School computer culture

Ongoing series of studies on computer use of Icelandic children and adolescents, their computer-related attitudes and skills

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir, associate professor
University of Iceland School of Education (formerly Iceland University of Education)
soljak@hi.is, http://uni.hi.is/soljak

For the past one and a half decade I have conducted a series of studies in Icelandic schools mostly among students in grades 5 to 10 (but also in two schools at the upper secondary level). In the project, with the assistance of graduate students who are also practicing school teachers, I have attempted to map computer use among children and adolescents in and out-of schools and to  assess students computer-related skills and attitudes as well as problems they associate with computer use (2002-). Differences based on gender, age, year and school have been mapped. These studies are based on ideas of a school computer culture and an associated framework that I delveloped as part of my PhD thesis at University of Minnesota in 1994-1996.

These studies have been guided by the following main questions:

  1. How do students use computers in and out of schools?

  2. How do students evaluate their computer-related skills and how are their attitudes towards computer use?

  3. Do students have social or physical problems regarding computer use, and if so of what kind and how widespread are these problems?

  4. Are there differences in student computer use, attitude and skills based on gender, age and location? Which factors related to school computer culture affect computer use, attitudes and skills?

  5. How is student computer use, attitude and skills changing over the years?

There have been several phases of data collection, see Table 1:

Table 1

Phase Data
Collection
Year
phase No. schools* No. students Grades* Information, support
1 1998 Preliminary survey, development of survey, spring 6 213 8-10 Supported by the Icelandic Student Innovation Fund; Conducted with the help of two undergraduate students, B.Ed. thesis
1998 Student survey
School survey
10 761 5-10;
11-14
Supported by Iceland University of Education Research Fund
Conducted with help of 10 graduate students (also practicing teachers)
2000 Student survey, observations and interviews 2
(also in preliminary study)
33 10
(were in 8th grade preliminary study)
Supported by Iceland University of Education Research Fund. Conducted with help of one graduate student.
2 2002 Student survey,
school survey
14
(2 of those participated in 1998 study)
1402 5-10; 12 Supported by the Icelandic Research Centre; part of LearnICT project (http://namust.khi.is)
Conducted with help of 17 graduate students (also practicing teachers)
3 2004 Student survey 7 334 7;  9
(6-10 in one school)
Supported by the Icelandic Research Centre; part of LearnICT project (http://namust.khi.is)
4 2006-2008 Student surveys (questions based partly on questions in earlier surveys)       Part of course work, initiated and conducted by grad. or undergrad. students, thesis or reports.
5 2008 Student survey
School survey
(Nov. 2008)
6

437

6-10 Conducted with help of 6 graduate students (also practicing teachers).
Various funding for Greta Gudmundsdottir who collected similar information in South Africa, see publications below.

*Currently there are 177 schools in Iceland at the primary and/or lower secondary level: Grades 1-7 (ages ca. 6 to 12) are at the primary level; Grades 8-10 (ages ca. 13-15) are at the lower secondary level. There are about 30 schools at the upper secondary/high school level most of them with grades 11-14 (ages ca. 16-19+).

Results, publications and presentations

The following abstract gives an overview of some the most interesting findings from the earlier studies (Jakobsdóttir, 2006).

Comparison is made of results of three studies on student computer use (grades 7 to 10): from 1998, 2002, and 2004 (557, 797, and 325 students respectively). Data were gathered with an online questionnaire. Students indicated whether they had acquired several ICT related skills. Information was also gathered on computer use, related attitudes and problems. Students gained on average half a skill per year from 1998 to 2004; girls gained more than boys; and younger age group (grade 7-8) more than the older (9-10). Attitudes remained positive, boys were more positive than the girls, but confidence for the girls increased. Students reported both physical problems (especially the girls) and social problems in relation to computer use. Headache and eye problems were most commonly reported in the former case but problems related to potential Internet and/or game addiction in the latter. Computer use at school was limited compared to use at home and increased little over the period. (Jakobsdóttir, 2006, p. 67).

These and results are introduced and discussed in the following publications/presentations in relation to each phase of the project.

Phase 1: 1998-2001

In this phase a preliminary study was conducted in the spring of 1998 by two B.Ed. students testing a questionnaire among 213 students in 6 schools in the Westfjords of Iceland. The questionnaire was revised, developed further and used in a study among 761 students in 10 schools (5 in the capital area and 5 in the countryside) later that fall. In that study, school administrators also completed a survey about each of their schools. The study was conducted within a graduate level course on ICT in education at Iceland University of Education with the help of students in that course that were also practicing teachers at the schools involved. In the beginning of 2000, the 1998 survey was given to a smaller group of students which were then tested on some of the computer-related skills in which they had evaluated their competence in the survey.

In English

Jakobsdóttir, S. (2001). Effects of information and communications technology (ICT) on teaching and learning in Iceland. Journal of IT for Teacher Education 101&2:87-100.  http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a739086210~db=all~order=page

Jakobdóttir, S. (2000). Effects of information and communications technology (ICT) on teaching and learning in Iceland. ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Seminar, Keele University, Presenation 6.1.2000,  Keele, UK. 

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2000). Computer culture in Icelandic schools: Need to promote gender-related equity. EUN Multimedia Schoolnet - European Workshop II , Presentation 18.9.2000, Keele, UK.  http://soljak.khi.is/eun/ictgenderkeele.ppt

In Icelandic

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (1999). Kynjamunur tengdur tölvunotkun. Tölvumál 242:25-27.   

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (1999). Tölvumenning íslenskra skóla: kynja- og aldursmunur nemenda í tölvutengdri fćrni, viđhorfum og notkun. Uppeldi og menntun 81:119-140. 

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2000). Tölvumenning íslenskra skóla: Í átt til aukins jafnréttis. ráđstefnu um konur og upplýsingasamfélagiđ, Erindi var flutt 14.4.2000,  Reykjavík.  http://www.simnet.is/konur/erindi/solveig_jakobs.ppt

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2000). Tölvuleikni íslenskra grunnskólanema: Mat međ mismunandi ađferđum . málţingi Rannsóknarstofnunar Kennaraháskóla Íslands - Rannsóknir, nýbreytni, ţróun, Erindi var flutt 14.10.2000,  Reykjavík.  http://soljak.khi.is/erindi/tolvuleikni

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (1999). Á "uppleiđ" međ upplýsingatćkni: Eru stelpur og strákar samferđa á ţeirri leiđ?. vegum Rannsóknarstofu í kvennafrćđum, Erindi var flutt 4.11.1999,  Reykjavík.  http://web.khi.is/~soljak/uppleid/

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (1999). Kynjamunur tengdur tölvunotkun í íslensku skólastarfi og leiđir til ađ draga úr honum. UT99 - Ráđstefnu menntamálaráđuneytisins og Skýrslutćknifélagsins um upplýsingatćkni í skólastarfi, Erindi var flutt 27.2.1999,  Reykjavík.  http://web.khi.is/~soljak/sky99/

Alma Frímannsdóttir og Margrét Sigurvinsdóttir. (1999). Rannsókn á tölvunotkun nemenda í 8.-10. bekk á Vestfjörđum. Óbirt B.Ed. ritgerđ, Kennaraháskóli Íslands.

Phase 2: 2002-2003

In this phase minor changes were made to the questionnaire (available in Icelandic) and in the fall of 2002 it was used in a study in 14 schools (5 in the countryside - 2 of those had also participated in 1998, 9 in the capital area) among 1402 students. School administrators also completed a survey for each of the schools (available in Icelandic). Similar to the 1998 data collection the study was conducted within the same graduate level course at Iceland University of Education with the help of students in that course that were also practicing teachers at the schools involved. During this phase two other research projects were launched one using qualitative methods on the Internet use of Icelandic students (http://www.netnot.is) and another one (survey-based) on the Internet use of Icelandic teachers.

In English

Jakobsdóttir, S. Jónsdóttir, B.M., & Hjartarson, T. (2004). Gender, ICT-related student skills, and the role of a school library in an Icelandic school. School Libraries Worldwide 101-2:52-72.  http://www.iasl-online.org/pubs/slw/

Jakobsdóttir, S. & Hjartarson T. (2003). Information and communications technology (ICT) use among Icelandic students: Moving into the new milennium . World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) (Eds. David Lassner og Carmel NcNaught Carmel NcNaught ), pp. 2841-2844 . Honolulu , AACE .  http://www.aace.org/DL/index.cfm/fuseaction/ViewPaper/id/13358/searchvars/authors%3DSolveig%2BJakobsdottir%26start%5Frow%3D1

Jakobsdóttir, S. & Hjartarson T. (2003). Information and communications technology (ICT) use among Icelandic students: Moving into the new milennium. ED-MEDIA, Presentation 27.6.2003, Honolulu.  http://soljak.khi.is/erindi/edmedia3.ppt

Jakobsdóttir, S. (2003). Students voices: on ICT in schools and online experiences. ITDG (Information technology, transnational democracy and gender) conference, Erindi var flutt 14.11.2003,  Luleĺ, Sweden.  http://soljak.khi.is/erindi/gendertechno03.ppt

Jakobsdóttir, S. (2003). Computer and Internet Use among Icelandic Children and Adolescents. NECC, Poster presentation 1.7.2003,  Seattle. 

In Icelandic

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2003). Tölvumenning íslenskra skóla 2002: Höfum viđ gengiđ til góđs? UT2003 - ráđstefna um upplýsingatćkni í skólastarfi, Erindi var flutt 1.3.2003,  Akureyri.  http://soljak.khi.is/erindi/tolvumenning02.ppt

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2004). Spurningar til skólastjórnenda/tölvuumsjónarfólks: Könnun gerđ af kennara og nemendum í framhaldsdeild KHÍ nóvember 1998 og 2002. http://soljak.khi.is/tolvumenning/spurnskolaUT1998_2002.pdf

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir og Ţuríđur Jóhannsdóttir. (2003). Skyggnst inn í skólana: UST í grunnskólum landsins. málţingi Rannsóknarstofnunar KHÍ Skóli fyrir alla, Erindi var flutt 11.10.2003,  Reykjavík.  http://soljak.khi.is/erindi/sjtj_mal3.ppt

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir, Bára Mjöll Jónsdóttir og Torfi Hjartarson. (2003). Tölvunotkun í landsbyggđarskóla 1998-2002. FUM - Gróska og margbreytileiki - ráđstefna um íslenskar menntarannsóknir, Erindi var flutt 22.11.2003,  Reykjavík.  http://soljak.khi.is/erindi/fum03.ppt

Phase 3: 2004-2006

In this phase, a questionnaire that was used as in 2002 with small changes (available in Icelandic) was used in a survey among 334 children in 7 schools (4 in the capital area; 3 in the countryside).

In English

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2006). Up on a Straight Line? ICT Skill Development of Icelandic Students . World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) (Eds. Elaine Pearson & Paul Bohman, pp. 67-74 . Chesapeake, VA , AACE .  http://www.editlib.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Reader.ViewAbstract&paper_id=22995

Jakobsdóttir, S. (2004). Distributed research in distributed education: How to combine research and teaching online. Netla, 3(2). http://netla.khi.is/greinar/2004/010/index.htm

In Icelandic

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2005). Tölvumenning grunnskóla 1998, 2002 og 2004: munur í tölvutengdri fćrni og viđhorfum eftir ári, kyni og aldri. UT2005 - ráđtefnu um upplýsingatćkni og skólastarf, Veggspjald 4.3.2005,  Reykjavík.   

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2005). Tölvumenning íslenskra skóla 1998, 2002 og 2004. vegum Rannsóknarstofnunar KHÍ, Erindi var flutt 19.1.2005,  Reykjavík.  http://soljak.khi.is/erindi/tolvumenning98_02_04ust.ppt

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2004). Tölvumenning grunnskóla 1998, 2002 og 2004: munur í tölvutengdri fćrni og viđhorfum eftir ári, kyni og aldri. málţingi RANNÍS um markáćtlun um upplýsingatćkni og umhverfismál 1999-2004, Veggspjald 11.11.2004,  Reykjavík. 

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2006). Tölvumenning íslenskra skóla 1998, 2002 og 2004: Tölvunotkun, fćrni, viđhorf og vandamál nemenda. Óútgefiđ handrit. Sótt 1. mars 2008 af http://soljak.khi.is/tolvumenning/skyrsla980204

NámUST. (2005). Hvađ hefur upplýsingatćkni í för međ sér...? [In Icelandic, main results regarding ICT effects on schools, teaching and learning, from all the NámUST studies (LearnICT project) including the studies on computer culture]. http://soljak.khi.is/namust/nidurstodur29sept05/index.html

Phase 4: 2006-2008

In this phase I have not conducted studies related to the project myself. However, one graduate student at Iceland University of Education collected data based on a similar questionnaire in the fall of 2006 and wrote a report that was submitted as part of her coursework. In the spring of 2007, one graduate student at University of Iceland used some of the questions on the questionnaire from 2004 in her own study and questionnaire to assess Internet addiction among Icelandic children. She wrote her master's thesis about the study. I was her co-adviser. In the spring of 2008 four undergraduate teacher education students at Iceland University of Education have worked together to collect data and to write a report as part of their coursework using their own questionnaire but with questions from the earlier surveys.

In Icelandic

Sigríđur Huld Konráđsdóttir. (2007). Sofiđ á verđinum? Tölvunotkun og tíđni netfíknar međal nemenda í 6.-10.bekk á Íslandi. Óbirt MA ritgerđ, Háskóli Íslands, Reykjavík.

Phase 5: 2008-2011

In this phase minor changes were made to the questionnaire and in the fall of 2008 it was used in a study in 6 schools (3 in the countryside) in November and December among 437 students in grades 6 to 10. School administrators also completed a survey for each of the schools, similar to the one used in 1998 and 2002. As in the 1998 and 2002 data collection the study was conducted within the same graduate level course, now at University of Iceland - school of education, with the help of students in that course that were all but one practicing teachers at the schools involved. Results were compared with results from a study in South Africa conducted by Gréta Björk Guđmundsdóttir who defended her PhD thesis from the University of Oslo in May 2011: From digital divide to digital opportunities? A critical perspectivee on the digital divide in South African schools. I was her co-adviser.

In English

Guđmundsdóttir, G. B. & Jakobsdóttir, S. (2009). A digital divide: challenges and opportunites for learners and schools on each side. In H. B. Hólmarsdóttir & M. O'Dowd (Eds.), Nordic Voices: Teaching and researching comparative and international education in the Nordic countries (pp. 173-201). Rotterdam: SensePublishers.

Guđmundsdóttir, G. B. & Jakobsdóttir, S. (2009). Digital Divides: Learning and Lessons from Opposite Sides. In A. Gaskell & R. Mills (Eds.), The Cambridge International Conference on Open and Distance Learning 2009. Supporting learning in the digital age:rethinking inclusion, pedagogy and quality (collected conference papers and workshops on CD-ROM, ISBN 978-0-7492-29269) (bls. 177-188). Cambridge: Von Hügel Institute, St Edmund’s College, The Open University and The Commonwealth of Learning.  http://www2.open.ac.uk/r06/documents/CambridgeConferenceMainPaper2009.pdf

In Icelandic

Gréta B. Guđmundsdóttir og Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2009, 17. febrúar). Stafrćn gjá: tölvunotkun suđur-afrískra og íslenskra ungmenna - áskoranir og tćkifćri. Erindi var flutt á Hádegisverđarfundi Rannsóknarstofu í upplýsingatćkni og miđlun (RANNUM) Reykjavík. http://skrif.hi.is/rannum/files/2009/04/khi_170209taka3.pdf 

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir. (2009, 30.október 2009). UT-fćr? Hćfni nemenda á sviđi upplýsinga- og samskiptatćkni í grunnskólum. Erindi var flutt á málţingi menntavísindasviđs Háskóla Íslands Reykjavík. Sótt 1. desember, 2010 af http://www.slideshare.net/soljak/utfaerni98-02-0408