1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference by mm6889

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									1/2005




                                                   REPORT


             1st European eLearning Forum
            for Education (ELFE) Conference:

                                   ‘Launching ELFE’



                          Brussels, 22-23 November 2004




                    This project has been carried out with the support of the European Commission
                    in the framework of the eLearning programme.

                    The information expressed in this publication reflects the views only of the author.
                    The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information.

         Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -                 1
Egalement disponible en français sous le titre
”Rapport de la 1ère Conférence du Forum eLearning européen pour l’éducation (ELFE)”



Published by the European Trade Union Committee for Education – Brussels 2005




                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -   2
                    Report of the 1st European eLearning
                   Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference


Index                                                                                     Page

1. Introduction                                                                           4
      1.1 The European Commission and ICT                                                 5

2. Research on the pedagogical aspects of ICT in education                                7
     2.1 Integration of ICT in the curricula and school development                       7
         2.1.1 Introducing ICT in the curriculum                                          8
         2.1.2 PILOT project in Norway                                                    10
     2.2 Changes in the role of teachers and teacher training                             11
         2.2.1 The knowledge society                                                      11
         2.2.2 The teacher’s role                                                         12
         2.2.3 Teacher training                                                           13

3. Schools participating in the ELFE project                                              15
     3.1 Langkær Gymnasium, Denmark                                                       15
     3.2 Pestalozzi Grundschule, Germany                                                  17
     3.3 Saltdal videregående skole, Norway                                               18
     3.4 EB 23 Dr. José Dos Santos Bessa, Carapinheira, Portugal                          19
     3.5 Greensward College, UK                                                           20

4. Working Groups Conclusions                                                             23
     4.1 Report from the francophone group                                                23
     4.2 Report from the anglophone group                                                 25
     4.3 Report from the bilingual working group                                          28

5. Conclusions                                                                            31
     5.1 Panel discussion                                                                 31
     5.2 The external evaluator’s impressions                                             33
     5.3 Closing remarks                                                                  36

6. Annexes                                                                                38
     6.1 Conference programme                                                             38
     6.2 Participants’ list                                                               40




                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -   3
1. Introduction

The European eLearning Forum for Education finds its natural
place in the context of the Lisbon process and the European
policies that relate to it. The vision for the future of Europe
aspires   to   achieve   the    most    dynamic      and    advanced
knowledge-based society in the world with more and better
jobs and increased social cohesion. Education is therefore
given a dominant role in this development and ETUCE is proud
to contribute by implementing a project that is very up-to-date            Martin Rømer,
                                                                           ETUCE General Secretary
in this respect. ETUCE represents 112 national teachers’
organisation with 5.5 million members and is very much involved in all the discussions at
European level concerning the development, the quality and the future of European
education systems.


In the opening session of the ELFE Conference, Ms Maruja Gutierrez Díaz, Head of Unit
Multimedia for Education, Training and Culture at DG Education and Culture, underlined
how the European Union not only aspires to be the most advanced knowledge-based
society in the world, but is also striving to make its education systems the most
advanced and dynamic in the world, with a strong emphasis on the realisation of the
lifelong learning objective. In this context, the European Commission considers
eLearning to be a lever for change towards the knowledge society and an enabler of
lifelong learning.


ETUCE is pleased to have the support of the European Commission in this project.
Indeed technology has played an important role in education for a long time, but the
focus has been primarily on infrastructure. The concern was mainly related to the
number of computers per student, the facilities present in schools and such like, which is
a necessary discussion as it has an influence on investment in education. However, new
concerns of a pedagogical nature have emerged as technology is gaining an increasingly
important role in our society. Professional educators and researchers are focusing on
defining the consequences of utilising ICT in education on the learning and development
of students, its social effects, the integration of ICT in the curriculum and its impact on
teacher’s role and working conditions. Technology is developing at a fast pace and the
education system must be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that such rapid
development may entail.




                     Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -    4
ETUCE hopes that a project of this nature can contribute to the development of ETUCE
policy but also to the formulation of European policies and the development of indicators
to monitor progresses and identify problems early. ETUCE welcomes the development of
new technologies and supports the advanced use of ICT, but underlines that the
approach must be balanced with both teachers and students feeling at ease with the
changes. Besides providing infrastructure it is important to provide the necessary
guidance, support and training for a beneficial introduction of ICT in education.



1.1 The European Commission and ICT

MS. MARUJA GUTIERREZ DÍAZ, DG EDUCATION AND CULTURE, gave
a more detailed introduction of the topic of ICT by presenting
the work of the European Commission on eLearning and new
technologies.


She stressed the importance that the European Commission
places on new technologies on account of their positive
contribution to education, especially in the context of the
Lisbon strategy, and welcomed the contribution of projects
such as ELFE to developments in this direction.


At present there are three main policy development contexts            Maruja Gutierrez Díaz,
                                                                       Head of Unit Multimedia for
in which ICT has an important role: eEurope/eLearning,                 Education, Training and
                                                                       Culture, DG Education and
Education   and    Training    2010     and     the    Framework       Culture

Programmes for Research.


The Commission’s priorities are the following:
   -   To identify objectives and benchmarks to measure achievements in these
       programmes;
   -   To improve communication and synergy between the different EU programmes
       and instruments and embed ICT into long-term educational objectives;
   -   To establish eLearning across various sectors, using a horizontal approach and
       integrating technologies in various sectors;
   -   To foster communication amongst stakeholders and exchange of experiences;




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -     5
    -   To provide new support for education and empowerment of the players in
        education, thus enabling them to endorse change, understand it and want it, and
        giving them the instruments to manage this change;
    -   To integrate it into lifelong learning.


A report produced as part of the proceedings of the Education and Training 2010
programme highlighted the positive developments in the field of ICT in education, with
increasing connectivity and increasing digital literacy. However, the report revealed
problem areas as well and called for urgent reforms to improve the situation. Indeed the
rates of early school leavers are rather high, there are still too few women in scientific
and technical fields, and completion of upper secondary education could improve.
Moreover, there is a looming shortage of qualified teachers in Europe and the rates of
participation in lifelong learning are still rather disappointing.


Urgent action is therefore needed in Europe to improve figures. The research framework
supports eLearning and the integration of ICT in a satisfactory manner and gives
impetus to new technologies in general. Other forms of support can also be found in the
structural funds and in the European Social Fund. ICT is therefore moving forward but
there is need to summon political will and overcome cultural barriers, mainstream ICT in
education and carry out research to overcome the following problems:


    1. The lack of common understanding of basic concepts
    2. The lack of homogeneous data and good indicators to monitor progress
    3. Insufficient pedagogical research on the benefits of using ICT
    4. The lack of data on the return on investment in infrastructure


The widespread use of ICT should contribute to increase empowerment of people,
institutions and companies; it should also foster personal, social and geographical
equality in terms of access to knowledge and information. Moreover ICT has enormous
potential to enhance creativity and productivity.




                     Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -   6
2. Research on the pedagogical aspects of ICT in education

The ELFE project’s objective is to analyse, share experiences and create debate on the
pedagogical aspect of ICT use, taking the social dimension and the policy repercussions
into account. The project is expected to identify good practices, work towards transfer
and implementation in other countries and finally to gather sound information on the
positive and negative aspects of using ICT so as to make policy recommendations and
suggest good indicators to monitor progress.


                                      HANS LAUGESEN, THE ELFE PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR, also
                                      expressed the wish of keeping the debate on ICT alive
                                      even after the end of the project so as to ensure a
                                      constant     and        constructive    exchange     of   opinions,
                                      experiences and concerns. The Conference represented a
                                      good     way       of     stimulating    the   debate      between
                                      representatives of the teachers’ organisation and also
                                      teachers currently making innovative use of ICT in their
Hans Laugesen,                        schools. Some questions were raised and sparked debate,
ELFE project coordinator
                                      for example over the new role of the teacher in this
transition.


Some important themes for discussion highlighted by Hans Laugesen included the idea
that ICT should be endorsed by teachers and students alike, rather than be imposed,
because it represents a useful tool and that due importance should be given to the issue
of new skills to be developed. Emphasis should also be placed on blended education so
as not to discard more traditional, face-to-face education and all its pedagogical
advantages. ICT however holds the promise of very positive developments also for
whole-school development and of providing all students with new opportunities, for
example for students living in remote areas or for those that may have some learning
disabilities.



2.1 Integration of ICT in the curricula and school development

There is an intense research effort to study the various aspects of ICT and its use in
education. During the ELFE Conference some university researchers with vast




                           Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -   7
experience in the field of ICT presented aspects of the change brought about by the
appearance of ICT on the education scene.


As highlighted in previous paragraphs, technological infrastructure is no longer the only
concern when it comes to introducing new technologies in education. Many professionals
are concerned about the pedagogical aspects involved and about the ways of integrating
ICT in education systems. In particular, it was mentioned on more than one occasion
that education institutions are often bound by the national curriculum and therefore do
not always have all the freedom that was deemed necessary. Moreover there was a
general opinion that ICT should be regarded as a tool rather than as a nuisance, a
burden or a threat to teachers. In this respect, a debate on how to integrate ICT in the
curriculum taking the above issues into account is an important aspect of ICT in
education.


2.1.1 Introducing ICT in the curriculum

                         DR. JOKE VOOGT, RESEARCHER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE, THE
                         NETHERLANDS, shared her experience in curriculum development
                         and integration of ICT and reasserted that ICT could be a very
                         useful means of achieving better results in education and making
                         teaching more effective. Therefore it is not simply a matter of
Dr. Joke Voogt,
University of Twente     introducing it as an extra subject of study.


The curriculum has been compared to a spider’s web, made up of different components
that are all interlinked. It is not possible to introduce a new element without it having
repercussions on the rest of the system. In the case of integrating ICT changes will have
doubtlessly have an impact on the teachers’ role and on the time and location of
teaching, for instance.


Society is evolving and pedagogy has to keep up with the innovation and changes in
order to be relevant to the new society. The expectation is that students will be more
active and collaborative rather than being passive receivers of information and creativity
will be highly prized. Students will be expected to create knowledge rather than just
reproducing the information they receive. ICT is also expected to facilitate the transition
towards a more customised way of learning and a cross-curricular approach to subjects.




                       Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -   8
By citing the example of the SITES study, conducted under the auspices of the
International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), a
qualitative study in schools applying innovative practices by using technology, Dr. Voogt
illustrated what kind of changes were found in various aspects of ICT use.


In general, it appeared that ICT had been introduced in three different ways: in a single
subject, in cross-curricular projects or integrated school-wide. As far as content was
concerned, there were limited changes in the curriculum and efforts were more
concentrated on studying the same subjects more in-depth. A change in the teaching
focus was also noticed: more emphasis was placed on lifelong learning skills,
collaborative work and team-working abilities. The emphasis was often on acquiring
these types of skills rather than simply teaching new IT skills; these were usually
acquired while working on projects rather than being a subject matter in itself, with
positive effects on student motivation.


The most evident type of change was in the organisation of activities and especially in
the role of the teacher. This theme often came up for discussion during the Conference
and most delegates seemed to agree on the fact that the teacher’s role is becoming
more similar to that of a consultant or a facilitator. The teacher is no longer the owner
of knowledge in a one-way communication, but he/she is an advisor and a support
facilitating the students’ learning process.


Unsurprisingly, very limited changes were noticed in the assessment methods, as it is
necessary to abide by state exams and syllabi.


Generally speaking the attitude of both teachers and students towards using ICT in
education was positive: both found that it enabled them to acquire new skills that were
useful in the information society. Student motivation was increased and the learning was
considered more meaningful. However there are still major challenges: for instance,
assessment methods need to be revised in order to ‘capture’ the new, personalised skills
developed by the students. Moreover the full potential of ICT in decoupling teaching and
learning from the fixed time and space of the classroom has not been fully utilised yet;
indeed there is enormous potential there to enhance learning in addition to giving it a
more international and ubiquitous dimension.




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference -   9
2.1.2 PILOT project in Norway

Similar conclusions to the ones presented by Dr. Voogt were
reached by the PILOT project in Norway, which was presented by
DR. OLA ERSTAD, PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OSLO, Norway.


The project highlighted not so much a quantitative change, but a
qualitative one. ICT did not take up many more hours, but the use
that was made of it was quite innovative. In general teachers had a
positive attitude towards ICT as they noticed that the students                Dr. Ola Erstad,
involved in the project had developed more critical thinking, were             University of Oslo

more motivated and more likely to use ICT for educational purposes compared to
control students and also developed the ability to make cross-curricular linkages. The
project also created debate and new questions and issues were raised.


This debate had also brought about a greater exchange of opinions and information
amongst teachers and improved the collaborative work in schools in general: teachers
were not working in isolation anymore but were brought to exchange ideas and were
becoming more aware of the work of other teachers. The information flow had improved
and this could be a strong step ahead in school development.


The project had been established in order to better understand some of the issues to do
with the use of ICT in education.


In Norway, action plans were introduced by the government starting in the 1990s with a
gradual attempt to introduce ICT and integrate it into school development. Some of the
issues that needed to be better understood and provided ground for the project include
the fact that although some teachers were already using ICT in innovative ways, these
were usually small-scale, isolated activities. Gender issues needed to be examined as
girls seemed to be less interested in technological matters than boys. Also the focus was
more on the technologies rather than on the pedagogical aspects and the training of
teachers did not include strategic ICT training. It was also noticed that students were
likely to have access to and the ability to use better applications in more advanced ways.


The PILOT project helped to better understand some of these issues and highlighted
some of the challenges that still remain. One of the major challenges is the fact that
schools tend to be fairly traditional institutions and rather resistant to change. Moreover



                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 10
the lack of incentives and rewards for innovation creates a situation whereby teachers
feel more comfortable with traditional practices. Other factors that were identified as a
possible hindrance to change were the poor functioning of communication channels, the
hierarchical organisation of most schools and the unequal access to technology. This
situation is no longer compatible with the evolving nature of other sectors in society,
e.g. the commercial sector, and schools are not the only learning arena. There is a
profound need therefore to discuss what the needs of modern society are and how ICT
can help fulfil them, by creating new learning spaces and modalities.


The survey also underscored the need to involve every teacher and narrow the gap
between innovative teachers and those that do not feel very comfortable with the use of
ICT yet. The whole school has to evolve and the exchange of experiences is of
paramount importance. Technology is rapidly becoming an everyday reality and it is
essential that new pedagogical methods be devised.


Dr. Erstad agreed that there was not yet clear proof as yet that ICT makes a positive
and concrete contribution to teaching and learning, but the priority is to better
understand how to integrate ICT and introduce it in the national agendas. It is a positive
sign that digital literacy has been introduced as one of the key skills that students
should acquire with schooling.


2.2 Changes in the role of teachers and teacher training


2.2.1 The knowledge society

                                DR. BERNARD CORNU, FROM THE ICT DEPARTMENT OF THE FRENCH
                                NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR PEDAGOGICAL RESEARCH, introduced
                                the topic of the knowledge society. The information society
                                is one in which information is a commodity that can be
                                exchanged,      bought,     sold,    stored,    transported     and
                                processed, but also one in which we face the problem of the
                                digital divide. In the knowledge society, on the other hand,
                                information should bring democracy, equality, solidarity and
                                peace. Knowledge could be a force for changing society into
                                one where there would be universal and equitable access to
 Dr. Bernard Cornu,
 INRP                           information.




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In the knowledge society the different aspects of education have to be integrated. The
traditional division of subjects has lost some of its meaning in a society where we need
to achieve the ability to move comfortably from one subject to the other and have a
more holistic approach. ICT needs to be integrated in education in order to build the
knowledge society. With the collapse of the traditional subject division uncertainty
emerges and it is important to learn how to cope with this more fluid system.


In our society the customary hierarchical or pyramidal structures are starting to
disintegrate. We live in a network society, which leaves space for personalised and
individualised choices: it is a more fluid organisation where changes occur and hierarchy
exists but it is not imposed or dictated. Communication follows different and ever-
changing patterns where everyone can communicate with everyone and the traditional
structures collapse.


Education systems are still organised according to a pyramidal hierarchy like many other
structures in society and a transition is needed to transform it into a networked system
where interactions no longer follow the traditional routes. Education systems should
foster networks of knowledge where the links contribute to the elaboration and
acquisition of knowledge.


2.2.2 The teacher’s role

The transition to the knowledge society and a networked system necessarily implies a
change in the role of the teacher: eLearning is not merely a technical revolution; it has
more to do with the re-conceptualisation of teaching, training and learning. This process
will involve all aspects: attitudes and expectations towards school, mission and
objectives of school, organisation and structures, the geopolitical dimension as well as
teachers.


Dr. Cornu illustrated the need for teachers to accept the new requirements of teaching,
involving not only a collaborative dimension, but also more fluidity, with time and space
being organised differently. The new teacher will have to become a facilitator who is
able to help the students circulate in the network of knowledge and help them find
appropriate paths in complex networks.


Teachers therefore will need to acquire new skills, not only technical and technological,
but also pedagogical and ethical. ICT can certainly be a useful support to the role of the



                       Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 12
teachers but it cannot replace the teacher, whose presence is increasingly important as
a guide and mediator. The transition will also require a more collective and collaborative
approach as it cannot be expected that every teacher acquire each single skill. As
mentioned before, a school’s teaching body as a whole should acquire the necessary
skills. Teachers will not work in isolation anymore but will share experiences and learn
form each other and be aware of the potential of diversity: no one single method of
teaching will be considered best but rather various methods that can complement each
other. This transition implies two fundamental factors: first of all, changes should not be
imposed but actively sought and endorsed by teachers. Secondly, professional
development and lifelong learning throughout the career of a teacher are absolutely
necessary.


2.2.3 Teacher training

                            The theme of teacher training and professional development was
                            addressed by DR. DAITHÍ Ó MURCHÚ, RESEARCHER AND DIRECTOR OF
                            INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN AT      HIBERNIA COLLEGE, IRELAND. He argued
                            that teacher training has been quite static for hundreds of years,
                            until professional development was introduced in the 1970s.
                            However, seeing the fast rate of change brought about especially
                            by ICT, many traditional teaching and learning methodologies
 Dr. Daithí Ó Murchú,       need to be re-examined.
 Hibernia College


At European level there is debate over the shortcomings of teacher training. Some
common controversial points in this debate include a widespread perception that
professional development is largely neglected and not granted its due importance, under
the false assumption that teaching is a static profession. There seems to be a lack of
continuity between initial training and further professional development and even the
initial training is considered insufficient and not always well related to what the school
reality is. Furthermore there is widespread concern that there is insufficient integration
between theory and practice.


Instead, professional development should be a priority: it is necessary to nurture the
facilitators of learning and the teachers themselves could answer professional problems
that may arise in their career by undergoing professional training.




                        Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 13
This is especially important now that ICT is becoming increasingly present. Appropriate
professional development in the field of ICT should favour the process over the product
so that each teacher can have a personalised approach at his/her own pace. Indeed
teachers should become comfortable and endorse the development of ICT, rather than
feel threatened by an imposed practice. Changes best originate from within and
teachers should reflect on their own techniques and devise ways of improving them.
They ought to choose to undergo professional development and learn to process their
new role and collaborate with colleagues and students.


Dr. Ó Murchú outlined the characteristics of best practice in the field of ICT and
professional development. Professional development should be teacher-centred as it is
the teacher that knows what his/her needs are. Training should also be practical and
meaningful and considered as a whole rather than as a sum of isolated portions. The
social and collaborative dimension of professional development also has to be taken into
consideration: teachers should not be working in isolation but share and exchange
experiences. Knowledge would then be more suited to the classroom context and hence
change would be accepted democratically; indeed there is not one ‘best’ change but any
changes ought to be accepted and welcomed.


One must not expect change to happen at once; quite the contrary, it is a
developmental process with different phases and stages according to the abilities of the
classroom and of the collaborators. Thus change should happen at one’s own pace, but
it must be challenging and constructivist because teachers (and students) learn most
when challenged and faced with problems to solve. Because of this, teachers should also
learn to accept that students will work out the information they receive from the teacher
once again and build their own knowledge. Most importantly, in order to be effective
and productive the role change highlighted and the professional development should be
freely chosen and not imposed.




                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 14
3. Schools participating in the ELFE project

Five European countries are involved in the ELFE project: Denmark, Germany, Norway
Portugal and the UK. Three schools per country using ICT in innovative ways are part of
the ELFE project and representatives from each school were present at the Conference
so that they could share their experiences with other schools.


Amongst the fifteen schools taking part in the ELFE project, five had been selected (one
per country) to make a presentation describing what initiatives and projects using ICT
were being used in their schools. The choice was made so as to present a broad mix of
different projects and situations to give an overview of the heterogeneous situation in
Europe when it comes to ICT infrastructures and practices.


The schools selected to give a presentation were the following:


        1. Langkær Gymnasium (Århus, Århus County), Denmark
        2. Pestalozzi Grundschule (Marl), Germany
        3. Saltdal videregående skole (Saltdal Municipality), Norway
        4. EB 23 Dr. José Dos Santos Bessa (Carapinheira), Portugal
        5. Greensward College (Hockley, Essex), UK


3.1 Langkær Gymnasium, Denmark

It is an upper-secondary school, with students of 16-19 years old. ICT is fully integrated
in all subjects and it is also used in cross-curricular activities.


In 2005 the Danish education system will be reformed and there will be more focus on
interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary aspects. In order to be ready for this transition
Langkær Gymnasium has launched a variety of initiatives using ICT with activities
focusing on interdisciplinary aspects.


One example of interdisciplinary activity is what the school defines as a ‘project week’.
The representatives of the schools showed some examples of students’ work on one of
these project weeks, the theme of which was the United States presidential elections.
Such a subject clearly encompassed more than one subject, for example Danish, English
and History, just to give the most obvious examples.




                     Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 15
During a whole week the students are free to organise their work and activities and do
not have to attend classes unless they are interested in participating in voluntary
lectures. ICT is an important part of this type of activity not only because of the
software used to present their work, like Power Point for example. Instead, ICT is very
much integrated in the activities: it is used to communicate with the teachers or to
communicate with fellow students to exchange ideas and experiences.                 Closed chat-
rooms are made available to facilitate the communication between students. The
teacher monitored progress by the daily submission of a logbook describing the day’s
activities and achievements or problems.


The teacher acts very much like a consultant or an advisor during the week, during
which the students are in charge of creating and organising their own work.


The assessment method for this type of project is also innovative, as peer-to-peer
evaluation is adopted, which helps the teacher gain a good idea of the class opinions
and ideas.


The pedagogical aim of this exercise is to challenge the students and give them
ownership over the learning process and to strengthen their skills in co-operation and
self-awareness.


This type of activity has also proved to be a challenge for the teacher who has to learn
to step back and act as a support and facilitator rather than as the primary source of
knowledge. This implies a loss of control over the learning process which represents
quite a break from traditional practices.


In pedagogical terms it is also a good exercise to stimulate the critical handling of
information for the student. Moreover this exercise and doing research using global
sources on the internet helps the students acquire new skills: organisational,
communication and linguistic skills. Ultimately however, the goal is empowerment and
the development of lifelong learning skills and awareness of one’s own learning strategy.


Another activity that the school is trying to introduce, always in the framework of the
2005 school reform, is the use of GIS and the creation of digital maps. This activity is
expected to bring about positive developments in collaborative and team working skills.
GIS could be another useful tool in the development of other cross-curricular activities




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 16
and would also be useful in teaching students how to find information and data on their
own and have the ability to critically judge their quality.


3.2 Pestalozzi Grundschule, Germany

It is a primary, elementary school. It has good computing facilities with a mini-cluster of
2 to 4 computers per classroom. The school also has computer rooms where pupils work
in larger groups, with a computer expert giving lessons. While computer classes are not
usually part of the curriculum for very young children, at Pestalozzi Grundschule
students get the opportunity to acquire new skills.


The students have at their disposal a simplified desktop that allows them to access the
network and the material on the subject matters taught in the school. They also have
access to learning workshops through which they are taught subjects such as German or
Maths, with 4 difficulty levels: this gives the student the possibility to learn
autonomously, consolidate learning done in the more traditional education and enables
the teachers to differentiate the learning level of the pupils.


One example of software which combines traditional learning with ICT learning is the
Antolin software: it is a reading programme that makes the students more autonomous
in their tasks, while still granting the teachers the possibility of assessing their work and
learning skills.


The main task is reading comprehension. The pupils read a book and then answer
electronic questionnaires to assess their comprehension of the written text. Students can
have access to the assessment and receive feedback on the number of correct answers.
Through the programme the teacher can assess the reading skills of the pupils. They
can also reward students with a reading certificate, which improves the motivation and
enthusiasm of the children, besides teaching them new skills.


Each PC has internet access and students can practice in various fields. In general the
school is quite satisfied with their work and with the structures they have, although they
occasionally experience technical problems and would like to be better prepared for
solving these problems. All the teachers have had some form of ICT training and have
obtained what they call ‘eCards’, i.e. a sort of IT driving licence. There is also a strong
element of teacher collaboration in the school, with teachers meeting informally to solve
technological or pedagogical problems together.



                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 17
3.3 Saltdal videregående skole, Norway

This school presented their LOSA project (local education in cooperation with local
working life). This project aims at giving young people of 15-16 the possibility of getting
at least one year of upper secondary education without leaving their local community:
indeed these students often live in very remote areas, hundreds of kilometres away from
the nearest town big enough to have an upper secondary school. Some of these
students face social problems and difficulties in integrating into their new environment
as they usually come from very different and very remote areas.


This project therefore also aims to reduce the drop-out rate by enabling young people to
receive at least one year of higher education without having to leave their hometown.
The project also increases co-operation between working life, local authorities and
educational institutions.


The tuition is based on three types of learning:


   1. Web-based: long distance tuition based on eLearning and ICT, taught by
       teachers.
   2. Classroom-based: the students receive no tuition in the classroom, but rather
       receive training from a local instructor who helps them organise their work and
       their activities; the trainer is not teaching any of the course subjects.
   3. Training with a local firm: through training the students acquire skills that they
       would normally have learnt at school. With the LOSA project they learn directly
       through a placement in a local firm and acquire those skills required for their
       future job. The firms have an incentive to do this as they receive some payment.


This project also gives students more options when making their choice regarding
vocational training: indeed they may live in a community where there is a school but not
necessarily one that is able to offer a wide range of courses.


One example presented was that of the Arts and Crafts course. The students are spread
across six different municipalities but the co-ordination of this course is done from the
Saltdal school. The teachers maintain good contact with their students through e-mail
and telephone for example. Great care is taken to ensure that the curriculum matches




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 18
the national curriculum and that the quality of the course is in line with national
standards.


The LOSA project is very innovative in that it teaches through technology subjects that
are not immediately perceived as suitable for virtual teaching through technology, e.g.
arts and crafts. However, the three-fold method utilised is producing very good results,
although it is extremely demanding on students, especially at this age. Indeed, the
students have to be highly motivated and be able to organise their studies
independently, and indeed some of them do not handle the situation too well.


In general teachers and students have given very positive feedback on the results of the
project, and it is undoubtedly giving new opportunities to students living in very remote
areas. In terms of quality of education the results obtained with LOSA appear to be
comparable or even better than the results achieved by students receiving face-to-face
education.


3.4 EB 23 Dr. José Dos Santos Bessa, Carapinheira, Portugal

This school is relatively small and has chosen to use of ICT because it wished to keep up
with new technology and to give new opportunities to their students. Some of the
students come from fairly disadvantaged social backgrounds and there are no structures
and facilities outside the school. The school has therefore become a vehicle of new
opportunities for these children, thereby increasing the democratic access to technology.


The whole experience has started with the teachers undergoing training in the use of
computers and has progressed to buying more computers, starting by the use of IT in
the school’s administration and then gradually getting connected to Internet, which
opened new teaching and learning opportunities.


The motivation to be connected to the Internet was to improve the chance of
communicating with the wider world and to give the children more freedom in their
research and not limit them to what was available in the library.


Flexible management has been introduced in the school: teachers collaborate and
exchange information to adapt their teaching to the need of the national curriculum. The
whole system was improved by this regular exchange of information. Exchanges also




                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 19
take place with the students, with both teachers and pupils learning together from this
experience.


Teachers in general have a positive attitude and view new technologies as a valid help in
the teaching profession.


Students are very motivated when new initiative using ICT are used: examples were
shown of projects that they had carried out, e.g. a website about their region which won
a national competition and was presented in Madrid and in Europe.


A positive aspect of these experiences is the fact that collaborative work takes place
between students and teachers as both groups are learning together.


The students have been found to benefit greatly from the use of ICT as they are
learning new skills, useful for their future working life, such as the ability to research
and evaluate information critically. Moreover they are more motivated and involved in
the work they are carrying out.


Carapinheira is determined to give new opportunities to their students and teach tem
how to be lifelong learners. There are problems of course both technical and due to the
fact that some teachers do not feel comfortable with the technology, not to mention the
fact that there is room for improvements and changes to be made, but the school feels
it has started on a positive course and is determined to continue along these lines.


3.5 Greensward College, UK

Greensward College is quite a large school, with high-performing students. The vision of
the school is to help their students achieve world-class learning outcomes by developing
world-class knowledge managers in a world-class community.


ICT is already an important element in everyday life and undoubtedly changes have to
occur in the education system in order to keep up with new developments.


The challenges identified by this college include issues such as the shortage of teachers
the UK is currently facing. There is also a technical and organisational challenge in that
teachers are not always necessarily using the appropriate technologies. Society is
evolving and teachers should be given the appropriate instruments to model their



                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 20
teaching on the new needs of society. Schools and the whole education system should
be revised and reorganised in order to equip the students with the skills necessary to
live in this evolving society. This also involves a change of the community’s views on
education. ICT could also be useful in order to minimise the administrative burden on
teachers and give them more time to reflect on their practices and improve their tuition.


The question is however how to integrate ICT in the curriculum so that the education
system can evolve and ensure that the learners get the right education at the right time
and at the right price.


School development should therefore achieve the following:
   -   Students should benefit from the use of applications and material and online
       resources as a routine component of education. The schools should therefore
       show leadership and cutting-edge technology use;
   -   Schools must become dynamic learning institutions where students and teachers
       alike are motivated and innovative and where teachers become facilitators and
       knowledge managers. In order to achieve this aim, schools should be provided
       with the right equipment.


The teachers in their role of knowledge managers should:
   -   Apply innovative teaching practices and creative learning environments to
       address the needs and aspirations of all students;
   -   Use innovative practices to deliver the curriculum and assist students in seeking
       knowledge;
   -   Monitor and plan the learning process of individuals utilising flexible methods.


Teachers should therefore have access to learning support materials and to a worldwide
network of professional colleagues. This way they can collaborate with colleagues and
share their professional experience. Moreover, teachers should be spared excessive
administrative burden through a streamlined use of ICT.


The role of the student should also change as a consequence of ICT introduction. The
students would become more engaged in the learning process and participate in wide-
ranging activities that match their interests and inclinations. The learning environment
should include an element of collaboration at international level, whereby students could
learn how to communicate effectively, solve problems and in general be equipped with
the skills useful to be active citizens in the knowledge society. This also involves being



                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 21
more responsible for their own learning, support their peers and teachers in a reciprocal
exchange of knowledge. Integrating ICT would also make the students competent and
discriminating users of technology in their daily activity of managing knowledge.


On the whole Greensward College is committed to solving new challenges using new
solutions and innovative thinking, and endorsing technological change rather than being
overwhelmed by it.




                     Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 22
4. Working Groups Conclusions

After the schools’ presentations the Conference participants split in different groups to
discuss the advantages and disadvantages of integrating ICT in education more in detail
and to draw conclusions from the presentations made by researchers and school
representatives during the previous sessions of the Conference.


A small questionnaire was handed out so that the working group had some guidelines
for their discussion. The main conclusions they were asked to draw were the following:


   -      What are the advantages of using ICT in an innovative manner?
   -      What are the problems?
   -      What measures have to be taken in order to ensure that ICT is used in a way
          that is beneficial to education?


There were three working groups and they were characterised by the different
languages spoken: one group was entirely francophone, the second was anglophone
and the third group was bilingual (English and French) and interpretation was available.


4.1 Report from the francophone group

The French-speaking group was chaired by DR. BERNARD CORNU and MR. JEAN-LOUIS BIOT,
the ETUCE representative in the Commission Working Group on ICT, was the rapporteur
for the group.




        The francophone working group


The discussion in this group highlighted three main points:
    -      The role of ICT in teaching and education
    -      The difficulties faced and the resistance encountered
    -      The role of the teacher.


                         Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 23
Nowadays ICT is an inevitable and omnipresent aspect of our society, which is
characterised by communication and movement of information, with rapid changes
taking place. ICT can bring about dynamism and innovation and has an enormous
influence on education.


As far as teaching is concerned, the group raised two questions. The first questions was
whether ICT should be regarded as a discipline in itself, while the second concentrated
more on the aims and objectives of using ICT in education. The group reached the
conclusion that ICT is a useful tool in pedagogy but it is not a ‘magic wand’ capable of
making all the problems faced by teachers disappear. Moreover, ICT certainly should not
necessarily imply the rejection of classical and traditional teaching methods. In terms of
the aims of the use of ICT, the group identified the autonomy and creativity of the
student, besides the sharing of information and communication.


The group also suggested that an excessive use of ICT might in some cases be an
attempt to cover up a lack of reflection concerning pedagogy on the part of the teacher.


As far as the difficulties and the resistance encountered to the widespread use of ICT,
the group identified four main aspects. Firstly there is a problem with the equipment
available to schools: this varies from country to country and especially from school to
school. Moreover, given that ICT a field of extremely rapid development, it is very
difficult to keep up with innovations. A second factor that may create some difficulties is
the fact that all teachers must necessarily be trained in order to have the technical skills
to use ICT in their teaching but also to be aware of the impact that using ICT has on
their pedagogical practices.


A weakness that was identified is the evaluation methods: it is not yet very clear what
kind of assessment should be used with the introduction of ICT in education. Should the
ability to use the technologies be evaluated or the results achieved in the subject
notwithstanding with the use made of ICT? What type of evaluation should be used and
who should do the evaluation?


Some teachers also show some resistance, for they feel they can lose some of their
‘power’, seeing as many students are much more proficient than they are in the use of
ICT.




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 24
The group also remarked that the role of the teacher must necessarily change in order
to contribute to making students capable of adapting to our rapidly-evolving society. It
must not be forgotten that the school is not only a learning place but also a place for
social interaction and social experience, thereby contributing to the development of
citizens. The teacher’s role remains central in this social dimension of the learning
experience in school. The teacher is the facilitator, allowing students gain information,
process it, re-evaluate it and judge the quality of the information critically.
Another interesting point is the fact that ICT could alter the space and time dimension of
teaching and therefore change teachers’ working conditions.


4.2 Report from the anglophone group

The English-speaking group was chaired by DR. DAITHÍ Ó MURCHÚ and
MS. KAREN ROBINSON, from NUT and a member of the ELFE Steering
Committee, acted as rapporteur.


The group identified numerous advantages in the innovative use of
ICT. One of the advantages identified is the fact that the classroom
is dissolved and students can have enriching exchanges at
international level, thereby also getting to know other cultures. The             Ms. Karen Robinson

decoupling between teaching, learning and the classroom also
means that ICT can help to prevent an interruption of students’ education, for example
for Gypsy children, e.g. these children could use laptop computers to keep in touch with
their ‘home’ school.


In general it was noted that students are more enthusiastic and motivated when
innovative ICT practices are put in place, they become more responsible for their own
learning and can tailor their learning strategies according to their pace and inclinations.
They tend to find learning more meaningful, especially thanks to the choice in learning
activities, beneficial both educationally and socially. It was found that ICT can also be a
valid help in enhancing the communication skills and the creativity of students, providing
new ways of expressing themselves.


Pupils with special education needs can greatly benefit from the integration of ICT,
especially with technologies such as touch screens and voice recognition, which make it
possible to build on their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. ICT




                       Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 25
practices could also allow children that are considered as weak to have equal access to
innovative teaching practices, thus increasing their confidence and self-esteem.


Teachers are also more motivated when integrating ICT as it enables them to
concentrate on higher order work and take on new roles, other than simply delivering
lesson content. It brings about a beneficial opening of the classroom, whereby teachers
collaborate and learn from each other and also from their students, which improves the
communication flow in schools and contributes to a stimulating environment. Integrating
ICT can also grant teachers more time to reflect and discuss values and cross- curricular
projects.


The question concerning the disadvantages of ICT created debate in itself as some
participants felt the same question would not have been asked about traditional
approaches. They felt therefore that this question implied a lack of vision. However,
other participants felt it was a legitimate question to ask as in the use of ICT there are
identifiable disadvantages and problems. In particular they felt that the context of the
individual school, its structures and stating points, have an immense influence on the
perception of advantages and disadvantages.


The issues discussed included the fact that a lack of school vision may compromise the
integration of ICT. Moreover, ICT by itself cannot change much of the pedagogy: it is
the teachers that give meaning to the use of ICT by becoming aware of the new
possibilities and endorsing ICT with the new values, beliefs and assumption that it
involves. Some teachers will need to be convinced of the positive aspects of ICT and
some others will feel threatened. Teachers should therefore be given time to reflect on
their practices and question their own methods in order to then choose what is best for
them. Some teachers are also afraid that they are losing control over the teaching and
over the ICT use of students outside school. This is however one more reason to
endorse ICT and make the most of it. In practical terms ICT can be viewed as unreliable
and the schools would like to be able to count on proper technical support.


From a more social point of view, adults tend to see the development of virtual
friendship as something unnatural and they are afraid that ICT will take up the time
formerly dedicated to the social interaction in the classroom. Indeed by introducing ICT
practices it may be possible that face-to-face communication decreases with students
working by themselves and missing the useful social interaction with peers and teachers.
It was argued however, that on the contrary ICT could actually be used in such a way as



                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 26
to make more time available for group discussions and collaborative work thus
enhancing the social and communication skills of the pupils.


The group also made suggestions as to what measures could be taken in order to
ensure positive outcomes from the integration of ICT in education. Some participants
made the suggestion that in order to encourage the spread of innovation the teachers
should be asked to comply with some compulsory requirements, and be therefore forced
to embrace new technologies. This point raised much debate as others on the contrary
felt it was more useful to encourage teachers and reassure them that ICT is one way of
teaching and can be very useful but also more traditional practices still have their value.


It was emphasised that teachers should be given the proper support and infrastructure
to work with ICT. This includes not only the physical presence of IT equipment, but also
support from the school leaders by ensuring that their vision includes in-service training
and help for their teachers.


Caution was expressed concerning the dissemination of best practice: it was suggested
that teachers must be provided with opportunities to develop their own practice rather
than having someone else’s forced on them. Linked to the concept of developing a
personalised use of ICT, relevant to a particular school’s context, is the concept of
collaboration between teachers: rather than impose ICT as a separate subject, having
ICT teachers collaborating with other teachers and helping them integrate ICT in their
teaching method has produced satisfactory results in some schools.


The lack of specific funding ear-marked for teachers’ professional development in some
countries was also identified as a hindrance to the integration of ICT.


The working group then proceeded by making suggestions about issues that should be
debated within the context of the ELFE project. One important element that emerged
was the need for the ELFE project to identify good practices encompassing a wide
variety of approaches in order to avoid the imposition of models that may work in one
country and be counterproductive in another. The recommendations for the European
education policy must respect individual countries’ policies and practices and also take
account of the global perspective.




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 27
ICT should be used effectively so as to allow teachers to be more effective. However
ELFE must distinguish between the integration of ICT in education and the rights of
teachers in terms of training and support.


The different starting point of schools must be taken into consideration and simple
models of how to implement ICT innovatively must be devised to support even those
schools with a low starting point. Moreover a blended approach and the need for a
variety of methods should be emphasised. The ultimate aim is indeed to make ICT
become ‘invisible’, i.e. there should be no separation between theory and practice and
using ICT should become as common as using a pen for the students.


4.3 Report from the bilingual working group

The bilingual group was chaired by DR. JOKE VOOGT and MR. ULF FREDRIKSSON, a member
and an expert of the ELFE Steering Committee, acted as rapporteur. The group
consisted of 27 people, including school representatives from Denmark, Germany and
Portugal and teacher union members from Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the
Netherlands, Norway, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Slovakia.




          Dr. Joke Voogt and Ulf Fredriksson




The group discussion started with a general round where the participants mentioned
various concerns related to the use of ICT in education. Thoughts were expressed
concerning the need to identify good practice and to find a good balance between the
use of ICT and traditional teaching. The schools that had been involved in the ELFE
project explained some of the problems related to the use of ICT in education, such as




                     Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 28
insufficient numbers of computers in the schools and the need to know more about
when ICT could be used.


The first round of interventions were summarised by the chairperson. She identified two
main issues that had been raised:
   1) Many of the concerns mentioned related to the learning environment. Issues of
       relevance are the teacher–student interaction, technical problems and problems
       related to the balance between individual work and teamwork. Another issue
       related to the learning environment in the ageing teaching profession. Some of
       the participants reported about an unwillingness among older teachers, close to
       retirement age, to learn how to use ICT in their teaching.
   2) Another concern that had been expressed related to what students learn. Issues
       such as learning concepts, independent learning, handling information,
       motivation and variation were mentioned. It is obvious that both strengths and
       weaknesses can be identified in the use of ICT in teaching. Therefore there is a
       need for more research on these issues in order to provide more in-depth
       knowledge on how the use of ICT can contribute to the learning process.


In a second round of debate the participants raised issues such as: how to integrate ICT
into the school as a whole, the social differences between students and also teacher
education. It was emphasised that social differences between students also affect their
ICT skills. Some students come from homes that cannot afford computers or at least not
good, up-to-date computers. The opinion was also expressed that teachers training
future teachers at universities do not have sufficient information about the present
situation in schools.


The chairperson summarised this discussion and highlighted two main issues: equality
and students’ access to computers. Many participants expressed concerns about
inequality in schools and reported about the different initiatives taken to improve access
to computers. It was noted that inequality is not only related to ICT, but is a general
problem. It was also observed that inequality is a problem within schools, between
schools, within countries and also between different countries in Europe.


The discussion then focused on teacher education. The participants reported about
different in-service education initiatives, which some countries had taken in to give
teachers a ‘computer driving licence’ or even a ‘pedagogical computer driving licence’ as
was the case in Denmark. Some of these initiatives had also contained possibilities for



                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 29
teachers to obtain or to buy computers cheaply. Another issue that was raised related to
how ICT is included in the curriculum.


The chairperson summarised the existing practices and noticed that initiatives exist in
many countries to offer in-service training for teachers on how to use ICT in general and
how to use ICT in education. The problem of maintenance of computers and the need
for ICT-coordinators in schools was mentioned. Another issue is how to integrate ICT in
the curriculum. Are ICT skills assessed as part of national tests and are students allowed
to use computers as part of the assessment in other subjects?


The group finally agreed to bring forward two questions to the panel discussion:
   -   How should teachers get support to develop their ICT skills and their skills to use
       ICT in education? How can teacher education, pre-service education as well as
       in-service education, be organised to support teachers and help them to explore
       how ICT can be used in education?
   -   How should ICT skills be integrated in national curricula and how should these be
       assessed? To which extent should assessment in different subjects include the
       use of ICT?




                     Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 30
5. Conclusions

5.1 Panel discussion

The next phase of the Conference involved a panel comprising a school representative
per country participating in the project, which answered some of the questions raised
during the working group meetings.




 Panel of school representatives




Pedagogical aspects of integrating ICT
A first issue that was debated regarded the pedagogical aspects of integrating ICT and
how the different schools were facing this issue.


The Norwegian school representative mentioned that in their school regular meetings
take place between teachers in order to deal with pedagogical issues and how to
integrate ICT.


The British representative stressed the importance of integrating ICT in the different
subjects rather than being regarded as one separate issue. She believes that teachers
can only get enthusiastic about using ICT if they can apply it to their subject and find it
a useful tool to support their teaching.


The German representative stated that one problem faced by the school is the fact that
innovation only involves some teachers. He would welcome integration of ICT in order to
involve every teacher.




                         Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 31
The representative from Denmark agreed with the fact that ICT must be a practical tool,
to achieve better information and to diversify teaching in order to make it more
effective.


The Portuguese representative underlined the fact that it must be regarded as a tool
and not as a substitute for teachers. Indeed she expressed concern about the fact that
some teachers feel threatened by ICT and are reluctant to endorse it. She insisted
therefore that emphasis be put on the fact that ICT is only one way of teaching and it is
not necessarily the best one.


The role of the teacher
Another topic of discussion was that of the role of the teacher in a society where
information and the flux of information are increasingly important and where
consequently the ability to use ICT equipment is becoming extremely important. It was
suggested that, apart from technical training, teachers should train students to fully
understand the knowledge society and be skilled in autonomously judging the
information provided.


The Portuguese representative agreed wholeheartedly with the important role of the
teacher in guiding and training his/her students and reiterated the importance of
regarding ICT as a tool, not as a substitute teacher. The changing relationship between
teacher and student was also mentioned with more exchanges and sharing of
responsibility. The Norwegian representative also remarked this and talked about a more
equal footing between teachers and students.


The British representative stressed the importance of the teacher in shaping skilled and
rounded students able to cope with their environment. Thus with the integration of ICT
the teachers should have another means of teaching transferable skills through the
applied use of technologies.


The German representative stressed the fact that there had been a positive attitude on
the part of both teachers and students in his school.


The Danish representative remarked that in terms of the technical use of ICT students
often use better and more sophisticated applications at home than they would in school.
The primary role of teachers is therefore not so much to teach their pupils how to use




                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 32
ICT but how to show them how to critically evaluate and handle the information
gathered thanks to the new technologies.


Teachers’ training
A final point of debate was the organisation of in-service training for teachers.


The Danish representative explained how in their school a programme of ICT driving
licence is in place: the teachers undergo training on the pedagogical use of ICT and they
get a computer in exchange as part of the programme. The teachers find it extremely
useful to have a computer at home and to be able to learn how to use it at their own
pace. He commented that computers are used extensively in his school, although there
is a slight difference between younger and older teachers.


The British representative stressed the importance of showing simple examples to
teachers on how ICT could be integrated in their teaching: this would give them good
ideas on how to improve their teaching instead of forcing measures on them.


The Portuguese representative noted how a teacher can have a very traditional
approach to teaching while using ICT, and on the contrary how a very modern approach
may not necessarily involve ICT. The use of ICT should not be imposed but teachers
should be able to choose to use this tool in their teaching. She remarked how many
teachers are still refusing to use ICT in her school, hence the debate over teacher
training is more about the pedagogy than the technical aspect. She stressed the
importance of collaboration on the part of the teachers in order to facilitate the
introduction of ICT in the school.


The Norwegian representative agreed on the issue of collaboration. In her school the
teachers followed ICT courses but they were organised in teams so that they were
learning the technical aspect of ICT but also socialised and shared problems and
experience and learnt together.


5.2 The external evaluator’s impressions

TJEERD PLOMP, CONSULTANT, FACULTY OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY, TWENTE
UNIVERSITY, is the external evaluator of the ELFE project and gave a presentation over
his impressions and remarks from the school visits and the conference.




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 33
Firstly, he underlined the fact that the number of ELFE cases studied is too limited to
make firm policy recommendations and explained how conclusions should also be drawn
from other cases examined by other studies or projects e.g. the Norwegian PILOT
project.


He also reiterated the fact that ICT is a means, and not a goal in
itself, to achieve good education and he noted how the concept of
good education has changed in the information/knowledge
society. He also explained how the word innovative may be
somewhat misleading. Indeed, it is possible to be innovative in
some parts of the curriculum and not in others. Innovation could
indeed mean different things depending on the context and
choices made. For example, the goals and content of education
                                                                            Tjeerd Plomp,
may remain the same but be conveyed through innovative                      ELFE external evaluator

pedagogy. However, new goals and contents can also be
transmitted through non-traditional pedagogy. The important issue therefore is not so
much the use made of ICT but the processes through which it is applied. Change is a
process, not an event.


Mr. Plomp then proceeded to illustrate the key analysis questions concerning the use
and integration of ICT in education.


Question 1: What difference does the use of ICT make in schools where ICT is
intensively used for instructional/pedagogical purposes?
The vision on learning and teaching has changed and it is still changing: education has
new goals, among which student-centred learning, information skills, independent
learning and integration of the different subjects. ICT moreover makes it possible to
organise time and space differently and provides new opportunities for students in
remote areas or students with special educational needs.


Question 2: To what extent are teachers’ practices and outcomes changed?
Throughout the Conference it was stressed that the role of the teacher must change
when ICT is introduced. The teacher becomes more of a designer of the learning
environment, a knowledge manager who produces learning materials and monitors
individual learners. The work is organised in teamwork and collaborative work with the
teacher acting as a counsellor. This represents a substantial change compared to the
traditional role of the teacher as the ‘owner’ of knowledge. These changes should be



                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 34
taken into account when designing teacher in-service training and professional
development programmes.


Question 3: What are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of the use
of ICT in teaching and learning?
Students are noticeably becoming more independent learners, able to collaborate and
process information responsibly and critically. However, some teachers showed concern
about the diminishing interest in traditional disciplines.


Question 4: What factors influence the implementation of intensive use of
ICT?
One important element that facilitates the implementation of ICT is the school vision on
learning and teaching using ICT. In some countries programmes like the Pedagogical
Driving Licence have made a visible impact on the introduction and use of ICT. Another
element that influences the spread of ICT practices is clearly the availability of
infrastructure. In general however, successful implementation is normally the result of a
comprehensive and coherent approach with a balance between the bottom-up and top-
down approach.


Question 5: How are the students influenced by this different way of
teaching?
It was found that students were more motivated and enthusiastic about learning.
Generally speaking they acquired new skills, both in the use of technologies and also
communication skills and critical skills. However, there is no hard evidence of improved
cognitive gains.


Question 6: What are the possibilities to sustain and to transfer good ICT-
based teaching /learning practices?
To be sustainable the innovative practices of today should become an everyday reality.
In order to achieve this, school policy should be well-documented and conveyed
effectively so as to spread good practice.


Question 7: To what extent have the institutional discussions on and
experiences with use of ICT contributed to whole-school development?
ICT can be a catalyst for change because its introduction is bound to have an influence
on other elements of the organisation and curriculum. Management structures are not
that affected but the type of work carried out is usually more thematic or project-



                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 35
oriented work, with the teacher acting as a consultant. There is increased collaboration
both between teachers and between teachers and students when using ICT. As far as
parents are concerned, they have a generally positive attitude but do not appear to be
highly involved.


Mr. Plomp also highlighted some themes for discussions to be debated using the ELFE
web site debate forum. He expressed an interest in the theme of how teachers can
benefit from ICT, so that the new technologies become a help rather than a hindrance
and a tool for professional improvement and inspiration. From a more pedagogical
perspective, the following suggestions were made for themes for discussion:


           •    The characteristics of good education in the knowledge society and the
                place of traditional subject knowledge in the curriculum;
           •    The relationship between students and teachers;
           •    The new role of the teacher and the quality of web material (developing a
                critical attitude towards external sources of information).


Other themes of debate could be the place of pedagogy in in-service training and the
coaching and guiding of novice users, the relationship between institutional and
pedagogical practices and the role of ICT, the role of ICT in school effectiveness and the
factors contributing to the successful implementation of an innovative curriculum at
school level.


5.3 Closing remarks

MARTIN RØMER, ETUCE GENERAL SECRETARY, made some concluding remarks to close the
Conference and thanked the participants, the Steering Committee and the staff for their
contribution. He noted that the gap between frontrunners and teachers that are
resisting the introduction of ICT should eventually be narrowed. Indeed, the project is
not only about the theory of the integration of ICT in education, but also about changing
attitudes and how to help teachers and students alike see the benefits that ICT can
provide. Certainly the transition from more traditional pedagogic practices to innovative
practices integrating ICT is not without problems. Some of these problems are linked to
the reality of software and the practical implementation of infrastructure, in addition to
Internet access. However further pedagogical questions need to be asked and
answered: these also include issues such as in-service and initial training for teachers.
Moreover, it is necessary to examine the direct effect on learning and check whether the



                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 36
investment in ICT is worthwhile in terms of achieving better quality education and
development of useful skills for life in the knowledge society of our students and lifelong
learners.


In order to ensure an improvement of the quality of education in Europe, it is of
paramount importance to reflect and research the ways of integrating ICT into the
curricula. Teachers should be involved in the process as much as possible and
demonstrate their ability to rise up to the challenges of the profession and propose
solutions and policies rather than passively wait for the change to take place.




                    Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 37
6. Annexes

6.1 Conference programme




                         1st European eLearning Forum for
                        Education Conference
                              Brussels, 22-23 November

                                    Agenda


                                  LAUNCHING ELFE

Monday, 22 November

9.00h – 10.00h      Registration of participants


10.00h – 10.20h     Opening of the Conference
                     by Mr. Martin Rømer, ETUCE General Secretary

10.20h – 11.00h     Presentation of the work of the European Commission on
                    the use of ICT in education
                    by Ms. Maruja Gutiérrez Díaz, Head of Unit Multimedia for
                    Education, Training and Culture, DG Education European
                    Commission

11.10h – 12.00h     Education in the information society: emerging challenges
                    and demands for education
                    by Dr. Joke Voogt, Twente University, The Netherlands

12.00h – 12.30h     Presentation of the ELFE project
                    by Mr. Hans Laugesen, project coordinator

14.00h – 14.50h     Being a teacher in the knowledge society




                  Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 38
                     by Bernard Cornu, Head of ICT Department of INRP (National
                     Institute for Pedagogical Research), France

14.50 h – 15.40h     Technology and pre-service teacher education in the 21st
                     century. Inseparable and quality–assured
                     by Dr. Daithí Ó Murchú, researcher and director of instructional
                     design at Hibernia College, Ireland (to be confirmed)

16.10h – 16.50h      School presentation & questions and answers
                     Greensward College, UK

16.50h – 17.30h      School presentation & questions and answers
                     Pestalozzi Grundschule, Germany

17.30h – 18.10h      School presentation & questions and answers
                     Saltdal videregående skole, Norway

Tuesday, 23 November

9.00h – 9.40h School presentation & questions and answers
                     EB 23 Carapinheira, Portugal

9.40h – 10.20h       School presentation & questions and answers
                     Langkær Gymnasium, Denmark

10.45h – 12.15h      Working groups


12.15h – 13.00h      ICT and school development: the Norwegian PILOT
                     project
                      by Dr. Ola Erstad, Oslo University

14.00h – 14.50h      Panel of school representatives & debate in plenary
                     (questions to the schools presented)

14.50 h – 15.20h     Assessment of the ELFE school visits
                     by Dr. Tjeerd Plomp, external evaluator

15.20h -15.30h       Closing of Conference
                     Mr. Martin Rømer, ETUCE General Secretary




                   Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 39
6.2 Participants’ list

                            Brussels, 22-23 November 2004
                             Launching ELFE: participants’ list




      Name                                       Organisation                     Country

      Afonso Guerreiro Silva, Maria José         Escola Santa Maria Maior         Portugal
      Aligüllü, Ertan                            KTOS                             Cyprus
      Almeida Oliveira, Maria Gabriela           EBI Vasco da Gama                Portugal
      Andersen, Susan                            Middelfart Gymnasium             Denmark
      Arntsberg, Espen                           Hitra videregående skole         Norway
      Arra, Olavi                                OAJ                              Finland
      Aspevold, Tove                             Steigen sentralskole             Norway
      Bangs, John                                NUT                              UK
      Barton, Rosemary                           Ulster Teachers' Union           N. Ireland
      Bastino, Valentina                         ETUCE                            Belgium
      Biot, Jean Louis                           UNSA                             France
      Boese, Renate                              ELFE Steering Committee          Germany
      Borges, Paula                              ELFE Steering Committee          Portugal
      Brosnan, Timothy                           Hampstead School                 UK
      Brune-Poniewas, Gabi                       Pestalozzi Grundschule           Germany
      Bruzas, Vladas                             LEETU                            Lithuania
      Butler, Deirdre                            IFUT                             Ireland
      Camel, Frédéric                            SNEP                             France
      Clair, Jean-François                       SNES                             France
      Corcoran, Austin                           INTO                             Ireland
      Corcoran, Ina                                                               Ireland
      Cornu, Bernard                             INRP                             France
      Cufflin, Sharon Margaret                   Prince Albert School             UK
      De La Haye, Gaston                         WCT                              Belgium
      Desmedt, Michel                            CSC-Enseignement                 Belgium
      Doering, Rainer                            Max Planck Gymnasium             Germany




                        Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 40
Duedahl, Orla                             Fyns AMT                             Denmark
Eglite, Kamita                            LIZDA                                Latvia
Eriksen, Roger                            Steigen sentralskole                 Norway
Erstad, Ola                               University of Oslo                   Norway
Fredriksson, Ulf                          ELFE Steering Committee              Sweden
Galwas, Bogdan                            ZNP Warsaw Uni. Of Technology        Poland
Garvey, Brian                             NASUWT                               UK
Gomes de Sá, Carlos Manuel                Escola Santa Maria Maior             Portugal
Gregersen, Claus                          Herning Gymnasium                    Denmark
Gregorius, Peter                          COC                                  Belgium
Grøttvik, Roar                            ELFE Steering Committee              Norway
Gutierrez Díaz, Maruja                    European Commission                  Belgium
Hauge, Tove                               Utdanningsforbundet                  Norway
Hermansen, Hilde                          Saltdal videregående skole           Norway
Hurley, Pat                               ASTI                                 Ireland
Iasenzaniro, Maria Antonietta             CGIL - Scuola                        Italy
Jedeskog, Gunilla                         ELFE Steering Committee              Sweden
Jenaro Tejada, Elena                      ETUCE                                Belgium
Jensen, Torben Pallesen                   Langkaer Gymnasium                   Denmark
John, Jodi                                Hampstead School                     UK
Karaškaite, Nijole                        LMPS                                 Lithuania
Kasoulides, Andreas                       POED                                 Cyprus
Kelly, James                              Teachers' Union of Ireland           Ireland
Kraft, Knut R.                            BLBS                                 Germany
Krause, Werner                            GEW                                  Germany
Kuijpers, Frank                           OCNV                                 Netherlands
Laugesen, Hans                            ELFE Steering Committee              Denmark
Lauritzen, Marie-Louise Ebert             Langkaer Gymnasium                   Denmark
Leite Santos, Maria Luisa                 SINDEP                               Portugal
Leszczynska, Elzbieta                     Solidarnosc Union                    Poland
Lopes dos Santos Dias, Ricardo Manuel     EB 23 Carapinheira                   Portugal
Madsen, Peter                             GL                                   Denmark
Malva Branco, Susana Paula                EB 23 Carapinheira                   Portugal
Marchetta, Ugo                            Universita' degli Studi di Palermo   Italy
Martinák, Luboš                           ZPŠaV NKOS                           Slovakia
McKay, Albert                             SSTA                                 UK
Mebus, Jesper Rugaard                     Middelfart Gymnasium                 Denmark



                 Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 41
Mifsud, Josephine                         MUT                              Malta
Miller, Willem                            CSC-Enseignement                 Belgium
Modrijan, Sandi                           SVIZ/ESTUS                       Slovenia
Mortensvik, Astrid                        Hitra videregående skole         Norway
Müller-Normann, Kirsten                   Max Planck Gymnasium             Germany
Nordahl, Rune                             LR                               Sweden
Novell, Elvira                            FETE-UGT                         Spain
O Murchu, Daithi                          Hibernia College                 Ireland
Oestegaard, Knud Erik                     Langkaer Gymnasium               Denmark
O'Sullivan, Mike                          Greensward College               UK
Pavlovicova, Katarina                     OZPSaV                           Slovakia
Pettersen, Håvard                         Saltdal videregående skole       Norway
Pimenta, Filomena                         EBI Vasco da Gama                Portugal
Plomp, Tjeerd                             ELFE Steering Committee          Netherlands
Polyzois, Babouras                        DOE                              Greece
Poniewas, Stefan                          Pestalozzi Grundschule           Germany
Rasmusson, Maria                          Mid Sweden University            Sweden
Ries, Claude                              SNE                              Luxembourg
Robinson, Karen                           ELFE Steering Committee          UK
Rømer, Martin                             ETUCE                            Belgium
Rützenhoff, Björn                         Hans-Böckler Berufskolleg        Germany
Sarpten, Salih                            KTOEOS                           Cyprus
Skou, Søren Bostrup                       Næstved Kommune                  Denmark
Sørensen, Kurt                            Kalbyrisskolen                   Denmark
Stiglic, Lubomir                          OZPSaV                           Slovakia
Terzis, Iosif                             OLTEK                            Cyprus
Trapenciere, Ilze                         LIZDA                            Latvia
Triggs, David                             Greensward College               UK
Usaviciene, Irena                         LDF-CTUEW                        Lithuania
Vagharshakyan, Garnik                     STEESA                           Armenia
Vansweevelt, George                       ETUCE                            Belgium
Venuti, Rosa                              UIL SCUOLA                       Italy
Voogt, Johanna M. (Joke)                  Twente University                Netherlands
Wijngaards, Guus                          AOB                              Netherlands
Wilford, Sally                            Prince Albert School             UK
Zeman, Robert                             CMOS PS                          Czech Rep.




                 Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 42
Report of the 1st European eLearning Forum for Education (ELFE) Conference - 43

								
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