In the recent years there has been wide interest in the implementation of the ICT in schools. While most studies mainly focus on the use of ICT in teaching and learning, there is little literature that addresses which factors influence the use of ICT as a professional tool outside the classroom. The aim of this paper is to develop and test a model of some of the factors that explain teachers’ professional use of ICT, particularly, the Internet, outside the classroom. Based on a review of the literature, our model is made of two types of professional use of the Internet. A first supportive use linked to classroom preparation’s activities such as finding supplemental information for lessons and preparing worksheets for the pupils. And a second management use that relates to teachers’ general duties in the functioning of schools as organisations. These duties include performing administrative and management tasks, communicating with colleagues and experts and interacting with parents and students.
This research was conducted as part of the project “Integration of the Internet in Spanish school education: The current situation and prospects for the future” funded by the Telefónica Foundation. One thousand four hundreds and five (1,405) teachers from a random, representative sample of 536 primary and 273 secondary schools in Spain were surveyed. The dependent variables included the attitudes towards professional uses of ICT and the use of the Internet in professional practice. The explanatory variables were sociodemographic characteristics, school-level attributes, school Internet access, educational ICT training, digital literacy and organizational development. Multiple regression analyses were used to make inferential judgments and test the separate effects of the different independent variables.
Findings suggest that the organizational development and the technological measures (e.g. digital literacy, educational ICT training and Internet access in the school) favour positive attitudes towards the educational use of ICT. Both variables were also found to promote the use of ICT as a professional tool outside the classroom. Furthermore results indicate that schools which modify its organisational context (e.g. approaches, structures, relations and procedures) also promote digital practices, for which teachers have particular interest. Further research is needed to understand the unequal distribution of teachers’ opportunities to cope with the obstacles and challenges of ICT integration in their professional practice outside the classroom.