Teachers endorse IT as a reforming catalyst

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 February, 2004, 12:00am

Teachers agree that information technology reinforces innovative teaching methods - including project-based learning and individual learning - a survey has found.

And two-thirds have adopted the methods with the help of IT after a five-year, $1 billion programme to promote IT at schools.

Dr Sandy Li Siu-cheung, a professor in Baptist University's Department of Education Studies, who conducted the survey, said schools were now ready for 'constructive pedagogies' as the government had geared them up with basic IT equipment and skills.

The survey was aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the government's programme to promote IT in school education between 1998-99 and 2002-03.

All public primary and secondary schools were invited to take part in the studies, out of which 140 schools, comprising 74 primary and 66 secondary schools, participated.

Five sets of questionnaires were sent to the principal, panel chairpersons, teachers, students, and IT co-ordinators. The survey found that while more than 90 per cent of teachers still used exposition as part of their instructional strategies, about 67 per cent had adopted project learning.

Teachers agreed that IT reinforced innovative teaching methods, including project-based, inquiry, problem-based and individual learning techniques .

Many were concerned about funding and training.

The survey found that more than half of the teachers rated the provision of continuous funding, staff development in IT education, appropriate allocation of resources, and provision of software suitable for the curriculum as the most important factors in sustaining IT development in schools.

'Most teachers say they need training on new teaching methods in IT education as they have now grasped the basic IT know-how,' Dr Li said.

'Similar to Singapore, Hong Kong is going to enter the next five-year stage of IT in education, which will be the crucial time to facilitate a shift in traditional pedagogies.

'I hope the government won't cut investment further in the area after scrapping the IT committee, or previous efforts will be wasted,' he said.

He suggested schools and businesses collaborate over the development of education software and learning technologies which were in demand in the market.

'IT education needs continuous funding for updates as information technology is ever-changing.

'As government funding tends to be transient, it's probably best if schools go into partnership with businesses that see IT education as a long-term investment,' Dr Li said.