Globalization from a Buddhist Perspective
Pracha Hutanuwatr and Jane Rasbash
A Buddhist Perception of Globalization
The current debate on globalization has a broad area of general agreement, namely, that globalization is the latest expression of a long-standing strategy of development based on economic growth and liberalization of trade and finance. This results in the progressive integration of economies of nations across the world through the unrestricted flow of global trade and investment. Beyond these points people participating in the debate generally split into two main camps: those who believe that the expansion of the free market economy will benefit the societies and those who do not.
The mainstream approach is generally the former, rooted in the underlying assumption that globalization brings jobs, technology, income, and wealth to societies. However, these societies must be willing to submit to the principles of the free market—limiting public spending, privatizing public services, removing barriers to foreign investment, strengthening.
export production, and controlling inflation. Those against the above policies argue that the “great success story” of globalized production has led to a litany of social and ecological crises: poverty and powerlessness of the majority of people, destruction of community, depletion of natural resources, and unendurable pollution (see Power, G. 1997, pp.76_77).
From a Buddhist perspective and from our experience in Thailand, the authors of this article have to say that our standpoint is closer to the latter, with the awareness that there is big diversity within both camps and that there are people who are trying to work out something in between the two.
We must remember that when we talk about globalization there are other aspects like globalization of the dominating consumer monoculture and accompanying devastating environmental effects. On a more positive note, all around the world we can witness evidence of the rising consciousness of the inter-connection of ecological systems and the emergence of global networking among those in civil society. However, from a Buddhist perspective, the very core of the globalization process is the globalization of ta.nhaa or “craving.” According to Buddhist analysis craving is the root cause of all suffering.
As mentioned above, the term globalization may be new, but the causes and conditions leading to it are not. Globalization is an expansion and continuation of the idea of development, which is rooted in the belief that the “progress” of humanity is a linear, anthropocentric process.
When we look at ta.nhaa in relation to this kind of world view we can see that it has created a civilization that victimizes its own people, people of other world views, and other sentient beings. Over the last few hundred years this has been happening in the name of industrialization, colonialization, and development in both capitalist and communist frameworks.
As craving becomes globalized the scale of suffering has been vastly amplified around the world. Masses of largely self-sufficient Third World communities are being rapidly transformed into consumers of capital-intensive goods and services, mainly those provided by the transnational corporations. While a small number of people perceive benefit through an increased standard of living, the majority fall victim to discontent, dependency, and poverty. With the increased emphasis on material goods the quality of life of both groups deteriorates and becomes spiritually void.
From the Buddhist perspective both the anthropocentric elements and the belief in progress are basic wrong views. In Buddhism the concept of inter-relatedness is essential. If we seriously consider this, human beings cannot be the “centre of the universe.” We are just one among many species and our well-being depends on the well-being of other species and the natural environment.
The belief in progress moves us away from the “present moment.” The causes and conditions of staying in the “present moment” or the “moment of reality” are, for Buddhism, of prime importance in the art of coping with suffering. Under the “progress” ethos we are led to expect that things will be better in the future at the cost of the present reality. This belief in progress is a kind of myth as it promises something that will never be completely fulfilled—indeed the striving to fulfil this myth is an aspect of the ta.nhaa.
For the sake of modernization, ordinary people have been induced to abandon cultures and ways of life that have evolved over thousands of years and are for the most part extremely appropriate to local conditions and environment. Workers have been forced to sacrifice their labour for low wages for the sake of industrialization; farmers have been relocated for big infrastructure projects in the name of development and economic growth. In these processes the disruption to living in the “present moment” and the resulting upheaval is given little or no consideration at all.
As ta.nhaa increases around the world it goes hand in hand with the creation of an almost total consumer monoculture. This monoculture is evangelized through the global advertising agencies, the information highway, satellite and cable television, and Western film studios. These huge “dream factories” and “information creators” are coming from an alien cultural base with little relevance to the diverse localities to which they are beaming their acquisitive gospel. Their alluring messages convey an almost totally inappropriate and non-sustainable lifestyle to the most remote corners of the world. The vast majority of people who are manipulated by these messages will never have the means to fully acquire the images portrayed to them so they will feel inferior and culturally backward.
Like the extinct species of the Amazon, thousands of years of unique cultures are being lost around the world in the name of globalization and progress. As world culture becomes homogenized, traditional art and music forms become undervalued and obsolete. All over the world there is a common oral tradition of storytelling with vibrant singers and dancers portraying unique tales of seasons, gods, and local events. These largely spontaneous artists, whose art stimulates compassion, community, and solidarity, are the heart and soul of local communities. They are now being ousted by the new icons of pop culture like Michael Jackson whose performances to the masses hardly enhance their quality of life.
As the transnationals invade every society they bring with them overpowering media that drown out the gentler, more vibrant local cultural norms. Hence personal success in terms of wealth, power, recognition, and the futile attempts to fulfil unsatiable sensual pleasure, become the domineering values in globalized society. The result is an inappropriate form of “Western” culture hungry for the unnecessary, overpackaged, standardized products of the transitional organizations. People are taught to compete and compare in the purchase of excessive consumer goods. In short, greed, violence, and delusion—which the Buddhists call akusalamuula (unwholesome roots)—in different forms are the norm promoted in the globalized culture.
However, it seems that the negative result of karma is coming back to hit its own sources as we see unemployment, devastation of the environment, and disintegration of family and community values in all societies following this destructive direction. This is provoking more and more deep criticism and challenges both from within those societies and from people of other civilizations. Some critics even put it dramatically that:
We are witnessing the end of modernity. What this means is that we are in the process of changes in Patriarchy (I am male); Individualism (I win therefore I am); Materialism (I shop therefore I am); Scientific Dogmatism (I experiment therefore I know better, or I have no values thus I am right); and Nationalism (I hate the other therefore I am). This is however a long-term process and part of the undoing of capitalism. All these connect to create a new world, which is potentially the grandest shift in human history. We are in the midst of galloping time, plastic time, in which the system is unstable and thus can dramatically transform.
Unfortunately, firstly our elites and later our ordinary people seem to have lost confidence in our own cultural values. We become convinced that our civilizations are inferior, though we may still pay lip service to the forms of our traditions. People in this state of mind are easily lured onto the consumer bandwagon in its many forms.
This is especially true of the younger generation who are so much influenced by the media of the multinationals. Today our young people aspire to go to expensive Western schools and an inappropriate Western-style of architecture is spawning all over the world. We are abandoning appropriate and traditional costumes in favour of Western-style clothes. In many cases, influenced by the hamburger, pizza, and Coca-Cola type chains, people around the world are even changing their eating and drinking habits in order to emulate the “progressive” nations.
Sustainable and wise cultural practices are also changing. The Chinese are no longer proud that they abandoned the firegun hundreds of years ago though they had the knowledge to invent it before any Western nations if they chose to. The high-ranking Buddhist monks are forgetting the basic teachings of the Buddha to live a simple life in quest of higher wisdom—these modern monks are competing with each other for the latest model BMW and Mercedes! Lay Buddhists often use Buddhism only as a ritualistic function in life and few live according to the real teachings. Today most lay Buddhists actually worship money and “success.”
Around the world the numbers of single people are rising and the isolated “nuclear family” is becoming the norm. Modern people are becoming more and more cut off from communities, societies, and the natural environment. Surely, this cannot sustain itself and over the next generation we will witness further breakdown of societies. Ultimately this may mean the end of the era of modernity, though it is still uncertain what world view will emerge from the ruins.
Problems Caused by Globalization
Thus it would seem that globalization can mean the spreading of greed, violence, and individualism to all corners of the globe. From a Buddhist point of view, when the cultural values of a society are motivated by these unwholesome roots, the society itself will face all kinds of difficulties. These include corruption, crime, war, exploitation, and abuse. Generally they lead to ecological destruction, disintegration of cultural values, and the breakdown of all relationships.
This is because, from a non-self point of view, we are one with other beings in the universe, human and non-human. Hence to harm others is to harm ourselves as well. Our social and environmental crises prove this law of nature. The inter-relatedness between human moral conduct and ecological balance is clearly stated in the ancient scriptures, as seen in a paper of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s translations and comments on a Paali sutta. He is commenting on the results of people not acting in accordance with the Dhamma (law of nature):
Now, when the brahmins and people with money already do not act according to Dhamma, the city people and country people do not act in accordance with Dhamma, so it follows that both the city and the country people do not act according to Dhamma… When we have reached the point where all people do not act according to Dhamma there arise uncertainties, fluctuations, and abnormal conditions in all of nature: The orbit of the moon and sun is fluctuating and uncertain .. the stellar system has been disturbed by the ambitions of very greedy people, people who do not act according to Dhamma.
The sutta goes on to describe how the pattern or order of the universe becomes confused and this affects the patterns of weather, which affect the crops and in turn the people and animals cannot survive. Buddhadasa comments:
Human beings have long since brought about injustices which have left their mark on nature: this has resulted in nature behaving incorrectly. When nature is disrupted, it surrounds humans and brings about their continued downfall until it affects their physical bodies and their heart-mind: then our heart-mind also becomes mixed up.
(Buddhadasa 1987, pp.22_27)
We can see these difficulties clearly happening in all societies as they become touched by modernization. Under the new name of globalization the catastrophe will further intensify. The mad rush towards progress in the last thirty years of development in Siam has left a vast disparity between rich and poor and huge, devastating scars on the culture, the natural environment, and social norms. It is hard to believe that contemporary Thai values have sprung from a Buddhist culture.
Many aspects of contemporary Siam are frightening examples of all that is wrong with modernization. The underpinning capitalist monoculture promotes a value system almost totally at odds with the traditional Buddhist philosophy based on inter-connection, compassion, and awareness of greed, hate, and delusion.
Let us start with Bangkok, once renowned as the Venice of the East, a mystic city of canals and golden spires—now one of the most polluted cities in the world, a concrete jungle in the truest sense. Known to locals as Krung Thep, the City of Angels, Bangkok is full of construction sites, ugly new buildings, superhighways, and shopping malls indiscriminately built which tear the heart out of local communities. Many huge slum areas have materialized and many people live in shacks which, in the rat-ridden, exhaust-fumed city, are not an abode for healthy living.
For many of the city’s visitors Bangkok’s angels are the numerous prostitutes in what has now become a global centre for sex tourism. The prostitutes are mainly young girls from poor rural areas and indigenous hill tribes both from within Siam and from neighbouring countries. Many of these unsophisticated girls have been tricked or lured into becoming prostitutes by unscrupulous procurers who recruit from the villages, promising high salaries for jobs in the “entertainment” industry. Most of the girls had little awareness of exactly what this would entail. This burgeoning of the sex industry has been encouraged by an emerging consumer society advocating instant gratification. It was spurred on by the U.S. Vietnam soldiers on R & R and later by the sex tourists who were lured to fill the gap.
The landscape of Siam has been stripped of its trees, the coral reefs destroyed through pollution and plundering. The water in the numerous canals and rivers of this water-based culture are now so polluted they are unsafe to swim in. The destruction of the rain forests, which act as natural sponges during the rainy season, has caused extreme flooding. The building of huge dams for hydro-electricity caused thousands of people to lose their traditional, self-reliant way of life when they were displaced by these dams to infertile land and lured by government schemes to produce cash crops. Only a few decades ago the culture was still based on rural sustainable agriculture that was interdependent with the floods; the farming seasons worked around it welcoming the fertile silt from the flood-water. If a few simple, thatched houses were damaged they were easily replaced or repaired from the abundant forests. Nowadays floods are seen as a menace destroying unsustainable cash crops and causing unbelievable chaos to the already congested streets of Bangkok. In these days of acquisition the fear of floods has a whole new dimension as expensive houses and possessions are in danger of water damage.
How could this happen in a Buddhist society? With few exceptions the monks of Siam naively welcome globalization as an unavoidable friend. Many monks have consumer goods such as mobile phones, BMW’s, and portable computers; many are obsessed with raising money from their newly rich parishioners to build ever bigger Buddha statues and useless halls and buildings.
As is the trend around the world, the bright young contemporary minds of Siam are being lured into the fast-paced business world with little time or inclination to develop wisdom through contemplation. Young and old Thais alike are victims of the huge promotion of a global monoculture through the actions of the multinationals with the capitalist, individualistic ethos.
Activists, environmentalists, and ordinary people affected by big development projects launched campaign after campaign against these tendencies such as the Forum of the Poor protests. The effect of this was that Thai and foreign multinational corporations turned to neighbouring countries for timber, hydro-electric dams, and other natural resources.
This kind of development truly benefits very few people and even those who become rich often become victims of acquisitive desires which rob them of personal fulfilment. In spite of their “success” in wealth, power, and recognition they are still haunted by the sense of lack and basic existential insecurity: a basic fact of life which they never have time to attend to. These people, eager for instant gratification, have lost touch with the art of coping with basic human suffering. This art has been well developed in the Buddhist tradition through meditation practice and is a wonderful tool for ensuring emotionally mature and stable adults. Indeed it is an integral part of most traditional religions and indigenous wisdom.
This new kind of suffering, spawned by consumerism and fueled by the globalization process, is happening in various stages all over Southeast Asia and indeed the world. Even in countries like Burma and Laos the scars of the consumer society are emerging. This is seen in the ugly modern buildings that are starting to appear in Rangoon and Vientiane, in the ubiquitous Coca-Cola available in the smallest villages, and in the gentle people who feel “left behind” and aspire to Western goods they have seen on television.
Looking at these trends globally, we see startling evidence of structural violence in regard to economic injustice in the world today. For instance, 20% of people in the richest countries receive 87% of the world income, while the poorest 20% of the world’s people receive barely 1.4% of total income. The combined incomes of the top 20% are nearly 60 times larger than those of the bottom 20%. The gap doubled since 1950 when the top 20% had 30 times the income of the bottom 20%. And this gap continues to grow.
The thin segment of super-rich in the world have formed a stateless alliance that defines global interest as synonymous with the personal and corporate financial interest of its members. They claim the world’s wealth at the expense of less affluent people, other species, and eco-systems on the planet. This is the true meaning of global competitiveness—competition among localities. Large corporations, by contrast, minimize their competition through mergers and strategic alliances.
(Korten, D. 1996, p.24)
The result of this structural violence is that for 80% of the world’s population globalization means global poverty in the sense that:
In the 1960’s and before, capitalism needed us, if only to exploit us. They not only needed our land, our natural resources, our forests, our ports, they needed us as workers, to exploit our labor. Now they do not even need us to exploit. We are expendable. So they decided to let us die. To let us have diseases such as cholera, to let us have our shanty-towns around all the major cities, where millions of people live. “They” are creating another type of society, also capitalist, or rather sub-capitalist. It is the Capitalism of Poverty.
(Hoidobro, E. 1996, p.36, quotedby Carmen, R. 1997, p.57)
As part of being human we all have a tendency towards greed, hatred, and delusion. In the modern world this tendency is greatly encouraged, hence the globalization of suffering described above. In a more just and fair society these negative trends are warned against rather then worshipped as something we all should pursue.
An Alternative Buddhist Vision
How can Buddhism contribute meaningfully to the present crisis of civilizations? We suggest that the main contribution will be the Buddhist view of the meaning of life and its implications for the kind of society that encourages this. From the Buddhist point of view happiness doesn’t come from trying to satisfy ta.nhaa (unsatiable cravings), either for material wealth, power, recognition, or sensual pleasure—a trend propagated by the present global consumerism. On the contrary, glorifying ta.nhaa will lead to meaninglessness, dissatisfaction, and alienation. Happiness and real meaning of life come from the reduction of ta.nhaa, which will in turn open space for the wholesome qualities of life to flourish, e.g. compassion, wisdom, generosity, peace of mind. These wholesome qualities will connect us to ourselves, our fellow human beings, and nature. These qualities of life are considered ariyadhana (noble wealth), real qualities that will help us to cope with suffering. Buddhism encourages us to confront this existential suffering in life. In contrast, modern culture offers a way to escape from this suffering in the name of progress with its promises of health, prosperity, and consumption. In other words, modern culture encourages the satisfying of ta.nhaa, which is the root cause of suffering. So this is why there is so much suffering in the modern world despite the high levels of prosperity and technological advance.
In an authentic Buddhist civilization a good life would be materially simple and in tune with the natural environment. One would have few belongings and abundant time for meditation, friendship, and community life. A good Buddhist society is one that is dominated by values such as cooperation, generosity, compassion, spirituality, and a social environ ment that supports and encourages the growth of wholesome qualities among people. In the ideal Buddhist society the economic, political, and cultural structures would support the growth of these virtues. Of course this is the opposite of the present global trends. From this viewpoint a simple life is preferable, one with far fewer consumer goods than in the present Western norm. This is because less consumption will ease our material burden and allow us to cultivate wholesome qualities.
This doesn’t mean that Buddhism rejects material well-being. The point is to know and understand the limits of material well-being, but not to let the means become the end as modern people tend to do. A mantra for this kind of living could be “contentment” rather than “the more the better.” This should not be construed as a rigid ideology but should allow a wide range of modes of ownership with upper limits. At one end of the scale would be people living very simply with basic “material” security such as authentic Buddhist monks and nuns who consume according to their basic needs but devote their lives to the service of humankind and all sentient beings. Such people can be the guiding lights of a society. At the other end are people who care only for the well-being of an individual and their immediate family. They may do so but with an upper limit on ownership that does not allow them to use wealth to exploit others and nature. Greed is not encouraged. Between these two poles there can be a diverse range of modes of ownership and enterprise according to individual choice based on the ideas of economic decentralization.
Another pertinent factor is political decentralization. This is because power, like wealth, can be used both negatively and positively, and the tendency to use it negatively is always there. So for political organizations the smaller the better. We have to bear in mind that the Buddha established the Sangha in a very decentralized form without appointing any of his disciples to be the supreme leader even though there were many enlightened disciples in those days.
As Buddhists we would draw inspiration from the Buddhist tradition to encourage localization and decentralization over globalization and monopolization. This kind of localization and decentralization doesn’t conflict with international networking among civil society initiatives as long as it is not in the spirit of centralization.
While there are undoubtedly many factors, in principle we agree with David Korten’s argument that:
We do not have a globalized economy because of some historical inevitability. We have it because a small group of people who have enormous political and economic power chose to advance their narrow and short-term economic interest through a concerted well-organized and well-funded effort to rewrite the rules of the market to make it happen. In other words, economic globalization came about as a consequence of conscious human choices. It is the right, indeed the responsibility, of those who were not party to those decisions to reclaim the power we have yielded to those who have used it against the public interest and to make different choices.
Globalization & Non-Self
Globalization, like anything else, is impermanent and thus non-self and will last as long as causes and conditions allow it. Like all other tempting matters, we need to be aware of both the positive and negative effects of globalization. Once we have enough critical awareness that the negative aspect outweighs the positive aspect, we will be able to liberate ourselves from it. At least in Siam, the poor are the ones who have seen the negative side very clearly.
As Buddhists, we believe that no institution can last long without real moral legitimacy however powerful it may be. In regard to the multinational corporations manipulating the globalization process mainly for their own benefit and creating so much suffering for other people, we agree with people who foresee the end of the present trends towards globalization.
The future of the planet cannot be and will not be the simple continuation of the present neoconservative capitalism. That economic system will never deliver the good of development and welfarism to all of us. The frustration and anger of the jobless and of the hungry (and unfulfilled?) will be increasingly corroborated by the loss of confidence by a growing part of humankind in the progress and happiness promised by capitalism and its “development.” Immanual Wallerstein believes that capitalism may collapse, not primarily because it is lacking economic technology to adjust to the crises but due to the fundamental lack of legitimacy in the eyes of both the North and the South.
A Buddhist response is not just sitting and waiting for Maara (evil forces) to cause collapse. We have to cultivate our paaramii (spiritual strengths) to liberate ourselves and our communities from this corporate-imperialist process.
In Siam there are a number of grassroots initiatives led by farsighted farmers and NGO workers that are attempting to liberate their communities from the mainstream market forces. Their primary approach is to return from cash-crop agriculture, promoted by the government in the last thirty years, to growing food for community consumption with only the surplus sold for cash.
Over the last ten years or so some farmers and villages have been experimenting with alternative agricultural projects emphasizing organic fertilizer and insecticide, on a subsistence economy base.
After a decade, the improved quality of life can be clearly seen and has become a visible demonstration of a viable alternative. However, the general picture for rural Siamover the last decade is much more depressing. Many, many farmers have gone into debt and bankruptcy by joining the cash-crop economy. Thousands of rural people have been relocated from their fertile homelands due to big development projects such as hydro-electric dams and power stations. These are major reasons for the long protests of the Forum of the Poor over the last ten years. With the protests of the poor and the severe problems of the growth-oriented economy Siam is close to a crisis situation. Many people are starting to look to the few innovative examples of alternative agriculture as a solution, especially among the poor. Prompted by the demands of the Forum, some government departments are planning to cooperate with the NGOs and peoples’ organizations to encourage around eight million farmers to join this movement. This is an exciting new direction although it is still too early to predict any real positive change.
As for the middle and upper classes, the falling of the Thai economy may help to awaken people to the real nature of globalization. During the last fifteen “boom” years as their businesses flourished, many Siamese worshipped globalization and development.
Now as the bottom starts to fall out of the economy they are left wondering how they can survive. Many may not yet see that there is now an opportunity for people to develop a true critical awareness of the dangers of globalization. Hopefully the voice of mindfulness from Buddhist thinkers such as the late Venerable Buddhadasa and Sulak Sivaraksa will be listened to more than those of the secular technocrats and money-makers who have been determining the fate of the country for the last half-century
Buddhadasa, translated by Olsen, G. (1987). “A Notion of Buddhist Ecology,” in Seeds of Peace, Vol. 3, No. 2, May 2530 (1987), Bangkok, Siam.
Carmen, R. (1997). “How Much is Enough,” in Development: The Journal of the Society for International Development, Vol. 40, No. 2, June 1997, Rome, Italy.
Inayatullah, S. (1997). “Global Transformation,” in Development. (same volume).
Korten, D. (1996). “The Failure of Bretton Woods,” in The Case against the Global Economy, edited by Mander, J. & Goldsmith, E. (1996). Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.
Power, G. (1997). “Globalization and its Discontents,” in Development (same volume).
Globalization and Cultural Identity.
A Review of the Literature Examining the Barriers to Technology Integration
In reviewing the literature that investigated the barriers to successful computer implementation into schools, common themes emerged. These themes can be categorized within three realms; the teacher realm, the physical realm and the social realm. The role of the teacher was identified, by a number of authors, as the most important factor to successful integration (Bitner & Bitner, 2002; Loveless, 1996; Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon & Byers, 2002; Conlon & Simpson; 2003; Guha, 2003; Vannatta, 2002). Within the context of the teacher’s role a number of factors contributed to the level of successful integration. The individual’s willingness to adapt to change, his or her comfort and skill level, as well as the ability to deal with issues of time management were the most common indicators. Within the realm of the physical environment issues of accessibility and organizational constraints arose (Loveless, 1996). Existing literature revealed that support systems were a critical piece of the puzzle as well (Bitner & Bitner, 2002; Guha, 2003; Hruskocy, Cennamo, Ertmer, & Johnson, 2000; Schmid, Fesmire, & Lisner, 2001; Walsh & Vannatta, 2001; Mouza, 2002). Within this social realm, teachers who had support systems including technicians, administrators and peers who could assist when needed were more likely to successfully integrate technology. An additionally needed support system was effective professional development models and those models that were designed to incorporate an internal support system, also aided in successful integration.
It was the skill and attitude of the teacher that determined the effectiveness of technology integration into the curriculum (Bitner & Bitner, 2002). Once teachers developed skills, they could begin to find ways to integrate technology into their curriculum and demonstrate its use to others. If learning was the impetus that drove the use of technology in the school, teachers and students could be partners in the learning process, altering traditional paradigms of the teacher providing wisdom and the student absorbing knowledge. Motivation to endure the frustration and turmoil of the process of change needed to be intrinsic.
Some examples of successful integration centred around ICT (Information, Communication Technology) ingrained in a constructivist view of education. Constructivist theory is based on the premise that learning is provoked by the learner’s desire to minimize a mismatch between what is already known and what needs to be learned or has been provoked by circumstances. The intrinsic need of the learner to make sense of the environment drives the learning, and instruction must be tailored to the developmental needs of participants (Marshall, 1993). Constructivist teachers are facilitators in their classrooms where students are actively engaged in exploration, invention and discovery. Collaborative and cooperative learning are favoured in order to expose the learner to alternative viewpoints. Unfortunately, electronic technologies often were not used in ways consistent with constructivist principles of learning and no reason existed to believe they would be in the near future (Pepi & Scheurman, 1996). Teachers were observed using technology as an instrument for classroom management, allowing students to use the computer as a reward or for drill and practice type activities. The time students spent using technology resulted in incidental learning but the activities were often justified by teachers in terms of keeping students on task rather than because of evidence that technology aided in the construction of meaningful knowledge. Computers should be used as facilitators of thinking and knowledge construction (Jonassen, 1995). Until our conceptions of learning are reformed, technologies would continue to be delivery vehicles and not tools to think with or to advance our conceptual understandings.
Teachers were unprepared for using computers in their teaching except in the most basic forms of instruction (Loveless, 1996). Loveless stated that some advocates believed that computers supported progressivism’s long standing effort to celebrate children’s innate interests, to provide classrooms that stressed self-initiated, project-based learning. Advocates of computers in the classroom saw technology as a tool for realizing the liberating potential of the progressive agenda, for allowing students greater freedom to control their own learning in democratic, student-centred environments. They believed that because computers were seen as being part of the progressivism movement and because progressivism did not mobilize a strong following among practitioners, educators did not embrace technology. Loveless placed the blame on the characteristics of teachers’ work. Classroom use was affected by the non-voluntary nature of the teacher-student relationship, the immaturity of the workers and the management demands of the classroom in which large groups of students must be served. Unless computers were configured in workstations, they did not mesh with the mechanics of group class work. Hardware and software were noted as designed to service one user on one machine, causing several children to become observers instead of active participants. It remained a difficult task for the teacher to strike a balance between collective and individual needs and to come up with imaginative, educationally inclusive ways for groups of students to use a few computers in a single classroom.
Three factors, associated with the teacher, that contributed significantly to the success of classroom technology innovations were technology proficiency, pedagogical compatibility, and social awareness (Zhao et al., 2002). Research confirmed that not only did the teacher’s proficiency play a major role in successful implementation but that a teacher’s knowledge of the enabling conditions to implement a specific technology was equally important. For instance, distributing electronic templates requires access to networked computers and knowledge of shared drives and distribution and retrieval of files. Knowing how to create the template is not enough but knowing what else was necessary to use a specific technology in teaching was needed. Teachers who were highly reflective about their teaching practice and goals were more likely to use technology in a manner consistent with their pedagogical beliefs and therefore more likely to yield positive results. Teachers who viewed the use of technology as a means to an end, rather than an end itself, were also more likely to yield positive results. Successful implementation also seemed to be associated with the teacher’s awareness of the social dynamics of the school. Teachers who were socially aware, knew where to go for support and resources and were sensitive to the needs and priorities of their colleagues, were more likely to have success.
Rarely were teachers using technology to innovate, rather, they were using technology to sustain existing patterns of schooling (Conlon and Simpson, 2003). Data drawn from a survey of 85 Scottish elementary schools showed that classroom computers were seldom used by students. When students did use computers, it was for activities that were often peripheral to the learning process such as word processing. Only 2% of the elementary teachers surveyed from the 85 elementary schools reported the use of multimedia software. Respondents identified lack of time to become familiar with ICT resources as a top reason for lack of ICT integration. Respondents who performed coordinating roles for ICT (who were responsible for staff development) identified that too many other priorities were competing for staff time and attention as the number one obstacle to use of technology. Other obstacles included lack of technical support, lack of role models, insufficient numbers of computers in classrooms, and that some teaching staff did not see the development of ICT as a priority. This finding suggests a need for educating teachers about the benefits of ICT as a prelude to professional development programs. Selling teachers on the benefits may assist in a shifting of priorities to help deal with time management issues.
Class load and time management were among the major impediments of ICT integration (Guha, 2003). While teachers had positive feelings around the use of technology and saw its potential in enhancing students’ learning process, time management was a recurring complaint from teachers in regards to ICT. Teachers in this study (which investigated elementary school teachers’ personal experience with instructional computing in classroom instruction) described positive changes to their teaching practices that were constructivist based where the teacher acted as a facilitator rather than an instructor. Perhaps this positive experience will cause these teachers to re-evaluate their priorities having seen the benefits of ICT integration first hand.
Faculty members identified lack of time to learn new technologies as a leading barrier impeding their technology integration (Vannatta, 2000). The author described the implementation of a technology plan at a faculty of education where participants were education faculty members and pre-service teachers. The goal of the project was to increase the proficiencies and classroom integration among education faculty members, with the hopes of increasing the technology proficiency of education students. Support in instructional methods for integrating technology were identified as the number one preference for future technology training.
Barriers, associated with ICT integration, that fell within the physical realm were beyond the direct control of the teacher. These barriers centered around accessibility and infrastructure and included decisions about purchasing, locations of wiring drops, and decisions regarding the placement of computers in centralized labs verses placement of computer pods in classrooms. Placing computers in centralized labs may provide students with equitable and efficient exposure to technology but severely limit the technology’s accessibility for classroom instruction (Loveless, 1996). Labs deny teachers the flexibility of deciding when technology should be incorporated into instruction and may send the message to students that computers are not central to learning or the activities in their classrooms. In addition, physical limitations of the classroom including size and location of desks, often limit choices of room arrangement and do not provide the space that is necessary to add pods of computers to be used as technology centres.
Barriers that fell within the social realm centred around support networks that were available to the teacher including support from administration, technical services and colleagues as well as the overall school climate and various models of professional development. While the role of the teacher was crucial in the success of integrating ICT, the success of programs also depended highly on a support system (Bitner & Bitner, 2002). Support, that was both ongoing and onsite, needed to be provided in both the technical and curriculum areas. The authors argued that teachers needed to be assisted in overcoming their fears, concerns, and anxiety. Once teachers developed basic skills and overcame fear, while benefiting from personal productivity, they would be ready to begin looking for ways to integrate technology into the curriculum. The authors argued that models needed to be provided and motivational factors needed to be present along with a climate, that allowed for experimentation without fear of failure.
The placement of role models in schools and the provisions of additional training would aid in a school’s successful implementation of ICT integration (Guha, 2003). It was also recommended that administrators take on a greater role by implementing mandatory computer workshops and providing resources to help teachers become computer literate. Schools where administrators are a part of the support system and act as role models are more likely to have successful ICT integration.
Some approaches designed to lessen or eliminate common barriers to technology integration address the time management issue by creating an on site support system through specialized training to elementary students (Hruskocy et al., 2002). The program was based on building a collaborative, supportive social structure for participants. Students in grades one through five participated in “Tech Days” where they were trained in various technologies by university graduate students and faculty. Instruction centred around using technologies as tools for accessing information and tools for expression which included using the software Hyperstudio as a means for presenting information. Teachers observed their students’ transfer skills to the classroom where they would share expertise and provide ongoing assistance to peers and teachers. Targeting students for technology training in a community of learners increased motivation to learn more about and use technology in their classrooms on the part of the teacher. Student benefits were numerous. They began to rely less on teacher direction and more on self-exploration, showed an increase in confidence, and gained technology skills which could be built upon. Most importantly, teachers noted that students had learned about learning in addition to learning about technology. In line with a constructivist learning environment, students possessing expertise in technology use, provided for a shift in teacher’s role from information provider to facilitator. Authors argued that this approach to staff development also addressed other common barriers identified in literature. Issues related to ongoing assistance, attitudinal changes of traditional teacher roles and fear of technology, as well as the relevancy of the training to the instructional setting were addressed by this form of professional development. The program’s success was apparent when teachers continued, in a self-sustaining manner, at the conclusion of the program. Authors concluded by arguing that including students as an integral part of the changes surrounding technology integration was both viable and necessary and would lead to a greater chance of success.
Similar approaches to creating support systems while addressing time management barriers to integrating ICT have been tested (Schmid, Fesmire, & Lisner, 2001). A Florida elementary school formed a school management team, comprised of motivated teachers, to assume responsibility for developing proficiency of their colleagues within their existing school budget. Team members informally found interests of certain teachers and provided training at their convenience. Incentives and rewards to encourage participation were offered which included, hiring occasional teachers to provide release time for working with new technology, arranging visits to view technology programs at other schools, and reimbursement for attending technology conferences. Authors reported, that by the third year, new purchases became the most powerful incentive for continued involvement in teacher training. Authors claimed that teachers changed their views of using technology as time-filler or a student reward to using it as a tool to accomplish a substantial learning outcome. Teachers’ planned units and lessons around technology integration with the objective of increasing instructional efficiency and enhancing student learning.
Another commonly noted barrier to technology integration was professional development models. While a constructivist perspective was the foundation for the vision of many of technology’s pioneers was not necessarily adopted by those who were providing professional development or those who were using technology in their classrooms (Marshall, 1993). Professional development models were largely based on a behaviourist perspective where participants were taken through a sequential mapping of the software’s features; little or no time was spent modeling the ways the innovation might be implemented in the classroom, and little or no thought was given to the changes that must occur in classroom routines. Professional development focused on skills needed to manipulate the software or hardware, while little attention was given to how computers could be used as an integral part of the teaching/learning process. The author believed it would be more realistic to expect changes in the design of staff development programs to include an offering of a non-behaviourist alternative than to expect teachers to change their behaviourist beliefs and their classroom practice. For these reasons, teacher development must acknowledge the differences between behaviourist and constructivist belief systems. Models that failed to acknowledge the differences in teachers’ approaches to the teaching-learning situation were not as effective as those that take this into consideration.
Professional development, centred around instructional methods of integrating technology, assisted in changing pre-service teachers’ thinking about and use of technology infusion and its role in student learning (Walsh and Vannatta, 2001). Participants changed their views of technology infusion from thinking they would teach about technology to using technology to support student learning. Successful integration did not require teachers to be proficient in a large variety of technology applications but instead, teachers needed to feel comfortable and confident in instructional methods of ICT integration. Teachers needed proficiency in a few computer applications but a knowledge of instructional methods of integration was a greater indicator of success, suggesting a need for more focus on instructional methods of integrating technology. Hands-on experiences and opportunities for pre-service teachers supporting constructivist teaching and field experiences with technology rich classrooms were provided during this study. Opportunities for exploration not only gave the participants an awareness of available software but also how programs might be adapted to support curricular objectives. Collaboration with peers was essential to participants’ learning and assisted in creating a positive view of technology in the classroom on the part of participants. Participants saw technology integration as a way to motivate and address various learning styles. The authors reported that technology infusion, to enhance teaching takes time, support and collaboration.
Professional development efforts often failed because activities often took place away from the school site and that there was a lack of follow-up and support (Mouza, 2002). In order for professional development to be effective, in class assistance and support must be provided, and it must be context specific. A professional development program designed to help teachers effectively integrate technology into their classrooms introduced and demonstrated a computer application, continued with hands-on and/or collaborative work, and concluded with a discussion of the implications that demonstrated applications have on teaching and learning. The strategies were associated with the constructivist paradigm because activities provided opportunities for exploration, critical thinking, and collaboration. Based on teacher perceptions, the author’s recommendations for the design of effective professional development programs included hands-on activities, in-class support during technology enhanced lessons, and adequate time for discussion and reflection of technology issues on the advantages and disadvantages of using computers in the classroom. Alignment with the school context and relevance of workshop activities were also crucial. By having teachers bring experiences from their classrooms to professional development workshops and by ensuring activities were directly aligned to curriculum goals teachers were able to see a greater relevance for integration of ICT into their classrooms. With these aspects of professional development in place, participants improved their technological skills and became aware of new teaching strategies made possible with the use of technology.
Social support was a highly predictive factor in innovative computer integration activities (Zhao et al., 2002). Providing further support the need for professional development to take place on-site, along with adequate on-site support, the researchers found that a flexible and responsive technical assistant, a supportive and informed administrative staff and people who could help the teacher understand and use the technology for his or her own classroom added to a healthy human infrastructure. In an environment where there was good technical and human support, innovative projects were successful.
A greater focus on technology integration in pre-service programs through modeling instructional use of technology was offered as a solution to more effective integration (Faison, 1996). Pre-service teachers felt they had not had adequate training to help them use technology in the classroom effectively and reported that they had no systematic exposure to or integration of technology in their teacher preparation programs. Pre-service teachers received instruction about technology, rather than experiences in using and integrating technology into the curriculum, generally isolating coverage of information technologies to a single course. Teacher educators failed to model instructional technology use and did not require students to use technology in their classroom and field-based assignments.
Research indicated that successful ICT integration was based on the role of the teacher combined with support systems that were available on-site. Teachers needed to reform their conceptions of learning to be able to see how computers could be used as tools for the construction of knowledge, rather than as instruments for classroom management. Due to limited accessibility of computers in the classroom and the typical ‘one user’ design of educational software, teachers found it difficult to find ways to balance collective and individual needs of students. Project-based learning that could be easily married with technology integration, has not yet been adopted by many of today’s educators. Support systems consisting of technicians, administrators, and peers were important. Some research studies tested creative professional development delivery approaches that created support systems (Schmid et al., 2001) and addressed common barriers such as time management by training students (Hruskocy et al., 2002).
A number of factors were identified in reviewing the literature for successful integration of ICT. Teachers needed to recognize the benefits technology could contribute to the teaching and learning process before they would be willing to implement it in their classrooms. Professional development was best should be delivered within the context of curriculum and tied to curriculum objectives. As teachers gained and transferred skills, they found ways to incorporate management strategies to integrate computers into curriculum, paying consideration to grouping strategies, access to equipment, and creativity in curriculum design. In order for successful integration of ICT, individuals needed to be open to change because the process often required reflection of the individual’s teaching philosophies. The successful ICT integrator must be persistent in the implementation stage because this stage, more often than not, required a person to be persistent in their attempts. The reflection stage also required teachers to consider the appropriateness of the tool, benefits to the instructional process, and students’ acquisition of knowledge as it related to ICT.
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A Literature Review: Investigations into the impact of leadership styles and management strategies on
This paper attempts to draw connections between the extensive literature on management andleadership in schools and the research on Information Communication Technology (ICT)integration. Recent studies show the problematic relationship of management and leadershippractice with meaningful ICT integration (MacDonald 2006) The paper will distinguishtransformative ICT integration from other levels of ICT integration as they apply not only toclassroom settings, but also to school structure. Some of the current literature reveals thatmany schools are not enjoying long-term meaningful reforms in the area of ICT integration.This paper will reflect on the literature to identify some of the possible explanations for thislack of success. It will be argued that leadership for cohesive ICT integration requires anappreciation and consideration of the influencing factors on ICT integration and theirsubsequent alignment. The need for further research into the role and responsibilities ofeducational leadership in the transformative integration of ICTs will be highlighted.ICTs “are requiring us to reconfigure our economic, social, cultural, political andorganisational structures and relationships, together with their supporting legal and regulatoryframeworks. We maximise our chances of benefiting from the imperative for change byapproaching it pro-actively rather than reactively” (DETYA 2001). While approachingchange proactively is important, change needs to be approached from an informedperspective. Decision makers and all educational stakeholders need to be informed of currentand future trends of ICTs in education. Policies formulated and practices encouraged inschools should be founded on and supported by relevant and current research.The impact of ICTs in education may be considered slow on the uptake when compared to theimpact of ICTs on industry infrastructure. Banking is a prime example where the subsequentchanges in practices, which have been encouraged by market leaders, have further increasedefficiency, productivity and profits, where users have modified their behaviours to the extentwhere services such as online banking are not only convenient but preferred for many bankingcustomers (ACNielsen 2002). The educational community is also beginning to appreciate thefar-reaching implications of ICT integration. Not only will traditional teaching practices bechallenged but also the parameters within which learning occurs. “While the integration ofemerging technology into education portends a paradigm shift – a revolutionary one accordingto many in both pedagogical practice and educational philosophy, the way forward is notalways clear” (Millear, Green, Putland, et al. 2005). Current and future ICT innovations willhave major ramifications for all educational stakeholders, in particular for educational leaders.
Current ICT innovations in education which may potentially have major impacts include theuse of:Interactive WhiteboardsWeb conferencingWireless technologies with advantages such as “flexibility and mobility: Wirelessnetworking allows users of laptops, notebooks, PDAs, tablet PCs and wireless VoiceOver IP (VoIP) telephone devices to roam freely on campus while remainingconnected to the school’s network” (CoSN 2006).Handheld computing options which are appealing in educational settings due to theirrelative low cost may increase the likelihood of students having one to one accesswith a potentially mobile technology. (CoSN 2006)Web 2 and social computingTo some extent the impact of ICTs in education can be attributed to greater accessibility ofICTs, and the increase in Internet speed and availability of broadband. “As technology.
develops with its characteristic high speed, the following technologies are emerging for futureuse:Continuing development of the Internet and the WebContinued improvement in wireless technologyMachine translationLocal power generationSpeech recognition software” (Cabanatan, 2001)The above mentioned advancements and the evolving nature of ICTs highlight that ICTreforms cannot be approached in the same manner as reforms in other areas of education. Theintegration of ICTs do not merely require the implementation of government initiatives, nor isthere a definitive end to the process of integrating ICTs; it is not isolated in its impact butrather has wide reaching implications for learning across all curriculum areas and for allmembers of a learning community.ICT reforms require consideration of issues such as budgeting, staffing, resourcing andtraining; these are not uncommon considerations for other reforms. However in additionconsideration of issues such as building and managing infrastructures, networks, intranets,discussion boards, managing large amounts of information, developing skills and strategies tosupport the creation of knowledge and utilization of ICTs, keeping up with the newtechnology and the related terminology. These can all be addressed in educational settings bybuilding ICT capacities.In conjunction with building ICT capacity there is a need to devise strategies to deal withresistance to change, coping with continuous change, and providing support structures inchange rich environments in order to sustain reforms. These aspects can be addressed ineducational settings by building change capacities.
Investigating the issues associated with dispersed leadership and exploring leadershipstructures that compliment transformative ICT integration will also be valuable. Redefiningroles and expectations, and exploring options for relevant ongoing professional developmentfor leaders are all aspects that can be addressed in the building of Leadership Capacity.Managing issues such as copyright, privacy and online safety, and establishing new protocolsfor communication in email, chat rooms, blogs, mobile phones, policy development etc, areall aspects that can be addressed in the building and establishment of School Capacity. Inaddition when addressing ICT reforms there is an element of uncertainty and dealing withunknowns. For example how will education remain relevant? How can education preparestudents with the skills for some not yet created employment opportunities? “Although it canbe anticipated that the increasing use of ICTs in education will change the nature of theknowledge and skills students must acquire in order to compete and contribute in anincreasingly ICT dominated global economy, what skills will be necessary is not clear”(Blurton, 1999).The issues associated with each of the above mentioned capacities will be further explored insubsequent sections of this paper.Another major consideration is that the level of ICT integration will vary depending onfactors such as the support structures established, the approach to change and the acceptanceand willingness to change, the available infrastructures, the access and participation intraining and development etc. Educational Leaders can have a major impact on the success,coherence and sustainability of the change process. However to date very little of theavailable literature distinguishes between how educational leaders impact on the differentlevels of ICT integration, and yet the impact on student learning and overall structure of theeducational organisation will vary markedly depending on the level of integrationimplemented and supported by educators and educational leaders.Making Better Connections (DEST 2002) describes the various levels of ICT integration:‘Type A; encouraging the acquisition of ICT skills as an end themselves;Type B: using ICTs to enhance students’ abilities within the existing curriculum;Type C: introducing ICTs as an integral component of broader curricular reforms that arechanging not only how learning occurs but what is learned;Type D: introducing ICTs as an integral component of the reforms that alter the organisation and structure of schooling itself.’Many learning communities have accepted and are integrating ICT at a Type A or Type Blevel. Integration of ICTs at this level has very little impact on curriculum frameworks andpedagogies. ICTs tend to be incorporated into existing curriculum and policy structures.However ‘integrating technology into existing curriculum may be an awkward and perhapsmisguided retrofit’ (November 2000). Although student outcomes may experiencetechnologically enhanced improvements, it is still only occurring within existing frameworksand within the parameters of existing pedagogies.
DEST (2002) Type C and Type D level of integration differs in that it challenges learningcommunities at all levels to initiate and sustain reforms that not only modify but create newunderstandings, policies, structures and pedagogies that enable the potential of ICTs to befully utilized. ‘Emerging information technologies enable a shift from the transfer andassimilation of information to the creation, sharing, and mastery of knowledge’ (Dede 1999).The implications for learning and teaching at this level need to be clarified and the values andbeliefs that underpin educational practices need to be explored and challenged. This shift inthinking and approach may further contribute to the alignment of learning and teachingpedagogies so that the needs of learning communities can more adequately be addressed andcatered for. Educational leaders need to acknowledge that in a dynamic climate training isessential if the change is to remain sustainable. ‘Continuous learning at all levels within thecommunity is important to help deal with the demands of evolving change’ (NCSL 2001).Although research supports the need for an integrated holistic approach to change, ICTintegration and leadership, further investigations into the role of educational leaders in thisprocess will help shape support structures and the content of training programs. In-serviceprofessional development programs that target the needs of the school community areessential if ICTs are to have a meaningful impact on learning (OECD 2001).The need for further investigations into this area is also highlighted by the frustrations anddisappointment experienced by educational stakeholders as they attempt to integrate ICTseffectively so that ICTs:⌷⌷ Are fully utilized⌷⌷ Have a positive impact on student learning outcomes⌷⌷ Improve the efficiency of the educational organisation so that it can provide adequateand relevant experiences that meet the needs of its learning community.⌷⌷ Challenge existing learning and teaching boundaries.Current literature (Fullan 2001; Hay 2001) acknowledges that many schools are not enjoyinglong-term meaningful reform in the area of ICT. Some of the possible explanations identifiedin the literature include:⌷⌷ ‘There seems to exist a lack of information leadership in ICT integration – themajority of ICT leadership in schools is fundamentally pushing a technical approach,rather than an information-based integrated approach.⌷⌷ Emerging technologies in some cases seems to be driving schools’ ICT agendas,rather than educational outcomes’ Hay (2001).Research reveals that although schools are focusing on ICT, the emphasis has been onresourcing and not the pedagogies that will ensure the survival of the reform over the longterm. ‘In relation to the implementation of ICT staff need to not just operate them, but to havean understanding of the pedagogy required to use them and to meet teaching and learningneeds’ (Tearle 2004). Successfully implemented reforms require stakeholders across all levelsto actively participate in the learning process so that their beliefs and practises can evolve tomeet new challenges. Fullan (1998) highlights that in dynamic changing environments leadersneed to participate as active learners. This allows new experience based learning to informreform developments and provides opportunities for all learners, including educational leadersto develop an understanding of the different levels of achievable ICT integration. Howevercurrent research identifies limitations of training programs offered to educators (Phelps,Graham & Kerr 2004). The approach to existing training and development programs tends tobe disjointed and uncoordinated with the main emphasis centred on skill development withlittle focus on pedagogies. ‘The recent Inquiry into the Provision of Public Education (Esson,Johnson & Vinson 2002) has highlighted significant concerns relating to teacherprofessionalism, including a critical need to redress the lack of fiscal support for teacher
professional development. In particular, teacher professional development in computertechnology has become a major priority at state and national level’ (Phelps, Graham & Kerr2004).Educational leaders are under increasing pressure to react to and manage issues related totechnology and the educational community (Jacobsen & Hunter 2002). ‘While the need forchange will apply to everyone, the role of managers, decision makers and leaders will becrucial. The research does acknowledge the important role of the leader in the process of ICTintegration. They will spearhead the processes of identifying the changes that are needed intheir local contexts, engaging their respective communities in the change process and carryingthrough the adjustments that are needed’ (DETYA 2001). Although infrastructure isimportant, leadership is the critical element in establishing technology as a part of schoolculture (Anderson & Dexter 2000).The remainder of this paper will discuss the possible impact and influences of leadership onthe building of School, ICT, Leadership and Change capacities. Two elements of Change,namely Sustainability and Cohesiveness have been identified as fundamental criteria in thedevelopment and understanding of effective change processes. ‘Capacity as a conceptdescribes the degree to which a school can manage the process of change and thereby createthe context for sustained renewal’ (NCSL 2001). It will argued that the four core areas whichhave been identified in the literature as areas that may have significant impact on the successof coherent ICT integration process need to be developed simultaneously in educationalsettings and not in isolation from each other. Continued research will enable learningcommunities to maximize the potential of ICTs and to progress to Type C and Type D (DEST2002) transformative ICT practises and pedagogies.Change CapacityFullan (2003) suggests, ‘it would be naīve to hope that the overall pace of change willnoticeably decrease’ this is clearly evident in education, particularly where ICT is concerned.Many schools are overwhelmed with the number of reforms expected, and in many schoolswhere change is a constant; schools are not seeking additional changes but rather areattempting to understand existing changes (NCSL 2001). Often the mistaken perception isthat change is an event not a process. This attitude impacts on the integration of aninnovation, often contributing to unrealistic expectations and disappointing results.‘While innovation needs to be an accepted part of any professional practise, educationauthorities do need to be aware that change is already a constant feature of schooling, withorganisational, administrative and curriculum change dominating the work of schools in waysthat some see as a distraction from the outcomes at which innovation is aimed. From thispoint of view the stability to properly establish and evaluate innovative approaches isimportant’ (School of Education, James Cook University 2003) Literature to date has notspecifically addressed ways of identifying different approaches to change. No criteria hasbeen devised to help distinguish between different approaches to reforms, nor is it clear if theattitudes of participants vary depending on the overall approach and expectation of thechange. Investigations into the relationships between the attitudes of participants towardschange and the level of ICT integration achieved can inform the development of trainingprograms that promote an understanding and appreciation of attitudes that supporttransformative reforms in ICT.
‘One of the first concerns that people have about change is its effect on themselves’Hargreaves (2004). Transformative ICT integration will require leaders and educators toquestion their practices, attitudes and beliefs. Research has explored attitudes towards change(Hargreaves 2004) and attitudes towards ICT and Leadership (Schiller 2002) howeverliterature does not specify if it is the attitude towards ICTs or the attitude towards changeitself that is the more significant concern for those participating in ICT reforms. Investigationinto the connections between attitudes and reservations associated with ICT and the genera reservations associated with participation in reforms will provide information that can beincorporated in the development of programs and structures that address the issues associatedwith change and achieving sustainable, coherent ICT integration.Change impacts on social structures ‘change must therefore focus on personal as well asorganizational change’ (Tearle, 2004). It is just as important to invest in the development ofsupportive learning cultures, as it is to invest in resources. However further investigations intothe experiences and practises of schools may reveal the priorities that are currently beingidentified by school communities in relation to ICT integration and whether or not thesepriorities compliment the integration of Type C and Type D (DEST 2002) ICT integration. Itmay also reveal if the focus is predominately on resources and infrastructure or if leadershipis acknowledging, addressing and managing other essential aspects associated with supportingthe learning community during the ICT integration process. The information gathered fromfurther research will enable gaps in the integration process to be made explicit and can thenbe used to inform future action plans.To appreciate the importance of the change process in the integration of ICT, educators needto acknowledge, ‘the learning potential will not be realized unless we learn to incorporate theknowledge of the change process’ (Fullan & Smith 1999). Educational leaders have theresponsibility to be active participants in the integration of ICT. Fullan elaborates by stating,‘there is a need to be an expert in the understanding of change as much as there is a need to bean expert of a topic’ Fullan, (2002). ‘By and large the dramatic developments in the domainof technology and learning have not been informed by knowledge of the change process’(Fullan & Smith 1999). Further investigation may reveal that this is a significant factor inexplaining some of the obstacles that have delayed the cohesive integration of ICT.Understanding the change process and providing long-term training, mentoring and financialsupport needs to occur within all levels of the education system. (DETYA 2001).Fullan (2003) reviews the principles of Jim Loehr and Tony Schuarts who discuss theimportance of ‘balancing energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal’ It is importantto maintain perspective ‘The goal is not to innovate the most but rather to innovateselectively’ (Fullan, 2001) This is particularly relevant in the area of ICT, where it is easy tochannel efforts and funding into integrating the latest technological innovations at the expenseof the development of other necessary components, such as training and development thatsupport relevant pedagogies for sustainable ICT integration. The literature has not explicitlyidentified the strategies that can be adopted to achieve an approach where the focus isbalanced across all the areas required to build ICT capacity such as infrastructure, trainingand policy development etc.Leadership Capacity‘In spite of rapid changes in the new knowledge-based global society and associatededucational expectations, there remains tardiness in addressing the need for leadership in theeducational technology domain’ (Steed, Hollingsworth & Marzek 2005). The actions,attitudes and visions of leaders and administrators have the potential to greatly impact andinfluence the integration of innovations. ‘Administrators who implement technologyeffectively in their schools and communities will contribute greatly to both education and theeconomy in the twenty-first century’ (Slowinski 2000). It then stands to reason that leadersneed to have access to training programs, frequent practical experience and support structuresthat will enable them to develop the understandings, skills and resources that will lead toappropriate positive reform in their school setting. Although the need and value of trainingand development is indisputable, the content being promoted and addressed in the trainingsessions for educational leaders requires further investigation. Is it the type of informationthat can be used to construct new and more appropriate pedagogies and are examplesprovided that demonstrate the achievable aspects of transformative ICT integration, or is thefocus predominately on skill acquisition? Unfortunately a limited amount of research in thisarea is reflected in the conservative, traditional approaches to ICT training and developmentthat are currently available. If the educational community agrees ‘by taking an activeapproach to innovation, principals can foster an environment in which such innovation hasgreater benefits for their staff and students’ (Schiller 2003) then research that will inform
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