Tech integration is important, when introduced in the spheres of education, technology can help a lot.
In many countries around the globe, more and more investments are being made by the government and the institutions themselves in the field of ICT to improve teaching, learning and the working of schools. Despite all these investment and all the efforts on ICT infrastructure, equipment and professional development that are being made by the authorities for the better delivery of education, the adoption & the integration of ICT in learning and teaching have been limited and we cannot witness real practices that includes tech and the blossoming outcomes that it brings along.
What can be the reasons?
Personal, institutional, technological, political or maybe ALL?
Why are teachers and institutions not able to bring technology into practice even after its availability? What hinders the proper use of ICT and how can it be curated?
After researching, I’ve jotted down few key pointers that may help you understand the reasons behind this limitation & suggestions that may allow the seamless integration.
-- 3 A’S of Technology: Availability, Affordability & Accessibility:
The institutions need to understand the potential of ICT integration and make it a point to embrace the dire need of adapting to the technological needs in order to be prepared for the 21st century learning ways. The institution should be equipped with the technical devices and teachers must be provided with the sources that they need for better teaching that can be achieved with the use of technology.
The next issue that comes out as a barrier is the cost at which technology is available. Available technology needs to be affordable by schools if it has to be adopted. At the national level, affordability could be limited by the high cost of putting infrastructure in place, and is linked with the issue of poverty. At the individual or organizational level, expensive hardware and software as well as High costs of communication and services restrict access to ICT. Even if provided by institutions, sometimes the teachers need their own devices that are expensive and that turns out to be a reason for teachers not falling in favor of ICT integration.
Accessibility to the tech can be achieved with proper training that SHOULD be given to teachers. The upcoming generation and the youth must be prepared in advance to the use of educational technology. To prepare them our teachers must be pro at it so they can guide students towards the productive, effective use of technology in field of education. Access to ICT infrastructure and resources in schools is a necessary condition to the integration of ICT in education Effective adoption and integration of ICT into teaching in schools depends mainly on the availability and accessibility of ICT resources such as hardware, software, etc. and this accessibility should be provided with the notion that this is the need of the hour and calls for a change.
-- School Policy On ICT Use:
It has been noted that within a school different students may have different levels of access based on the subjects they opt for or the grade they are in. Usually, students taking computer studies as a subject have greater access to computers and in schools that have cyber schooling and computer clubs, science students and club members often enjoy greater access to the computer rooms. Access to ICT facilities therefore varies with school and students. Primary school pupils may use the computer laboratory only once a week for about 30 - 45 minutes at secondary level, students’ use of computers for learning varied according to school and instruction by teachers, class level and whether they belonged to the computer club or not. Only students taking computer studies as an examinable subject at ‘0’ level have regular access to the computer-based library. Lack of proper integration of ICT with the school curriculum is thus a problem. When students are not prepared from the beginning to use technical devices, the problem is thus initiated from the very beginning.
-- Economic & Political Factors:
Lack of acceptance of ICT as an urgent national need as also a reason for slow penetration of ICTs in many countries. Technology is still considered a “luxury” by many countries and extreme poverty necessitates countries to choose between other needs over investing in enhancing technological infrastructure and thereby improving access. Absence of policies to regulate the growth and use of ICT creates a barrier. Still, there are places where computers and related items are often treated as luxury items and heavy government taxes are imposed which increase the cost of such equipment.
The rise in cost of devices again drifts away the need of this integration.
-- Lack Of Training & Support:
For a change, even if teachers come out to get the exposure of this mix, the lack of training and support that they need to help themselves & their students learn using computers and ICT is not there. Teachers must be given training workshops and the support that they need for effective integration of ICT in education. “Teachers should not only be provided extensive training on educational technology, but should also be facilitated a contribution to teaching improvement”
-- No Set Standards:
No national standards are set for teachers or educators when it comes to integrating technology into the curriculum is one thing that makes us accept the leniency by educators. If worked on it, some basic pre requisite skills set for ICT can help resolve the issue to an extent. By setting some basic standards that are must for any aspiring teachers, it becomes obligatory for them to adapt to the change and not follow teaching ways as their convenience.
-- Personal Characteristics:
Personal characteristics such as educational level, educational experience, experience with the computer for educational purpose and attitude towards computers can influence the adoption of a technology. Teachers are implored to adopt and integrate ICT into teaching and learning activities, but teachers’ preparedness to integrate ICT into teaching determines the effectiveness of the technology and not by its sheer existence in the classroom. The attitudes of teachers towards technology greatly influence their adoption and integration of computers into their teaching. Anxiety, lack of confidence and competence and fear often implies ICT takes a back seat to conventional learning mechanisms. Therefore, an understanding of personal characteristics that influence teachers’ adoption and integration of ICT into teaching is relevant.
-- ICT Competence:
Computer competence is defined as being able to handle a wide range of varying computer applications for various purposes. Teachers’ computer competence is a major predictor of integrating ICT in teaching. Teachers who lack the ICT skills resist the integration. According to Peralta & Costa (2007), teachers with more experience with computers have greater confidence in their ability to use them effectively. Teachers competence relate directly to confidence. Teachers’ confidence also relate to their perceptions of their ability to use computers in the classroom, particularly in relation to their children’s perceived competence.
-- Revised Curriculum:
Integration of technology means a different but effective way of teaching. And that demands a revised curriculum. In order to work efficiently, teachers must see a direct link between the technology and the curriculum that they teach. Specific content and handing out responsibility of specialization to a specific educator plays a key role here. Specific content can help teachers analyze, synthesize, and structure ideas into projects that they can use in their classrooms. When a teacher integrates technology in her profession s/he turns into an innovator and to let that innovation flow without interruption, curriculum must be revised. Authorities need to understand the need to develop technology friendly curriculum without compromising on the standard of education that is an important pillar for the change.
The rise of technology has broadened the meaning of ICT integration. The mix is not just limited to the introduction of technical devices instead it demand a lot more attention on the skills that are mandatory in order to work for the teaching & learning ways of 21st century. The factors affecting the mix are not just dependent upon the teacher or the institution but other sects also turns out to be the culprit for the slow adoption of this much-needed change. If worked together towards the goal, then things can change at a faster pace.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Can you suggest some ways to discard the problems? Share with us in the comment box below!