The purpose of this study is to analyze what is happening at schools regarding the integration and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and to examine teachers’ perceptions about what teaching and learning processes can be improved through the use of ICT. A multiple-case-study research methodology was applied. From previous exploratory research, four different types of schools were determined. Data show there is a widespread view that ICT in teaching favors several teaching and learning processes. In particular, it shows that the contribution of ICT to the improvement of teaching and learning processes is higher in the schools that have integrated ICT as an innovation factor. To attain this highest level implies that a school not only has to modernise the technological tools, but also has to change the teaching models: the teacher’s role, issues regarding classroom organisational, the teaching and learning processes, and the interaction mechanisms.
Additionally, in Europe, appropriate use of ICT in school education is considered a key factor in improving quality at this educational level. The European Commission is promoting the use of ICT in learning processes through its eLearning Action Plan, one of the aims of which is “to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services as well as remote exchange and collaboration”
In recent years, several studies and reports have highlighted the opportunities and the potential benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) for improving the quality of education. ICT is viewed as a “major tool for building knowledge societies” (UNESCO 2003, 1) and, particularly, as a mechanism at the school education level that could provide a way to rethink and redesign the educational systems and processes, thus leading to quality education for all.
Media and ICT for education: research perspectives:
A review of research on educational media, and more particularly on the integration of digital media in education, has allowed us to identify several areas of study that have been developed in different periods and under different epistemological, methodological and didactic assumptions. From the beginning, research has been centered on audiovisual media, but given the development of other technologies and, particularly, the inclusion of computers in school classrooms, new studies have been carried out on the impact and effects of the use of these technologies in schools.
Studies on media and learning. This line of research begins in behaviorism and evolves towards cognitive positions in which, from a micro-psychological viewpoint, the interaction of media–subject and the possible modulator effects between them are considered to promote learning.
From the teachers’ answers, we can conclude there is a mainstream opinion that sees using ICT in teaching as favouring several processes related to teaching and learning – in particular, those involving attention, perception, responding mechanisms, application of learning and understanding. Moreover, those related to information transmission and knowledge facilitation are well thought of. However, some of the proposed processes were more poorly valued: interaction processes and expression and communication skills were not held in high regard by the teachers, probably because they have considered ICT as being generally used in a one-way mode.