Strategies for information management in education: some international experience
Bytheway, Andrew J.
Venter, Isabella M.
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Background: Recent analysis of the management of information and communications technologies in South African education suggests strongly that there is only limited strategic thinking that might guide policy-makers, school principals, teachers, learners and suppliers of educational technologies. It is clear that here in South Africa, as elsewhere, the actual practice of technology-mediated education is driven more by the available technologies than by actual learner needs, good management principles and the wider national imperative. There might be lessons to be learned from experience elsewhere. Objectives: This article reports and analyses conversation with eight international educators in Europe, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. All are managing the impact of technology in different ways (reactive and pro-active), at different levels (pre-primary through to senior citizen), in different roles (teachers, administrators and senior managers) and in different contexts (schools and universities). Method: Open-ended conversations with educators and educational administrators in developed countries were recorded, transcribed and analysed. The qualitative analysis of the content was done in the style of ‘open coding’ and ‘selective coding’ using a qualitative content analysis tool. Results: Whilst technology is still seen to drive much thinking, it is found that that success is not derived from the technology, but from a full and proper understanding of the needs and aspirations of those who are directly involved in educational processes, and by means of a managerial focus that properly recognises the context within which an institution exists. Conclusion: Whilst this result might be expected, the detailed analysis of the findings further reveals the need to manage investments in educational technologies at different levels and in different ways.