OPEN AND DISTANCE EDUCATION IN PRIMARY EDUCATION: THE CASE OF CYPRUS C. Stefanou1, D. Vlachopoulos2 1Open University of Cyprus (CYPRUS) 2European University of Cyprus (CYPRUS) Introduction • • • • • Distance Education (DE) is a scientific field with expanding applications in all levels of education. Its origins are noted in the early 20th century and in the provision of distance education to school-aged children across vast geographical areas . Nowadays, is widely applied in primary education in developing and developed countries, to overcome the difficulties or shortcomings of the traditional educational system . Primary education in Cyprus has gradually incorporated elements of Open and Distance Education’s (ODE) philosophy and methodology into the Curriculum, in a broader effort for the Cyprus educational system to harmonize with the European Education process. The purpose of this paper is to describe the stages of incorporation of ODE into the primary education of Cyprus, the opportunities and the constraints arising. Methodology • Qualitative research – Literature review • Focus on the exploration and study of: (a) official documents of the European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus (MOEC), (b) research data from comparative studies of organizations operating under the auspices of the EU, (c) relevant articles written by independent researchers. • Better understanding of the historical background, the theoretical framework and current trends of the ODE at international, European and national level. ODE in primary education internationally • • • • ODE was originally applied autonomous, for the students in remote areas of Australia and Canada, in order to complete their education at the elementary school, while being at their place of residence . Nowadays, the adoption of complementary DE from conventional schools, to enhance or enrich the existing curriculum , is a frequent phenomenon. Autonomous and complementary DE is applied equally in: Developing countries: as an alternative to formal education for 67 million children being left illiterate . Developed countries: for children who cannot attend classes in conventional schools or for the enrichment of traditional basic education . In the European continent, ODE in primary education is mainly complementary, while the guidelines set by the European Union (EU) play an active role in the educational policy of member-states , . ODE in primary education in Cyprus • • • • until 1990: the concept of DE was unknown for the educational system in Cyprus. 1990: installation of computers in schools by the MOEC , , and training courses for teachers in ICT, organized by the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus . 2000: the first evidence for the orientation of primary education towards DE, after the European Council in Lisbon and the inauguration of “E-learning: Designing tomorrow’s education” protocol. “Evagoras”: a formal training policy designed for primary education for the years 2000-2005: + great emphasis on equipping schools with hardware + teachers’ training, sponsored by the EU + Informatics Platform for primary education + Information Consulting group - optional use of ICT - failure for on-time inclusion of ICT in the Curriculum - lack of provision for maintenance or upgrade of the technological equipment ,  ODE in primary education in Cyprus • • • 2006: after the recommendation of the European Parliament and the European Council, digital literacy emerged as one of the key components for promoting LLL , . i-2010 Strategic Framework “A European Information Society for growth and employment”: ICT as the most powerful means for educating the future citizens . Cypriot educational system follows European trends: “Evagoras II Action Plan” (2005) “Introduction of Informatics in Primary Education” manual  Partial reconstruction of Primary Education Curriculum (2006) and incorporation of specific ICT goals and activities, as tools to be used within the learning process of other school subjects  Creation of Cyprus Strategic Development Plan 20072013  ODE in primary education in Cyprus • From 2007 onwards: €40.000.000 were spent to extend the integration of ICT in primary education (improvement of infrastructure) the training of teachers from the Pedagogical Institute was systematized the acquisition of educational software suitable for primary education helped to promote the use of computer multimedia  the first Learning Management System, the educational platform DIA.S.(Diadiktiako Scholio) was created, as a result of MOEC’s initiative , . within the wider context of Educational Reform, which began in the 2011-2012 academic year, digital literacy is now considered to be a key skill for the preparation of a sustainable society within the 21st century . Examples of the primary DE application in Cyprus • ICT in primary education in Cyprus was used exclusively as a tool for teaching and learning other school subjects. • The last decade additional DE applications, related to the participation of schools in electronic partnerships, have appeared and applied: Comenius LLL program of EU E-twinning action of EU “Odysseas”: a school networking program between Cyprus and Greece (interactive teleconference in virtual classrooms)  “Ikade”: communication of Greek children from all over the world via CENTRA platform  Opportunities of ODE in primary education • Surveys confirm the presence of a range of benefits regarding the integration of ICT in primary education , , : the student at the center of the learning process strengthening of cognitive processing promotion of autonomy and innovation fostering of critical thinking, teamwork and creativity  maximizing the time of pupil participation, due to the quick access to the knowledge and the interactive possibilities offered by ICT ensuring equal opportunities building a richer learning experience  Constraints of ODE in primary education • • The actual effect of ICT integration in primary education is not as expected : deviation between the use, by the students, of ICT at school and at home ,  disadvantaged, on digital literacy, groups of children (disabled, sick or with learning difficulties)  unprepared for new technologies teachers  limited technical and advisory support of schools  absence of clearly stated objectives and strategies, for integrating the tools of technology in the learning process  minimal financial support, by the public sector, for the renewal or replacement of technology equipment or for the teacher’s training  The promotion of DE via the institutionalization of e-learning , remains a long term goal for most educational systems in Europe , , . Conclusions • • • The ODE: is a fast growing field with applications in all levels of education covers a wide range from the simple integration of ICT in face-to-face teaching to complete e-learning teaching and learning models  offers its participants the necessary knowledge and skills to survive and grow in the Knowledge Society , . In primary education in Europe, and especially in Cyprus: voluntary incorporation of the ODE as a complementing element to conventional teaching emphasis to the technological equipment of primary schools rather that to its functional integration in the curriculum. As Bates stated, the good teaching outweighs the technological shortage, but the technology can not save bad teaching . References  Vasala, P. (2005). Εξ Αποστάσεως Σχολική Εκπαίδευση. In: Α. Lionarakis (Εd.) Ανοικτή και εξ Αποστάσεως Εκπαίδευση. Παιδαγωγικές και Τεχνολογικές Εφαρμογές (pp. 53-80). Patra, Greece: Hellenic Open University.  Lionarakis, Α. (2011). Τεχνολογίες Πληροφορίας και Επικοινωνίας και εξ Αποστάσεως Σχολική Εκπαίδευση. 2ο Πανελλήνιο Συνέδρiο «Ένταξη και Χρήση των ΤΠΕ στην Εκπαιδευτική Διαδικασία» (pp. 918). Patra, Greece: ETPE. Retrieved October 29, 2011, from http://www.cetl.elemedu.upatras.gr/proc2/proceedings/1-0009.pdf  Campbell, J., Spronk, B., Rumble, G., Morpeth, R., Creed, C., Cullen, J., Page, E., Raynor, J., Jabeen, N., Perraton, H., Crofts, K. & Edwards, J. (2009). Open and Distance Learning for Basic Education in South Asia: Its Potential for Hard to Reach Children and Children in Conflict and Disaster Areas. Paris: Unesco. Retrieved October 12, 2011, from http://oro.open.ac.uk/25572/1/ODL_for_Hard_to_Reach_Children_Main__Report_.pdf  Rice, K.L. (2006). A Comprehensive Look at Distance Education in the K-12 Context. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(4), pp. 425-448. Retrieved October 29, 2011, from http://www.mdecgateway.org/olms/data/resource/3706/Comprehensive%20Look%20at%20Distance%20Educ ation%20in%20the%20K-12%20Context.pdf  Christodoulou, E., Germanakos, P. & Samaras, G. (2008). The Development of eServices in an Enlarged EU: eLearning in Cyprus. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports, European Communities. Retrieved December 14, 2012, from http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC46607.pdf  European Commission (2010). Learning, Innovation and ICT. Lessons Learned by the ICT Cluster. Education & Training 2010 Programme. Retrieved December 14, 2012, from http://www.kslll.net/documents/key%20lessons%20ict%20cluster%20final%20version.pdf  Hadjithoma, C. & Karagiorgi, Y. (2008). The Use of ICT in Primary Schools within Emerging Communities of Implementation. Computers & Innovation, 52, pp. 83-91. Retrieved December 14, 2012, from http://www.pgce.soton.ac.uk/ict/NewPGCE/PDFs09/ICT%20in%20primary%20schools%20emerging%20com munities%20of%20implementation.pdf  Kastis, N. (2007). Observing the e-Learning Phenomenon: The Case of School Education. Analyzing the Transformative Innovation of e-Learning. E-Learning Papers, 4. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://www.elearningeuropa.info/files/media/media12729.pdf  Hadjithoma, C. & Eteokleous, N. (2007). ICT in Primary Schools: Explaining the Integration in Relation to the Context. Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies, 12(1), pp. 1-25. Retrieved December 14, 2012, from http://www.um.edu.mt/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/39380/23_MJES_1212007.pdf  Pelgrum, W.J. & Doornekamp, B.G. (2009). Indicators on ICT in Primary and Secondary Education. Βrussels: European Commission, DG Education and Culture. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://ec.europa.eu/education/more-information/doc/ictindicrep_en.pdf  Eurydice (2011). Key Data on Learning and Innovation through ICT at School in Europe 2011. Brussels: Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/key_data_series/129EN.pdf  Papaioannou, P. & Charalambous, K. (2011). Principals’ Attitudes towards ICT and Their Perceptions about the Factors That Facilitate or Inhibit ICT Integration in Primary Schools of Cyprus. Journal of Information Technology Education, 10, pp. 349-369. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.jite.org/documents/Vol10/JITEv10p349-369Papaioannou958.pdf  Ministry of Education and Culture (2012). Annual Report 2011. Nicosia: Ministry of Education and Culture. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.moec.gov.cy/etisiaekthesi/pdf/annual_report_2011_en.pdf  Hadjiathanasiou, P. (2009). The e-Learning Readiness of Cyprus Primary Teachers ahead of Dias System Integration into Cyprus Schools. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning. Retrieved November 29, 2011, from http://www.eurodl.org/materials/contrib/2009/Panayiota_Hadjiathanasiou.pdf  Epitropi Analitikou Programmatos (2008). Αναλυτικό Πρόγραμμα για τα Σχολεία της Ελληνοκυπριακής Κοινότητας. Nicosia: Ministry of Education and Culture. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://www.moec.gov.cy/analytika_programmata/pdf/keimeno_epitropis_analytiko_programma.pdf  Anastasiades, P. (2009). Η Παιδαγωγική Αξιοποίηση της Τηλεδιάσκεψης στο Σύγχρονο Σχολείο. 1ο Εκπαιδευτικό Συνέδριο «Ένταξη και Χρήση των ΤΠΕ στην Εκπαιδευτική Διαδικασία». Volos. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.etpe.eu/new/custom/pdf/etpe1344.pdf  Xenofontos, A., Kenevezou, K., Perikkou, A., Hambiaouris, K. Charalambous, I. & Tellidou, D. (2009). Εξ Aποστάσεως Eπικοινωνία μέσω ενός Aλληλεπιδραστικού Περιβάλλοντος στα Πλαίσια του Εκπαιδευτικού Προγράμματος «Οίκαδε». 1ο Εκπαιδευτικό Συνέδριο «Ένταξη και Χρήση των ΤΠΕ στην Εκπαιδευτική Διαδικασία». Volos. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.etpe.eu/new/custom/pdf/etpe1454.pdf  Balanskat, A. (2009). Study of the Impact of Technology in Primary Schools. Synthesis Report. Empirika and European Schoolnet. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http:[email protected]/1269619794_02_synthesis_report_steps_en.pdf  Commission of the European Communities (2008). The Use of ICT to Support Innovation and Lifelong Learning for All - A Report on Progress. Brussels: European Commission. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc/sec2629.pdf  Balanskat, A., Blamire, R. & Kefala, S. (2006). The ICT Impact Report: A Review of Studies of ICT Impact on Schools in Europe. Retrieved December 15, 2012, from http://ec.europa.eu/education/moreinformation/doc/impact_en.pdf  Bocconi, S., Kampylis, P. & Punie, Y. (2012). Innovating Teaching and Learning Practices: Key Elements for Developing Creative Classrooms in Europe. E-Learning Papers, 30. Retrieved December 13, 2012, from http://www.elearningeuropa.info/sites/default/files/asset/In-depth_30_1.pdf  Capper, J. (2003). E-Learning: Current Status and International Experience. Washington, D.C: Word Bank. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://empresas.sence.cl/documentos/elearning/Elearning.%20Art%EDculo%20de%20Joanne%20Capper%20(Ingl%E9s).pdf  Massy, J. (2005). Study of the e-Learning Suppliers’ “Market” in Europe. Retrieved December 14, 2012, from http://ec.europa.eu/education/archive/elearning/doc/studies/market_study_en.pdf  Bates, A.W. (2005). Technology, E-learning and Education. New York: Routledge. THANK YOU!