Teacher and student factors related to the use of ICT in upper primary school
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The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education has changed in many ways since computers were first installed in the classroom. Changes have reflected what ICT has been made available in the classroom, how the ICT are used, the role of the teacher, and the ICT skills of both the teacher and the students. Research has been conducted to find out the effect of ICT on students, teachers, schools, the education sector, and the community. With the rapidly changing nature of ICT and the growing of the child of the technological revolution into the teacher, policy maker, and parent, consideration of how ICT has been used, and how its use was perceived by the teacher and students, needs to be examined regularly to look for relationships between the ICT and those who use it.This research was conducted to investigate teacher and student factors related to the use of ICT in upper primary classrooms. As the teachers and students each have had experiences within which they interpret the world and upon which they base their actions and perceptions, the research was situated within the constructivism ontology. The influence of the individuals within the confines of the classroom emphasised the connections to social constructionism epistemology.Multiple case studies were conducted within classrooms settings to enable the environment and the participants of that environment to be studied. Comparisons were made of the most frequent behaviours when ICT were used and when ICT were not used. Teacher and student perceptions of ICT use in the classroom were compared with each other and with ICT use. The teachers’ self-reported competence and confidence in ICT use and the students’ self-reported competence and confidence in ICT use were investigated. These factors were then considered for each case and across the cases to examine how these teacher and student factors were related to ICT use.Differences were found in the most frequently occurring behaviours when ICT was used by students or by teachers or was not used at all. In most cases, whomever used the ICT also initiated most interactions, although this did not happen if the teacher’s average self-reported competence or average self-reported confidence was below competent or below confident. Teacher perceptions of student learning, the ICT used, who used the ICT, and the student perceptions of the importance for using ICT in the observed session were related. Student perceptions of why teachers should be able to use ICT in the classroom were related to the students’ use of ICT and their self-reported competence and self-reported confidence. There were strong correlations between teacher self-reported competence and self-reported confidence and strong correlations between student self-reported competence and self-reported confidence.Although multiple case studies were the most appropriate methodology for this research, it has limited the generalisability of the results. Likewise, the decision to use mixed methods necessitated more case studies be conducted, resulting in a greater breadth of data but an imposition of less depth. The use of Likert-style and open-ended questionnaires, interviews, and observations enabled triangulation, but the lack of experience of the researcher meant that the full benefits of the use of this range of data collection methods were not achieved. Conducting research with children and teachers within classrooms involved issues ranging from obtaining access to the participants and classrooms through to the difficulties of determining whether the existence of the observing researcher in the classroom affected the environment or if the act of asking questions changed the answers that were offered.While there are limitations in generalising the results of case studies, the nature of teachers, students, and classrooms are such that there are some opportunities for providing recommendations. Implications of the research relate to teachers, students, and practice in upper primary classrooms. Teachers need to be clear in how they are using ICT in their lessons – whether it is to develop specific ICT skills or to support learning – as this is related to the ICT that is used, who uses it, and student perceptions of ICT use. Teachers also need to be aware of the connections between the ICT that is used, who uses the ICT, and the behaviours in the classroom, particularly if their preferred teaching techniques lean toward a specific theoretical approach. School administrators and governments who provide funding also need to acknowledge that physically providing ICT is only part of the issue – ensuring teachers consider themselves competent and confident in its use also needs to be taken into account. Finally, the relationship between student perceptions of their competence and confidence with ICT and their perceptions of its worth in lessons needs to be recognised as a potential de-motivator in ICT use – which could have adverse consequences in a world that both embraces and pushes ICT literacy.
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