I recently participated in a MCEETYA forum that has been given the task of drafting a framework to help schools and systems understand how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are “adding value” to the work that schools do. The search is on across the world to find ways to determine if ICTs are making a difference to student learning and outcomes (some examples: BECTA, Qld Dept of Education).
This is a legitimate and necessary approach as web 2.0 web continues to influence schooling today. Given the nature of learning today and the increasing investment schools and systems are making in ICTs, it is important that we have a framework for evaluation.
Approximately 30 educators from all jurisdictions across Australia and New Zealand worked on a draft over two days. As you can well imagine it is a difficult and complex task, not the least of which is trying to gain a consensus on a common conceptual framework. There is common agreement that such a framework must be of benefit to schools as well as systems and must not be a stand alone framework which will viewed as another distraction or burden for schools.
I think that there a number of key elements to be considered in any such framework such as:
- implementation of a cohrent learning framework(s)
- evidence of professional learning and collaboration
- evidence of student achievements
- building system capacities in the areas of strategic positioning, building leadership distribution and infrastructure upgrade
Such a framework must not be over and above the existing school planning framework. It should allow for the development of subsets under each to cater for the range of work that schools do in improving learning for all students.
For example, ICT integration must be referenced to a coherent learning framework which makes explicit what and how students will learn, and thus the appropriate tools needed.
It was a great experience to work with senior representatives across Australia who have passion and commitment and hope for the future of schooling. Diversity of ideas, professional critique and sharing of expertise were hallmarks of the discussions.
I asked Ross Treadwell, Lynne Davie and Kevin Richardson if they’d mind sharing their views on an ICT framework. Each is a respected educator with recognised expertise and leadership in schooling in a digital age. My thanks to them for their comments.