There is a lot of useful research being done in educational ICT, but are the results getting back to the right people - including classroom teachers? Sadly, the answer is no. Niel Mclean, BECTA's director for schools, says: "Research has not gone back to schools to help them. Research tends to go to government to influence policy, when it should be going to schools to influence practice."
Philippa Cordingley, the TTA's chief professional adviser for research, says part of the problem is that research is written almost exclusively for research journals: "That's what attracts the funding and status." She adds that research papers are often more an exercise in logic than communication: "They're not written for teachers and you would need to have teachers involved in the writing process for communication to improve" The recent Newcastle report on ICT and literacy and numeracy in primary schools (Ways Forward in ICT) is an honourable exception, says Cordingley, as it includes useful summaries which teachers can easily read and digest.
BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association) and the ITTE (IT in Teacher Education), hosted an International Research Conference on the day before the BETT technology show last month. The aim of the conference was to exchange research information on ICT in education. Meanwhile, BECTA has set up a new directorate which will gather research information and evidence from the UK and around the world, and disseminate it to teachers.
The new directorate is headed by Angela McFarlane, formerly director of the Centre for Research in Educational ICT at Homerton College, Cambridge.