Integrating ICT in Education: Impact on Teachers‘ Beliefs and Practices

Integrating ICT in Education: Impact on Teachers‘ Beliefs and Practices

Bassam Hammo (University of Jordan, Jordan) and Basem Saraireh (University of Jordan, Jordan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60690-048-8.ch004
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Abstract

In this chapter, we present the findings of a study carried out at the University of Jordan to evaluate ICTE, an accredited, one-year high diploma training program in ICT Education. The ICTE program aims at preparing Jordanian teachers to use information and communication technology in education. In this study, we attempt to examine the program in terms of its social impact on teachers‘ lives and how it changed their pedagogical beliefs and practices in teaching. We adopt an evaluation methodology based on empirical analysis of the program modules and students profiling. This study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative tools including questionnaire interviews and document analysis. We focus on problems experienced by students, and highlight issues and recommendations to be considered for the success of the program. During the past three years, over 860 participants graduated from the ICTE program after they have been thoroughly trained on cutting-edge software packages to be used through the school curricula in Jordan.
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Introduction

The government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan recognized that the investment in the ICT sector is a key element for creating sustainable economic development and improving the quality of life of its citizens. To reach this goal, the Ministry of Education (MoE) of Jordan commenced an e-learning initiative to deliver educational resources and in-service training to engage students and teachers with online activities to catch up with the fast evolving world of ICTs. The e-learning initiative also aimed at preparing the new generation of students to compete in the global marketplace of the 21st century (MOE, 2003; MoE, 2009).

During the past decade, MoE has exerted significant education reform efforts, by offering Jordanian teachers the opportunity to participate in professional development programs, designed to help teachers to learn how to integrate technology effectively and efficiently in the classroom. The main focus was on how to prepare Jordanian students to acquire the key skills of the 21st century, such as digital literacy, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration.

The e-Learning initiative has been scheduled to achieve high returns within a short time frame. Accordingly, over the past 10 years, the MoE of Jordan had exerted efforts to integrate ICT into the curricula, connect school labs and invest on software and hardware solutions and teacher training programs. To cope with the rapid global changes, the MOE has initiated a nationwide training program to spread computer literacy, and to encourage the use of computers among teachers. Training programs, such as ICDL®, Intel®, and EduWave® were launched for the purpose of assisting teachers to use ICT more effectively and efficiently in the school curricula (Al-jaghoub & Westrup, 2003).

Despite the extensive resources dedicated to the e-Learning project, it has become clear that the initiative was not able to deliver its major intended goals. Many of the computer labs at schools were left locked and unused because of lack of trained technicians to operate them. Many of the students were mostly playing non-educational games on computers for hours instead of using them for learning. Unfortunately, there were no clear plans to guide the transformation of using ICTs. The ICT training programs were not delivered concurrently with the reform of the curricula and there were limited training for teachers on how to use these technologies. Most teachers were not adequately prepared to use technology effectively, and the benefits from the training programs were not realized. (Al-jaghoub & Westrup, 2003; Hammo et al., 2007; Mofleh et al., 2008).

Integrating advanced ICT in the reformed curricula was challenged by many Jordanian teachers who lacked the necessary ICT training. Many of these teachers required practical training on how to integrate new technologies into their traditional teaching style and to transform their passive traditional classrooms into collaborative learning environments. It became evident that not much progress would be achieved in the teaching/learning process unless teachers have acquired the knowledge of using and integrating computer technology in their curricula (AACTE, 2008).

Recent advancements in computers, Internet, networking and mobile technologies forced many Jordanian teachers to recognize the importance of learning and the need to use educational technology effectively. This requires teachers to have ample time to learn and develop their skills outside the regular school hours. They require a well-planned professional development program based on a theoretical model that can be linked to the curriculum objectives, in addition to having access to support staff. These requirements are essential if teachers are to use technology effectively to improve learning practices and accomplish tangible returns. (Brand, 1997).

In this chapter, we present our findings from a case study carried out at the University of Jordan to investigate and evaluate a training program, aimed at preparing Jordanian teachers to use information and communication technology in education. In this study, we attempt to examine the program in terms of its social impact on teachers' lives and how it transformed their pedagogical beliefs and teaching practices.

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