The content of this page was discussed and agreed by both authors.
The research design was written by Alastair Reynolds and the ethical considerations were written by Megan Dick.
A transcript of the discussion can be found in Appendix D.
The primary aim of this research is to assess the current level of ICT use and ability in two secondary schools. Data will be collected through a questionnaire given to all teachers at each school. The questionnaire will be designed specifically for this research, and its usefulness will be reviewed in the conclusions and reflection section of this report.
The data collected will be analysed to give some indication of the training needs of the staff in those schools, but detailed plans of what training would be appropriate will not be given. It is intended that the data collected should be useful for the creation of ICT training plans at a later stage.
For practical reasons, the questionnaire needs to be straightforward to complete since teachers are generally busy, and it would be impossible to go through it with each participant. It also needs to take into account the extremely varying backgrounds of those taking part, varying from some with little or no ICT background to those who are experienced and competent users of ICT. It has been decided that the questionnaire will have four sections, each with a distinct focus.
An initial questionnaire was prepared and trialled on two teachers. Several problems were corrected and the resultant questionnaire was used with the teachers at School X. Some further problems (mainly with section three) became evident, and these were dealt with before the survey was carried out in School Y. The questionnaire described below is the final one. The two main versions of the questionnaire may be found in Appendix A and Appendix B respectively.
Section 1 : Stage of ICT Development
This section aims to place each participant somewhere in the McKenzie (1993) model of stages of development. McKenzie describes four stages - survival, mastery, impact and innovation. For the purposes of this research the first three will be considered since most of the teachers in the two schools will be at one of these three stages.
The teachers will be asked which of three statements fits them best in each of five sections:
|1||I feel that using ICT is a struggle.||I am beginning to cope with using ICT.||I am using ICT successfully most of the time.|
|2||I find it very difficult coping with technical problems which arise when using ICT.||I am learning to cope with technical problems which arise when using ICT.||I can cope with almost all technical problems which occur when using ICT.|
|3||I have no basic ICT skills.||I have some basic ICT skills.||I have a good set of basic ICT skills.|
|4||I do not use ICT in teaching.||I use some ICT in teaching.||I feel confident using ICT in teaching.|
|5||I do not feel confident with ICT but would like to use it.||I feel some level of confidence with ICT and would like to use it more.||I feel confident with ICT and would like to use it more effectively.|
The three columns are intended to correspond to the three stages of development as detailed by McKenzie. The results should give an idea of each individual’s confidence in ICT use, and might highlight areas in which they feel particularly strong or weak.
Section 2 : Specific ICT Skills
This section aims to find out each participant’s level of competence with certain specific skills and applications. For each skill or application, they are asked to choose one of the following six statements, which are loosely based on those in Gillmon’s (1998) TCTrust questionnaire.
Using the keyboard, using a mouse, using on screen menus, using help facilities in programs, using a printer, installing software, copying naming and deleting files, researching using CD-ROMs, researching using the Internet, moving material between programs.
Internet web browser
School administration (SIMS software)
The responses in this section should highlight areas of training need for both individuals and the whole school.
Section 3 : Classroom ICT Use
Sections three and four together look at aspects of each teacher’s ICT use. Using Shulman’s (1986) terminology, section three is intended to examine pedagogical aspects and section four is intended to examine curricular aspects (relating to the subject).
Section three examines the ways in which teachers currently use ICT in the classroom, and the ways in which they would like to use ICT. For each method of organising ICT use in the classroom, the teacher indicates (i) whether they have used it and (ii) whether they would like to use it. This style of question has been adapted from Passey’s (BT) questionnaire.
|Tick one box for each method||Tick one box for each method|
|Methods of organising ICT use||I have used ICT in this way.||I have not used ICT in this way.||I would (do) like to use ICT in this way.||I would not like to use ICT in this way.|
|Pupils working in pairs or groups|| || || || |
|Pupils working individually|| || || || |
|Teacher leading pupil work from the front|| || || || |
|Teacher learning alongside the pupil|| || || || |
|Encouraging ICT use outside lessons|| || || || |
|Pupils having option to use ICT in all lessons|| || || || |
The responses in this section should highlight a number of issues relating to the way teachers teach, including (in some cases) levels of resistance to new innovations.
Section 4 : Curricular ICT Use
Section four focuses on the teacher’s use of ICT within their own subject area. To have produced separate questions for each curriculum area (as Passey suggests is appropriate) would be beyond the scope of this assignment, so the question was designed to ask in more generic ways about subject-based ICT use.
There are five questions. In each one the teacher must select one statement from four which they feel most closely fits their experience. The statements are given below:
|1||I have not used ICT in my subject teaching.||I have used ICT in my subject but not very successfully.||I have used ICT in my subject teaching with some success.||I use ICT effectively in my subject teaching.|
|2||I do not think ICT can enhance teaching in my subject.||I think ICT can enhance teaching in my subject but I am not sure how.||I am aware that some uses of ICT enhance teaching in my subject.||I know which uses of ICT enhance teaching in my subject.|
|3||I am not aware of ways in which ICT can be used in teaching my subject.||I am aware of how ICT can be used in teaching my subject but do not use it.||I am aware of how ICT can be used in teaching my subject and do use it.||I would be able to give others advice on how ICT can be used in my subject.|
|4||I do not know of any specialist software designed for teaching my subject.||I know specialist software is available for my subject but have not used any.||I have used some software which has been designed for teaching my subject.||I have evaluated software for my subject and decided what is useful or not.|
|5||I do not feel able to decide whether a particular use of ICT is effective.||I can sometimes tell whether or not a particular use of ICT is effective.||I am usually aware of whether or not a particular use of ICT is effective.||I can always decide whether or not a particular use of ICT is effective.|
This section should give an idea of how far through McKenzie’s (1993) stages each teacher is in terms of their subject-based use of ICT. The four columns roughly correspond to the four stages described by McKenzie, and the content is taken from the TTA documentation about what teachers are expected to be able to do with regard to their subject.
Budd (1995) suggests that needs assessments should occur at the individual, occupational (department) and organisational levels. The analysis of the data collected will therefore be carried out on these levels. Part I of the analysis will examine the responses from a particular department in School Y, and from one individual within that department. Part II of the analysis will look at all the data from School Y.
Although some quantitative techniques will be used to summarise the data collected, the majority of the analysis will be qualitative. Summaries of the results will be presented with the analysis and the full set of raw data for each school will be presented in an appendix. The main aims of the analysis will be:
Conclusions drawn will include reflection on the usefulness of the questionnaire and of the data collected, as well as observations about the nature of the ICT training needs in the two schools.
The format of the questionnaire will be agreed with the member of the senior management team responsible for IT at each school and permission will be sought to distribute them to staff.
The questionnaire that the staff will complete will clearly state the aims of the questionnaire:
Staff will be told that the information gathered by the questionnaire will only be used to compile information about their training needs. During the analysis of the survey results, each questionnaire will be referred to by a unique number so that participants’ anonymity can be maintained.
At this point it is likely that you will want to move on to
Part I or
Part II of the analysis.
You may also return to the contents page.