The school institution hardly changed duringthe last century, despite television, radio and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) transforming the principal manner of transmitting, producing and reproducing information in our society.
The school continues to base its model of teaching on a very concrete technology – the printed word. If the school remains impassive to the changes taking place in our society, it runs the risk of becoming an antiquated institution. It is not enough, therefore, to expect that, with the mere presence of technology, changes in the school institution are going to take place – what is required are changes in practices in order to adapt to a new world.
This is the subject of Sergio Monge Benito’s PhD thesis, undertaken at the Faculty of Social and Communication Sciences of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). His work analysed the process of the introduction of ICTs in secondary education in the Basque Autonomous Community (CAV ) over the period 1999 to 2004.
The PhD, entitled La escuela vasca ante el cambio tecnológico (1999-2004). Tecnologías de la información y la comunicación en la enseñanza (Basque schools and technological change (1999-2004). Information and communication technologies in teaching) was led by Joxerra Garzia Garmendia of the Department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising and was awarded First Class Honours cum laude. In drawing up his PHD thesis Mr Monge had help from members of the Department of Education of the Basque Government and a number of secondary schools within the CAV.
Sergio Monge Benito has a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of the Basque Country and is currently working as an Internet marketing consultant.
Ideas for improvement
The aim of the research was to identify the keys of the process of the introduction of technology into teaching, outline the current situation, identify fundamental obstacles to the process and put forward actions for improvement.
Throughout the work a practical, problem-solving approach was taken to resolve situations that educators, advisors and other players involved in technological change encounter when carrying out their tasks.
In carrying out this thesis, interviews with experts and persons involved in the process were undertaken in order to detect problems and identify possible solutions and, a posteriori, contrast the data obtained. Likewise, it was necessary to observe the activities of the schools and the literature was also consulted.
Mr Monge, from Bizkaia, observed that the introduction of ICTs in Basque secondary education in the CAV over the period 1999 to 2004 was not as satisfactory as might have been wished. The main obstacles to the process were, amongst others, the following: the bodies responsible for introducing ICTs in the schools acted in an uncoordinated manner, given a very new phenomenon; the introduction of ICTs was not put forward as a way of resolving concrete educational problems, but as a strategic option linked to the ideological impulse of Europe at the time; the ICT infrastructure was expensive then and rapidly became obsolete and current methodology in secondary education is not the most suitable for working with it.
Despite ICTs being introduced into the classroom, the way of teaching and learning still has to change a lot. To replace traditional learning by a more interactive one, it is important to replace the “transmitter” model of teacher (trying to reproduce their schemes of knowledge amongst their pupils) by one that is a “facilitator” who guides the pupils to knowledge-widening options, points to sources of information, mechanisms or exercises to enhance their knowledge about a matter, and so on. “The most important thing is that pupils develop above all their critical capacity, to be able to distinguish what is information and what is not, and to know how to select and organize it”, stated Mr Monge.
The work points to the elements generating problems in the process of the introduction of technology and makes suggestions for resolving these. It does not attempt to formulate all the answers to a phenomenon that is still quite new, but to undertake exploratory preliminary work. “That is, a tool of enhancement for those promoting the process of technological integration into education and teaching” he concluded.
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