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BARRIERS TO THE UPTAKE OF ICT BY TEACHERS


Introduction

Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools become


important issues on improving the quality of subject teaching and learning. There is
substantial evidence that, in the right hands and used appropriately for specific
purposes in specific contexts, ICT can be an effective tool in supporting teaching and
learning. Government emphasising teacher development as the key to effectively
implementing policy and curriculum, to using ICT to enhance teaching and learning,
and to raising educational standards.

However, Malaysia and most developing countries there are many challenges
in bringing ICTs into the education process in general. Anderson (2015) and
Hennessy & Onguko have identified a range of physical and cultural factors that
affect ICT use by teachers such as resources, teachers attitude, lack of time and
many more. With all this barriers and challenges government couldnt achieve
educational goal.

Barriers in teaching ICT

Effectively introducing technology into schools is also largely dependent upon


the availability and accessibility of ICT resources. Mumtaz (2000) points out that
evidence of very good practice in the use of ICT is invariably found in those schools
that also have high quality ICT resources, and that a lack of computers and software
can seriously limit what teachers can do in the classroom with regard to the
implementation of ICT. Those school which with well resourced ICT, tended to have
better achievement compare to the schools with less ICT resources. The lack of
good ICT resources in a school, then, will not only prevent teachers from making
good use of ICT in their teaching, but it is also will effect on pupils achievement
(Becta, 2004). ICT resources tend to more available in urban schools compare to
rural area schools. Pelgrum (2001) found that the most frequently mentioned
problem when teachers were asked about obstacles to their use of ICT was the
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insufficient number of computers at schools. Schools managers need to consider
whether to optimizing the available equipment. Fabry and Higgs (2007) noted that
numbers of computers alone do not necessarily to ensure access, but it is important
to locate the proper amount and right types of technology where teachers and
students can effectively use them.

Lack of resources can be further divided into five separate categories, which
are also identified as barriers to ICT use by the literature. In a worldwide study of the
obstacles to the integration of ICT in education, Pelgrum (2011) found that the most
frequently mentioned problem when teachers were asked about obstacles to their
use of ICT was the insufficient of appropriate hardware. Other than that, poor
organizations of resources also tend to be a problem. Computer must be in a every
teaching room such as class rooms, science lab, library and so on. If the computer
lab have only 2 computers and the pupils are 20 and above, how the teachers could
teach the properly.

Another factor which may cloud the issue when considering schools ICT
classes is that of the quality of the hardware available. Educational Suppliers
Association (BESA, 2002), the average UK school in 2000 reported that a third of its
desktop computer stock was ineffective for teaching the curriculum. Teachers are
less enthusiastic about using ICT where the equipment available is old and
unreliable (Preston et al., 2000). Teachers also complain that most of the resources
at schools are out of date and also that hardware became obsolete very quickly.
Another thing is, many students had more up to date equipment at home, and that
this caused further difficulties for teachers trying to use the older technology at
school.
Inappropriate software is also identified as a barrier in using ICT. Guha
(2000) who found that poorly designed software, and a lack of time for teachers to
design their own software, often cause teachers to give up and choose not to make
use of ICT. Teachers also complained that some software is inappropriate and
covers too many areas rather than building on small skills first. Rather than that,
teachers must have their own personal access to ICT, to allow them to plan and
prepare lessons. One of the factors which contribute to the degree of a teachers
confidence in using ICT in school is the amount of personal access to ICT that the
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teacher has( Ross, 1999). Those teachers who made little or no personal use of ICT
had a low level of confidence in using it in their lessons. Meanwhile, teachers who
use ICT regularly are confident in using it and have a positive attitude towards it.
(PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2001) highlights the importance of teachers having
access to ICT at home, to allow them to make use of the technology in their own
work.

A factor which is directly related to teacher confidence levels is that of


teacher competence. In order to achieve high levels of teacher competence in ICT,
there is a need to provide training. If training is inappropriate, then teachers will not
be sufficiently prepared, and perhaps not sufficiently confident, to make full use of
technology in and out of the classroom. The lack of teacher competence, then,
together with the associated lack of quality training for teachers, can be seen as a
barrier to teachers use of ICT. The issue of training is certainly a complex one, and
many factors are considered to be important in ensuring that the training is effective.
The training provided not enough time to practise and receive meaningful training
using ICT across the curriculum.

Other than that, major barrier that occurred in school is lack of time. Fabry
and Higgs (2007) point out that learning new skills in any profession requires time,
but teachers have little time left after spending most of their day teaching, and with
other commitments such as dealing with parents and attending staff meetings.
Teachers are very concerned about the lack of time for technology; they feel that
they need more time to learn basics computer knowledge, plan how to integrate
technology into their lessons, and using technology in the classroom. Teachers need
time to experiment with the technology, share their experiences with colleagues, and
attend technology related in-service training programmes. Moreover, teachers
explained that they would need hours to preview web sites, prepare multimedia
materials for lessons, and to undertake training.

The lacks of technical support for teachers are other factors hindering their
use of ICT. Most of the school administrators never offer any technical support to the
teachers. When occurred computer breakdown, there must be technicians to repair
or maintain the computers. If nobody there to repair the computer, it will lead the
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teacher to not use the computer anymore. Cuban (2009) supports this point by
stating out that in the schools that cannot afford technicians, there are often,
software glitches and servers that crash, torpedoing lessons again and again. Once
the breakdowns do occur, a lack of technical support may cause that the equipment
remains out of use for a longer period of time. In government school if a projector
burn out, it will take few years to get the replacement.

Clearly, there is a close relationship between these two technical barriers;


the more frequently that actual breakdowns occur, the more likely teachers are to
avoid using the technology in the first place. Snoeyink and Ertmer (2009) found that
teachers who tried to carry out a task on a computer, but who were unsuccessful due
to technical problems, would then avoid using the computer for several days.

In addition to this broad ICT barrier, teacher confidence is another key


element determining the quality of any ICT-enhanced school-based teacher
education in developing contexts. Many teachers who do not consider they to be well
skilled in using ICT feel anxious about using it in front of a class of children who
perhaps know more than they do. Teachers facing fear of admitting to their pupils
that they had limited knowledge in the area of ICT. Russell and Bradley (2007), who
refer to a cyberphobia that exists in some teachers which can be a genuine concern
for them, and that these concerns deserve serious attention. (Bradley and Russell,
2007) the authors reported that the most common causes of this computer anxiety
were getting stuck and not knowing what to do next.

The problem of lack of confidence as a barrier is closely related to several


other key issues, which themselves alone can be viewed as barriers to teachers use
of ICT. For example, teachers confidence in using ICT is directly affected by the
amount of personal access to ICT they have even at home. In school, the frequency
of technical problems that occur can have a direct effect on a teachers confidence in
attempting to use that equipment, due to the fear of it breaking down during a lesson,
or the fear of them breaking the equipment themselves.
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Much of the literature looking at barriers to ICT use in schools suggests
that in the teaching profession generally there is an inherent resistance to change,
and that this is another barrier to some teachers use of new technologies in
education. Albaugh (2007) stated that, teachers are often suspicious of new claims
and the implementation of new ideas without proof of effectiveness and teachers
tend to adopt a new technology when that technology helps them to do what they are
currently doing better. Ertmer (2001), where a teacher explained that she wished to
remain comfortable with her teaching, and although this may have kept her from
adopting the best teaching methods, being comfortable was important to her. The
same teacher was not highly skilled in using computers, and so using them would
have resulted in her having to leave her comfort zone, which she did not feel able to
do. Resistance to change not only become a problem among teachers, but there are
also schools that resistance to change for successful integration of ICT.

Besides that, the age of teachers was a factor which created barriers to the
use of ICT. Older teachers are less likely to engage with the technology, simply due
to their advanced age. This statements supported by , (European Commission,
2002) that age is a factor contributing to the use of computers and the internet,
showing that the percentages of teachers using computers falls as their age
increases. Other than that, teachers gender and their usage levels of ICT also
become a factor in ICT barrier. The (European Commission, 2003) notes that gender
is an issue which determines the use of ICT by teachers, stating that 77% of male
teachers use a computer off-line, compared with 66% of female teachers, and points
out that the gap is wider when looking at the use of the internet; 56% of male
teachers compared with 38% of females. Bradley and Russell (2007) also reported a
correlation between gender and levels of computer anxiety, with females reporting a
greater degree of anxiety than males.

Teachers who do not realise the advantages of using technology in their


teaching are less likely to make use of ICT. One key area of teachers attitudes
towards ICT is their understanding of how it will benefit their work and their pupils
learning. Any training programme needs to ensure that teachers are made aware of
the benefits of using ICT. Snoeyink and Ertmer (2001) noted the importance of
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teachers seeing purpose in using computers in their teaching, and suggest that this
is achieved through focussed training which specifically shows teachers how
technology can help them in their own individual situations; simply watching other
teachers use technology, they explain, will not show them how they can use it to their
benefit in their own work.

Relationships between barriers

There are two types of barrier, which is external barrier and internal
barrier. External barrier known as first order barrier such as limited resources or lack
of technical support. and the internal, or second-order barriers, which include
teachers attitudes to ICT such as lack of confidence ,resistance to change &
negative attitudes . There are complex inter-relations between these two levels, and
between the barriers within those levels. Ertmer (2009) suggests that teachers attach
levels of importance to first-order barriers which in turn affect their own second-order
barriers. The issue of low uptake of ICT by teachers can only be addressed when the
second order barriers are tackled.

Recommendations for further research

At first, we may look at sector specific and subject specific barriers. This
could then lead to identifying the ICT enablers those factors which motivate
teachers into fully engaging with ICT in their work. Such work could be targeted at
key areas of education where levels of ICT use need to be improved. For example,
looking at the factors restricting the use of ICT in teaching primary music, and how
these might be overcome. Second is, research the barriers and enablers specific to
individual technologies, such as the internet, interactive whiteboards, or digital video.
Such work could lead to developing targeted advice on increasing the use of these
technologies in the classroom. Finnaly, we may Investigating some of the barriers in
more detail to understand how they group together, and the specific actions that may
be taken to overcome the main ICT barriers. This could then lead to the trialling of
possible interventions that might help to increase ICT use in schools.
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Conclusion and Recommendations

In order to manage these barriers, various strategies were employed by the

leaders and teachers of the four case study schools. These strategies included:

The appointment of technical assistants by the school. Their responsibilities

included troubleshooting hardware and software problems, testing out

equipment and installing software prior to the conduct of the ICT-mediated

lesson, and maintaining hardware and cataloguing software.

The training of students by teachers and technical assistants to be ICT

helpers. They were the ones to solve simple hardware or software problems

during ICT-mediated lessons. They also set up the computer laboratories

prior to the lessons.

The collaboration of teachers to produce ICT-mediated lessons and share

ICT resources and lesson plans. By working together and sharing ICT-

mediated materials, teachers were able to save time.

The support given by school leaders in addressing teachers ICT concerns.

School leaders, for example, were willing to upgrade every single computer

when they heard about the frustrations felt by teachers who had to work on

low-end, slow-paced machines. With the increased autonomy given by

MOE to schools in the use of ICT funds, school leaders could better cater to

the needs and teachers in their schools. This might include the upgrading

or building of ICT facilities or the employment of more technical assistants.

The creation of a shared ICT vision and integration plan gave school

leaders and teachers a vehicle for coherent communication about how ICT
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could be effectively used. The vision and plan offered teachers a place to

start, a goal to attain, and a guide along the way. In addition, schemes like

the buddy-system, which paired off a seasoned ICT practitioner with a

novice, helped new teachers to integrate ICT into their lessons meaningfully.

Demonstrations of exemplary ICT-mediated lessons by other teachers,

mentors or seasoned practitioners helped illustrate to teachers, who were

new to technology integration, effective ways to use ICT to teach existing

and expanded content.

In addition to the above, we also formulate the following four

recommendations that may facilitate the effective integration of ICT in schools.

Further Training for Students to Serve as ICT Experts

Students should be given training not just to become ICT helpers in the

computer laboratories or classrooms but also to serve as ICT experts. Hruskocy,

Cennamo, Ertmer, and Johnson (2000) found in their research that training students

to serve as ICT experts might actually aid integration of ICT into the classroom

setting. These students not just helped to solve any technical problems, but to

motivate their teachers in using ICT. Hruskocy and colleagues (2000) discovered

that teachers became more curious about their students expanding computer skills

and enthusiasm. In the end, teachers began to harness upon their students

expertise to improve their own computer skills. Students skills were transferred to

the classroom, and teachers became more motivated to learn to use technology and

to incorporate technology into their lessons.


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Showcasing Relevance and Usefulness of CD-ROMs Bought by Schools

Under the Singapore first Masterplan for ICT in education, all the four case

study schools were given the necessary software that would support an ICT

integrated learning environment. Moreover, schools were also given funds to

purchase educational software (e.g. CD-ROM courseware) annually. The four case

study schools were therefore well equipped with educational software.

However, due to pressures of work inside and outside the classroom,

teachers have very little time to browse and preview the abundant educational

software bought by the schools. As a result, there were teachers who were unaware

of the presence of these ICT resources and how they could be used in the lessons.

One of the ways to overcome this problem is to get someone {e.g. a teacher or the

technology coordinator (Strudler, 1995)} to browse through the software and highlight

the usefulness and relevance of the software to the rest of the teachers.

In this case, there is no lack of educational software. What is needed,

however, is a proper management and advertisement of the software so that

teachers will know what are available to them in order to plan and create meaningful

ICT-mediated lessons.

Incentive, Motivation and Empowerment

Teachers need to develop positive attitudes towards ICT. There should be a

mechanism to provide incentive to teachers to use ICT. Teachers are more likely to

be motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically if they are allowed flexibility in

meeting the objectives of the curriculum and completing the syllabus. Students

should also be empowered as learners to allow them more freedom to explore


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knowledge with the use of ICT rather than receiving instruction from teachers most of

the time. These will necessitate changes in the role of teachers and students in the

learning environment and its broader contexts.

Community of Practice

Over the last decade, the concept of community of practice has been gaining

attention. A community of practice is a sustained social network of individuals who

share a common set of core values and knowledge that is grounded on common

practices (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002). To manage most of the second-

order barriers, building a community of practice among teachers in schools and

among schools may be the most ideal in the long run. Participation in the community

encourages sharing of experiences and ideas, and establishment of a set of

common vision and beliefs among teachers. Although the potential of a community

of practice for managing ICT integration barriers are great, building such a

community is a challenging endeavor. There may be a need to scaffold this process

by recognizing the historical and evolving nature of communities.

All the aforementioned strategies can help to manage the first- and second-

order barriers to ICT integration in the school curricula. With such barriers out of the

way, teachers are then more likely to employ ICT meaningfully into their lessons.
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