Theme 2: ICT and Education

The thematic group ICT and Education studies the use of Information and Communication Technology to ensure optimal learning conditions for students and optimal teaching conditions for teachers. The use of ICT to enhance learning processes and teaching practices (i.e., Technology Enhanced Learning) is the central focus of studies within this thematic group. 

Several lines of research can be distinguished within this thematic group: 

  1. Use of ICT to enhance students’ learning processes: Research in this line addresses the question how the use of ICT in education affects students’ learning processes (e.g., their cognitive activities, meta-cognitive strategies) and students’ learning outcomes (e.g., their cognitive performance, motivation). This research contributes to theories that explain how ICT facilitate students’ learning processes. The work done by ICO researchers in this area has for example contributed to knowledge about how ICT can support learning-focused interaction between students (i.e., computer-supported collaborative learning), showing how cognitive tools, external representations, and awareness tools can be used to facilitate collaborative learning processes. Other applications of technology enhanced learning that are studied by ICO researchers include: computer simulations, game-based learning, blended learning, and mobile learning. 
  2. Use of ICT to support teaching practices: Research in this line addresses the use of ICT by teachers to enhance their teaching practices. In this line of research, ICO researchers for example study how and why teachers use ICT in their lessons. This research has enhanced our understanding of the factors that increase or decrease teachers’ acceptance and use of ICT. An important development in this line is research that investigates teachers’ epistemological beliefs on the one hand, and their use of ICT in their classroom practices, and the results achieved by their students on the other hand. 
  3. Organizational aspects of ICT use in education: Studies in this line of research address the question how ICT can be introduced and implemented in educational organizations. ICO research in this line focuses on institutional factors that affect how ICT is used and implemented in educational organizations. These factors include for example the organization’s view of the role of ICT, the knowledge and skills possessed by the members of the organization, and other key factors and preconditions for implementing effective technology support. 

The research carried out by researchers in this thematic group can vary from fundamental research employing randomized controlled trials of ICT applications in classroom situation to design-based research experiments aimed at developing and investigating specific ICT tools.