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Making Use of ICT: Glimpses from Norwegian Teacher Practices

This paper presents the Norwegian results of a baseline study of teacher practices with ICT.

ECAAD vision of formative e-assessment (Reimann, 2011)
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idunn.no

Abstract
Through semi-structured interviews, six Norwegian teachers explain how digital technology not only changed aspects of their planning and classroom teaching, but also assessment and feedback. The results, together with similar results from England, Denmark, Germany, and Austria, contribute to the development of ICT support for formative e-assessment in the 21st Century classroom. Furthermore, through an analysis of the baseline interviews, tweets, blogs, forum posts, and discussions with teachers at conferences, we identified nine ICT-supported assessment methods being used in Norwegian classrooms. Our conclusion is that the interviewees are active users of ICT in all aspects of professional teacher practice, using both the tools provided and finding new tools to integrate technology into their professional practice.

Keywords: Teacher practice and ICT, ICT and assessment, assessment for learning, technology enhanced learning

Introduction
A recent editorial in this journal (Søby 2013) reviewed the status of information and communication technology (ICT) as a strategic instrument in the Norwegian educational sector. This paper reminded us that ICT has been included in the educational policy agenda for almost 30 years. After the use of digital tools was identified as a basic skill in 2006 (changed to “digital skills” in 2011), Norway became the first European country to develop a curriculum that linked the use of digital tools across all subjects. The European Survey of Schools (EUN, 2013) found that “Norway comes top in Europe with regard to ICT infrastructure and use” (Søby, 2013, p.4). The Norwegian Monitor 2013 study (Hatlevik, Egeberg, Guðmundsdóttir, Loftsgarden, & Loi, 2013), that
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investigated teacher uses of ICT in various aspects of their practice, found that ICT use was higher for administrative tasks (22.1% use computers for six hours or less per week, while 29.6% use them for 13 hours or more) than for teaching (69.9% use computers six hours or less per week, while 11% use them for 13 hours or more). This study, however, did not specify the details of how teachers use ICT in their day-to-day professional practice.

This paper reports on a study in which six Norwegian teachers were interviewed on the uses of ICT in their professional practice. The study was guided by the following research question: How is ICT used in teachers’ professional practice? Professional practice encompasses “an individual’s private, interwoven, but constantly changing system of knowledge, experience and values, which at all times has an impact on the person’s teaching” (Handal and Lauvås, 1999, p. 19). Teachers were interviewed in conjunction with a European research project that is interested in how European teachers are currently using ICT in lesson planning, classroom teaching, monitoring, assessment, feedback, and communication in order to provide better support for formative e-assessment in the future 21st Century classroom.

After describing the background and method for the study, the paper describes how ICT is being used and compares the Norwegian results with results from the other participating countries, which include Germany, Austria, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. We then present a set of ICT-supported assessment methods currently being used in Norwegian schools, which provide us with insight into assessment methods being developed and integrated into teaching practice. Finally, we discuss the results in terms of this project and within the broader context of how Norwegians use ICT in their professional practice.

Background
In order to support teacher classroom assessment methods, the EU Next Generation Teaching, Education and Learning for Life (NEXT-TELL) project1 focuses on providing support for such efforts. In particular, the project’s Evidence-centred Activity and Assessment Design (ECAAD) activity aims to support teachers and students with nuanced information about learning when it is needed, and in a format that is supportive of pedagogical decision-making, in order to optimise the level of stimulation, challenge, and feedback for students. Pedagogical decision-making includes lesson and assessment planning, assessment and monitoring of learning, interpretation of assessment results and giving feedback, improving one’s own teaching practice, and engaging in communication with various stakeholders, that is, various aspects of a modern view of teaching (Darling-Hammond et al., 2005). NEXT-TELL subscribes to Darling-Hammond et al.’s (2005) view that teacher practice also includes participating in school development, cooperating in teams, and engaging with professional learning communities. Two other NEXT-TELL activities, Teacher Inquiry into Student Learning (TISL) and Strategic Planning with ICTs in Education (SPICE), address these issues.

Barbara Wasson is professor Department of Information Science and Media Studies UiB. Cecilie Hansen is a researcher at Uni Health.