Thursday, January 12, 2012

Evaluating the impact of technology on learning: the importance of the right resources – ITEM part 6

The International Technology in Education Mark developed by Naace and Advisory Matters identifies many factors that impact on the integration of technology into the curriculum and how this can improve student learning.  Other important aspects to consider are resources and the physical environment.

Many schools were built at a time before digital learning was commonplace, therefore they are often made up of learning and teaching spaces were not designed to reflect the place of technology in the curriculum.   The ITEM rubric asks to what extent the physical environment has been adapted or reorganized to reflect the school’s vision for ICT.  Are there flexible work areas to enable varied approaches to teaching and learning with ICT?  Is there a wide range of high-quality resources which meet students’ needs whenever and wherever learning takes place?  Have the digital learning resources significantly changed the learning culture both within and beyond the school?

Technical support is also seen as playing an important role in the effective use of ICT for improved teaching and learning.   In my experience I have seen that this can be make or break in a teacher’s willingness to use technology.  Where technical support and maintenance is inadequate it’s likely there will be many technical problems that may take some time to fix – this will obviously have a negative impact on how technology can be used to improve student learning. 

The procedure that the school goes through to purchase new resources will also be important.  Are the currently available resources evaluated for their quality and suitability for improving student learning?  Are new purchases based simply on available funding, or are they perhaps heavily weighted towards some areas of the school?  Is the purchase of new technology in line with a plan based on the school’s vision and does it take into account the current and future needs of the students?

I think that the various parts of the ITEM rubric can provide a really useful tool for assessing whether or not technology is being used effectively to improve student learning.  How do you assess success in the integration of technology at your school?

Ideas in this post are based on the ITEM framework by Naace/Advisory Matters

Photo Credit:  Scrapbook Sunburst Background by Webtreats Attribution

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