Voices Project

What do our past experiences of using ICT for teaching and learning tell us?

Michael Hammond, with  Sarah Younie, John Woollard, Vicky Cartwright and David Benzie

In April 2006 we submitted a proposal for a study into the experiences of teacher educators who have engaged with developing the use of ICT in school and teacher education. The aim was to give voice to the achievements and concerns of these teacher educators during the short history of ICT in school. In so doing we aimed to:

  • draw attention to initiatives which have been more successful than others and highlight the factors leading to their success
  • highlight particular difficulties associated with developing ICT
  • report on the factors which have provoked and sustained engagement with the development of ICT
  • examine the role of ITTE and other professional groups in supporting innovation with ICT
  • compare and contrast the present with the past ‘landscape’ regarding the use of ICT


Download the complete Voices Project Report or read individual chapters:

This book reports on the Voices Project, exploring the experiences of teacher educators who have engaged with developing the use of computers in education for most of their professional lives. The aim of the project has been to give voice to the achievements and concerns of participants and to draw conclusions for further development of computers in education.

This chapter provides an overview of the professional careers of participants with a focus on their interest in developing computers in education. It describes how they got into teaching in the first place; looks at their first involvement with computers and their experiences of using ICT. We go on to look at the different roles participants took on during their careers and their reflections on these roles. We note highlights and difficulties in their careers.

This chapter looks at phases in hardware and software since the introduction of the first mainframe computers in the 1960s and participants’ reactions to those changes. It describes the associations made with each of these phases and looks at the challenges arising from the changes in the speed, storage and connectivity of machines.

This chapter looks at the application of computers in school and in education. It reiterates the idea that computers found their way into schools without a clear rationale. It looks at what the ‘desirable’ application of computers in school could look like and draws out the factors necessary in order for this to take place. These factors are key to understanding why curriculum change with computers has been slow. Some thoughts on the future development of ICT are given.

The previous two chapters have looked at developments in technology and what these developments seem to offer for teaching and learning. Technology in school had changed dramatically in nature and scope but this had not had the expected impact. This chapter brings together ideas about learning, about teaching and about technology. We begin by exploring participants’ ideas about teaching and learning in more depth, we look again at desirable application, and, finally, ask ‘where do the computers come into this?’.

We have looked at what led participants into developing such a strong interest in teaching and learning and how they have viewed the opportunities presented by the introduction of computers in education. We have also seen some of their concerns about the introduction of computers into school and the impact of policy on their careers. Policy is explored in more detail in this chapter. Two key phases in policy making are identified leading to a contrast between the concerns of policymakers and those of the ‘research community’.

The book has taken us through the ways in which participants saw the contribution of computers to education and raised the ‘disconnect’ between their perspective and that of policy makers. In arriving at a vision of using computers, and articulating that vision, the notion of belonging to a research community has loomed very large. In this final chapter we look in more detail at what is meant by an educational research community; what has it achieved and where should it go from here?

This book arose out of work on the Voices Project. We conclude by giving members of that project a say on the six questions raised at the start of the book with the aim of stimulating further debate in the community. The speakers are Vicky Cartwright (VC); Michael Hammond (MH); Sarah Younie (SY); John Woollard (JW). Each speaker is offering a personal not ‘an ITTE view’ on the issues raised.

There is extensive literature on teachers’ lives and why we teach but much less on teaching in higher education. Key early texts on teachers’ lives were Ball and Goodson (1985) and Goodson (1992). Ivor Goodson, in particular, has maintained a long commitment to teacher life history. An NFER paper (Spear, Gould and Lee, 2000), though dated, sums up the literature on why teach. Those with an interest in why teach ICT as a subject might look at Hammond (2002). A very readable account of an earlier time for beginning to teach is Hannam, Smyth and Stephenson (1976) – it will help you believe that there has been progress in how we treat new teachers!!

Please feel free to comment and provide feedback on the work.


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