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ICT in multicultural schools (Oslo)

Mirca Ognisanti

1. The practice

2. Hints for an evaluation

2.1 Strenghts

2.1.1 The organisation’s perspective
The scientific advisor of this Plan states that the schools has obtained good results thanks to the use of ICT in the level of language acquisition for migrant students. There are lots of examples in the change of status and ethos in the schools involved: the student who uses ICT felt a change in his/her status, because his/her own perception of the school bettered. At the same time, the school is considered in a different way also by the parents and by the whole community. The “Teacher training department” of Oslo University College send students in these schools to learn how to put into value ICT when teaching to non-national and non Norwegian speaking students. The experience of these schools receive many visits, from school researchers and politicians, inside and outside Norway.
The project run a parallel process, giving the teachers intensive training on how to use ICT with foreign students. Therefore, the schools receive a very good support, and they can advantage from the help of the ITU in case of problems.

2.1.2 Interculture map perspective
The first aspect to be stressed is the relevant level of funding. This is the essential condition to develop such a deeper ICT dissemination within multicultural schools in urban disadvantaged areas.
Another positive element of this experimentation is the high level of attention for ICT within Norwegian community and institutions, that consider ICT not just a tool but also a teaching method. This allow to let the schools free to decide how to use the funds for ICT: the Head-teachers implement also training course for teachers and allow the birth of a systemic programme which was not restricted to the distribution of technological equipment.

2.2 Critical Points

2.2.1 The organisation’s perspective
The researcher that has been interviewed stated that this plan was a real success. When asked if the status change of the school corresponded to an increase of the number of white students the answer was negative. This is due to a social and geographical reason of urban population settlement: in these areas white population moved away decades ago in order to reach middle class suburbs. The status and the perception of the school, therefore, change only form an inner point of view: presumably the status of the school, as a problematic school, remain unaltered in the perception of white population.

2.2.2 Interculture map perspective
What stated above is the main constraint of the Plan: the language acquisition is certainly a relevant factor for the school achievement of foreign students. At the same time, nevertheless, it is important to operate for a change of the perception of the school among the whole community: if Norwegian families will continue to enrol their children in white schools, the segregation will persist and no intercultural dialogue will start. Therefore it would be important to develop the communication to the community and the Norwegian families, which can understand and appreciate innovative methods, run by the school. The real success of this ICT methods will be accomplished totally, only if this second step will be walked: the new enrolment of (few) Norwegian students in these three multicultural schools will mean that a good result has been obtained also in an extra-school context.

2.3 Lessons Learnt

2.3.1 The organisation’s perspective
ICT is no doubt a very influential factor in the development of school methods for the second language learning. Students can write extensively, they write multimodal texts, and they have a solid ICT competence that can affect positively their self-esteem, and, consequently, their school achievement. To do so, it is vital to start a parallel process of training, aimed at giving teachers the skills that are necessary to realize their course with ICT instruments.

2.3.2 Interculture map perspective
ICT in schools, teachers’ training, development of teaching programme based on the use of personal computers.
In order to obtain good result, this practice must envisage a twofold effort: from one side it is important to involve and train the teachers. I f they understand the value of this method, they will contribute to its success. On the other side it is important to understand how the school is perceived from the community. In case of a bad reputation, the ICT implementation will help the school to recover a better status, but, in order to obtain this result, it is essential to address efforts in the communication with families and communities.