School-based ICT policy plans in primary education:Elements, typologies and underlying processes

Posted: March 12, 2013 in Trend in ELT Assignment
Ruben Vanderlinde, Sara Dexter and Johan van Braak
RubenVanderlindeisaresearchassistantattheDepartmentof EducationalStudies,GhentUniversity,Belgium.Hisresearchfocusesontheinfluenceof schoollevelconditionsontheintegrationandimplementationof ICTineducation.He is currently finishing his PhD study on school-based ICT policy planning in primary education. Dr Sara Dexter isan associate professor at the Curry School of Education’s Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy at theUniversity of Virginia, USA. Her research and teaching focuses on the development of effective school leaders, particularly as it pertains to the effective integration and implementation of ICT. Dr Johan van Braak is professor atthe Department of Educational Studies, Ghent University, Belgium. He coordinates the research group “Innovationin Compulsory Education.” Address for correspondence: Mr Ruben Vanderlinde, Ghent University, Department of Educational Studies, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. Email: Ruben.Vanderlinde@UGent.be
Abstract
Schools are more and more encouraged to write a school-based information and com-munication technology (ICT) policy plan. In such a plan, a school describes its expecta-tions, goals, content and actions related to the future role of ICT in teaching andlearning. Although this is encouraged by researchers and policy makers, the literatureon ICT policy plans and ICT policy planning is rather general and underdeveloped. Inthis study, the content of school-based ICT policy plans and underlying policy processesis explored. Data were gathered in 31 primary schools in Flanders: the schools’ ICTpolicy plan was submitted to a content analysis, and a semi-structured interview wasadministered to the school leader or the ICT coordinator. Using a framework of ICTleadership practices to guide the analysis (setting direction, developing people andmaking the organization work), we identified three types of ICT policy plans: (1) an ICTpolicy plan as a vision blueprint, (2) a technical inventory and (3) a comprehensive ICTpolicy plan. Although the last type takes into account all ICT leadership practices, wefound a variety of different approaches in the processes used to create and execute suchplans, such as the support of ICT training activities, data-driven decision-making pro-cesses and monitoring activities.
Practitioner notes
  • What is already known about this topic
  • Differentconditionssituatedondifferentlevelssupporttheintegrationof ICTinteach-ingandlearning.School-basedICTpolicyplanningisconsideredasoneof theschool-level conditions influencing the integration process.
  • School-basedICTpolicyplanningistheunderlyingschoolprocessleadingtowardstheICT policy plan.
ICTleadershipmustbeconsideredasaschool-levelpropertyratherthanassociatingitwith any one particular leadership role. ICT leadership is described in terms of theleadership practices, carried out collectively by the school staff members, of settingdirection, developing people and developing the organization.
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