understanding of social aspects of living and working together. Communication promotes mutual understanding, deepen and verify mutual perceptions of reality. To understand and describe an object or situation it is common to refer to other objects or situations that seem similar in some way or the other, by comparing them. This can be done by saying that a person is strong as an ox, or perhaps that he or she is a lion, or the head of the family. The comparing highlights similarities, not taking into account the difference.
Role of ICT in Society and Education
In the following the images are chosen to describe some main features of school organisations. The different images shall illuminate different perspectives of schools and give some historical background to recent developments, and future challenges. The latter represents the underlying aims of the study. According to Morgan (1997, p.376): insight to see, to think and act in new ways (p. 351). It is also kept in mind that: “in times of change it is vital to be in touch with the assumptions and theories that are guiding our practice and be able to shape and reshape them for different ends.” A main background here is therefore looking at schools in the electronic age and a global community. Schools of today are challenged by these trends in several ways ranging from macro to micro level, from the state to the classroom. The overall changes and developments are introducing “The learning society” as an image and ambiguous term, describing the challenge, suggesting its need and potentiality and urging on the need of it (Barnett 1996). An interesting quest may therefore be to find metaphors useful to meet future challenges. Blind spots created by traditional school metaphors should be considered along with obstacles and limitations of new ones, keeping the image of psychic prison in mind. Imaging school as a psychic prison implies a world like the one presented in Plato’s “The Republic” where Socrates addresses the relations among appearance, reality and knowledge (Morgan 1997, p. 215). In this shadowy world the inhabitants stick to the shadows as reality rejecting the world outside.
ICT in the Developing Nations
Most organisations are complex and difficult to understand or explain in an intelligible way. Metaphors or images are therefore used to build theories on organisations, explaining what it is all about. Theorising is also modelling, where the making of models often is based on images. Gareth Morgan (1997) has given an overview of commonly used metaphors: Organisation as a machine, organism, brain, culture etc. Whatever metaphor chosen it is important to be aware that it is a description, or an interpretation of the real organisation, not representing all aspects or giving a totality of the reality. Another important aspect to be aware of is that by choosing a certain metaphor to model understanding of an organisation one creates ways of not seeing as well (ibid. 5). This presents a true paradox: Understanding becomes a way of not understanding.
The Matrix of Competences
This is an accurate presentation of the challenge of school today that is addressed and dealt with here. Use of images or metaphors may give strong interpretative direction to the meaning, and can be used intentionally or unintentionally to do so. To understand the organisation is basic in managing it, a how to manage it. The way the organisation is understood constitutes main frames for analysing, planning and the actual day-to-day activities. Use of images does not only support understanding but also creates and changes.
“The concept of organisations is a product of the mechanical age. Now that we are living in an electronic age, new organizing principles are necessary. The ideas presented here help us to make the transition and meet the challenges of this new reality.” (Morgan, 1997: p.378)
The Role of ICT in Schools
An fruitful approach can therefore be to aim at understanding schools through the use of metaphors in order to “read” existing, underlying patterns, analysing possible ways of getting ahead coping with new challenges. This point of departure affects the choice of metaphors and their use. Garth Morgan emphasises that uses of different images broaden the view and deepen the insight to see, to think and act in new ways (p. 351). It is also kept in mind that: