Impact of ICT in college teaching, a metasynthesis realized by the ARC
Christian Barrette is a member of the PERFORMA Research Action Group and an Anthropology teacher at Collège Ahuntsic. He has carried out research in the fields of intercultural communication and produced computerized didactic material. In collaboration with a colleague, he has also written a work on the evolution of the human race and co-created a website to complement a manual on research methodology in social sciences. Mr. Barrette has also worked as an educational advisor in new technologies at Collège Ahuntsic and Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne. Additionally, he has given numerous PERFORMA training sessions on the cognitive approach in subject matter analysis and the integration of ICTs. In Quebec, like elsewhere in the world, governments have invested millions to promote the integration of new information and communication technologies (ICT) in teaching. The college network received its share of these resources and today, students and teachers have access to sophisticated educational tools. Were the investments worthwhile? Do the new learning tools really contribute to student performance and success? If yes, to what extent and under what conditions? Many researchers have tried to answer these questions. Still today, no clear and unanimous conclusions have emerged from their work. In order to shed light on the matter, the Association pour la recherche au collegial (ARC) launched an important meta-research project in 2003. The purpose of the exercise was to make an inventory of all research reports assessing the educational impact of ICTs in college network establishments in order to analyze them and make general observations. After an initial overview of the projects realized in college teaching, the ARC has identified about one hundred texts (research reports, articles and papers). Christian Barrette was then assigned the task of selecting from among these texts the empirical research projects that collected data and observations on new facts in evidence since 1985, and then to analyze their conclusions. Since the variables and results of the 26 research texts selected were generally of a qualitative nature, the researcher decided on a meta-synthesis rather than a meta-analysis. This meant in effect, determining general trends rather than proceeding with a statistical analysis of the results.
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