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Introduction to Information and Communication Technology in Education

Moursund, D.G. (2005). Introduction to information and communication technology in education.

PDF file of the book.

Microsoft Word file of the book. If it does not automatically open, it will instead download to your desktop with the file name ICTBook.doc.

Click here for Table of Contents.

Click here for Preface to the book.

References not yet added to the book.

Table of Contents

Preface 2
0. Big Ideas 4
1. Foundational Material 15
2. Gaining Increased ICT in Education Expertise 29
3. Compelling and Second Order Applications 38
4. Generic Computer Tools 50
5. ICT as Curriculum Content 59
6. ICT as an Aid to Teaching and Learning 67
7. ICT in Assessment and Accountability 80
8. ICT in Special and Gifted Education 96
9. Summary and Recommendations 113
References 120
Index 125


"Without a struggle, there can be no progress."
(Frederick Douglass, 1819-1895)

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of
them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
(Sir Winston Churchill)

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a major challenge to our educational system. This book is designed for use by PreK-12 preservice and inservice teachers, and by teachers of these teachers. It provides a brief overview of some of the key topics in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education. I wrote this book to help serve the needs of my students in a course titled Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. You can access a syllabus for that course at

The mission of this book is to help improve the education of PreK-12 students. A three-pronged, research-based approach is used.

Goal # 1 of this book is to help you increase your expertise as a teacher. There is substantial research that supports the contention that students get a better education when they have “better” teachers.

Goal # 2 of this book is to help increase your knowledge and understanding of various roles of ICT in curriculum content, instruction, and assessment. There is significant research to support the benefits of ICT in these three areas. In addition, ICT is now an important content area in each of the disciplines that you teach or are preparing to teach.

Goal # 3 of this book is to help you increase your higher-order, critical thinking, problem-solving knowledge and skills. Special attention is paid to roles of ICT as an aid to solving complex problems and accomplishing complex tasks in all curriculum areas. Research suggests that US schools are not nearly as strong as they could be in helping students gain increased expertise in problem solving and critical thinking.

Now that I have stated goals for this book, I want to make clear a non-goal. This book is not designed to help you learn specific pieces of software. The typical first ICT in Education course for preservice and inservice teachers has a strong focus on learning to make use of various pieces of hardware, software, and connectivity. This book is not designed as a substitute for, or a major aid to, learning these rudiments of ICT that are now being learned by many students before they get to college.

This book is designed to addresses some of the weaknesses of typical first or second ICT in education courses that overemphasize learning computer applications and underemphasize other aspects of the field of ICT in education. The book focuses on general topics such as ICT in curriculum, instruction, assessment, increasing problem-solving expertise of students, and in other aspects of a teacher’s professional work. The emphasis is on higher-order knowledge and skills.

Alternatively, this book can be used in a second ICT in education course for preservice and inservice teachers, building on the “basic skills” taught in a first course. However, throughout the book we argue that basic skills (lower-order knowledge and skills, rudimentary use of some of the general purpose pieces of computer software) should be integrated in with higher-order knowledge and skills.

The prerequisite for a course using this book is an introductory level of knowledge and skill in using a word processor in a desktop publication environment, using email, and using the Web. Nowadays, large numbers of students meet this prerequisite by the end of the 5th grade, since such knowledge and skills are only part of the 5th grade standards for students established by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE NETS, n.d.). Increasingly, instruction in such basic skills is not considered to be an appropriate part of a college-level curriculum that carries credit towards a college degree.

As you read this book, you will come to understand that ICT in education is a broad, deep, and rapidly growing field of study. ICT has the potential to contribute to substantial improvements in our educational system. To date, relatively little of this potential has been achieved. Moreover, the pace of change of the ICT field currently exceeds the pace of progress in making effective use of ICT in education. Thus, the gap between the potentials and the current uses of ICT to improve PreK-12 education is growing.

ICT is a very rapidly changing field. What can you learn, and what can you help your students learn, that will last for decades or a lifetime, rather than just until the next “new, improved, better, faster, more powerful” ICT product appears on the market? This book will provide you with some answers.

David Moursund
January 2005

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Additional References

Benjamin Bloom and the 2-sigma effect. There is quite a bit of literature that has been initiated by Bloom's 1984 paper. For example, quoting from:

One of the most stimulating insights in contemporary educational theory is Benjamin Bloom's (1984) discussion of solutions to what he calls "the two-sigma problem." Bloom shows that students provided with individual tutors typically perform at a level about two standard deviations (two "sigmas") above where they would perform with ordinary group instruction. This means that a person who would score at the 50th percentile on a standardized test after regular group instruction would score at the 98th percentile if personalized tutoring replaced the group instruction. This improvement is not a wild dream. Bloom supports his claim with valid research, and numerous experts agree with his conclusion.

The reference given above discusses "What specific strategies enhance learning" and contains a table of Bloom's findings.

Shearer, Branton (2004). Multiple Intelligences Theory After 20 Years. TC Record. Accessed 7/20/05: