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e-Help Seminars - Dalibor Svoboda
e-help Seminar 10
My work at the knowledge and competence foundation
Toulouse 17-19 February 2005

The Knowledge Foundation was established in 1994. The starting financial base of The Foundation was 3,6 billions of Swedish crowns. In the first ten years, the foundation has invested almost five billion Swedish kronor in projects related to research, competence development in industry and ICT development in the schools.
The Knowledge Foundation can be found at: http://www.kks.se/templates/StandardPage.aspx?id=84

ICT in education

In order to promote growth in Sweden over the long term, the Knowledge Foundation supports development in Swedish schools. With investments at both the national and regional level, the Foundation wants to increase ICT use, develop the school’s different ways of working and stimulate children in their desire to learn. Around 1,2 billions of Swedish crowns was invested in projects related towards these goals.

In 1996 the Knowledge Foundation commenced two programs for ICT in schools:

1. One program where schools in 55 local government communes have participated in 28 larger and 65 smaller projects with the aim of stimulating ICT development within schools.
The projects have been carried out in co-operation with the local government communes, which have partly financed the projects.
For example the answer on the question Where to teach?, was searched with the help of not so few of the 65 smaller projects. Many of them were distance learning projects equipped with modern lap tops.

2. The Knowledge Foundation has also provided assistance to approximately 94 teaching materials projects with the aim of offering ICT based teaching materials to schools.

I did work with this second project during it’s whole length therefore I would like to give a first hand account of it. The other source of my information about the “A new generation of school textbooks” as the project was officially called is based at the evaluation report published 2002.

“A new generation of school textbook” started 1996 with the budget of 120 millions SEK. The main goal of the project was to deliver to the Swedish schools on the verge to enter ICT age, multimedia school books with a new kind of pedagogy. (The secondary goal was to create the stable ground for a creation of future multimedia industry in Sweden.) The project time was outstretched throughout three years with six applications rounds. During these publishers and publishing houses, ICT companies, universities and colleges, film and theater groups, different add hoc groups consisting of writers, ICT people and pedagogue, non governmental organizations (Save the children, Red Cross …), vocational teaching organizations and schoolteachers were supposed to seek funding for their own pedagogical project.

The first round of applications was dealt with during autumn 1996. Four more rounds of incoming application were subsequently organized with two rounds each year, one during springtime and the second in autumn. The Foundation received around 1000 applications which were evaluated by a small group of “experts”. 94 projects were chosen for funding. About 20 of these 94 were history projects. The last round of application never went on. The foundation made a judgment that there weren’t any new ideas for multimedia school books around.

1999 the Foundation expressed a wish to evaluate “A new generation of school books” project. The evaluation concentrate itself at the pedagogical and economical aspects of the projects and also how the Foundation should proceed in the light of what was done etc.

Some of the conclusions of evaluation report:

ICT in schools was at this time (around 1999-2000)believed to be necessary and important pedagogical tool to achieve a new way of learning as it was described in the Swedish Educational directives. Nevertheless there were only scattered amount of teachers who supported this vision. The ICT based pedagogy seldom made it into schools everyday pedagogy.

The pedagogical interaction between traditional school text books and the new multimedia school books was at the start seldom debated later neglected. The Foundation lacked strategy for the schools choice decision between the traditional text books and the multimedia textbooks.

The criteria for new multimedia school books and how they should be used in every day’s pedagogy was never discussed in an exhaustingly way.

The marketing of the new multimedia schools books were neglected mostly because the production groups put most of the energy into productions. In too many cases the producing group didn’t have any knowledge about dissemination of the product into the schools.

The market for the multimedia school books was worth of around 25 millions Swedish crowns a year. This market could not absorb additional 40 millions a year of new products. The publishing houses and other professional’s providers of educational material withdrew their support.

The Knowledge Foundation stimulated and funded individual actors striving to produce products without engaging itself in long-term strategy of developing knowledge and competence about how these products could be used in the future.

The quality of products funded by The Knowledge Foundation was not good enough when compared to similar products elsewhere around.

Should the teaching and learning be done altogether inside the computers (connected to internet)? Should multimedia school books with abundance of pictures, movie sequences, music, speeches and text plus supported by huge amount of interactivity be expected to do most of the pedagogy in the near future?

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Spartacus Learning Online MacGregor is History Historia Siglo 20 Historical Association International School History Sintermeertencollege InnovativeICT.net

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