Scholarly article on topic 'In Service Teachers’ Attitudes towards the Use of ICT in the Classroom'

In Service Teachers’ Attitudes towards the Use of ICT in the Classroom Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Ana-Belén Sánchez, Juan-José Mena Marcos, Mar’a González, He GuanLin

Abstract The purpose of this study is to investigate teachers’ attitudes towards the use of ICT in the classroom. One hundred and seventy in-service teachers from kindergarten to high school participated in the study. A 154-item survey was elaborated (Cronbach α =. 89) containing three main sections: (1) general information; (2) attitudes towards ICT and use of computer resources in the classroom; (3) level of satisfaction towards the training. A quasi-experimental study with one non-randomized study group (n=85) was also conducted using a pre-and post-test design with the purpose of searching for differences before and after training. Besides, 11 semi-structured interviews were carried out with the purpose of deepening into teachers’ major motivations and beliefs. The results show that teachers’ attitudes towards ICT are highly positive but the use of them in class is scarce and it is subjected to innovative processes. Secondly, there were no significant differences after instruction. Main conclusions indicate that new ways of teacher training need to be developed.

Academic research paper on topic "In Service Teachers’ Attitudes towards the Use of ICT in the Classroom"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 (2012) 1358 - 1364

WCES 2012

In service Teachers5 attitudes towards the use of ICT in the

classroom

Ana-Belén Sánchez a, Juan-José Mena Marcos b*, María Gonzálezc and He GuanLin d

a'b d University of Salamanca, P°Canalejas 169, Salamanca 37008, Spain. c Centro Internacional de Tecnologías Avanzadas. Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, C/Nuestra Señora 65, 37300 Peñaranda de Bte.

Salamanca, Spain.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate teachers' attitudes towards the use of ICT in the classroom. One hundred and seventy in-service teachers from kindergarten to high school participated in the study. A 154-item survey was elaborated (Cronbach a =. 89) containing three main sections: (1) general information; (2) attitudes towards ICT and use of computer resources in the classroom; (3) level of satisfaction towards the training. A quasi-experimental study with one non-randomized study group (n=85) was also conducted using a pre-and post-test design with the purpose of searching for differences before and after training. Besides, 11 semi-structured interviews were carried out with the purpose of deepening into teachers' major motivations and beliefs. The results show that teachers' attitudes towards ICT are highly positive but the use of them in class is scarce and it is subjected to innovative processes. Secondly, there were no significant differences after instruction. Main conclusions indicate that new ways of teacher training need to be developed.

Keywords: Teachers attitudes, ICT use, Teacher Education.

1. Introduction

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT henceforth), including computer applications, mobile technology or recording and communication systems, have become essential and highly relevant items in teaching (Friedman, 2006) and there is a general feeling that pupils must learn how to use this kind of technologies since being at school (Cuban, 2001). These new demands towards the educative centers, at the same time, have brought about an increasing interest in ICT teacher training because they enable the acquisition of specific abilities, knowledge and experiences for the teaching profession (Hammond, Crosson, Fragkouli, Ingram, Johnston-Wilder, Johnston-Wilder, Kingston, Pope, & Wray, 2008). However, effective ICT use in class is a complex process that demands time (Baron & Harrari, 2005) and institutional support (Donelly, 2010; Condie, Simpson, Payne & Gray, 2002).

2. Framework.

2.1. Attitudes towards ICT.

A previous step to training is to understand teachers' beliefs and attitudes towards ICT because they first establish its application (Donelly, 2010). Some studies highlight how the teaching attitudes play an essential role when

* Juan-José Mena Marcos. Tel.: +34-923-294-630. Ext. 3339 E-mail address: juanjo_mena@usal.es

ELSEVIER

1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Huseyin Uzunboylu doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.302

teaching curricular contents through ICT (Ertmer, 2005; Goos, Galbraith, Renshaw, & Geiger, 2003). Shaft, Sharfman &Wu (2004) assert that they are the only way to predict behaviors related with the integration of ICT in the classrooms. In this way, use and attitudes would be closely related: "If teachers' use of technology is to change, then their beliefs about the technology have to change' (Russell, Bebell, O'Dwyer &0'Connor, 2003, p.298).

Many research works have emphasized the study of teaches' attitudes towards the use of new technologies in the classroom. The results show very positive attitudes and the common acceptance that their use will be soon completely expanded among teachers (Cüre & Ózdener, 2008; Foley & Ojeda, 2008; Karagiorgim & Charalambous, 2006). It seems to be that an early age is a highly relevant factor for the teachers who have a positive attitude towards the incorporation of ICT (Shaunessy, 2007; Aduwa-Ogiegbaeni, 2008) because those who are young have more teaching experience with ICT and therefore, they feel more involved with their use than older teachers (Hammond et al., 2008a). Askar & Olkun (2005) come to the conclusion that both teachers' age and the period of use of ICT affect the quality of teaching.

Other studies assess the attitudes of university pupils towards ICT as teaching tools (Sagin Simsek, 2008; Collins & Veal, 2004; Meyer, 2003; Olapiriyakul & Scher, 2006). These attitudes are very positive towards the introduction of ICT in the classroom because of two qualities which make them very different from traditional teaching: flexibility and interaction. With regard to the first characteristic, the participants of the study by Schoech (2000) assessed the flexibility of the course as positive because of the longer time for the learning-teaching process. In the study by Le &Le (1999) the results showed how the participants considered that the interaction with other members through the use of web environments is a key aspect because it is immediate, it also shares feedback and it is not limited by the physical conditions of the traditional classroom. Finally, other studies point out the positive correlation between positive attitudes towards computers and learners' success in both the subject matter learned and the use of communication technologies (Yu & Yang, 2006; Levine & Donitsa-Schmidt, 1998).

2.2. Use of ICT in class.

However, although we know that the predisposition towards implementing ICT in class is highly favourable, it still remains unknown whether ICTs are used as habitual resources in teaching apart from just experiences of excellence (Ekizoglu, Tezer & Brozer, 2010). Morris (2010) confirmed that online discussions have been introduced in schools but they are not frequently used yet. And the explanation behind that is that (1) teachers have basic knowledge of these technologies, but it is not enough as to prepare their students for new social challenges (Kocak Usluel, Kuskaya & Demiraslan, 2007) and (2) teachers' technical management of ICT tools (i.e. Digital white board, wikis or blogs) does not guarantee how to teach with ICT (i.e. didactic effectiveness) (Schoepp, 2005).

3. Objectives.

Our literature review shows that both ICT use and attitudes are mainly assessed in student teachers or graduate students. But little is known about the in-service teachers state of mind or performance with regard to those technologies.

Bearing this concern in mind, our work aims at (1) assessing in-s^^ce teachers' attitudes towards ICT inclusion in the curriculum; (2) their use in the classroom and (3) the difficulties that they observe in their implementation. This triple intention would help us to understand teachers' readiness to the use of these technologies and assess the gap between their practice and the intended change pursued in education.

Methodology.

4.1 Sample.

One hundred and seventy in-service teachers from kindergarten to high school participated in ICT training courses offered by the Centro Internacional de Tecnologías Avanzadas (CITA) during 2008/2009 and 2009/2010. The CITA is a reference institution in the field of application of advanced technologies in rural areas and it is sponsored by the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (Pmaranda de Bracamonte, Salamanca, Spain). Co-financed with funds from

the European Interreg III program, a section of the Excellence cross-border regions Project between Spain and Portugal, the CITA is annually developing training programs for non-university teachers since 2006 with the aim of creating technological services applied to education. The courses are organized in three training modules: (1) information and operating systems (i.e. Word, ppt), (2) Interactive Digital boards and Tablet PCs, (3) multimedia teaching strategies and materials. The teachers attend class once a week (1 hour session/week; 52 sessions in the whole time of the project) from October to May in the 2 years of training. The average age of teachers is 36.4 years old, ranging between 24 and 65. Years of experience range from 5 to 26 years. 73.4% are women in the sample.

4.2. Data collection.

One hundred and fifty six in-service teachers out of 170 voluntarily completed an ad hoc survey (154 items) about ICT use in class (Cronbach a =.89). Answers were arranged in a five-degree Likert scale. The survey contained three sections: (1) general information; (2) attitudes towards ICT and use of computer resources in the classroom; (3) level of satisfaction towards the training. The results of the present work are focused on part 2. Qualitative data was also gathered by interviewing 11 teachers about their major motivations and beliefs towards ICT.

4.3. Data analysis.

A mixed-method approach was chosen for the present study: descriptive statistical analyses were done for the Likert type questions (i.e. frequency analysis, measures of central tendency and dispersion) and content analysis (through NUD.IST-6) for the eleven semi-structured interviews. Furthermore, a quasi-experimental study with one non-randomized study group was conducted with 85 teachers using a pre-and post-test design with the purpose of searching for differences in teachers' attitudes before and after training. Due to the lack of a control group, the interpretation has to be cautious since group differences may be not only because of changes in the intervention. Under this design, data were scrutinized under Factorial Analysis (ANOVA), Student's t test and Chi Square.

5. Findings.

5.1. Teachers' attitudes.

5.1.1. Quantitative data.

Regarding the first dimension, what was valued was the teachers' preference when incorporating ICT in the classroom. Table 1 shows how the measure of the positive items (all but 5, 6 and 7) is of 3.83 (from 1= strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree). This makes us understand how most of them are ready to continue learning computer tools for their use inside the classroom because they consider them helpful to keep pupils' attention, improve the intervention with pupils with difficulties and also improve the motivation and academic performance of both teachers and pupils.

Table 1. Mean differences (pre-post test) on teachers' attitudes towards technological resources in the classroom (1= strongly disagree to 5=

strongly agree).

Attitudes to technological resources in the classroom Before Mean SD After Mean SD t df p

01. The use of informational technology at school is 4.37 0.83 4.32 0.84 0.42 67 0.6776

unstoppable.

02. The integration of computing resources in the 4.10 0.81 4.01 0.86 0.88 67 0.3803

classroom encourages the improvement of the teaching-

learning process

03. Students learn more easily when using ICT. 3.88 0.92 3.79 0.89 0.85 67 0.4001

04. Students' reading abilities are improved by the use of 3.07 1.00 3.13 1.04 -0.50 66 0.6207

computing resources.

05. As a teacher, the use of new technologies is still 3.11 1.35 2.75 1.19 1.97 64 0.0537

difficult for me

06.Working with ICT in the classroom is something that 2.44 overwhelms me

07. Students are usually better prepared than me in the use 3.34 of computing resources.

08. Computers, Interactive Digital Whiteboards and 3.85 projectors are really necessary in my classroom.

09. I am willing to receive training in the use of any 4.23 computing resource to work in my classroom

10. I would use internet in my classroom very often. 4.23

11. I am willing to collaborate in school educational 3.89 programs about ICT.

12. I would collaborate in other schools educational 3.33 programs if they focus on the use of internet.

13. Using internet helps me in developing my syllabus. 3.63

14. I usually find teaching resources for my classes on the 4.02 internet.

15. The teaching methodology is enhanced by the use of 4.06 computing resources.

16. New technologies help me to obtain more resources to 3.29 evaluate students' performance.

17. ICT provides me access to new sources of information 3.90 for my teaching subject.

18. ICT makes the attention to diversity in my classroom 3.48

19. ICT helps me in the treatment of students with special 3.40 educational needs.

20. New technologies help me to improve the academic 3.88 performance of my students

21. Students are more motivated when using computing 4.10 resources in the classroom.

22. Unmotivated students with traditional methodology 3.48 improve their learning by using computers in the classroom

23. The use of ICT increases my motivation as a teacher 3.45

24. The use of ICT increases my satisfaction as a teacher. 3.33

25. In spite of the existing limitations, I think I have a 4.10 positive attitude towards the integration of computing

resources in the teaching-learning process.

TOTAL ATTITUDES 92.87

1.24 2.24 1.40 1.97 62 0.1652

1.40 3.13 1.23 1.63 67 0..1088

0.96 3.73 1.13 1.02 65 0.3133

0.79 4.26 0.76 -0.30 64 0.7656

0.77 4.17 0.86 0.59 63 0.5595

0.90 4.09 0.76 -1.85 65 0.0683

1.14 3.20 1.21 0.89 63 0.3752

0.93 3.51 1.03 0.97 64 0.3358

0.83 4.02 0.85 0.00 65 1.0000

0.76 4.11 0.83 -0.49 64 0.6255

1.10 4.11 0.83 -6.48 64 0.0000

0.79 3.99 0.86 -0.70 67 0.4836

1.09 3.59 0.99 -0.80 66 0.4268

1.09 3.37 1.12 0.27 59 0.7881

3.75 3.41 1.04 0.97 65 0.3343

0.89 3.97 0.83 1.42 66 0.1615

1.06 3.63 0.86 -1.24 64 0.2210

1.05 3.39 1.10 0.52 66 0.6032

1.03 3.36 1.09 -0.28 65 0.7797

0.76 4.10 0.79 0.00 67 1.0000

15.25 90.53 14.24 1.33 44 .191

In table 1 we can see the detailed scoring. The most rated items (with an average up to 4) are those who have to do with the use of the Internet (items 10 and 14); the willingness to integrate ICT in the classroom (item 1) just because they improve pupils learning or because the methodology is enriched by them; and the availability to get information (item 9). Descriptive data reveal how 71% agree with the incorporation of digital smart boards, computers and projectors inside their classrooms.

In any case, there were no significant differences (p=o.oo5) in both measures although values are slightly higher after training (x=3.89 as against x=3.77). However, there is one exception with item 16 where most of the teachers consider that ICTs help to obtain more resources for the evaluation after training.

5.1.1. Qualitative data.

Eleven interviews complemented the quantitative information. 1011 text units (i.e. unit= sentence between two full stops) were extracted from the verbatim interview transcriptions and further categorized into two dimensions: (1) Attitude focus and (2) attitude component. The focus of the attitudes was towards ICT use (40.1%); ICT curriculum integration (18.7%) or ICT teacher training (41.1%).

Ok... ICT are just here and they are essential for learning. You cannot fall behind. You have to progress with them [because]... they are embedded in the school, so that... they are already

integrated (Teacher excerpt 2, 26-42: curriculum integration).

On the other hand, the component of the attitude was: Cognitive (rational factors that spur or difficult teachers' ICT use/integration/training, e.g. Social importance of ICT for future jobs; 52.1%); emotional (positive or negative feelings towards ICT use/integration/ training, e.g. Teacher's self confidence with ICT; 28.3%) and behavioral (framed events which encourage teachers to position themselves with regard to ICT use/integration/training, e.g. Government demands, School ICT programs, etc; 19.6%).

With ICT, the motivation towards learning is bigger. For me it is the main motivation, not for being part of the curriculum. The motivation towards learning is bigger. Both for children ...Andfor me " (Teacher excerpt 21, 5-17: emotional component).

5.2. Teachers' ICT use in the classroom.

Mean scores in teachers' ICT use are lower than attitudes (x=2.06), which reveals that teachers do not frequently incorporate ICT in their classroom. Internet is the most widely used technology by teachers as shown in Table 2, especially web surfing and use of e-mail (Mean= 3.5). But the use of computer resources such as professional chats, discussion forums, telnet or web design seems to be scarce (average score = 1.5). There were no significant differences (p = 0.005) in both measures although values are slightly higher after training, as in attitudes.

Table 2. Frequency of use of ICT in class. Mean differences (pre-post). 1=Never to 5= Daily).

Use of computing resources in class. Before After t df p

Mean SD Mean SD

a) Interactive Digital whiteboard (IDW) 2.09 1.00 2.53 1.08 -3.79 63 0.0003

b) Word processing (i.e. word) 3.33 1.11 3.48 1.15 -0.87 62 0.3885

c) Presentations (i.e. ppt) .36 0.96 2.44 0.97 -0.87 62 0.3885

d) Spreadsheet (i.e. Excel) 1.60 0.78 1.56 0.79 0.31 54 0.7607

e) Databases (i.e.Access, File maker...) 1.59 0.93 1.49 0.84 0.70 48 0.4895

f) Image editing (i.e. Photoshop) 1.77 1.09 1.92 1.03 -1.24 52 0.2203

g) Video editing (i.e. Photoshop) 1.40 0.76 1.64 0.83 -1.95 49 0.0569

h) Other software or hardware 1.67 1.12 1.56 1.13 0.22 8 0.8337

Use of the Internet in class.

a) Visit web sites.

a1) To search for general information that can be used in my 3.42 1.05 3.68 1.02 -1.74 56 0.0874

school.

a2) To search for administrative information related to teaching. 2.98 1.21 3.05 1.04 -0.54 54 0.5909

a3) To consult publications related to education. 3.03 1.02 3.10 1.01 -0.51 60 0.6096

a4) To get information specifically addressing teaching 3.27 0.99 3.33 1.00 -0.37 54 0.7134

a5) For other purposes (Specify) 3.00 1.41 3.23 1.54 -0.64 12 0.5345

b) E-mail 3.36 1.51 3.62 1.43 -1.10 54 0.2753

c) File transfer (Ftp) 2.08 1.30 2.25 1.28 -0.76 47 0.4514

d) Chat 1.30 0.59 1.37 0.71 -0.53 45 0.5955

e) Discussion forums 1.36 0.61 1.45 0.65 -0.85 46 0.3996

f) Use of other computers 1.17 0.58 1.14 0.52 0.24 41 0.8117

g) Web page design. 1.48 0.86 1.36 0.69 1.04 41 0.3027

h) Others(Specify) 1.00 0.00 1.11 0.33 -1.00 8 0.3466

Interactive Digital Whiteboard, word processor, and PowerPoint presentations appear to be commonly used. Significant differences (p = 0.003) were found in the IDW use between the pre and post measurement.

5.3. Difficulties in the implementation.

Teachers were asked about the difficulties they encountered when they implement the training contents into their practice. Most teachers felt that practical implementation was difficult mainly due to the lack of educational resources: 4 items; i.e. lack of specific programs to apply in the subject taught (mean=3.56: 1= No difficulty, 2=Little, 3=Normal, 4=Much, 5= Total difficulty); scarce institutional support: 4 items; i.e. Absence of computer technicians in the school to support teachers (mean= 3.24) or personal issues: 3 items; i.e. lack of time in class to use ICT or lack of motivation (mean score= 2.98)

6. Discussion.

The study investigated the attitudes of in-service teachers from kindergarten to high school towards ICT and their use in class. Results suggest that participants had positive attitudes with regard to the use of ITC as teaching tools. The degree is in between "neutral" and "positive". Qualitative data also reported respondents' positive attitudes within the affective, cognitive and behavioral domains. These results are consistent with previous research findings (Yu & Yang, 2006; Brandl, 2002; Gal-Ezer & Lupo, 2002; Meyer, 2003; Ruthven, Hennessy & Deaney, 2005). The high predisposition to use technologies contrasts with the real use teachers give to ICT in class: on average they report they hardly ever use them on a regular basis.

On the other hand, the quasi-experimental study revealed that the impact of traditional training on both attitudes and ICT use is very low (and not significant) which makes us understand that new training alternatives should be incorporated to Teacher Education programs. One of them would be teachers' participation in collaborative projects which allow the creation of a group of didactic knowledge that is easily accessible through the internet. Some of the collaborative projects would be the design and development of seminars or virtual workshops such as: Dolphin, Elgg, WordPress, GROU.PS or Google Groups. Besides, it would be useful to bring it up not only in the use of ICT tools but also in curricular integration methodologies which provide the teachers with technological competences (Rodríguez & Sánchez, 2009).

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the C.I.T.A. (Centro de Internacional de Tecnologías Avanzadas de la Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez; http://www.citafgsr.org/cita/) for the support received during the research process.

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