Policy Unplugged

Policy Unplugged: Dis/Connections between Technology Policy and Practices in Canadian Schools

JENNIFER JENSON
CHLOË BRUSHWOOD ROSE
BRIAN LEWIS
Richard Smith
Stan Shapson
Penny Milton
Robert Kennedy
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 188
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvh1
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  • Book Info
    Policy Unplugged
    Book Description:

    The authors conducted a two-year study on the implementation of computer technologies, including in-depth interviews and classroom observation at thirty-two elementary and secondary schools across Canada. Based on this research, Policy Unplugged explores the intersections and disconnections between provincial technology policy, school board policy, and school-based practices. The authors consider the ways in which technology policy has become "unplugged" from daily experience, showing that teachers, students, and administrators are part of complex pedagogical and social systems that have been badly served by the enforced and hasty introduction of technology. They also show how small, often unquestioned practices and power relations in schools can create seemingly insurmountable impediments to technological implementation.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6042-0
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-2)
    RICHARD SMITH, JENNIFER JENSON and CHLOË BRUSHWOOD ROSE

    Canadian public policy in all areas is concerned with the country’s transition to a “knowledge society.” This transition has brought increased attention to education, which is considered to be a primary engine and infrastructure of the “knowledge economy” (see, for example, OECD 2002). A dramatic result of this shift has been an added emphasis on information technology in Canadian schools. Provinces and school boards are seeking corporate donations and partnerships to support and increase the critical mass of computer technology (Rainsberry 2001). Technology implementation has become a key resource issue for education, with an investment of hundreds of millions of...

  5. 1 The Global and the Local: Technology Policy in Education
    (pp. 3-26)
    BRIAN LEWIS and JENNIFER JENSON

    “It’s like riding the front car on the roller coaster … It may look like you’re steering the cars, but in fact you’re just holding on.” This is how the then head of the us House Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee, Rep. Edward Markey, described his role as a key policy maker in 1994. It is a cautionary statement, graphically reflecting the type of shell shock we have witnessed among teachers, principles, boards, and decision makers involved in education policy making across Canada and the United States today.

    An information revolution has shaken the world. The effects of this revolution are...

  6. PART ONE: STUDYING EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY POLICY AND PRACTICE
    • 2 Finding Space for Technology: Organizational and Instructional Issues for Computer-Use in Schools
      (pp. 29-47)
      CHLOË BRUSHWOOD ROSE and JENNIFER JENSON

      The large-scale acquisition and installation of computer and networking hardware in schools across Canada has forced administrators and teachers to address two significant concerns: first, where to locate these new technologies – in computer labs, classrooms, libraries, or mobile laptop labs; second, whether the architectural structure of the school (i.e., classroom size and shape, including desks that accommodate mobile laptop technology, the building of new labs, and/or the creation of computer libraries) needs to be altered to accommodate new technologies. Cost factors often determine the placement of computers in schools as the price of rewiring an older school to equip classrooms...

    • 3 Gender Inequity and Professional School Culture: Teachers at Work with Technology
      (pp. 48-67)
      CHLOË BRUSHWOOD ROSE and JENNIFER JENSON

      This chapter explores some of the pressing concerns of teachers faced with the recent and ongoing demands made by provincial policy makers, administrators, and parents to implement and integrate computer technology in primary and secondary schools in Canada. In particular, we focus on the ways in which these concerns are complicated and shaped by gender inequities among teachers, within the school system, and in society more generally, especially in relation to competence with and use of computers. Like many of those who have studied computing in schools in the last twenty-five years (see, for example, Anjos 1999; Bryson and de...

    • 4 IT Professional Development for Teachers: Beyond “Best-Practice” Lists
      (pp. 68-85)
      JENNIFER JENSON, BRIAN LEWIS and RICHARD SMITH

      An often overlooked aspect of the implementation of computer technologies in schools, across Canada and elsewhere, is professional development. In this chapter, we aim to identify, describe, and clarify examples of teacher professional development from the standpoint of its participants – namely, the teachers and their administrators.

      As the number of computers accessible to students and teachers in classrooms and labs has increased, especially in the past ten years, there has been a corresponding emphasis on “integrating technology across the curriculum.” Teachers’ effective use of computers in their classrooms, however, remains an elusive goal. Researchers have identified numerous barriers to teachers’...

    • 5 Supporting Technology versus Instruction: Divisions in Policy and Practice
      (pp. 86-104)
      JENNIFER JENSON and CHLOË BRUSHWOOD ROSE

      During the 1990s, across the curriculum, teachers’ and students’ use of technology in Canadian schools shifted from a skillsbased focus, in which students are “trained” to be “technologically literate,” to a focus on “technology integration.” The emphasis of provincial governments on the cross-curricular integration of new technologies has renewed a focus on teachers’ “appropriate use” of these tools, and this, in turn, has strengthened calls by teachers for more and better support in their teaching with computers (British Columbia Ministry of Education 2002; Manitoba Ministry of Education 1998; Ontario Ministry of Education 2006). Accordingly, while school districts have thus far...

  7. PART TWO: MAKING EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY POLICY
    • 6 Making Better Policies for Learning Technologies
      (pp. 107-121)
      PENNY MILTON and ROBERT KENNEDY

      As the preceding chapters have attempted to foreground, policies and policy practices in schools, and education more generally, are affected by the everyday experiences of administrators, teachers, students, and other stakeholders far more frequently than is documented either in the construction or application of wide-scale policies for information and communications technology (ICT) implementation. Here, we attempt to describe the current context of policy making in Canada and argue that new processes are required to ensure better policy making and the effective implementation of computer-based technologies for educative ends.

      The integration of economic activity across regional and national boundaries – integration driven...

    • 7 Bridging Policy Gaps between Teaching and Technology
      (pp. 122-137)
      STAN SHAPSON

      Canada’s Innovation Strategy boldly states: “In the new knowledge economy of the 21st century prosperity depends on innovation, which, in turn, depends on the investments that we make in the creativity and talents of our people. Our overall goal is to move Canada to the top five innovative countries in the world” (Canada 2001). Applying new technologies effectively in education is a fundamental key to this strategy. It presents both a challenge and an opportunity to reassess and broaden our policies for schools and to transform teaching and learning in ways that will improve educational outcomes as well as Canada’s...

  8. Conclusion: Learning from Local Needs
    (pp. 138-148)
    JENNIFER JENSON and CHLOË BRUSHWOOD ROSE

    As we noted in chapter 4, research that has focused on technology use in schools has been dominated by “best-practice” discourses. These discourses have tried to describe what the most appropriate, or “best,” uses of computer technologies might be and to suggest ways that schools, administrators, and teachers might be supported in providing these uses. Often these best practices are reduced to unproblematic and highly generalized “to-do” lists that ignore the importance of local contexts and conditions for technology use by teachers. For example, in a recent report based on a quantitative, nation-wide survey of US teachers’ uses of computers...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 149-152)
  10. References
    (pp. 153-170)
  11. About the Authors
    (pp. 171-174)
  12. Index
    (pp. 175-176)