Pedagogy, ICT Use and Perceptions of How ICT Impacts Teaching Among Teachers in Maldives

Subject: Education
Pages: 15
Words: 4132
Reading time:
15 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Information and Communication Technology have brought a significant impact on all sectors of economic, academic and social life positively. In traditional days, people used to do things manually, either by use of hands or use of small tools. Many offices used to handle documents in paper form unlike nowadays where paperless technology has been adopted by almost all offices. Today, people apply their jobs electronically through the internet unlike in traditional days when they lined up in companies and offices to drop their applications.

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The rapid development in ICT has brought a lot of benefits to the society at large, because it has facilitated easier delivery of services. It is possible for people to pay their bills while sitting at home or at their working places. Use of cell phones, in business transactions, has been adopted in almost all countries. People can send and receive money through their phones instead of lining up in banks. In connection to this, the rapid development in ICT has also led to the invention of Automated Teller Machines which enables people do handle banking transactions at almost every bank. In the past, people used to queue since the transactions were manual.

In commercial sectors, things have been made much easier. People no longer travel to far countries and nations to purchase things, because it has become possible to buy and sell products electronically. People currently use wire transfer to send and receive money from one country to the other. Variation and fluctuation in currency index can be immediately detected making it easier for people to know the right timing to do the transactions. In general, every sector of the economy of every country has received a significant evolution as a result of improved ICT technology. All this sectors have recorded increased productivity leading to a tremendous growth of the economy.

With the inclusion of ICT in the learning curriculum, students are self-directed, and work both independently, as well as interdependently. Transforming pedagogy is something all schools are attempting to do in virtually all countries globally. Providing the best education opportunities for students is critical because without a good education achieving career dreams would become impossible.

For a long time, schools have been remarkably traditional, and this has reduced the level of technological innovation. The way schools were organized is decidedly different from today. The delivery of curriculum and the school almanac were exceedingly traditional and this is the reason why the students’ needs were not fully met. In historical days, schools were replicated on the theory of scientific management which showed the assemblage line production method. The teacher would teach the same things in all subsequent classes that passed through him/her, without a consideration of change in technology and life situations. This made the whole stream of classes passing through the same teachers to have the same perspective of handling things and valuing life. Many areas in life underwent a series of revolutions but the education sector remained unchanged.

However, today things have changed, and the traditional mode of learning and teaching is only seen in some areas. The modern students are not just students but ‘digital age students’. They have a developed cultural brain which enables them to have multiple processing ability. Today, students can text and visualize information at unusually high alacrity due to the digital bombardment exposure (Kelly, 2008).

Although many countries have adopted the use of ICT in all areas, there are a few challenges that are hindering its adoption. Some countries may lack the required knowledge to impact a change in the ICT. This tendency may be due to lack of competent personnel to teach the latest technology. Countries which do not have a habit of sending their students to other developed countries to further their education are much affected by lack of technological advancement. Another crucial problem is the unacceptable altitude towards the use of the latest ICT technology. Many people feel that adopting this technology will lead to erosion of their culture and customs. This makes them concentrate less on the use of ICT in some sectors of the economy and more on their culture.

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Background Information

Use of ICT in schools empowers learners and teachers as it cultivates the development and promotes change in the education sector. It leads to transformation of learning and teaching practices from teacher subjugated to student centered. The student centered approach stresses much on how students learn, and it aims at ensuring that they receive new experiences. This is devilishly effective to students as it improves their communication skills and the ability to solve problems in classes and in their daily lives. ICT makes students to be more creative by improving their reasoning capacity and the level of understanding things. When information communication technology is used aptly, it complements the existing pedagogy viewpoint of the teachers. The latest advancement in technology has led to the invention of sophisticated software used by students for learning. Some packages like Computer Aided Instruction are currently used by students for self study and assignments. Students can have tutorials on their personal computers, and this makes them improve on their test scores. They are able to improve on their math and language skills, the key areas in their lives (Anderson, 1997).

Computer usage has been used in and out of classes bringing out a large difference in the nature of learners. Outside school computer use has recorded the greatest achievement. This may be because of the adequate time students have to work at home. Students can have ample time to do their assignments and do much practice on what they learnt in class. Indeed, using computers in classrooms is much beneficial to students than using them in the laboratories. This makes the students acquire high order skills because it increases the attention of using digital devices other than personal computers. Extensive use of computers in schools also leads to intervention of more advanced tools for learning and teaching.

Although there is a tension between the modern and the traditional pedagogies, the traditional methods of teaching are seen to be less effective. The current mode of teaching involves a lot of ICT use, which was never available in the traditional days. The traditional mode of teaching involved much of passive learning, meaning that active learning had been in fashion. This limited the advancement in a broad array of teaching and learning materials which are now available from the use of ICT.

The traditional mode of teaching was not economical in any way. The teachers had to use a lot of writing materials and books when delivering information to students. It was also time consuming because the teachers were forced to write on the blackboards as the students copied. This limited delivery of outstanding deals of information within a short time, something that is achievable today as a result of ICT invention. According to Pearsall 1992, traditional pedagogy was not effective enough towards equipping the students in science concepts. There is a lot of advancement in pedagogy today as teachers use power point slides in place of boards. The traditional mode of learning resulted in monotony reducing the students’ listening and concentration capacity.

The rapid development in technology has resulted in enjoyable and exciting classrooms. They are designed in a way that ensures full engagement of the students and teachers. When the students are fully engaged in learning, they experience success, and they feel a sense of learning. They use a wide range of applications including computers with internet connections, which is effective, in equipping them with the relevant learning skills. Today, students are able to use web 2.0 application which is an advanced internet application. This helps in meeting individual students’ needs since it ensures full participation in the teaching and learning practice. The classrooms are also designed in a way that ensures efficient use of instructional technology. These calls for teachers to go for further learning in order to impact the student’s learning achievements and to enable the students grasp the content in a well planned and a thoughtful way. The tools and skills used by the teachers in the 21 century make them be more professional and modern and, therefore, effective in service delivery. They also gain opportunities of becoming competent coaches and mentors rather than entertainers. For many years, teachers have been used as crowd control specialists which results in poor service delivery in their work (Crawley, Fine, 2004).

According to Matusov et al. (05, p. 16), Internet based classroom applications is a concept that has been embraced enthusiastically in various educational settings. Use of ICT in classrooms facilitates sharing of information between both locally and internationally. Students are able to access information from different sources through the internet. This enables them to work in groups to unravel open ended real world problems. The ICT use makes the students be more innovative and practical and, hence, able to cope with the real world while still in school. The ICT technology brings togetherness as a form of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning enables a student reason as a citizen and, therefore, manage to participate in all areas of trade and industry, as well as social life. The students’ level of problem solving is developed from the organizational skills derived from the use of ICT making them collaborative. The act of learning should not be considered as a punishment but a source of enjoyment. Students should stand still and stop being frivolous in order to identify the learning problems and tackle them effectively. This can only be accomplished if the teachers and students agree to be engaged fully in learning and teaching practices.

As a result of ICT, teachers have begun to use the latest technology like media in teaching. Teachers are now able to use Facebook as a management tool in class. This is devilishly effective as it ensures learning as the students socialize at the same time. Twitter is another application that is used for socializing amongst the youths, but it has been adopted to provide lessons. Both Twitter and Facebook can now be used for collaboration and professional sharing. These blogs enable sharing of information amongst students meaning that they can share educational ideas for their career growth. Students from one institution can share information with students from other institutions including the marginalized. This ensures all students are open minded to the current issues e.g. in politics. In addition, collaboration and sharing of information enables students to be culture sensitive as well as acquire global understanding.

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Making the learning practice an enjoyable activity ensures maximum students retention. Collaboration of students is one way of making learning intriguing because it helps them gain self esteem and reduce monotony. Interaction and familiarizing of students promote social interaction skills which are needed in different areas of their educational life. This ensures that the students are much satisfied with the learning practice and have a positive altitude towards what is taught in class. Student’s individual accountability is improved as a result of exploratory learning, improved communication skills and thinking levels. Engaging students in debates and discussions enables them to have heterogeneous and interpersonal relationships.

The benefits of using ICT technology in comparison to the traditional method of teaching can be clearly observed through the analysis of class attendance. A modern or 21st century class has a high attendance level because it builds strong social support amongst students. The atmosphere of cooperation makes the students gain a positive altitude towards the staffs in the institutions and makes a classroom appear like real life.

With the eventual growth in global technology, ICT is crucial in every aspect of every human being in the 21st century. This technology is extremely vital in “disseminating conceptual information, and testing conceptual knowledge” (Kidwell et al. 2004, p. 149). With the use of web-based technology, the opportunity to change the nature of classrooms communication whether in the rural or urban setting is imperative.

Teachers with creative and innovative teaching practices are supposed to be more explorative and positive about technology use in the classroom. With suitable training, technical and administrative support or systematic incentives are critical considerations for teachers to inculcate effective teaching practices in their curriculum. This new technology is crucial in facilitating low level tasks such as posting of the syllabus, availing the instructor’s teaching notes, or even administering test availed in the form of multiple choices (Putman and Borko, 2000). Regarding the perception of teachers towards ICT in their teaching practices, various personal issues can also be attributed towards their handling of technology effectively. These may include things such as the teacher’s ability to overcome any possible technical problems and to handle technology effectively. This is even made worse by virtue of where the teacher is situated. The rural teachers face paramount drawbacks with regard to these limitations.

Statement of the Problem

Growth and development of any country in the 21st century finds its basis in the inclusion of current technology. Information and Communication Technology has brought considerable growth in the field of development. Thereby, embracing ICT in schools at an early age will foster a society that is ICT oriented and, thus, inculcate the conceptual nature of it in every sector of development in the future. This will see the eventual growth of the economy in the developing countries, thus, reducing the discrepancies between the under-developed and developed countries. Further, it will also establish development footage for the third world countries as they will start the noble journey towards developing.

“The Government of Maldives (GoM) appreciates the potential benefits of Information and Communication Technology to a rapidly growing country” (UNESCO, 2012). This is in their quest to expand the present level of ICT to create awareness among people and eventually achieve the requirements of ICT policies of (UNESCO, 2012). The most crucial part lies in the fact that without sound and meaningful policies, the whole idea of development becomes a mirage achievement. On the other hand, with proper policy implementation, a milestone achievement becomes a task much of essence and achievable.

In spite of crucial attempts by the government of Maldives to formulate ICT policies in the education sector, integration of ICT in schools have not been successfully established (Pernia, 2008). According to Reddy and Sinha (2005), lack of actualizing ICT policies in the education sector has been mainly attributed to the lack of ICT knowledge and skills by the teachers in Maldives. Without a good understanding of the teachers’ literacy level, it will be somehow difficult to formulate the strategies of improving their ICT skills and knowledge. Further, inadequate studies have been carried out in this area of the education sector in Maldives which has left the exact situation of the education sector with regard to ICT not particularly clear. Without a clear understanding of the present condition in Maldives, it will prove impossible to improve the level of ICT in Maldives. This is calling for a thorough study so that adequate strategies can be enacted in an attempt to create clear cut guidelines which help to improve ICT technology in schools. Therefore, for better efficient and successful projects in the education sector, it is imperative that the whole situation be understood.

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Purpose of the Study

The research study seeks to:

  • Explore the situation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage among teachers in both rural and urban lower secondary schools, in Maldives.
  • Describe the pedagogical orientations within two groups of teachers: the urban and rural lower secondary schools in Maldives.
  • Describe how ICT is used by these teachers during teaching or as a planned student learning activity.

Focus of the Study

The study will mainly focus on the pedagogical point of references of teachers in both rural and urban lower secondary teachers. This is in an attempt to explore how ICT is used to equip the student with enough skills needed in the rapid growing technological world. The literacy level of the teachers in terms of ICT usage needs to be understood so that the appropriate strategies can be used to make them more competent as professionals. The study will also focus on the impacts of ICT to the lives of students so as to find out the areas that need emphasis.

Objectives

The chief objective of the research is to investigate the situation of ICT usage among teachers at the urban and rural lower secondary schools in Maldives. The researcher believes the study will provide adequate information needed to improve the use of ICT by teachers in Maldives’ schools. To students, the research is hoped to contribute greatly towards the use of the appropriate Information Communication Technology in classrooms. The researcher also aims at investigating how teachers in Maldives use ICT when teaching and hence coming up with appropriate teaching practices which will incorporate adequate use of ICT. In addition, the research seeks to explore the impacts of ICT use by teacher in their teaching practices.

Research Questions

The following research questions will clearly be addressed in this research in order to ascertain and realize the aims and objectives of the study.

  1. What are the pedagogical orientations of lower secondary teachers?
  2. To what extent is ICT used by lower secondary school teachers while teaching or using ICT as a planned student learning activity?
  3. Do pedagogical orientations in lower secondary classrooms differ whether or not ICT is used?
  4. What are lower secondary school teachers’ perceived impacts of their ICT-use on their teaching?
  5. How do personal, organizational and system-level factors lower secondary teachers’ use of ICT?

Significance of the Study

This study finding are extremely crucial in the sense that teachers in lower secondary schools will find additional research paper on ICT that critically analyses the effectiveness of incorporating technology in their teaching process. Further, it will act as a guideline for educational policy makers to formulate policies that are viable and incorporate the ideas and concepts in the contemporary 21st century. Policies developed without a clear understanding of the exact condition under consideration may encounter implementation hitches. This research paper will be particularly critical to the policy makers in their quest for proper and viable policies, which Maldives,’ lower secondary schools. Lastly, with clear and viable policies being laid down, this will pave the way for designing of professional development programs. The essence and professionalism of the designs will be entrenched in the fact that they are based on findings from the research study.

Limitation to the Study

The research study is bound to be faced by a number of limitations as the numbers of schools selected will be few due to the high cost of travelling to the selected schools for survey purposes. The research paper requires relevant and adequate information so as to understand the background of the problem in Maldives’ schools. It will also involve different schools, which are located, in different areas that require some specified means of transport. Some areas within the Maldives might not be passable ostensibly due to unfavorable climatic conditions or poor condition of the roads (Crawley & Fine 2014). This will require the use of selective means of transport like motorcycles or specific vehicles, which can cope, with the condition and these calls for extra funds.

The research study requires thorough investigations and survey and, therefore, time is limited for the completion of the research study. The research will require additional time since the survey will not be done within a single day. Travelling from one area to another will call for several days in order to obtain the suitable results. The survey is expected to involve many interviewees who must be handled at a time since the language barrier might result in extra problems. Many Maldives schools use local languages, which the researcher, might not clearly understand and, therefore, an interpreter will be needed. All this will oblige sufficient time and, hence, time is a limiting factor for the research study.

Further more, the study focused only to schools with a student enrollment of more than 300; thus, those with fewer numbers were not considered in the research study (Reddi & Sinha 2005). This is another problem that might hinder the researcher from getting the expected results from the research study.

Organization of the Study

This section highlights the organization of the study and the contextual concepts that will be discussed therein.

Introduction

This will be the first chapter of the research study and it will give an introductory study to the concepts behind ICT, its development, and eventual transition from tradition to the contemporary 21st century classroom. Further, the barriers and drawbacks that have rocked ICT inclusion in the learning process will be emphasized, as well as the reimbursements realized with respect to the above. This section is particularly crucial to the study as it will give a general overview of the research under consideration, thereby, introducing the conceptual nature to be ascertained in the research study.

Context of the Study

The second chapter brings to view the purpose of the study, the significance, statement of the problem and the justification of the study. These are truly crucial in the sense that they highlight the objectives of the study as well as introducing the main aspect behind the carrying out of the research study.

Literature Review

Literature review will be discussed in the third chapter of the research study. It aims at evaluating the previous studies done in details. It will show the synopsis of ICT use in developing countries especially Maldives nations in order to understand the importance of the research. The recent and past researches will be used to explain how ICT is used as a challenge to Maldives countries that need to be addressed in order to improve the current educational system used.

Methodology

Methodology of the study will be formulated in the fourth chapter of the paper. It will describe the design of the research which explais how data will be collected and the target group to provide the data. The sampling techniques will also be highlighted as well as the methods of data collection and analysis.

Results

This chapter of the research study will lay down the results obtained from the methodology used. The data will be analyzed in details in order to set the appropriate strategies. The results will determine the steps to be taken as an attempt to improve the ICT use in Maldives.

Discussion and Conclusion

The outcomes of the research will be discussed in detail, in this chapter. The extent to which the ICT is used and the weaknesses identified will be thrashed out to pave the way for adequate steps. The last procedure will be the conclusion where the right steps and strategies are recommended (Anderson 1997). The need for further study in the same area will also be recommended in the conclusion part.

Conclusion

ICT plays a tremendously pivotal role in empowering students with the use of rapidly growing technology in education. This has evidently been showcased in the paper. Education authorities should come up with strategies of incorporating ICT to support learning and teaching processes. Education is the only sector that can be used to empower the society with the appropriate ICT and global integration. Due to this reason, there is a need of ensuring developing countries like Maldives to have an adequate usage of Information Communication Technology in learning and teaching. This research paper surveys the degree to which ICT is used in these countries as well as the impacts it has on lives of scholars and the public at large.

The research will be used to pave the way for providing ICT infrastructure in education in order for learners to be competent in the rapid growing technological world. Institutional capacity should be strengthened for effective management in the learning institutions especially in the developing countries like the Maldives. All students globally should keep pace with the latest development of ICT in order to fit in the knowledge based society. In this panorama, the researcher tends to investigate the teachers’ level of literacy in Maldives so as to prepare the students effectively as the world requires. The rapidly growing technology requires teachers to be fully equipped with didactic skills of using ICT as tools for educating students.

Introduction of ICT usage in educational sectors of Maldives will require appropriate local support instruments. This calls for developing a team of skilled professionals who can handle the recent ICT systems, hardware and software effectively. The research study aims at ensuring Maldives countries have adequate teaching staffs that are competent in delivering ICT technology in schools. This research will also point out whether the end users of the ICT in Maldives feel the impact of quality learning which incorporates the latest technology.

References

Anderson C. (1997). Enabling and shaping understanding through tutorials. In J. Entwistle (Ed), D. Hounsell (Ed.). The experience of learning (pp. 2). Edinburg: Scottish Academic Press.

Borko, H. & Putnam, T., (2000). What do new views of thinking and knowledge have to say about research on teacher & learning? Educational Researcher, 29 (1), 4- 16.

Crawley & Fine, B. (2004). Examining teachers’ decisions to adopt new technology. Educational Technology and Society, 7(4), 201-213.

Kelly, F., (2008). Teaching digital generation. New York. Nelson Education.

Kidwell, P., Freeman, R., Zarcone, J. & Smith, C., (2004). Integrating online instruction and active mentoring to support professionals in applied settings. Internet & Higher Education, 7, 141-150.

Matusov, E., Pluta, M. J. & Hayes, R., (2005). Using discussion webs in developing an Academic Community of Learners. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (2), 16- 39.

Pearsall, M. (1992). Sequence, scope and coordination: Relevant research. Washington. National science teachers association.

Pernia, E., (2005). Strategy framework for promoting ICT literacy. Bangkok. UNESCO publications.

Reddi, U., & Sinha , V. (2005). India. ICT use in education. In Wachhotz, C. & Farrell, G. Meta survey on the use of technology in Education. Bangkok: UNESCO Asia & PRBE.

UNESCO, 2012. (2011). ICT in Education. Web.