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Exucutive summary

What happens to a school as an organisation, when IT is to adapt IT-self to the modern information and communication technologies (ICT)? This is the issue which is addressed in this thematic pamphlet, which is published by the Ministry of Education and has been written by staff at the Centre of Education, Technology and Labour Market Issues (CUTA).

The target group is primarily players at colleges who have management responsibilities or who are in a dialogue with college management about such issues. The central theme is the management tasks involved when the colleges are to adapt to the new technologies.

The thematic pamphlet identifies the scope of the adaptation task on the basis of the last three decades of educational policy and pedagogical discussions about IT and education. Under the heading of the complex adaptation concept, four levels of argumentation and ways of putting things into perspective are described, and so are the adaptation tasks which follow from this: the subject-specific-pedagogical level, the level concerning flexible teaching methods, the level concerning institutional adaptation to IT- and the level concerning the learning organisation.

The organisational latitude which the management of a vocational college disposes of when IT comes to the demands for adaptation are analysed with the use of more recent organisational theory. College management is to develop management forms which match the special blend of challenges, which the college is facing: as an educational institution which implements the educational policy in force at any given time; as a business enterprise which operates in a market with keen competition; and as a place of work which is deeply dependent on the motivation, commitment and subject-specific and pedagogical competencies of IT-s staff.

The current trends in the colleges' adaptation efforts are described on the basis of recent interviews with the management, teachers and students at selected vocational colleges and on the background of previous studies on the teachers' use of IT and their IT-competencies. The current efforts of the colleges reflect that only certain parts of the adaptation task are carried out. The colleges typically understand adaptation in one of three different ways: as a question of developing the teaching methods and techniques; as a question of complying with the legislative basis of the programmes; as a question of creating a profile for and of marketing the school. In many cases, school development takes the form of product development in some of the college's departments which consequently develop their own competencies and their own culture in relation to the performance of the task. The aim is not ensure the adaptation of the college through the development of new forms of organisation. IT is to sell the college by marketing IT as an educational institution which is at the cutting edge of the demands of the information society.

This thematic pamphlet sums up the analyses in a futureoriented situation report of the colleges' adaptation to IT-. The VET-reform 2000 has been indicated to be a potential starting signal for an entirely new phase of the work of integrating the pedagogical and organisational development when IT comes to the colleges' use of IT-. The prerequisite is that college management must be able to formulate clear objectives for such an integrated development at the individual college, and that a constructive and dynamic interaction is created between the Ministry of Education, college management, teachers and students with a view to overcoming the barriers which appear in a school system subject to change.

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© Undervisningsministeriet 2000

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