THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN PRIMARY EDUCATION: QUANTITATIVE TIME-ON-TASK INVOLVING THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND QUALITATIVE USES OF THE TECHNOLOGY. - EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT & PERFORMANCE WITH ICT
Despite the digitalization of society and education during the last decades, the quantity and quality of the educational use of computers may vary in the different schools. The aim of this study is to analyse technology in primary education in terms of quantitative classroom time involving the use of computers and the qualitative pedagogical uses that are developed during this times. The quantitative use of technology in the classroom is considered as the amount of hours per week that the student has classes which use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The qualitative uses are defined by the different pedagogical activities supported by the computers. The analysis was developed in 29 schools in Spain providing Primary education. Results shows three types of technology use in the classroom, where the use of blogs is the most used activity, supported by the use of technology.
The use of technology in the classroom and its integration into the curriculum in the form of ICT has had a major impact on schools and the education system as a whole. Developments in computer and communication technologies had an impact on many areas, including education. Internet-based online learning has grown dramatically over the past decade to provide additional training and education for students.
In order to analyse the quantitative and qualitative uses of technology in primary education we identified 35 head teachers in Spain (18 women, and 17 men), whose schools taught total number of 22,000 students. This selection of the participants was made in order to ensure that the participants had a broad knowledge of their schools.
The relevance and possible significance of the study was to look at how teachers used ICT in their teaching practice each day and their level of competency. The relevance of the ICT resources was examined by viewing what schools felt was appropriate for them in the view of (severely) limited resources. Thus apart from the incorporation of ICT and its level of penetration in the schools, another marker was postulated: the selection of the appropriate resources combined with the use of ICT tools.
The respondents indicated 4 (14.8 %) of the teaching staff in their schools did not use digital material, ICT teaching material in their classes. 16 (59.3%) stated that there was only occasional use of digital teaching materials: with only 4 (14.8%) and 3 (11.1%) respectively responded that the use of digital materials was normal, or frequent practice. A third of the respondents 9 (33’3 %) commented that their staff were never engaged in this type of activity. This rose to 16 (59.3%) commenting that this happened on an occasional basis. Only 2 (7,4%) respondents confirmed that this was a regular activity and 0 that this was a frequent practice.
According to their use of technologies, the schools were identified as being in three groups:
• Level 1
• Level 2
• Level 3
The evolution of ICT and technology in education has provided new challenges to the educational establishment. Nevertheless the introduction and use of ICT in schools has not had a big impact on academic performance, nor has it changed substantially the learning processes used. Why is this? They have been considerable investments in training and money but the results have not been as expected. The possible reasons for this would be explored in further research.