This chapter reviews the theories both Empirical and Theoretical that are closely linked to ICT use and perceptions of how ICT impacts teaching in schools. Various research articles have proved that the introduction of ICT as a teaching and learning tool has been very instrumental in the effectiveness of the learning process (Almekhlafi & Almeqdadi, 2010, p. 165); ICT offers a benign opportunity for the students to capture the basic concepts that are taught in the classrooms.
The literature review seeks to illustrate how the introduction of computers in learning institutions has affected learning, the learning atmosphere, the students, their teachers and educational institutions. For this to be achieved, the literature review will focus around a conceptual framework which is designed to deal with these issues. The literature review will mainly exploit the available current research in order to build a case with regard to the impacts of ICT in both teaching and learning in schools. In addition, the literature review will chat the way forward based on the conceptual framework to suggest the means of evaluating the impacts of ICT.
The literature review starts with the review of the use of ICT in classrooms in the 21st century, then brushes on traditional teaching/pedagogy followed by a discussion on the needs to incorporate ICT in teaching and learning. This paves the way for the review of the teacher confidence on the use in ICT. The review then touches on the ICT use and other characteristics of teachers before brushing on ICT resources, tools and infrastructure. The review then focuses on the use of ICT in aspects of teaching and the use of ICT in aspects of student learning. Moreover, the review goes further to check on the use of ICT in assessments and also the obstacles to pedagogical ICT use. Consequently, the review checks on the ICT focused professional development programs before ending with the teacher factors associated with the use of ICT for teaching in developing countries.
The use of ICT in classrooms in the 21st Century
When the computers were first obtainable commercially, they were mainly used in learning institutions due to the fact that the institutions’ administrators endorsed their use to supplement the learning process (Al-Rawajfth, Soon & Idros, 2010, p. 55). An assessment completed around the USA revealed that several citizens supported the fact that the learning institutions should spend more in purchasing computers than any other apparatus for learning (Amorim, et al, 2011). In as much as the use of computers has been endorsed by many educators, debates have ensued as to how the use of ICT should be implemented and what outcome it is expected to have on the advancements of the learning process for the students (Assar, Amrani & Watson, 2010, p. 154).
The first computers were mainly used by the computer programmers but recent technological advancements have given rise to the emergence of microprocessors which have brought a new life to the educators due to the fact tat they can be obtained easily and cheaply by the learning institutions (Birch & Irvine, 2009, p. 300). As the computers became more accessible, the need and the curiosity to become computer literate grew; thus, many people accepted and endorsed the use of computers in the learning institutions. It is in line with this belief that many schools started spending more on the adoption of ICT in their learning environments (Bonnah & Unwin, 2010, p. 200).
Way back in the 1990s, the computers were mainly used for communication or for obtaining relevant information through the use of internet services. In addition, the CD-ROM was introduced as a replacement of the floppy disks. The introduction of CD-ROM was major stepping stone as large volumes of data could simply be dispensed; this allowed for the teachers to easily distribute educational software packages to the students (Chen, 2011, p. 998). In the 21st century, computers play two roles: the first role is that the computers are a center of study, i.e. information and communication technology education has been introduced as a course in schools. Secondly, the computers sustain the learning and teaching process through the introduction of educational technology (Condie & Livingston, 2007, p. 340). The needs for computers have been justified in the case of the call for computer literacy and the integration of the computers in the learning process (Deaney, Ruthven & Hennessy, 2006, p. 460).
Communication can be said to have evolved through various stages since the earlier days. People have created and adopted various ways of relaying information to their counterparts, mainly through face to face interactions or through the use of written messages (Demıralay & Karadenız, 2010, 847). With the emergence of civilization, other creative methods of relaying information were adopted, most notably using smoke signals and blowing of horns; these latter innovations proved to be a faster and more capable means of communication as compared to face to face interaction and the use of letters (Elwood & MacLean, 2009, p. 70). The use of telegraph emerged and replaced all the earlier means of communication as it proved to be more efficient and more reliable than the others. As years went by, computers were introduced in to the communication sector. Through computers, the use of internet became popular all over the world. It is in line with this background that the use of computers found its way into the learning institutions.
In the 21st century the education sector has undergone various reforms with regard to the learning methods in the classrooms. The changing needs for the students have called for new and innovative methods of teaching in classrooms (Erdoğan, et al, 2010, p. 888); these new teaching methods have proved to have room for the diverse and changing needs of the students. One of these new teaching methods is the incorporation of ICT into the educational curricula. The use of ICT in schools has proved to be so much effective in the learning process (Ghafar, et al, 2011, p. 210). Various scholars have confirmed that the use of ICT in educational institutions has eased and accelerated the speed at which the students grasp the basic concepts in schools (Goos, et al, 2008).
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) involves the use of technology to handle and process information by bringing into play computers and the relevant software to help in storing information, guarding information, processing information, broadcasting information and retrieving information (Granič, Čukušič & Walker, 2009, p. 170). In the 21st century it is mandatory for everybody to be computer literate as computer technology is applied in every sphere of social life (Gulbahar & Guven, 2008, p. 40). Research has revealed that many teachers still have limited knowledge with regard to the basic computer skills; hence, it is very difficult for them to endorse and support the use of computer technology for learning and teaching in the classrooms (Hayes, Camperell & American, 1993). In today’s world, much effort has been made to train the teachers on the use of ICT for educational purposes.
In schools and other learning institutions all across the world, the educational curricula is founded on the principle of ‘what’ and ‘how’; i.e. ‘what’ is taught by the teachers an learnt by the students in class; and ‘how’ the teaching by the teachers and the learning by the students take place at the same time (Hsu, 2010, P. 180). What is taught and learnt in the class relies entirely on the objectives of the course, the content of the course and the expected outcome on completion of the course in terms of the students’ abilities, thoughts and understanding with regard to the course (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760). How teaching and learning takes place entirely relies on the strategies of teaching and learning; the methodologies of teaching and learning; and the resources available to support the learning and teaching process (Kaffash, et al, 2010).
In many cases, the teaching and learning methods always involve the utilization of a teaching or learning equipment (Kafyulilo, 2010). Traditionally, the teaching and learning methods basically involved the utilization of a blackboard and chalk as learning equipments (Kan, 2011, p. 22). In the modern world, the teaching equipments that are commonly used in the classrooms for teaching and learning are overhead projectors and/or a television set (Karal, Aydin & Ursavaş, 2009, p. 108). The use of these equipments in the learning process is most commonly termed as educational technology (Kárpati, 2004, p. 22). Thus, educational technology plays the role of assisting both the teaching and the learning process (Katyal, 2010, p. 280). In other words, educational technology is an integral part of the teaching and learning process as it provides a means of dispensing knowledge to the students (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). In the modern world, education technology largely relies on the utilization of computers in the learning process (Kirkwood & Price, 2008, p. 11).
The educational curriculum and the educational technology are greatly interrelated as they affect each other in one way or the other (Kolodziejczyk, 2009, p. 29). This is justified by the fact that the type of curriculum to be implemented will largely affect the strategy or the method of teaching to be used, hence, influencing the choice of educational technology (Kumar, & D’Silva, 2008, p. 610). The choice of the curriculum is based on the role that the teacher plays through his/her pedagogical analysis of the education system (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 100). Therefore, the choice of technology for learning is correlated to the desired curriculum; when the curriculum changes, the educational technology changes too (Law, Lee & Chan, 2010, p. 470). Traditional teaching was conducted with manual educational technology. In many cases, the teachers used blackboards and chalk to teach the students (Leach, 2008, p. 800). On the other hand, the students mainly used note books or writing pads to write down the notes that were given out by the teachers (Leach & Moon, 2000, p. 400).
Need to incorporate ICT in teaching and learning
Before adopting the use of computers in the classrooms, it is imperative for the teachers to build up an underlying principle. When the underlying principle is effective, it becomes easier for the teachers to adopt the use of computers in the classrooms for learning and teaching (Looi, et al, 2004, p. 95). With the recent advancements in technology that has made available all types of computer software, it is imperative for the teachers and the educators to pay much attention to the educational values of the computers rather than focusing more on the secondary benefits of the computers (Loveless, 2003, p. 150). Teachers, therefore, find it much easier to teach effectively as a result of the ever continuing advancements of computer technology (Luck & Peng, 2010, p. 2).
Many people have viewed the use of computers in learning institutions as the way out to the educational problems (Maria, et al, 2011, p. 100). The computer inventors had the feeling that one day computers would replace teachers in the schools or other learning institutions (McCarney, 2004, p. 70). There are various underlying principles with regard to the adoption of computer usage in the learning process; the first principle focuses on the organizational efficiency of the school. The second principle focuses on the computer literacy requirements of the students and the third principle focuses on the need to support the learning of the students (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100).
It has been noted that the impact of using computers in classrooms have fallen below par as opposed to the anticipations that many people had (Meurant, 2011, p. 32). In the traditional way of teaching and learning where radios, television sets and overhead projectors were used in the learning process, the desired output was not realized too, thus, many people have complained about the effectiveness of educational technology (Mukama & Andersson, 2008, p. 158). Very many schools invest large sums of money to purchase computers and other ICT appliances with the purpose of improving the teaching and learning methods. It is worthy to note that schools and learning institutions should wisely use their resources to sustain the learning process (Nachmias, Mioduser & Forkosh-Baruch, 2010, p. 500).
In real life’s application, technology has been viewed by some people as a means of increasing the level of productivity; to other people, technology has been viewed as a problem fixer and to a majority of people, technology has been associated with the advancement of standards of living (Natho, et al, 2010, p. 410). It is in line with this historical background that the schools formulate a basis to justify the introduction of educational technology (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32). In the schools’ point of view, the introduction of educational technology has been viewed to be a way of raising the educational efficiency and also as a way of fixing problems associated to teaching and learning (Tubin & Edri, 2004, p. 187).
ICT and educational efficiency
Educational efficiency is measured by dividing the educational output by the educational inputs (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). It is, however, not easy to measure the educational output in terms of money in order to match the inputs. Thus, the educational output is viewed in terms of the learning outcome (in terms of quantity and quality) of the students (Wang, 2008, p. 415). On the other hand, the educational inputs encompass the amount of time that the teachers spend with the students in the class, the learning materials and equipments (Witz & Lee, 2009, p. 427). It is, therefore, evident that for the educational efficiency to be raised, the educational output should be increased while the educational inputs are decreased (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195).
It is postulated that the introduction of educational technology in schools should impact the educational outputs and the educational inputs (Zhang, 2007, p. 310). Learning by the students is enhanced when the teachers adopt the most suitable educational technology (Gulbahar & Guven, 2008, p. 49); this translates to a higher worth of educational output. Not all the computers have the same costs; some are more expensive to adopt (Karal, Aydin, & Ursavaş, 2009, 106). ICT and its appliances have proved to be much expensive to acquire, to set up and to maintain; this cost should be measured against the expected output (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102).
It is ethical for schools to spend less amount of money in acquiring, setting up and maintaining the ICT appliances, while at the same time work hard to ensure that the educational outputs are raised through adopting the relevant mechanisms (Leach & Moon, 2000, p. 400). A higher educational output is a proof that ICT is really effective in the teaching and the learning process (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). The students and the teachers should all work together in order to support this common cause.
Role of ICT in fixing the learning and teaching problems
It is very common for problems to occur in the teaching and learning process in educational institutions, these problems are mainly solved by the computers. As soon as the problems are identified, the computers are applied in an appropriate manner so as to solve the problems associated with the students’ learning (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). Before an educational technology is adopted in the learning environment, the technology should be analyzed and proved to be the best solution to the problem at hand (Almekhlafi & Almeqdadi, 2010, p. 165). It is, therefore, imperative upon the teachers to utilize the educational technology in an effective and appropriate manner. For this to take place the problems should be connected to the execution of the curriculum; teachers should have the ability to effectively utilize the educational technology; and both teachers and students should have the proper knowledge on how to manage and operate the educational technology (Zhang, 2007, p. 310).
Computers have been widely used in the learning process for various reasons. The recent technological advancements in terms of ICT have necessitated the need to incorporate computers in the learning process (Witz & Lee, 2009, p. 427). Various courses such as, statistics, business courses and music that do not incorporate the use of computers have been rendered to be irrelevant or insignificant to the real world. It is, therefore, in order for the schools to update their curricula to match the ever changing technologies. Computers, however, do not offer the best solution to fix the learning or teaching problems; this is due to the fact that the problems associated with learning or teaching are normally caused by the students’ lack of discipline or the teachers’ lack of effective management skills (Witz & Lee, 2009, p. 427). Thus, the teachers should find a way of managing the students properly rather than heavily relying on computers to offer solutions to the problems.
The common problems associated with teaching and learning that require computer solutions include: management of reports, preparation of assessments, library applications and planning of events (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). There are various computer software that have been customized to perform those tasks in the most appropriate manner; hence, making work easier for both the teachers and the students.
Teacher Confidence in using ICT
Teachers play a crucial role in the learning process; they are majorly viewed by the students as the source of knowledge. Whatever method or strategy of teaching that teachers choose to adopt, it should be to the advantage to the students (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). Many teachers have widely endorsed the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process. Some scholars have the opinion that when ICT is incorporated to the learning environment, the teachers’ strategies of teaching should be changed in orders to synchronize with the ICT usage (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). Teachers, therefore, endorse the usage of ICT for learning because they believe that educational technology offers an exciting and a better learning environment. ICT’s availability in the recent world has enabled teachers to get access to a lot of information with regard to the materials for learning. Educational technology offers an approach that is more learner-focused as it enhances individual participation on the side of the students (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760). ICT demands for shaping up of the basic computer skills in order to match with the changing technology.
The contributions of the teachers toward the use of ICT are very crucial in the learning process; they should therefore be highly skilled in order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to the students. The motive of the teachers is to incorporate ICT in the teaching and learning process so as to make it easier for the students to participate fully in the learning process. Teachers have a wide range of knowledge in various disciplines; the use of ICT in the teaching process, thus, enables teachers to access information that cut across these disciplines (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102).
All over the world, the quantity of information is on the increase; this sends a message to both teachers and students that they are yet to know everything with regard to their learning (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). It is, therefore, important for teachers to sort out the available information wisely so as to extract only what is important and relevant to the course. Educational technology offers a reliable means for gathering information, sorting the information, dispensing the information and broadcasting the information (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). Educational technology has also changed over the years in order to comply with the technological advancements with regard to the treatment of the gathered information; this has given teachers another reason to widely endorse the application of educational technology in the classrooms.
In line with the introduction of educational technology for teaching and learning, there is need to revise the various means of assessing the students in the class. This is due to the fact that the current means of assessing the students still rely heavily on the use of textbooks (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). The use of textbooks for assessment is perceived by many people to be irrelevant and does not fit into the modern educational technology environment; thus, new ways of analyzing the students’ learning should be worked out (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). For instance, when teachers teach the students the basic ICT skills with regard to gathering information, sorting the information, dispensing the information and broadcasting the information, then their kind of assessment should be more practical rather that being based on theory. In addition, when the teachers teach the students music using ICT packages, then it becomes irrelevant to assess the students by giving them musical instruments to play (Voogt, 2010, p. 455).
There exist some challenges with regard to the kind of information that is accessed on the internet through the computers. One major challenge is with regard to the reliability and legitimacy of the information (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760). The expansion of the usage of computers all over the world in learning institutions has eased the broadcasting of information over the internet since it has become cheaper. Due to this, false or illegitimate information have found their way into the internet streams since the mechanisms for validating that information have been compromised. It is, therefore, very important for the teachers and the students to carefully choose and sort out the information accordingly as this will eliminate the use of false and illegitimate information that are distributed across the internet streams (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32). Teachers should evaluate the source of the information and the reason why it was published or distributed before dispensing it to the students. If the source of information is from a government’s agency then it is treated with much validity as opposed to information from the private sector (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102).
ICT Use and Other Characteristics of Teachers
Incorporating ICT usage in the teaching process demands quite a lot on the side of the teachers; they have to be industrious, energetic and persistent in order to overcome the challenges and the threats posed by ICT usage (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). Careful planning on the ICT usage plays a crucial role in preparing the teachers mentally to tackle the anticipated challenges of ICT. This planning process demands a lot of time and dedication; relevant resources should be made available in order to achieve this. In the modern days, it is advisable for schools and learning institutions to subscribe to relevant publications and articles with the aim of providing insight to the teachers adequately (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). Moreover, all the teachers in the school should work together as one group so as to encourage each other to tackle the anticipated problems that come with ICT usage.
Many teachers still believe that the incorporation of educational technology in the learning process demands that the attitudes and strategies for learning should be reviewed. In order to achieve this, it is important for them to be endowed with the relevant practical ICT proficiency (Kumar, & D’Silva, 2008, p. 610). Some teachers still lack efficient proficiency in operating computers and managing the students; thus, they should be given a chance to acquaint themselves with those basic skills. Having the computer skills enables the teachers to diligently execute their tasks as teachers and dispense knowledge to the students with a lot of ease and confidence (Kazu, 2011, p. 515).
Many researchers have conducted studies on the teachers’ use of ICT and pedagogy. By virtue of incorporating educational technology for teaching and learning, teachers portray themselves as committed people towards the dispensing of knowledge. It is with this regard that the teachers need to shape up their ICT skills in order to provide the students with high quality information (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). It is a common notion that teachers are widely skilled in different field of knowledge; when they use educational technology to teach, the students have access to a wide variety of information. This has served as a basis for the wide endorsement of the use of ICT by the teachers (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32).
The students heavily rely on teachers in order to gain access to educational information and knowledge. Teachers, therefore, opt to employ the best teaching strategies that will fit the level of understanding of the students (McCarney, 2004, p. 70). Various research works by some scholars have found out that the use of educational technology in schools has widely been supported by the teachers. The incorporation of ICT in the teaching and learning process has greatly called for the demand for highly skilled teachers who are not only highly proficient in computer usage but also possess efficient management and teaching skills (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760).
ICT tools and their use in aspects of teaching, student learning and assessment
It is a requirement for schools and other educational institutions to put in place resources in terms of infrastructure that will necessitate the application of ICT in teaching and students’ learning aspects (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). In addition, adequate resources should be made available to sustain the infrastructure. In many cases, the tools which come with ICT are instrumental in supporting the schools toward achieving this objective. Various research works have confirmed that educational technology is only put into practice in schools when there is an anticipated possible advantage or benefit (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). However, there exist various setbacks that hinder teachers from realizing the potential benefits that are offered by educational technology.
For a successful use of ICT in the education process, schools should find a precise way of fitting the desired technology to match the school’s goals and principles (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). In addition, school should have a belief that the desired technology will be effective to the school’s curriculum. Other factors that the school should note before effectively adopting educational technology include: conducting adequate training to the teachers; facilitating the ease of access of the desired technology; endorsing the use of the desired technology by the school’s management; allowing for proper planning by the teachers with regard to the application of the technology; and facilitating constant on job trainings for the teachers (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102).
The number of students in the school has an influence on the application of educational technology in schools (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). Moreover, the design of the computer packages, the commitment of the teachers and the availability of the desired technology also influence the application of educational technology in the schools. The school teachers play an important role in implementing the use of educational technology, thus, for the process to be successful, the needs and requirements of the teachers should be addressed promptly. The hindrances to teachers with regard to the use of educational technology are in two forms: (a) insufficient infrastructure and (b) lack of enough support from the school’s administration with regard to the application of educational technology (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32).
ICT infrastructure is composed of provision of technological resources, availability of computer hardware, availability of computer users and the efficient application of educational technology. Computer software producers always ensure that the kind of computer software available is genuine and certified. The computer hardware on the other hand should be suitable, effective and accessible (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). The schools should plan effectively and wisely with regard to the choice of the software and hardware to use (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). Before implementing the use of ICT in the school’s curriculum, the school ensures that relevant and appropriate computer software is in place to support the learning process (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). Therefore, schools with inadequate software need to purchase additional software to fit the requirements for all.
There are various computer packages that are designed to suit individual use, while some are designed to be used in groups. There are also some packages that are customized for the teachers’ use only while other packages are strictly specified for the students (McCarney, 2004, p. 70). In the act of teaching, teachers mainly favor the application of computer software that demand little scheduling and arrangements. If at all the teachers are involved in the designing and preparation of the computer software, then the software will have to be customized in such a manner that it only fits a particular or a specific course (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). Computer packages that do not demand excessive teacher involvement are strictly preferred by teachers who are less proficient in computer usage. The manner in which the computer packages are selected and adopted should purpose to satisfy the needs and requirements of the schools, particularly the students.
When the computer packages are designed to perform a particular task, the teachers should use them to perform the intended task. It is upon the school’s management to set up policies and guiding principles that govern the distribution and usage of computers (Zhang, 2007, p. 310). In addition, the school’s management should give much priority to the adoption of computer packages that support the curriculum and teaching (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760). In cases where the computers are fewer than the number of students in the class, the school should make policies to govern the students’ usage of computers so as to fit them all (McCarney, 2004, p. 70).
Apart from being computer literate, computer teachers should adopt the necessary skills to incorporate the application of computers in the learning environment (Looi, et al, 2004, p. 95). Teachers get these skills through training, even though some teachers may acquire these skills through several years of computer teaching experience; however, due to lack of opportunity many teachers have not acquired these skills through teaching experience. Before implementing any change in the curriculum, proper planning and adequate arrangements are needed so as to provide enough time to implement the change (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). In many cases, some teachers who have had long and persistent training on the implementation of ICT are much reluctant to respond to the curriculum changes as they feel that their jobs will be threatened. Research by some scholars has confirmed that many teachers who feel threatened by the implementation of educational technology often do not have much confidence on the technology (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32). As a result of this, the fear of losing their jobs has massively grown; even though the fear has no basis.
Another major reason why teachers feel so shy to implement a curriculum change to introduce educational technology is the change in the teaching environment that comes with it (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). This is due to the fact that the teachers will be required to spend additional hours on training so as to have the desired level of competency to fit into the teaching environment. In addition, the use of computers brings some sense of control on the part of the students; therefore, teachers who had previously enjoyed having control of the class ought to feel short-changed by shifting part of the power to the students (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100).
Before implementing educational technology in schools, the schools need to set a goal that is desired to be achieved by ICT. In order to achieve this, the schools need to buy computers purposely to perform specific functions (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). With this kind of planning in place, the schools will find a better way to incorporate educational technology in the learning process and make it an integral part of the curriculum (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). Teachers have their own unique teaching methods; each teacher has a different point of view with regard to the teaching concepts. The major challenges that are faced by teachers in the teaching process include: having control and authority over the class; managing the students; creating a good rapport with fellow teachers; and effectively managing their work loads.
The incorporation of educational technology in the learning environment has brought some threats to the school’s policy issues. Through the use of internet, the students can intentionally access irrelevant information, for instance, pornographic literature that is not part of the curriculum (Kumar, & D’Silva, 2008, p. 610). In addition, the use of internet has also misled the students to correspond with online con-men who have ill motives for the students. It is, therefore, recommended that schools should install computer packages that filter the internet so that the students do not get the opportunity to look into irrelevant and inappropriate internet websites (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760). However, it is not guaranteed that filtering of the internet websites totally blocks the students from having access to the illegal sites but it purposely reduces the probability of accessing the sites. The use of ICT in schools has so much been supported by educators all across the world; they advocate for change of the schools’ curricula by making ICT to be an integral part of the curriculum (Voogt, 2010, p. 455).
Teachers have an administrative role to play in school; as a result of this, various customized computer software have been designed purposely to help the teachers to play this role (McCarney, 2004, p. 70). There are quite a number of advantages that come for the teachers by using ICT in their administrative roles: the first benefit is that the use of computers enhances the productivity of the teachers; secondly and lastly, the use of computers saves time for the teachers by greatly minimizing the total amount of time spent in preparing the lessons, broadcasting the information, assessing and evaluating the students (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). The applications that come with the customized software include: lesson preparation tools, database on students’ records, learning tools and students’ assessment and evaluation tools (Zhang, 2007, p. 310). Customizing of the schools’ computer software plays a crucial role in the teaching and learning process. This is so because it helps in tackling of the challenges that are experienced in the learning process. These challenges include: a large number of students using limited number of computers, many teachers relying on limited number of computers and the schools large expenditure in relation to a limited resource base (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195).
The customized computer packages that are used in schools help in the smooth running of the school’s administration. The packages facilitate proper management of the students’ records, they facilitate communication between various school departments, they help in management and planning of financial resources, they facilitate the teaching process and lastly they help in managing the school’s curriculum (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). Through networking of computers, the ease of access of information within the school is greatly enhanced. In addition, the application of customized packages in the school’s library has greatly facilitated the keeping of students’ records and eased borrowing and lending of books (Looi, et al, 2004, p. 95).
The use of educational technology is expected to benefit the students greatly as it contributes to their learning process by availing to them learning materials easily and cheaply (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). In addition, educational technology enables the students to have the necessary computer skills (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). The incorporation of ICT in the teaching process makes the students feel more engaged and their independence is greatly increased; therefore, for the students to be highly competent in the usage of ICT, they should be prepared to adjust to the changes in the learning environment. The attitudes of the students toward education change to be more objective because they adopt a sense of responsibility and independence. In addition, the students embrace a sense of cooperation in addition to their directive attitude (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32).
Students are encouraged to shape up their time management skills in addition to being focused and attentive to the teachers’ instructions (Kumar, & D’Silva, 2008, p. 610). Just like teachers, some students also find it difficult to embrace the new change in the learning environment; it is, therefore, required that when introducing educational technology to the learning environment a lot of concern should be attributed particularly to the students who have second thoughts concerning the change in the learning environment (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). The students who oppose the introduction of ICT feel that they need to depend on the teachers for learning rather than computers (Kazu, 2011, p. 515).
Obstacles to pedagogical ICT use
The incorporation of educational technology in the learning environment has been widely viewed by many scholars as the right direction to take when changing the school’s curriculum (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). Due to this fact, many schools all across the world have incorporated the use of ICT into their curriculum (Zhang, 2007, p. 310). Even though the use of ICT in schools has been successful, there are obstacles that surround its use. Incorporation of educational technology in the school’s curriculum demands for efficient planning and preparations (Looi, et al, 2004, p. 95). Without a proper planning, the introduction of ICT might not be as effective as anticipated.
One major obstacle to ICT use is resistance to change by the teachers (McCarney, 2004, p. 70). Many teachers have the opinion that the incorporation of ICT into the curriculum of the schools poses a threat to their jobs because they have the feeling that students will rely on computers more than them; thus, their jobs become irrelevant (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). On the other hand, there are some students who are also reluctant to endorse ICT usage because of the fact that they highly depend on the teachers so much that they think they cannot do without the teachers (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102).
Another obstacle to the adoption of ICT in the school’s curriculum is the high cost of acquiring, installing and maintaining the ICT machines (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760). This high cost has made some schools not to meet the requirement of ‘one student, one computer’. As a result of this, computer learning has been slowed down. Computer operation demands for well and efficiently trained teachers who can teach the students so well in a way that they will understand (McCarney, 2004, p. 70).
Finally, it is not easy to implement educational technology in the curriculum of the school due to the fact that many teachers are still not proficient in computer usage (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32). Many resources are, therefore, devoted to training the teachers on the use of computers so that they can be in a better position to dispense knowledge to the students with much confidence (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). Students have the view that teachers are the major source of knowledge and once a teacher fails to deliver his services with much confidence and ease, the students with have a negative perception towards the teachers (Kazu, 2011, p. 515).
These obstacles need to be addressed so as to ensure the smooth and effective implementation of educational technology in the curriculum of the school. In order to achieve this, a proper planning and preparation is required (Kumar, & D’Silva, 2008, p. 610). Preparation comes with training the teachers adequately and effectively and also by assessing the potential benefits that educational technology stands to bring to the school. For a smooth maintenance of the ICT infrastructure schools should enforce certain principles that govern the usage of ICT (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). These principles should be focused toward averting the expected obstacles to ICT implementation.
ICT focused professional development programs
The United States of America’s department of education established the International Society for Technical Education (ISTE) with the aim of training teachers on the importance of technology and how to apply it in the learning process (McCarney, 2004, p. 70). ISTE is the umbrella body that organizes for technological events and enforcing principles that govern the way in which teachers should incorporate educational technology in the school’s curriculum (Zhang, 2007, p. 310). This initiative has been widely supported by technological firms such as IBM, Intel, Apple and Compaq that have made resources available to support it. In addition, ISTE programs offer the benchmark for designing the curriculum or models that facilitate the teachers in adopting ICT in schools (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). When this happens, the teachers become so much effective in the dispensation of knowledge to the students in an objective manner.
The ISTE project was majorly initiated to build up a wide-ranging foundation for teachers to enhance their ICT skills to be in a better position to train the students in an advanced manner (Kazu, 2011, p. 515). In addition, ISTE’s other mandate was to set up standards or principles that govern the incorporation of educational technology in the learning environment. Nevertheless, ISTE program also set up modes of assessing the impacts of educational technology in order to evaluate its effectiveness in the learning process (Kumar, & D’Silva, 2008, p. 610). The schemes for assessment help teachers to plan and process the effective ways of evaluating the effectiveness of ICT in the learning process.
Another professional program that has been initiated in the ICT world is the establishment of the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS). The program lays down principles and sets of norms that teachers should adhere to when training the students (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). The program calls for favorable environments that facilitate the application of educational technology in the schools’ curriculum. For this to be achieved teachers are required to be highly proficient in the use of ICT. In addition, the curriculum should be structured in a way that accommodates the effective application of ICT for teaching and learning in schools (Kazu, 2011, p. 515).
Teacher factors associated with the use of ICT in teaching in developing countries
The system of education in developing countries is so much different from the system of education in the developed country; it is in line with this notion that many students from the developing countries migrate to the developed countries to further their education (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). In the developing countries, only institutions of higher learning have the capabilities and sufficient resources to acquire, install, maintain and incorporate educational technology into the curriculum of the school. The level of computer literacy in the developing countries is at a lower level as compared to the level of computer literacy in the developed countries (Looi, et al, 2004, p. 95).
The use of ICT in schools has widely spread to the developing countries. One of the reasons why educational technology has spread to the developing countries is the expansion of research (Kuskaya & Kocak, 2010, p. 102). The use of educational technology in the developing countries has brought about a positive impact in the learning environment. The system of education in the developing countries is quite different from the way in which education is conducted in the developed countries. In the developed countries, many resources have been devoted towards supporting teaching and learning in schools (Yelland, Cope & Kalantzis, 2008, p. 195). Unlike developed countries, developing countries are not endowed with many resources to utilize in the application of educational technology in schools; this is attributed to the higher levels of poverty that exist in these countries (Jumani & Rehman, 2011, p. 760).
There are several obstacles that hinder teachers from effectively adopting the use of educational technology in the schools. One such obstacle is the fact that many teachers in the developing countries are not computer literate (Zhang, 2007, p. 310). As a result of this, it has become much difficult to adopt the use of ICT in the learning environment. However, much effort has been made to train the teachers effectively on the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process. Through training, the teachers are equipped with the necessary and relevant skills that are crucial to the teaching and learning process in schools (Nawaz & Kundi, 2010, p. 32).
Another obstacle that hinders the adoption of ICT in schools is the fact that many developing countries do not have sufficient resources to acquire, install and maintain the ICT infrastructure in schools (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). This is mainly so due to the fact that there is a high level of poverty in the developing countries. In addition, the education sector is not yet well developed to attract investors or sponsors to support the education sector. Because of the high costs of operating the ICT infrastructure in schools, the education sector in the developing countries still lag behind in terms of the implementation of ICT in schools and other learning institutions (Kumar, & D’Silva, 2008, p. 610).
Implementation of ICT in schools in the developing countries has been slow because of the fact that teachers feel so shy in adopting the use of ICT in the learning environment. Teachers feel that when educational technology is incorporated into the school’s curriculum, then many teachers will lose their jobs due to the fact that the students will depend on computers too much more than they depend on the teachers (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). In addition, teachers in the developing countries feel that the incorporation of ICT into the schools’ curriculum will infringe them of their authority in the teaching process; they feel that the students will adopt a certain level of control during the class time.
In the developing countries, educational technology is used in the school’s program to keep the students’ records. The management of the school also uses computers to enhance communication within the various departments of the school (Looi, et al, 2004, p. 95). Moreover, computers are used by teachers to assess and evaluate the progress or the performance of the students. Many developing countries have sourced for help from their developed counterparts in order to promote the incorporation of ICT into the curriculum of their schools (Kazu, 2011, p. 515).
Teachers face many challenges when it comes to implementing the use of computers in the schools. Many teachers in the developing countries find it very hard to implement the use of ICT in the learning environment because they are still not prepared to abandon the traditional methods of teaching (Voogt, 2010, p. 455). In the traditional mode of teaching, the teachers majorly use the blackboard, chalk and textbooks (Zhang, 2007, p. 310). This kind of teaching grants a great deal of authority to the teachers due to the fact that the students regard them to be the only source of knowledge. With the introduction of computers, students now realize that the source of learning materials is quite broad, thus, they should not only rely on teachers as the source of knowledge (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100).
In the developing countries, teachers are faced with acute lack of relevant computer packages; this is because of the fact that there are no experts to pre-design customized computer packages to facilitate the teaching process by the teachers (Looi, et al, 2004, p. 95). As a result of this, the teaching process is greatly compromised; this has further reduced the students’ confidence in the introduction of ICT in the curriculum of the school. Moreover, teachers in the developing countries find it very hard to filter internet websites so as to restrict the students from accessing irrelevant and inappropriate information (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). As a result of this, many students in the developing countries spend so much time on social websites rather than educative websites. Filtering of the internet websites is very crucial as it avoids the distraction of the students’ attention.
In the developing countries, it is very hard for school teachers to validate and authenticate information before passing it on to the students (McGarr, 2009, p. 1100). As a result of this, the content of the learning materials is greatly compromised. It is the duty of teachers to make sure that the learning materials that are available online are credible and genuine; otherwise, the teaching of the students will be greatly affected. Only publications by government agencies or by the various departments of the school are considered to be genuine and reliable (Zhang, 2007, p. 310).
The traditional teaching method was mainly based on the use of blackboard and chalk. Teachers were viewed by the students as the original source of knowledge and they depended upon the teachers so much in the learning process. With the coming of technological revolution, computers slowly found their way into the learning institutions; with its continued spread, many schools all across the world endorsed the use of educational technology. At the beginning, acquiring ICT tools was so much expensive; thus, only advanced learning institutions could afford them. The recent technological advancements have resulted to cheap and affordable computers which can be bought by many schools.
Even though educational technology has been regarded as a pillar in today’s education, its implementation in schools has not dodged a number of challenges or obstacles; these obstacles have made both the teachers and the students to be much shy in adopting the change. In order to ride over these obstacles, it is very imperative for schools to initiate proper and efficient planning process after assessing the potential benefits that come with ICT.
ICT serves so many purposes to the school: schools use ICT to manage and maintain the students’ records. In addition, ICT is used to solve the common learning and teaching problems. ICT also offers a wide range of information to the students and teachers. It is evident from the literature review that ICT has brought more benefits than harm.
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