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ICT in Secondary Education in Cyprus

National Report
Intercollege/University of Nicosia

Dr Philippos Pouyioutas
Vice Rector
University of Nicosia/Intercollege
Mr Emilios Solomou
Campus Director
University of Nicosia/Intercollege

Bridging Insula Europae


Enhancing Pupils Motivation by Developing European Dimension of Learning and the Use of ICT
134214-LLP-1-2007-1-IT-COMENIUS-CMP
Grant Agreement 2007-3435/001-001
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for
any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
1. Introduction

This report describes the findings of the research on ICT in the Educational System of
Cyprus and more specifically in secondary education. The research was carried out through:
– literature review
– interviews with teachers
– interviews with university professors
– questionnaires (based on the Research Index) sent to schools
– interviews with experts

The literature review has been carried out mainly through the Internet. The main source of
information regarding the use of ICT in the state schools of primary and secondary
Education in Cyprus is the Eurydice report: “Use of Computers and the Intranet in Schools
in Europe 2006 – Country Brief Cyprus” at
http://www.eurydice.org/portal/page/portal/Eurydice.

The research into the curriculum of the Pre-primary and Primary Education programmes of
study of 5 Universities in Cyprus in conjunction with the interviews of teachers of primary
education and university professors of Departments of Education, revealed that there are 3-
4 courses integrated into the curriculum of primary education teachers, dedicated to the use
of ICT in Schools. No such courses exist normally in the curriculum of the more specialised
teachers of secondary education.

The interviews with experts confirmed the findings of the research. The following experts
were interviewed:
– Dr Philippos Pouyioutas, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Vice Rector,
University of Nicosia, e-learning researcher
– Dr Despo Ktoridou, Associate Professor, Department of MIS, University of Nicosia, e-
learning researcher
– Mr Yiannos Mylonas, Head of the ICT Department and Computer Teacher, G. C.
School of Careers, Nicosia
The rest of this report is organised as follows. In Section 2 we present the findings of the
research in state schools. As mentioned before, this was based on the Eurydice report and
was “validated” through interviews with teachers of state schools. In Section 3 we present
the findings of the research in private schools. This was done through interviews with
teachers of private schools of secondary education as well as through a questionnaire which
was constructed based on the one prepared by the project co-ordinator. The questionnaires
were sent to 3 private schools of secondary education and were completed by 15 teachers.
In Section 4 we give some example of best practices in Cyprus. Finally in Conclusions we
summarize our findings and make some recommendations.
2. ICT in State Schools of Secondary Education

The main conclusions emanating from the Eurydice report are:


1. ICT is adequately used in State Schools
2. Teachers are in favor of using ICT
3. Teachers are confident and motivated in using ICT
4. It seems that ICT is more used in Primary Education rather than in Secondary
Education; this maybe due to the fact that Primary Education teachers take ICT
courses when studying at University
5. Barriers still exist but the motivation and will to overcome the barriers also exist.
The following are the more detailed findings reported in the aforementioned report:

2.1 ICT Equipment and Internet in State Schools


Percentage of Schools having
– Computers for Teaching 99
– Internet Access 95
– Website 51
– E-mail for Teachers 49

– E-mail for Pupils 7

– LAN 23
– Intranet 17

2.2 Computers for Education in State Schools


Percentage of Schools using Computers in
– Computer Lab 74
– Classroom 90
– Library 41
– Other Locations 38

2.3 Teachers and the use of ICT in State Schools


– 75% of the teachers have used computers in class
– Most frequent and intensive use is made by teachers in primary schools
– The older the teachers the less they make use of computers and the Internet
– Teachers are very much in favour of using ICT
– More than 95% of teachers see significant benefits for pupils from the use of
ICT
– 88% teachers wish there was better support and maintenance

2.4 Computers used in Class in State Schools


– 75% of teachers have used computers in class
– 69% of teachers use a computer to present or demonstrate
– 51% of teachers have pupils use a computer in class

2.5 Percentage of Computers used in Class in State Schools


– 17% of teachers use a computer in =<5% of their lessons
– 18% of teachers use a computer in =>6% but =<10% of their lessons
– 27% of teachers use a computer in =>11% but =<24% of their lessons
– 27% of teachers use a computer in =>25% but =<50% of their lessons
– 18% of teachers use a computer in =>51% of their lessons

2.6 Source of Educational Material used in State Schools


Percentage of teachers using Educational Material from
– The Internet 77
– The School Intranet 55
– CDs 85

2.7 Computer and Internet Access in State Schools


– Schools are well equipped with computers 68%
– Internet is sufficiently fast 62%
– Better maintenance is needed 89%
– Poor quality of Internet material 31%
– Hard to find good quality material 37%

2.8 Teachers Attitudes Regarding the Use of ICT


Percentage of teachers saying that computers/Internet should be used for
– Students to do exercises and practice 65
– Students to retrieve information 90
– Teaching of office tools 60
– Collaborative work 83
2.9 Teachers Confidence in the Use of ICT
– Using word processing software 81%
– Using presentation software 66%
– Using email 62%
– Downloading and installing software 35%

2.10 Barriers for not using ICT in State Schools


– Lack of Computers 57%
– Lack of Adequate Skills 14%

– Lack of Interest 5%
– Lack of Adequate Material 21%
– Subject not Appropriate to be
– taught using ICT 21%
3. ICT in Private Schools of Secondary Education

The research for the use of ICT in private schools of secondary education was done through
interviews with teachers, as well as through a questionnaire which was constructed based
on the one prepared by the project co-ordinator. The questionnaires were sent to 3 private
schools of secondary education and were completed by 15 teachers. The three schools to
which questionnaires were sent are: American Academy Nicosia, G C School of Careers
Nicosia and Highgate School, Nicosia.

The main conclusions emanating from this research are very similar to the ones of state
schools and are as follows:
1. ICT is widely used in Private Schools for teaching/learning and administrative work
2. Teachers and students are motivated and willing to adopt ICT teaching/learning
3. Private Schools invest heavily in ICT
4. Barriers still exist but the will is there to overcome them

The following are the more detailed findings of this research:

3.1 How ICT and Web-Based Tools Are Used in Schools


– Internet: Research, find information, filter information, check for validity of in-
formation
– software and hardware used for quizzes / tests
– Spreadsheet to solve problems – in accounting, physics, small scale simulations
– Interactive boards. Teachers can get the attention of the students easier than
using traditional methods.
– Projectors, PowerPoint presentations and multimedia are used by teachers to de-
liver their lessons.
– School administration: A DBMS is used for keeping information and creating re-
ports about students, teachers and classes.
– A custom made software is used by students to vote for the student council
– A custom made software is used for evaluation purposes
3.2ICT used by students
– To entertain: Students prepare CDs, DVDs for student organized events contain-
ing videos, songs, and PowerPoint presentations.
– To learn: Access to the Internet; students learn how to use different software and
hardware, how to prepare documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations,
websites and e-books.
– To collect information: Wide internet use

– To communicate with teachers, friends, schoolmates: Students use email to com-


municate with teachers and schoolmates

3.3ICT used by teachers


– To learn: Wide internet use: WebPages, forums, encyclopaedias.

– To collect information: Wide internet use: WebPages, forums, encyclopaedias.

– To communicate with students, parents, colleagues: Teachers use email to com-


municate with students and colleagues.

3.4 Changes needed because of ICT-based teaching/learning


– Teachers need to be trained
– Teachers need to be supported
– Teachers need to adjust their lessons
– Classes need to be shaped and equipped in a different way
– Schools have to employ more computer professionals
– Parents/teachers may feel left behind

3.5 How Schools Deal With the Required Changes


Schools have employed a group of ICT professionals responsible for the following:
– Study the changes in educational technology
– Suggest educational technologies to be used in the school
– Train the teachers
– Offer support to the staff

3.6 Barriers and Obstacles in Using ICT


– Technology is expensive
– Training is needed. Not all teachers are competent computer users.
– Time is needed to prepare lessons using technology – teachers may not have the
time to do so.
– Resistance to change.

3.7Reasons Why ICT is not Fully Utilized in Schools


– Cost: it is very expensive to fully equip all classes with appropriate hardware and
software; support and security issues also arise; a School network is expensive to
create, upgrade and support.
– Training: an ongoing process; time consuming; not all teachers can learn at the
same pace.
4. Best Practices

4.1 DIAS – The Learning Management System (LMS) of the Ministry of Education
and Culture of Cyprus

The Learning Management System (LMS) of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the
Government of Cyprus (DIAS) is currently being developed by (Siveco Romania, HP,
Microsoft, H.S. Data). Although this is a pilot for seven schools, the target is to roll out this
solution to the whole public, pre-university education in Cyprus (a total of more than five
hundred schools).

The eLearning Portal Solutions for Education provide a powerful education resource that
brings teachers, students and their families together in a virtual environment to enable
stronger collaboration and communication through a single sing-on portal. With these
solutions, teachers can spend less time on paperwork and more time teaching while
students can benefit from a rich, more robust learning experience.

eLearning Portal Solutions are built with reliable, industry standard hardware and services
and are designed to integrate easily into your existing information technology environment.

eLearning Portal Solutions help you improve information sharing and collaboration among all
stakeholders in the education process.

4.2 The School Administration System of the G. C. School of Careers

The GC School of Careers aim is to provide state-of-the-art facilities and state-of-the-art


equipment for its students and faculty. Every computer, accessible by students and
teachers, is directly connected to the Internet, allowing such capabilities as Internet
browsing, Email, Ftp, IRC, telnet, audio and video conferencing. Input and output devices
such as scanners, digital cameras, projectors and printers, are used by students and
teachers, which are encouraged. All Departments of the GCS use IT to deliver course
material.

The IT infrastructure is based on the latest Microsoft technologies and server applications,
which can offer a many number of facilities which include:
• Mobility (students, faculty members) wireless capabilities, always-on connectivity, in-
formation sharing
• Data management Database capabilities, hosting, reporting, sharing
• e-learning/distance learning Infrastructure for remote and/or live lectures, confer-
ences and seminars
• Community and collaboration Collaborative infrastructure, networking (portals, ex-
tranet…), anywhere/anytime access, identity management.
• on-line voting for student council representatives
• course evaluation by students, etc.

An example of the use of ICT in class follows: The lecturer uses multiple-choice and games
simulation software and an interactive board for an interactive educational game that takes
place in class. Students answer questions displayed on the interactive board with a remote
control. All remote controls are numbered. On the class projection screen every remote
control corresponds to a rocket. If a student answers a question correctly his rocket moves
forward (Rocket race). Students learn having fun. Teachers can correct and analyze results
easily.

4.3. EIT (English for Information Technology People) Portal

EIT (http://www.english-it.eu/learning/) is a portal for IT students, comprising English


lessons at the elementary/post-elementary level, as well as offering activities for higher
level students, with a strong emphasis on learner training and autonomy. The portal has
been pilot used by students of secondary schools for improving their knowledge of IT
terminology, learning English and improving their reading, writing and communication skills.
Overall the project was well received. Information about this project can be found in the
References section of this report.
4. Conclusions

The main conclusion of our research is that ICT is adequately used both in state and private
schools for teaching and learning purposes as well as for providing administrative support and
on-line educational services. Barriers such as cost, training needs, lack of skills, resistance to
change, time constraints, change of philosophy in teaching and learning exist. However the will
is there to overcome all the barriers ,since all stakeholders involved, realize the importance and
need for the full utilization of ICT in Education. Our suggestion and recommendation is to invest
heavily in ICT since learning to leave in our global Digital Society starts from the early stages of
primary and secondary Education.
References

1. Use of Computers and the Intranet in Schools in Europe 2006 – Country Brief Cyprus
http://www.eurydice.org/portal/page/portal/Eurydice.

2. Pouyioutas, P., Gridasova, V., Petter, C., Poveda, P., Solomou, E., Shekeris, A. &
Kalogerou, V. 2007, The EIT E-Learning Module, International Conference on E-Business,
ICE-B 2007 (part of the International Joint Conference on E-Business and
Telecommunications, ICETE 2007), Barcelona, Spain, July 2007, pp. 353-356, sponsored
by IEEE Systems Man and Cybernetics (SMC) Society, in cooperation with ACM SIGMIS.
http://www.ice-b.org/Abstracts/2007/abstracts.html

3. Vilte Gridasova, Alina Ivanovaite and Philippos Pouyioutas (2008a) The Pilot
Implementation of the EIT (English for Information Technology) E-Learning Portal, IADIS
Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems (E-Learning),
Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 2008, Vol. 2, pp. 123-127, http://www.elearning-
conf.org/

4. Philippos Pouyioutas , Victoria Kalogerou, Emilios Solomou, Vilte Gridasova, Alina Ivan-
ovaite and (2008b) Evaluation of the Pilot Implementation of the EIT (English for
Information Technology) E-Learning Portal, Fifth Research Workshop, EDEN, Paris,
France, October 2008, http://www.edenonline.org/eden.php?menuId=39