INET’99 Educational Networking Workshop, San José, June 1999
Jonathan BAGGALEY, John R.B. CLEMENT, Johan GROTH (session chair)

Session presentation

The introduction of technology into schools raises many serious policy issues. These include the relationships with parents, impact and role of curricula, and the potential of true reform of the traditional schooling models. This session will survey the issues and provide possible insitutitional responses.

Introductionary statements

  • Johan Groth:Internet and its use within education is today a question of major concern in many countries. Three reasons are usually given for the use of Internet and more generally IT:
    • a need to raise educational standards (which IT supposedly can do)
    • avoiding new social divisions, in this case between those that can make use of the new ways of communicating and finding information and those that can not
    • improving the countries economic competitiveness

    The introduction of IT and computers can also be seen as a process in time. During the first phase computers, hard to use and usually not connected to networks, were pushed out into the educational system. The overenthusiastic pioneers among the teachers stood out against the reluctant majority. The experiences from this phase are usually few, not widely applicable and dearly paid for.

    In phase two, where we are now, awareness and knowledge have become more widespread among teachers, policymakers, parents and pupils. Work is, however, still projectdriven, experimental and, in many cases, carried out without a clear picture of what is really happening with the school in regards to pedagogical development, organisational change and administrative procedures.

    In the third phase, I hope, that the use of IT has become a part of common pedagogical practice, that no one believes that IT is a “quick fix” for the problems in our schools and that the true benefits of Internet as an educational tool has become clear. In this workshop session we will address some of the issues that arise when going from phase two to three.

  • Jonathan Baggaley:In his INET ’99 panel contribution, Jon Baggaley will highlight the current problems of education on the Internet, and policies needed to overcome them. He will compare the evolution of Internet education with that of educational television since the 1940s.

Session topics

The idea behind this session is to address what could be called large scale, strategic topics, most of them relevant on a national or at least regional level.Examples of topics are

  • According to what principles should a national curriculum be formulated in the IT-age (goal oriented, task oriented, time oriented etc)? Is a national curriculum at all needed or useful?
  • Internet gives the possibility of “personal” teaching material as opposed to before when in many cases the same books were used in a whole country or region. What are the advantages/disadvantages of this? What happens to the “common knowledge” in society? Quantity contra quality?
  • Internet makes it possible for companies, organizations, even individuals to offer courses and/or exams. How is the school system to cope with parents who chooses an “external” teacher for their children? What about home teaching?
  • Internet is rapidly becoming a critical infrastructure in school. What happens when the net is down? Can school be allowed to rely on an [still] fragile infrastructure?
  • Internet makes it possible for teachers to communicate on a daily basis with parents. What are the implications of this?
  • In a totally distributed schoolsystem, how do we evaluate the results? Are national criteria even possible? Does IT imply that we have new goals to strive towards or do the old goals still hold (3 Rs)? How do we assess that computers and IT really deliver what many politicians, visionaries and others promise?
  • How do we ensure that IT does not create new barriers to open access in education?
  • When introducing IT in school, how should we avoid “technology push” (presuming this is a good idea, which I think is rather safe to say)?
  • How do we on a national level help the teachers prepare for this brave new world?
  • What do school politicians on different levels need to know? Do they know, else how do we inform them?

Session organisation

The session will be organised in the following way

  • welcome and introduction to session (chair)
  • presentation and short introductionary statement (panelists)
  • Socratic discussion (panelists and audience)
  • concluding remarks (panelists)
  • closing av session (chair)

Session participants

  • Jonathan Baggaley,, Ph.D., Canada, Athabasca University
    Jon Baggaley is a psychologist specializing in the educational effects of communications media. He has taught at universities in Liverpool, Newfoundland, Montreal and Alberta, and is author/editor of 12 books/volumes including Dynamics of Television (with Steven Duck), Psychology of the TV Image, and Evaluation of Educational Television. Baggaley was founding editor of the Journal of Educational Media. He has consulted on the design of educational media campaigns for government and broadcasting organizations in a number of countries. He is Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. As Chair and Director of Educational Technology at Canada’s Open University, Athabasca U in Alberta, Baggaley has been responsible for the development of new media technologies, and of policy for the distance-based delivery of the University’s programmes.
  • John R.B. Clement,, USA, Education Statistics Services Institute
  • Johan Groth,, Ph.D., Sweden, National Agency for Education, Groth & Groth Ltd. and ISOC-SE
    Johan Groth has a Master of Science in Engineering Physics and a Ph.D. in Mechanics from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He has, since 1994, been working with how Internet can be used as a development tool within the educational sector. He has been a senior adviser at the Ministry for Education, the Swedish Parliament and, presently, the National Agency for Education. He has been involved in building the Swedish and European Schoolnets. Groth is a board member of The Swedish Chapter of Internet Society (ISOC-SE) and of KTH Network Operation Centre. He has recently published the book “Internet comes to school”, a description of the first years of Internet use in Swedish schools.


  1. Canada’s Open University (Athabasca U),
  2. What’s the Difference? Report on distance education by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1999,
  3. Innovation and Conflict in Open Distance Education, Jonathan Baggaley, 1999,
  4. The National Agency for Education, Sweden,
  5. The Swedish Schoolnet,
  6. IT in Education – The Role of Government, Johan Groth, 1998,
  7. Physical or virtual networks? – Connecting Swedish schools to Internet, Johan Groth, 1998,
  8. ICT in Education Policy, The European Experts’ Network for Educational Technology,