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IT facilities in Finnish schools lag behind those in other Nordic Countries
Shortcomings found in teachers’ computer skills in all Scandinavia
Finland’s reputation as a model country of information technology has suffered another blow; a fresh study indicates that IT facilities at Finnish schools lag behind those in other Nordic Countries.
Pupils in Finland have access to laptop computers in connection with only one in five lessons. In Norway, every second teacher can offer laptops as a teaching aide.
The advantage of laptops is that they allow for more flexibility than traditional desktops, which occupy a whole classroom.
Finnish schools also bring up the rear in the Nordic region in the use of digital still and video cameras, and in the use of processing and office software, according to a study commissioned by Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish education authorities on the impact of information technology on learning.
The E-learning Nordic 2006 study involved interviews last year and in 2004 with 8,000 teachers, pupils, head teachers and parents at 224 comprehensive schools and upper secondary schools in the Nordic region.
The study concludes that information technology is a helpful teaching tool. It activates pupils, and gives better opportunities to take the characteristics of individual pupils into consideration.
The study did not find that IT had led to any major upheavals in teaching methods.
Teachers interviewed said that they used computers mainly as a support for teaching the content of various subjects.
Inadequate computer skills by teachers is a problem in all of the countries examined. Only one third of teachers in Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark felt that they are competent in the use of IT in their teaching - even though two thirds have been trained in the use of computers.
Ella Kies, an official at Finland’s National Board of Education, feels that computer training for teachers should be increased.