Monitor 2011 - The digital state of the Norwegian school
Department of Education and Social Work
Lillehammer University College
Review of the national digital survey
A yearly digital survey committed in compulsory school in Norway
Keywords: The Digital condition of the Norwegian compulsory school, motivated students, technology, media, digital natives
Monitor 2011(Egeberg, 2012) is a submission on the fifth quantitative survey of the Norwegian digital health situation completed by Egeberg et al. The survey is a qualified comparison foundation with international surveys on digital competence such as, e.g. PISA. Since 2003, the digital surveys have been completed every other year in Norway to identify indications on schools' digital state. The respondents who were chosen are a selection of school leaders, teachers and student in the 8th and 9th grades and level two in upper secondary school. The submissions research and results are also organized according to these three areas of participants.
The aim of The Monitor research((ITU), 2012) is to document development over time from 2003 when the digital tools in most schools were being implemented. The reasoning behind this is great differences and uneven prioritizing, both on the individual- and school level, a research survey assigned by the Ministry of education and research(Ministery of education and research, 2011) The concept of digital competence is discussed thoroughly and is bound up in students' different forms of coping. The writers have operationalized digital competence in five areas, which are: use of computers and computer tools, obtaining and processing of digital information, production and processing of digital information, digital judgment and digital communication.
As expected, the results show that the use of digital tolls is acquiring a larger and more central place in schools. As before, upper secondary school is way ahead of elementary schools, both in use of computers in general and in computers connected to units, teaching and learning, whereas interactive or smart boards are used more in elementary school. The findings also show a difference in terms of inequalities in the competence the students gain throughout their entire compulsory school, which implies that not everybody has the same chances and fortunes in life after going to school. This is a discovery that was found in Norwegian schools before showing that the school system adds to the social differences between the students, rather than decreasing them. Another Norwegian report shows that among other things the social differences in higher education increase, and that the educational level of the parents is crucial for the accomplishments of their children in higher education (Caspersen, Hovdhaugen & Karlsen 2012). Other current surveys that are eligible to compare with this survey is PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment ) (OECD, 2012), which is publishing a larger submission than the one that was published in 2009. Furthermore, there is another European survey, the ESSIE (schoolnet, 2012) from 2011 that would be appropriate and suitable to compare the results of this report with, as well as the findings of the international study known as ICILS (IEA, 2012) which will be conducted in 2013.
Digital competence is described in the report as a political concept that is used in media development, innovation and teaching, while also being described as a practical concept used by teachers and leaders to understand what students are going to use or learn through their compulsory schooling. It is also highlighted in the report that submissions like ITU monitor have the intention to discuss concepts such as these. The report points toward the OECD (Organisation for Economic & Development, 2006) and its focus on eight different forms of key competencies in which digital competence is represented as one of these. According to the OECD, digital competence is situationally dependent and always in flux in an ever changing world, which to varying degrees depend on cultural norms, technological access and powerful relationships. In other words, the report's findings confirm an agreement on digital competence being an important part of lifelong learning.
Students' apprehensive variation in digital competence after completing their education makes the findings of the results very timely in today's society, and describes a prioritized political dilemma for the future school politic. Namely, this is in relation to how we are going to greet the so-called digital natives (Thomas, 2011), although it seems as if their digital competence is lacking, at least in the proper competence to succeed in compulsory education(Selwyn, 2009).
The development of a Digital Detach is one of the findings of the report that can be very critical for students, and which can also affect their future work/educational possibilities. In other words, a tendency has been found that students who do well on the digital tests are the same students who score high on other school tests in other professions, and that these students are more competent in other areas as well. In this way, digital tools are yet another medium that contributes to a larger segregation between students, and not a way of aligning them with the same possibilities and rights. The report confirms the correlation between the number of books in their homes, the parents' educational level and the students' digital competence.
Motivation is another discovery in the survey and is attached to the Digital Detach, and is also a possible explanation for poor results among the students. Something was also pointed out in the Australian test of digital competence (Ministerial Council for Education, 2010), in which the socio-economic relations describe the biggest variation of the students' digital competence. Digital Detach has been discovered in Norway, and is a factor that contributes to a larger social difference between students, as opposed to being a factor that decreases the differences. It could be said that the report points toward a missing contributing factor in school that can increase students' learning, motivation and will to create, learn, and become successful in life. An interesting question in relation to this is whether the digital tool and digital competence can become contributing factors in schools that contribute to the opposite, namely decreasing the differences in social inequalities in Norwegian schools, while giving the broader group of students a fair chance.
A discovery was made in the ITU monitor of use patterns, the time used with computers and students' digital competence, which is that there is no positive correlation between the two, thus also suiting the 2009 findings. This is in accordance with earlier assumptions, which report that boys do not have a better digital judgment than girls, a tendency that is also recognized in PISA 2009, in which girls scored higher than boys on digital reading(Frønes & Narvhus, 2011).
Reference frames and attitudes to computer science are discussed in the report, and point at the way in which computer tools are used in education and which frames the students are set in with their technological competence. In themselves, the findings are contradictory in saying that students can have a large computer competence, but still score low on digital tests. In accordance with the so-called "digital natives'" discussion, this questions how computers are used, what is expected of the students, how the students are motivated to use digital tools in their learning and how we include the students' "unintended" digital competence in their learning. Reports show that the frame that students work within in their spare time is within social media and web 2.0 tools, entertainment and communication), which is something that is totally different than the frame of reference formed for students in school. An incongruence is discovered between the goal of school activities, tools and media that students use and which competence the students need.
There is a need to conceptualize digital tools in school in which the students' competence must be used in another way. They should be trained in a wide range of competencies with different digital tools, and must be taken into a learning situation in schools to increase their learning and not the opposite. It is not a given that the teachers or the students themselves see the possibilities and the learning potential in tools that are traditionally used in other situations. Questions of how to take advantage of dynamic communication tools such as blogs, net societies and group writing classes come up.
What kind of material and resources that are used by the teachers is another problematized area of the report that refers to whether they are critical of the resources they use, and whether they show a positive tendency towards the publisher's material as their foundation. Upper secondary schools that use computers the most point talk about problems with students' behaviour in classrooms as an effect of using computers quite a bit, which is something that needs to be a focus in class management.
A further way of working after the reports' surveys are pointed out in self-reflection, where the authors mention((ITU), 2012) qualitative methods to find the answers they still have not found, as well as how to understand the time consumed in correlation to students' computer and digital competence.
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