December 9, 2008

Optimizing IT Efficiency Through Research and Expertise

Thanks to the metaresearch (Barbeau, 2007; Barrette 2004a, 2004b, 2005b, 2007a, 2008) conducted on behalf of the  Association pour la recherche au collégial (ARC), more and more is known about the pedagogical, technical and organizational conditions that must be met in order for educational integration of ICT to have positive effects on academic results. Interviews conducted with four experts in the network as part of the third phase of the ARC metasynthesis on information and communication technologies (ICT) integration (Barrette, 2007b) confirm and refine what is known about the “winning conditions” of the successful educational  integration of ICT (Barrette, 2005a).

More and more is known about the pedagogical, technical and organizational conditions that must be met in order for educational integration of ICT to have positive effects on academic results.

The metasynthesis of 32 research projects made possible the emergence of a model of the interrelationships among the conditions that affect the success of educational integration of IT. The most important conditions involve the following:

  1. the quality of the pedagogical scenario, or more specifically, of the match between the objectives, the methods, the means and the evaluation used in a set of educational specifications;
  2. selection of the right means for integrating ICT into education, depending on whether the pedagogical scenario relies on the transmission of knowledge, the active acquisition of knowledge by students or the co-construction of knowledge by interacting students;
  3. organizational conditions such as support, equipment and training.

Is this research-derived model in line with models that might be supplied by people who are considered experts at integrating ICT into the classroom?

Researchers Bruno Poellhuber, Mariane Gazaille and Elizabeth Charles and educational advisor Roger de Ladurantaye, who is also President of the Association pour les applications pédagogiques de l’ordinateur au postsecondaire (APOP) – answered the following question: “In your opinion, what key determinants must be taken into account and what main conditions must be present in order for the use of ICT in the classroom to have a positive impact?” In all, the recorded interviews yielded 400 answers to this question. Astonishingly, none of them contradicts the content of the model derived from the metasynthesis. In fact, the highly nuanced contributions of experts bolster the research findings by stressing the importance of other factors:

  1. the role and workload of teachers and their motivation to renew their teaching approaches;
  2. the social and ethical issues of using IT, particularly the impacts of using these technologies on responsible civic education.

An analysis grid of scenarios for teaching/learning activities that rely on ICT can be derived from the metasynthesis results and answers provided by experts.

Where does this take us?

Well, this year, IT-Rep network members will be approached about applying this grid both to stories compiled in ProfWeb and to local projects in progress. This is a way of testing and perfecting the grid before disseminating it on a large scale within the college network. In addition, this grid will provide specific research topics of an experimental or exploratory nature, thereby addressing Jeason Morin’s concerns in a positive way.

Do you want to participate in the task of validating the analysis grid ? Do you want to share references and resources on this subject? If so, don’t hesitate to contact the author of this column.

Or on the other hand, maybe you seek support for an empirical research project on the successful integration of ICT into teaching/learning. If so, ARC staff will be happy to inform you about the forms of assistance available.

Use the Reader Response Feature below to share your opinions with us about which practices the contents of the grid derived from the metasynthesis might indicate as helpful!

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