Laptops for teachers: An evaluation of the TELA scheme in Otago schools

Publication Details

The purpose of this evaluation was to investigate the impacts of the Laptops for Teachers Scheme (TELA) on primary schools within the Otago region.

Author(s): Keryn Pratt, Kwok-Wing Lai & Ann Trewern with Fiona Concannon & Harriet Sutton

Date Published: May 2010

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Quick Links to Appendices:

:   Review of Literature Relating to Nationwide Teacher-only Laptop Initiatives

:   Timeline of the Evaluation Project

:   Classification of Schools

:   Themes and Open-ended question used as Guides in Interviews

:   Needs Assessment - Goals and Objectives Statements

:   Focus Group Interview Questions

Appendix A

Review of literature relating to nationwide teacher-only laptop initiatives

The Laptops for Teachers Scheme (the TELA scheme) was introduced as one component of the Digital Horizons Learning through ICT Strategy introduced by the New Zealand Ministry of Education in 2003. This ongoing, nationwide scheme has provided most permanent teachers in New Zealand with access to a personal laptop for minimal or no cost. Teacher laptops are leased by schools for a three-year period and are replaced at the end of this period.

The provision of laptops for teachers alleviates one of the barriers of using ICT in teaching, that of lack of access for teachers to develop personal skills and to integrate ICT into their teaching practice. Evaluative research has been carried out on various aspects of the TELA scheme since its inception in order to assess its impact on the professional practice of secondary and primary school teachers. This review includes the findings of these reports, as well as comparative evaluative research into the provision of laptops for teachers' schemes that have been initiated in other countries. The review also includes a brief look at the literature which shows the impact of technology on teaching and learning. Annotations of reports of relevant schemes can be found at the conclusion of this review. This is not designed to be a comprehensive review of related literature, but rather provides the reader with details of other similar or relevant initiatives, to provide a context within which to place the TELA scheme and this research.

International studies and key findings in relation to the TELA scheme

The body of evaluative literature available that assesses the impacts and outcomes of teacher-only laptop schemes is surprisingly limited. Most of the literature available refers to schemes that also include the provision of laptops for students. Whether it is the case that few teacher-only schemes have been initiated or whether research into such schemes has never been considered is not known.

The only other teacher-only laptop schemes to have been extensively evaluated outside the TELA initiative have been in the United Kingdom. The first of the English schemes, begun in 1998, was the Multimedia Portables for Teacher Pilot Project (Harrison et al, 1998, see the annotations for a full summary of the evaluation). The Computers for Teachers initiative was launched in January 2000 and offered teachers a subsidy of 50% towards the purchase cost of a desktop or laptop computer up to a maximum of £500. Some 6,000 teachers benefited from this scheme. Three evaluation reports were completed for this project (BECTA, 2001, 2002; Kington et al, 2003; see annotations for details of these projects). In 2002 a further scheme was launched, known as the Laptops for Teachers initiative (see Cunningham, Kerr, McEune, Smith & Harris, 2004 in annotations). Between 2002 and 2004 the Government provided £120 million that was allocated directly to local education authorities for the purchase and allocation of laptops to teachers and head teachers. Those who benefited from the previous Computers for Teachers scheme were ineligible.

The goals for these projects have largely been to facilitate access to technology for teachers; to increase personal skills, capability and motivation; and to assess the impacts that such technology may have on recipients' professional work and teaching, and on student motivation and learning. For most of these initiatives, assessments of the impacts of laptops have occurred during the first year of the initiative. The majority of evaluations have not been designed as longititudinal studies to explore the effects of the technology on teachers' practice over time.

The findings from these reports are positive. The Multimedia Portables for Teachers (Harrison et al, 1998) was an extremely successful pilot that the researchers considered effectively changed many teachers' lives. The portables made a transformative difference to teachers at both a personal and professional level. Teachers made fundamental changes to their ways of working. A very high proportion of teachers (98%) made use of their computer and were motivated to commit many hours of personal time to what was in effect their own professional development. As a result teachers' confidence and competence changed 'radically' for the better, their knowledge of ICT increased 'substantially', and enthusiasm for their work increased. The researchers noted there were also positive benefits for teaching and learning and wider benefits for students and other teachers not involved in the pilot.

Subsequent reports reiterate these findings, albeit in slightly different ways. The Computers for teachers: An evaluation of Phase 1: Survey of recipients (BECTA, 2001)investigated teachers' reasons for purchasing a subsidised desktop or laptop computer. Their reasons included a desire by more than 80% of respondents to improve their ability to use a computer, to prepare teaching materials, to use for administration tasks and to access the Internet for work and personal use. This report noted greatly increased use on a daily basis for administrative and teaching tasks, improved personal skills and confidence; a substantial number of teachers believed there was an impact on pupil use, motivation and attainment. In the parallel report Computers for teachers: A qualitative evaluation of Phase 1 (Kington et al, 2003)teachers in the case-study schools acknowledged the above findings and noted the greater efficiencies experienced in carrying out professional activities such as lesson preparation and administrative tasks. The third report, Computers for teachers: An evaluation of Phase 2: Survey of recipients (BECTA, 2002),found that levels of teacher competence and confidence had continued to improve in the 12 months between the surveys. The researchers also reported a continuing improvement in the levels of daily use of computers in teaching and administration, although the rate of improvement had slowed. In addition the researchers reported that laptop users' confidence and experience in most packages was higher than that of desktop purchasers, implying that portability was an important factor in teachers' improvement overall. These findings were to influence the scheme that followed.

One of the aims of the Laptops for teachers: An evaluation of the first year of the initiative report (Cunningham et al, 2004) was to assess the impact of personal ownership on teacher improvement with ICT across a range of uses. Many of the previously identified benefits were reiterated in this report but there is considerable refinement evident in defining which professional practices were being supported by laptop technology. The role of laptops in improving teaching and learning was clarified when teachers said they had better access to a greater range of resources, improved access to Internet resources, software and ability to produce better and more cost-effective resources themselves. The laptop was valued as a demonstrational tool, both for developing students' ICT skills and for instructional use with an interactive whiteboard. The role of laptops in supporting administrative tasks was considerable in such areas as planning and preparation of resources, time management and quality of resources produced, as well as assessment, reporting and pupil tracking, class and school management and assisting with teacher workload.

These mostly large-scale reports have limitations. Findings from teachers are joined across both social and professional spectrums. None of the published English reports have differentiated the findings by teaching level or school type nor have possible regional or economic differences been considered. No comparison studies were undertaken with non-selected teachers nor were longitudinal studies commissioned that could investigate the extent to which impacts on practice may change over time. The reports pay limited attention to other wider contexts that may also be constraining or enabling teachers' technology use and to the breadth of teacher professional practices that are supported by laptops.

The TELA scheme: Findings

The goals of the TELA scheme, stated in the 2004 information pack release, were not dissimilar to the English computers for teachers' initiatives. The New Zealand goals were to develop teacher confidence and competence in the use of ICT for professional growth and collaboration, for teaching and learning, class management and for administration (Ministry of Education, 2004).

To date, a number of both interim and final evaluative reports have been commissioned and published about the TELA scheme. These reports have specifically investigated goal alignment between primary teachers and policy developers, an evaluation of use and impact on secondary schools and on upper level primary schools (Years 7 and 8). The findings from these reports, while largely positive, also indicate that gains in routine use of laptops in many aspects of teachers' professional work have been quite modest over time.

One of the important aspects of the TELA: Laptops for Teachers Evaluation Final Report Years 9-13 (Cowie et al, 2008a) was to report specifically on the impact of laptop ownership on changing secondary teachers' professional practice over time. Various aspects of practice have been given more clearly defined shape in this report. A large proportion of secondary teachers were found to be routinely using their laptops for administrative tasks, for accessing a wider rage of resources than they have been able to previously, for developing worksheets and other resources and often for collaboratively planning and sharing those resources. By the end of the project the laptop had, for most teachers, become integral to their professional lives. Teachers who had appeared somewhat diffident in 2004, later spoke with confidence about what they could and intended to do. The multimedia capability of laptops affords secondary teachers the opportunity to introduce multi-sensory material into their teaching, acting as a motivator for students to engage creatively and critically in their learning.

The TELA: Laptops for Teachers Evaluation—Final Report Years 7 & 8 (Cowie et al, 2008b) was commissioned from the same research organisation as the secondary teacher study, allowing for some comparisons to be made between the data from the two projects. What is evident from this report is that a large proportion of Years 7 and 8 primary teachers were routinely using their laptops for administrative tasks, for accessing a wider rage of resources than they had been able to previously and often collaboratively planning and sharing those resources. Gains in widespread routine use were variable, indicating substantial change over time in some aspects of use and more modest changes over time in other areas of use. Generally primary teachers had a greater level of comfort with a wider range of applications than their secondary counterparts and were more inclined to use the laptops in the classroom for a wider range of instructional purposes.

These reports indicate that there are some discernable similarities and differences in laptop use between the primary and secondary sectors. The similarities relate to the advantages of laptop use for increasing teacher competence and capability, administrative tasks and use in planning and preparation of teaching materials. There are discernable differences in levels of collegiality evident between the two sectors in the two TELA reports, and also in subject-specific uses of laptops. Some differences are discernable in the ways the laptops have been integrated into instruction. The scope of classroom uses reported by some teachers fits into and aligns with current policies on effective teaching. Nevertheless evidence of substantial pedagogical change on a wider scale is hard to find.

The TELA final evaluation reports indicate that contextual factors need to be considered in any evaluation of the extent of teacher use of laptops. These can be classified as relating to: professional development; school infrastructure and support; and leadership.

Three types of teacher professional development were identified as being important for increasing use. The first was formal professional development. For both secondary and upper-level primary teachers this mostly comprised learning about the school network, using administration programmes, learning about specific software, and beginner computer skills. The second type of professional development identified was collegial. Teachers acknowledged the importance of opportunities to work with more knowledgeable colleagues in sustained ways. The third type was self-exploration of the laptop. Much of this was undertaken at home where teachers could seek help from family and friends.

Hardware, software and technical support were also identified as being a key constraint on secondary teacher usage, and one of the features of the laptop programme for some secondary teachers had been to kick-start slower schools into taking up ICT. Increased teacher access to ICT and professional development led to increased demand for suites of computers for curriculum teaching, and in-class data projectors.

For secondary schools, senior management leadership and support in the use of laptops and ICT was identified as being crucial and that this support needed to come from a range of groups, including Boards of Trustees, the principal and senior management team, ICT coordinator, ICT committees and enthusiastic classroom teachers. School policies and practices were a contributory factor as they determined the incentives and opportunities teachers had to use the laptops. Departmental mentoring and leadership was vitally important at the curriculum level, to encourage development of and sharing of electronic lesson materials and for setting up well organised repositories for resources.

What is particularly interesting is that the respondents in the primary report did not rate school leadership as a particularly important factor in teachers' use of laptops in the classroom when compared with other factors such as school networking, technical assistance, access to equipment and time to experiment.

To summarise the literature in this field we note the dearth of comparable international material available for schemes specifically for teachers and the importance of the earlier English evaluations of laptop ownership by teachers. These evaluations were able to provide valuable evidence that teachers did in fact benefit, personally and professionally, by being provided with laptops for their professional work and that in many tangible ways some of the benefits did flow into instruction. The literature now emerging from the New Zealand investigations into the TELA scheme adds considerably to the literature in the field of teacher portable computer ownership. This literature reveals some expected differences in sector use, but in many respects the picture is a positive one. The impacts on streamlining national, school and classroom administration have been rapid and are substantial. So are the effects on preparation of teaching materials and resources. Slower to change is the use of laptops in teaching practices, but there is evidence that teacher demand for peripherals to extend laptop use, ubiquitous networking, technical support and higher levels of student access to computers is growing.

Annotated bibliography: Summaries of evaluation research into nationwide laptops for teachers' initiatives

Summaries provided here:

  1. BECTA (2001) Computers for teachers: An evaluation of Phase 1: Survey of recipients
  2. BECTA (2002) Computers for teachers: An evaluation of Phase 2: Survey of recipients
  3. Cowie et al (2008b) TELA: Laptops for Teachers Evaluation – Final Report Years 7 & 8
  4. Cowie et al (2008a) TELA: Laptops for Teachers Evaluation – Final Report Years 9-13
  5. Cunningham et al (2004) Laptops for teachers: An evaluation of the first year of the initiative
  6. Harrison et al (1998) Multimedia portables for teachers pilot
  7. Kington et al (2003) Computers for teachers: A qualitative evaluation of Phase 1
Table 1: BECTA. (2001). Computers for teachers: An evaluation of Phase 1: Survey of recipients.NGfL research and evaluation series
Type of Report Research report
Type of Evaluation Survey (random section process) and analysis of outcomes
Name of initiative Computers for teachers (CfT)
Location of initiative England
Schools involved: Variety
Description of initiative scope 28,000 teachers purchased computers under the first phase between January and July 2000.
Initiative goals A government initiative aimed at helping teachers in England raise standards by enabling them to have access to a personal computer.
Timeframe for initiative January to July 2000
Funding and business partnerships Government subsidy for teachers to purchase own laptops
Description of evaluation focus and sample Aim: To assess
  1. effect of laptop ownership on ICT skills and confidence
  2. impact that teachers' personal access to ICT has on teaching and learning
Sample: Questionnaires sent to a random sample of 6,000 teachers who benefited from the scheme. 2,558 completed questionnaires analysed.
Timeframe of evaluation May-Dec 2001
Evaluation methods and indicators Survey of eligible teachers Reasons for purchase Measuring effects on
  1. Administration
  2. Teaching
  3. Pupils
  4. Teachers' skill levels
  5. Teachers' access to ICT
Evaluation outcomes and findings Reasons for purchase included (multiple answers by respondents)
  • improve ability in use of computer (80%)
  • to prepare teaching materials (87%)
  • administration tasks (80%)
  • access to the Internet for work (86%) and personal use (84%).
Increased daily use for admin by almost 150% Increased daily use in teaching by almost 150% Impact on pupils use, motivation, and attainment was believed by 18%-29% of teachers to have improved by a substantial extent and by 42%-45% of teachers to be quite substantial. Increase in teacher skills was believed to be substantial for 71% of responses.
Implications authors None provided
Implications reviewers Large sample. Obvious benefits in personal ownership of portable laptops for teachers. Clearly teacher goals were met in this project. Method of assessing impact on students' use, motivation and attainment was via teacher opinion.

Research reportResearch report Research report

Table 2: BECTA (2002) Computers for teachers: An evaluation of Phase 2: Survey of recipients. ICT in schools research and evaluation series (13)
Type of Report Research Report
Type of Evaluation Survey and analysis of outcomes
Name of initiative Computers for teachers (CfT)
Location of initiative England
Schools involved: Variety
Description of initiative scope 28,000 teachers purchased computers under the first phase between January and July 2000.
Initiative goals A government initiative aimed at helping teachers in England raise standards by enabling them to have access to a personal computer.
Timeframe for initiative January to July 2000
Funding and business partnerships Government subsidy for teachers to purchase own laptops
Description of evaluation focus and sample Aims:
Determine how teachers' views and use of ICT changed as a result of the scheme one year after delivery of their laptops.

Sample:
970 completed questionnaires were returned from 1494 teachers who had completed the baseline survey agreed to take part in further research
Timeframe of evaluation August-Dec 2002
Evaluation methods and indicators Survey of eligible teachers who volunteered to commit to further research
Purchasing and Servicing
Reasons for purchase
Measuring effects on
  1. Administration
  2. Teaching
  3. Pupils
  4. Teachers skill levels
  5. Teachers access to ICT
Evaluation outcomes and findings Three mains reasons for purchase included (multiple answers by respondents)
  • to prepare teaching materials (92%)
  • administration tasks (86%)
  • access to the Internet for work (85%).
Evidence of further increases in daily use for admin and daily use in teaching
Impact on pupils' use, motivation and attainment was believed by 18%-29% of teachers to have improved by a substantial extent and by 42%-45% of teachers to be quite substantial.
Increase in teacher skills was believed to be substantial for 71% of respondents.
Implications authors Reported levels of teacher competence and confidence have improved in 12 months between the surveys.Reported levels of daily use of computers in teaching and administration improved but that rate slowed compared to initial use.Reported increased confidence and experience in most packages by laptop users higher than desktop purchasers.
Implications reviewers Improvements in teachers' skills and confidence having a long-term effect.
Table 3: Cowie, B., Jones, A., Harlow, A., McGee, C., Cooper, B., Forret, M., Miller, T., & Gardiner, B. (2008a) TELA: Laptops for Teachers Evaluation-Final Report Years 9-13. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education

Type of Report

Research report

Type of Evaluation

Process and outcomes

Name of initiative

Laptops for Teachers Scheme (TELA Scheme)

Location of initiative

New Zealand

Schools involved: type and size

Initially TELA was a phased scheme, but by July 2005 all schools could apply to access laptops for all their teachers from Years 1 - 13 on the condition they manage the integration of the laptops into the school environment; this includes providing and meeting the costs of additional ICT infrastructure, professional development and technical support.

Description of initiative scope

Permanent full-time and part-time teachers in state and integrated schools working with Year 1 to 13 classes for at least 50% FTE are eligible to apply. Approved applicants are reimbursed for approximately two-thirds of the costs of leasing a laptop leaving a deficit of around $7 per week to be paid by the applicant or the school board of trustees.

Initiative goals

To provide a teaching tool to all New Zealand teachers, ensuring the development of greater confidence and competence in the use of technology in ICT.

Timeframe for initiative

Started 2003 and ongoing. Rolling replacement of laptops occurs for individual teachers every three years.

Funding and business partnerships

New Zealand Government

Description of evaluation focus and sample

Focus:
Longitudinal investigation of the impacts of the TELA Scheme on teachers' work, and evidence of emerging changes in laptop use.

Sample:
Secondary teachers.

Timeframe of evaluation

Four years 2003-2006

Evaluation methods and indicators

Mixed methods approach:

  • six focus groups of teachers in face-to-face meetings
  • a questionnaire sent to teachers in a range of schools
  • case studies of eight schools participating in the TELA scheme.

The focus groups allowed teachers to talk about their experiences and changes in their use of the laptop over the three years. Each year, teachers from 20 focus group secondary schools met in five regions. The annual questionnaire asked teachers about various aspects of their experience with the laptops, including school support for laptops, professional development, their use of laptops at home and in school, and their goals for future use.

Evaluation outcomes and findings

One of the important outcomes of this report was to investigate longitudinal changes occurring to specific teacher practices.

  • Changes in self-perceptions of expertise and comfort levels with basic applications such as word processing, email and Internet searches proved to be modest over time.
  • Increased use in a range of administration tasks was evident over the three years starting with more than 50%, increasing to more than 65% of teachers, routinely using laptops for report writing, recording grades, checking lists and records.
  • Evidence of increased routine-use of laptops for communication was also modest. Email was mostly used for communicating with colleagues but by 2005 there was some evidence of communications being extended to include parents and students. Also by 2005 about one-quarter of teachers were occasionally involved in online discussions.
  • Use of laptops to prepare resources such as handouts, Internet and assessment items, and review resources for student use showed an increase in routine use and a drop in occasional use, signaling that many more teachers were accessing a wider range of teaching and learning materials when preparing for their classes. By 2005 over three-quarters of teachers were using their laptops for this purpose.
  • Use of laptops in the classroom for teacher access to the Internet, class presentations and use of software also showed modest gains although most of these gains were in the area of occasional use rather than routine use. By 2005 there were still fewer than 1 in 6 teachers using their laptops routinely in the classroom and considerably less than half, using them occasionally.

Teachers reported:

  • that they now had flexibility of time and place for working
  • on the improved access to resources afforded by TELA laptop ownership. For most teachers, the laptop was now integral to their professional lives. Teachers who had appeared somewhat diffident in 2004 spoke with confidence about what they could and intended to do
  • how the laptop had helped them to become more confident in the use if ICT.

Contextual factors reported that were enablers or constraints:

  • Professional development tended to be mostly based on learning about the technology. Experiences of curriculum PD mainly from in-school mentors. Self-exploration an important factor.
  • School infrastructure and support very important. Access to school networks and Internet limited for half the teachers. Access to data projectors supports teacher use in the classroom.
  • School leadership and policies in place for use were important.

Implications authors

  • School leaders adopt a 'systems' approach to the development of policy and practices to initiate, extend and sustain the integration of the laptops/ICT into school and teacher work.
  • Develop a vision and expectation for ICT use in the school.
  • Model the active use of ICT and if this is not possible, provide suitable support for ICT use.
  • Foster a collaborative culture around ICT use and innovation within departments and across the school (learning community).
  • Provide opportunities and time for professional learning, particularly in the areas of teaching and learning with ICT.
  • Ensure that the school infrastructure is robust, reliable and accessible, this to include ICT technical support, workroom and classroom access, home access to school network, shared drives and a user-friendly and reliable administration system.
Table 4: Cowie, B., Jones, A., Harlow, A. with Forret, M., McGee, C., & Miller, T. (2008b). TELA: Laptops for teachers evaluation—Final report Years 7 & 8. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education

Type of Report

Research report

Type of Evaluation

Process and outcome

Name of initiative

TELA Scheme

Location of initiative

New Zealand - nationwide

Schools involved: type & size

Primary and secondary teachers

Description of initiative scope

Permanent full-time and part-time teachers in state and integrated schools working with Year 1 to 13 classes for at least 50% FTE are eligible to apply. Approved applicants are reimbursed for approximately two-thirds of the costs of leasing a laptop leaving a deficit of around $7 per week to be paid by the applicant or the school board of trustees.

Initiative goals

To provide a teaching tool to all New Zealand teachers, ensuring the development of greater confidence and competence in the use of technology in ICT.

Scheme goals include

  • collaboration and communication
  • administration and management
  • lesson planning and preparation
  • classroom use.

Timeframe for initiative

Started 2004 - Initiative is ongoing

Funding and business partnerships

New Zealand government

Description of evaluation focus and sample

Focus:
Longitudinal investigation of the impacts of the TELA Scheme on teachers' work and evidence of emerging changes in laptop use.

Sample:
Years 7 and 8 teachers in full primary and intermediate schools.

Timeframe of evaluation

Three years 2004-2006

Evaluation methods and indicators

Two focus groups of teachers in face-to-face meetings Held alternate years – one meeting for full primary Years 7 and 8 teachers and following year intermediate teachers.

Survey of teachers - annually

Evaluation outcomes and findings

One of the important outcomes of this report was to investigate longitudinal changes occurring to specific teacher practices.

Increased confidence and expertise with ICT in many teachers

  • Increased use of laptops to strengthen collegial relationships. By 2006 three-quarters of teachers used email for communication with colleagues. Increases in teacher use of laptops for accessing the Internet for professional readings (2004–69%: 2005–80%; 2006–91%). For collaboration in developing units and lesson materials. (2004–58%: 2005–70%; 2006–82%).
  • Efficiencies gained in lesson planning, preparation, administration and reporting. Most prevalent uses -Writing achievement reports (up to 90% from 69% in 2004), record student grades (up to 62% from 47% in 2004). Two-thirds of teachers used laptops for taking notes at meetings.
  • Growing use of laptops for classroom practice and student learning activities. Increased connectivity (2004–66%: 2005–70%; 2006–79%). Used to develop materials that had real-world and up to date examples and visuals. Use of planning templates and shared folders and resources was widespread. Laptops were proving flexibility in time and place for planning and preparation of teaching.

At the end of three years almost two-thirds of teachers made use of the laptop for classroom practice. Most of this use was 'occasional use' By 2006 57% of teachers used their laptop with a data projector and 5% had used an interactive whiteboard in the classroom. The most prevalent use (91%) of the laptop and peripherals was to present visual material, both static and dynamic, as part of instruction to the class.

Implications authors

The area of immediate concern identified in this evaluation is the need for professional learning opportunities with a focus on the pedagogies that would enable the best use of laptops/ICT at the Years 7 and 8 level.

Teachers' goal to learn more about ICT as a tool in teaching has increased over the period of the evaluation. (In 2004 37% of teachers set this as a goal, by 2005 this was 45% of teachers and by 2006 this was 46% of teachers).

Implications reviewers

This is a report on the effects of the TELA scheme on primary teachers. As such this report differs from others in that it focuses on primary sector teachers' responses as distinct from secondary (as in the previously noted TELA report) or combined across the compulsory education sector reports (as in the BECTA reports).

Table 5: Cunningham, M., Kerr, K., McEune R., Smith, P. & Harris, S. (2004). Laptops for teachers: An evaluation of the first year of the initiative. ICT in schools research and evaluation series (19). London: DfES

Type of Report

Research report

Type of Evaluation

Process and outcomes

Name of initiative

Laptops for Teachers (LfT)

Location of initiative

England

Schools involved: type and size

Variety

Description of initiative scope

In the first two years of the initiative LfT the government provided £120 million to Local Education Authorities (LEAs) for the purchase of laptops. The LEAs allocated the laptops to schools who owned them and then allocated them to selected teachers on long-term loan.

Initiative goals

Increase teachers' and headteachers' access to computers.

Timeframe for initiative

Launched Spring 2002

Funding and business partnerships

Government

Description of evaluation focus and sample

Aims:
Assess impact of laptop ownership on

  • recipients' teaching and administration practices and use of resources
  • recipients' ICT competence, confidence and motivation
  • recipients' perceptions of the value of ICT in teaching and learning
  • student motivation and attainment
  • recipients' workload
  • portability and security, health and safety
  • recipients' communication, sharing of information with colleagues, students, parents, governors within and beyond the school

Sample:

  • LEAs
  • Head teachers
  • Participant teachers and ICT coordinators

Timeframe of evaluation

First year of initiative – 2002

Evaluation methods and indicators

Mixed method approach. Both quantitative and qualitative

  • Surveys Baseline and follow up
  • Telephone interviews
  • Case study schools

Evaluation outcomes and findings

Impacts on teaching and learning

  • Key finding was better access to a greater range of resources, improved access to Internet resources, software and ability to produce better cost-effective resources themselves.
  • Valued as a demonstrational tool for developing students' ICT skills
  • Increase in confidence from 65% before to 74% after receipt of laptops
  • Increased motivation to use laptops in own teaching especially in conjunction with IWB.
  • Many teachers moving on to explore other technologies that could enhance teaching.
  • Portability has meant more flexibility in determining when and where to work.

Impacts on administration

  • Extensive impact on planning and preparation of resources, in terms of time management and quality of resources produced.
  • Extensive impact on assessment, reporting and pupil tracking, class and school management and teacher workload.

Whole-school impact

  • Allocation to senior management had enabled them to use ICT in the development of school systems.
  • Helped teachers with their management tasks such as policy writing and departmental planning.
  • Greater levels of communication between colleagues, (22% reported this as a main benefit), students, parents and governors.
  • Important benefit was streamlining whole-school internal procedures. Head teachers better able to ensure consistency of procedures throughout their schools.
  • Teachers had become more effective in finding ways to manage paperwork.

Implications authors

The need for funding for additional equipment (peripherals, such as data projectors) to enhance laptop use was becoming evident.

A need for training for specific classroom use rather than general use.

Need to ensure that a balanced workload for teachers is maintained.

Table 6: Harrison, C., Youngman, M., Bailey, M., Fisher, T., Phillips, R., & Restorick, J. (1998). Multimedia portables for teachers pilot

Type of Report

Research report

Type of Evaluation

Outcomes

Name of initiative

Portable Multimedia Computers

Location of initiative

England

Schools involved: type and size

Primary and Secondary teachers

Description of initiative scope

Phase 1 comprised a £5 million project where 1150 teachers in 575 primary and secondary schools were provided with multimedia portable computer and connectivity, Internet subscriptions, core software and a number of CD titles.

Phase II scope unknown.

Initiative goals

This pilot project sought to develop teacher competence and confidence in the use of IT.

Timeframe for initiative

Phase I of the project ran from January 1996 to July 1997

Phase II ran from January 1997 to July 1998

Funding and business partnerships

The Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) and National Council for Educational Technology (NCET)(now BECTA).

Description of evaluation focus and sample

Aims:
  • increase teacher confidence and competence in the use of IT resources
  • promote learning in the pupils taught by the teachers taking part in the project.

Sample:
Teachers

Timeframe of evaluation

First year of pilot

Evaluation methods and indicators

Mixed methods

  • Individual surveys administered at 3 months and 8 months into the academic year.
  • Interviews with teachers in case-study schools

Evaluation outcomes and findings

A very high proportion of teachers (98%) made use of their computer.

Teachers' confidence and competence changed 'radically' for the better.

Teachers felt their knowledge of ICT had increased 'substantially'.

Teachers changed their ways of working.

Teachers' enthusiasm for their work increased.

There were positive benefits for teaching and learning.

There were wider benefits for students and other teachers.

Implications authors

The pilot has been an extremely successful one and it has changed many teachers' lives. The portables had made a transformative difference to teachers at both a personal and professional level. Teachers made fundamental changes to their ways of working. Many hours of personal time was committed to what was in effect teachers' own professional development.

Table 7: Kington, A., Harris, S., Smith, P., & Hall, M. (2003). Computers for teachers: A qualitative evaluation of Phase 1. ICT in schools research and evaluation series (14). London: Department for Education and Skills

Type of Report

Research report

Type of Evaluation

Parallel evaluation of themes to support survey data for BECTA (2001a). Case studies.

Name of initiative

Computers for Teachers (CfT)

Location of initiative

England

Schools involved: type and size or teachers

7 primary schools and 1 secondary school.

Description of initiative scope

28,000 teachers purchased computers under the first phase between January and July 2000.

Initiative goals

A government initiative aimed at helping teachers in England raise standards by enabling them to have access to a personal computer.

Timeframe for initiative

January to July 2000

Funding and business partnerships

Government subsidy for teachers to purchase own laptops

Description of evaluation focus and sample

Aims:

  • Investigate the effects of personal teacher ownership of computers on teacher confidence and competence in using and teaching with ICT.
  • Identity improvements in the teaching and learning process derived from ownership of a personal computer.

Sample:

  • 24 beneficiaries of scheme (non case-study-school teachers) interviewed.
  • 20 teachers involved from 8 case-study schools also interviewed.

Timeframe of evaluation

Spring 2002

Evaluation methods and indicators

Multi-method approach using telephone interviews and analysing case studies.

Evaluation outcomes and findings

Greater efficiencies in carrying out professional activities such as lesson preparation and administrative tasks.

Improved levels of ICT competence and confidence making teachers more likely to use ICT in their lessons.

Increased access to ICT and the Internet.

Increased opportunities for pupils to use ICT themselves in lessons and to use resources their teachers have prepared using ICT.

Contributions to whole-school ICT development by improving knowledge skills and access of some of the teachers.

Implications authors

None provided

Implications reviewers

Not enough evidence provided to ascertain whether whole school benefits noted by researchers were owing solely to the laptop scheme or whether other factors such as NOF training options and gradually increasing levels of ICT resources available in schools also had an impact.

This research is based on a very small sample of the total number of teachers who were involved in the scheme.

Appendix B

Timeline of the evaluation project

15 October 2004–31 March 2005

Planning meeting with Ministry of Education

Finalise research plan

Ethics approval

Pilot study conducted

31 March 2005 - Progress report

 

1 April 2005 – 31 August 2005

Conduct baseline interviews (Years 4-8)

Develop personal goals for laptop with teachers (Years 4-8)

Interviews – Principals and ICT coordinators

Goals and objectives statements collected from participants (Years 4-8)

31 August 2005 - Progress Report

 

1 September 2005 - 31 March 2006

Commence second interviews (March, Years 4-8)

Commence baseline interviews (March, Years 1-3)

Develop personal goals for laptops with teachers (Years 1-3)

Goals and objectives statements collected from participants (Years 1-3)

Review teacher goals and objectives (Years 4-8)

Focus group interviews (Years 4-8)

31 March 2006 - Progress Report

 

1 April 2006 - 31 July 2006

Finish second teacher interviews (April, Years 4-8)

Finish baseline teacher interviews (April, Years 1-3)

Transcribe interviews (Years 1-8)

Analyse interview data (Years 1-8)

Commence class observations (Years 4-8)

Draft interim report

31 July 2006 - First Interim Report

 

1 August 2006 - 31 March 2007

Finish classroom observations (Years 4-8)

Third teacher interviews (Years 4-8)

Second teacher interviews (Years 1-3)

Focus group interviews (Years 1-8)

Review teachers' goals and objectives (Years 1-8)

Transcribe interviews (Years 1-8)

Analyse observations and interviews (Years 1-8)

31 March 2007 - Progress Report

 

1 April 2007 - 31 July 2007

Commence classroom observations (Years 1-8)

Focus group interviews (Years 1-8)

Draft interim report

31 August 2007 - Second Interim Report

 

1 August 2007 - 30 June 2008

Classroom observations (Years 1-8)

Fourth teacher interviews (Years 4-8)

Third teacher interviews (Years 1-3)

Focus group interviews (Years 1-8)

Review teachers' goals and objectives (Years 1-8)

Transcribe interviews (Years 1-8)

Analyse observations and interviews (Years 1-8)

Draft interim report

30 June 2008 - Third Interim Report

 

1 July 2008 - 30 April 2009

Classroom observations (Years 1-3)

Fourth teacher interviews (Years 1-3)

Focus group interviews (Years 1-3)

Review teachers' goals and objectives (Years 1-3)

Analyse observations and interviews (Years 1-3)

1 May 2009 - 30 September 2009

Complete analysis of data

Draft final report

30 September 2009 - Final Report

Appendix C

Classification of schools

Rural

A rural school is located in a town with only one primary school and no secondary school. Examples of rural towns include:

  • Totara
  • Glenorchy
  • Lee Stream
  • Omakau

Provincial

A provincial school is located in a town where there is at least one primary school and at least one secondary school. The research team was able to invite a school from towns such as:

  • Balclutha
  • Alexandra
  • Queenstown
  • Oamaru

Urban

An urban school is located within the boundaries of a city, in this case Dunedin.72 1024x768

Appendix D

Themes and open-ended questions used as guides in interviews

Principal

  • What percentage of teachers in school have a TELA laptop?
  • Do any teachers have a laptop other than those provided by TELA?
  • What other computers do you have in the school? (Number, location)
  • What other hardware is owned by school (ie, projectors, whiteboards, digital camera, video camera, etc.), and where is it located?
  • What role do you play, in terms of the ICT at school?
  • Who else has a role, and what is that role?
  • What responsibilities have you had and do you have for implementing the TELA scheme at your school?
  • Does anyone else have any responsibilities for this?
  • What sort of policy decisions have you had to make regarding acceptable uses of laptops for teachers?
  • - how much collaboration was involved?
  • - how constrained were you by Ministry requirements?
  • What changes have you had to make to incorporate the use of laptops by the teaching staff?
  • - school network
  • - other hardware
  • - professional development
  • - anything else?
  • How has it affected your role in the school?
  • - more technical support?
  • - more software support?
  • What professional development opportunities, if any, have you had in relation to the introduction of laptops in your school?
  • Do you think that having the laptops has affected the work culture in your school?
  • - in what ways?
  • Do you think that having the laptops has affected the way your teachers teach?
  • - in what ways?
  • How important do you think your leadership has been in this project?
  • Does the school have a technology plan or strategy? What does it refer to? (any of the following: Professional Development in terms of teaching using ICT; IT Training for staff; Internet policy; Home usage policy; Replacement of laptops; Purchasing of future equipment/software; Technical Support; Student usage policy; Health, safety, ethical issues)
  • - Has it changed in any way due to the laptops?
  • Overall, what do you think the impact of the laptop project has been on your school, the teachers and the students?
  • What do you think should be the future of the scheme? Do you think it should continue, and should any changes be made?

ICT coordinator

  • What percentage of teachers in school have a TELA laptop?
  • - Do any teachers have a laptop other than those provided by TELA?
  • What other computers do you have in the school? (Number, location)
  • - What other hardware is owned by school (i.e. projectors, whiteboards, digital camera, video camera, etc.), and where is it located?
  • What role do you play, in terms of the ICT at school?
  • - Who else has a role, and what is that role?
  • What responsibilities have you had and do you have for implementing the TELA scheme at your school?
  • - Does anyone else have any responsibilities for this?
  • What sort of policy decisions have you had to make regarding acceptable uses of laptops for teachers?
  • - how much collaboration was involved?
  • - how constrained were you by Ministry requirements?
  • What changes have you had to make to incorporate the use of laptops by the teaching staff?
  • - school network
  • - other hardware
  • - professional development
  • - anything else?
  • How has it affected your role in the school?
  • - more technical support?
  • - more software support?
  • What professional development opportunities, if any, have you had in relation to the introduction of laptops in your school?
  • Do you think that having the laptops has affected the work culture in your school?
  • - in what ways?
  • Do you think that having the laptops has affected the way your teachers teach?
  • - in what ways?
  • How important do you think your leadership has been in this project?
  • Does the school have a technology plan or strategy? What does it refer to? (any of the following: Professional Development in terms of teaching using ICT; IT Training for staff; Internet policy; Home usage policy; Replacement of laptops; Purchasing of future equipment/software;Technical Support; Student usage policy; Health, safety, ethical issues)
  • Has it changed in anyway due to the laptops?
  • Overall, what do you think the impact of the laptop project has been on your school, the teachers and the students?
  • What do you think should be the future of the scheme? Do you think it should continue, and should any changes be made?

Teachers

  • What year level are you currently teaching?
  • Do you have the same laptop you had as when we talked to you last year? (If yes, skip section. If no, ask following questions.)
  • - how much choice did you have in getting this particular laptop
  • - what features were you most concerned to have access to
  • - hardware
  • - software
  • - connectivity
  • What, if any, are the personal gains and costs to you from this participation? How about in terms of
  • - time
  • - resources
  • What sort of policies or procedures govern your use of the laptop?
  • - which of these expectations are Ministry based, which are school based and do any result from personal choice?
    • restrict laptop to school use
    • illegal nature restrictions
    • game playing
  • - how were these made clear to you, did you have to sign anything?
  • - evaluate these acceptable use policies, how fair and reasonable do you think they are?
  • - what ways, if any, do you think they should be adapted to fit practical requirements?
  • When something goes wrong with your laptop, what support is there to remedy it?
  • Who do you ask if you have any technical difficulties with use
  • - hardware
  • - software
  • How would you describe the levels of technical support from school?
  • Could you describe the leadership support that you have had regarding the TELA scheme
  • - improvements?
  • What professional development opportunities have you had related to laptop use since starting the scheme
  • How would you describe the work culture in your school
  • - collaborate in what ways
  • - producing resources
  • - team teaching
  • - committee work
  • What further support would you like to have for laptop and ICT use in your school?
  • - hardware
  • - software
  • - professional development
  • - networks
  • - communication
  • How do you use your laptop in your teaching?
  • At home, can you connect to school network if have one?
  • - email
  • - library catalogue
  • - school database
  • - at school
  • - student use
  • - administrative use
  • - curriculum use
  • Do you see a continuing need for use of your laptop
  • - in particular which features do you see as essential
  • How do you think having access to and use of your laptop has affected ICT use in your teaching?
  • Last time we talked with you, we asked about your goals and objectives. Do you think you have realised these?
  • Over the next 3 terms what would you like to achieve in the following areas?
  • - ICT skills
  • - lesson planning
  • - ICT in school curriculum
  • - school administration
  • - own professional development and professional learning
  • - teaching materials and resources to develop
  • - ways of working with teaching colleagues in this school
  • - ways of working with teaching colleagues in other schools and the wider community
  • - leisure activities

Appendix E

Needs assessment – goals and objectives statement

  1. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards developing your students' ICT skills:
    How will you use your laptop to help achieve this?
  2. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards lesson planning:
    How will you use your laptop to help achieve this?
  3. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards integrating ICT in the school curriculum:
    How will you use your laptop to help achieve this?
  4. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards administration:
    How will you use your laptop to help achieve this?
  5. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards your own professional development and professional learning:
    How willyou use your laptop to help achieve this?
  6. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards research and development of teaching materials and resources:
    How will you use your laptop to help achieve this?
  7. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards ways of working with teaching colleagues in this school:
    How willyou use your laptop to help achieve this?
  8. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards ways of working with teaching colleagues in other schools and the wider community:
    How will you use your laptop to help achieve this?
  9. Please list (2-3) some of the major goals or objectives you would like to achieve towards communicating with others:
    How will you use your laptop to help achieve this?

Appendix F

Focus group interview questions

  • What are the benefits and costs in having a TELA laptop? Personal? Professional?
  • How would you describe the levels of technical support from school?
  • What further support would you like to have for laptop and ICT use in your school?
  • How do you use your laptop in your teaching?
  • Do you see a continuing need for use of your laptop? What are the essential features?
  • Do you think having access to your laptop has affected ICT use in your teaching? How?
  • Do you believe that ICT use makes a difference in your teaching and your students' learning?
  • Are you happy with the way you've been using your laptop?
  • - Why? Student response? Using it to the best you can?
  • - Why not? What will you need to get there?