Study Background

1. The Second International Information Technology in Education Study is a study conducted under the auspices of the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement (IEA). Hong Kong is among the 28 countries/regions around the world that participated in Module 2 (SITES M2) of this study, which was conducted from 2000 to 2003. The Centre for Information Technology in Education of the University of Hong Kong (CITE) is the Study Centre for Hong Kong.

2. There has been a growing tendency for governments around the world to link national policies on information and communication technology (ICT) in education to the wider context of curriculum renewal/reform at a national level. In parallel to the increasing interest in integrating ICT in the general school curriculum is the recognition that the advent of the knowledge economy calls for the development of new educational goals as well as new classroom practices for learning and teaching. A basic assumption of the SITES M2 study is that new pedagogical practices are emerging in schools. SITES M2 aimed to provide a better understanding of what kinds of pedagogical innovations have developed around the world where technology plays a substantial role, and what kinds of school factors contribute to the emergence and sustainability of these innovations.

3. The National Research Coordinator (NRC) in each participating country established an expert panel to review and select the cases for study according to a set of common international criteria. Selected cases must be practices where there was evidence of (1) technology playing a substantial role, (2) significant changes in the roles of teachers and students, the goals of the curriculum, assessment practices, and/or the educational materials or infrastructure, (3) measurable positive student outcomes, and (4) sustainability and transferability. In addition, the pedagogical practice has to be innovative as locally defined within a common frame of reference that the practice should prepare students for lifelong learning in the information society so as to accommodate the circumstances and cultural differences in each country.

4. Altogether 174 case studies were conducted and reported by research teams in the 28 participating countries/regions. National research teams for the study wrote a case report for each of the case studies submitted for international comparison. Each case report was approximately 5000 words, comprising a summary, descriptions of the school background and culture, history of the innovation, the technological infrastructure available in the school, the national and regional policies that affected the innovation, as well as details of the innovation in terms of the curriculum and assessment goals, the teachers¡¦ and the students¡¦ practices and outcomes, according to a common template. These case reports are used as data for international comparison.

5. Of the 174 cases collected from around the world, nine were contributed by Hong Kong, of which 3 were from primary schools, 2 from junior secondary schools and 4 from senior secondary schools.

6. The International project was coordinated by an International Coordinating Committee (ICC) comprising scientists from the United States, Canada, and The Netherlands, and directed by Dr. Robert Kozma at the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. In addition to coordinating the research, the ICC also conducted an overall analysis of all the cases with a focus on the common themes and trends revealed by the collection of innovative pedagogical practices using technology, which has been reported in ¡§Technology, Innovation, and Educational Change: A Global Perspective¡¨ . A summary of the key findings from that report is present in sections 8-13.

7. As each of the innovative cases was by definition considered to be relatively rare and valuable pedagogical developments within its own national context, the cases provided a lens for us to have a preview of the classrooms of the future. In analyzing the case studies, the Hong Kong research team thus wanted to address the issue of innovativeness: in what sense can we say that these classrooms are futuristic? What can be learnt from these cases that can help us to transform our classrooms to better prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century? What are the contextual factors at the school, community and national/regional level that contribute most to the emergence of the innovative pedagogical practices in schools? The key findings from this study are summarized under two major themes, innovative classrooms (14-29) and innovative schools (sections 30-39).