the presentation file

C. Stefanou1, D. Vlachopoulos2
1Open University of Cyprus (CYPRUS)
2European University of Cyprus (CYPRUS)
Distance Education (DE) is a scientific field with
expanding applications in all levels of education.
Its origins are noted in the early 20th century and in the
provision of distance education to school-aged children
across vast geographical areas [1].
Nowadays, is widely applied in primary education in
developing and developed countries, to overcome the
difficulties or shortcomings of the traditional educational
system [1].
Primary education in Cyprus has gradually incorporated
elements of Open and Distance Education’s (ODE)
philosophy and methodology into the Curriculum, in a
broader effort for the Cyprus educational system to
harmonize with the European Education process.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the stages of
incorporation of ODE into the primary education of
Cyprus, the opportunities and the constraints arising.
• Qualitative research – Literature review
• Focus on the exploration and study of:
(a) official documents of the European Union (EU) and
the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus
(b) research data from comparative studies of
organizations operating under the auspices of the
(c) relevant
• Better understanding of the historical background,
the theoretical framework and current trends of the
ODE at international, European and national level.
ODE in primary education
ODE was originally applied autonomous, for the students
in remote areas of Australia and Canada, in order to
complete their education at the elementary school, while
being at their place of residence [1].
Nowadays, the adoption of complementary DE from
conventional schools, to enhance or enrich the existing
curriculum [2], is a frequent phenomenon.
Autonomous and complementary DE is applied equally in:
 Developing countries: as an alternative to formal
education for 67 million children being left illiterate [3].
 Developed countries: for children who cannot attend
classes in conventional schools or for the enrichment
of traditional basic education [4].
In the European continent, ODE in primary education is
mainly complementary, while the guidelines set by the
European Union (EU) play an active role in the
educational policy of member-states [5], [6].
ODE in primary education
in Cyprus
until 1990: the concept of DE was unknown for the
educational system in Cyprus.
1990: installation of computers in schools by the MOEC
[7], [8], and training courses for teachers in ICT,
organized by the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus [9].
2000: the first evidence for the orientation of primary
education towards DE, after the European Council in
Lisbon and the inauguration of “E-learning: Designing
tomorrow’s education” protocol.
“Evagoras”: a formal training policy designed for primary
education for the years 2000-2005:
+ great emphasis on equipping schools with hardware
+ teachers’ training, sponsored by the EU
+ Informatics Platform for primary education
+ Information Consulting group
- optional use of ICT
- failure for on-time inclusion of ICT in the Curriculum
- lack of provision for maintenance or upgrade of the
technological equipment [7], [9]
ODE in primary education
in Cyprus
2006: after the recommendation of the European
Parliament and the European Council, digital literacy
emerged as one of the key components for promoting
LLL [10], [11].
i-2010 Strategic Framework “A European Information
Society for growth and employment”: ICT as the most
powerful means for educating the future citizens [12].
Cypriot educational system follows European trends:
 “Evagoras II Action Plan” (2005)
 “Introduction of Informatics in Primary Education”
manual [7]
 Partial
Curriculum (2006) and incorporation of specific ICT
goals and activities, as tools to be used within the
learning process of other school subjects [12]
 Creation of Cyprus Strategic Development Plan 20072013 [5]
ODE in primary education
in Cyprus
From 2007 onwards:
 €40.000.000 were spent to extend the integration of
ICT in primary education (improvement of
 the training of teachers from the Pedagogical Institute
was systematized
 the acquisition of educational software suitable for
primary education helped to promote the use of
computer multimedia [6]
 the first Learning Management System, the
educational platform DIA.S.(Diadiktiako Scholio) was
created, as a result of MOEC’s initiative [13], [14].
 within the wider context of Educational Reform, which
began in the 2011-2012 academic year, digital
literacy is now considered to be a key skill for the
preparation of a sustainable society within the 21st
century [15].
Examples of the primary DE
application in Cyprus
• ICT in primary education in Cyprus was used
exclusively as a tool for teaching and learning other
school subjects.
• The last decade additional DE applications, related
to the participation of schools in electronic
partnerships, have appeared and applied:
 Comenius LLL program of EU
 E-twinning action of EU
 “Odysseas”: a school networking program
between Cyprus and Greece (interactive
teleconference in virtual classrooms) [16]
 “Ikade”: communication of Greek children from
all over the world via CENTRA platform [17]
Opportunities of ODE
in primary education
• Surveys confirm the presence of a range of
benefits regarding the integration of ICT in primary
education [18], [19], [20]:
 the student at the center of the learning process
 strengthening of cognitive processing
 promotion of autonomy and innovation
 fostering of critical thinking, teamwork and
creativity [21]
 maximizing the time of pupil participation, due to
the quick access to the knowledge and the
interactive possibilities offered by ICT
 ensuring equal opportunities
 building a richer learning experience [22]
Constraints of ODE
in primary education
The actual effect of ICT integration in primary education
is not as expected [19]:
 deviation between the use, by the students, of ICT at
school and at home [6], [11]
 disadvantaged, on digital literacy, groups of children
(disabled, sick or with learning difficulties) [5]
 unprepared for new technologies teachers [20]
 limited technical and advisory support of schools [14]
 absence of clearly stated objectives and strategies,
for integrating the tools of technology in the learning
process [21]
 minimal financial support, by the public sector, for the
renewal or replacement of technology equipment or
for the teacher’s training [23]
The promotion of DE via the institutionalization of
e-learning [26], remains a long term goal for most
educational systems in Europe [11], [18], [23].
The ODE:
 is a fast growing field with applications in all levels of
 covers a wide range from the simple integration of
ICT in face-to-face teaching to complete e-learning
teaching and learning models [24]
 offers its participants the necessary knowledge and
skills to survive and grow in the Knowledge Society
[6], [19].
In primary education in Europe, and especially in Cyprus:
 voluntary incorporation of the ODE as a
complementing element to conventional teaching
 emphasis to the technological equipment of primary
schools rather that to its functional integration in the
As Bates stated, the good teaching outweighs the
technological shortage, but the technology can not save
bad teaching [24].
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