Can ICT Help Teachers?

Link to ETEC 500 research proposal

In their 1998 article Computers make kids smarter – Right?, Cuban & Kirkpatrick resume some of the most prevalent issues in research. They critique existing research concerning the benefits of using technology for enhancing student achievement because they argue that, for each study which shows benefits, another can be found to show exactly the opposite. Moreover, Cuban & Kirkpatrick question the validity of any such studies on the grounds that they are laden with bias, lack specificity, are based on data collected over a relatively short period of time and therefore do not account for the ‘novelty’ element in learner behavior. This makes sense to me, and further supports my theory that learning is most impacted by best practice and pedagogical standards.

Aside from having learned a great deal concerning the intricacies of research in education, this experience left me with new outlook on the topic – Namely, that some areas in education seem to be almost completely  ignored in research. As time went by, it became clear to me that while the correlation between technology and learning have been researched extensively, and continue to be, little has been done in the way of how technology impacts teaching. Moreover, I was hard pressed to find any study that examined how ICT could help teachers as opposed to increasing their workload. When searching the EBSCO databases to write the above research proposal, for example, I could only find 1 study which aimed at finding out how integrating ICT could reduce teachers workloads ( Pathfinder Project ), and none that examined how ICT is impacting teachers. Nevertheless, while researching reference material for this paper, I did find ample documentation that supports that teacher’s workload is increasingly becoming unmanageable and that this is having a ripple effect in education systems around the globe.

Works cited

Cuban, Larry, Kirkpatrick, Heather. (1998). Computers make kids smarter – Right? Technos, 7(2). pp. 28-31.

Gunter, H., Rayner, S., Thomas, H., Fielding, A., Butt, G., & Lance, A. (2005). Teachers, time and work: findings from the Evaluation of the Transforming the School Workforce Pathfinder Project. School Leadership & Management, 25(5), 441-454. Retrieved July 3, 2009, doi:10.1080/13634230500340781