Implementation of Digital Technologies in the Everyday Life of Primary Schools in (Post)Socialist Czechoslovakia

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Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in November 1989 can be considered one of the most significant events in modern history that, in Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic, started core changes in schooling and education, among others. A whole series of transformations took place ranging from organizational, structural or material­oriented to pedagogical (Berryman, 2000, Bîrzea, 1994, Čerych, 1996, von Kopp, 1992, Mitter 2003). In our research called Post­socialist Transformation of Czech Primary Schools – Processes, Stories, Dilemmas (supported by the Czech Science Foundation; grant no. 20­11275S), we observe the impact of these changes on local practices and the changes in the lives of primary schools. The project focuses on the transformations and continuous aspects of primary schools’ everyday reality. One of the indisputably important topics is implementing information (digital) technologies, primarily personal computers, into schools. In this area, we may surprisingly follow a series of continuities, as, for example, the program called A complex long­term electronization program in upbringing and education in the school system (1986 – 1990) was one of the iconic areas of focus of the education policies of the communistic government.The program started in a strongly ideological setting of the contemporary communistic regime. It still contained some topics and objectives principally similar to the Czech education policies established by the government around the year 2000 (topics of school equipment, preparation of teachers to use the new technology in class) (Zounek et al., 2022). In June 1990, the ministry of education created a new conception called “IT in Education”. Many Czechoslovakian schools already owned computers in 1989 (mainly Czechoslovakian production), and courses of programming, among others, were offered to the students. However, in the early 90s, the modernization of teaching met difficulties in various places (chaotic changes in education and school management or government budget cuts). On the other hand, the computer market opened, and the schools were able to purchase modern state­of­the­art computers produced in western countries. For example, International collaboration and programs co­financed by western countries were tools used to aid schools in these efforts. In our paper, we shall therefore present the general (concerning educational policies) connections with “electronization” (digitalization) of primary schools in Czechoslovakia. We shall focus primarily on showing how contemporary technology made its way into the everyday reality at schools in the late 80s and the transformation of schools after 1989. We base our research on the study of archival documents, contemporary educational publications, and school chronicles but from oral historical dialogues with the eyewitnesses, namely teachers and headmasters of primary schools, and with the employees of state authorities and representatives of school founders.
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