Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Learning Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details

 

ICT-LitPro: A community-based initiative on implementing a national curriculum on Information Communication Technologies Literacy

Maizatul Akmar Ismail.


In recent years the view that information communication technology (ICT) is vital in K-12 education has become widespread. ICT use has increased and various profesional bodies have set ICT standards for both students and teachers. In Malaysia, in the light of creating a knowledge-based society, there has been a strong push to bring technology into schools, and ICT has been integrated substantively into the primary and secondary school curriculum and instruction. This integration is varied and diverse based on the school curricula, and the focus is on learning with information and technology.

An ICT-enabled knowledge society is characterized by five conditions, one of them being the existence of a supportive governance (Zainab, Abdullah & Edzan; 2002). Supportive governance refers to both the government and citizens, and they come in the form of positive cognitive make up, such as appropriate attitudes and motivation towards ICT. The people or government involved should appreciate the role of information and understand the importance of ICT to support the process of becoming “information rich”.
Realizing the importance and value of ICT skills on K-12 students, a supportive governance in the form of a community-based organization is working towards the first stage of a whole school ICT literacy program which addresses the diversity within the school and aligns effective teaching and learning practices that can be replicated nationwide. A taxonomy of curricular goals and model of academic standards aimed at developing the ICT literacy is developed and further translated into an ICT Literacy (ICT-LitPro) curriculum initiated by the community-based organization for its selected secondary school’s community. The focus of ICT-LitPro is on both learning about information and technology and with information and technology. The supportive governance, comprising community leaders and residents, and academics from a university in the neighbourhood, collaborate in a participatory research that constitutes continuous dialogue and discussion among members in all stages of the project, namely: a) collective definition and investigation of ICT literacy; b) analysis of students’ level of ICT literacy; c) collective action to increase ICT literacy via ICT LitPro that will support and nurture local champions; d) impact evaluation of the program ‘input’ and ‘output’ to enable the formulation of a viable ICT Literacy syllabus to be replicated nationwide and e) continuous sharing of experience in developing content for the program;

The community-based organization started the program on all Year 7 students (Secondary 1) of Sunway Secondary School, in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The school administration provided space and other classroom facilities and two hour blocks of time to teach ICT. The program received a grant from NITC’s Demonstrator Application Grant Scheme (DAGS), that support national strategic intent undertaken by companies or joint ventures between public, private and community-based organisations. The grant was spent for computers, networking facilities and computer maintenance. A volunteered ICT coordinator headed the program and helped teachers develop and enhance the ICT literacy programs. Baseline information on the ICT literacy was gathered. Students at the start of the ICT course were found to have generally weak ICT literacy skills (with less than 10% of the students achieving the mastery level of 80%). The same students took the tests again at the end of the ICT literacy course and the results indicated a significant increase in the ICT literacy level of the students. However still only about half of the students achieved a mastery level on the tests. These results imply that ICT literacy programme should continue to take measures to increase the computer literacy of students and a single computer course is not sufficient to raise students to an adequate level of ICT competency. It was found that starting ICT exposure earlier in school appear to have a positive impact on ICT literacy. Thus one would expect that if ICT use in K-12 schools continue to increase, the ICT literacy level of students entering high schools and colleges will continue to rise. K-12 schooling must be expected to provide a significant portion of a students’ exposure to ICT.

Within the context of information and ICT literacy, fundamental practices such as resource based learning, problem based learning, active learning and meaningful assessment encourage students to recognise themselves as learners utilising a range of ICT literacies and higher order learning skills. These learning approaches are all taken into consideration when enhancing the ICT syllabi and modules for three levels, namely basic, intermediate and advance. Schools operating as strong learning communities should be characterised by distributed ICTs and are underpinned by learning models that incorporate information and ICT literacy, and recognise that learning is an individual process; knowledge and understandings are constructed; knowledge transfer is affected by the degree to which people learn with understanding; and learning is most effective when people engage in active monitoring of one's learning experiences. Underpinning this whole school approach to the proposed ICT curriculum is the principle of ‘Kaizen’, a concept taken from Japanese culture meaning "gradual and orderly continuous improvement". The students’ proficiency level are evaluated and the proposed syllabi are reviewed from time to time to cater for the ICT proficiencies deemed necessary for students and the fast changing of information and communication technologies.
Malaysia’s curriculum guidelines require the implementation of ICT as a teaching-tool in primary and secondary schools and that the most common avenue employed to stimulate the integration of ICT are in Mathematics, Science and English Language. However, various studies indicate that the call for integrating ICT into the curriculum has not been widely successful. The lack of preparation of teachers in using ICT as a teaching tool that might results in poor teaching quality is the number one problem. Further, one indication is that teachers will only use the computer if they find that it benefits them. They will not use them if it takes too long to master the skills of using the machine and its software and if it takes longer to prepare classes. Therefore, in covering how specialised ICT will be taught in schools, the writers are of the opinion that it is critical that all school students receive a minimum level of skills and competence in computers. Teaching students how to use word processors, spreadsheets, databases, and graphic tools is a safe way to bring computers to schools since these are the productive tools required later on in life. Appropriate strategies on how to use these productivity tools through interesting and practical exercises must be developed. Our view is that students should learn about information and technology and with information and technology. Efforts are underway to propose moving ICT as a subject area in the Malaysian lower secondary schools.

Presenters

Maizatul Akmar Ismail  (Malaysia)
Lecturer in Computer Science
Department of Information Science
University of Malaya


Keywords
  • ICT Literacy
  • ICT Syllabus
  • ICT in Education
  • Supportive Governance



(30 min Paper, English)