnel) and consumables were not eligible for this funding and
had to be covered by ordinary funds administered by the school.
Winning schools (there could be only one class per school in the programme) were selected by a regional
jury. Selected classes were to be distributed over the entire country (Valle d’Aosta and Trentino Alto-Adige
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are excluded), with 6 classes in the 10 less populated regions and 12 in the 8 biggest regions, for a total of
156 classes and a direct cost for the central budget of EUR 4.68 million.
The selection criteria mentioned in the public notice were: the quality of the class project (idea 2.0); past
experience with ICT projects, teacher preparation in the use of ICT, availability of broadband connectivity,
and the existence of additional funds to support the initiative. In the Lazio region (the region including Rome),
a 5-member jury was set up to select classes: four members were internal to the administration, and one
scientific expert from the “National Research Council” (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR) completed
the panel. To select the classes, out of a maximum of twenty points, nine points were given for the amount
of past experience in ICT use by class teachers; eight points for the alignment between the project idea and
these past experiences; and three points for the commitment of additional funding sources to the project.
Box 2. Teacher professional development in the National Plan for Digital Schools
INDIRE, the national board for educational research and teacher development, supports all initiatives in the digital
school plan with dedicated training offers and resources for self-training. INDIRE (formerly known as ANSAS) develops
content for teachers’ professional development “with the aim of stimulating innovation in teaching and learning, of
bridging the distinction between formal, non formal and informal learning environments, and, in a lifelong learning perspective, of reducing the distance between pedagogical practices and everyday life” (ANSAS 2012; own translation).
INDIRE has a rich resource bank for professional development related to the use of ICT in schools, including over
1 400 text or multimedia resources (of which over 10 hours of video tutorials), many of which introduce subject-specific uses of ICT. Training is often in blended (face-to-face and online) mode, combining preparatory face-to-face
sessions with online activities and materials that are specific to subjects and grade-levels and linked to curricular
contents and distance tutoring.
Within the National Plan for Digital Schools, INDIRE was mainly responsible for training teachers in the pedagogical use of interactive whiteboards. The training consisted of 20 hours of face-to-face training and 40 hours of online
training. The training system is based on a blended model that includes face-to-face meetings and online activities
performed on an e-learning environment built on constructivist instructional design principles. Trainees-teachers are
divided in groups of 20 to 25, sharing an online virtual classroom and supported by an e-tutor. The e-tutor meets the
group of teachers in the face-to-face meetings and supports and moderates the online activities administrating the
virtual classroom collaborative tools. As of 2012, 64 456 teachers participated in this training, or about two teachers
for each interactive whiteboard purchased through the Piano LIM.
Starting from school-year 2012-2013, INDIRE enriched its training offer with the new DIDATEC training. DIDATEC
supports teachers in integrating ICT in subject pedagogy, and will be initially offered at base and advanced level in
four southern regions (Campania, Calabria, Puglia, Sicilia). These regions are part of the “Programma Formativo Nazionale 2007-2013” that is supported by regional cohesion funds from the European Union. The aim of the DIDATEC
training is to strengthen ICT skills among teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning (ANSAS 2012).
In September 2010, a similar public notice was issued for primary and upper secondary schools. Funding
was then reduced to EUR 15 000 for each class. The number of classes concerned was 124 primary classes
(with projects spanning three years from third grade to fifth grade) and 136 upper secondary classes (with
projects spanning two years only, from ninth grade to tenth grade4).
In total, over 4 000 schools have developed their “idea 2.0” and applied for funding under this scheme.5
This corresponds to approximately one in seven state schools (in 2009-2010, there were 28 792 state schools
in Italy at primary or secondary level [MIUR, 2011c]).
The selected schools benefit from operational support by the regional school office (Ufficio scolastico
regionale) and by the coordinating agency ANSAS-INDIRE (Agenzia Nazionale per lo Sviluppo dell’Autonomia
Scolastica). Each regional cluster of schools involved is also linked to a local university for support in integrating ICT in pedagogy, although the intensity of interactions between schools and university has varied greatly.
In total, there are 416 classes in the programme (i.e. 0.13% of all classes); the direct cost for central budget
is EUR 8.82 million (see Table 1). This cost does not include the administrative costs of the programme, costs
supported by other agencies (e.g. ANSAS-INDIRE) and institutions (e.g. local universities) involved, costs for
teacher training and school-wide infrastructural investments supported by schools or local government bodies.
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The intermediate report from the external monitoring and evaluation team (IRVAPP, 2012) gives an idea
of the diversity of school projects that have been funded within this action in lower secondary classes. This
information is not available for the other levels involved in the [email protected] 2.0 initiative.
Box 3. The impact of [email protected] 2.0 on student outcomes in lower secondary schools
In November 2009, after the selection of schools but before the class projects started being implemented, the
Ministry of Education invited two private foundations (Fondazione per la Scuola San Paolo, Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli) to conduct an external monitoring and impact evaluation of the intervention. The costs of this evaluation are
entirely borne by the foundations, and the final report is expected in 2013.
Regarding the impact of this initiative on learning outcomes, the main indicator will be the growth in test scores,
between entry tests and exit exams in middle school, compared to control classes from the same school. The evaluation design indeed allows for quasi-experimental comparisons, in that each school had to nominate a parallel class
as the “control class” for the evaluation.
Preliminary findings, from teacher self-assessment questionnaires, indicate that most teachers involved in the
programme adhere to it. Almost all teachers describe the pedagogical experience as different from that of previous
years; most teachers cite positive changes when prompted to motivate this answer. Overall, by the end of the second year of the experiment, teachers are “fully” or “fairly” satisfied with the observed change in terms of student
engagement and motivation (over 90%), and effort (64.7%) that they attribute to the use of technologies.
Many teachers however identify certain limits of the programme: the need for further professional development,
the need for support staff, and the lack of economic incentives for the teachers involved in the programme. Certain teachers also lament the scarce involvement of other bodies involved in the project, such as universities and
ANSAS-INDIRE, while the horizontal collaboration with other experimental classes was cited as a positive aspect.
Source : IRVAPP, 2012.
The specific objectives mentioned in the selected class projects at lower secondary level are manifold;
often cited are a shift to innovative teaching practices (particularly collaborative practices and more personalised teaching), digital literacy, and students’ transversal skills (self-awareness; communication, collaboration, organisation and problem-solving skills). Many projects also put emphasis on engaging students in active citizenship and social life; innovative teaching practices are seen as instrumental for enhancing student
interest for the various subject (IRVAPP, 2012).
The endowment was spent on the purchase of different combinations of IT equipment, although in most
cases the kit comprised personal computers or tablets (123 classes out of 141 respondents) and an interactive whiteboard (104 classes) and/or a projector (55 classes). In most cases, there is a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio for
pupils to laptops or tablets; but only rarely are pupils allowed to take them home. This class kit was frequently supplemented with digital cameras, camcorders, and network connectivity. A majority of schools (58.9%)
shares some of the equipment with non-experimental classes as well; and some money has also been spent
on related furniture (curtains, lockers, etc) (IRVAPP, 2012).
On average, students in experimental classes use the ICT equipment for two to three hours per day and
almost every day. In almost all classes, computers are also used for class tests, and in two thirds of cases
computer-based tests have replaced, at least in part, more traditional “paper and pencil” tests (IRVAPP, 2012).
The first year of the programme, most of the involved lower secondary schools have experienced delays in the
programme start. The new equipment bought under this programme was used for the first time in January 2010
for some classes, but by the end of sixth grade (June 2010) still only half of the classes had been equipped. Most
of the remaining classes were equipped over the summer preceding seventh grade (IRVAPP, 2012).
Scuol@ 2.0 (school 2.0)
The scuol@ 2.0 programme started in 2011, with many of the same objectives as the [email protected] 2.0 programme. The main difference is that scuol@ 2.0 involves entire schools, rather than single classes. Following
the publication of a “pact for 2.0 schools”, schools were invited to submit their application to receive funding from the ministry according to their previous involvement in ICT related projects, and to their interest in
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experimenting with radical new models of ICT-enhanced schooling. In lower secondary schools, priority was
given to schools with a [email protected] 2.0 in place. Schools had to ensure adequate support by local governments
and seek additional funds (MIUR 2011a).
This call for interest raised over 200 demands for participation; some 100 schools were invited in
May 2011 to an international seminar on “Implementing 21st century ways of learning and schooling” in
Rome, in collaboration with European Schoolnet (MIUR 2011b). The three panels at this conference suggested three axes of ICT-based innovation in schools that are explored within this programme: supporting
innovative teaching/learning methods; supporting innovative ways to organize school time and space as
well as personalized teaching; supporting schools in building closer relationships with families and the local
community.
In the 2012-2013 school year, 14 schools have entered this programme. An additional 15 are expected
to enter a second cohort next year.
To monitor and evaluate the initiative, the Ministry of Education has created a scientific advisory group
that holds regular meetings.
The financial commitment for this action is EUR 3.75 million (Eurypedia, 2012). Each selected school
receives a contribution of EUR 250 000 from the Ministry, to invest in capital equipment.
Editoria digitale and Impres@ Scuola
An additional objective of the National Plan for Digital Schools is to stimulate innovation in the tools and
content industries serving education.
All of the projects of the National Plan for Digital Schools, and particularly the most intensive initiatives
([email protected] 2.0, scuol@ 2.0), call for closer cooperation between schools and the business sector – be it content
providers or hardware and software developers.
Impres@ Scuola is a new way of building partnerships with the private sector. The business sector has
been invited to collaborate with schools involved in the [email protected] 2.0 project and to use these classes as a testbed for strongly innovative products and solutions (without other compensation). A school-business fair has
been organised to facilitate the building of these partnerships (Genova, 18-19 November 2011). This has led
to 920 “declarations of interest”, with which schools have expressed their interest for a partnership with a
company, and 239 agreements between a school and a business to experiment products (MIUR, 2012b).
Under the “Editoria Digitale” action (budget: EUR 3 million), twenty schools (at different levels and in
different tracks) are given resources to buy prototype digital contents, for different subjects and grade levels,
through Consip (and the “electronic market for public administrations”). The aim is to stimulate editors to
supply contents for technology-rich classrooms. The action will result in 20 different prototypes, for different
combinations of grade level and subject. Each school runs an inverted auction with initial starting price set
at EUR 150 000, and selects the winning publisher based on the quality of the proposal. The licence agreements between publishers and schools run for two years and include technical assistance and updates.
Each school involved has identified a pilot class, whose teachers work with the publishers to develop
and refine tailor-made content. Contents are expected to be interactive and interoperable, but tailored to the
technological devices and platforms in use in these schools. All twenty schools are already highly equipped
both in terms of technology and technological know-how – many of them participated in [email protected] 2.0 – so that
they have the competence to judge these prototypes for their pedagogical value. The ministry of education
and ANSAS-INDIRE have issued guidelines outlining the criteria for the development of these new products; the digital content must satisfy a multidisciplinary and pluri-disciplinary approach, be flexible in terms
of its possible uses (graphic display, practice, individual and social production), and be highly accessible
(multi-platform, multi-device, and offline availability) (Eurypedia, 2012).
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Distance learning initiatives
Finally, the @urora project for adolescents in the penitentiary system (concluded in 2010; budget:
EUR 5 million) and the ongoing hospital-school-home initiative (budget: EUR 6 million) also combine investments in ICT equipment and teacher training. They aim to set up distance learning facilities and to leverage
the potential of ICT for promoting social inclusion.
These initiatives serve also as pilot models for the development of an appropriate distance-learning
model for students living in isolated areas (small islands and mountain communities), so that they may be
offered the opportunity of a regular study programme in their lower and upper secondary education when the
circumstances do not meet the legal parameters for the opening of on-site classes.
Scale up of the National Plan for Digital Schools
The national digital agenda consultation (see Box 4) identified the scale up of the “National Plan for
Digital Schools” as a priority for all levels of government. As a consequence, in July 2012 the government
and regions agreed to allocate EUR 20 millions from the ministry of education’s funds proportionately to
school enrolments in each region for initiatives related to the “National Plan”. The detailed allocation across
the different actions was to be agreed with each region; moreover, if regions matched at least 40% of the
centrally allocated funds with their own contribution, the Ministry of education agreed to increase its part of
funding by an additional 20%.
In September 2012, the Ministry signed specific agreements with 12 regions. Each regional agreement
differs in the prioritisation between the different programmes in the “National Plan” (Piano LIM, [email protected] 2.0,
scuol@ 2.0). Moreover, in many regions small mountain schools received dedicated funding. As an example,
the agreement with the region of Lazio (capital: Rome) assigns EUR 1.2 millions to the Piano LIM (with priority given to schools with the lowest level of equipment), and EUR 2.9 millions to the [email protected] 2.0 initiative
(in particular to extend the funding for upper-secondary schools already involved in order to cover the entire
upper-secondary cycle, and to involve schools who already applied to previous calls in the initiative); the
region Emilia-Romagna (capital: Bologna) allocated almost equal shares to all three actions; the regions
Tuscany (capital: Florence) and Piedmont (capital: Turin) concentrated funding on the [email protected] 2.0 and scuol@
2.0 actions. Although funded in part with regional funds, the [email protected] 2.0 and scuol@ 2.0 programmes still
rely on a competitive bidding process for which the regional school office (the local office of the Ministry of
Education) is responsible.
Box 4. The Italian Digital Agenda consultation
The “digital agenda” is a cross-governmental initiative to encourage digital solutions for the development of the
economy and society and for more efficient government action. Within the coordination board (cabina di regia), instituted in March 2012 with members from all ministries and agencies involved, the Ministry of Education led the digital
skills (competenze digitali) task force. Each task force identified priorities, obstacles, and possible solutions: the first
priority identified by the digital skills task force is “to scale up the digital school model: school access to broadband;
cloud resources for teaching and learning; transforming learning environments; digital contents and e-books; teacher training through blended e-learning; interactive whiteboards; e-participation”.
The consultation provided a framework to coordinate European, national and regional investments in “digital
schools”; detailed plans for EUR 40 million of additional investments are being made (MIUR, 2012c), through agreements with the regions (see above). More directly, the legal frameworks identified by each task force as necessary
to foster public and private investments in digital solutions were introduced through a decree law – the Decreto
Crescita 2.0 (“growth 2.0”, decree law 179/2012, converted into law 221/2012).
In addition to the dedicated national and regional funds, in the four Southern regions eligible to European
funds under the “Convergence objective” (the poorest regions: Sicily, Campania, Calabria, Puglia), the
Ministry of Education informed school offices in June 2012 that schools in these regions could request to
use this funding stream for equipping their classes with ICT ressources, in accordance to the principles of
the [email protected] 2.0 programme (circolare protocollo AOODGAI/10621).
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Other national initiatives for ICT in education
In addition to the “National Plan”, which is the focus of this report, Italy has a few important other national initiatives to promote the use of ICT in education.
School information systems and school cloud
With the objective of introducing savings in the administrative costs related to student enrolment, student transfers, and to the production of certificates, the so called “spending review” (decree law 95/2012,
art. 7 cc. 27-32, converted into law 135/2012) requires that, starting with the school year 2012/13, families
enrol their children in schools using online forms exclusively; schools communicate end-of-term reports
electronically; and schools adopt electronic registry applications and activate electronic communication
modes with pupils and families.
During the current school-year (2012/13) schools thus have to equip themselves with richer school management systems to meet these requirements: applications that handle student attendance, family-school
communications, end-of-term reports and certificates electronically. The ministry has imposed interoperability standards to the industry, so that all data are transferable to the central longitudinal information system
(Anagrafe studenti), whose data content will be considerably enriched by this policy.6
A national longitudinal information system with electronic records of individual students, the Anagrafe
Nazionale degli Studenti, exists since 2010.7 The adoption of online registries opens up the possibility of
enriching the system considerably with high-frequency data updates about students, classes, and schools.
The missions of the Anagrafe Nazionale degli Studenti have also been expanded in 2012: it can now serve
as support for the evaluation of the school system, and to support all institutional activities of the ministry.8
In parallel, the ministry also promotes the scuola in chiaro (“school uncoded”) policy, an e-government
initiative whereby school-level information is shared with families using the online tool cerca la tua scuola9 (“find
your school”). This tool is also being enriched as new information is collected at local level. In 2013, all non-confidential information that is known to the central administration about the school is accessible from this site, and
schools can enrich it with more local information (such as the school offer of enrichment activities and improvement plan, Piano di offerta formativa). Everybody has access to a synthetic description of the school: the standard information includes the level of ICT equipment (number of desktop and laptop PCs, student/computer
ratio, number of interactive whiteboards, wireless and LAN connectivity); information on students (enrolment by
year of study, average class size by year of study, percentage of grade repetition, school transfers and school
dropout compared to regional and national averages); information on teaching and non-teaching personnel
(breakdown by gender, age categories, and contract type, turnover rate and teacher absenteeism by cause,
compared to regional and national averages); school budget information. Schools can enrich this information
with the school’s results at national evaluations conducted by INVALSI (Istituto Nazionale per la valutazione del
sistema educativo di istruzione e di formazione, National Institute for the evaluation of the education and training system) and with information about pedagogy (textbooks, internships, etc.).
The e-textbooks law
The Crescita 2.0 (“Growth 2.0”) decree (see Box 4) contains a large set of measures to promote the
digital delivery of public services and to support digital innovation in the private sector. Two of these measures concern ICT policies for schools: i) the mandatory adoption of e-books or books in mixed format as
textbooks; ii) the creation of “digital school centres” in isolated villages.
The provisions concerning digital textbooks (art. 11) state that starting with school-year 2014-15, all
schools must exclusively adopt textbooks in digital or mixed format. As a consequence, traditional paper
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textbooks will be phased out and replaced by textbooks requiring a reader or tablet device to access all or
part of the material. The phase out plan starts with the first classes of each school cycle (1st, 4th, 6th, 9th,
and 11th grade), and, following the five cohorts over time, will cover all classes by 2016-17.
In Italy, textbooks for all grades are bought by families directly, but the expenditure for textbooks is
capped by law: schools must ensure that the cost of buying all adopted textbooks for one child does not
exceed the legal maximum. The existing cap on family expenses for textbooks remains unchanged. The law
however states that, at the request of families, schools ensure that ICT devices to access digital contents
are available, while families contribute to equipment costs within the cap for textbook expenses. The family’s
budget for textbooks therefore can cover more than just the textbook under the new law. The details will
be laid down in future regulations; a hypothetical scenario has, for instance, schools offering families who
demand it options for leasing a tablet device to access the content, provided that the cost of the lease, and
of all textbooks loaded on the device, does not exceed the cap.
This new law is the most radical measure to increase the availability of technology in the classroom.
Support for business R&D: smart cities and communities and social innovation
“Smart cities and communities and social innovation” are considered a priority strategic objective within the national research and innovation policy. This is one of the objectives of the European Framework
Programme “Horizon 2020” (due to start in 2014) and is in line with the European Digital Agenda: it is therefore expected that additional funding for this objective will flow from European sources.
Box 5. Private sector R&D projects for smart education
Italy issued two calls for tender during 2012 for supporting business driven innovation in the area of “smart education”.
In the first call, “smart education” is defined as “fostering innovation in the education and training system, through
the development of information systems, technological solutions, and functioning and empowering ICT system
components, that enable users to activate and implement new models of individual and class instruction and learning, to realise advanced systems of assessment, to develop e-education services, and improve on existing models
of interaction between education and training institutions and the public and private labour market” [own translation]. The three selected project that fall within this area are:12
• “S4EDOC – Smart formats For EDucation On Cloud”, a consortium led by ANSAS/INDIRE, HP Italy, and
Università del Salento (Lecce).
• “SMART [email protected], a consortium led by the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), University of Bari,
ITEL telecommunications and Olivetti.
• “Scuola Digitale 3.0 (SD3.0).”, a consortium with ENEA and CETMA, Interattiva Media (multimedia editor),
Infomob (wireless solutions), Università del Salento (Lecce).
The second call identified specific needs for which bidders were invited to submit solutions (Decreto Direttoriale
5 luglio 2012, art 1, comma 5):13
• Design innovative student devices, that are able to function as e-book readers (with suitable screen resolution) while at the same time providing access and use, with open architecture for most OS, to digital multi-media content on the web.
• Learning Management Systems (LMS) able to support the personalisation of learning trajectories, both in
terms of flexible schedules, use during classroom activities, dynamic group articulation and instruments for
student management.
• Content Management Systems (CMS) that can be integrated in LMS, for teachers to develop multi-media
digital contents. [own translation]
This second call closed on 31 January 2013.
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THE ITALIAN NATIONAL PLAN FOR DIGITAL EDUCATION
To stimulate public and private R&D in this area (and prepare bids for future European funding), two
calls for tender have been issued during 2012. After a first public notice of a competition in March 201210
concerning only projects for the four most economically disadvantaged regions in the South, in July 2012 the
Ministry of Education, University, and Research has issued a call for projects11 concerning the whole country.
The total budget for this action is EUR 240 million (from European Convergence funds for the four disadvantaged regions) and EUR 655 million (from the national research budget for business R&D – Fondo per le
Agevolazioni per la Ricerca – for the second call). Both calls are reserved for private sector R&D projects that
involve public administrations as “test-beds” for the experimental phase, and universities or public research
bodies as partners. Projects have to be submitted by consortia in which the private sector bears a majority of
costs, with the participation of at least one SME, and a university or other public research body contributes
for at least 20% of the cost. A small part of funding is reserved for social innovation projects submitted by
young entrepreneurs (below age 30).
To be eligible, industrial R&D projects must meet the following generic definition: “develop technological
solutions, services, models, and methods that are at the frontier of applied academic or industrial research.
The project ideas must fall within the scope of Smart Communities, i.e. develop innovative models for solving
problems at the city, metropolitan, or more generally territorial level, through technologies, applications, and
integration and inclusion models.” (Decreto Direttoriale 5 luglio 2012, art 1, comma 3).
Both calls identify “schools” or “smart education” as one area of application; at least implicitly, part of
the funding is reserved for this specific area of application (see Box 5).
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An assessment of the Italian National Plan for Digital Education
The plan intends, on the one hand, to increase the use of ICT in schools and thereby improve the digital
skills of teachers, pupils, and their parents; on the other hand, and in the longer term, it intends to act as
a catalyser of pedagogical change. Will the strategy succeed in bringing about the desired change? How
fast will this happen, and are there less costly ways of reaching the same targets? In the following sections,
we will discuss each objective in turn, and, for each set of objectives, deliver some indications on how to
improve the current plan. We will then address a few other measures that could contribute to the success of
the Plan, while not being integral part of it.
In a nutshell, we argue that the government should take all measures to accelerate the equipment process of Italian schools and refocus its welcome innovation projects around the scuol@ 2.0 initiative, which
should be an innovation laboratory network for the Italian education system.
Mainstreaming ICT use in schools and improving digital skills
Today’s youth lives in a connected world surrounded by digital technologies. Many Italian observers predict a growing distance between school lives and out-of-school experiences of children, unless schools update their instructional tools and methods. In meetings during the review visit, similar views were expressed,
in particular by parent and teacher associations, but also politicians, as a major justification for supporting
the introduction of ICT in education. Parents and politicians stressed the need to align schools with changes
in society, and in particular with the work environments of the knowledge society. Teachers and parents also
emphasised that pupils are “digital natives” for whom ICT constitutes a natural way of socialising and interacting. Overcoming the rift between pupils’ in-school and out-of-school experience, and channelling emerging modes of socialisation and out-of-school learning into more formal contexts, is a major aim of the policy
mentioned in official descriptions (MIUR, 2012a; Eurypedia, 2012). Although the expectations of students for
ICT in school must not be exaggerated – students want technology to improve teaching and learning, not to
change it radically (OECD, 2012a) – the view that schools have to enter the “digital age” is a main driver of
ICT policies in education worldwide.
Along with the idea that schools have to catch up with the more advanced sectors of society, a complementary view sees schools as the vehicle for spreading the use of ICT throughout society. There is significant
cross-government support indeed for using schools towards the diffusion of ICT in Italian society and the
development of ICT skills, and investments in “digital schools” are one pillar of a coordinated effort to build
up Italy’s capacity in the digital economy, the Digital Agenda.
A well-grounded objective
The use of ICT in a formal education context, at all levels of education and throughout the subjects, is
directly associated with several advantages.
First, pupils are expected to develop ICT skills by using ICT for school work. Pupils learn to use computers or digital devices and to navigate information on the web, guided by adults. Schools can reduce the digital divide between families where ICT use is widespread and families where it is not. Some pupils may also
develop more technical skills for ICT-related occupations, although not all of them are expected to do so.
Students may also acquire the habit of using ICT tools as educational tools at schools, and will more naturally use e-learning for lifelong and informal learning as adults. Participation in adult education in Italy is well below
the OECD average: in 2006, only 22% of working age adults (aged 25-64) participated in formal or non-formal
education, compared to an OECD average of 40% (OECD, 2012b: Table C6.5). Lifelong learning constitutes a
necessity to respond to changing skill demands, and e-learning holds great potential to respond to this demand.
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Pupils are not the only group expected to develop ICT skills and habits as a result of the plan. By infusing technology into the typical classroom, ICT familiarity and competences are expected to develop among
teachers as well, and, more indirectly, among students’ parents and other family members (through informal
learning with their children). Pupils, teachers, and their families may become critical and responsible consumers of digital products whose demands stimulate innovation in the economy. More indirectly, the use of
ICT in formal education contexts can have a transformative impact on pedagogy and school organisation,
thus contributing to better student outcomes. The transformative impact of ICT on education, however, is
predicated upon a set of complementary changes and will be discussed in a second section.
Box 6. Findings from a European survey of ICT in schools
A recent survey of the availability, use, and attitudes to technology in European schools described the following
findings for Italy:
Availability of ICT
• While the number of computers per 100 students increased by a large amount in most countries between
2006 and 2011-12, in Italy there has been very little change over this period. At grade 8, there were 7 computers per 100 students in 2006 (European average: 11); and there are 9 in 2011-12 (European average: 20).
Only Greece has fewer computers per student than Italy. During the same period, Sweden, Norway, Denmark,
and Spain increased the number of computers available to 8th grade students to over 30 per 100 students.
• In Italy, the most common location for computers in schools is still the computer lab. Over 75% of school
computers available to students are in a computer lab in Italy, and less than 10% are in classrooms. In contrast, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain have the highest proportion of desktop computers in classrooms (33%
to 39%).
• Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are found across Europe, with approximately 100 students to each IWB at all
grades. In Italy, there is one IWB for 200 students in grade 4, one IWB for 77 students at grade 8, and one IWB
for 250 students at grade 11. While the spread of IWB is not far from average, simple data projectors are rare
in Italy: only Romania has fewer data projectors installed per student. Data projectors are standard classroom
equipment at all grade levels in Finland, Slovenia, Sweden, Estonia, and Ireland.
• The absence of broadband is particularly acute in Italy at all grades.
• On the basis of a combined indicator, very few schools in Italy can be characterised as “highly digitally
equipped schools”: among European countries, only Romania and Turkey have consistently fewer such
schools at all grade levels. Highly digitally equipped schools are characterised by relatively high equipment
levels, fast broadband and relatively high connectedness.
Use of ICT and training
• Italian teachers report low frequencies of ICT based activities with their class, at all grade levels. Their average
frequency is between “never or almost never” and “several times a month”.
• In Italy, school heads report more frequently than in most other countries that additional training hours and
financial incentives are used to reward teachers for their use of ICT in teaching and learning. Competions and
prizes, in contrast, are relatively rare.
• Over 50% of Italian teachers in primary and lower secondary schools have spent more than 6 days on ICT
related professional development over the last 2 years. This is more than in other countries on average. Italian
teachers’ confidence in using ICT is close to the European average.
Attitudes to technology
• Teachers in Italy have very positive opinions about the impact of ICT use on students’ motivation, achievement, as well as on the development of their transversal and higher order thinking skills. In particular teachers
are more frequently and strongly positive about students’ motivation.
• Italy is also among the countries in which students have the most positive opinions about the impact of ICT
use on learning.
Source: European Schoolnet (2013).
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Italy’s aim to increase the use of ICT in schools and, through schools, across society, will bring Italy
closer to its neighbours. Comparative data (see statistical annex) confirm that, until recently, Italy was lagging
behind most other OECD countries in terms of the use of ICT. According to the EU Digital Scoreboard, in
2011 the proportion of adults who had never used the internet was 38.5% (EU27 average: 24.3%). While the
gap shrinks for the younger generations – in 2009, 89% of 15-year-olds in Italy browse the internet for entertainment purposes, compared to 92% on average in the OECD – data also show that within schools, Italian
15-year-olds were exposed to ICT to a much lesser extent than their peers in the average OECD country. The
data therefore suggest both a relative lack of ICT familiarity in the Italian population as a whole, and a greater
distance between school and leisure activity when it comes to ICT use in Italy.
Strengths
The objective of increasing the use of ICT and the internet in Italian schools is in line with the direction
taken by most other countries. A report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education (2011), International
Experiences with Technology in Education, shows that most countries are investing in ICT for education.
Although Italy was not included in the study, its initiatives are similar to many surveyed countries. Plans to
support the diffusion of interactive whiteboards have started in the United Kingdom some ten years ago.
By 2011, it is estimated that 80% of classrooms in the United Kingdom were equipped with IWBs. The
Netherlands (53%) and Australia (49%) have about half of their classrooms equipped with IWBs (Futuresource
consulting, 2012), and in Denmark, there are less than 30 students per interactive whiteboard in primary and
lower secondary schools (European Schoolnet, 2013). More recently, Portugal, Mexico and Turkey have
launched large-scale plans for installing IWBs in classrooms. Pilot initiatives involving classes as ICT testbeds, similar to the [email protected] 2.0 initiative, can be found in Israel and Spain among others. Whole school pilots
(scuol@ 2.0) are or have been used in Korea, Singapore (“Future Schools”) and England (“ICT Test-beds”, see
Box 13), commonly seen as leaders in integrating ICT in education.
Italy’s National Plan for Digital Schools (Piano Nazionale per la Scuola Digitale) has several strengths.
Means are aligned with the goal of increasing the use of ICT in schools
The concrete implementation of the policy is well aligned with the goal of increasing the use of ICT in
Italian schools. The central device of the Italian plan is the interactive whiteboard, a technology that teachers
can start using without facing high entry costs and whose possible uses fit all existing modes of teaching and
learning – from the more traditional to the more innovative. For this reason, the interactive whiteboard has
proven very popular among teachers internationally. IWBs are consistently found, in international research, to
act as a “Trojan horse” in drawing the vast majority of teachers to increase their use of ICT tools for work-related purposes (Lee, in press; Somekh, Haldane, et al., 2007): once they have an IWB in their classroom,
teachers do not necessarily change their preferred mode of classroom interaction, but can be expected to
increase their use of the internet and the personal computer for lesson planning (by browsing for digital resources) and for interacting with colleagues.
The strategy creates teacher demand rather than resistance
The Italian plan can also be characterised as a strategy that builds on existing teacher demand, and develops further demand for classroom technology and for support in using ICT in classroom. The plan indeed
largely relies on volunteer schools and teachers to lead the change. In the case of the IWB initiative, schools
have to request and eventually buy the equipment themselves, and teachers have to undergo some training
towards the use of the interactive whiteboard. The risk that the newly bought equipment accumulates dust in
the schools’ cupboards is thereby reduced to a minimum. In the context of scarce resources, of considerable
uncertainty about teachers’ appetite for change, and with limited demand from the public in the initial stages
of the plan, such a bottom-up approach is certainly welcome.
The fact that additional funds, from local authorities and from non-profit private sector organisations,
are now aligned with the class-centred approach of the national plan testifies to the well-accepted nature
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of the plan itself: the initial investment has awakened a dormant school demand for more classroom
technology.
From 2014 on, the e-book policy will allow and incentivise all teachers to accommodate technology in
their classrooms. This may mark a new course in this respect: it will be important to prepare teachers for this
change to avoid generating resistance to further classroom technologies.
Box 7. Recommendations for the Plan to mainstream the use of ICT in schools
ICT infrastructure programme
• Speed up the uptake of ICT in schools and classrooms by increasing the budget of the Piano LIM and
redesigning some of its dimensions. Generalise matched funding designs to attract external funding from
regions, foundations and schools. Open the plan to other, cheaper classroom technology chosen by schools,
e.g. a kit composed by a classroom computer, visualiser and projector.
Digital learning resources
• Develop INDIRE digital resources into a central, virtual exchange platform for teachers. Translate
high-quality open educational resources (OERs) available in other languages and adapt them to the Italian
context and curriculum. Organise the resource banks for teachers starting from teachers’ needs (i.e. from the
current textbooks in use or from curriculum guidelines). Encourage teachers and institutions to develop and
share OERs by establishing quality assurance and reputation mechanisms with social network features and
awards. Embed the use of resource banks and OERs in subject-specific training materials for teachers.
Training and professional development
• Give schools a flexible training entitlement. Schools could then use their collective entitlement not only
to fund the participation of individual teachers in externally organised programmes, but also more flexibly to
hire external trainers for whole-school training, to fund teaching release time for their most skilled teachers to
provide year-round, school-based training. Provide school principals and teachers with training and guidance
on how to develop a professional development project tailored to local needs and on how to create space for
informal sharing and learning among teachers.
• Institute and support teacher awards and innovation fairs about pedagogical uses of ICT to facilitate
knowledge sharing beyond the school unit. Create regional networks of teachers who can support colleagues
in integrating ICT in their pedagogy (ICT champions).
Monitoring and evaluation
• Set operational targets, milestones for programme completion, and metrics for success. Possible targets could be to equip 80% of classrooms with ICT by 2014-15, to make a certain number of new open digital
resources available on the new virtual exchange platform, to have a number of visitors of the platform, etc.
Alignment with other policies
The success of the plan in supporting the nationwide integration of ICT in teaching and learning is also conditioned
by contextual factors that require the co-operation of other agencies. The following checklist identifies four critical
factors:
99 Ensure cross-government support for providing adequate bandwidth in all schools for the effective use of the
new hardware.
99 Ensure parent buy-in by tackling concerns about the safety of the school internet environment, and by supporting local initiatives for parental training programmes.
99 Align curriculum and assessment with the new environment. Issue national guidelines with subject specific
learning objectives related to the use of ICT. Develop tools for benchmarking ICT skills and other key competences at regular intervals.
99 Plan the integration of ICT in the classroom with longitudinal information systems (anagrafe) and learning
management systems (registri digitali).
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An efficient procurement procedure
The piano LIM has also relied on an efficient procurement procedure for the purchase of interactive
whiteboards, desktop and laptop computers. To reduce the costs, but remain responsive to local needs,
schools placed the orders themselves through temporary group purchasing structures (with one school acting on behalf of all members); a central marketplace (Consip) facilitated the operation. A welcome side-effect
of this scheme was to pave the way for schools who wanted to partner with neighbouring schools to create
local user networks or proceed with further grouped orders (e.g. for maintenance contracts).
The strategy builds capacity for wider change
Lastly, the plan is embedded in a phased approach that aims at building the capacity for wider change
before introducing new changes.
On the one hand the plan builds capacity for wider change by grounding each initiative in the existing ICT
skills among teachers. The participation of three teachers, for each new IWB, in pedagogical training for the
use of ICT was a condition in the Piano LIM. In addition, the more advanced initiatives required considerable
past experience among teachers: scuol@ 2.0 gave priority to schools with a [email protected] 2.0 in place, and [email protected]
2.0 to teachers with previous experience in using ICT (including IWBs).
On the other hand, the creation of formal and informal networks for peer-learning is at the heart of the
strategy.
Because all initiatives under the National Plan for Digital Schools targeted volunteers, they have capitalised on the demands and energy of teacher leaders within schools. Through this strategy, enthusiastic ICT
champions have emerged that could contaminate, with their examples, their wider networks. The strategy
hopes to energise the most pioneering teachers and expects practitioner networks to emerge as a result.
In the case of the [email protected] 2.0 and scuol@ 2.0 projects, the competitive selection ensured that already in
the project elaboration phase the most enthusiastic teachers rallied their colleagues. The selected classes
and schools were then formally linked to a region-wide or nation-wide network of schools and classes.
In the case of the IWB initiative, schools had to create formal grouped purchase networks that could well
become more stable user networks. A cascade approach to professional development, relying on informal
networks among teachers, was also encouraged as the formal training requirement (three certified teachers per IWB) covered only imperfectly teachers’ training needs. Indeed, particularly in the lower and upper
secondary grades, more than three teachers intervene in the same class. Moreover, in accordance with the
objective of increasing ICT familiarity and use, the required training in using IWBs was mostly based on ICT
skills and did not include subject-specific pedagogical training. The latter was left to teachers’ own initiative,
with some resources available online for self-training.
Recommendations to speed up the use of ICT in schools
Despite its strengths, the plan for digital schools faces several challenges. The slow diffusion of ICT
equipment in classrooms is the main threat to its success. Deep system-wide changes in pedagogy, time
use, and school organisation could occur spontaneously once a critical mass of Italian classrooms and
schools is equipped with classroom technology. However, at the current pace, such change still appears
beyond reach.
Rather than lack of demand, the slow diffusion of interactive whiteboards (or ICT more generally) comes
from the limited budget of the plan. If possible, we suggest to raise the budget devoted to the plan. Given current budgetary constraints, this may not be possible, and several features of the plan could be revised to attract
additional funding and accelerate ICT uptake within the current budgetary envelope. As the use of ICT in school
depends on teachers’ learning and training opportunities as well as on the availability of a sufficient number of
digital pedagogic resources, we also make suggestions to address these dimensions of the plan (see Box 7).
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Figure 1. Percentage of students in schools of different levels of ICT intensity [Part 1/2]
Type 1
Type 1
GRADE
4
Norway
Sweden
Finland
Denmark
Spain
Malta
Portugal
Estonia
Ireland
Luxembourg
Latvia
France
Belgium
EU
Czech Rep.
Austria
Lithuania
Slovenia
Croatia
Hungary
Bulgaria
Greece
Slovak Rep.
Italy
Romania
Turkey
Poland
Type 3
Type 3
37%
48%
6%
0%
15%
80%
10%
20%
30%
40%
Type 1
Type 1
GRADE
8
Type 2
Type 2
Finland
Sweden
Denmark
Norway
France
Malta
Portugal
Latvia
Spain
Estonia
EU
Austria
Belgium
Ireland
Lithuania
Bulgaria
Croatia
Czech Rep.
Greece
Poland
Hungary
Slovenia
Poland
Italy 1%
Romania
Slovak Rep.
Turkey
0%
10%
50%
60%
70%
Type 2
Type 2
80%
14%
90%
Type 3
Type 3
24%
68%
86%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
100%
70%
80%
8%
13%
90%
100%
Note: Type 1: high equipment, fast broadband, high connectedness (website, emails, etc.); Type 2: medium equipment, slow or no broadband, some connectedness; Type 3: medium equipment, slow or no broadband, no connectedness.
Source: European Schoolnet (2013).
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Figure 1. Percentage of students in schools of different levels of ICT intensity [Part 2/2]
Type 1
Type 1
GRADE
11
general
Norway
Sweden
Denmark
Finland
Slovenia
Croatia
France
Estonia
Latvia
Austria
Czech Rep.
Portugal
EU
Belgium
Spain
Bulgaria
Malta
Lithuania
Slovak Rep.
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Greece
Poland
Turkey
Romania
0%
Type 2
Type 2
Type 3
Type 3
55%
39%
31%
10%
20%
30%
61%
40%
Type 1
Type 1
GRADE
50%
60%
70%
Type 2
Type 2
80%
90%
5%
9%
100%
Type 3
Type 3
11
Denmark
vocational Norway
Sweden
Finland
Croatia
Estonia
France
Austria
Slovenia
Spain
Bulgaria
Lithuania
Portugal
EU
Latvia
Belgium
Czech Rep.
Greece
Hungary
Slovak Rep.
Italy
Turkey
Romania
Poland
0%
50%
31%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
44%
6%
63%
6%
90%
100%
Note: Type 1: high equipment, fast broadband, high connectedness (website, emails, etc.); Type 2: medium equipment, slow or no broadband, some connectedness; Type 3: medium equipment, slow or no broadband, no connectedness.
Source: European Schoolnet (2013).
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Make even more with severe budget constraints
National policies for ICT in education exist in all European countries, often in relation to the Digital
Agenda for Europe adopted by the European Commission (Eurydice, 2011). Even during the recent crisis
and the public spending cuts, countries such as Portugal, Spain, France and Slovenia have continued to
invest in ICT in education. As an exception to this pattern, the United Kingdom has reduced central support for ICT in schools and closed down the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency
(BECTA).
In Italy, the National Plan for Digital Schools has so far used its scarce resources in an efficient way. By
targeting volunteer schools and teachers at first, it has reduced the risks of spending where there is no demand. The plan has also relied on an efficient procurement procedure.
Applications for equipment have clearly exceeded available funds. At the current pace of the IWB initiative, it would take over 10 years to reach the current penetration rate of the world leader for IWB use, the
United Kingdom (where Futuresource consulting [2012] estimates 80% of classrooms to have an IWB by
2011). Faster classroom penetration of the IWB initiative may result from recent agreements between the
State and 12 regions. It may also result from private sector involvement: in many regions, schools have in the
past been able to raise funds from bank foundations or other non-profit organisations for school renovation
projects, and these external partners may discontinue the funding of computer labs to fund new classroom
technologies instead in response to school demands. The regional branches of the Ministry of Education
(Uffici scolastici regionali) play an important role in aligning these external partnerships with the national policy. The ministry should try to channel these private sources of funding so that they complement its budget.
A priority of the plan should be to accelerate the penetration of ICT in schools as this is important for an
effective and sustained use of ICT in teaching and learning. A faster penetration would quickly allow whole
schools rather than isolated classrooms to be equipped. We suggest that the Ministry revise the plan so
that it gives more incentives to attract additional funding and that other types of technology than interactive
whiteboards become eligible:
•
Part of the Ministry budget for classroom technologies should be allocated in the form of matching funds:
matching funds request recipients to commit a sufficient level of funds from their own budget or to raise
complementary funds from other sources of funding. The logic of matching funds has been already introduced in the framework for the 12 state-region agreements. We recommend extending this logic to
schools to encourage them to raise funds for whole-school penetration of ICT. Different match ratios can
be created for different beneficiaries, and the ratio can vary locally to reflect the difficulty in raising funds.
•
The plan should be opened up to other classroom technologies than interactive whiteboards. Although
we recognise the many strengths of the IWB technology, a cheaper option is to complement the classroom computer with a simple projector and a visualiser (document camera or digitiser). Schools should
choose themselves what classroom technology best fits their pedagogic needs. A visualiser can effectively support student participation and interactive teaching, with similarly low entry costs for teachers
as the IWB. Using a visualiser with an IWB is an ideal combination where funds permit. Mobile forms of
technology are also very effective, especially when linked to an IWB. The plan should continue to build
on the commendable trend already started towards placing technology in the classroom itself and into
the hands of learners in particular.
The e-book initiative will make it possible for all pupils to use a tablet reader to access textbook materials
(if schools so wish). In the context of limited budgets, this may lead to much faster and widespread penetration of ICT in the classroom than the current school-based initiatives without additional public cost. However,
equipping teachers, producing high quality digital contents, and devising professional development that supports an active pedagogical use of the possibilities of tablets, notably with interactive whiteboards and other
projector equipment, does require additional resources. The opportunity cost of delaying such investments
should be carefully weighed against competing expenditures.
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Support the expansion and distribution of digital resources through resource banks
for teachers
The availability of appropriate quality content is a condition for making the best use of technology – and
thus for its fast penetration in classrooms.
The lack of native content for interactive whiteboards or tablet technologies may not hamper their use as
long as enthusiastic early adopters are involved, given that these devices accommodate non-native content
as well. However, it will become a significant constraint as the project expands and reaches more teachers.
The untapped pedagogic potential of ICT may be viewed as a lack of potential of ICT to enhance pedagogy.
Supporting the production of digital resources is thus an absolute necessity for the success of the plan.
Developing quickly enough digital pedagogic content and tools, meeting a variety of needs, requires the
mobilisation of the for-profit and non-profit private sectors, but also the contribution of teachers.
Mobilising entrepreneurs and publishers
The Ministry of education has started to address several economic obstacles to the emergence of a
pedagogical digital content industry. It has encouraged investments of private firms in the development of
such resources by setting up test-beds for their products. It has also lowered companies’ marketing costs
by aggregating and structuring teacher demand. As a result, a larger fraction of publishers’ resources is expected to flow into the development of quality contents to support teaching and learning (and a small share
in their sales department).
Box 8. Public-private partnerships for the development of quality textbooks
Under public-private partnerships for textbook development, for-profit publishers develop prototypes that are
made available for no fee to the schools in which they are field-tested, in exchange for user feedback. The publisher benefits from the public investment in educational technology and from teachers’ time and feedback to refine
the product, but keeps ownership of the product itself. In 1989 the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
(NCTM) agreed on new Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. To embed this new curriculum in teaching practice, the NSF funded 13 different textbook projects that spanned school education (Reys et al.,
1999). Textbooks were extensively field-tested in schools and then revised before becoming commercially available. The resulting mathematics textbooks have been judged of exemplary quality compared to other commercially
available textbooks in an independent review by the US Department of Education and the American Association for
the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (Kulm et al., 1997).
The Editoria digitale and [email protected] initiatives support the pedagogical industry by reducing the
development costs for innovative content providers. These programmes indirectly subsidise investments in
the quality of digital contents by providing opportunities for field-testing and refining prototype materials. The
Editoria digitale project involves 20 schools as a test-bed for digital textbooks. It mirrors, in the new digital
context, an initiative in the early 1990s by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop
quality textbooks in mathematics (see Box 8).
The development of quality digital content and software for education is also hampered by the highly
fragmented demand of individual teachers and schools, and as a consequence, the high marketing costs for
firms. The fragmented demand gives rise to monopolistic competition in which publishers seek quasi-rents
by investing in advertising and marketing rather than in research and development for the production of
innovative products.
Italy is taking important steps to structure market demand for digital contents, and thus reduce entry costs for innovative firms. The new electronic marketplace for public education (Mercato elettronico
della Pubblica Istruzione, MePI) represents a bespoke adaptation for schools’ needs of MePA (Mercato
elettronico della Pubblica Amministrazione, electronic marketplace for the public administration). It will
include integrated solutions and digital contents (and not just technological devices) that correspond
to particular pedagogical needs.
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Mobilising open educational resources and teacher exchange
In addition to the resources developed by the publishing industry, some interesting Italian initiatives support the production and sharing of digital learning objects. “EduLab” supplies IWB content on the INDIRE
password-protected website for teachers. Grass-roots initiatives such as the “Book in progress” project, in
which teachers collaborate in a wiki mode to produce (digital) textbooks (www.bookinprogress.it), also contribute to this agenda. However, these initiatives fall short of meeting the scale of the needs.
A strong commercial supply of digital resources in Italian does not seem to be available. While publishers will soon have to develop digital content for their textbooks, they currently lack incentives to invest in
developing them as the market for them is still too small. However, this market is likely to grow only if enough
quality resources show teachers the pedagogic potential of digital devices.
To make a critical mass of resources available relatively quickly, we recommend:
•
To translate in Italian and adapt to the Italian curriculum existing open educational resources available
in other languages;
•
To develop and promote a central resource bank for teachers, including all open educational resources
(and possibly other digital resources as well);
•
To encourage teachers to develop and share their teaching resources as open educational resources by
giving awards and using other reputation mechanisms.
A host of open educational resources (OER) is already available worldwide: OER are learning and teaching materials that teachers (and others) can freely use and reuse, generally without charge, and which have
limited or unrestricted licensing rights (generally Creative Commons or GNU licenses). A significant source of
savings from digital technologies precisely lies in the access that they provide to a wealth of readily available
OER (OECD, 2007).
A European-wide Learning Resource Exchange project (http://lreforschools.eun.org) federates repositories of open educational resources, and INDIRE participates by contributing its resources to the portal.
Other repositories exist worldwide, such as OER Commons (www.oercommons.org) in the United States,
which hosted over 200 000 resources as of 2013, including interactive resources for tablets, computers, or
interactive whiteboards.
Although quality resources are available in Italian, their number is still insufficient.
A first step to remedy this problem would be to identify and translate some of the most relevant high
quality resources available in other languages, and adapt them to the Italian culture and curriculum.
A second step would be to develop and promote a central resource bank for teachers on the Internet.
This platform would bring digital resources available in Italian, these newly translated OER, as well as any
other material shared by teachers. Currently, such a platform does not exist in Italy. There is also no platform
bringing Italian OER together either or resources developed by teachers themselves. In fact, in response to
an OECD questionnaire (Hylén et al., 2012), Italy has indicated that it does not have a national strategy for
OER, and that the level of activity in the OER movement for ISCED levels 1, 2 and 3 is low. (In higher education, most universities have their repository of open educational resources, but they rarely include material
that can be used as teaching or learning resources in school.)
Ideally, this central resource bank should be organised starting from teachers’ needs, be categorised
according to the Italian curriculum to make relevant resources quickly accessible, and have certain social
features that make it an attractive one-stop-shop for teachers in search of solutions for their classroom.
Resource banks that fully exploit the potential of web 2.0 may function as brokers of communities of practice: social networks can support the members and catalyse faster adoption of ICT. Such a resource bank in
itself acts as an incentive and support mechanism to develop further resources.
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Within the scope of its support functions, INDIRE could maintain such a portal with referrals to existing
OER tailored to the curricular needs of specific subjects: free or open source pedagogical software, such as
GeoGebra (www.geogebra.org) or solutions listed on SchoolForge (www.schoolforge.net); digital textbooks
such as those developed in the Italian “Book in progress” network; assessment instruments (e.g. from an
INVALSI test bank); lesson plans, etc. Examples from Korea, the Netherlands, Belgium (Fl.), the United States
and France, among others, could inspire this portal (Box 9).
A third, complementary step would be to encourage Italian teachers and institutions to develop and
share OER themselves. The mere existence of a central repository for Italian OER will facilitate the sharing,
and the mere visibility and accessibility of the resources will encourage teachers to share their own material.
Other incentives should be considered though: in addition to the social network features linked to repositories, awards for OER can also act as a reputation mechanism.
Invest in professional development of teachers (and school principals)
Beyond the availability of equipment and digital resources, a condition of success of the mainstreaming of ICT in education lies in the professional development of teachers and school heads. By professional
development, we mean formal and informal learning about the pedagogic use of ICT solutions. International
research and experience shows very clearly that ICT in itself does not transform teaching and learning.
The national plan currently includes professional development provisions, but these provisions do not
meet the scale of actual needs. Speeding up the equipment process would multiply opportunities for informal individual and organisational learning and thereby address some of these needs.
Box 9. International examples of web platforms of resources for teachers
In Korea, EDUNET is an educational portal maintained by KERIS (the Korean Education and Research Information
System) to support the distribution and utilisation of high quality digital contents (www.edunet4u.net/engedunet/
ed_01.html). KERIS directly manages the development of digital content by setting standards, models and guidelines. Contents are produced by central or local “learning centres”, public or private partners (who remain the owners
of content). Content from EduNet is also fetched to the “Edu Café”, a community-based social network.
In the Netherlands, Wikiwijs (www.wikiwijs.nl) describes itself as “an open, internet-based platform, where teachers can find, download, (further) develop and share educational resources. The whole project is based on open
source software, open content and open standards”. Wikiwijs is inspired by the idea of wiki (but not using the same
wiki platform as Wikipedia) and combines a resource bank for open educational resources (OER), referrals to other
digital educational resources (including commercial ones), and a collaborative space where teachers develop and
personalise open educational resources (OER). The quality of content is ensured through peer-review, reputation
effects, and referrals from trusted third parties (such as teacher training institutions)14. The yearly budget for the
Wikiwijs project is EUR 1.2 million for the 2011-13 period (Wikiwijs, 2011).
In the Dutch language space, KlasCement (www.klascement.net) constitutes a popular web portal for teachers
(and by teachers). Created in 2002, it is supported by the Flemish Department of Education (Belgium). The Belgian
portal has 56 000 members and over 20 000 entries (documents, website referrals, software descriptions, etc.) at
the time of writing.
In the United States, OER Commons (www.oercommons.org) provides a host of digital resources of all kinds (ebooks, interactive resources available on the web or designed for specific devices, etc.) searchable by subject matter,
school level, etc. Some resources are already translated and rated.
In France, an internet platform centralizes thousands of (commercial) digital resources by level of education,
subject matter, type of resource: www.wizwiz.fr. Another example of open educational resources is the website
www.sesamath.net which is an exchange platform and repository of resources for math teachers: it claims to have
received about 14 million visits in 2012.
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Given current budget constraints, we suggest:
•
To change the professional development provisions of the Piano LIM so that schools have the option
between the current mandatory formal training of three teachers and a school-wide entitlement to training that can be used more flexibly for whole-school training, for staff release time, or to support informal
peer learning, according to a professional development project tailored to local needs;
•
To develop the capacity of INDIRE blended learning model and consider to give the agency a certification role for other providers of training.
These measures would help to provide teachers with more numerous, more timely and more appropriate
opportunities of learning.
From individual formal in-service training to flexible school entitlements
The need for professional development has only been imperfectly addressed so far. In all schools receiving funds for IWB through the equipment plan (Piano LIM), three teachers per board had to be certified
through a training programme. However, this requirement was limited to an introductory training that covered
pedagogical uses insufficiently. Ongoing and subject-specific support was left to schools’ and teachers’
initiative. Most teachers said they had received technical training to use interactive whiteboards from the
manufacturer of the device. However effective use of ICT depends less on technical proficiency in using the
devices than on a practical understanding of how to embed their use in subject teaching.
All the teachers we met during the review visit expressed the same message: they need more training
and professional development opportunities to integrate ICT into their pedagogy. This mirrors international
experience, which also shows that teachers generally feel pedagogically unprepared for using ICT.
In the [email protected] 2.0 and scuol@ 2.0 initiatives, teachers were selected for their prior proficiency in using ICT
in teaching, and there was no mandatory provision for professional development. Universities had a role of
supporting professional development in these initiatives. According to the limited feedback that we received
on this support, the training tended to be largely theoretical and, apparently, to use traditional course or
workshop formats. International research shows that teachers prefer to be trained by their peers rather than
by “experts”. TALIS data show that, among all professional development activities, Italian teachers are less
likely to report “education conferences and seminars” and “courses and workshops” as having an impact
on their subsequent practice (OECD 2009, Table 3.8). By contrast, the most transformative activity would be
“individual and collaborative research”.
In short, teachers did not have enough training opportunities or necessarily the most appropriate type of
training to embed ICT (or the use of interactive whiteboards) in pedagogy.
One way to improve the quantity and relevance of professional development would be to change the
individual entitlement of training into a school entitlement that can be used more flexibly. The interactive
whiteboard initiative mandates that three teachers receive some training per interactive whiteboard acquired.
This provision limits schools’ possibilities to use this training budget in other ways that may be more suited
to their local context. There are indeed many other ways to shape learning opportunities for teachers.
In the context of a faster equipment process, a school budget for training would allow schools with articulated policies for integrating ICT in teaching to put in place more economical and effective professional
development at the school level. It may for example allow schools to organise training sessions for all teachers using interactive whiteboards (instead of three). Neighbouring schools could also organise joint training
sessions for using interactive whiteboards in specific subject matters if one school does not have enough
teachers teaching these subjects.
More importantly, a school entitlement would enable to better support information learning within the
school. A faster equipment process will indeed create more opportunities for informal learning within the
school given that more teachers will face similar challenges and feel the need to share tips.
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Different models of school organisation could be put in place to emphasise learning from peer experience. We have witnessed in our school visits several examples of collegial learning about ICT use. In one
primary school, structured learning activities for teachers were done during the two official weekly “programming hours”. In one lower secondary school, an afternoon teacher laboratory had been created where
teachers could seek support for ICT-related issues as needed. The fact that this happened within an existing
teaching community naturally fostered exchanges that were not limited to technical issues: teachers also
shared lesson plans, digital learning objects, and tips and referrals to external resources. All these solutions
emerged to respond to learning needs, and were not part of the national plan (or seen as being part of it).
But these organisational solutions currently rely on teachers’ and school leaders’ creativity and good will and
take place in schools with a strong commitment to innovation.
Some countries (e.g. England or Australia) have introduced “middle-management” positions within
schools and give some teachers a lead role for some subject or programme area of the school. This may be
too expensive given current budgetary constraints.
A school entitlement could facilitate peer learning by giving lead teachers a more formal recognition and
support for their role. Some teachers who are more advanced in their pedagogic use of ICT may emerge as
informal mentors and coaches for other teachers in a school. A school entitlement would allow schools to reduce their teaching time in exchange, for instance, of fixed office hours during which they help colleagues as
needed. These “lead users” or “ICT champions” could thus use this released time to assist their colleagues,
give them feedback, prepare or search resources that meet several teachers’ demand in the schools, etc.
Lead teachers could also become certified tutors for INDIRE and work part of their time in neighbouring
schools as trainers. Teachers in the school could thus get more timely and relevant support.
Fellowship programmes can also provide recognition for lead teachers without introducing permanent and formal leadership positions (see Box 10). Experience as a “lead user” or “ICT champion” could
be considered in future competitions for school heads as well to give teachers extra incentives to take
on this role.
Box 10. Fellowships for teacher champions
Fellowship programmes are a way to encourage and recognise teacher leaders such as ICT champions. In the
United Kingdom, in 2010 and 2011 the “Sinnott Fellowship” has supported 15 outstanding teachers each year who
presented innovative projects for linking the school and the outer community. As a fellowship programme, the project
funded release time for teachers (two days a week over two terms) and offered support to implement the project
through a network of contacts and resources (Schleicher, 2012, Box 2.13)
While peer learning is a powerful source of professional development, formal in-service training is also
important, and is particularly useful when teachers have opportunities to practice what they have learnt in
the training. This form of training tends to be more costly, both for the public purse and in terms of time and
energy for schools and teachers.
INDIRE, the agency in charge of teachers’ professional development, has a powerful and flexible blended learning model that offers 20 hours of face-to-face workshop time and high quality online material (see
Box 2). These online materials include carefully scripted video exemplars and an interactive methodology.
However, the demand for training still vastly exceeds INDIRE’s capacity; and many teachers are unaware of
the available resources.
We recommend to strengthen INDIRE’s capacity. This would represent an additional expenditure, but
one that will be difficult to avoid in the longer run if Italy really wants ICT to be used in teaching and learning.
The plan for interactive whiteboards in England was accompanied by enough training provision: one of its
lessons is that training is indeed necessary, although it is not sufficient (see Annex A). Given its current level
of development, INDIRE’s model has the potential to be brought to a larger scale.
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Teachers’ initial training should also include some pedagogic uses of ICT, possibly by using INDIRE’s
blended learning methodology. Teachers’ entitlement (diritto-dovere) to training should be extended to
teachers not covered by the national contract (and its content clarified for all teachers).
Separate technical support should be provided so that INDIRE can concentrate on pedagogical issues.
Monitoring and evaluation
The plan should clarify its objectives by setting short and medium term operational targets and metrics
for success of its large scale equipment roll out plan.
One limitation of the Plan is that its objectives are only vaguely stated and that no operational target that
could give a measure of success is public. This makes a monitoring or evaluation of the plan very difficult.
Moreover, this does not communicate a clear vision to teachers and stakeholders, that would allow them to
co-design their equipment process. Given the success of the plan in terms of school and teacher demand,
such quantified target would be useful. They should concern the main dimensions of the plan: equipment
(and possibly the expected cost sharing with other sources), digital resources produced, open educational
resources translated, level of frequentation of the resource banks, number of teachers that received different
types of professional development, etc.
Other dimensions of research and evaluation will be discussed in the next section.
Recommendations for the plan to catalyse systemic change and pedagogical
innovation
The most ambitious aim of the National Plan for Digital Schools is to catalyse change in schools and use
ICT as a driver of pedagogic and organisational innovation in the Italian education system. Even if it is at the
margin, technology can open up possibilities for new ways of teaching and learning, for new forms of school
organisation and of collaboration between teachers, as well as for new curricula and evaluation that reflect
the aims of 21st century education.
The potential of technology for transforming education goes well beyond equipping each classroom with
an interactive whiteboard or other comparable technology. Two strands of the Plan ([email protected] 2.0, scuol@ 2.0)
are innovation projects explicitly designed to go beyond this model. They pilot (and showcase) what a technology-rich education system could achieve. As the Plan rolls out ICT equipment at a large scale, it is
important to support pilots and experimental approaches that can subsequently inspire other schools and
inform policy making.
Innovation Laboratory Network
The introduction of interactive whiteboards alone is not sufficient to achieve transformation of teaching
and learning. Accelerating the equipment process is a first step to get closer to this objective. When more
teachers within a school have to use ICT equipment, the likelihood of school-wide changes increases, and,
subsequently, the likelihood of systemic change. However, expecting a deep transformation of teaching,
learning and school organisation as a consequence of the introduction of interactive whiteboards is perhaps
overly optimistic. As mentioned above, one of the strengths of IWB is that they can accommodate any kind
of pedagogy.
In this context, innovation projects experimenting new ways of teaching, learning and schooling play an
important role in supplementing the large scale equipment initiative of the Plan. Test bed schools can serve
as front-runners to pilot and invent new learning environments so that the entire Italian system can learn
from the positive and negative lessons learnt in the medium run. This is precisely what the [email protected] 2.0 and
scuol@ 2.0 are meant to do.
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However, the [email protected] 2.0 initiative presents the same limitations as the slow penetration of ICT in Italian
schools: it does not affect the entire schools, and therefore does not give teachers and schools enough
opportunities to learn, to share their experience, and to rethink and review collectively their professional
practices. For the very reason that we recommend to accelerate the speed of the equipment plan, we recommend to focus the innovation projects on the scuol@ 2.0 initiative: it has more potential for learning than
the [email protected] 2.0 initiative. In order to kindle change and innovation, ICT initiatives should indeed affect entire
clusters of professional relations at once.
Box 11. Recommendations for the plan to catalyse systemic change
and pedagogical innovation
Innovation Laboratory Network
• Concentrate resources on the scuol@ 2.0 initiative, redesign it around local school networks (distretti
[email protected] 2.0) – and discontinue the [email protected] 2.0 initiative. The [email protected] 2.0 does not give teachers enough
opportunities to learn to use ICT and become proficient: while it may show other teachers that using ICT is
possible and help make ICT more acceptable or desirable, its transformative impact is likely to be much more
limited than a whole-school implementation. The scuol@ 2.0 gives teachers and pupils more opportunities to
use ICT, learn to use it effectively, and share their learning and teaching experiences. A network of schools in
a local area (distretti [email protected] 2.0) also creates more opportunities for learning across schools within a city or
region and enables the emergence of bigger teacher networks.
• Use scuol@ 2.0 as test-bed schools to research, develop, and pilot solutions for all remaining schools.
Given limited available resources, the scuol@ (or distretti [email protected]) 2.0 initiative should be an innovation and
research laboratory for the use of ICT in Italian schools. These innovations should encompass new ICT products (such as digital textbooks, applications for integrated information and learning management systems and
digital assessment tools), but also other dimensions of education such as new training formats, new forms of
work organisation or new assessment frameworks.
• Use competitive calls for tender to select consortia of scuol@ 2.0 (or distretti [email protected] 2.0) based on the
ability to leverage additional funding and the quality of projects and partnerships with schools, industry and other
stakeholders (INVALSI, INDIRE, universities, foundations, municipalities, etc.). Initiatives to develop digital resources such as the Editoria digitale scolastica programme should be encouraged within these test bed schools.
• Make staff release credits eligible expenses in the new plan.
Research and evaluation
• Ensure that a rich documentation of practices is in place in test-bed schools from the beginning, and
give access to this information to researchers. A nationwide information system collecting longitudinal data
on schools, teachers and students would maximise opportunities to learn about successful innovation, and
scuol@ 2.0 could be used to further develop this information system.
• Fund research grants, doctoral scholarships and post-doctoral positions to generate research knowledge around the initiative and institute a national steering body and exchange platform for test-bed
schools, and between test-bed and regular schools.
Grassroots innovation
The learning on ICT integration thanks to the Innovation Laboratory Network should be complemented by other
initiatives to stimulate innovation and learn from innovative solutions in other contexts, including non-ICT contexts.
• Stimulate grassroots innovation through awards and innovation fairs for teachers and schools.
• Support innovative school projects proposed by schools and networks of schools, and develop challenge
prizes to address well-specified issues in Italian education.
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Given current budgetary constraints, we suggest to reconsider some features of the innovation projects
of the Plan and recommend:
•
To concentrate resources on the scuol@ 2.0 initiative;
•
To discontinue the [email protected] 2.0 initiative;
•
To redesign it around school networks (distretti [email protected] 2.0);
•
To include professional development provisions in the programme (as a school-wide entitlement);
•
To pay more attention to the organisational practices that enhance informal learning and continuous
improvement;
•
To strengthen the competitive design of the grant programme and mainstream matched funding and
partnerships, including with private actors and research teams.
Individual and collective learning
The research literature shows that teachers and organisations change their routines much faster when
entire schools rather than single classes within schools are equipped with technology. By routines, we refer
to their tacit ways of working, their organisational of work as professionals and member of a specific school
community. There are two reasons for this.
First, individual learning takes time: according to the research literature, proficiency in integrating ICT
in teaching takes at least two years of full-time practice. In Italy, where students (rather than teachers) traditionally stay within the same classroom, learning-by-doing is hampered if teachers do not find the same
technological environment in every single class they teach.
Second, collective learning and organisational change are also enhanced where new technologies are
introduced into all of a school’s classrooms at the same time. This creates a collective need for learning that
can foster collective solutions, mutual sharing, discussions, and thus possibly lead to the improvement of
professional practices. Furthermore, new organisational routines that exploit the power of ICT emerge more
easily if all teachers have access to ICT. For example, in one school that we visited, mathematics teachers
approached an initially sceptical colleague who resisted the use of the interactive whiteboard, and supportively embarked on a joint project with him. This kind of informal, peer-to-peer learning is facilitated by wholeschool approaches.
The school-wide approach of scuol@ 2.0 is more conducive to teachers’ individual learning as they can
teach with ICT in all their classes and thus become more experimented; it also generates more peer learning
as all school teachers are involved in the school project. Teachers are thus more likely to share their ideas,
resources, and experiences, to support one another, to learn from their colleagues and design appropriate
solutions as new issues arise.
Formal professional development opportunities
It is also easier to organise subject-specific training at the school level when whole schools, or even better,
entire school clusters are equipped at once with the same kinds of technology. Having whole-school training
sessions, moreover, is a powerful strategy for building a collegial atmosphere and a shared vision for change.
When entire schools are involved, informal opportunities for professional development are also maximised.
In this context, formal training could also be provided more easily and cheaply, and schools can develop
or test new organisational routines (e.g. lesson study). The need for professional development provides an
additional reason for focusing on entire schools. The current design of [email protected] 2.0 and scuol@ 2.0 does not
include any professional development provisions. Some proficiency in the use of technology is a requirement of the application process. However, we believe that schools participating in the [email protected] 2.0 also need
resources for professional development so that their teachers can really try innovative pedagogic uses of
technology and give support to their teachers who are less proficient in the use of technology.
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We recommend that the project proposal by each school contains a customised professional development plan, with precise responsibilities for carrying it out, or that such a plan is elaborated after the selection
of grantees but before the start of the programme.
Here again, a flexible school-wide entitlement to training resources for professional development – e.g. in
the form of staff release credits – should be made available in the next grants for the ICT innovation laboratory.
New professional practices
The whole-school approach that we propose to mainstream is meant to create a community of needs.
Transforming this need into a community of shared solutions requires that space and time is made free for
peer learning, team reflection on pedagogical practice, coaching and mentoring activities. Creating informal
opportunities for professional development should be perceived as a priority for successful change. In that
respect, school leaders should also benefit from some training to shape these collegial learning opportunities
and organise a multiplicity of feedback channels for teachers.
Many interesting organisational routines that foster informal learning within schools would not require
much change of the regulatory framework and, if any (see Box 12). They could be experimented in the context of the scuol@ 2.0 initiative. All these examples do not necessarily require dedicated budgets either, but
significant attention to create the conditions for them to emerge as solutions. This effort can have considerable payoffs: the capacity for sustaining change, indeed, does not only depend on the skills of individual
teachers, but also on the support that teachers receive from school-wide networks.
To increase opportunities for informal learning, we recommend to give more weight to the organisational
learning dimension in future calls of the initiative. Schools could be invited to propose organisational innovations to pilot as part of their bids; in turn, they should receive support for these aspects through in-service
training for school heads and through the support activities of INDIRE. Evaluation studies should also evaluate the costs and benefits of the various solutions being adopted. At the very least, they should monitor the
types of organisational innovations that have emerged in the test bed schools.
Box 12. Organisational routines for school-wide learning
In Japan, teachers routinely do “lesson study”. A group of teachers with a common focus meets and plans a
lesson together. The “research lesson” is then taught by one of them, and observed by not only all of the teachers
who are doing the planning, but also by observers, including in some cases visitors from other schools. During a
debriefing session, the lesson is discussed at some length, with modifications often suggested by the observers,
who frequently include an invited academic or “veteran teacher”. The tradition of lesson study in Japan means that
Japanese teachers work together in a disciplined way to improve the quality of the lessons they teach; this is one of
the most effective mechanisms for teachers’ continuous improvement (Lewis et al., 2006; Schleicher, 2012, p. 48).
Other routines fit well in more hierarchical, managerial organisations. The “Learning Walk Routine”, developed by
the University of Pittsburgh (United States), consists in a visit to a classroom by a team composed of the principal,
a coach and three teachers. The visit is intended not to disrupt the ongoing teaching activity but to observe it in a
systematic way. Each member of the visiting team has a specific observational task. After ten minutes, the team
moves to the hall where they briefly describe their observations and raise questions about what they observed. After
a few minutes, they move to another classroom and repeat the process. At the end of the day, the team meets with
the teachers whose classrooms were observed. The team describes what they observed and the questions that
emerged during hallway conversations. The classroom teachers make comments, take notes and raise additional
questions (OECD, 2010b).
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Local school clusters
In the interest of fostering a local innovative eco-system, we also suggest to bring the logic of wholeschool change (scuol@ 2.0) one step farther and to group the test bed schools in “school clusters 2.0”
(distretti [email protected] 2.0). At the very least, test bed schools should be part of a national network.
Grouping pilot schools within a specific geographic area can facilitate the emergence of communities of
practice transcending the school boundaries. Ideally, all schools within a school catchment area would participate in the network. This would ensure continuity for students as they move through the school system.
The creation of school clusters 2.0 would be a logical next step of the initiative, which so far has proceeded
gradually from classes to schools.
Box 13. The English ICT Test-bed initiative (2002-2006)
The ICT Test-Bed initiative in England can provide a model for the Italian ICT innovation lab in education. In this initiative, three clusters of about 10 schools, all in relatively deprived areas, were selected to carry out a project plan of
their own to use ICT to raise standards in teaching and learning, and to improve school leadership and organisation.
The project ran for four school years starting in September 2002; a total of GBP 34 million was invested (i.e. about
GBP 1 million per school over the duration of the project); the funding also provided for investment in staffing release
and training support to make the most effective use of the new ICT equipment bought (Somekh et al. 2007).
Such school clusters can be envisaged either as pilots for a subsequent nationwide roll-out or as mere
innovation laboratories.
Within the current budget constraints, it is more realistic to see these school clusters as experimental
laboratories testing out (and perhaps even inventing) innovative models. The “experimental” attribute does
not refer to solutions that are out of reach for mainstream education nor to the mere novelty of solutions, but
to the fact that the experience benefits learning at a wider scale, and to a trialling-and-refinement model:
good knowledge management shall indeed ensure that learning occurs about what works and what does not
within the constraints of the Italian school system.
The proposed programme of innovation laboratories would concentrate the resources and support given
to school innovation projects more than is currently the case, creating local hubs of technological innovation.
This could be a political challenge, but would make the lessons learnt even more useful and exemplary. This
shift should also be more acceptable if schools receive more quickly interactive whiteboards and other similar ICT equipment in the large scale strand of the Plan.
The difficulty of concentrating resources was also present in England with the ICT Test-bed initiative: in
this case, the objective selection of participants gave priority to projects in historically deprived areas.
Matching funds and partnerships
The discontinuation of the [email protected] 2.0 initiative would free some resources for the scuol@ 2.0 or distretti
[email protected] 2.0, but focusing resources on schools rather than classes, and clustering them in some localities
will make the initiative very small given the current budget. This is not necessarily a problem for an innovation
laboratory. However, we recommend to try to attract additional funding for the initiative by using, again, a
competitive selection process using matching funds and involving different partners.
The competitive selection of bids must be maintained and, if possible, strengthened. The project itself,
rather than historical or administrative criteria, must be the main selection criterion. Synergies and partnerships for funding, content development or other initiatives, should also be encouraged, involving local and
regional authorities as well as cross-sectoral linkages. The participation of universities, research centres,
foundations or companies is also crucial to document and evaluate the outcomes of the innovations. This
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should be a requirement in the school cluster 2.0 option: clusters should apply together and possibly be supported by some local authority or industry. Requesting the support of regions or local authorities could bring
more political support and additional budget to the initiative, following the model of the scale up agreement
between the State and 12 regions.
Finally, the selection process should be piloted at the highest level, by the Ministry itself, and may involve
international experts to demonstrate transparency on the merit-based selection.
Create the conditions for system learning
School improvement and system-wide pedagogic innovation is a cumulative and collective endeavour.
If knowledge about the effective solutions flows beyond the class and school boundaries, the benefits of
local investments are multiplied for the wider community of educators. Through ICT, the costs of making the
knowledge available to a wide community are greatly reduced.
In a policy of innovation laboratories, documenting successes and failures is key for system learning.
This documentation must then become available and accessible for third parties through good knowledge
management practices. Each new step can build on steps undertaken elsewhere and in the past. Two levers
to foster this kind of cumulative learning on the effective uses of ICT are suggested: academic research on
test-bed schools and teacher-led exchanges.
Feedback on current monitoring and evaluation of the Plan
The plan has so far paid limited attention to knowledge management and to building a cumulative
knowledge base on the reform – even though this very report shows that this is only partially true. There is
insufficient monitoring of the initiatives and, lacking routines to collect information on implementation and
impact, most knowledge about the process and the impact of these initiatives remains private to the teachers
involved, or at best, local to the school. This impedes much organisational and system-level learning.
In the case of the IWB initiative, the information available at the central level tracks the money spent and
the equipment bought. It is possible to know how many fixed and mobile IWBs are present in each school,
but not where they are. It is therefore not possible to estimate how much exposure individual teachers and
students have had to teaching and learning with IWBs.
There is no central evaluation – internal or external – about the impacts of the IWB initiative on the intended beneficiaries. Only anecdotal evidence can be used to tell the effect on ICT skills, teaching practices,
learning outcomes, motivation and satisfaction of teachers, students, and their families. We are not aware
of any systematic observation that has been conducted on the use of the equipment; to compare, for instance, classroom activities in classes with and without IWB. There is no study tracking the use over time by
the same teacher, which would help understand the learning curves and support improvements in the offer
of training. The evaluation of formal training options is at best limited to a short subjective user feedback.
Given the scant information about individual exposure, in fact, it would be also quite difficult for interested
researchers to conduct ex post evaluation study (where exposure measures are linked to INVALSI tests or to
student and teacher mobility patterns).
Some of these shortcomings originate from a lack of clarity on the plan’s pedagogical objectives for
ICT penetration. Goals related to teaching and learning are mostly expressed as vague aims (“changing the
learning environment”, “improving student learning”) and therefore are given little attention in the internal
monitoring: this monitoring emphasises the operational objectives (e.g “to equip x classes with IWBs”, “to
have a class blog”) rather than the pedagogical ones (e.g. “to have all students participate in classroom dialogue”, “to improve students’ results in INVALSI tests”). This limits the possibility of knowing “what works”,
and of deriving lessons for future improvement.
For [email protected] 2.0, in contrast to the IWB initiative, the schools had to commit themselves to collaborate with the monitoring and evaluation of the initiative and to administer the INVALSI tests. However, the
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monitoring plan was only formalised after the project started. The external evaluation study concerned
only lower-secondary classes (the first to start with the project), and the project had already started when
the evaluation was designed. A more compelling evaluation study would have required that the evaluators
collaborate in the design of the call for tender and, possibly, in the selection of winners, to achieve experimental standards.
As it turns out, the design of the evaluation study is not compatible with the measurement of impacts
in the presence of “spillovers” to non-selected classes within the same school that were in fact encouraged. This limits what can be learnt from this experience. A second control group outside of the selected
schools – for instance, among non-selected applicants – could have provided for richer comparisons,
but the consent of non-selected schools to participate in an evaluation study should have been secured
before the selection of winning classes. Even for the selected classes, despite the formal commitment of
schools, the monitoring and evaluation team found an alarming rate of non-response and non-collaborative attitudes.
A missed opportunity to build on past experience is also the fact that instruments (questionnaires, coding guides, etc) developed in the context of the monitoring and evaluation of lower-secondary classes were
never used to monitor the primary or upper secondary classes, possibly due to lack of resources. In fact,
there is no consolidated monitoring or evaluation report for these levels.
A further missed opportunity is the fact that this experience did not serve as a test-bed for INVALSI to
develop new forms of assessment in a technology-rich environment. Even for lower-secondary classes, little
effort went into defining the appropriate metrics for success in accordance to the objectives of the plan: while
gains in literacy and numeracy were not the main goals of the [email protected] 2.0 project, INVALSI tests for reading
and mathematics were the main outcome measures for the evaluation. Surprisingly, the evaluation study
does not measure students’ ICT skills and familiarity systematically nor with the same rigour as literacy and
numeracy. Teacher outcomes, and teaching practices, received very little attention in the evaluation study
– despite the fact that they feature highly in the objectives of the plan.
For scuol@ 2.0, applicant schools have again been asked to collaborate in the monitoring and evaluation
of the initiative, this time in the form of a written commitment (a declaration, rather than an implicit acceptance of the call’s conditions). To date, there is no formalised monitoring plan (e.g. periodic data collection
on implementation). The central scientific advisory and steering group, however, represents an opportunity
to identify and discuss the models at a central level, and thus to inform further initiatives from the centre.
Support research on teaching and learning with ICT
The objective of the innovation laboratory is really to find out if and how ICT supports better teaching and
learning as well as other desirable professional practices in Italian education. To turn the pilot schools into
real laboratories for system-wide pedagogical improvement, Italy should support to a greater extent research
on effective pedagogy and on the conditions in which it emerges. A first step is to clearly specify some objectives of the innovations, while leaving others to the appreciation of schools and researchers.
We suggest three lines of actions in this respect.
A first line of action is, as mentioned above, to ensure that researchers and evaluators are involved in the
innovation laboratory network, and that they work with the test bed schools. Researchers should lead action
research, ethnographic research and impact evaluation projects in collaboration with teachers and schools,
instead of offering workshops or seminars as they currently do. Ideally, they should apply with the schools
and work with them on the application and state a few questions that they will investigate.
A second line of action is to ensure that researchers in universities and other research institutes
(e.g. INDIRE) have access to information on what happens in pilot test-beds without burdening teachers
with their requests. To this end, it is important to have a rich information system (a longitudinal data system and appropriate measurement tools) in place in innovation laboratories from the very beginning of
the initiative. The metrics should cover both intermediate and final objectives and include, for instance,
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log data (on the use of devices, on the assignments, and on the assessment results) gathered directly
by computers. Such an information system would not load teachers with over-demanding administrative
reporting duties.
The information system would help monitor and document to a greater extent all initiatives, including the
baseline situation. It would make it possible to observe the trajectory of change and map the ICT learning
curve. The information system would clearly facilitate administrative reporting, and support quantitative research. It would also be a useful entry point for more qualitatively oriented researchers.
Judgements about the impact (effectiveness) or cost-efficiency of a specific solution developed within
the test-beds always require some type of comparison: against the initial situation, against the ideal benchmark, or against an external comparison group. While the ideal experimental situation compares two (or
more) randomly selected “test” and “control” groups, it is not always possible to isolate the solution from the
context in which it emerged, and therefore to assign it at random to a test group. A rich information system,
possibly extending beyond the test-bed schools, makes it possible to compare the measured change (rather
than the levels, as is sufficient in purely experimental settings) in the group exposed to this particular solution
with multiple comparison groups that share similar baseline characteristics.
A third line of action is for the Ministry of Education to stimulate research on what works in pedagogical
innovation by directly funding research projects. INDIRE could offer doctoral scholarships or post-doctoral
positions for theses that draw on the wealth of experiences and data in the ICT test-beds. Supporting a
national science base for teaching in this way would not require huge amounts of resources, but could have
significant payoffs in terms of system learning and of stimulating science-driven innovation.
Design a supportive policy environment for the Plan
The two previous sections focused on the design of the Plan. Several other policy measures could help
to build an environment that would make the Plan more successful: aligning curriculum and assessment with
its objectives; improving physical and virtual infrastructures; addressing parental concerns about security;
stimulating innovation and knowledge sharing.
Align evaluation and assessment frameworks with the desired pedagogical change
A typical problem that arises with innovation or reform is the misalignment of new objectives with other
formal driving forces in the system – not to mention conventional practice. Two important formal driving
forces in education systems are curriculum and assessment. We suggest to:
•
Develop support tools for ICT integration in subject curriculum;
•
Develop teacher-friendly assessment tools and monitor ICT skills as well as other desired skills.
Align curriculum reform with ICT policies
ICT skills in Italy have a limited place in the curriculum and are not embedded within subject fields. A
reform of the curriculum could be used to align teachers’ practice with ICT policies, with rapid effect and
without significant budget implications.
In many countries, ICT skills are now seen as foundation skills (along with literacy and numeracy) rather than as applied skills, and feature prominently in curriculum documents. The European Commission,
for instance, included “digital literacy” as one of the eight “key competences for lifelong learning” in
Recommendation 2006/962/EC. In France, ICT-related skills are one of seven curricular “pillars” throughout
the primary and lower secondary cycle (socle commun de connaissances et de competénces). In Norway,
the “Knowledge Promotion” reform has identified digital competencies as one of five sets of foundation skills
that are developed throughout the grades and the subjects. Learning objectives for each subject involve the
use of ICT for subject-specific purposes. In the United Kingdom, use of ICT is statutory in subject teaching.
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In Italy, the new curriculum guidelines for primary and lower secondary schools (“Indicazioni nazionali”)
that will be introduced in 2013 are grounded in the Recommendation of the European Commission. The
upper secondary curriculum has also changed recently (DM 211/2010). All these new curricula emphasise
to a significant extent so-called “21st century skills”: digital competencies, cooperative skills, higher order
thinking and reasoning, critical analysis, problem solving and posing, creativity. Each school is then expected
to elaborate a school curriculum within this framework.
In the national guidelines, the mastery of digital tools is not included among the skill goals (“traguardi per
lo sviluppo delle competenze”) and learning objectives (“obiettivi di apprendimento”) of any subject, except
“technology”, “music”, and “visual arts”. For “technology”, specific learning objectives at the end of eighth
grade include: exploring the functions and potential of new application software; planning a school trip or
museum visit using the internet; programming a computer environment and giving simple instructions to control the behaviour of a robot (MIUR, 2012d). In “music”, children learn how to use ICT as a music instrument;
learning objectives include accessing music-related web resources and using music software and sound
editing software. In “visual arts”, there is an explicit accent on creating and interpreting multimedia works. But
these subjects represent a small share of instruction hours, and in lower secondary schools, where teachers
are subject specialists, teachers may not feel a shared responsibility for promoting digital literacy.
One barrier that teachers often face when they decide on adopting ICT or experimenting with new pedagogical models is the gap between these new practices and the existing school curricula, to which their
current practice has been adjusted over the years. The outreach effort that needs to be done to implement
these curriculum changes provides an important opportunity to develop digital resources that support their
adoption and to guide teachers on how to integrate ICT in teaching (while at the same time drawing them to
implement the new curriculum).
The adoption of e-books and tablets starting from 2014 will remove the obstacle of unavailability of ICT
devices. It is therefore recommended that in order to make ICT part of everyday pedagogy and assessment
practices in schools, subject-specific learning objectives related to the use of ICT are added to the national
guidelines.
Align assessment reform with ICT policies
Even when the official curriculum changes, the demands of school evaluations and of national student
assessment policies do not necessarily cover the new competencies that teachers are asked to foster. And
therefore one can expect that these new skills do not receive the same attention from both pupils and teachers.
In spite of the change in curricula mentioned above, national student assessment practices do not favour the expected pedagogic change. The assessment tools developed by INVALSI are limited to foundation
skills and to technical, subject-specific competences in reading, writing, and mathematics (and soon in
science). These assessments will gain even greater influence on school practice as they feed into the new
national school evaluation system.
There are currently no plans to develop tools for the formative assessment or for the benchmarking of
progress in the remaining competencies that are emphasised in the national plan for digital school and in the
new curricula.
To foreground the objective of fostering pedagogical change through the ICT initiatives, we recommend
that guidelines and tools for the formative assessment of skills such as digital competency, cooperative
problem solving, higher order thinking, reasoning and creativity are developed in cooperation with teachers,
and shared as open educational resources. These guidelines and tools would put the development of these
skills, in addition to disciplinary mastery, under the spotlight.
In fact, assessing new skills would not require changing the traditional assessment practices that are still
common in Italian schools – such as oral examinations or essay writing; it would rather enrich the dialogue
between teachers and learners about the progression towards all learning goals that is evidenced through
these practices (see Lucas et al., 2013, for an example).
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We further recommend that INVALSI develops new forms of summative assessments that measure
proficiency in cross-curricular 21st century skills (such as digital literacy) and in skills in thinking and creativity embedded in the various subjects. The idea is not to assess the entire population with these new
instruments, but rather to introduce them in sample-based surveys and make them available to schools who
want to benchmark their results on an externally validated measure. Australia and New Zealand can provide
interesting examples illustrating the power of sample-based surveys (Box 14).
Build an integrated ICT infrastructure and vision
The National Plan for Digital Schools requires the further development of a national digital infrastructure
for schools. This is not only necessary to support the large-scale roll-out of digital devices and a more intensive use of ICT in classrooms (and schools), but also to prepare the next phases of the Plan that should rely
on the integration and interoperability of ICT platforms and devices. We thus suggest to:
•
Prioritise the provision of adequate bandwidth for more intensive ICT use in school as part of cross-government policy;
•
Address parental concerns about the safety of the school internet environment and support local initiatives for parental ICT training programmes;
•
Develop a long term ICT strategy around the integration of different educational ICT platforms and tools
(longitudinal information systems (anagrafe), learning management systems (registri digitali), digital resources banks, teacher social networks, etc.) and design related inter-operability standards.
Box 14. Sample-based student assessments in Australia and New Zealand
In Australia and New Zealand, sample surveys are used to monitor, among other skills, the nationwide progress in
developing ICT skills and the skills of pupils in navigating information. The sample-based approach allows matching
national assessments of students with the full breadth of the learning goals in the official curriculum. Assessments
are not limited to foundation skills and do not create an unwanted hierarchy among learning goals.
The Australian National Assessment Program includes cyclical sample surveys to monitor student outcomes in
science, ICT, civics and citizenship. These tests draw on a statistically representative sample of students at target
grade levels (equivalent to about 5% of the corresponding population). Each area is an agreed national priority and
is tested once every three years. The first survey was run in 2003 for science, in 2004 for civics and citizenship and
in 2005 for ICT. Each assessment results in a national report and allows a reporting of progress over time, as each
subject is assessed every three years. For both ICT and civics and citizenship, students are assessed in Grades 6
and 10 (Santiago et al., 2011).
In New Zealand primary schools, progress towards the achievement of national curriculum goals has been measured via the National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) since 1995. No full cohort national tests exist. NEMP is
conducted every year on Grade 4 and Grade 8 students, but assesses a different set of disciplines each year; over
a four-year cycle, it covers all curriculum areas. The four cycles are as follows:
(1)
Science, visual arts and information skills (graphs, tables, maps, charts, diagrams);
(2)
Language (reading and speaking); aspects of technology and music;
(3)
Mathematics, social studies and information skills (library, research); and
(4)
Language (writing, listening, viewing), health and physical education.
About 3 000 students are selected randomly each year to take part in the assessments. To cover a broad range
of items without overburdening individual students, three different groups of students are created for each subject,
with each group being tested on one third of the tasks. The tasks are not necessarily related to particular year levels
– many tasks are the same for Grade 4 and Grade 8 students (Nusche et al., 2012).
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Prioritise investments in the digital infrastructure of schools
As for physical ICT infrastructures, the bandwidth of school networks needs to accommodate more
intensive uses of ICT. If pupils are to use tablets, e-readers, notebooks, clickers, smartphones and other
devices in school, bandwidth problems may rapidly become a concern.
To overcome these problems, the involvement of other sectors – such as the telecommunication sector,
through the Ministry of Development and the newly created Agenzia digitale italiana – and of local governments is desirable. The Digital Agenda sets the framework for such cooperation.
Design a safe and parent-friendly school internet environment
During our consultations, parent associations expressed some concern about the safety of children
using the internet and digital devices in school: these concerns need to be addressed with high priority to
secure the critical support from families to the national plan.
ICT-related safety risks that need to be addressed at school (or, more generally, for children) typically
concern exposure to inappropriate materials, inappropriate or illegal behaviour while using technology, physical danger and sexual abuse related to the use of the internet or ICT, copyright infringement, obsessive use
of ICT, inappropriate and illegal behaviour by school staff (Becta, 2005). Similar problems can also arise from
home use (NFER, 2010).
The ministry could centrally support the development of a protected Internet environment for children
in schools. There are a host of guidelines and resources available internationally that can be adapted to the
Italian context.
Other concerns related to the cost of ICT to families as well as to the lack of preparation of some
parents to use ICT to communicate with the school (e.g. registration) or to support their children. Training
programmes and information campaigns could be organised to address these issues. Ideas and examples
about how to involve parents in the implementation of the national plan should be shared. For example, two
schools that we visited relied on some technology-literate parents to support them in the introduction of ICT,
or to assist other parents of the school to become more familiar with ICT. One of them managed to successfully mobilise parental funding to buy additional equipment for the school.
Prepare the design of an integrated ICT infrastructure
The Ministry should also develop a long-term strategy and vision for the use of ICT in education. We
believe that the integration of the different digital tools and platforms that have been developed should play
an important role in this vision, enabling teachers and other stakeholders to access a one-stop shop where
they can access, store and exchange most, if not all, of the digital information, resources, and tools that
they need. We are still very far from this horizon, in Italy as well as in all other countries, but some promising
efforts in this direction are currently underway. Instead of building on existing ICT tools and functionalities,
such a strategy should try to identify long-term strategic objectives for education and then try to develop the
appropriate ICT infrastructure and solutions to make it happen.
As it builds on multiple initiatives and develops over time, educational technology tends to reproduce existing fragmentation between data gathered for administrative and for pedagogic purposes.
Platforms for administrative purposes, information systems for statistical purposes, learning management systems at the school level, teachers’ social networks, digital resource platforms, etc., tend to
be developed separately and are not necessarily inter-operable. The integration – or at least interoperability – of these different tools would help maximise the power of technology to support educational
innovation and improvement. For example, data gathered through the administrative process could be
brought to bear when choosing digital resources or when making some diagnosis on the learning of
some students. Handheld devices could be used to gather data seamlessly, avoiding data entry duplication or data export (and thus mistakes). For example, longitudinal information systems are not just
administrative or accountability tools that can give feedback on the system or school performance,
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they could inform teaching and learning if the rich information they include on pupils, teachers and
schools could be linked to pedagogic tools.
Recent measures taken by the government in setting interoperability standards between school management systems (dealing with school enrolment and electronic registries) and its central longitudinal information system (anagrafe) already go in this direction. But Italy still needs to develop much further the data
system infrastructure at school and country levels that would support and enhance the use of ICT in teaching
and learning, including within the classroom.
The use of learning management systems is for example very limited in schools and still needs to be
mainstreamed. As schools get equipped, these systems should be integrated or interoperable with other information systems available within schools. Learning management systems are platforms in which teachers and
students can upload materials, create content, and interact through blogs, wikis, and discussion fora; teachers
can also post assignments, note grades and absences, etc. Cloud-based learning management systems may
be a quick way to spread their use within schools. They reduce software maintenance costs and risks of data
loss – but may raise data security issues. In Austria, EduMoodle is a platform hosting cloud-based learning
management systems that substantially reduces the costs of local investments in servers and maintenance.15
As learning management systems, digital resource banks, teacher exchange platforms and other tools
develop, the design of interoperability standards that allow all these systems to communicate with each
other and with the existing longitudinal information system (anagrafe) could increase the pedagogic power of
technology. Interoperability standards foster cumulative innovation: local application software (e.g. to manage communication with parents when children are absent from school, to edit exam report cards, certificates, etc.) can be developed and can build on the existing data architecture rather than create data silos of
their own. Standards also ensure the interoperability between schools, and therefore facilitate the exchange
of information between levels, with significant savings in the medium term. In Korea, families not only enrol
online in their schools (as will be the case in Italy, starting from 2013-14), but upon request schools can
directly transfer the students’ data to universities, or deliver online certificates to families. Korea’s National
Education Information System (NEIS) was a significant investment, but succeeded in reducing administrative
costs and in reducing teachers’ administrative workload. The Korean Ministry of Education, Science and
Technology (MEST) estimates that it produced yearly savings in the orders of USD 200 million (OECD, 2010).
The advantages of an integrated data infrastructure at school and national levels are manifold. In addition to producing significant savings in administrative costs, the introduction of digital technologies in school
administrations can be expected to contribute to push teachers to develop their ICT skills and familiarity,
even when they are reluctant to change their teaching practices. It would also bring schools closer to workplaces in knowledge-intensive sectors. It would also make it much easier to pilot and monitor innovation
initiatives without imposing burdensome reporting on schools.
In the longer term, such an infrastructure could prepare the ground for deeper changes that could well
emerge spontaneously among the willing – in the organisation of teachers’ work, in the personalisation of
learning, the evaluation of students, etc. As it did in the retail trade and health sectors, “big data” has the
potential to transform education.
Support innovation and knowledge sharing
In addition to what is already done through the national plan, the Ministry of Education should continue
to support innovation in education, the development of new tools and practices by businesses and schools,
and to strengthen knowledge management mechanisms within the system. Some of these measures can be
simple and relatively inexpensive. They should concern ICT-related, but not ignore other substantial forms of
innovation. Among different possibilities, we recommend to:
•
Design awards and innovation fairs for teachers and schools to stimulate grassroots innovation, be they
ICT-related or not;
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Support innovative school projects proposed by schools and networks of schools;
•
Develop challenge prizes to address well-specified issues in Italian education;
•
Incentivise businesses and other stakeholders to develop innovative solutions for Italian education.
Make knowledge sharing an engaging experience for teachers
In all innovation experiences, much knowledge inevitably tends to be embodied in the innovators themselves. Data logs and research reports can only partially reflect the richness of their knowledge, which remains largely tacit.
A simple, and often cost-effective way of stimulating innovation and its dissemination is through prizes
and awards. Thanks to competitive incentives, an award effectively leads participants to publicly document
their inventions, discoveries and innovations, and thereby to share their knowledge. Awards must not be limited to breakthrough innovations: innovative teachers awards can be used to stimulate marginal, continuous
improvements, and to foster local adaptation of existing solutions. Awards do not necessarily require large
budgets: the public recognition of the value of the innovation as well as the reputation effect that it creates
can be as effective as monetary incentives (and sometimes more effective). A critical condition for the success of the award, therefore, is establishing its reputation.
Regular awards, with small monetary amounts but with prestige, could be given out at annually held
fairs or in otherwise visible events. They may have the potential to foster teacher-led innovation and broker
communities of practice among the most pioneering teachers, overcoming their possible feeling of working
in isolation.
Importantly, innovation awards in education should encourage teachers to document programmes,
learning objects and processes that can be implemented elsewhere (e.g. a lesson plan, the script for a
science experiment using ICT, a routine for cooperative learning in the classroom, or an online platform for
managing student collaborative projects) rather than the result of their local implementation (e.g. the DVD
produced by students).
The design (or redesign) of these awards or of the context in which they are granted could be inspired
by some existing international examples (Box 15).
Box 15. Awards for innovative teachers
In France, the Journées de l’Innovation initiative invites pedagogical innovation projects and distinguishes each
year five of them with an award. The Expérithèque website, through which participants post their application, functions as a permanent repository of pedagogical innovation projects. The Spanish Instituto Nacional de Tecnologías
Educativas y de Formación del Profesorado (INTEF) funds an annual prize for learning materials developed by teachers, non-profit organisations, or schools. In Chile, Innovo en Clases Integrando Tecnología is a competition for
teaching practices documented in short videos (4-5 minutes).
Continue to stimulate innovative solutions
Beyond what is done through the Plan, Italy’s innovation policy in education should continue to stimulate
innovative solutions developed by schools and businesses. A combination of policies supporting innovations
designed by schools and businesses and of innovations designed to address problems or needs that are
identified by public authorities is recommended.
In the same way as the Plan creates a laboratory for test bed schools to experiment new ICT usages
and transform Italian education, other initiatives should create room for other schools to develop or pilot
innovative solutions of their own. These can relate to ICT or not. In order to create a lively innovation ecosystem in education, and have more comparison points for the innovations devised by test bed schools in
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the scuol@ 2.0 initiative, it is important to support schools and school networks which are not part of the
initiatives of the Plan to test and pilot other kinds of innovations. Depending on the budgets required, this
should be done with a more or less stringent selection process.
Efforts for the business sector to invest in the development of innovative solutions for the education sector should also continue to be encouraged. This could be done in coordination with traditional
tools of industrial innovation policies, which often prioritise other areas than education (when these
priorities exist).
Public venture capital can support entrepreneurial innovation in education that require considerable budget and technical expertise. Italy is already relying on this solution through the recent “Smart
Cities” call for tenders financed by public R&D credits for the private sector (Fondo per le Agevolazioni
alla Ricerca).
Box 16. Challenge prizes
Challenge prizes specify a need in advance (the challenge), rather than recognising achievements retrospectively
as prizes for inventors usually do. They are awarded to whoever can first meet the challenge. Historical examples
include the British Longitude Prize (awarded to John Harrison in 1714) and the Orteig Prize for transatlantic flights
(awarded to Charles Lindburgh in 1927). The “X PRIZE Foundation” creates and manages some of the world’s largest contemporary challenge prizes. The British National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)
promotes and funds research on contemporary challenge prizes (www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/challengeprizes).
Challenge prizes may work in conjunction with patents: a particular design for a challenge prize is indeed to announce a “patent buyout” as a prize, so that all uncertainty about the commercial prospects of a patent are removed.
Under patent buyout schemes, the government purchases a patent and places it in the public domain (Kremer,
1998). In 1839, for instance, the government of France bought the patent for Daguerreotype photography and placed
the technique in the public domain, accelerating further adoption and refinements of the technique.
Building on this first experience, we recommend that similar calls are issued each year in accordance
with the priorities of education policy.
Challenge prizes are an alternative instrument to stimulate breakthrough innovation in education.
Challenge prizes find their application to stimulate breakthrough innovation when the expected social benefits exceed the prospects of private benefits from monopoly rights awarded by patents (Box 16). In the case
of technologies with significant network externalities that serve the needs of public education, the patenting
incentive to perform R&D might be small. This concern can be addressed by having innovators compete for
the prize rather than for market. One of the advantages of challenge prizes is that they attract stakeholders
that are outside of the field of education, and allow for many different ideas to be proposed. For well-specified problems at the system level, Italy can consider the opportunity of opening challenge prize competitions
to national and international entrepreneurs.
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Concluding remarks
Given the low penetration of ICT in education compared to most other OECD countries, Italy launched
in 2007 a National Plan for Digital Schools to mainstream ICT in Italian classrooms and use technology as a
catalyser of innovation in Italian education, hopefully conducing to new teaching practices, new models of
school organisation, new products and tools to support quality teaching.
The plan uses its very modest funding to implement a convincing and ambitious vision of innovation at
the margin. It rightly concentrates on schools and teachers eager to initiate change, favours tools that are
not disruptive to current teaching practices, tries to create a demand that can engage other stakeholders
to contribute to the plan, focuses on pedagogic uses of technology rather than merely on equipment, and
addresses the importance of professional development and of expanding the availability of digital pedagogic
resources. It exploits synergies with other ICT policies and has successfully involved regions in its implementation and scale up strategy.
However, the small budget of the Plan has limited the effectiveness of its diverse initiatives. Because of
a lack of budget rather than insufficient school or teacher demand, ICT equipment is entering Italian classes
rather slowly. The plan has been allocated EUR 30 million per year for 4 years, that is, less than 0.1% of Italy’s
public budget for schooling. In its current design, a significant rise of the budget of the plan through public
or private sources is a necessary condition for its success.
Given current budgetary constraints, a significant budget increase may be difficult, and we propose
to revise the Plan in order to achieve two objectives: 1) speed up the uptake of ICT in Italian schools and
classrooms; 2) create an Innovation Laboratory Network of test bed schools piloting and inventing new pedagogic and organisational practices to improve Italian education by refocusing the innovation projects on the
scuol@ 2.0 initiative.
Should these two objectives be achieved, Italian schools would make an important contribution of Italy’s
whole-of-government “Digital agenda” and make a first step to equipping Italian students with skills for the
digital economy.
Notes
1. http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Nazionale_Informatica, accessed 16 July 2012.
2. www.parlamento.it/parlam/leggi/06296l.htm.
3. http://rep.itespresso.it/adv/12/03/agendadigitale.pdf.
4. In upper secondary schools, while the class group is in general the same for all four or five years, the
class teachers change after the first two years.
5. http://rep.itespresso.it/adv/12/03/agendadigitale.pdf.
6. http://hubmiur.pubblica.istruzione.it/web/istruzione/prot1682_12bis, accessed 19 December 2012.
7. www.istruzione.it/web/istruzione/dm74_10.
8. www.istruzione.it/web/istruzione/prot2033_12 and
www.istruzione.it/web/istr uzione/prot924_12, accessed 13 July 2012.
9. http://cercalatuascuola.istruzione.it/cercalatuascuola/, accessed 13 July 2012.
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10. Avviso prot. n. 84/Ric. del 2 marzo 2012, www.ponrec.it/media/1093/dd_2012_03_02_prot_0084_avviso.
pdf.
11. Decreto Direttoriale 5 luglio 2012 n. 391/Ric., http://attiministeriali.miur.it/anno-2012/luglio/dd-05072012.
aspx.
12. www.ponrec.it/media/91323/elenco_idee_progettuali_approvate__d.d.84_ric._del_2marzo2012.pdf.
13. School education is only one field among many. The complete list of specific fields of intervention concerned by the second call includes security, ageing, welfare technologies and inclusion, home automation, judiciary system, schools, waste management, marine technology, health, ground transports and
mobility, last-mile logistics, smart grids, sustainable architecture and materials, cultural heritage, management of water resources, cloud computing and technologies for smart government.
14. www.wikiwijs.nl/task.international.psml, accessed 23 November 2012.
15. www.edumoodle.at/moodle/, accessed 3 December 2012.
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59
ANNEX A1
Learning from international experiences
with interactive whiteboards: The role of professional
development in integrating the technology
ANNEX A: Learning from international experiences with interactive whiteboards
Sara Hennessy and Laura London
(Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Introduction
This paper describes teacher strategies and experiences with interactive whiteboards (IWBs) and draws
on the published research in this area to understand how a systemic approach to technology-based innovations in schools can contribute to quality education for all. It explores ways to support the cultural shift in
teacher and learner roles that helps to integrate the technology effectively into classroom teaching. It begins
by considering how the features of IWB technology might potentially be exploited in the primary or secondary school classroom to support subject teaching and learning. International experiences of implementing
IWB programs are then described, mostly from the United Kingdom where integration efforts are the most
prominent, and implications for future intervention efforts are examined. The review concludes by defining the organisational conditions for enhancing teacher commitment and thus the likelihood for successful
change. In particular, the role of teacher professional development is foregrounded and characteristics of
effective programmes are outlined. Some comments about the relative costs and benefits, and recommendations for policymakers, are made.
Exploiting the interactive whiteboard to support teaching and learning
The interactive whiteboard (IWB) technology combines a large, touch-sensitive electronic board with a
data projector, specialised software and a computer. The board displays the projected computer image and
allows direct input via finger or stylus. Software provides a variety of functions, including those that replicate
non-digital technologies such as flipcharts, dry-wipe boards, overhead projectors, slide projectors, and video players (Mercer et al., 2010, p. 196). Tools provided as part of the IWB software package include those for
annotating text, highlighting, drawing, hide-and-reveal, resizing and zooming.
Images from other technologies can easily be displayed on the IWB, and objects can be moved or
transformed to produce enlarged and interactive images, animation and text (Northcote et al., 2010). These
objects can be directly manipulated by students and teachers to provide an interactive experience in lessons
that is accessible to all. Transformed objects can also be stored and retrieved in future lessons to further
spark discussions. These functions can help to draw attention to salient features of a representation or process, coupled with teachers or students publicly interpreting a display.
The term “interactive” has two meanings associated with the IWB: the tactile manipulation of objects
and words on the board, and interactive contact with the content of the lesson, which creates a more fluid
and discursive environment where students feel more comfortable and capable interacting with the lesson
content (Gray, 2012). Likewise, Smith et al. (2005) distinguish “technical interactivity” (physical interaction
with the device) from “pedagogical interactivity” (interaction between students and others in the context of
classroom IWB use, that is designed to bring about learning).
IWB features perceived to support learning include immediate feedback (responding to user input contingently), dynamic representation of processes, and provisionality (the facility to change or eradicate content),
access to a wide range of digital resources, visibility and multimodality. Multimodality refers to the multiple
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modes of representation and communication within a classroom (Kress et al., 2001; Jewitt, 2006): image,
gesture, gaze, interaction with objects, writing, and speech. The IWB in particular facilitates the interaction
of teacher and students with a wide range of digital media resources: texts, drawings, diagrams, still photographs, multimedia presentations, animations, simulations and models of dynamic processes, interactive
diagrams, maps, concept maps, databases, graphs, tables, hyperlinked web pages, audio and video files,
mathematical representations, etc. Not all features are consistently supportive of learning, so care needs to
be taken in managing activity at the board. Kennewell and Beauchamp (2007) point out that student inputs
and real-time feedback help to reduce the fear of failure for learners, but students may also exploit these
features to achieve their goals through trial and error. This avoids the cognitive effort that would be expected
to result in learning. (In some contexts, trial and error is, of course, desirable.)
The IWB is considered particularly useful by teachers in supporting visualisation to assist in teaching
difficult concepts or demonstrating skills – for example in using a ruler, thermometer or microscope at primary level (Somekh, Haldane et al., 2007). Graphical and dynamic representations and audio or video help to
make complex concepts and processes more explicit, concrete and transparent. This offers opportunities to
check understanding and supply clarification. Teachers of course use traditional resources, as well as talk,
gaze and gesture, alongside the IWB.
The IWB can also be effectively combined with other peripherals such as “visualisers” (also known as
document cameras), where physical objects placed beneath the camera stand appear on the screen, or a
standard digital camera. Such peripheral cameras can be used to display, critique or compare students’
work or experimental results, or to project an image as a task stimulus. When visualisers are combined with
IWBs, one can also freeze an image, then remove the object from the visualiser and manipulate it, and compare it with the original.
Table A.1 provides a helpful summary of the teacher and learner actions that IWB features support or
allow (these activities would not be possible with traditional blackboards). Examples of classroom activities
are given alongside each action.
Many of the examples of classroom activities imply learners’ rather than only teachers’ use of the IWB.
To fully exploit the possibilities of IWBs, Essig (2011) therefore argues that new and more creative classroom
activities need to be designed so that the majority of children can have an opportunity within the same lesson. Adolescents may, however, be quite self-conscious and hence reluctant to come to the board. To overcome this reluctance, IWBs can be combined with handheld computers (tablets) or remote pointers (clickers,
wireless mice): this reduces exposure of students, releases the teacher from the front of the room, and saves
time spent on students moving to the front. Students’ use of such remote input devices to interact with IWB
content can extend the action around the classroom and add new strategies to engage everyone in learning
activities. It can also create more space for learner involvement in the creation of lesson content.
We have presented an overview of some ways in which teachers and learners might exploit the interactive features of the IWB. Some of these uses can potentially be combined with a “dialogic” pedagogy that
is known to promote learning in classroom contexts both with and without technology. Box A.1 summarises
the key principles of this promising approach and considers how the interactivity of the IWB might be more
fully exploited.
While most of the research on IWB use focuses on whole class teaching, work by Warwick et al. (2010)
has shown that the IWB has certain features and perceived benefits of those features that make it a suitable tool for use in group work activities where the teacher is not physically present, but s/he prepares the
task structure beforehand. This can provide a highly productive environment for dialogic group activity and
interaction.
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Table A.1. Action
61
Possible actions with IWBs and examples of use in classroom activities
Meaning
Example of classroom activity with IWB
Composing
Ideas can be recorded accurately as
they arise.
Students brainstorm on IWB
Editing
Data or text stored and displayed Class collectively edit report of a science experiment after
can be changed easily with no trace whole-class discussion of outcomes
of the original
Selecting
Choice of resource or procedure can
be made from a list
Comparing
Features of same object from differ- Teacher displays pictures of flower taken from different anent views or different items displayed gles or different flowers looking for common features
can be compared
Retrieving
Stored resources can easily be re- Teacher retrieves examples of same work from different
trieved for use
classes or students retrieve files to complete work or demonstrate to peers
Apprehending
The display (text, images, sound, di- An image can be added to illustrate the meaning of an unagrams) is easy for students to see familiar word
or interpret
Focusing
Attention can be drawn to particu- Teacher uses highlighter, or “reveal” tool to focus attention
lar aspects of a process or repre- on component part before revealing its place in the whole obsentation
ject or uses zoom/magnify to look closer at a seed to identify
how it becomes attached to an animal for dispersal
Transforming
The way that the data is displayed
can be changed
Role Playing
Activities can be carried out in a way Students use a simulation on the IWB to conduct a virtual
which is similar to activity in the “real scientific experiment
world”
Collating
The facility to bring together a variety Students collect data around the school grounds and load
of items from different sources into a into graphing or database project for whole class
single resource
Sharing
The facility to communicate and in- Teacher retrieves PowerPoint presentations compiled by colterchange resources and ideas easily leagues from school network
with others
Annotating
Notes can be added to a process or Teacher annotates a poem with student’s interpretations or
representation at the time of use
students predict the direction and shape of a graph and draw
on the IWB for class discussion
Repeating
An automated or stored process can
be repeated at will
Simulating
A process can be simulated by Students enter different food quantities into spreadsheet and
representing relationships between watch effect on graphs representing high energy foods, food
variables
for growth and so on
Cumulating
Building up a representation of
knowledge in a progressive manner
Revisiting
Repeating an activity or returning A list of ideas generated by the class at the start of the lesson
with a different focus
is reviewed following an Internet search and discussion
Undoing
Reversing an action
Questioning
Piece of dialogue requiring a re- “Can you find two numbers which add up to 7?”
sponse
Prompting
Action or piece of dialogue which
suggests what someone should do
Responding
Action which is contingent on a pre- Change “big” to “enormous” when prompted
vious question/prompt
Students select the appropriate words from a list of vocabulary in a language exercise
Students and/or teacher enter data in a spreadsheet and
view in different graph formats to discuss which is most appropriate for task
Students can replay an animation of the flow of blood through
a heart when writing an explanation of it
Students compile a group presentation (using a variety of
media) over the course of a term/topic before presenting to
peers
A tentative idea or solution to a problem is removed without
trace
“Try to find another word which means the same thing there”
Source: Adapted from Kennewell and Beauchamp (2007, p. 232-233)
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Box A.1. A dialogic pedagogy for using the IWB more effectively
Recent case studies by Hennessy and her colleagues show how the interactive whiteboard can be used to support
classroom dialogue (Hennessy, 2011; Mercer et al., 2010; http://dialogueiwb.educ.cam.ac.uk/).
Dialogue is more than just “talk”, it is shared enquiry that bridges the gap between two or more perspectives
(Bakhtin 1986; Wegerif 2007). Dialogic classroom interaction is an evolving and increasingly recognised pedagogical approach in which teachers and learners actively comment and build on each other’s ideas, pose open-ended
questions, and jointly construct new knowledge (Mortimer and Scott, 2003; Mercer and Littleton, 2007). Importantly,
dialogue is cumulative and responsive to the previous person’s contribution. It involves chained sequences of questioning and responding and chained lines of thinking and enquiry (Bakhtin, 1986; Alexander, 2008). Dialogic pedagogies have benefits for individuals’ subject learning and for the development of language, reasoning and collaborative
inquiry skills (Knight, in press; Mercer et al., 2004; Mercer and Sams, 2006; Wegerif et al., 1999; Rojas-Drummond
et al., 2010; Wegerif et al., 2004).
The IWB is particularly well-suited for supporting a dialogic pedagogy because it expands the possible modes of
classroom dialogue beyond talk and gesture. New dialogues can evolve around digital artefacts: images, texts, and
other digital objects that teachers and learners iteratively manipulate and develop through collective scrutiny and
collaborative activity.
In a dialogic classroom, learners reflect on their own explanations and others’ critical perspectives. The IWB facilitates this process because it helps learners to create and share concrete representations of ideas and to receive
feedback. Different ideas can more easily be juxtaposed, explored, connected and compared, highlighting strengths
and weaknesses. Digital artefacts make words and ideas available for manipulation – as “improvable objects” (Wells,
1999). Interacting with these provisional knowledge objects helps both to highlight differences between perspectives
and to continue dialogues over time. By making both learning histories and trajectories more visible, including tracking them over time, digital artefacts can help dialogue to progress cumulatively.
The IWB also has the potential to assist with specialist teaching of children who are dyslexic or have
severe difficulties with basic number work. A small, yet significant body of work by Somekh, Haldane et al.
(2007) provides evidence that the IWB is a very useful tool in the hands of an experienced teacher or properly
trained teaching assistant working with a small group. Moreover, the tools can potentially be used to improve
the functional capabilities of children with disabilities (Basilicato, 2005).
The potential of the IWB as a powerful learning tool is beginning to become apparent. We now turn to
examining the nature and extent of its integration in classroom teaching around the world.
Policy initiatives in the United Kingdom and the spread of IWBs worldwide
The decision to introduce interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in the United Kingdom, the country with the
highest penetration of IWBs worldwide, was based on an intention to improve student literacy and numeracy, targeting mainly primary schools, through interactive whole class teaching (Higgins et al. 2005). Policy
required what the technology seemed to offer – a visual tool for supporting well-paced “interactive whole
class teaching”, and one that was cheaper than a class set of computers. Initial government-sponsored
programmes involved parallel large-scale rollouts during 2003-04 in London secondary schools (Schools
Whiteboard Expansion or SWE), and in 2004-05 in primary schools across the country (Schools Whiteboard
Expansion Evaluation Project or SWEEP).
A further parallel programme, “ICT Test Bed”, invested a total of GBP 34 million (EUR 50.6 million) over
4 years (2002-06) in 28 British schools and three further education colleges across three geographical regions. This initiative provided access to very high levels of hardware and appropriate software, and offered a
model that other countries may want to consider. Test Bed schools procured laptops for every teacher and
appropriate presentation technology such as interactive whiteboards and projectors in all teaching areas.
The funding covered staffing release and training support. The schools were supported in developing a
bespoke continuous professional development plan including strategic leadership in ICT use and integration of ICT resources into curriculum delivery. This plan derived from an analysis of existing staff skills. The
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project provided dedicated support to assist with change management, plus advice to Test Bed Schools
on how they could ensure the long-term sustainability of the benefits derived from the project once direct
project funding had ceased. Significant changes in performance on national tests were measured against
matched comparator schools and national averages. (The independent evaluation of Test Bed by Somekh,
Underwood et al., 2007, offers more detail.)
Mexico initiated an IWB expansion scheme in 2004, shortly after the first initiatives in the United Kingdom.
IWBs were installed in fifth and sixth grade classrooms and in initial and continuing teacher education institutes,
as part of a MXN 20 billion (Mexican pesos; EUR 1.43 billion) Ministry of Education IT infrastructure scheme,
Enciclomedia. The scheme included teacher training and educational support, equipment, evaluation and monitoring. The associated software comprises a database with digital resources (video, text, virtual visits, audio
and images) corresponding to the curricular contents of the official textbooks used in primary schools.
Figure A.1. Classroom penetration of IWBs across the world
2011 - estimated classroom penetration
2016 - expected classroom penetration
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Source: Futuresource consulting (2012). The total number of classrooms (million teaching spaces) in each country is given in parentheses.
Today, The IWB is an increasingly popular educational technology globally; according to the market
research company Futuresource Consulting (2012), one in eight classrooms (34 million teaching spaces)
across the world now have an IWB and by 2015, one in five will have one. It is found in 80% of British
classrooms. Figure A.1 indicates that its prevalence is rapidly increasing in a number of other countries too,
notably Netherlands, Denmark, Australia and the United States. The graph also highlights where further rapid
growth is expected in the next few years. Turkey is expected to have the most rapid growth: the 5-year FATİH
project, launched in 2012, will equip 620 000 classrooms in Turkey with IWBs and will provide tablet PCs to
all teachers and students (http://fatihprojesi.meb.gov.tr).
Unlike many preceding forms of educational technology sponsored by the government (some of which
still remains in boxes in school cupboards), uptake of IWBs by classroom teachers in England at least has
actually been very high.
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Several reasons can explain its rapid adoption by English teachers. First, in many contexts the old
dry-wipe whiteboards were ripped out to force teachers to use the new ones. Teachers consequently were
forced to learn basic skills in how to use the boards exceptionally quickly, often pooling knowledge and
providing mutual self-help. Somekh, Haldane et al. (2007) point out that learning together when there is a
pressing “need to know” is a powerful strategy for creating a sense of urgency and encouraging teachers
to learn together. Second, teachers perceive the IWB as a tool in line with popular views of effective whole
class teaching practice. Third, the IWB is billed as a tool that allows different types of learners (“visual” and
“kinaesthetic” in particular) to access lesson content; despite lack of evidence for its validity, this perspective had a major impact on IWB popularity and uptake (Franklin, 2006). Lastly, IWBs can accommodate
many different teaching styles and activities, including non-interactive pedagogies. Compared to other technologies, it is not disruptive and can replicate all the features of the traditional, dry-wipe board; it can be
placed in an otherwise traditional classroom. Indeed, a key reason for the astonishingly rapid uptake in the
United Kingdom was rather cynically expressed by Gray (2010, p. 80): “It is no coincidence that the most
popular technological application so far in schools is one which meets many teachers’ desire for control over
content, learning and behavior rather than one which promotes independent learning.”
While the evidence on the impact of IWB programmes is now accumulating, as we shall see in subsequent sections, it is extraordinary, but not uncommon in the context of technology, that the demand for such
evidence has followed rather than driven the scale-up phase – in the United Kingdom as well as in many other
countries. Governments often do not seem to learn the lessons of their predecessors and global neighbours
where technology is concerned. There is a common but unfounded assumption that educational “innovation” (whether technology-based or not) is a positive step forward, but not all new ideas work well in practice
of course. Summarising the lessons learned from a 2009 OECD meeting in Brazil that considered a range of
recent technology innovations, Johannessen and Pedró (OECD 2010, p. 147) concluded: “Technology-based
school innovations are rarely the result of an embodied set of knowledge or empirical evidence accumulated
over the years, knowledge or evidence from which stakeholders nourish their decisions and to which they
contribute with their feedback.”
The IWB rollout is one more such innovation. The authors suggest that in reality “the availability and, in
some cases, even the fascination for technology is the main driver behind innovations in this area. The link
between technology and pedagogy is too weak or in the worst case non-existent” (ibid., p. 144). Indeed, as
new IWB features, new technologies, and richer forms of interaction emerge, these attract attention from
researchers and educators and the education technology sector. For example, smart tables – horizontal
multi-touch boards – and other technologies are now more affordable and available to support collaborative
learning within and between groups (Higgins, Mercier, Burd and Hatch, 2011). Group members are able to
work simultaneously on such a table device and the focus of attention can be shifted away from the front of
the classroom. Teachers can also centrally manage student tables and project them onto the vertical IWB.
As always, however, educators must harness these new tools mindfully and purposefully as they can also
be used mundanely.
Lessons learned from implementing large-scale IWB programmes
The research into integration of IWBs was carried out predominantly in England, and other countries
then endeavoured to learn from the English experiences.
In this section, we first review the results of past IWB expansion plans and show that the debate is still
open about the effect of IWBs on teaching and learning. Reaching a consensus about the “impact” of many
new educational technologies has proved notoriously difficult and is actually considered unrealistic by many
researchers in the field. The impact of educational technology depends on teachers’ uses of the technology,
which depend in turn on their understanding of the pedagogic purpose. Research has consistently shown
that the IWB, like the myriad of preceding forms of educational technology, itself has no agency or transformative power over pedagogy: therefore, understanding the benefits within particular contexts and for
particular educational purposes is essential to focus any evaluation.
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We argue nevertheless that the rapid adoption of IWBs fundamentally changed stakeholders’ perceptions of the place of technology in schools. Indeed, the thrust of interest that this diffusion created helped
catapult it to the top of the pile of educational technologies (Gray, 2012). We assert that this in turn helped to
bring far more technology into the classroom where it could be used flexibly and at any time in conjunction
with other classroom resources, and thus away from confinement to centrally located computer labs.
We then present the recommendations for school organisation and for the design of teachers’ professional development that emerge from these evaluations, as well as more generally from research on the
effective integration of IWB in teaching and learning.
Impact of IWBs on pupil outcomes and classroom pedagogies
English schools began using IWBs without being able to rely on established and detailed professional
knowledge about what the technology’s role in enhancing pedagogy might really be. There was little available
research evidence to define what might constitute effective practices. The Department for Education and
Skills therefore commissioned two evaluations of the initial government-sponsored plans for IWB expansion:
SWE, for London secondary schools, was evaluated by Moss et al. (2007); SWEEP, involving primary school
nationwide, by Somekh, Haldane et al. (2007).
The main interest of policymakers in England and elsewhere has been in tracking whether or not the IWB
expansion plans had a positive effect on standards of student achievement through their impact on teachers’
pedagogy and use of ICT. Although there have been a number of studies evaluating the rollout of IWB use
in teaching and learning and its systemic impact internationally, to date the investment in this research and
evaluation remains small in comparison to the enormous investments made in the equipment itself.
Some key conclusions emerge from these evaluation efforts.
First, IWBs as such have no transformative power on pedagogy. Teachers’ diverse beliefs about pedagogy and student learning, their preferred uses of conventional boards, their goals and their prior experiences,
shape the way in which they use all educational tools, including the IWB. New approaches can be developed
if supported by adequate investments in professional development, but not imposed.
Second, professional learning about IWBs and their effective use takes time. Pedagogical change only
comes with significant investment in professional development and is generally only observed after at least
one year of full-time use by teachers.
Third, because their impact on pupils is mediated by their use by teachers, there are no robust, clear-cut
positive effects on pupil learning associated with IWBs as such: the context and the nature of use of IWBs are
all-important. Nevertheless, effects on learner achievement attributed to IWBs are generally more positive
than for all other forms of technology.
Lastly, IWBs have been a major factor in accelerating teachers’ use of technology and web resources.
The impact of IWB introduction on classroom pedagogies
Interactive whiteboards have generally been introduced with an explicit aim of encouraging more “interactive” classroom teaching. What are the ascertained impacts of interactive whiteboards on teachers’
pedagogies?
Research in general has disputed the claim that IWBs fundamentally change teachers’ pedagogies.
Higgins et al. (2005) carried out a longitudinal study of the use of the IWBs in the early programme in the
United Kingdom. 184 lessons were observed in primary schools in 6 geographical regions over 2 years,
comparing teaching with and without an IWB. The outcomes were mixed. Lessons which used IWBs had
faster pace and less time was spent on group work, reflecting the intended increased focus on whole class
teaching (Smith, Hardman and Higgins, 2006). Worryingly, fewer uptake questions (feedback which goes
beyond evaluation of a student’s answer and makes connections with other contributions during the lesson
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topic) and extended answers were observed; answers during IWB lessons were frequent, but brief. However,
in those lessons that used an IWB there were significantly more open questions, repeat questions, probes,
evaluation, answers from students, and general talk. The research team concluded that “while our findings
support some of the claims being made for IWBs, they do not suggest a fundamental change in teachers’ underlying pedagogy” (ibid., p. 254). Likewise, according to Gray (2010), teachers (foreign language teachers,
at least) have resisted the discourse of “transformation towards constructivist practices” and appropriated
the IWB to serve their own needs.
In practice, the impact on teaching varies depending on their pre-existing beliefs, goals, and experiences
of teachers. Indeed, in contrast to the constructivist discourse that usually motivates their introduction, the
technology can also reinforce a transmission style of whole class teaching in which the contents of the board
multiply and go faster, whilst students are increasingly reduced to a largely spectator role. The evaluation of
SWE (the IWB expansion plan in London secondary schools) similarly concluded that successful exploitation
of IWBs in secondary schools depended on a clear understanding of the pedagogic purpose of their introduction. A focus on technical interactivity led to some mundane activities being over-valued, especially in
classes with lower ability students, where it could actually slow the pace of whole class learning as individual
students took turns at the board (Moss et al. 2007).
Research on implementations in other countries confirms that in practice, teacher responses to the arrival of an IWB vary; no simplistic messages emerge. Cutrim-Schmid and Whyte (2010) examined the integration of IWB technology by non-native speaking teachers of English as a foreign language in state secondary
and vocational schools in France and Germany. (Teacher uptake and technology training are low in France
and Germany compared with other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and
Mexico). Findings from their 3-year longitudinal study suggested that in spite of communicatively oriented,
socio-constructivist training, teachers used IWB technology to implement a variety of different pedagogical
approaches. These were shaped by multiple factors, such as teachers’ teaching and learning experience,
pedagogical beliefs, institutional demands, and alignment with their curricular and personal goals. The research suggested that with appropriate training, feedback and time for development, teachers can acquire
the knowledge, skills and resources to respond positively to the socio-constructivist computer-assisted language learning approach, which the authors identify as the current best model for language teaching with
technology. But it was clear that changes in pedagogical practice cannot be imposed from above, via isolated training sessions and in the absence of ongoing support in the classroom.
Fernández-Cárdenas and Silveyra-De La Garza (2010) examined Mexico’s implementation of IWBs in
more than 170 000 primary classrooms. The researchers videoed and compared practice with IWBs and
traditional boards and solicited teacher perspectives. Their findings show that the way a teacher uses conventional dry-wipe whiteboards has a direct impact on the way s/he uses the IWB; for instance, similarities
were observed in proportions of time on individual, small group and whole class activity, in pedagogic beliefs, and in the perceived importance of learners interacting directly with the board (Fernández-Cárdenas
and Silveyra-De La Garza, 2010, p. 177). Pedagogic ideologies remained static between IWB and non-IWB
contexts despite the change of artefacts, although those ideologies themselves varied between individuals.
Slow-burner development of IWB proficiency
Professional learning about IWBs requires time. Teachers must become confident users of the technology and must adapt their practice to integrate its use.
In the already mentioned study by Higgins et al. (2005), most of the differences in the frequency of various classroom activities were only observed after the IWBs had been in use for over a year – an embedding
effect. Somekh, Haldane et al. (2007) observed during SWEEP that it took about two years before teachers
felt truly comfortable and proficient enough to use the IWB interactively and for its use to become embedded
in their pedagogy as a means of supporting their interactions with learners, and learners’ interactions with
one another.
The more powerful and functionally complex a technological tool, the longer it will take teachers to learn
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how to use it effectively and how to develop and refine their pedagogic approaches in relation to the tool
(Wright, 2010). IWBs are deceptively complex and to fully utilise the interactive aspects of the technology,
teachers must invest time to build confidence, design resources, adapt practices and learn to harness their
power. For example, Gillen et al. (2007, p. 254) concluded that the effective use of IWBs involves striking a
balance between providing a clear structure for a well-resourced lesson and retaining the capacity for more
spontaneous adaptation of the lesson as it proceeds. Teachers need time to develop the knowledge to
exploit technology in ways that effectively enhance student learning in their specific contexts (e.g. CutrimSchmid and Whyte, 2010).
Some research has characterised a number of “stages” that teachers progress through in accommodating the IWB in their classrooms, with increasing pedagogical interactivity (e.g. Haldane, 2010). Moss et al.
(2007) suggest that there is “a continuum in which new technologies initially support, then extend and finally
transform pedagogy as teachers gradually find out what the technology can do” (p. 6).
Teachers need time to become confident users of new tools; teachers in addition need targeted support
to adapt their pedagogy to integrate the potential of new technology. Recent research by Hennessy and
Warwick (2010, p. 127) indicates that teachers take the initiative to develop their ICT proficiency to support
and enhance their established interactive pedagogies; in contrast, it is unrealistic to expect the technology
to drive teachers to new forms of pedagogy. The reason for this asymmetry is that IWB tools are designed to
make it simple for teachers to create interactive multimedia teaching materials. Ease of achieving “technical
interactivity” using the IWB encourages dialogically oriented teachers to extend opportunities for dialogue.
Fancy use is not a prerequisite, however, and can even be a distraction. “We all know how easy it is to
get swept along by new technology, but as professionals we need to remember that we are simply using it to
assist in providing quality teaching. We must stay focused.” (Betcher and Lee, 2009, p. 135).
The effect of IWBs on student outcomes
In the years preceding the major IWB expansion plans, government-funded research in England led
to the assertion that school standards are positively associated with the quantity and quality of school ICT
resources and the quality of their use in teaching and learning, regardless of socioeconomic characteristics
(Pittard et al., 2003). However, effects are notoriously inconsistent across technologies, subjects and phases,
with greater impact often documented at primary level in England where ICT is more regularly used for teaching purposes (Machin, McNally and Silva, 2007).
In interpreting these results about educational technology in general, caution is needed since most of the
available data demonstrate statistical association, but cannot prove causality, and generalisations are often
unfounded. Moreover, much of the evidence base derives from small-scale studies and is limited, fragmented and unsystematic according to the landmark review of the literature by Condie et al. (2007).
What impacts on student learning outcomes, then, can be attributed to the introduction of IWBs in
particular?
Given the stark differences in the uses of IWBs across teachers, any effect on pupils’ learning outcomes
is likely to be highly contingent on the wider pedagogical and socio-cultural setting. Moreover, the time it
takes for teachers to develop IWB proficiency reduces the ability to draw general conclusions from pilot
phases. Accordingly, Thomas and Cutrim-Schmid (2010, pp. 20-23) introduce their edited collection of work
on IWBs by asserting that “impact” depends crucially on how the technology is used and not on its mere
absence or presence in the classroom. We need to understand the benefits within particular modes of teaching, for particular student groups, within particular social, cultural and political contexts, and for particular
educational purposes.
Nevertheless, the few studies looking at IWBs in particular almost unanimously report increased student motivation (Somekh, Haldane et al., 2007). Regarding achievement, in the literature review by Condie
et al. (2007), effects attributed to IWBs are reportedly greater than those for all other forms of technology:
“The outcomes are almost universally positive, particularly where [IWBs] are used in conjunction with other
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technologies and there are clear pedagogical reasons for their use. Display and presentational software,
including animations and simulations, combined with IWBs, help pupils to develop an understanding of abstract concepts through concrete examples and graphical images of, for example, microscopic processes.”
(Condie et al., 2007, p. 5). Somekh, Haldane et al. (2007) observed during SWEEP that a positive impact on
attainment emerged when students were taught with an IWB for at least two years, particularly for those with
average or high prior achievement. This time lag most likely reflects the learning curve of teachers in using
the IWBs effectively.
The impact of IWBs on teachers’ use of technology and web resources
Although their direct effects on teaching and on learning remain open to debate, we argue that IWB
expansion plans changed teachers’ and other stakeholders’ dispositions towards technology more than any
other ICT initiative before.
The key difference between the IWB and a set of desktop computers is that the IWB allows technology to be used flexibly, and it brings technology firmly into the classroom and away from confinement to
now-outdated computer labs. Lee (in press) observed from experiences in Australia that while the IWB does
not change the nature of teachers’ pedagogy, it draws the vast majority of teachers into the digital world in
a way that desktop computers never could. Lee (in press) argues therefore that the real impact of IWB use is
that it moves teachers from their traditional paper-based modus operandi with its constancy and continuity
to teaching that is primarily digitally based and characterised by constant evolution. Somekh, Haldane et al.
(2007) corroborated this assertion through their observation of greatly increased “live” use of the Internet
during SWEEP.
Such impacts on teachers’ dispositions towards technology need not be limited to the classrooms
equipped with IWBs and may only appear with a lag; as such, they are more difficult to attribute with certainty to
IWBs. Nevertheless, a positive disposition among teachers towards the use of technology and of web resources to support their professionalism could lead in the long run to significant benefits for the quality of teaching.
In sum, the impacts of IWBs on classroom activities and on students’ learning depend strongly on the
pedagogical culture in which they are deployed and on a set of complementary investments that facilitate
their integration in existing contexts. While IWBs can be used to support a variety of teaching styles, they
have been found to trigger little resistance from teachers and, on the contrary, to draw them over time to increase the use of technology and of web resources in and out of class. This in turn helps teachers document,
share, and easily locate best practices, thus brokering decentralised collaboration and catalysing continuous
improvement.
Organisational conditions for successful integration of IWBs in schools
The research summarised above has shown that IWB expansion plans have not always had the expected result of promoting the use of interactive pedagogies. What can be learned from the success and
challenges of past plans?
The conditions that enable the successful adoption of IWBs span a wide range, from the simple availability of equipment and connectivity, to technical and pedagogical support for teachers, as well as the
production and distribution of digital learning materials. In this section we summarise the organisational
conditions that support teachers in developing both technical and pedagogical proficiency in using IWBs and
are therefore associated with higher impacts of IWB introduction.
Teachers’ proficient use of IWBs positively depends on the informal opportunities for practice and exchange that the school offers: this requires regular and uniform access to technology for all teachers in a
school. Teachers’ effective use of IWBs also depends on the availability of digital resources that support the
school curriculum. Finally, teachers’ ability to involve all students in classroom dialogue may be limited by
the traditional organisation of subject lessons in short units: more flexible time arrangements provide greater
room for interactive teaching.
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Regular and uniform access to technology
Personal access to PCs or laptops has a major impact on teachers’ roles and those of support staff,
giving flexibility and choice with regard to the location of work and increasing confidence with technology,
according to Somekh, Underwood et al. (2007). This is corroborated by Betcher and Lee (2009) who argue
that every teacher needs a laptop of their choosing. This need was never considered in the Australian programme, but it needs to be met if teachers are to use digital tools in their classrooms.
Moreover, priority should be given to installing IWBs in all classrooms in a school as this ensures continuity for students as they move through the school, and enables teachers to learn together (Somekh,
Underwood et al., 2007). A culture of sharing and mutual support develops as the whole staff faces the task
of embedding the technology into their pedagogy. Collective need leads to collective solutions being found
and shared, and thus to change embedded in practice.
Access to quality digital resources
Availability of digital resources can be a supportive or constraining factor in using the technology interactively in lessons. In Ireland, where prevalence of IWBs is relatively low, a study by Hallinan (2009) found that
teachers given an IWB did integrate ICT use, but the lack of training and digital resources available proved
a significant drawback. The report concluded that there were not enough interactive resources that support
the curriculum, and a transmission approach to learning resulted.
Schools need to build sustainability – of both resources and pedagogic change – into their change management strategies from the start. For example, shared server areas and virtual learning environments make
it easier for teachers to find, store, share, create and reuse resources and lesson plans. This ensures longterm value from the initial high investment by the workforce and makes it easier to induct new teachers into
the school ethos. It also provides greater consistency for the learners, though it brings with it new tasks for
organising and maintaining resources. Schools can even join with others locally to create resources.
Flexible school timetables
Timetabling is an issue, especially at secondary school level where in many countries subject lessons are
constrained by a rigid structure of 50-minute chunks. Thus work that really requires continuous engagement
over several hours has to be fragmented (Pearson and Somekh, 2006). In the Test Bed programme, impact of
ICT use on attainment levels was greater for primary schools than secondary schools (Somekh, Underwood
et al., 2007): one possible explanation lies in the greater flexibility offered by a single teacher in a class to
incorporate the use of ICT into extended sequences.
The benefits of introducing more flexible timetables are illustrated by one of our case study schools in
Cambridge. Recently, this school doubled the length of its lessons; with a significant effect on teachers’ ability to support learning through extended classroom dialogue. According to the Deputy Head, Lloyd Brown,
“With many lessons now 100 minutes not 50 and no bells half way through, there are opportunities for teachers to develop more in-depth, investigative student-centred work [across all subjects]. This [work] seems to
be emerging more quickly than the leadership team envisaged.”
Characteristics of successful approaches to professional development
Conducive organisational conditions are a necessary but insufficient prerequisite for teacher adoption
of IWBs. Of paramount importance is a programme of well-structured, well-coordinated and sustained professional development to support the process of integrating IWBs into the classroom; a consideration of
the developing proficiencies, confidence and views of teachers is central in embedding the use of IWBs
(Hennessy and Warwick, 2010, p. 128).
Yet, the experience of many countries shows that the adoption of IWBs in many schools has outpaced
the delivery of professional development of adequate quality and length. As a consequence of patchy
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professional development provision, IWBs remain a poorly or under-utilised resource in many classrooms
today, in England and elsewhere (DeSantis, 2012).
There is often lack of both clarity about responsibilities and planning for training. In the case of the SWE
programme, for instance, an ongoing and pedagogically-oriented programme was not included in the design. The funding stream did not include money for training: Moss et al. (2007, p. 55) report that operational
training was assumed to be available from suppliers, whilst pedagogical training was initially expected to be
provided either by ICT coordinators or by software suppliers (Becta, 2004). Education authority consultants
were intended to contribute to pedagogical support, but no monies were committed to this end. It was anticipated that funding to pay for the necessary support would be available at school level as part of existing
budgets for in-service training. It was apparently always clear that the introduction of IWBs would generate
training needs, but there was uncertainty about exactly how the costs would be met, within what timescale,
and who was best placed to offer what kind of support. The lesson is that clarity is needed about who should
take the lead on which aspects of policy development and meet its associated costs, and that action needs
to be aligned across stakeholders.
The importance of well-designed professional development in supporting pedagogical change is developed further in this section and forms the key thrust of this paper. After reviewing the effectiveness of
professional development components in past IWB expansion plans, we examine the extensive literature on
teachers’ professional learning in technology-enhanced and other contexts to propose an optimal approach
to support IWB integration.
The effectiveness of professional development in the English IWB expansion plans
Although the ultimate objective of investing in teachers’ professional development is to benefit students’
learning outcomes, it is always difficult to measure improvements in learning outcomes and to attribute them
to a single cause. To assess the effectiveness of professional development, it is therefore equally important
to gather information on all the intermediate levels of impact through which effects work. A useful framework for assessing the effect of teacher professional development distinguishes five critical levels of impact
(Guskey, 2002): (1) participants’ reactions, (2) participants’ learning, (3) organisational support and change,
(4) participants’ use of new knowledge and skills, and (5) students’ learning outcomes. Guskey (2002) cautioned that “[w]ith each succeeding level, the process of gathering evaluation information gets a bit more
complex. And because each level builds on those that come before, success at one level is usually necessary for success at higher levels” (p. 46).
The nature of professional development activities matters more than the amount of time and money
invested in it. Research on professional development consistently indicates that the effectiveness of professional development efforts is strongly dependent on its nature and format: a synthesis across the literature
on professional development concluded that much investment in teacher professional development has no
effect on valued student outcomes and some actually has negative effects (Timperley and Alton-Lee, 2008).
Although there is no systematic analysis of the effectiveness of professional development to support
IWB integration, the literature on IWB integration initiatives identifies some pitfalls and promising approaches among the professional development components of past IWB expansion plans. Most of the time, the
evidence refers to teacher-level outcomes only, because pupil-level outcomes were affected simultaneously
by many concurring changes.
A first message from the literature is that pedagogical change requires pedagogically oriented professional development – of a kind that prepares teachers to exploit the IWB in ways that are consistent with
current models of teaching for each subject (Cutrim-Schmid, 2010, p. 170). A major shortcoming identified
in the longitudinal study by Higgins et al. (2005) was that many of the schools involved failed to focus the
teacher training on improving literacy and numeracy; instead, the focus was on how to use the IWB technology. The typical introduction that teachers receive – in all countries – is a short one delivered by the company
supplying the IWB. It often focuses purely on the technical features of the equipment. Research indicates
that this type of training is woefully inadequate to help teachers make the best use of IWBs. Haldane (2010)
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examined how teachers acquire proficiency in the use of IWBs for the enhancement of whole-class teaching
and concluded that they are unlikely to make optimal use of the affordances of the technology through preparatory training alone; such an expectation could adversely affect the chances of successful implementation. In contrast, the evaluation of the secondary whiteboard expansion (SWE) in London (Moss et al. 2007)
showed that three-quarters of all teachers found subject departmental training in IWBs to be useful. This has
the advantage of being directed to very specific areas of the curriculum, with a body of teachers agreeing
where an IWB resource should be integrated into existing working patterns, and thus effectively doing so.
The format of professional development also makes a difference. A clear message deriving from the key
IWB initiatives in the United Kingdom is that in-school professional development sessions led by colleagues
are more effective than other approaches, and teachers prefer them.
The evaluation of SWE (Moss et al. 2007) found that the preferred source of learning for most teachers
(83%) was informal day-to-day assistance in using IWBs. Moss et al. (2007, p. 139-140) concluded that
teachers’ preference is for training on a “need to know” basis that can accommodate to their existing working patterns.
The evaluation of the Test Bed initiative (Somekh, Underwood et al., 2007) identified the most effective
forms of professional development not only in terms of teachers’ preferences, but also in terms of their impact on teachers’ ICT skills and on the use of ICT during teaching activities. In Test Bed schools, external
trainers were used for specific events, but as teachers became more proficient, they supported and sustained activity undertaken by their colleagues. In primary schools, ICT coordinators used their increased
non-teaching time to work with colleagues; in secondary schools, specialist ICT teachers, advanced skills
teachers2 or other teachers, technicians and content developers designed and delivered specific training
for colleagues. The evaluation of the Test Bed initiative found that the most effective forms of professional
development were often informal, involving teamwork and mutual support. Training became more effective
when staff could see what colleagues were doing, take part in more informal team learning, pick up tips and
new techniques, and practice with the equipment on their own. In primary schools, action research supported professional development and pedagogical change. The development of “champions” with expertise in
using particular equipment was valuable – both in primary schools and within secondary departments – in
providing support at the point of need. This was particularly effective when the role of “champion” was
spread among colleagues and not focused on a single school/department expert.
The indications that emerge from IWB initiatives on this point are in line with the richer conclusions from
a rigorous evaluation of the national initiative to train all school teachers in England to use ICT in teaching
carried out in 2004 (Davis et al., 2009a; 2009b). Among the approaches proposed by the various providers,
centralised skills-focused approaches, especially those with online access to trainers, were found largely ineffective. In contrast, the most successful professional development model against Guskey’s criteria proved
to be an “organic” approach that provided school-based training designed to support evolution of each
teacher’s classroom, school and region. In addition to face-to-face training and case studies of good practice, groups worked on classroom assignments that made specific links to participants’ professional practice. Teachers set personal objectives and there was also a collective needs analysis for each training group.
Trainers themselves need to be part of a wider community of practice in order for professional development to be effective: The simple strategy of sequentially “training the trainers” centrally so they may cascade
workshops to others in their locality was not recommended by Davis et al. (2009a, 2009b).
A proposed approach to professional development in support of pedagogical change
A school-based, active learning model, combining formal and informal learning opportunities, emerges
as the most effective approach from the limited literature on the professional development components of
large-scale initiatives for ICT integration. These indications can be developed into recommendations by
considering the larger practical and theoretical literature about professional development for pedagogical
change.
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In this section, we expose the central tenets of the professional development approach developed by
Hennessy and colleagues through collaboration with practitioners in a series of research studies over the last
decade. The approach involves sustained, planned and purposeful opportunities for teacher learning and
reflective practice sits at the core. This collaborative inquiry approach has inspired in particular the development of resources for supporting IWB use (as described in Box 2).
The six principles can be summarised as follows:
1. Professional development is school-based, and includes action research led by practitioners.
2. The focus and course of action is initiated and driven by teachers’ needs and beliefs.
3. Professional development is a team inquiry process proceeding in cycles of reflection and trialling.
4. The inquiry is focused on supporting student learning.
5. Professional development activities are embedded in the teachers’ normal work organisation.
6. School leaders and administrators actively support the process.
Each principle is explained below, and illustrated with suggestions relating to programmes supporting
ICT integration.
First, professional development is school-based, and includes action research led by practitioners.
School-based professional development implies that the professional development activity is situated
within an established and supportive community of practice. The issues that its members choose to explore
and the actions and theories-in-use that they implement are contextualised through their situation within a
localised school and/or departmental learning community (Retallick, 1999).
In the proposed approach for ICT integration, teachers receive support or mentoring mainly from more
expert colleagues (“champions”). The teachers collaborate as equals, act as peer mentors, work in small
groups and observe each other in order to develop and evaluate new ideas. Thus, teachers themselves lead
professional development and share responsibility for embedding improved practices in their schools (Frost
2012).
The professional development may also include support – at least initially – from an external facilitator
who can expose teachers to new pedagogical approaches and can familiarise them with the full range of
IWB features (Moss et al. 2007). New practices however should never be prescribed or imposed on a passive
audience, as in the traditional meaning of “training”, but negotiated and developed with the active engagement of teachers, who bring their own experiences, outlooks, expertise and contexts to bear in that process
of professional learning.
Although we emphasise the importance of the school as a community of practice, wider communities of
practice may play a role too, particularly for internal and external trainers, champions, and mentors (as the
Test Bed ‘cluster’ approach linking local schools showed). Their network extends beyond the single school,
brokered through online exchanges. Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) are reshaping the way that many
educators view professional development (Betcher and Lee, 2009). Instead of waiting for their school to
“deliver” professional development, these PLNs are creating a global learning environment for many lead educators that operates all year round, working across schools, educational sectors, countries, and time zones.
Second, the focus and course of action is initiated and driven by teachers’ needs and beliefs.
Teacher learning requires that teachers take ownership of the material, interpreting and adapting it for
themselves, and building on what they already know, believe and do. This is most likely to happen when the
professional development activities are localised, adaptive and available on-demand.
In the proposed approach for ICT integration, professional development programmes are tailored to
subject discipline and individual teachers’ pedagogy and practice (Davis et al., 2009a). Too often the specific needs of teachers are poorly targeted. If professional development cannot be structured in an ongoing,
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relevant and on-demand way, experience suggests that much of it will be wasted. Professional development for embedding the use of IWBs in pedagogy should start from where the teachers currently are and
encourage them to question their existing practices and beliefs. In an already pedagogically interactive
context, teachers need to learn how to exploit the potential of a powerful tool to support that pedagogy; the
professional development activities will be very different from what is useful in a transmission-based context
where the need is to develop both a new pedagogical approach and the ICT skills required. Research shows
that teachers otherwise respond to ICT integration initiatives by simply adapting new ideas and technology
resources to their existing practices and beliefs (Kennewell and Beauchamp, 2007). Effective interventions
secure commitment by building teachers’ confidence in their own abilities to use new technology (Zhao and
Cziko, 2001).
Every school will also be at a different point in its evolution and will be situated in a different context,
requiring its own tailored and responsive professional development programme. A critical factor in the effective use of ICT generally is the existence of a well-defined school-level e-strategy that addresses future development and sustainability and includes some means of monitoring progress against identified milestones
(Condie et al., 2007).
Third, professional development is a team inquiry process proceeding in cycles of reflection and trialling.
In the proposed approach, video exemplars of other teachers’ (or their own) lessons, and multimedia
resources and texts highlighting the underpinning approaches, stimulate reflection and dialogue between
colleagues, for change and innovation. The videoed lessons are not intended to be models of “best practice” but illustrate a mixture of different approaches for consideration. The materials include specific built-in
prompts for reflection on teachers’ own current practice, reflection upon the approaches and practices
illustrated, and discussion with peers. The guidance can be more or less structured, depending on how experienced the teachers are with the technology and the pedagogical techniques.
New ideas that emerge from this reflection process are then related to classroom practice through a
cycle of trialling and refinement. This helps to test the practical applicability and boundaries of the new approaches in a given context, resulting in re-contextualised techniques and practices. Considering teaching
as inquiry is a central success factor in professional development programmes generally (Alton-Lee, 2011).
Fourth, the inquiry is focused on supporting student learning.
In the proposed approach, both the prompts and the classroom inquiry activities focus on the impacts
of the new practices for learners’ engagement and learning outcomes; on which pedagogical strategies are
applicable, assistive and appropriate for the context; on the added value of the technology and the extent
of its exploitation.
Fifth, professional development activities are part of a sustained, long-term process, supported by the
organisation; opportunities for dialogue, planning and team teaching, are embedded in the teachers’ normal
work organisation.
In the proposed approach, training is coordinated with the introduction of the equipment so that teachers are immediately able to practice their newly learned skills. Importantly, professional development programmes supporting ICT use need to continue after the initial phase in order to ensure that new learning
can take place and so that “bad habits” can be addressed (Somekh, Underwood et al. 2007). Yet ongoing or
pedagogically-oriented support is rare. The general literature on professional development concludes that it
needs to be part of a sustained process (1-2 years) of reassessing pedagogy and reflecting upon practice,
rather than a one-off intervention or one-day course (Cordingley et al., 2004; Hoban, 1999). The intended
changes must be understood and embraced at all levels, creating a collaborative and collegial learning environment that supports opportunities to change teachers’ practices, knowledge and effectiveness (e.g. Hord,
1997). The process involved enables teachers to embed new ICT practices in their own classroom settings,
in particular through dedicated non-contact time, collaborative lesson planning within workshops and team
teaching (Bowker et al., 2009; Cordingley et al., 2004).
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Opportunities for professional dialogue between colleagues are central here. British teachers, for example, have regular discussions about teaching with their line manager but performance management meetings
typically focus on their own classroom teaching. The discussions stimulated by critiquing video clips of other
teachers’ practice can be more wide-ranging, allowing teachers to process new learning with others and to
examine the effects of different types of activities without needing to account externally for their own actions
and decisions.
Sixth, active support from school leaders and administrators is crucial.
Box A.2. Existing resources for a collaborative inquiry approach
to professional development for IWB integration
Previous research by Hennessy and colleagues carried out both in the United Kingdom and Zambia (Haßler, Hennessy, and Lubasi, 2011) in close collaboration with practitioners using new forms of technology confirms the value
of the above approach in terms of teachers gradually changing their practices and thinking over time.
The T-MEDIA project documented case studies of IWB use in science, history and English, and projected graphware
in mathematics. It produced thematically organised multimedia representations of them, with built-in professional
development activities (freely available at http://t-media.educ.cam.ac.uk/). A follow-up study found lasting tangible
impacts of engagement with theory, reflection and trialling new approaches and tools on the professional thinking
and practice of participating teachers (Hennessy and Deaney, 2009). There was also evidence of their spread and
independent adaptation by colleagues.
In the Dialogue and IWBs project, we collaborated with three (primary, middle and secondary school) teachers to
analyse and develop dialogic practice in different subjects (Hennessy, Warwick and Mercer 2011). Teachers then designed and taught lessons employing new dialogic approaches supported by IWB use. Spontaneous whole-school
initiatives took place, evaluating new uses of IWBs. This collaborative work led to the development of a further
multimedia resource for using the IWB to support dialogue. The resource, co-authored with the three practitioners
involved in the research, includes:
• A guided programme of collaborative action research containing discussion and practical activities
• A resource bank of video clips (freely available online at http://sms.cam.ac.uk/collection/1085164) and screenshots, each with a description of potential classroom application
• IWB flipchart templates for lesson activities
• Photocopiable resources for teachers and school leaders
• A series of accessible background readings, including the teachers’ own detailed case stories of authentic classroom practice with accompanying lesson materials.
Source: Hennessy, Warwick, Brown, Rawlins and Neale (in press)
An independent evaluation of a series of workshops based on the resource was carried out in two English schools
by an IWB-expert teacher. The (unpublished) report highlighted the value of the materials as a powerful stimulus
for critique, discussion, reflection and testing out of new ideas, rather than a model to copy. The resource bank in
particular was considered an excellent stimulus for discussion and development of ideas about how to link dialogic
teaching with the IWB. The resource is adaptable to other subject and country contexts (see further information
about the resource and the original research project at http://dialogueiwb.educ.cam.ac.uk).
Although it can be a huge challenge, experience from Australia indicates that shifting the focus towards
a whole-school approach to ongoing professional development can make a major difference to progress in
integrating IWB technology (Betcher and Lee, 2009, p. 137). The research emphasises the importance of the
school principal in visioning, leading and funding interventions. It shows that strong support from the school
leadership team and winning over a majority of the staff to the educational value of the boards are a critical
combination to starting out on the path to successful school-wide implementation (ibid., pp. 116-117). This
reinforces the suggestion made earlier that IWBs should be introduced into all classrooms simultaneously
(Somekh, Underwood et al., 2007). Betcher and Lee (2009) argue that sufficient resources and induction
should be provided to enable all staff to work collaboratively to embrace the powerful possibilities of the IWB
and learn the necessary new skills to effectively embed IWBs into daily practices. A successful whole-school
approach additionally depends on giving teachers “recognised responsibilities, authority, time to collaborate
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and [active] support from school administrators to assume leadership roles” (Teacher Leadership Exploratory
Consortium 2011, p. 12).
School leaders play an often unrecognised role; along with teaching assistants they are often shortsightedly left out of IWB training initiatives (Moss et al., 2007). Yet, rigorous syntheses of research evidence on
professional development across the world clearly show that by far the largest effect of school leadership on
student learning outcomes is when leaders promote and themselves participate in teacher learning (AltonLee, 2011).
The lessons we can learn from previous professional development programmes and associated research
are clearly pointing towards a peer collaboration model for integration of IWB technology into classrooms
in new contexts. The benefits of collaborative professional development (in general) can also extend beyond the areas targeted by the professional development (Cordingley et al., 2003), and can in fact be very
wide-ranging. Teacher benefits include enthusiasm about professional learning; increases in confidence and
self efficacy; a greater commitment to changing practice and willingness to try new things; activities to
generate more effective and targeted dialogue between students; and a conscious effort by teachers to use
computers more for both instruction and to increase the range of teaching and learning strategies targeted
at specific student needs. Student benefits include: a demonstrable enhancement of student motivation; improvements in performance on tests; more positive responses to specific subjects; an increased sophistication in response to questions; the development of a wider range of learning activities in class and strategies
for students.
A cost-benefit analysis of IWB programmes
IWBs are expensive to install and maintain. Funding to meet the costs of sustaining laptops, data projectors and bulbs over time needs to be built into school budgets. Debate continues to rage about whether the
costs are proportionate to the benefits, and about the “added value” of IWBs over other forms of projection
technology such as a simple data projector and computer or laptop combination. One local authority region
in the Test Bed project, for instance, chose to invest in the latter combination along with visualisers in order to
equip far more classrooms, and was very satisfied with the outcomes (although of course they had no direct
means of comparison); this combination is also frequently found in Singapore.
Cost savings can be expected as new, cheaper hardware options are becoming available – a cheaper,
LCD IWB, and data projectors with in-built interactivity. A simple data projector coupled with a tablet computer or laptop plus slate can act as an alternative input device that retains access to the technology and
– even the specialised IWB software – in the learners’ hands and costs less than half the price of an IWB. Free
screencasting programs can be used to capture/record lessons for subsequent playback. However, many
argue that the IWB and its specialised software tools continue to offer significant pedagogical advantages.
The technical issues arising from the various options are not within the scope of this review.
The benefits of introducing IWBs to support interactive pedagogies and to more generally embed ICT
across the curriculum are evident from some of the research and evaluation studies discussed above. These
benefits however are to a large extent conditioned by a larger set of conducive conditions.
Creating conducive conditions for integrating technology into classroom teaching inevitably costs more
than the price of the equipment infrastructure, but it is difficult for policymakers and educators to gauge. In
particular, the costs of professional development within large-scale IWB programmes are very elusive; they
are not referred to in published reports and anecdotal evidence derived from personal communication with
those who led the programme evaluations in the United Kingdom confirms that they were not examined. We
have seen that confusion was evident in some cases about how professional development costs would be
met and by whom. Betcher and Lee (2009, pp. 133-135) suggest that to set more realistic expectations, educators should discuss progress with similar schools using IWBs, including how much time and money has
been set aside each year. Some further tentative suggestions can be made, as follows.
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If teachers are to have the time they need to develop professionally, then money must be allocated for
the vital ongoing development and support. Teachers ideally need to be released from formal teaching duties
on a regular basis in order to participate in any form of professional development, and this incurs teaching cover costs. However, for school-based professional development this can if necessary be minimised
through using staff meetings already scheduled outside of teaching time (although it is not ideal to undertake
this kind of professional development after a full day’s teaching). Informal support from knowledgeable colleagues is clearly a low-cost as well as a popular option. Action research is likewise a successful, sustainable
and low-cost approach to reflective practice.
A cascade approach involving working with a small number of teacher mentors (and “champions”) who
then work with their colleagues teaching the same (primary) ages or (secondary) subjects would be cheaper
than inducting all teachers initially, and it allows the recommended peer collaboration model to flourish.
Where specialist external help or workshops are desired, there are various options. Teachers attending centralised workshops within a university or national/local education authority setting are usually more expensive in terms of travel and cover time than a regional hub model in which teachers from neighbouring schools
congregate at one of their institutions. Location might be rotated, potentially offering an additional valuable
opportunity to observe and learn from practice in another context. Secondary schools in England at least
already do effective outreach work with feeder primary schools and such clusters offer a fruitful model for
building ICT expertise and sustaining it throughout a child’s schooling (Somekh, Haldane et al., 2007). Similar
schools may also work together to share practices, ideas and digital resources. As mentioned earlier, trainers
or mentors themselves need to be part of a wider and ongoing community of practice in order for professional development to be effective (Davis et al., 2009a).
Finally, it must be acknowledged that positive outcomes of the impact of collaborative professional
development sometimes may emerge only after periods of relative discomfort in trying out new approaches.
Cordingley et al. (2003, p .4) observed that practices often worsened before they improved and collaboration
was critical in sustaining change. This finding resonates with early experience of IWB initiatives; in Test Bed
schools, there was a dip in performance until the ICT became embedded and staff developed the requisite
skills (Somekh, Underwood et al., 2007). A long-term investment is needed to secure and sustain long-term
gains, however the costs can be kept to a reasonable level through relying largely on peer rather than “expert” support, at least after initial induction by pedagogical experts. Structured support materials are important in helping to guide teachers’ progress within this model; initial costs of developing or procuring these
materials are mitigated through their replication and re-use over time (ibid.).
Conclusion
This paper outlined the lessons learned from international experiences with IWBs. It considered ways to
support the shifting roles of teachers and learners, in particular to foster more interactive and dialogic pedagogical approaches. The relevant organisational conditions for successful integration of IWB technology
were described.
Research confirms that the skills and professional knowledge of the teacher in mediating interactions
with learners is the most crucial factor in determining how much value is gained from IWBs (Higgins et al.,
2007). The roles of appropriate professional development and institutional capacity building here are utterly essential to support the continuous learning through innovation that underpins technology integration.
Based on these considerations, and the fact that technology by itself has no transformative power, the
research literature on effective forms of professional development was drawn upon in introducing a suggested, school-based professional learning approach. This model is primarily teacher-led, sustained over time,
school-wide and actively supported by school leaders; it is based on peer collaboration, reflection, inquiry,
direct classroom application and trialling, plus some external input. Overall it is also relatively low cost and
may offer educational policy makers in other contexts a way forward that avoids the mistakes of some past
technology integration initiatives.
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Notes
1. This annex is also available as Education Working Paper No.89:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k49chbsnmls-en.
2. Advanced Skills status (and a significant salary increase) is awarded upon application to recognise
expert United Kingdom teachers and release them from 20% of their teaching in order to share their
subject practice through outreach with other schools. They are not necessarily present in every school;
in 2012 there are 4500 nationwide.
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ANNEX B
The transformative impact of ICT policies in education:
lessons and challenges from around the world
ANNEX B: The transformative impact of ICT policies in education
Robert B. Kozma, Ph.D.
Introduction
This appendix provides an international context for the analysis of the Italian ICT policies for education.
The report focuses on ICT but it goes beyond this focus to consider the transformative potential of ICT to
change other aspects of the educational system, such as teacher professional development, curriculum,
pedagogy and assessment (Collins and Halverson, 2009; Kozma, 2011a).
Capitalizing on ICT’s potential for transformative change is a challenge. Countries as diverse as
Singapore, Uruguay, and Rwanda have identified ICT as a means to transform their educational system
(UNESCO, 2011). Yet findings from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006
and 2009 study have found no relationship between school use of computers and students’ assessment
scores (OECD, 2010; 2011a). Why is this so and how can Italy and other countries apply ICT more effectively? Furthermore, how can ICT policies be structured to promote innovation and transformation?
One reason for disappointing results, studies have found, is that despite the significant investments over
the years to equip schools with computers and networks, it is only recently that ICT is being used regularly
in the classroom. In 2006, the SITES study of 22 education systems by the International Association for the
Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) found that when lower-secondary mathematics and science
teachers were asked how often they used wide range of educational applications of ICT in their teaching,
the mean response, across countries, was somewhere between “never” and “sometimes” (Law et al., 2008).
In the same year, a survey of teachers in 27 European countries found that of the 66% of the teachers who
said that they had students use computers in class, 62% said they used it in less than 25% of their lessons
(Empirica, 2006); and the 2006 PISA study of 39 countries found that while 86% of 15-year-old students,
across countries, reported that they were frequent computer users at home, only 55% reported frequent
use in schools, an increase from 44% in a similar 2003 study (OECD 2010). More recently, in 2009, the PISA
survey found that in the average OECD country, only 26% of 15-year-olds reported using computers during
language of instruction classes, and 24% during science classes. Teachers reported in the 2011 Trends in
International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) that on average 39% of 8th grade science students,
across countries, used computers at least monthly to look up information, with the highest proportions
(above 70%) found in Kazakhstan and Norway (Martin et al., 2012). In primary schools, teachers reported
in the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) that 32% of 4th grade students use
computers at least monthly to read or write texts during language of instruction classes, with the highest proportions (above 70%) found in New Zealand for reading and in Denmark, Norway, New Zealand and Australia
for writing (Mullis et al., 2012).
Second, the use of ICT in schools is typically not of a transformational sort: the most frequent uses of
computers are to support traditional classroom activities. In the SITES 2006 study (Law et al., 2008), the
most often used ICT applications in teaching were productivity software and tutorials. The Empirica (2006)
study found that while 74% the teachers reported using a computer in class, 63% said it was used to support teacher presentations. Again, in the 2011 TIMSS science study, looking up information was the mostoften-used application of computers (Martin et al., 2012). The percentage of students using computers for
scientific simulations was 30% at the 8th grade level, as reported by teachers.
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Third, it takes time for ICT to have a significant impact, even after widespread adoption, at least if experience in the private sector is an indication. In their study of business practices around the world, Brynjolfsson
and Saunders (2010) found that it can take three to four years before the widespread use of technology
results in productivity gains.
Finally, Bynjolfsson and Saunders (2010) also found that the introduction of ICT alone did not result in
productivity gains in the private sector. It was only when ICT investments became connected to a set of complementary changes in organisational structure and business practices that productivity gains were realised.
Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to examine the structures and practices associated with
ICT use that might lead to the transformative changes envisioned by Italy and other countries. In doing so, I
examine the international research on ICT policy and focus in on three countries that might provide Italy and
other countries with useful insights on how to harness the potential of ICT to transform education. The countries chosen for this purpose are: France, Norway, and the Republic of Korea. Four lessons are derived from
the analysis of the policies, structures, and practices of these three countries, as well as others. They are:
1.
Align strategic goals of ICT policies with implementation initiatives. There should be a direct, causal
connection between the high-sounding rhetoric used to frame ICT policies and the programmes and
initiatives developed to implement policy.
2.
ICT policies can create teacher demand rather than resistance. Structuring teachers’ work in such a
way that ICT helps them is likely to be more effective than requiring them to take ICT training.
3.
Curriculum reform can be used as a lever to align teachers’ practices with ICT policies. Embedding ICT
throughout the curriculum is likely to change the work of teachers such that they will use ICT regularly
and demand training in the skills that will help them do that.
4.
Strive for phased, systemic change. ICT equipment, as such, has little transformative impact; its impact on student learning is likely mediated by classroom pedagogy, student assessment, teacher
professional development and the availability of digital resources.
These lessons are discussed and warranted in the main body of this appendix. But first, the three focal
cases are presented.
Case studies
Selection of Countries, Analytic Approach and Limitations
In-depth analysis of a small number of cases requires the selection of cases for specific purposes, relative to the goals of the study (Miles and Huberman, 1994). In this study, the objective is to provide compelling
comparative evidence for the review of the Italian ICT policy in education. The selection of countries was
therefore a balance between the similarity of the national context to Italy’s, on the one hand, and innovativeness of the policy, on the other, so that the comparisons could generate relevant policy options for Italy.
France was identified as a country most like Italy in many ways (see Table B.1, below). Italy and France
are close in the size of their population, economy, and per capita income. In terms of their educational performance, both score at or near the European Union (EU) mean on PISA (see Table C.6 in Appendix C). They
also share a common, Latin-based cultural heritage, a similar legal framework, coming out of the Napoleonic
Period when many of Western Europe’s public institutions were first formulated, and a shared membership
of the European Union.
However, France is not considered to be on the cutting edge of ICT policy. Consequently, two other
countries were selected for their innovative approaches. Norway has a much smaller population than Italy,
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yet shares with Italy a European heritage. Korea is an Asian country, but it is closer than Norway to the size
of Italy. Both countries are pioneers in the integration of ICT in education.
Table B.1. Comparison of Italy, France, Norway and Korea on various indicators
Indicator
Italy
France
Norway
Korea
Total country population (million), 2011 (WB)
60.8
65.4
5.0
49.8
GDP in current USD (billion), 2011 (WB)
2 194
2 773
485
1 116
GDP Per Capita in equivalent USD (using PPPs), 2011 (WB)
32 927
34 998
61 882
30 258
Network readiness index rank 2012 (WEF)
48
23
7
12
Mobile subscriptions/100 2011 (ITU)
151
105
116
108
Internet users/100 2011 (ITU)
57
80
94
84
Fixed broadband subscribers/100 2011 (ITU)
23
36
36
37
Percent of schools with 5 or fewer students per computer
(SITES 2006)
12%
19%
50%
m
Percent of 4th grade students in schools with 5 or fewer students per computer (TIMSS, PIRLS 2011)
54%
81%
84%
68%
Percent of 9th grade students in schools with 5 or fewer students per computer (TIMSS 2011)
59%
m
96%
32%
Annual expenditure per primary student in equivalent USD (using PPPs), 2009 (EAG)
8 669
6 373
11 833
6 658
Annual expenditure per secondary student in equivalent USD
(using PPPs), 2009 (EAG)
9 112
10 696
13 883
9 399
ICT Indicators
Education Indicators
Source: WB: World Bank http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx; WEF: World Economic Forum www.weforum.org/issues/global-information-technology/the-great-transformation/network-readiness-index; ITU: International Telecommunication Union, www.itu.int/
ITU-D/ict/statistics/explorer/index.html; SITES 2006: Law et al., 2008; TIMSS 2011: Martin et al., 2012; PIRLS 2011: Mullis et al., 2012;
EAG: OECD, 2012
An analysis of the similarities and differences of policies across these countries can suggest strategies
that Italy and other countries might adopt. Because the collection of new information was not possible, the
analysis is limited to information available from existing public resources. The primary sources of information
were ministry websites and two international collections of national policy case studies: The “International
Experiences with Technology in Education” (Bakia et al., 2011), a cross-national study of 22 countries, conducted for the US Department of Education by SRI International (for which the author of this appendix was
a consultant) and the 2009 report on policies in 37 education systems, “Cross-National Information and
Communication Technology: Policies and Practices in Education” (Plomp et al., 2009). Both reviews have
case studies on the three countries addressed in this report. The case studies of France and Norway are also
informed by country reports provided by European SchoolNet.1 These case studies often rely on information
available from the ministries and on the knowledge of local experts. They often lack data on current level of
implementation, cost and impact. These limitations in turn limit the conclusions that can be drawn.
As with any qualitative study, the external validity of recommendations is limited by the small sample
size. Consequently, findings from these three cases are reinforced by findings from the cross-case analyses
of a larger number of cases in the studies above, as well as other qualitative and quantitative international
policy studies.
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France
According to a comprehensive report on France’s ICT policies (Fourgous, 2010, summarised in Bakia
et al., 2011), France has lagged other European and Asian countries with respect to the use of ICT in education. But several ICT initiatives have been launched in the past several years, the rationale being to harness
the potential that ICT has to transform French education and prepare students for the 21st century knowledge economy.
At the national level, ICT policy was administered until 2010 by a separate unit within the Ministry of
Education, the Department of Information and Communication Technology in Education (SDTICE) created in
1997. The mission of SDTICE was to encourage teaching practices using ICT, support the procurement of
school equipment, create networks, train teachers, facilitate the production of multimedia content, and support the ICT product and services industries. In 2010, the unit’s missions were transferred to the curriculum,
teacher training, and digital development unit under the Directorate General for School Instruction (DGESCO).
But much of the action in educational ICT is at the local level. As in Italy, primary schools in France are
linked to the town council, which funds school buildings, equipment, and digital services. Secondary schools
are linked to regional authorities. Both SDTICE and local authorities therefore provide schools with infrastructure and services, while the 26 académies (local education authorities) retain full responsibility for and control
of learning contents and teacher ICT training. Each académie has an ICT advisory who contributes to local
decision making. All schools have an administrative council that, together with the staff, parents, and students, reviews and adopts the “school working plan”. The plan defines for the school the specific strategies
the school will take to implement the national policy goals, including the use of ICT.
The main programmes launched by SDTICE are the following.
•
The Infrastructure and Services Programme provided the educational community with the infrastructure and service necessary to support the development of IT practices.
•
The Plan for Development of ICT in Rural Schools: under this scheme, 6 700 primary schools located in small communes (fewer than 2 000 inhabitants) received EUR 10 000 each for the acquisition
of laptops, interactive whiteboards, and teaching software. Municipal governments in turn had to
commit funds to connect the equipment securely to the web.
•
The ICT Uses in Education programme developed ICT applications that meet the needs of all school
subjects and encourages the production and sharing of educational resources.
•
The Digital Textbook Programme, started in 2009, focuses on the development of interactive multimedia content in partnership with commercial textbook publishers. The state, which finances paper
textbooks for lower secondary subjects, spent EUR 430 000 euros on 4-year rights to use the digital
textbooks. More than 8 000 students in 65 lower secondary schools in 12 académies (out of the 26
in France) participated in the experiment.
•
The ICT Training and Support initiative aimed to broaden and systematise ICT training to include
trainers, teaching staff and support staff.
The national curriculum in France includes ICT skills in the Common Base of Knowledge and Skills (socle
commun) that all children are expected to achieve through primary and lower secondary education.
Private-public partnerships, as in the Digital Textbook programme, are an important component of the
French national policy. Since 1998, 225 digital resources have been developed with government assistance.
In 2008, the average grant for the development of multimedia resources was EUR 75 000 euros. More than
750 products have been recognised by the Ministry as having education merit.
An annual national survey is conducted by the Ministry in primary and secondary schools to collect
and organise information about ICT in schools and to analyze the evolving situation regarding ICT use, to
compare ICT policies at different levels, and to inform decisions about ICT acquisitions and use. The 2010
survey found an average of one computer for every six students at the primary level and one for every three
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students at the secondary level. Nearly all schools have internet connections. Approximately ten percent
have connection speeds greater than 10 Mbps.
Norway
Recent policy developments in Norway have embedded ICT in a larger context of education reform to
help all pupils develop fundamental skills that enable them to actively participate in the knowledge society.
Under the title “Knowledge Promotion”, ICT competencies and ICT-based pedagogy and assessment are
embedded in the curriculum at all levels and in all subjects, thus providing one of the unifying themes for the
new reform.
At the national level, ICT is the purview Directorate for Education and Training within the Ministry of
Education and Research. The Directorate is also responsible for national policy and for formulating the
national curriculum. These central directives guide the efforts and initiatives of local education authorities.
Related to ICT, the MOE recently established the semi-autonomous Norwegian Center for ICT in Education
(IKT Senteret; http://iktsenteret.no), merging three small ICT-related agencies, to increase the visibility
and importance of ICT and to conduct ICT-related research, create networks, and develop policy-related
services.
Counties are responsible for overseeing the implementation of national policies, generally, and, more specifically, are primarily responsible for upper-secondary education. Municipalities are responsible for primary
and lower-secondary education. These local authorities are responsible for implementation of national policies
– including the curriculum – but now have significant decision making power related to learning goals, methods, teaching materials and evaluation. They can adapt the national curricula to local conditions and develop
their own ICT implementation strategies. Local authorities are also responsible for teacher training.
The MOE provides funding which local authorities can use to purchase learning materials, including
digital resources. Municipalities provide additional funding for these resources. The MOE relies mainly on the
private sector to develop digital resources. However, the MOE supports development where the market is
too small for private investment, such a vocational education, minority languages and students with special
needs. Teachers also develop and share some learning resources.
There are three principal initiatives in Norwegian ICT policy.
•
The primary one is the Knowledge Promotion revision of the national curriculum, which not only
highlights ICT as one of five basic skills needed by students in the 21st century but as a consequence requires all teachers at all levels and all subject to incorporate ICT into their curricula, pedagogy and assessment.
•
Another initiative is the collection of digital resources that are made available to teachers and students through online portals. At the upper-secondary level in particular, the National Digital Learning
Arena (http://ndla.no) contains both commercially-developed and locally-developed materials that
are shared as open educational resources with all teachers. The operating budget for the portal in
2011 was NOK 62 million (EUR 7.96 million).
•
Lastly, Norway is developing digital exams and tests. Since 2009, a digital literacy assessment is
used as part of Norway’s biennial survey of ICT use. The assessment includes both basic ICT skills,
as well as problem solving with ICT. Beyond their use to assess ICT skills, computer-based exams
have also been developed for the final examination after year ten. Exams in Norwegian, English, and
mathematics are optionally delivered in computer-based form.
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Korea 2
Currently, Korea is seen as a leader in education and ICT. Korea has had a highly centralised education
system, with the Ministry controlling both the curriculum and the instructional materials used to implement
it. However, over the past several years it has been moving toward a more-decentralised system, with local
adaptation of curriculum, teachers and students having more control over personalised instruction at the upper secondary level, and diversified criteria for university admission. ICT is supporting this decentralisation.
The Korean Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), established in 1999, is the organisation of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology that is responsible for implementing ICT in
education and practices that support policy. Specifically, they are charged with improving the technological
infrastructure of schools, developing standards for digital learning resources, producing and distributing materials aligned with standards. They provide centralised service and support to help teachers integrate ICT
into their pedagogy and support an online community for teachers (Edu-Café).
Korea’s current ICT policy builds on fifteen years of work and two previous ICT plans. The first plan, in
1996, focused on supplying schools with hardware and software and on the development of the Edunet, a
portal that allowed teachers to access digital resources. It also focused on enhancing teachers’ use of ICT
by providing computers to all primary and secondary teachers. The second plan, from 2004 to 2010, focused
on access and participation of students and teachers, establishing virtual communities to support interesting
and effective teaching and learning and to encourage student-centered activity. The current (2010-2014) plan
aims to create a decentralised ecosystem of ICT-education to support a creative, productive workforce and
support any-time, any-where lifelong learning.
Two national infrastructures play a significant role in the Korean ICT in education policy. Edunet (www.
edunet4u.net) provides integrated services and digital resources that support teaching and learning, related
to the school curriculum; the Edu-Café section of Edunet is the Ministry’s online professional community for
teachers. On the other hand, the National Education Information System (NEIS) is an integrated information
management system that collects all administrative information on schools, staff, and students. All metropolitan and provincial Offices of Education, all local Offices of Education, and all schools in Korea are hooked
into NEIS. Parents can access NEIS to monitor school activities, contact teachers, and issue certificates.
The development of NEIS in the early 2000s represented a significant investment in hardware and software
of KRW 94 billion (Korean Won; EUR 74 million). The system handles all administrative, teacher, and student
records and provides access to appropriate information to administrators, teachers, parents, and students.
These data are analysed by KERIS in support of policy decisions. NEIS and Edunet both have annual operating budgets of about EUR 2 million.
The Cyber Home Learning System (CHLS) is a distance learning portal that supports learning at home.
The online tutors, who are in-service teachers from around the country, respond rapidly to questions from
students in grades 1–12. This e-learning portal, whose annual budget is about EUR 7 million, is intended to
make widely available educational resources of the quality formerly available only to the elite, who would
typically invest in private tutoring to supplement their children’s education.
The Digital Textbook pilot project is the most significant initiative in the current ICT plan. It targets a rollout of interactive digital contents for all primary and secondary students in 2014, delivered in a one-to-one
scheme on mobile devices. In the Korean approach, a digital textbook provides various digital resources
and interactive functions, that include didactic text, reference works, dictionaries, interactive workbooks,
video clips, animations, and virtual reality environments that can be accessed at school or at home, any
time of day or night. The pilot project started in 2004 with the development of grade 5 social studies and
science textbooks for the Web, CD-ROMs, and PDAs. Next digital textbooks were developed for grades 5
and 6 mathematics. These were field tested in schools in 2006-2007. In 2007, textbooks for music and art
were developed in the “free style” method, in which the contents of existing texts were redesigned for the
capabilities of the technology. Texts in the other subjects were essentially digitised versions of traditional
texts but combined with various digital functions to enhance their effectiveness. In 2008, digital textbooks
were developed in additional subjects. The plan is to go nationwide with the project in the 2014 school year.
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Cross-national patterns
There are many commonalities among the ICT policies and programmes in France, Norway and Korea,
despite the significant differences between these countries. In terms of context, all three countries have a
history of a centralised approach toward education policy and all three are moving toward a more-decentralised approach, much like Italy. In practice the three countries take a mixed approach, much like Italy, with
the Ministry formulating policies and general guidelines for their implementation and various local authorities
having a degree of responsibility and discretion in the actual implementation. This discretion usually includes
the selection of equipment, the training of teachers and the modification of curricula to meet local needs.
The implementation of policies is funded by the national government and sometimes supplemented by local
contributions.
Each of the three countries has established a center or office that is primarily responsible for educational
ICT: SDTICE in France, IKT Senteret in Norway, and KERIS in Korea. These centers are influential in formulating ICT policy. They often have centralised responsibilities, such as supporting the creation and distribution
of digital content. But they are also responsible for providing support services for local ICT functions, such
as the purchase of equipment or the training of teachers.
All of the countries have generated digital content and national portals for the distribution of content to
schools, teachers, and students, and sometimes parents. The countries vary in how they go about generating this content. At one end of the spectrum, KERIS takes a very direct role in the development of content. At
the other end is Norway that relies primarily on the private sector to generate content, although the Ministry
provides funding for the local purchase of this content and they also develop content when the market is
not sufficiently large to generate a response from the private sector, as in the case of software in minority
languages or for students with special needs. France is in the middle, relying on the private sector but providing grants to companies for the development of digital content, in response to specific proposals. All of
the countries encourage the development and dissemination of teacher-generated content. In each of the
countries, digital content is disseminated on national portals or digital collections. Sometimes these portals
are variegated by grade level but in all cases the materials are organised by or searchable by grade level and
subject.
Lessons learned
There are four lessons that can be derived from the analysis of these case studies, supplemented by
other writings. These can be used by the Ministry of Education, University and Research in Italy, and by ministries in other countries, to guide the development of ICT policy.
Lesson 1: Align strategic goals of ICT policies with implementation initiatives
Kozma (2008) identifies a variety of strategic goals that can drive nation ICT policies, including: support
for economic growth and competition, the promotion of social development, advancement of education
reform, and support for more efficient education management. Often policies cite two or more of these objectives. In the current analysis, all three of the countries reference the importance of education – and ICT,
more specifically –in preparing students for profound social and economic changes. In France, this is framed
in economic terms: preparing students for the 21st century knowledge economy. In Norway and Korea it is
framed more in social terms: to enable students to participate in the knowledge society.
However, Kozma (2008) notes that the effectiveness of ICT policies is likely to depend on, among other
things, the alignment between the stated strategic goals of policies and their operational components. Often
in national policies there are disconnections between these two; it is difficult to see how the programmes
and initiatives specified in the policies will lead to the desired goals. In the three cases in this paper, the connections are rather strong. In the case of France, the stated goal of preparing students for the 21st century
knowledge economy is directly connected to the embedding of ICT competencies required of the knowledge
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economy in the national curriculum as transversal skills integrated across the curriculum. Similarly in Norway,
ICT skills are among the five basic skills that all teachers, at all levels must incorporate into their curricula,
pedagogy and assessment. And finally, in Korea, the goal of preparing students for participation in the knowledge society is connected to student-centered pedagogy that is being integrated into all subjects, pedagogy
that includes group projects, collaboration, experiential learning, and real-world problems.
Lesson 2: ICT policies can create teacher demand rather than resistance
Tyack and Cuban (1995) observed a prevailing pattern throughout the history of modern education
that policies which impose tightly-controlled change from the top down often induce resistance on the part
of teachers and result in failure. This observation is particularly relevant to ICT, where the introduction of
equipment into schools and classrooms has often not resulted in use by teachers. Tyack and Cuban recommend the development of policies and programmes that build on teacher knowledge and take advantage
of teacher skills and inputs. Indeed, findings from the cross-national SITES 2006 study (Law et al., 2008)
establish that the greatest predictor of ICT use in the classroom is teachers’ is self-perceived pedagogical
competence in using ICT. Tyack and Cuban argue that policies are likely to result in lasting change when
teachers are enlisted in defining problems and devising solutions, adapted to their own varied circumstances and local knowledge. In situations where teachers see new programmes as interesting and useful, they
are likely to adopt them and adapt them to their local circumstances. In such situations, new curriculum
frameworks, teaching methods, technology, assessments, etc., are regarded not as mandates from outside
or above but as resources that teachers can use, with help from each other and outsiders, to help students
learn better.
In the present study, all three countries used a mixture of centralised leadership and local control.
National policies were formulated and curricula revised by national ministries but it was left up to local agencies to implement these policies, modifying them to fit local conditions. In all three countries, ICT teacher
competencies were specified and resources provided but training was not mandated. In each case, the
ministry uses a “pull” rather than a “push” approach to teacher engagement in ICT training and use. That
is, rather than “push” training at teachers through requirements and mandates, ministries in these countries
have embedded ICT in the curriculum and, often, in the pedagogy. They rely on teachers’ current skills and
interests to implement these strategies. In Korea, teachers have extensive ICT skills, after 15 years of ICT
programmes that have encouraged the use of ICT. Similarly in Norway, ICT training was a central part of earlier ICT policies. But for teachers who need and want training, they can “pull” it from training materials and
resources provided by the Ministry.
All of the countries provide significant resources for teacher professional development. These training
materials are often online, engaging teachers in the type of learning that is desired of their students. The
availability of online training is common across the 22 countries in the SRI study (Bakia et al., 2011). The materials included lesson plans, scenarios, and video examples of ICT use in the classroom. The online training
covers the technical aspects of ICT use but also, and more importantly, the pedagogical aspects of integrating ICT into the curriculum. These resources are made available to teachers in a national portal specifically
designed for teacher use. The portals also allow for teachers to contribute and share digital resources and
lesson plans that they had developed.
In France, distance, self-training, and on-site training are used to help teachers, administrators, and
supervisors become ICT literate. In-service teachers in France have 9 days per year allotted for all kinds of
professional development. Teachers may choose to use some of that time for ICT training. Much of the ICT
training for in-service teachers in France is online and based on Intel’s Teach Online programme. It is a targeted model, guiding teachers in creating and experimenting with pedagogical scenarios and then sharing
them with their peers.
There are several portals that make pedagogical scenarios and digital resources available to teachers
in France. Educnet contains resources for all educational stakeholders and especially for teachers. Features
include a searchable online library of subject-specific lesson plans involving ICT, a how-to video library
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for integrating ICT into one’s pedagogy and links to additional information resources. The PrimTICE portal
provides resources at the primary level. And EDUbases are resource banks for secondary education. The
scenarios are written by teachers, for teachers and are reviewed by the inspectorate before publishing.
In Norway, although not required, the use of ICT is pervasive in both pre-service and in-service teacher
training, in large part because the integrated use of ICT is a required part of the curriculum and all levels and
with all subjects. The training of new teachers focuses on facilitating greater pedagogical integration of ICT.
And all three of the national ICT portals offers activities to in-service teachers that help them acquire both
technical and pedagogical ICT skills and help them develop and share online materials.
In Korea, KERIS provide teachers guidelines for ICT use, rather than standards. Teachers are expected
to reach competency on these guidelines but they are not assessed. Through Edunet, teachers can access
high-quality resources and professional development programmes; 180 hours of courses are available to
teachers on ICT and pedagogy. Also KERIS provides in-service training and small scholarships to teachers who excel. In addition, Edu-Café provides teachers with different social spaces for different levels and
different subjects in which they can chat and modify and share materials. Parents and teachers can also
participate in the use of these environments.
Lesson 3: Curriculum reform can be used to align teachers’ practices with ICT
policies
ICT is driving profound transformations in society and the structure and practice of businesses (Kozma,
2011b). For example, a study by Autor, Levy, and Murnane (2003) of labor tasks in the workplace found that
commencing in the 1970s, routine cognitive and manual tasks in the US economy declined, and non-routine
analytic and interactive tasks rose. This finding was particularly pronounced for rapidly computerizing industries. The study found that as ICT is taken up by a business, computers substitute for workers who perform
routine physical and cognitive tasks but they complement workers who perform non-routine problem-solving tasks. Because repetitive, predictable tasks are readily automated, computerisation of the workplace
has raised demand for problem-solving and communications tasks such as responding to discrepancies,
improving production processes and coordinating and managing the activities of others. The net effect is
that companies in the USA and in other developed countries are hiring workers with a higher skill set (Lisbon
Council, 2007; European Commission, 2010; OECD 2011b). In the twenty-first century economy and society,
the memorisation of facts and implementation of simple procedures is less important; crucial is the ability to
respond flexibly to complex problems, to communicate effectively, to manage information, to work in teams,
to use technology, and to produce new knowledge – capabilities that have come to be called “twenty-first
century skills” (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2005; International Society for Technology in Education
[ISTE], 2007; European Commission, 2010).
At the same time, the pervasiveness of ICT has changed the way people access information and other
people, as well as the way they use information and create new knowledge. People use the internet to find
jobs, look for mates, stay in touch with relatives, do their shopping, book flights, run for office, solicit donations, share photos, post videos, and maintain blogs. Studies in North America, Europe, and Asia document
that large numbers of people use the internet regularly and do so to conduct online purchases, use online
chat or messaging and download music or movies, play games, exchange email, conduct banking transactions, and search for information. In the U.S., according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more
than half of all Americans turn to the internet to find answers to common problems about health, taxes, job
training, government services (Fallows, 2008). And more and more Americans, particularly young people,
are using the internet to access multimedia material and to create digital content (Rainie, 2008; Lenhart
et al., 2007). In the United Kingdom, 49% of the children between the ages of 8-17 who use computers
have an online profile; 59% use social networks to make new friends (Ofcom, 2008). As a consequence,
students come into classrooms with new ICT skills but in many education systems, they are not drawn on
in the formal curriculum nor are students able to use these skills to collaboratively solve complex, real world
problems.
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However in the present study, all three countries are using ICT throughout the education system. In
France and Norway, ICT is integrated throughout the curriculum. That is, ICT is not taught as a separate subject, as in past years, but across subjects as a set of transversal skills. Mastering ICT skills is one of seven
curricular “pillars” in the French national curriculum, along with mastering the French language, acquiring
basic knowledge in mathematics and science, and developing autonomy and initiative. Specified ICT skills
include:
•
Knowing how to use a ICT based environment
•
Awareness of the legal and social constraints entailed in judicious use of technologies
•
Data processing
•
Searching the web efficiently
•
Communicating using technologies
The competencies are intended not only to enable students to effectively use technology but to use ICT
to facilitate higher-order thinking and problem solving. Within this curricular framework, teachers are relatively free to choose their own pedagogical approach.
As mentioned earlier, a major component of the Norwegian ICT policy is the integration of ICT into
their curriculum reform, known as Knowledge Promotion. Digital competencies are now one of five sets of
basic skills in the national curriculum, the others being: the abilities to read and write, perform mathematical operations, and express oneself orally. Included among the digital literacy skills are the abilities to use
general tools, such as word processors, spreadsheets, presentation software, and the internet. In addition,
competency is required of subject-specific ICT tools in arts and crafts, music, and science. For example, the
curriculum calls for fifth-grade students to plan and build models of houses and rooms using digital tools
and simple craft technique. Students must also apply critical assessment in the use of information sources,
exercising digital judgment. The principal feature of the Norwegian approach is that ICT must be included in
every subject at every level of education. Consequently, ICT is becoming part of the everyday pedagogy and
assessment in schools.
In Korea, the emphasis is less on embedding ICT into the curriculum, in a formal sense. Rather KERIS is
working towards embedding the entire curriculum in ICT so that education will become more student-centered and students will have access to digital learning at any time of day in any place. In this way, Korea is
using ICT to fundamentally change the pedagogy, as well as the curriculum. The explicit intent of the Ministry
is to move toward a more student-centered pedagogy throughout the system, with more individualised instruction, group projects, collaboration, experiential learning, and real-world problems. In Norway, too, the
goal is that pedagogy will change as a result of integrating ICT throughout the curriculum.
In all three of the countries, ICT is beginning to be used in student assessment, either as a way of assessing ICT skills, as in Norway, or in the assessment of school subjects.
Lesson 4: Strive for phased, systemic change
Investment in ICT equipment and networking was a central component of ICT policies in all of the countries in this study. But given research findings to date (OECD, 2010, 2011a), there is a risk that investment
in ICT could lead to no significant improvement in student learning. Indeed, if research in the private sector
(Bynjolfsson and Saunders, 2010) is an indication, the mere introduction of computers into the classroom will
not have a major impact on education. Most likely, the transformative potential of ICT will be realised only if it
is part of an interconnected set of complementary changes in organisational structure and school practices,
a process which is likely to take years.
All of the countries in this study included not only the provision of ICT equipment and networking in their
policy but, over time, used ICT as a lever to bring about changes in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.
This corresponds to trends found in larger multi-national comparisons (Ottestad and Quale, 2008). Korea
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and Norway, the two countries in the present study that are most advanced in their ICT plans, built their
policies on extensive previous experience with ICT policies and programmes. It was only after 15 years and
two previous ICT policies that Korea felt it was in a position to expect pervasive use of ICT to make fundamental changes in classroom pedagogy. Each of these countries began by providing equipment to schools
and training teachers in its use. In Korea’s first ICT plan, which began in 1996, all primary and secondary
teachers were provided with a computer. Equipment was the foundation upon which these countries could
increase the provision of additional equipment and more sophisticated, comprehensive approaches to their
use through curricular and pedagogical innovation. The goal of Korea’s second plan, in 2004, was to support
improve teaching and learning, encourage student-centered activity, and create a community for learning.
The current plan, launched in 2010, aims to support any-time, any-where lifelong learning. But it is important
to note that of the three countries, only Korea is implementing a one-to-one model for ICT-based instruction.
This is based, in part, on the pervasiveness of ICT throughout Korean society and high speed internet access
in a large majority of Korean homes.
Korea stands out among the three countries both in the comprehensiveness of their ICT policy and
the role they see for ICT in transforming their educational system. The high priority given to ICT policy and
programmes is driven by its direct link to the nation’s social and economic goals. In creating an educational
system in which students can learn online anywhere at any time, Korea wants its graduates to be able to respond quickly to changes in the dynamic knowledge economy. This aspiration is, perhaps, best symbolised
by the fact that every citizen in Korea has a right to online education, a right enshrined in the Constitution.
This overarching priority serves to motivate and organise the ICT efforts in Korea’s Ministry and in its schools.
Concluding remarks
Italy is in a demanding period in its history. Faced with new challenges to be competitive in the European
and world knowledge economy, the development of a high-quality, world-class education system has never
been more important. At the same time, Italy is highly constrained in its financial resources.
The three countries in this study illustrate the benefits of a phased approach to the integration of ICT
in education In the long run, policies and programmes that create demand, or “pull” from teachers rather
than their resistance will be far more efficient and cost effective– and transformative – than policies and
programmes that “push” ICT on teachers. A phased approach of 8 to 10 years seems necessary to build a
significant experiential base among teachers and develop their skills, and to give local authorities and publishers time to develop programmes and high-quality resources that increase the likelihood of success. At the
same time, the specification of key milestones over the period would keep the implementation on track. The
mass introduction of ICT equipment without curricular, pedagogical and, ultimately, assessment changes
that restructure the work of teaching, merely loads ICT on top of what is currently the teachers’ “real” work
and creates resistance. As one teacher in field interviews put it, “Start with changing the teaching, then the
equipment that is needed.”
Notes
1. http://insight.eun.org/ww/en/pub/insight/misc/country_report.cfm.
2. In addition to the two reviews mentioned earlier, this case draws on information from the Korean
Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) website: http://english.keris.or.kr/
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Education: Final Report, Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Brynjolfsson, E. and A. Saunders (2010), Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology is Reshaping the
Economy, Kindle Edition.
Collins, A. and R. Halverson (2009), Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology, Teachers College Press,
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(eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Education, Kluwer, Amsterdam,
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Education: The Power of ICT Policies, UNESCO Publishing, pp. 19-36.
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the IEA SITES 2006 Study, Springer, Hong Kong.
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Miles, M. and A.M. Huberman (1994), Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Source Book (2nd ed.), Sage
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OECD (2011b), Toward an OECD Skills Strategy, OECD Publishing.
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ANNEX C: COMPARATIVE INDICATORS OF ICT USE IN ITALIAN SCHOOLS
97
ANNEX C
ANNEX C: Comparative indicators of ICT use in Italian schools
Comparative indicators of ICT use in Italian schools
source
year
Italy
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Japan
Korea
Norway
Singapore
Spain
Switzerland
United Kingdom
United States
OECD average
EU27 average
Table C.1. Comparative indicators on country ICT infrastructure AN
Broadband coverage - Percentage of population living in areas
served by either DSL or cable
modem networks.
(1)
2010
96.0
100.0
95.7
100.0
98.0
m
m
m
m
99.0
m
100.0
m
m
95.3
Broadband penetration -Number
of fixed broadband suscriptions
(lines) per 100 people. Situation
at end of year.
(2)
2011
22.4
37.9
29.6
35.9
33.3
27.4
35.4
35.7
m
24.5
39.9
33.3
27.7
25.6
26.6
Broadband take-up - Percentage of households having a
broadband connection
(2)
2011
48.9
80.1
75.8
66.8
75.2
63.4
97.5
82.6
m
57.4
70.8
69.5
68.2
62.9
61.4
Home computer access - Percentage of households with
access to a home computer
(2)
2011
64.8
88.0
82.0
76.4
85.7
83.4
81.8
90.9
m
68.7
81.4
82.6
77.0
73.9
74.4
Internet access - Percentage of
households with access to the
Internet at home
(1)
2011
61.6
90.1
84.2
75.9
83.3
m
m
92.2
m
63.9
m
82.7
m
m
73.2
Source: (1): EU digital scoreboard; (2): OECD broadband statistics. Note: OECD and EU27 averages are computed on all countries with data
available: countries included in these averages can therefore vary depending on the data-source
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98
ANNEX C
source
Italy
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Japan
Korea
Norway
Singapore
Spain
Switzerland
United
Kingdom
United
States
OECD
average
EU27
average
year
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
Table C.2. Comparative indicators on school ICT infrastructure
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
Computers/Student ratio for 9th graders (or modal grade for 15-year
old students): number of school computers used for educational
purposes per 100 students
(3)
2009
42.8
(1.0)
83.0
(4.0)
43.9
(2.0)
m
50.4
(2.0)
46.0
(2.5)
42.5
(2.4)
m
62.5
(0.4)
58.1
(1.7)
55.8
(2.0)
88.6
(3.2)
72.8
(4.1)
55.8
(0.4)
54.1
(0.5)
Percent of 4th grade students in schools with less than three students
per computer
(9)
2011
20
(3.0)
87
(2.2)
55
(4.3)
34
(4.2)
21
(2.5)
48
(3.3)
22
(3.5)
58
(5.1)
51
(0.0)
50
(3.2)
m
89
(3.0)
67
(2.9)
46
(0.7)
40
(0.7)
Percent of 8th grade students in schools with less than three students
per computer
(5)
2011
16
(2.8)
m
47
(3.8)
m
m
31
(2.4)
6
(2.3)
73
(4.2)
68
(0.0)
m
m
99
(0.9)
58
(2.1)
52
(0.8)
58
(1.3)
Internet penetration (schools) - Percentage of computers connected
to the Internet/World Wide Web among school computers available to
9th graders (or modal grade for 15-year old students)
(3)
2009
86.5
(1.1)
99.7
(0.1)
98.9
(0.4)
m
96.4
(1.0)
92.3
(1.6)
98.5
(0.6)
m
97.8
(0.1)
95.8
(1.0)
95.1
(1.5)
92.7
(1.8)
99.2
(0.3)
92.5
(0.2)
95.1
(0.2)
Computer access at school - Percentage of 15-year-old students
attending schools where desktop or laptop computers are available student reporting
(4)
2009
84.1
(0.6)
99.4
(0.1)
96.7
(0.4)
m
95.2
(0.6)
88.7
(0.8)
90.0
(0.6)
m
97.3
(0.2)
89.7
(0.6)
93.8
(0.6)
m
m
93.2
(0.1)
93.4
(0.1)
Laptop access at school - Percentage of 15-year-old students attending schools where portable laptops or notebooks are available
- student reporting
(4)
2009
15.3
(0.4)
86.2
(1.4)
27.3
(2.1)
m
35.4
(1.8)
31.4
(1.3)
44.1
(1.9)
m
45.8
(0.6)
23.9
(1.2)
45.4
(1.8)
m
m
34.5
(0.3)
30.6
(0.3)
Internet access at school - Percentage of 15-year-old students attending schools where an internet connection is available - student
reporting
(4)
2009
72.5
(0.7)
99.1
(0.2)
97.0
(0.4)
m
94.4
(0.6)
83.8
(0.9)
91.4
(0.6)
m
96.5
(0.3)
90.2
(0.6)
94.2
(0.7)
m
m
92.6
(0.1)
93.3
(0.1)
Source: (3,4): OECD PISA 2009 Database; (3): school questionnaire; (4): student ICT familiarity questionnaire. (5) IEA TIMSS 2011 Database. (9) IEA PIRLS 2011 Database (TIMSS data from the same year are used
where PIRLS data are not available). Note: TIMSS and PIRLS data for the United Kingdom refer to England only. OECD and EU27 averages are computed on all countries with data available:
countries included in these averages can therefore vary depending on the data-source.
Italy
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Japan
Korea
Norway
Singapore
Spain
Switzerland
United
Kingdom
United
States
OECD
average
EU27
average
year
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
Computer use in school (4th grade) - Percentage of fourth grade
students using computers in school
(5)
2007
42.4
(1.4)
77.9
(1.3)
m
m
33.2
(1.6)
72.8
(1.3)
m
62.5
(1.8)
74.8
(1.0)
m
m
85.1
(0.9)
67.6
(0.9)
59.4
(0.3)
46.9
(0.4)
Computer use in school (8th grade) - Percentage of eighth grade
students using computers in school
(5)
2007
55.8
(1.9)
m
m
m
m
74.7
(1.4)
32.0
(1.5)
68.6
(1.2)
72.0
(0.9)
70.5
(2.1)
m
79.1
(1.0)
74.8
(0.9)
67.5
(0.3)
64.8
(0.4)
Computer use in school (15-y-olds) - Percentage of 15-year-old
students using school desktop computers - student reporting
(4)
2009
63.9
(0.8)
93.1
(0.5)
87.5
(0.8)
m
64.8
(1.5)
59.3
(2.3)
62.8
(1.6)
m
62.7
(0.6)
65.5
(1.0)
75.8
(1.2)
m
m
71.5
(0.2)
70.4
(0.3)
Laptop use in school (15-y-olds) - Percentage of 15-year-old students using school laptops or notebooks - student reporting
(4)
2009
5.3
(0.3)
72.7
(2.0)
17.1
(1.8)
m
14.2
(1.2)
12.0
(1.2)
19.9
(1.3)
m
17.0
(0.4)
10.1
(0.9)
28.1
(1.7)
m
m
18.4
(0.2)
14.7
(0.3)
Internet use in school (15-y-olds) - Percentage of 15-year-old
students using school internet connections - student reporting
(4)
2009
45.6
(0.9)
96.0
(0.3)
88.2
(0.8)
m
63.4
(1.4)
47.2
(1.9)
65.4
(1.5)
m
61.8
(0.6)
65.1
(1.0)
75.8
(1.3)
m
m
70.8
(0.2)
70.4
(0.3)
Computer use in class (4th grade, reading) - Percentage of fourthgrade students who have computer(s) available to use during their
reading lessons
(9)
2011
24
(2.9)
87
(2.0)
64
(3.1)
11
(2.0)
73
(2.8)
m
m
88
(2.5)
64
(2.8)
20
(2.9)
m
47
(4.0)
74
(2.2)
49
(0.6)
45
(0.7)
Computer use in class (4th grade, maths) - Percentage of fourthgrade students who have computer(s) available to use during their
mathematics lessons
(5)
2011
25
(2.9)
70
(3.4)
59
(3.1)
m
58
(3.1)
58
(3.5)
31
(3.7)
77
(3.6)
65
(2.6)
36
(3.6)
m
71
(4.2)
63
(2.2)
53
(0.7)
50
(0.8)
Computer use in class (4th grade, science) - Percentage of fourthgrade students who have computer(s) available to use during their
science lessons
(5)
2011
31
(3.2)
81
(2.6)
66
(3.1)
m
61
(3.5)
74
(3.7)
35
(3.6)
72
(3.9)
62
(2.5)
40
(3.8)
m
74
(4.3)
65
(2.6)
58
(0.7)
56
(0.8)
Computer use in class (8th grade, maths) - Percentage of eighthgrade students who have computer(s) available to use during their
mathematics lessons
(5)
2011
31
(3.9)
m
43
(3.8)
m
m
58
(4.2)
56
(3.1)
76
(3.5)
56
(2.4)
m
m
51
(4.3)
44
(2.5)
45
(0.9)
40
(1.4)
Computer use in class (8th grade, science) - Percentage of eighthgrade students who have computer(s) available to use during their
science lessons
(5)
2011
36
(3.2)
m
59
(2.5)
m
m
50
(4.3)
68
(3.5)
77
(3.6)
56
(2.5)
m
m
63
(3.3)
67
(2.7)
57
(0.9)
53
(1.0)
Computer use in class (15-y-olds, language of instruction) - Percentage
of 15-year old students using computers during language of instruction
classes, 2009
(4)
2009
11.5
(0.5)
77.0
(1.2)
32.8
(1.9)
m
16.9
(1.0)
1.0
(0.2)
27.4
(1.7)
m
24.7
(0.6)
11.7
(0.9)
32.9
(1.0)
m
m
26.1
(0.2)
21.6
(0.2)
Computer use in class (15-y-olds, maths) - Percentage of 15-year
old students using computers during mathematics classes, 2009
(4)
2009
27.4
(1.0)
39.9
(1.3)
18.2
(1.4)
m
13.9
(0.9)
1.4
(0.3)
8.3
(0.9)
m
18.1
(0.6)
10.4
(1.1)
16.4
(0.8)
m
m
15.9
(0.2)
14.5
(0.2)
Computer use in class (15-y-olds, science) - Percentage of 15-year
old students using computers during science classes, 2009
(4)
2009
12.8
(0.5)
50.7
(1.5)
29.6
(1.6)
m
24.6
(1.3)
1.6
(0.5)
30.8
(1.9)
m
16.7
(0.6)
15.8
(0.9)
30.1
(1.2)
m
m
24.3
(0.2)
22.1
(0.3)
ANNEX C
99
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
source
Table C.3. Comparative indicators on computer use in schools [Part 1/2]
100
source
Italy
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Japan
Korea
Norway
Singapore
Spain
Switzerland
United
Kingdom
United
States
OECD
average
EU27
average
year
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
Computer use in class (15-y-olds, foreign language) - Percentage
of 15-year old students using computers during foreign language
classes, 2009
(4)
2009
25.3
(0.9)
60.9
(1.4)
41.2
(2.0)
m
17.9
(1.0)
4.2
(1.0)
41.3
(1.8)
m
11.1
(0.5)
18.5
(1.2)
32.3
(1.2)
m
m
25.8
(0.2)
25.2
(0.3)
Computer use in class for search (4th grade, reading) - Percentage of
students in the fourth-grade using a computer in their reading class
for looking up ideas and information at least monthly, as reported by
their teacher
(9)
2011
14
(2.4)
76
(2.6)
59
(3.6)
10
(1.7)
54
(3.2)
m
m
79
(3.2)
58
(2.7)
17
(2.8)
m
43
(4.2)
61
(2.4)
43
(0.6)
39
(0.7)
Computer use in class for search (8th grade, science) - Percentage of
students in the eighth-grade using a computer in their science class
for looking up ideas and information at least monthly, as reported by
their teacher
(5)
2011
30
(3.0)
m
49
(2.7)
m
m
15
(3.1)
52
(3.4)
72
(3.9)
42
(2.5)
m
m
57
(3.1)
59
(2.7)
48
(0.9)
47
(1.0)
Computer use in class for reading practice (4th grade) - Percentage of
students in the fourth-grade using a computer in their reading class
for reading at least monthly, as reported by their teacher
(9)
2011
15
(2.5)
65
(2.7)
41
(3.3)
5
(1.2)
42
(3.3)
m
m
54
(4.9)
51
(2.8)
12
(2.4)
m
34
(4.5)
53
(2.3)
35
(0.7)
32
(0.7)
Computer use in class for mathematics practice (8th grade) - Percentage of students in the eighth-grade using a computer in their mathematics class for practiciing skills and procedures at least monthly, as
reported by their teacher
(5)
2011
23
(3.4)
m
27
(3.4)
m
m
1
(0.8)
28
(3.0)
53
(4.3)
34
(2.4)
m
m
38
(4.1)
27
(2.4)
28
(0.8)
27
(1.2)
Computer use in class for analysing data (8th grade, maths) - Percentage of students in the eighth-grade using a computer in their
mathematics class for processing and analysing data at least monthly,
as reported by their teacher
(5)
2011
20
(3.1)
m
14
(3.0)
m
m
6
(1.9)
25
(3.0)
58
(3.8)
24
(2.2)
m
m
24
(4.0)
21
(2.4)
23
(0.8)
19
(1.1)
Computer use in class for simulating phenomena (8th grade, science)
- Percentage of students in the eighth-grade using a computer in their
science class for studying natural phenomena through simulations at
least monthly, as reported by their teacher
(5)
2011
14
(2.4)
m
20
(2.3)
m
m
13
(2.8)
49
(3.7)
42
(4.4)
31
(2.7)
m
m
37
(2.9)
44
(2.4)
31
(0.8)
27
(0.9)
Computer use in school for practice (15-y-olds) - Percentage of 15-year
old students using computers at school to do practice and drilling
(4)
2009
51.6
(0.7)
43.6
(1.0)
58.0
(1.7)
m
26.5
(1.0)
3.9
(0.4)
15.4
(0.8)
m
30.5
(0.7)
53.7
(1.0)
50.3
(1.2)
m
m
35.4
(0.2)
37.5
(0.2)
Computer use in school for search (15-y-olds) - Percentage of 15year old students using computers at school to browse the Internet
for schoolwork
(4)
2009
84.1
(0.6)
99.4
(0.1)
96.7
(0.4)
m
95.2
(0.6)
88.7
(0.8)
90.0
(0.6)
m
97.3
(0.2)
89.7
(0.6)
93.8
(0.6)
m
m
93.2
(0.1)
93.4
(0.1)
Computer use for homework (15-y-olds) - Percentage of 15-year
old students using computers at home for doing homework on the
computer
(4)
2009
68.3
(0.5)
96.1
(0.4)
59.8
(1.0)
m
78.5
(0.7)
18.9
(1.0)
92.2
(0.7)
m
87.6
(0.5)
70.2
(0.6)
79.2
(0.8)
m
m
80.2
(0.1)
79.5
(0.2)
Source: (4) OECD PISA 2009 Database, student ICT familiarity questionnaire. (5) IEA TIMSS 2011 Database. (9) IEA PIRLS 2011 Database. Note: TIMSS and PIRLS data for the United Kingdom refer to England only.
OECD and EU27 averages are computed on all countries with data available: countries included in these averages can therefore vary depending on the data-source.
ANNEX C
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
Table C.3. Comparative indicators on computer use in schools [Part 2/2]
Italy
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Japan
Korea
Norway
Singapore
Spain
Switzerland
United
Kingdom
United
States
OECD
average
EU27
average
year
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
Old teachers (primary) - Percentage of primary teachers above 50 years old
(6)
2010
45.0
37.1
28.6
22.3
47.8
28.4
16.0
35.1
m
31.1
34.5
19.4
32.4
29.9
30.0
Old teachers (lower secondary) - Percentage of lower secondary teachers above 50 years old
(6)
2010
59.8
37.1
29.8
29.7
51.8
22.0
16.8
35.1
m
29.0
35.5
25.0
31.7
33.2
34.3
Old teachers (upper secondary) - Percentage of upper secondary teachers above 50 years old
(6)
2010
58.9
m
42.6
34.9
47.1
31.0
21.7
48.6
m
29.7
37.0
28.9
35.5
36.8
37.4
Young teachers (primary) - Percentage of primary teachers below 30
years old
(6)
2010
0.5
8.6
10.0
13.0
7.4
13.1
22.5
12.2
m
14.0
17.3
31.7
18.1
14.0
13.1
Young teachers (lower secondary) - Percentage of lower secondary
teachers below 30 years old
(6)
2010
0.5
8.6
11.2
10.8
4.8
10.8
14.8
12.2
m
6.2
12.3
22.7
18.4
11.6
10.8
Young teachers (upper secondary) - Percentage of upper secondary
teachers below 30 years old
(6)
2010
0.4
m
5.1
5.6
3.1
8.0
13.1
4.9
m
5.9
6.9
19.1
15.6
9.4
8.7
ICT for teaching PD (4th grade, maths) - Percentage of students in the
fourth grade whose teachers report having participated in professional
development on integrating ICT in mathematics teaching in the past two
years, 2007
(5)
2007
33
(3.2)
21
(3.0)
m
m
7
(1.5)
19
(2.8)
m
12
(2.8)
51
(2.9)
m
m
44
(4.1)
39
(2.6)
24
(0.7)
26
(0.8)
ICT for teaching PD (4th grade, science) - Percentage of students in the
fourth grade whose teachers report having participated in professional
development on integrating ICT in science teaching in the past two
years, 2007
(5)
2007
23
(3.3)
6
(2.0)
m
m
45
(4.2)
53
(4.3)
m
19
(4.6)
45
(3.6)
m
m
16
(3.2)
7
(2.9)
22
(0.6)
23
(0.8)
ICT for teaching PD (8th grade, maths) - Percentage of students in the
eighth grades whose teachers report having participated in professional
development on integrating ICT in mathematics teaching in the past two
years, 2007
(5)
2007
43
(3.1)
m
m
m
m
27
(3.3)
31
(3.2)
35
(3.7)
74
(2.0)
32
(4.5)
m
62
(4.2)
61
(3.0)
40
(0.8)
52
(1.0)
ICT for teaching PD (8th grade, science) - Percentage of students in the
eighth grades whose teachers report having participated in professional
development on integrating ICT in science teaching in the past two
years, 2007
(5)
2007
25
(2.9)
m
m
m
m
31
(3.5)
29
(3.4)
15
(2.7)
70
(2.2)
41
(5.0)
m
44
(3.0)
70
(3.1)
40
(0.8)
48
(0.7)
Development needs: ICT for teaching (ISCED 2) - Percentage of teachers reporting a high need for professional development in ICT skills for
teaching
(7)
2008
25.8
(0.8)
20.1
(1.7)
m
m
m
m
17.7
(0.7)
28.1
(1.2)
m
26.2
(1.1)
m
m
m
22.3
(0.2)
24.5
(0.3)
Development needs: special needs (ISCED 2) - Percentage of teachers
reporting a high need for professional development in teaching students
with special learning needs
(7)
2008
35.3
(1.0)
24.6
(1.4)
m
m
m
m
25.6
(0.9)
29.2
(1.0)
m
35.8
(1.0)
m
m
m
30.4
(0.3)
31.4
(0.3)
Development needs: subject content knowledge (ISCED 2) - Percentage
of teachers reporting a high need for professional development in knowledge and understanding of my main subject field(s)
(7)
2008
34.0
(0.7)
4.6
(0.5)
m
m
m
m
38.3
(1.0)
8.6
(0.7)
m
5.0
(0.5)
m
m
m
13.7
(0.2)
15.7
(0.2)
Source: (5) IEA TIMSS 2007 Database. (6) OECD (2012), Education at a Glance. (7) OECD, TALIS 2008 Database. Note: TIMSS data for the United Kingdom refer to England only; TIMSS data for Spain refer to
the Basque country only. OECD and EU27 averages are computed on all countries with data available: countries included in these averages can therefore vary depending on the data-source.
101
mean
(se)
ANNEX C
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
source
Table C.4. Comparative indicators on teachers’ ICT skills and professional development
102
ANNEX C
source
Italy
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Japan
Korea
Norway
Singapore
Spain
Switzerland
United
Kingdom
United
States
OECD
average
EU27
average
year
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
Table C.5. Comparative indicators on digital skills and ICT familiarity
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
Internet use (adults, regular) - Percentage of population who are
regular internet users (at least once a week)
(1)
2011
50.7
87.5
85.6
74.3
76.5
m
m
91.1
m
61.8
m
80.8
m
m
67.5
Internet use (adults, never) - Percentage of population who have
never used the internet
(1)
2011
38.6
7.2
8.9
17.8
15.8
m
m
4.6
m
29.2
m
11.2
m
m
24.3
Internet use (adults, banking) - Percentage of population using online
banking
(1)
2011
19.7
75.0
79.2
50.9
45.3
m
m
85.1
m
28.2
m
45.5
m
m
36.5
Internet use (adults, e-gov) - Percentage of population interacting
online with public authorities, last 3 months
(8)
2010
17
72
58
37
37
m
60
68
m
32
m
40
m
42
40
Internet use (adults, e-gov) - of population sending filled forms to
public authorities, over the internet, last 3 months
(1)
2010
17.4
72.0
58.0
35.6
37.1
m
m
68.3
m
32.3
m
40.2
m
m
31.5
Internet use (15-y-olds, entertainment) - Percentage of 15 year old
students who use computers at home to browse the internet for fun
(4)
2009
89.1
(0.3)
98.0
(0.2)
98.2
(0.2)
m
95.1
(0.4)
82.4
(0.7)
93.4
(0.4)
m
97.1
(0.2)
91.5
(0.3)
96.5
(0.2)
m
m
92.3
(0.1)
93.0
(0.1)
Internet use (15-y-olds, blog) - Percentage of 15 year old students
who use computers at home to publish and maintain a personal
website, weblog or blog
(4)
2009
55.3
(0.4)
40.8
(0.9)
25.6
(0.6)
m
33.9
(0.9)
25.5
(0.7)
58.6
(0.9)
m
56.7
(0.7)
55.5
(0.7)
47.4
(0.9)
m
m
43.7
(0.2)
45.5
(0.2)
Computer skills (15-y-olds) - Percentage of 15 year old students
who can very well use a spreadsheet by themselves to plot a graph
(self-assessment)
(4)
2009
50.3
(0.5)
53.4
(1.1)
31.3
(0.8)
m
57.4
(1.0)
30.6
(0.9)
34.2
(1.0)
m
28.4
(0.6)
58.1
(0.7)
52.5
(1.0)
m
m
52.0
(0.2)
56.2
(0.2)
Source: (1): EU digital scoreboard; (4): OECD PISA 2009 Database, student ICT familiarity questionnaire. (8): OECD (2011), Government at a Glance. Note: OECD and EU27 averages are computed on all countries
with data available: countries included in these averages can therefore vary depending on the data-source.
Italy
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Japan
Korea
Norway
Singapore
Spain
Switzerland
United
Kingdom
United
States
OECD
average
EU27
average
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
mean
(se)
PISA reading score
2009
486
(1.6)
495
(2.1)
536
(2.3)
496
(3.4)
497
(2.7)
520
(3.5)
539
(3.5)
503
(2.6)
526
(1.1)
481
(2.0)
501
(2.4)
494
(2.3)
500
(3.7)
493
(0.5)
486
(0.6)
PISA mathematics score
2009
483
(1.9)
503
(2.6)
541
(2.2)
497
(3.1)
513
(2.9)
529
(3.3)
546
(4.0)
498
(2.4)
562
(1.4)
483
(2.1)
534
(3.3)
492
(2.4)
487
(3.6)
496
(0.5)
491
(0.6)
PISA science score
2009
489
(1.8)
499
(2.5)
554
(2.3)
498
(3.6)
520
(2.8)
539
(3.4)
538
(3.4)
500
(2.6)
542
(1.4)
488
(2.1)
517
(2.8)
514
(2.5)
502
(3.6)
501
(0.5)
497
(0.6)
TIMSS 4th grade science
2007
535
(3.2)
517
(2.9)
m
m
528
(2.4)
548
(2.1)
m
477
(3.5)
587
(4.1)
m
m
542
(2.9)
539
(2.7)
523
(0.7)
525
(0.8)
TIMSS 4th grade maths
2007
507
(3.1)
523
(2.4)
m
m
525
(2.3)
568
(2.1)
m
473
(2.5)
599
(3.7)
m
m
541
(2.9)
529
(2.4)
512
(0.6)
514
(0.7)
TIMSS 8th grade science
2007
495
(2.8)
m
m
m
m
554
(1.9)
553
(2.0)
487
(2.2)
567
(4.4)
498
(3.0)
m
542
(4.5)
520
(2.9)
514
(0.7)
500
(0.9)
TIMSS 8th grade maths
2007
480
(3.0)
m
m
m
m
570
(2.4)
597
(2.7)
469
(2.0)
593
(3.8)
499
(3.0)
m
513
(4.8)
508
(2.8)
503
(0.8)
490
(0.9)
PIRLS 4th grade reading
2006
551
(2.9)
546
(2.3)
m
522
(2.1)
548
(2.2)
m
m
498
(2.6)
558
(2.9)
513
(2.5)
m
539
(2.6)
540
(3.5)
535
(0.5)
534
(0.6)
Source: OECD PISA Database, IEA TIMSS and PIRLS 2011 Database. Note: TIMSS data for the United Kingdom refer to England only; TIMSS data for Spain refer to the Basque country only. OECD and EU27 averages are computed on all countries with data available: countries included in these averages can therefore vary depending on the data-source.
ANNEX C
103
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
year
Table C.6. Average performance in international assessments of learning outcomes
104
ANNEX C: COMPARATIVE INDICATORS OF ICT USE IN ITALIAN SCHOOLS
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
ANNEX D: VISIT PROGRAMME (5-7 NOVEMBER 2012)
105
ANNEX D
Visit Programme (5-7 November 2012)
ANNEX D: Visit Programme (5-7 November 2012)
Monday, 5 November 2012 (Rome)
•
9am: Visit to the School “Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II”, Rome. Meetings with the leadership
team (Emilio Fatovic, Eleonora Sanna, Giovanna Angelosante, Tommaso Villani, Antonio Capizzoto), a
group of teachers, and a group of students.
•
12pm: Meeting with the Regional School Office Lazio (USR Lazio): Angelo Lacovara, Claudio Proia.
•
2.30pm: Seminar with University researchers and ministry consultants: Vittorio Campione, Francesco
Antinucci, Sebastiano Bagnara, Daniele Barca, Rosa Bottino, Giusy Cannella, Donatella D’Amico, Rino
Falcone, Paolo Maria Ferri, Roberto Maragliano, Elena Mosa, Aurelio Simone, Leonardo Tosi.
•
4pm: Meeting with Teacher and Head Teacher professional associations: ADI (Alessandra Cenerini),
ANDIS (Domenico Ciccone, Alessandra Silvestri), APEF (Paola Tonna), DIESSE (Daniela Notarbartolo),
DISAL (Filomena Zamboli), FNISM (Gigliola Corduas), MCE (Domenico Russo), UCIIM (Giovanni Villarossa, Rosalba Fiducia), PROTEO fare sapere (Isabella Filippi, Gennaro Lopez), AIMC (Giuseppe Desideri,
Elenora Mosti).
•
5pm: Meeting with Publishers’ and IT industries’ organisations: AIE (Giorgio Palumbo, Gianni Cicognani,
Massimilaiano Galioni, P. Attanasio) and Confindustria Digitale (Roberto Bedani, Roberto Triola, Franco
Patini).
•
6pm: Meeting with associations of provinces and communes: UPI (Gaetano Palombelli and Nicola
Melideo) and ANCI (Simone Guerra).
Tuesday, 6 November 2012 (Rome)
•
9am: Visit to the School “Istituto Comprensivo Via Luchino dal Verme”, Rome. Meetings with the leadership team (Noemi Fiorini), a group of teachers, and parents’ representatives.
•
12pm: Ministry of Education, Heads of the Education Department and of the Programming Department
(Dipartimento per la Programmazione: Giovanni Biondi, Dipartimento per l’Istruzione: Lucrezia Stellacci).
•
12.30pm: Ministry of Education, innovation advisors to the Minister of Education: Donatella Solda-Kutzmann, Damien Lanfrey, Lorenzo Benussi.
•
2.30pm: Ministry of Education, curriculum, teachers, and information systems: Carmela Palumbo (Direttore Generale per gli Ordinamenti), Luciano Chiappetta (Direttore Generale per il Personale scolastico),
Emanuele Fidora (Direttore Generale per i Sistemi informativi).
•
3pm: Meeting with the national forum of parents’ associations: A.Ge. Associazione Genitori Italiani (Gianni Nicolì), AGeSC. Associazione Genitori Scuole Cattoliche (Roberto Gontero), C.G.D. Coordinamento
Genitori Democratici, MO.I.GE.Movimento Italiano Genitori, FAES Famiglia e Scuola (Claudio Marcellino,
Marco Ferraresi).
•
4.30pm: Meeting with the President of the Senate Commission for Culture and Education, Guido Possa.
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
106
ANNEX D: VISIT PROGRAMME (5-7 NOVEMBER 2012)
Wednesday, 7 November 2012 (Florence)
•
9am: Visit to the School “Istituto Comprensivo Baccio da Montelupo”, Montelupo Fiorentino (Firenze).
Meetings with the leadership team (Gloria Bernardi, Antonella Nunziati, Patrizia Melani), a group of teachers (Patrizia Melani, Laura Salvadori, Maria Cristina Cioni, Fabiana Pieraccini, Alessandra Cenci, Carla
Baronti, Angelo Lippiello, Cristina Romanelli, Rita Pasqualetti, Lucia Girolamo, Michela Palmieri) and the
parents’ representative (Francesco Polverini).
•
12pm: Meeting with Regional School Office Toscana (USR TOSCANA) and with the Vice President of
Regione Toscana: Angela Palamone (Direttore Generale USR Toscana), Stella Targetti (vice-presidente e
assessore alla scuola, università e ricerca, Regione Toscana), Marta Rapallini, Elio Satti.
•
2.30pm: Web conference with the Institute for the evaluation of the school system (INVALSI): Paolo Sestito (Commissario Straordinario INVALSI).
•
3pm: Meeting with INDIRE: Giusy Cannella, Elena Mosa, Leonardo Tosi, Samuele Borri, Elisabetta Mughini.
•
4.30pm: Web conference with external evaluators for [email protected] 2.0: Andrea Gavosto and Daniele Checchi
(Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli).
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
107
RECENT OECD PUBLICATIONS OF RELEVANCE TO THIS REPORT
Hennessy, S. and S. London (2013), “Learning from International Experiences with Interactive Whiteboards:
The Role of Professional Development in Integrating the Technology”, OECD Education Working
Papers, No. 89, OECD Publishing, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k49chbsnmls-en.
Looney, J. (2009), “Assessment and Innovation in Education”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 24,
OECD Publishing, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/222814543073.
Lubienski, C. (2009), “Do Quasi-markets Foster Innovation in Education?: A Comparative Perspective”, OECD
Education Working Papers, No. 25, OECD Publishing, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/221583463325.
Kärkkäinen, K. (2012), “Bringing About Curriculum Innovations: Implicit Approaches in the OECD Area”, OECD
Education Working Papers, No. 82, OECD Publishing, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k95qw8xzl8s-en.
OECD (2010), Are the New Millennium Learners Making the Grade? Technology Use and Educational Performance in PISA 2006, OECD Publishing.
OECD (2010), Inspired by Technology, Driven by Pedagogy: A Systemic Approach to Technology-Based
School Innovations, OECD Publishing.
OECD (2012), Connected Minds: Technology and Today’s Learners, OECD Publishing, Paris http://dx.doi.
org/10.1787/9789264111011-en.
OECD (2004), Innovation in the Knowledge Economy – Implications for Education and Learning, OECD
Publishing, Paris.
OECD (2010), The OECD Innovation Strategy: Getting a Head Start on Tomorrow, OECD Publishing.
OECD (2010), The Nature of Learning, OECD Publishing.
OECD (2009), Working Out Change. Systemic Innovation in Vocational Education and Training, OECD
Publishing, Paris.
OECD (2007), Evidence in Education. Linking Research and Policy, OECD Publishing, Paris.
REVIEW OF THE ITALIAN STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL SCHOOLS © OECD 2013
Review of
the Italian Strategy for Digital Schools
Francesco Avvisati, Sara Hennessy,
Robert B. Kozma and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin
The Italian Ministry of Education launched in 2007 a National plan for digital schools (Piano Nazionale
Scuola Digitale) to mainstream Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Italian classrooms and use
technology as a catalyser of innovation in Italian education, hopefully conducing to new teaching practices,
new models of school organisation, new products and tools to support quality teaching. The Italian Ministry
of Education, Universities and Research asked the OECD to review its Plan from an international perspective and to suggest improvements.
The small budget of the Plan has limited the effectiveness of its diverse initiatives. In its current design, a
significant rise of the budget of the plan through public or private sources is a necessary condition for its
success. Given current budgetary constraints, a significant budget increase may be difficult, and the report
proposes to revise some features of the Plan in order to achieve two objectives: 1) speed up the uptake
of ICT in Italian schools and classrooms; 2) create an Innovation Laboratory Network of test bed schools
piloting and inventing new pedagogic and organisational practices to improve Italian education.
The report also includes two background papers on international experience with interactive whiteboards
and on the lessons and challenges of ICT policies in education around the world.
The report will be of interest to policy makers and other stakeholders in the field of education as well as to
academics and other readers interested in Italian education policy or, more generally, in innovation in the
education sector.
Please cite this publication as:
Avvisati, F., S. Hennessy, R. B. Kozma, and S. Vincent-Lancrin (2013), “Review of the Italian Strategy
for Digital Schools”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 90, OECD Publishing.
This work is published on the OECD iLibrary, which gathers all OECD books, periodicals and statistical
databases. Visit www.oecd-ilibrary.org and do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
2013
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