Sunday, July 23, 2006

Anon comes good.

For a while now, I've had a little Anonymous lurker leaving generally unfriendly comments - but today she's come good and left a link to back up one such remark and point out some more information regarding the state of play for ICTs in New Zealand schools.

I was joining Artichoke in a bit of a rant as to why the investments in ICTs didn't seem to be turning into significant changes into real changes in teaching and learning. Anon pointed to a list of reports from the Ministry that seems to say otherwise. I'm still reading through them, but at first glance it seems at the very least the reports point to some very good results infrastructure wise. Now looking for the stuff that's harder to see though - is that infrastructure producing digital and network literate staff and students? While I look a little, check this summary out:

Major findings of the 2005 survey

Outlined below are several major findings of the 2005 ICT in Schools survey. Further detail are provided in the main findings of this report, which can be accessed via

ICT in Schools Report 2005

  • All Schools now have access to the Internet. Overall, schools more commonly reported 80% or more of their computers were connected to the Internet.
  • Furthermore, most schools use a high-speed (broadband) Internet connection (93% secondary and 78% primary).
  • Nearly all schools also have an Internet safety policy or strategy (91% primary and 96% secondary), although only three quarters of all schools reported specific Internet safety measures.
  • The ratio of computers to students is now one computer for every four secondary students, and one computer per five primary school students. In Māori Medium schools, the ratio of computers is one computer per four students.
  • More than one-in-five schools mostly run computers three years old or older. For these schools the old computers account for three-quarters to 100% of all their computers. There is also evidence that Māori schools are less likely to have new machines.
  • The TELA laptops for teachers programme has had a major impact on accessibility of laptops for schools, and has become the primary source of schools' laptops.
  • There has been no change in the proportion of networked schools using cable, as a total of 66% (cf. 66% in 2003) of schools can be described as `networked' (80% or more classrooms are linked by cable). This year's results also revealed that about one-in-ten of all schools are networked wirelessly.
  • A large number of schools (71%-82%) reported that principals and teachers now have remote access (e.g. from their homes) to the school network: however much fewer permit remote access by students (19% primary, 26% secondary) or parents (15% primary, 7% secondary).
  • Teachers generally have good access to data projectors for lesson delivery (62% primary, 89% secondary and 60% Māori Medium schools). However relatively few classrooms have these permanently mounted (1% of classrooms in primary, 8% classrooms in secondary and 4% of classrooms in Maori Medium schools).
  • Nearly all principals were aware of the Ministry of Education's resource LeadSpace. At least 70% of principals actually used the web site, with at least 15% accessing the site `at least weekly'.
  • Principals' use of the World Wide Web has increased considerably compared to 2003 with 78% of primary principals and 83% of secondary principals indicating that they now use the web daily (cf. 67% and 70% respectively in 2003).
  • Principals are continuing to give priority to ICT professional development (ICT PD). Approximately two thirds of principals indicated that they had attended an ICT professional development programme during the last 12 months and a similar proportion intend to participate in further professional development during ht next 12 months.
  • Teachers professional development is receiving a similar high priority with approximately three quarters of all schools indicating the 50% or more of their teachers would be participating in ICT PD during the next 12 months.
  • While there has been no change in the proportion of secondary schools with web sites, the proportion of primary schools has increased noticeably (50% cf.. 35% in 2003).
  • However, in approximately one third of all schools with web sites, responsibility for updating the web site is still in the hands of the ICT support technician.
  • Schools are demonstrating a strong interest in e-learning, with the technology infrastructure largely already in place. Moreover, around three quarters of all schools are indicating plans for implementing at least one e-learning activity during the next 12 months. In some specific areas such as linking with other schools by video or audio conferencing for virtual events, Māori Medium schools are demonstrating leadership.
  • The proportion of schools' ICT spending from their Operations Grants varies widely; however the average spend is 12.6% among primary schools and 15.2% among secondary schools.
  • Continuing the trend from earlier years, an increasing proportion of principals report efficiency and quality improvements in curriculum delivery through the use of ICT (66% primary and 72% secondary report efficiency gains and 71% primary and 76% secondary report quality improvements).
  • Primary school teachers continue to lead the field in terms of the adoption of ICT. 16% of primary teachers are now ranked at the highest level of adoption ("creative application to new contexts"), representing a 7% increase from 2003, while 6% of secondary teachers are ranked at this level, an increase of 1% from 2003.
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gregcarroll said...

Hi Leigh
If you are interested in seeing some of the VERY cool things that are happening here in Dunedin schools contact me and I'll happily set something up for you. There are 3 clusters currently operating in Dn primary schools, one just finished last year and two applications being put togeter now. That will mean (almost) all primary schools in the greater Dn-Taieri area will have been involved in the ICT PD programme - and the changes are often huge. In teacher practices, pedagogy, etc....
I agree with comments left on earlier entries about the urgent necessity for 'real' broadband for our schools though!
Changes in practice/s in classrooms have, in many cases, been dramatic over the duration of the cluster programmes. Nothing is perfect and the challenge is always to change teachers 'headspace'; and that takes time as well as active, informed and effective leadership in schools.
Greg 021 337358

Leigh Blackall said...

Many thanks Greg.

Can I bring a few colleagues with me? 3 in fact. We all work at the Otago Polytechnic and would love to get a walk through this. For one it will help us in preparing for future students. But more importantly, it will give us ideas on what we can do to improve our reach as far as Poly staff PD programmes we offer.

Will call tomorrow, and see if we can set a time.

Thanks again,


Artichoke said...

Re: The stuff that is harder to see

The ICT in Schools Report 2005 prepared for the 2020 Communications Trust reports on the self report responses from 285 principal surveys and 272 equipment questionnaires – questionnaires were sent out to to 800 schools.

What the report writers say about their own data:

“It is also important to note that survey results may show slightly more ICT use in schools than is actually the case. The bias in the results may occur if schools more active in using ICT disproportionaly tended to respond to the survey. All results may be subject to non response bias which is an unknown that cannot be calculated. Caution should therefore be used when interpreting these survey results

I think you will be struck by an overwhelming swash of déjà vu when you check out Christopher D Sessums blog post on what appears to be a very similar initiative
Polling, scientific research, and sources of error
So similar infact I hope we didn't pay too much for the design of the questionnaire.

Sessums asks the harder questions that needed to be asked of this report before it is used to draw conclusions about ICT use in 285 New Zealand schools

The article is based on a report sponsored by CDW-G, a reseller of hardware tools to schools and governments, and administered by education research firm Quality Education Data (QED). The study, called Teachers Talk Tech 2006: Fulfilling Technology's Promise of Improved Student Performance, polled “some 1,000 K-12 public school teachers on technology's role in the classroom.”

I was both impressed and depressed by the above findings: Impressed with the number of teacher who reportedly see the value of properly integrating technology into their classrooms and who feel comfortable using technology, and depressed by the lack of scientific rigor associated with the results.

Sessums elaborates on issues of sampling error, selection bias response bias wording of questions and coverage bias in self reporting questionnaires.

As an educational researcher, I am skeptical of the results in that the poll’s methodology is not clear about which teachers were chosen for these results, how they were chosen, the questions that were asked, the validity and reliability of the poll, etc.

Anonymous may describe it as a bit of a rant but you may well choose to agree with Sessums analysis.