Use of ICT in Finnish teaching and learning only at average international level
According to an international study published on Thursday of last week, the use of information and computing technology (ICT) in teaching and learning in Finland is only at the average international level.
For example, one of the key findings of the major study was that only about 50 per cent of Finnish grade 8 teachers of mathematics and science had used ICT with their students in the school year from 2005 to 2006.
By comparison, in Singapore, Hongkong, Canada, Norway, and Denmark the percentages were from 70 to 80 per cent.
The survey of secondary schools was carried out by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), a global cooperative of national research institutes and government agencies. In Finland the study was performed by the University of Jyväskylä.
This second Information Technology in Education Study looked at how teaching and learning took place in mathematics and science classrooms, and the role that ICT played in them.
The study found that most participating education systems had access to computers and the Internet for supporting teaching and learning, and had invested heavily in the technology, but had not often backed this up with changes to teaching methods.
"The study indicates that only few teachers use ICT in their lessons to support teaching and learning", noted senior lecturer Marja Kankaanranta from the University of Jyväskylä.
Moreover, in Finland only five per cent of principals regarded the use of ICT as very important regarding their students’ learning. In other countries, the proportion was some 11 to 64 per cent.
Instead, the Finnish principals believed that the use of ICT would be significant relating to the skills needed at work.
When comparing the number of students with the number of computers, Finland is among the eight countries with the highest number of computers. The number is higher only in Norway, Canada, Hongkong, Singapore, and Denmark.
However, in 2006 when the study was conducted there were still differences between Finnish schools relating to the ICT access.
Slightly more than one-fifth of schools had fewer than five students per computer, while also a number of schools existed where 10 students - or even more than 40 students - had to share a computer.
The figures are far from the goal stated in the government’s programme, saying that there has to be ”a computer for every student”.
The study indicated futher that in 59 per cent of Finnish schools the students had access to the Internet and e-mail. The corresponding figures were higher only in Slovenia (91%), Denmark (89 %), and in Hongkong (88 %).
More than 300 Finnish comprehensive schools and more than 1,000 teachers of mathematics and science participated in the international study.
A total of 9,000 schools and 35,000 teachers from 19 countries took part in the survey.
Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)
University of Jyväskylä: International press release 6.3.2008