Teachers' Use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Teachers' Use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Timothy Teo (Nanyang Technology University, Singapore) and Jan Noyes (University of Bristol, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch183
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Abstract

In the developed world, multimedia technologies, networks, and online services continue to pervade our everyday lives. Alongside the advancements in multimedia and networking technologies, it is essential for the stakeholders (e.g., business policy personnel and technology designers) to ensure that the end users are adequately informed and skilled to exploit such technologies for the betterment of their lives for example, work and study. A large proportion of multimedia technologies users come from the educational institutions. Within the educational context, tools such as multimedia technologies, networks, and online services are commonly referred to as information and communications technology (ICT). Over the last two decades, research findings have provided evidence to suggest that the use of ICT has resulted in positive effects on students’ learning (Blok, Oostdam, Otter, & Overmaat, 2002; Boster, Meyer, Roberto, & Inge, 2002; Kulik, 2003). As a change agent in many educational activities, the teacher in the developed world plays a key role in ICT integration in schools (McCannon & Crews, 2000). Research has found many factors to be influential in explaining teachers’ use of the computer, and these are commonly grouped into personal, school, and technical factors, although often factors from more than one group determine use. Personal factors relate to the teacher per se, and might include their experience, confidence, motivation, and commitment to using ICT, and so forth (Bitner & Bitner, 2002; Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon & Byers, 2002). School environment factors pertain to organizational and environmental issues, for example, time and support given by the school administration to ICT (Conlon & Simpson; 2003; Guha, 2003; Vannatta, 2000). Finally, technical factors relate to the ICT itself, and issues relating to the hardware/software and peripheral devices such as keyboards and mice, printers, and scanners. This article focuses on these factors and draws comparisons between highly technologically developed countries from Europe and North America, and less developed countries from Asia. In Europe and North America, research relating to teachers’ use of ICT tends to be older. For example, studies by Rosen and Weil (1995) and Hadley and Sheingold (1993) found that factors that influence the teacher’s use of the computer include teaching experience with ICT, on-site technology support, availability of computers, and financial support. Robertson et al. (1996) examined teachers of Grade 8 students (14 year olds) and found their computer use to be related to organizational change, time, and support from administration, perceptions of computer, and other personal and psychological factors. In the UK, Cox, Preston, and Cox (1999) used a questionnaire to collect evidence relating to teachers’ ICT experiences, expertise, and attitude toward ICT for teaching and learning. Factors important to ICT use were the extent to which ICT was perceived to have made learning to be more interesting, easier, and fun for students and teachers. Other factors such as using ICT to improve presentation of materials and accessibility to the computers for personal use and making administration more efficient were also cited as influential. Hence, it can be seen that school and technical factors have important roles to play in affecting teachers’ use of ICT.
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Introduction

In the developed world, multimedia technologies, networks, and online services continue to pervade our everyday lives. Alongside the advancements in multimedia and networking technologies, it is essential for the stakeholders (e.g., business policy personnel and technology designers) to ensure that the end users are adequately informed and skilled to exploit such technologies for the betterment of their lives for example, work and study. A large proportion of multimedia technologies users come from the educational institutions. Within the educational context, tools such as multimedia technologies, networks, and online services are commonly referred to as information and communications technology (ICT).

Over the last two decades, research findings have provided evidence to suggest that the use of ICT has resulted in positive effects on students’ learning (Blok, Oostdam, Otter, & Overmaat, 2002; Boster, Meyer, Roberto, & Inge, 2002; Kulik, 2003). As a change agent in many educational activities, the teacher in the developed world plays a key role in ICT integration in schools (McCannon & Crews, 2000). Research has found many factors to be influential in explaining teachers’ use of the computer, and these are commonly grouped into personal, school, and technical factors, although often factors from more than one group determine use. Personal factors relate to the teacher per se, and might include their experience, confidence, motivation, and commitment to using ICT, and so forth (Bitner & Bitner, 2002; Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon & Byers, 2002). School environment factors pertain to organizational and environmental issues, for example, time and support given by the school administration to ICT (Conlon & Simpson; 2003; Guha, 2003; Vannatta, 2000). Finally, technical factors relate to the ICT itself, and issues relating to the hardware/software and peripheral devices such as keyboards and mice, printers, and scanners. This article focuses on these factors and draws comparisons between highly technologically developed countries from Europe and North America, and less developed countries from Asia.

In Europe and North America, research relating to teachers’ use of ICT tends to be older. For example, studies by Rosen and Weil (1995) and Hadley and Sheingold (1993) found that factors that influence the teacher’s use of the computer include teaching experience with ICT, on-site technology support, availability of computers, and financial support. Robertson et al. (1996) examined teachers of Grade 8 students (14 year olds) and found their computer use to be related to organizational change, time, and support from administration, perceptions of computer, and other personal and psychological factors. In the UK, Cox, Preston, and Cox (1999) used a questionnaire to collect evidence relating to teachers’ ICT experiences, expertise, and attitude toward ICT for teaching and learning. Factors important to ICT use were the extent to which ICT was perceived to have made learning to be more interesting, easier, and fun for students and teachers. Other factors such as using ICT to improve presentation of materials and accessibility to the computers for personal use and making administration more efficient were also cited as influential. Hence, it can be seen that school and technical factors have important roles to play in affecting teachers’ use of ICT.

Some research, however, points to personal factors having the key role in ICT use. Veen (1993) studied Dutch teachers and found personal factors to be stronger than school factors in explaining teachers’ use of computers. There was evidence to suggest that the teachers’ beliefs about the curriculum (content) and way it should be taught (pedagogy) were a stronger determinant than the teachers’ ability to handle computer hardware and software. In these studies, personal attributes appeared to be the dominant factor.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Thread (or Program Thread): A sequence of program instructions which may execute in parallel with other threads sharing the same program environment.

Secret Key (or key): In encryption, a key specifies the particular transformation of plain text into scrambled text, or vice versa during decryption

Bluetooth: A standard for wireless personal area networks, also known as IEEE 802.15.1

Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC): A function used to produce a fixed number of bits against a block of data, such as a network packet or a file block. CRC is used to detect errors after transmission or storage

Protocol: A convention or standard that controls or enables the connection, communication, and data transfer between two computing endpoints. Protocols may be implemented by hardware, software, or a combination of the two. At the lowest level, a protocol defines a hardware connection

Wi-Fi: Stands for “Wireless Fidelity.” It is also a name for 802.11 related technologies that have passed Wi Fi certification testing.

Security: The effort to create a secure computing platform, designed so that agents (users or programs) can only perform actions that have been allowed

Smart Card: Any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits that contain memory or microprocessor components.

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