Surveys on ICTs in primary, post-primary and special schools have been carried out on a periodic basis since 1998. The one conducted in 2013 is the fifth occasion on which a census of ICTs has been implemented. The most recent one prior to 2013 was in 2005.
Questionnaires were delivered online for the first time in the 2013 census. Also for the first time, questionnaires for teachers were administered, again online. Therefore the 2013 ICT census can be considered a continuation of previous censuses at the school level, whilst at the same time providing baseline information on teachers’ views on and uses of ICTs in teaching and learning.
The design of the survey entailed contacting every primary, post-primary and special school in the country, and asking the principal to complete the school questionnaire. In each primary school, one Second-class and one Fourth-class teacher were asked to complete a questionnaire, while, in each post-primary school, two teachers of Second-year students and two teachers of Fifth-year students were asked to do so. One to two teachers in each special school were invited to complete a teacher questionnaire. The questionnaires were sent to schools in April 2013, with data collection taking place until the end of June. Due to low teacher response rates, the survey of primary and post-primary teachers was re-opened to extend the period of data collection during the month of October 2013.
The content of questionnaires is similar across primary, post-primary and special school categories in order to maximise comparisons between them. Principals’ responses have been weighted in order to allow generalisations to the population of schools. Teacher surveys, on the other hand, have not been weighted, and results are not necessarily representative of teachers in general. The questionnaires gather detailed information, both quantitative and qualitative, on key areas and issues relating to ICTs in schools.
The full report on the 2013 ICT Census (Cosgrove et al., 2014a) and the summary report (Cosgrove et al., 2014b) were published in 2014. The implications of findings are organised into four themes (infrastructure; learning, teaching and assessment; professional learning; and research, policy and leadership).
The results of the 2013 ICT Census have helped to contribute to the Department’s Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020. An important component of this major strategy is the Digital Learning Framework which is currently the subject of an evaluation by the ERC.