This is a series of three posts that look at the history of ICT in schools and the learning frameworks that are working.
Ever wondered how ICTs got the way they are in education? Part 1/3
Technology was originally used in schools for ‘drill and skill’ learning. It was a ‘science’ in the 1980s and spent many awkward years in the maths department, science department and even industrial arts. In short it has always been a dependant of something else. Eventually, it became a whole school thing – a bolt on to existing disciplines and not all teachers welcomed it’s introduction to ‘their’ syllabus’.
The software used throughout the 1990s and was based on Computer Aided Instruction (CAI). We bought software on CD-Rom, and CD-Roms with pre-developed worksheets. There are still a vast amount of titles on CD-Rom for this purpose, and a multi-million dollar ‘marketing’ machine pushing into school classrooms. Schools had little choice – as the Internet was still the preserve of ‘experts’ and software had evolved into quite sophisticated CD-Roms teaching anything from German Grammar to Touch Typing. CAI was widely adopted in schools. Schools began ‘using’ software where Universities used the Internet to collaborate and share academic research. Ironically much of the discussion in the 1990s in University over the www, was about ‘software’ such as HypeCard – and not the www itself. They used listservs, message boards, MOOs etc., schools had almost no access to the www, in NSW until the late 1990s.
Another decade, same debate
In the archives of the NSW Parliament, 30th May 2001. The minister of Education and Training replies to the question “What is the latest information on the Government’s plan for students to use the Internet and email?
“I remind honourable members that it was the first Government to connect every school to the Internet, a program which was completed by the end of 1996. Since 1995 it has had a roll out of 90,000 new and replacement computers and a further 25,000 computers will be rolled out during the next two years. More than 20,000 teachers have been trained in how to use IT in teaching and learning, with another 20,000 to be trained during the next two years. It is now time for IT to revolutionise not just what our students learn about or what tools they use to learn with, but how they learn.”
So by 1998, a decade ago, every school had internet access, new equipment and trained teachers apparently. Are we not having the same discussion today? – The next post looks at how the internet disrupted the ICT classroom.