Utilising Equipment Matrices for Information Technology in Primary Education Policy

Anita Greenhill, Gordon Fletcher
InSITE 2003  •  Volume 3  •  2003
This paper is a reflective discussion on the use of equipment matrices to determine infrastructure requirements in an education context. This position was originally presented within the wider framework of a government-funded research project to initiate national policies for implementing IT within primary schools. Equipment matrices were seen by the policymakers funding this reasearch as an appropriate method for representing the needs of a school. Equipment matrices represent a systematised and regularised understanding of the relationships between social practices and technological tools (Curriculum Materials Information Services, 1997). The users of these tools are enmeshed within the matrix through a complex combination of meanings and interaction. However, the correlation of variables within a two-dimensional matrix produces a ‘simple’ representation of the available information that is heavily abbreviated. Lost among this condensation are the needs and presence of the user, either individually or collectively. The ‘snapshot’ of information that matrices present is, however, refined by the direct inclusion of volatile information such as contemporary equipment and sofware specifications. In this paper we argue that the range of factors beyond technical specifications that influence the use and understanding of information technology are necessary elements within any consideration of IT infrastructure requirements. These, however, can only be simultaneously included in the equipment matrix representation with more expansive incorporation of multiple parameters. Simplification, we advocate, should not be the aim of the methods that determine educational infrastructure requirements but rather, in its place, is the need for sensitivity to the learners and their needs.
Education Policy, Infrastructure, Student-Focussed Education
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