Adopting a Sociocultural Perspective Towards the Research of ICT in Education

Year: 2000

Author: LIM, C

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Research studies of ICT in education have established that ICT promotes higher order cognitive skills of evaluating arguments, analysing problems and applying what is learnt. However, many of these studies focus on single learning variables and lack detailed investigation of what actually takes place in the learning environment and its sociocultural context. By adopting a sociocultural perspective of cognition, this paper provides an account of how the theoretical framework is developed to inform the design and methods of a two-phase study of uses of WinEcon in A-level Economics courses in the United Kingdom.

Phase one is a questionnaire survey, and phase two is a collective case study of three economics departments. The unit of analysis of the study is the activity system and the focus of attention is the role of the teacher. The descriptive and interpretive account of where and how an ICT package can be situated in the economics course to promote higher order thinking skills provides accumulated and useable knowledge for the integration of ICT in education. More importantly, the paper seeks to stimulate discussions and debates regarding the pertinent issues of researching the learning frameworks of ICT integration in education.