Despite the government’s £1bn commitment to increase the use of information technology in schools, few teachers make full use of computers in the classroom, according to ESRC funded research. The findings of the four-year project at the University of Bristol confirm recent reports by Ofsted and OECD, which found the use of ICT in schools was ‘sporadic’ and ‘disappointing’ in the UK and internationally. The ESRC study reveals that many teachers fear that computers would interfere with ‘genuine’ or book-based learning, particularly in the humanities and creative subjects, and use ICT only for administration and routine tasks.
Professor Rosamund Sutherland, who led the research, says that teachers could be helped to make more effective use of computers in a wide range of subject areas. The project centred on partnerships between researchers, research students and teachers from ten institutions, which explored ways in which ICT could be used in English, history, geography, modern languages, science, music and mathematics.
‘Seventy per cent of the teachers who took part in the study were able to incorporate computers into their classroom,’ says Professor Sutherland. ‘After working with researchers they generally had a more positive view of technology and said that it enhanced their role as a teacher and had a beneficial impact on the learning environment.’
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