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Tan, M., & Chen, A. Y. (1999). A case study of the development of an IT learning environment in a secondary school in Singapore. In M. Waas (Ed.), Enhancing learning: Challenge of integrating thinking and information technology into the curriculum: Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the Educational Research Association ( pp. 242-249). Singapore: Educational Research Association.
The study, using the naturalistic inquiry approach, sought to explore the initial efforts to bring about an innovative IT learning environment in a Singapore secondary school. It also examined the change process, teacher readiness and the implications of national policies in IT use. The inquiry revolved around three clusters of stakeholders: (a) the early adopters comprising three teachers, three pupils and the researcher; (b) the recipients or teachers in general; and (c) the School's decision-makers. Data collection involved structured and unstructured interviews with members of the School as well as a decision-maker of the national IT policy, observations, a School-wide survey of all teachers of the School as well as examination of relevant documents. The various data collection methods and triangulation ensured
trustworthiness of the inquiry. The main study was conducted between July 1995 and December
1996 with additional data collection conducted in the first half of 1997 to take cognisance of
significant developments in the national educational scene. The inquiry revealed, amongst other things, that teacher readiness must be emphatically addressed before IT can be used successfully in the classroom. Teachers' failure to adopt IT in the classroom was also not so much resistance to IT per se but that their fears and anxieties had not been considered. Staff development, taking into cognisance the different needs and entry points, is therefore very crucial. For the potential of IT use in the classroom to be realised, the learning environment must also encourage collaboration, knowledge construction and reflection
(Jonassen, 1995). IT must be used more as a thinking tool than a delivery tool. This demand is
onerous on teachers if they are not ready, and if the national curriculum and assessment systems
do not support such a learning environment.
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the ERA Annual Conference held at Plaza Parkroyal Hotel, Singapore from 23-25 November 1998
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