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Fear of IT lingers on

Nearly 1,000 researchers gathered in Seville two weeks ago for a conference that mixed flamenco and flying cockroaches with a desire to fan awareness of their work across Europe. David Budge reports. Practical and psychological barriers are deterring Swedish secondary teachers from making full use of their classroom computers.

Although most secondary teachers now have a positive attitude towards information technology, research conducted in 1994 and 1995 suggests that teachers are using classroom computers less than they did in the 1980s.

Gunilla Jedeskog of Linkoping University said she had interviewed seven secondary teachers in 1994 who had been using IT for 10 years.

A second group of 24 teachers who were involved in a computer-aided teaching initiative in 1989 were asked about their use of IT six years later. Both groups said that they had too few computers, or that the hardware was too old. Some complained that their headteachers had prevented them from exploiting new technology fully, while others admitted that their own lack of expertise was a drawback.

Ms Jedeskog has concluded that all teachers should have a home computer and that more schools should buy laptops. However, the Swedish government is continuing to ration funding for educational IT and has said that only 25 of the country's 300 municipalities can expect to receive grants for school computers.

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