SEAMEO-Australia Project on Pre-Service Teacher Training and
Teacher Professional Development in the Use of ICT in the
Teaching of Mathematics and Science

 
Executive Summary
Use of ICT in Math
and Science
I. Background
II. Progress of the Project
III.

Draft Project Report

Appendix I:
Institutions Visited & Focus of Discussions

Appendix II:
List of Participants
Appendix III:
Workshop Programme
 
Appendix IV:
Workshop Activities
Appendix V:
Draft Report by SEAMEO-Australia Research Team
   
  I. Background

SEAMEO has become aware of some common emerging concerns within Asia in relation to the provision of education. One such concern for education policy makers is the challenge of integrating Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) into classroom teaching and the potential impact of ICT on the nature of schooling and learning and on the relationship between curriculum and pedagogy. Another concern is the increasing importance of mathematics and science in the development of knowledge-based economies.

In this regard, SEAMEO and the Australian Government developed a proposal on pre-service teacher training and teacher professional development in the use of ICT in the teaching of mathematics and science. The proposal was approved by the 37th SEAMEO Council Conference in March 2002 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The goals of the projects are to:

a) strengthen regional cooperation in ICT in education by fostering the exchange of information and encouraging greater networking;
b) increase understanding on the different situations in the participating countries;and
c) enhance human resource capacity and technological development of countries in the region.

Specifically, the project aims to:

a) prepare a paper reviewing the existing situations of pre-service teacher training and professional development in the use of ICT in the teaching of mathematics and science in the four participating countries; and
b) develop two models for pre-service teacher training and professional development in the use of ICT in the teaching of mathematics and science.

II. Progress of the Project

1. First Project Task Force Meeting

Right after the 37th SEAMEO Council Conference, the first Project Task Force Meeting was conducted on 15 March 2002. This was chaired by the Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat and was attended by representatives of the Australian Government, participant countries, namely: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, and participant SEAMEO Units, such as SEAMEO RECSAM, SEAMEO RETRAC, SEAMEO SEAMOLEC, and the SEAMEO Secretariat.

In that meeting, the participant country representatives gave a brief report on the existing situations of pre-service teacher training and professional development in the use of ICT in the teaching of mathematics and science in their countries. Likewise, the Task Force planned their timetable of activities.

2. Scoping Visits

A research team which was composed of Dr Toni Downes and Ms Dale Scott from Australia, and Mr Tan Khun of SEAMEO RECSAM conducted the scoping visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam from April to May 2002.

3. Second Task Force Meeting

In the Second Task Force Meeting held on 27-28 June 2002, in SEAMEO RECSAM, Penang, Malaysia, all information concerning country reports, scoping visits, discussions and literature review were discussed. The meeting considered these as valuable input for achieving the final outputs of the project, such as the following:

? A report on the Review of the Current Pre-service Teacher Training and Professional Development in the Use of ICT in the Teaching of Mathematics and Science in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam; and
? Two flexible models for the pre-service teacher training and in-service professional development in the use of ICT in teaching mathematics and science.

4. Study Visit and Workshop in Australia

a. Study Visit

(1) Objective

The general objective of the study visit in Australia was to examine Australian best practices and to enable Task Force members to observe, in practice, some of the principles of training in the use of ICT. Specifically, the visit aimed to give the task force opportunities to acquire new ideas, information and insights on how the educational institutions at all levels of education in Australia:

i. develop their curriculum;
ii. improve teachers’ performance;
iii. create conducive learning atmosphere;
iv. encourage school-community participation;
v. integrate the use of ICT in the teaching-learning process;
vi. evaluate student achievement and teachers’ performance; and
vii. make use of ICT in pre-service education and in-service training of teachers.

(2) Activities

The visit in Australia was conducted in Brisbane and Sydney. The institutions visited and focus of the discussion during the study visits are presented in Appendix I.

(3) General Observations

Some of the general observations are:

i. Australia, especially in Brisbane and Sydney also has a problem on teacher shortage. In spite of that, the Government of Australia does not provide special incentive or reward to teachers. Like Southeast Asian Countries, only a few teachers accept teaching jobs in the remote areas.
ii. School principals have no limit on terms of office. As far as they are doing right, their tenure of office can be for a long period of time.
iii. The states of Brisbane and Sydney only conduct state or national examination to students at the end of Year 12. Students do not have to take state exams at the end of Year 6 or year 9 but schools do the evaluation.
iv. The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education of Sydney, Australia strongly controls visits to schools. To protect the students, visitors have to get permission to visit the schools.

(4) Insights Gained

• Curriculum

The influence of technology emphasizes the importance of some aspects of curriculum content and process, while diminishing the role of others such as repetitive and rote learning. It implies a fundamental shift in educational priority, from accumulating knowledge to the management of information, and suggestions and increasing need for citizen who are informed, critical and capable as decision-makers in a technological world.

• Teaching Practice

The effective use of technology encourages a move away from teacher-centered approaches and towards a more flexible and student-centered environment. A technology-rich learning environment is characterized by collaborative and investigative approaches to learning, increasing integration of content across the curriculum and a significant emphasis upon concept development and understanding. The balance of power changes as teachers and students become co-learners through the use of technological tools.

• Student Learning

Students who use calculators and computers within an appropriate environment can improve their basic skills by increasing their number sense and strengthening their understanding of arithmetic operations. It is not necessary for students to learn about numbers and number operations before they can effectively use calculators; rather, such understandings and skills follow naturally from appropriate access to technology.

Across all grades and ability levels, students who use calculators and computer demonstrate improved attitudes towards mathematics and increased confidence in their mathematical ability. The most effective lessons involving technology appear to be those in which students work cooperatively rather than competitively or individually.

• Professional Development of Teachers

Appropriate teaching resources and professional development are important in the widespread use of ICT in science and teaching. Online professional development of teachers enables teachers to develop themselves and be updated on the trends and techniques of integrating ICT in teaching.

Strategies need to be developed for the provision of training and professional development, and for making available teaching and learning resources which are tailored to teachers’ needs.

b. Workshop

The two-day workshop was held at Radisson Hotel in Sydney, Australia. In addition to the Project Task members and workshop organizers, a Reference Group composed of Australian Science and Math Experts was invited to the workshop. The list of workshop participants, a copy of the workshop programme and the summary of the Workshop Proceedings are in Appendices II, III, and IV, respectively.

c. Post Workshop Task Force Meeting

The Task Force discussed about the improvements on the:

• Country Reports,
• Model on Pre-Service Training and Professional Development Using ICT in Teaching Mathematics and Science, and
• Use of the Project Website to facilitate communication with Task Force members.

5. Third Task Force Meeting

The Meeting was held on 20-21 September 2002 at Hotel Kemang, Jakarta, Indonesia. The main objectives of the meeting were: a) to review and draw some suggestions to improve the draft report, and b) to determine the follow-up actions to be made.

The Meeting suggested that SEAMEO RECSAM should develop a training proposal on science and math for teachers and that the 25th HOM should consider selecting schools for the pilot project.

III. Draft Project Report

The project which was completed in October 2002 brings together evidences and experiences in three vitally important area: 1) mathematics and science education; 2) the use of ICT in teaching and learning; and 3) teacher learning. The report explores the connections between the three areas and uses knowledge acquired about the current situation of relevant pre-service and in-service training in the participating countries to develop two models for future activity. These models have been designed to accommodate differences in education systems, national infrastructure and human and financial resources between and within countries in the region. The Executive Summary of the Project Report which contains important aspects of the project, as well as the recommended follow-up actions for: a) SEAMEO; b) Educational Policy-makers in participating Countries; c) Leaders in teacher Education Institutions; d) School Leaders; and e) Educational Researchers is in Appendix V. A recommended regional collaborative pilot project is also spelled out in the attached Executive Summary.

 
Last Update: 4 April, 2003

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