This release is available in Spanish.
Educational psychologist Dr Jon Altuna has carried out a thorough study of the phenomenon of the school 2.0. Concretely, he has looked into the use and level of incorporation of Internet and of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into the third cycle of Primary Education, observing at the same time the attitudes of the teaching staff, and of the students and the families of the children in this regard. His PhD, defended at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), is entitled, Incorporation of Internet into the teaching of the subject Knowledge of the Environment during the third cycle of Primary Education: possibilities and analysis of the situation of a school.
Dr Altuna's research is based on a study of cases undertaken over eight years at a school where new activities involving ICT had been introduced into the curricular subject of Knowledge of the Environment, taught in the fifth and sixth year of Primary Education. The researcher gathered data from 837 students, 134 teachers and 190 families of this school. This study was completed with the experiences of ICT teachers from 21 schools.
Changes in teaching staff and learning
The PhD concluded that the incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies into Primary Education brought with it positive changes in the role of the teacher and the student. Teachers and students stopped being mere transmitters and receptors, respectively. The first became mediators of information and the second opted for learning through investigating, discovering and presenting ideas to classmates and teachers. In this way they have, at the same time, the opportunity of getting to know the work of other students, too.
Thus, the use of Internet and ICTs reinforce participation and collaboration in the school. According to Dr Altuna, it also helps to boost learning models that are more constructivist, socio-constructivist and even connectivist.
Limitations to its incorporation
Despite its educational possibilities the researcher warns that there are numerous factors that limit the incorporation of Internet into the teaching of the curricular subject in question. These involve aspects such as the time dedicated weekly, technological and computer facilities, accessibility and connection to Internet, the school curriculum and, above all, the knowledge, training and involvement of the teaching staff.
In the latter case, the thesis observed a tendency to delegate responsibility for ICT in the school to those teachers who were considered to be "computer experts". Dr Altuna warns of the risks that this practice runs, as thereby the rest of the staff continues to be untrained and unable to apply ICT and Internet in activities undertaken within their curricular subject. It has to be stressed, therefore, that all should be responsible for the educational measures to be taken so that students acquire digital skills. Also observed was the need for a pedagogic approach to ICT which advises the teaching staff on knowledge about and putting into practice activities in educational innovation.
Dr Altuna not only includes the lack of involvement of teaching staff amongst the limitations for incorporating ICT, but also that of the involvement of the families. It was explained that families showed interest in the use of Internet and ICTs as educational tools for their children, but that these, too, excessively delegate to the schools. The researcher stressed that the families also need guidance, as they are concerned about the use by their children of Internet but do not know the best way to go about the problem.
About the author
Jon Altuna Urdin (San Sebastián, 1973) is specialist expert in Business Informatics, specialist teacher in Physical Education and has a degree in Educational Psychology. He drew up his thesis under the direction of Doctor Iñaki Dendaluze Segurola, recently retired Professor of Educational Research and Diagnostic Methods, belonging to the Faculty of Philosophy and Educational Sciences at the UPV/EHU. To carry out his thesis, Dr Altuna worked in collaboration with the San Ignacio de Loyola College in Donostia-San Sebastián, although 21 other schools in Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia, Araba, Navarra, Lapurdi and Barcelona also participated. Currently Dr Altuna is acting lecturer at the above-mentioned faculty, besides being lecturer in Therapeutic Child Education in the Basque Public Education System.