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New Report Examines Role Of ICT In Education

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

  * Secondary schools in East Africa were the host sites for a one-year study to
    understand how Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
    infrastructure and training support could improve education
  * In one year, teachers reported significant increase in skill and comfort
    with using ICT for educational purposes
  * Study makes recommendations in key intervention areas for successful,
    sustainable integration of ICT in schools for the purposes of improved
    learning outcomes
 
A collaborative action research (CAR) study funded by Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC),
and managed independently by a team of multidisciplinary experts from the Earth
Institute at Columbia University, Columbia University Teachers College,
University of Nairobi in Kenya, and Kampala University in Uganda, finds
significant potential for improved teaching and learning with ICT tools.
Specifically, the findings are only such when the tools are appropriately
designed and adequately supported with infrastructure and ongoing professional
development for teachers.

Investigators worked for one year to understand the effects, opportunities and
challenges of integrating ICT into schools and teaching routines. To do that,
university faculty and teachers worked in close collaboration at four rural
schools in Kenya and Uganda.

Interviews, training workshops, surveys and observations conducted indicate
significant improvements in teaching and learning when ICT tools and resources
are well-designed with the school infrastructure and environment in mind, and
when teachers are provided with on-going training and professional development
in how to optimize these resources in their classrooms.

Research findings show that over the course of the study, guided use, training
and professional development workshops offered essential support for teachers
focusing on using ICT in their classrooms. There were significant increases both
in teachers' reported skill and comfort with using ICT for educational purposes,
as well as in the observed use of ICT in their classrooms. For example, where
only 21% of teachers considered themselves to be "advanced" users of ICT at the
beginning of the project; by the end, 45% of teachers were reporting themselves
to be advanced users. There was also an 18% increase in reported use of ICT in
the classroom over the course of the project.

Researchers compiled recommendations in several categories, including:

  * Physical infrastructure, calling for policies for open access to hardware,
    electrical outlets throughout all classrooms and security;
  * ICT infrastructure, where Wi-Fi networks, adequate airtime, and computers
    and projectors are basic needs;
  * Teacher pedagogical skills and knowledge development along with basic ICT
    training, where professional development should be facilitated in
    partnership with local universities or Non-Governmental Organizations, among
    other steps;
  * Open source teaching and learning resources, including use of Connect To
    Learn's  online resource library and expanding the availability of locally
    relevant online resources;
  * Student ICT participation and knowledge, which encourages teachers to assign
    online research and computer-based projects; and
  * Public-private partnership implementation, urging each site to hire local
    facilitators to provide ongoing support to administrators and teachers, and
    forging partnerships with local decision-makers and telecommunications
    industry leaders to institutionalize the integration of ICT at all levels of
    education.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, said: "Education is at the very
core of economic development and a key to ending poverty. In the world economy
today, every nation's success depends on the education of its people, ICT will
increasingly be at the center of the education process. ICT offers new and
creative ways to combine classroom experience, home learning, global outreach,
and connectivity of students and teachers to the burgeoning network of online
learning now accessible throughout the world. Classrooms everywhere, from
primary schools to higher education, will be dramatically transformed in
exciting and enriching ways.

"Effectively integrating technology into teaching practices in resource-poor
settings requires bringing many key elements together to enable ICT to fulfill
its great potential for improving student learning outcomes," continued Sachs.
"Reliable connectivity, a consistent energy supply, and teacher training are
among the key elements for getting started. Designing new curricula that combine
online and classroom learning is another high priority. Through broad-based
investment and dynamic partnerships with the telecommunications leaders of the
world, there is a huge and thrilling opportunity at hand."

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate
Responsibility, Ericsson, said: "A world where all girls and boys have access to
secondary schooling and all teachers and students are connected to quality
learning resources through internet access is the vision on which Connect To
Learn was founded. In the 21(st) century, mobile broadband means that access to
quality education should no longer be an obstacle - it is increasingly possible
to deliver this fundamental human right."

The ICT in Education Study was designed, commissioned and managed by the Connect
To Learn team, based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and
Millennium Promise. The study was conducted with funding and technical support
from Ericsson.


NOTES TO EDITORS

Link to full ICT in Education Study

Video about the ICT in Education Study

More about Connect To Learn

Download high-resolution photos and broadcast-quality video at
www.ericsson.com/press

Ericsson is a world-leading provider of communications technology and services.
We are enabling the Networked Society with efficient real-time solutions that
allow us all to study, work and live our lives more freely, in sustainable
societies around the world.

Our offering comprises services, software and infrastructure within Information
and Communications Technology for telecom operators and other industries. Today
40 percent of the world's mobile traffic goes through Ericsson networks and we
support customers' networks servicing more than 2.5 billion subscriptions.

We are more than 110,000 people working with customers in more than 180
countries. Founded in 1876, Ericsson is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. In
2012 the company's net sales were SEK 227.8 billion (USD 33.8 billion). Ericsson
is listed on NASDAQ OMX, Stockholm and NASDAQ, New York stock exchanges.

www.ericsson.com
www.ericsson.com/news
www.twitter.com/ericssonpress
www.twitter.com/ericssonsustain
www.facebook.com/ericsson
www.facebook.com/technologyforgood
www.youtube.com/ericsson

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT

Ericsson Corporate Communications
Phone: +46 10 719 69 92
E-mail: media.relations@ericsson.com

Ericsson Investor Relations
Phone: +46 10 719 00 00
E-mail: investor.relations@ericsson.com


New report examines role of ICT in education: http://hugin.info/1061/R/1743764/586652.pdf

[HUG#1743764]

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