Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Has ICT Come of Age? Recurring Debates on The Role of ICT in Education

Prof Jerry Wellington.

The use of ICT (information and communication technology) in education has a relatively short history. Yet already, several debates on the use of this ‘new technology’ in teaching and learning are emerging as perennial and perhaps ‘essentially contested’ (Gallie, 1955). Indeed, some of the ICT debates can be seen in past case studies of technology in teaching (Cuban, 2001).
In presenting a brief history of the use of computers in Schools, this paper will identify recurring debates and contested questions in the following 3 areas:
1. The vocational: can we ever achieve a match between school ICT to workplace ICT (i.e. industry and employment) in a context of rapid technological change? can school ICT be driven by a vocational imperative i.e. preparation for employment? Can ICT skills be ‘transferred’ from a school context to the workplace?
2. The pedagogical: what is the added value of technology in learning? What are ‘authentic and inauthentic’ labour in the learning situation? How can we measure the impact of ICT on learning and attainment? Can we ever demonstrate a causal relationship between ICT use and enhanced learning and attainment? What effect has ICT had on the role of the teacher and the ‘grammar of schooling’?
3. The societal: how is formal, school use of ICT related to ICT in society? How does home learning with ICT impact on formal learning, if at all? How have educational policies been influenced by home and society, if at all?
By considering policies and practice over the period, together with research in the field of ICT education, it will be argued that these debates are certainly un-resolved and are likely to be recurring, whatever the technological, societal or pedagogical context in the future.


Prof Jerry Wellington  (United Kingdom)
School of Education
University of Sheffield

  • ICT
  • Computers in Schools
  • Computers in Homes

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)