RESEARCH OF ICT EDUCATION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Authors: Pavel Benes, David Mudrak, Josef Prochazka, Vladimir Rambousek, Jiri Stipek
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Information or ICT education in various forms has become an obligatory part of curriculum in all developed school systems. However, the approach to ICT education is not uniform across countries. There are substantial differences in organizational set-ups, topics range and forms of corresponding school activities. More than that, the general concepts, goals and learning content declared in the national curriculum and policy documents has to be concreted, aimed and transformed by teachers into the school-level curriculum. During the transformation, the teacher's experiences, personal attitudes, professional skills and technology competences project into her/his decisions and they influence the process and the results of ICT education. Therefore, further differences emerge as teachers' understanding of some key concepts and their attributed importance slightly varies. These facts stress not only the importance of modern, competence oriented information education in the primary and lower secondary education, but also the necessity of research activities trying to identify the situation and the concept of development of ICT competences of pupils with impact of research findings on the elaboration of methodology of information education and improvement of teachers training in the given direction.
The Faculty of Education at Charles University in Prague deals with ICT education and information literacy as one of its main research topics. In 2006 – 2007, a group of faculty researchers and PhD students in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of Czech Republic performed a national research project focused on curricular, processional and organizational elements of ICT education in Czech primary (ISCED 1) and lower secondary (ISCED 2) schools. The main goal of the research was to gather relevant indicators of the state and tendencies in this rapidly evolving area of elementary education and to propose steps to improve the quality of pre-service and in-service teacher training in the field of ICT integration into their subject. The research topic was, in general, the development of pupils' ICT competences and its determinants. The research field was an area covering the wide range of various ICT activities realized in specialized subjects and cross curricular projects. An interactive on-line survey system was used as a research tool and data were analysed by standard statistical methods to produce a global portrait of ICT education in Czech schools. The survey was addressed to teachers being involved in any form of ICT activities at a particular school. Relevant responses were collected from 930 schools across the land. The paper presents a short summary of the research project and some results.