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VIEWS: 21 PAGES: 8

									   USE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICT) IN
              TURKEY FROM 1930’S TO THE PRESENT

                                                          Prof. Dr. Buket Akkoyunlu
                                                                Hacettepe University
                                                                Faculty of Education
                                                            buket@hacettepe.edu.tr

   1. Introduction

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are a diverse set of
technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create,
disseminate, store, and manage information. ICT becomes immensely important.
Significant changes over the past decade in ICTs have impacted many aspects of
our lives – including booking train tickets and banking, using search engines for
information, communicating with friends and colleagues, and participating in
virtual professional and social networks. ICT is at the very heart of the
educational process. The education system is closely related to society's
knowledge processes, which are most impacted by these new ICTs.

The human profile required by today‘s societies has changed according to the
needs of the current era. Globalization and improvements in science and
technology are the main factors which determine the manpower profile required
by information society. Today, students are exposed to information in very
different ways and the amount of information is rapidly increasing. In today‘s
global knowledge economy, students need new skills and the failure to provide
for this development will lead to a competitive disadvantage. Additionally, the
increasing impact of media and technology on how students relate to the world
and learn from their experiences are forcing educators to rethink the way
teachers need to be trained, retrained and supported. Therefore, policy makers
have given big importance to use of ICT in education.

The Turkish government is also aware of the importance of education for Turkey.
The Ministry of National Education (MONE) considers the educational
requirements of the 21st century. Educational targets are defined in National
Development Plans, which take into account the needs of individuals and of
industry and service sectors in line with technological developments. The national
census is also considered while developing these targets.
In the past, unidentified student needs, passive teaching environments, and an
emphasis on memorized knowledge led to an educational system that was
disfunctional. The rapidly changing needs of an infiormation society require a
country like Turkey to redefine the educational objectives and the curriculum to
integrate instructional technologies into teaching. Through using new
technological resources in educational systems, the schools will meet the needs
of future citizens who are able to use new Technologies on the one hand, and on
the other, will help educators to develop interactive educational environments.

   2. Use of ICT in Education in Turkey

Studies in educational technology have been done since the establishment of the
republic of Turkey. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic, a school
museum was opened by MONE, where educational tools were exhibited. Maps,



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projectors and laboratory equipment were given to schools for teachers in 1930s.
These materials and equipment were used in schools for nearly 30 years
Between 1927 and 1960, discussions and proposals on distance education were
started. The aim was to spread literacy nationwide via distance education. In
1961, the Instructional Centre for Distance Learning was founded and used at
every level of education. The Centre of Educational Radio was founded in 1962
and radio programmes were prepared for students (Akkoyunlu, 2002).

Distance education was introduced to Turkish higher education in 1974. In 1983,
Anadolu University‘s Open Education Faculty was founded in Eskisehir. Since
then, the University‘s Open Education Programme has been offering programmes
to all high school graduates who do not attend conventional universities. The
University has done lots of research and publications on distance education, and
a number of programmes are also under the responsibility of Anadolu University.
These briefly include:

      completion programmes for teachers that have graduated from two or
       three years at a higher education
      institution; and
      graduate programmes for the population in western Europe.

Distance education is also supported by MONE, which offers several programmes
for every level of education.

These are:

      an educational radio programme, started by TRT and under the
       responsibility of MONE. TRT offers 10 hours of weekly radio programmes
       for primary education;
      an open lycee programme, which was started in 1992, for people who
       could not attend conventional schools
      or left education early;
       open primary schools, which were founded in 1997 for 6, 7 and 8th-grade
       programmes.


Computers were first introduced to Turkish schools in 1984 by the Ministry of
National Education in order to initiate a Computer Based Education (CBE) Project,
which took shape between 1984 and 1986. MONE focussed on

             Preparing and integrating curricula;
             Software design and development;
             Training of teachers;
             Acquiring hardware;
             Incentives to produce hardware and components locally.


A pilot study, with 1100 computers spared for 121 secondary schools at a ratio of
one computer to ten students. A total of 2400 computers were purchased for
secondary and vocational schools between 1985–1987 (Akkoyunlu, 1991). In-
service training was given to 225 teachers, and the use of computers was



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integrated into the curriculum. At first, priority was given to hardware over
software and to the teaching of BASIC and Pascal programming languages.

Starting in the 1987 - 88 academic year, these schools introduced a computer-
literacy course as an elective with a hands-on component. In the next academic
year, 805 PCs were purchased to train students in vocational high schools, with
some emphasis on hardware maintenance. The pilot project of 1988 - 89
commissioned the development of courseware for 37 subjects as well as
providing further training and additional hardware. The main Computer Based
Education (CBE) project was implemented in 1990 - 91 as part of the World
Bank National Education Development. In 1991, national policy included
computer based education and more than 6500 computers were disseminated to
2400 schools. In order to integrate computers into schools, educational and
scientific institutions and private research and development centres were
provided (Askar, 1991). The General Directorate of Computer Education and
Services (BILGEM) was also established in 1992 under the responsibility of
MONE. It aimed to integrate IT into schools by using computers at every level of
schooling, training the teachers and improving CBE (Akkoyunlu, 2002; Schware
& Jaramillo, 1998; Schware & Jaramillo, 2004, p.1).

BILGEM took the responsibility for the Computer Experimental Schools (CES)
Project‖ (Schware & Jaramillo, 1998; Schware & Jaramillo, 2004, p.1). Between
1992 and 1995, BILGEM implemented Computer Experimental Schools projects
with 53 schools were selected and provided required hardware and software, and
approximately 250 teachers have been trained in the use of those computers and
educational software. CES project was to integrate ICT into the teaching/learning
processes to enhance education (Schware & Jaramillo, 2004). BILGEM aimed to
plan the use of computers in education at every level and type of school, train
the teachers as ―Formator Teacher" uses a "train the trainer" approach. The aim
of this program is to train in-service teachers as computer teachers. The training
takes place in various universities in Turkey and the number of Formator
teachers trained has been approximately 4,500 (Akkoyunlu & Orhan, 2000).
Training Formator Teachers is an imperative transformation action for Turkish
educational system, but the number of current Formator Teachers is not enough.
Until the needed number of Fonnater Teachers is reached, technical education
facilities of several universities have started computer-teaching departments that
graduate computer teachers for the system. This program also included on-
going, long-term support for teachers.

Besides, the Sixth Five Year Development Plan (State Planning Office, 1991)
stressed that scientific research and technological innovations should guide the
curriculum and instructional methods and tools in order to increase productivity
in education. In line with these developments, it is observed that the widespread
use of technologies by potential educational services and the efficiency increase
in education are progressively gaining importance, and this is accepted as a
government policy.

In the 1995–1996 school year, educational software was produced for
geography, history, Turkish and science. MONE co-operated with the Scientific
and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) to produce the software.




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With the Education Master Plan 1996-2011 formed on the basis of policy
recommendations from the Seventh 5 Year Development Plan and the 15th
National Education Council, Project 2000 for Keeping Pace with the Age in
Education was launched as a short-term project. Afterwards, in 1997,
compulsory education was expanded from five to eight years. The long-term
plan, as a strategy of the master plan, Basic Education Project (BEP) was
initiated in 1998 (Eurydice, 2007). Principles of the Basic Education Programme.
With the application of an eight-year primary education, basic principles have
been set. Some of the main principles of the programme are:

      to increase the schooling rate up to 100% in primary education;
      to make students and teachers computer literate;
      to help students learn a foreign language;
      to support formal education through distance education;
      to provide opportunities for five-year primary education graduates who are
       out of compulsory education because of their age – to complete their eight
       year primary education through open education;
      to fulfil the most important principle of being a ‗learning society‘, through
       training individuals who know how to learn.

To realize these objectives, various actions were to be put in place:

      to establish new classrooms for 3 500 000 students throughout Turkey;
      to establish information technology classrooms in 15 000 schools;
      to train 18 000 information technology co-ordinators;
      to train 200 educational personnel to be computer literate, and to train
       them on computer-based education (Akkoyunlu, 2002),

One of BEP objectives was to generalize the use of computer technologies in
education through establishing IT rooms in every basic education school. The
government had a loan of 300 million dollars from the World Bank for the first
phase of this project that was implemented in 1998-2003, and an additional 300
million dollars for the second phase in 2003-2007 (Eurydice, 2007). The main
aims and objectives of BEP were kept for the BEP II. It could be concluded that
hardware investments were more dominant in the ICT integration process up to
the early 2000s. These investments for basic education schools were actually
made in 1998-2000 within BEP I (3,188 IT rooms in 2,802 primary schools).
However, the Internet connections at schools were limited and slow (Akbaba-
Altun, 2006) until December 2003.

Turkish Ministry of National Education also gave big efforts to increase teachers‘
ICT usage. MONE initiated ―National Education Portal‖ project (2005) and built
2802 ICT classrooms in 1999 and 3000 ICT classrooms in 2005, and also provide
laptops for teachers. Briefly, computers first become visible in schools starting
early 1980‘s and showed a rapid spreading in the subsequent years.


In 2000, Sakarya University‘s Distance Education programmes were founded in
Sakarya. According to 2008 statistics, Distance Education Programmes have
6.000 undergraduate, 700 graduate students.




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As a part of these developments, education faculties were provided IT equipment
and necessary hardware and software facilities in 1998 which was sponsored by
Turkish Government and the World Bank. Within the framework of reconstruction
of educational faculties, "Computer" and Instructional Technologies and Material
Development" courses are part of compulsory teaching certificate courses in all
teacher education departments. The aim of this new arrangement is given as
follows in an HEC (Higher Education Council) report:

"It is aimed that via these courses the teacher candidates be familiar with and
capable of using Technologies as computer, Internet, multimedia, television,
video, and projection equipment. Thus the future teachers are anticipated to
know the technology and apply it efficiently in instructional settings."

As can be seen, the Turkish Educational System requires technologically
equipped teachers for the next generation.

However, as it seen, ICT was not being implemented in the National Curriculum
yet. ICT not exist in the National Curriculum either as a core subject or as a part
of the core subjects or other foundation subjects. Therefore, all these
developments necessitate a change in the education system and this has
required action on the part of Ministry of National Education (MoNE) to modify
existing primary education programs and, in turn, MoNE has developed new
curriculum in 2004. Eight common skills have been determined for all courses
included in New Primary Education Curriculum. These skills are: Critical thinking,
creative thinking, communication, researching-questioning, problem solving,
using information technologies, entrepreneurship and using Turkish language
correctly and efficiently.

The skills for Using Information Technologies include those related with using
technology in searching, finding, processing, presenting and evaluating
information (MONE, 2004). In this scope, effective and efficient use of
―Information and Communication Technologies‖ in line with the objectives gains
importance. Moreover, great importance has been given to using Information
Technologies in courses for the acquisitions to be obtained and activities to be
carried out. By focusing on learning, the emphasis is on creating environments
where learning can be more lasting through the support of each developed
technology. When new instruction programs are reviewed, it is observed that
they are enriched with activities and they are student rather than teacher
centered. Today, it is vital to design different materials in different teaching
environments and to use them for different purposes. Under new curriculum
studies, new Computer Curriculum was also developed for grades 1 to 8 and
aimed to equip students with computer literacy skills and how to integrate ICT
into daily lives. MONE has set a goal to set-up its largest network – MEBNET.
MEBNET is an important project for the Turkish Educational System; this network
provides Internet use and makes sharing information easy for students and
teachers. Therefore, Ministry of National Education has been carried out different
projects regarding technological developments in the world. Some of them are
summarized here:

Virtual School Project is sponsored by Educational Technologies Directorate to
assist teachers and students in terms of curriculum quality and continuity,
opportunities for collaboration, progressive professional development, with


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different materials prepared according to constructivist approach, publish the
materials in web environment, and provide collabrative research Projects for
students and teachers.

MONE Internet Access Project is also sponsored by Educational Technologies
Directorate, with this project 37.888 schools and institutions are provided
broadband internet access by end of 2009.     In other words, 94% of primary
students and 100% of secondary students have broadband internet Access.
Besides, MONE institutions are supported with the portal in order to create their
own web pages.

National Educational Portal Project has been developed to address the needs
of the schools and to foster the adoption of Information Society Technologies
within the Turkish Educational System. It provides various online community
facilities and access to educational resources for supporting collaboration,
assistive learning and teaching practices. The Educational Portal is aimed to:

      bridge the gap among students, educators, parents and administration, in
       order to increase interactivity and communication and to facilitate
       collaborative work and research
      enhance students‘ awareness and exploration of educational resources
       available in the Web, and thereby create opportunities for the students to
       increase their learning potential
      increase the use of the Web by students and teachers and thereby foster
       further adoption of Information Society ideals within the educational
       community.

Education for Future (Intel Teacher Training) Project, MONE and Intel
together deliver the ‗Next Generation of Teachers‘ Project with the objective to
enable teachers to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
efficiently in their teaching methodology. The Intel Teach Program enables
teachers to be more effective educators by training them on incorporation of
technology in education as well as on promotion of analytical thinking, problem
solving and cooperation skills in their students. To date, the program has trained
more than 97.000 teachers in across Turkey.

Microsoft Online Teacher Training Project, For the majority of public school
teachers in Turkey, information and communications technology (ICT) training
was limited. Although the country had some in-service training programs, it was
difficult to reach thousands of teachers across the country with onsite training. In
January 2005, the MONE addressed this challenge. Together with Microsoft
Turkey, the MONE worked with 81 district leaders to deploy a Teacher Training
Program across the country.

Together with Microsoft and through the Partners in Learning program, it is
defined the priority of creating a fully computer-literate teacher community. By
assigning and training a leader from each district who specializes in information
technology, the MONE could ensure that the proper training reached all teachers.
Teacher Training Program is available to 600,000 teachers and has trained
160,000 of them. The goal is to reach an additional 200,000 teachers in 30,000
schools within the 2010.



                                                                                    6
The Ministry of National Education has unveiled launched the Strategic Plan that
runs from 2010 to 2014. Under Lifelong Learning and Knowledge Society,
National Information Communication strategic plan has been set, and is
expected to usher the country into the global information "super highway".

3. Conclusion

In an information society, the basic aim of education is to equip people with
necessary skills to access, process, create, organize and communicate
information. In order to teach these skills to students, educational technology
should be used in schools.

One of the aims of education is to prepare students for life in a future society.
Therefore, MONE defines educational targets in the National Development Plan,
and has determined the frame of national objectives and policy as ‗catching up to
the information society‘. The plan aims to equip people with ‗thinking skills‘ (such
as the ability to learn, to reason, to think creatively, to make decisions and to
solve problems) for the information society; thus supporting the educational
system at all levels with technology for students and teachers. Turkey has
increased its interest in the ICT and started the necessary studies for future.

MONE is aware of 21st century and societies needs. With all of the technological
developments and the globalization of recent years, the nature of education has
changed around the world. Having information is no longer considered an
objective in education; instead, skills in acquiring information and knowing how,
and where, to use it is becoming important.

It is clear that the use and applications of ICT in education in Turkey will
continue to increase. Politicians and society as a whole look to ICT to deliver
what they perceive as a better education. They see technology as a liberator for
a beter education system. We who work on educational sciences must explain
to the public that ICT can create better teaching and learning atmosphere in
schools as long as teachers are trained well, motivated enough, assisted, and
supervised effectively.



REFERENCES

Akbaba-Altun, S. (2006). Complexity of Integrating Computer Technologies into
Education in Turkey. Educational Technology & Society, 9 (1), 176-187.

Akkoyunlu, B. (2002). Educational technology in Turkey: Past, present and
future. Educational Media International. 39 (2), 165 — 17

Akkoyunlu, B., & Orhan, F. (2000). The use of computers in K-12 schools in
Turkey. TechTrends, 45 (2), 29 – 31.

Akkoyunlu, B (1991) Modelling CAL in the Turkish Educational System,
unpublished PhD thesis, University of Leicester.

Askar, P (1991) Unpublished Report Prepared for OECD International Seminar.


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Eurydice. (2007). Eurybase the information database on education systems in
Europe. The Education System in Turkey. European Commission.

Schware, R., & Jaramillo, A. (2004). Technology in education: the Turkish
Experiment. The World Bank Report, retreived October, 2004 from
http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/technet/turk-ed.htm

Schware, R. and A. Jaramillo. (1998). Technology in education: The Turkish
experiment. Information Technology for Development, 8 (1), 29 - 33.

State Planning Office (1991) The Sixth Fifth Year Development Plan, State
Planning Office, Ankara.




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