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Using e-learning to improve the effectiveness of teaching primary school ICT

Economic, social, technological and educational factors have led to an increase in the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in education at all levels. Most research concerning this has focused on the way in which e-learning can be used to improve teaching and learning across the curriculum and has neglected the teaching of ICT as a subject (Hammond, 2004). In a 1999 Ofsted inspection, ICT was found to be the least well taught subject in primary schools. The present research considers how the teaching of ICT could be better supported in the UK and Saudi Arabia. In the first stage, an investigation was made of the teaching of ICT in UK primary schools to understand why its teaching had been rated unfavourably. It was discovered that teaching focused on technical aspects (i.e. how to use specific applications) whilst ignoring the communication and information parts. Although it has been argued widely that e-learning improves teaching and learning across the curriculum, observations showed that e-learning was not, in itself, used to support teaching of the ICT curriculum. Hence, this research explored the ways in which the teaching of the ICT curriculum (to 9-11 year olds) could be made more effective, particularly through the incorporation of e-learning material. It was hypothesized that the experience of teaching and learning could be enhanced if e-learning material was designed which specifically addressed the needs of the teachers and young learners. Evidence collected in the course of the research suggested that little material existed to support the ICT curriculum, and that e-learning material produced to support other subjects does not always suit the teachers’ needs. Therefore in the second stage of the research, a design approach that engaged end users (teachers and young students) was proposed which was tested and refined during the design of e-learning material to support the teaching of the Multimedia Unit of the ICT National Curriculum. The resulting e-learning material was evaluated in UK schools to determine the extent to which it satisfied user needs and its effectiveness in teaching the intended learning outcomes. The results in both cases were positive implying that such a method could lead to the production of useful supportive material. As a former Saudi Arabian computer teacher, one of my personal goals was to provide opportunities to improve the experience of teachers and children in my own country. As such I have been interested in how I can transfer my understanding of the UK educational system to my home country. Following the successful evaluation of the elearning material in the UK, a demonstration of how a child centred design approach can be used to design effective educational material. Unfortunately although such a process might produce more effective learning outcomes and pleasurable material, I also found that such an approach is considered incompatible with commercial design environments. In the last stage of the thesis strategies are discussed which could be used (particularly in Saudi Arabia) to encourage the producers of educational materials to engage in the design of more effective teaching and learning experiences, especially in relation to the primary ICT curriculum. One such strategy would be to train undergraduates in applying a more user centred design approach as an integral part of their practice. The resultant design approach has now been approved by the Director of the Graphic Design Department in Dar Al Hekma Collage (Jeddah – Saudi Arabia) to be taught as a design approach for designing e-learning material for children on the Information Design Course. Additionally, a set of recommendations was developed for the Saudi Ministry of Education addressing the sort of revisions needed to improve the ICT curriculum in Saudi Arabia.
Date January 2008
CreatorsAbou Hassana, R. H.
PublisherCoventry University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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