The Study of Students’ Developmental Literacy, And ICT’s Potentials in Its Realization



Received: 8/11/2016

Accepted: 28/12/2016

Extended Abstract

Introduction and Problem Statement: Education is one of the mediums, which shapes the development-oriented man. So one of the aims of education is providing life-skills trainings for students to achieve abilities needed to play an effective role in society. But education in Iran seems to have problems to realize this aim and deliver people fit to contribute properly to the development of the country. Jamali’s research (1392) shows that high school textbooks do not focus on training citizens with various skills such as critical thinking, communication and responsibility skills, and although there are cases in which some developmental concepts are offered but they, in effect, only increase their memorized information and not internalized knowledge. One of the ways of getting rid of these problems and implement Intended Programs with a focus on developmental literacy is the use of ICT in the educational processes in schools. In this research, we study the articulation of developmental literacy with its social, cultural, scientific, environmental indices in Intended Programs of Iranian education system, and see into the barriers to equip the students with such literacy. Finally we embark upon the capabilities of ICT in order to achieve this goal.

Theoretical Framework: As we all know in the qualitative research there is no obligation to start with specific theory as a theoretical framework, nevertheless approaches have been taken into consideration in the analysis of research data; they include post-structuralist approach which addresses deep analysis of the learning; Bourdieu and Passeron’s who consider school as an institution through which the social order is reproduced ,and in a critical approach, Ilich is cited who believes that the school system transfers a large part of learning, while a major part of knowledge is learned from outside school. He believes there should be a device to monitor and add on the demands, also a network of human communication in order to comply with the outside world. Freire's critical view also is exploited that suggests an education based on dialogue, a dialogue which enables the individual to understand, shape, and solve the issues within his environment.

Methodology: the method used in this research is qualitative which can lead to a rich and deep information for the researchers. In this study, two techniques have been applied. For the analysis of Intended Programs, documentary approach, and to collect the attitudes of people toward education and its problems in-depth interviews have been used. The interviewees in this study were principals, teachers and high schools IT officials, who were chosen through purposive sampling: six boys and girls high schools within three different districts in Tehran. For the analysis of the sstatements we did coding.

Results and discussion: The study of documents dealing with the goals of education system in Iran indicated that there is some developmental training in major topics, but the main problem is that these goals are not operationalized and achieved in reality. The results of this study regarding the content of textbooks are as follows: 25 persons of those who were interviewed confirmed the presence of social literacy textbooks, 5 persons confirmed cultural literacy, 25 persons environmental literacy and, 15 persons scientific literacy, in the content of school textbooks . But all interviewees stated that the content of the books were merely conceptual and did not affect the attitudes and behavior of the students.

Conclusion: Respondents considered the inefficiency of the content of textbooks to be due to the following factors: 1- high volume of the books, 2- inappropriate structure, 3- a lack of tentative test, 4- university-entrance-exam oriented education, 5- marginality of life skills, 6- quantitative assessment; and, 7- superficiality of learning. The majority of respondents (30 people) stated that the major obstacles to developmental literacy are 1- university entrance exam, 2- mere memorization of certain courses, 3- overemphasis on earning high scores during the study. These elements overshadow and sideline developmental literacy and social, cultural, and environmental skills.

Suggestion: a solution to overcome these problems can be through ICT-based education. IT has the potential not only to shake the traditional structures but also to re-form the education and training processes which were up to recently difficult to realize through classic ways; radically new programs can be implemented, and teaching methods and evaluation processes can be changed. ICT can convert knowledge base, training can be delivered in virtual space, the role of the teacher will be changed as a guide. The classrooms, and principals functions, and teachers as the only source of knowledge, will change completely--also the content and quality of education.