SITES 2006. Second Information Technology in Education Study 2006

The IEA Second Information Technology in Education Study (SITES) 2006 was an international comparative study of pedagogy and information and communication technology (ICT) use in schools. The study focused on the role of ICT in teaching and learning in mathematics and science classrooms.

SITES 2006 examined how teachers and students used ICT and the extent to which certain pedagogical practices considered to be conducive to the development of "21st century" skills were present in comparison to traditionally important ones. These 21st century skills were defined in terms of students' abilities to engage in lifelong learning (collaborative and self-directed inquiry) and their connectedness (ability to collaborate with and learn from peers and experts). In addition, analyses were conducted to identify conditions at the system, school, and teacher level that were associated with different pedagogical practices and different ways of using ICT for teaching and learning.

The study used questionnaires to collect information from school principals, technology coordinators, and mathematics and science teachers; a national context questionnaire gathered policy information on education and ICT use. For 15 countries that participated in SITES Module 1, SITES 2006 also provided an opportunity to examine changes in pedagogy and ICT use since 1998. The main data collection took place in 2006. In 18 countries, the data were collected online.

Target population

SITES 2006 consisted of two survey components: a survey of schools (school principals and technology coordinators), and a survey of mathematics and science teachers of students in the eighth grade.

Participating education systems

Canada (Alberta and Ontario), Chile, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong SAR, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, Russian Federation (with Moscow as a benchmarking system), Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain (Catalonia), and Thailand.

Key findings

ICT use in education

Twenty of the participating education systems reported having a system-wide policy relating to ICT in education, though their policy concerns differed. The majority of countries had at least slightly increased their ICT spending in the last 5 years and reported some level of government funding for the provision of hardware and software. With the exception of one country, nearly all of the schools in the participating countries reported having computer and Internet access for pedagogical use. However, the percentage of teachers reporting that they used ICT for teaching was comparatively low. ICT use was generally more prevalent among science teachers than mathematics teachers in most countries, but the extent to which teachers had adopted ICT differed considerably across countries, varying from 20% to 80%. Furthermore, there was no correlation between the level of ICT access (student-to-computer ratio) and the percentage of teachers who reported using ICT in their teaching.

The perceived availability of technical, administrative, and infrastructural support was the most consistent positive predictor of teachers' use of ICT. The extent of ICT use depended not only on school-level conditions, however, but also on national curriculum policies, as evidenced by large differences in the use of ICT among mathematics and science teachers within the same schools in some countries. For example, in Japan and Israel, the percentages of mathematics teachers reporting ICT use (around 22.5% in both countries) were much lower than those for science teachers from the same samples of schools (44% and 53% respectively).

21st century skills and ICT use

The perceived impact of ICT use on students was highly dependent on the pedagogical approaches adopted by teachers when using ICT. Greater student gains in 21st century skills such as collaboration and inquiry were reported by teachers with a lifelong-learning orientation (taking on a more facilitative role, providing student-centered guidance and feedback, and engaging more frequently in exploratory and team building activities with students).

Changes in ICT provisions and priorities in teaching practice

Between 1998 and 2006, great improvements in access to computers and the Internet were reported, though considerable diversity in terms of the ICT infrastructure available in schools remained. In most countries, there was a general increase in teaching practices that involved information handling (e.g., searching for information, processing data, and presenting information).

There was considerable diversity in countries' trends in development. In most countries, there was a general increase in the perceived presence of lifelong-learning pedagogy. Substantial increases were evident in several Asian countries that reported the lowest presence in 1998 (Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore); conversely, a decrease in presence was reported in the three European countries (Norway, Slovenia, Denmark) that registered the highest presence of lifelong-learning pedagogy in 1998.

Major publications

Brese, F., & Carstens, R. (Eds.). (2009). Second Information Technology in Education Study: SITES 2006 user guide for the international database. Amsterdam: IEA.

Carstens, R., & Pelgrum, W.J. (Eds.). (2009). Second Information Technology in Education Study: SITES 2006 technical report. Amsterdam: IEA.

Law, N., Pelgrum, W.J., & Plomp, T. (Eds.). (2008). Pedagogy and ICT use in schools around the world: Findings from the IEA SITES 2006 study. Hong Kong: CERC-Springer.

Plomp, T., Anderson, R.E., Law, N., & Quale, A. (Eds.). (2009). Cross-national information and communication technology: Policies and practices in education (Rev. 2nd ed.). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.