THE EXTENT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCESS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
Education is one of the main corner-stones for economic development and improvement of human welfare. As global economic competition grows stiffer, education becomes an important source of competitive advantage as it is linked to economic growth and ways for countries to attract investment and hence jobs (Srivatsava 2002). Education further appears to be one of the major determinants of sustainable life-long earnings. Countries, therefore, frequently raise educational attainment as a way of tackling poverty and deprivation (UNESCO 2005). A well
-educated and skilled workforce is one of the core pillars of the knowledge-based economies (UNESCO 2005). This realization makes the reforms in education and development to remain a central pre-occupation for many countries and for international development. In every country at any given level of economic development, there is a great demand for education reform in order to be able to face the prevailing political, social and cultural changes as well as scientific and technological transformations ( UNESCO Educational policy and Reforms 2008)
Since 1990, many governments have been promoting the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in education, particularly to expand access to and improve the quality of education. At the same time, globalization and shift to a knowledge-based economy requires that education institutions develop
individual ability to apply knowledge in dynamic contexts. ICTs have been identified as a means to attain these objectives (School Net Africa 2003).
Although ICT is now at the center of education reform efforts, not all countries are currently able to benefit from this development and advances that technology can offer. Significant barriers often referred to as digital divide limit the ability of some countries to take advantage of technological development (Kozma and Anderson 2002). The developing countries are faced with challenges related to access, pedagogy or assessment when using ICTs to improve and reinforce education ( Kozma et al 2002). It is important to note that the concept, methods and application of the term ICTs are constantly evolving rapidly; starting from the popularity of the issue of computers in education in the 1980s, when relatively cheap micro-computers became available for the consumer market, later, near the end of 1980s the term was replaced by IT (Information Technology); signifying a shift of focus from computing technology to the capacity to store, analyze and retrieve information. This was followed by the introduction of the term ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) around 1992 when email and World Wide Web (Internet) became available to the general public (Pelgrum and Law 2003).
Though initially educators saw the use of ICTs in the classroom mainly as a way of teaching computer literacy, it has a broader role: that of delivering many kinds of learning at a lower cost and with high quality than the traditional methods of
teaching allow. In addition schools and universities increasingly use ICTs as do other large organizations, to reduce cost, improve efficiency and administration (Blurton 2002).
There has however been a wide disparity between the levels of investments in developed countries vis-a-vis the developing countries, Kenya included. Scrivatsava (2002), nonetheless states that this disparity is not necessarily a bad thing as developing countries can learn from developed countries on ICT integration.
The government of Kenya recognizes the benefits of ICT Integration in Education at all levels of education in the country. The Kenya Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment (2003-2007), stresses that ICT is crucial for realization of the required improvement in the Curriculum. The vision of Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) is to facilitate ICT as a universal tool for education and training. In order to achieve this vision, in every educational institution, teachers, learners and the respective community should be equipped with appropriate ICT infrastructure, competencies and policies for usage and progress (Kenya National ICT Strategy GoK 2006)
A critical aspect to the successful implementation of ICT integration-related objectives is the planning aspect. Pelgrum and law (2003), indicate that policy makers and educational planners play a central role and indicate that there are policy and planning implications in each step of implementation.
Research done by Brassford, Brown and Cocking (1994),showed that ICT can enhance critical thinking, information handling skills, the level of conceptualization and problem solving capacity among learners. However, according to GoK (2006) there is considerable technology lag in the Kenyan education institutions. Most of the institutions still use nearly obsolete systems and consequently are unable to exploit educational potentials of the emerging technologies. The document also notes that most schools use less than 40% of the available infrastructure and there is; therefore, a need to ensure optimum use of ICT resources by students, teachers and administrators in order to exploit educational potential of the technology. It is, therefore, against the background of the foregoing, that the researcher sought to investigate the extent of ICT integration in enhancing teaching and learning activities in public secondary schools in Kenya.
Statement of the problem
The successful integration of ICT into the classroom warrants careful planning and depends largely on how well policy makers understand and appreciate the dynamics of such integration (Jhurree 2005). Ministry of Education has placed considerable emphasis on the importance of ICT integration in education as evidenced by the promulgation of National ICT strategy in 2006 following the approval of sessional paper number one of 2005. The vision of Ministry of Education is to facilitate ICT as a universal tool for education and training and in
particular stimulate ICT integration in education in various regions in the country. However, while other countries have reported up to 41% of ICT integration in teaching and learning the proportion remains substantially low in Africa Kenya included. Kasharda and Waema (2007) and Irura (2008) referring to the implementation of ICT integration policy asserts that , there has not been well spelt out procedure to address uniformity in the pace of ICT integration and it’s adoption approach due to the various needs and disparities in secondary school in Kenya. A recent report by Wikipedia Kenya in 2012 in Nyeri South District indicated that some secondary schools had very few computers and that for most of the schools that had reasonable number of computers, the main use was in teaching Computer Studies. Nyeri South is a relatively new district that was gazette in 2009. A study was therefore essential to determine the extent of ICT integration in education in Nyeri South district with particular focus on exactly how technology is being used in the teaching and learning process.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to assess the extent of ICT integration in teaching and learning process in secondary schools in Kenya.
Objectives of the study
i. To determine the extent of accessibility of computers to teachers and students in secondary schools in Nyeri South District.
ii. To determine the level of teachers’ and students’ expertise in ICT integration in teaching and learning process in Nyeri South District.
iii. To determine the ways in which ICT is integrated in teaching and learning process by teachers and students.
iv. To determine the extent of implementation of the Ministry of Education policy on ICT integration in secondary schools in Nyeri South District.
i. What is the extent of accessibility of computers and related peripheral to teachers and students to support e-learning?
ii. What is the level of teachers and student expertise on ICT integration in the teaching and learning process?
iii. In which ways do teachers and students integrate ICTs in the teaching and learning process?
iv. To what extent has the Ministry of Education ICT integration policy objectives been implemented by schools in Nyeri South District?
Significance of the study
The Study findings may be used to facilitate the integration of ICT in the teaching and learning process by both teachers and students. This information may also be useful to administrators, policy makers and other stakeholders in education in determining the preparedness of secondary schools in Nyeri South District in terms of availability of appropriate ICT infrastructure for e-learning. Also, the
findings may be used as a baseline data for laying strategies on increasing the level of ICT integration in the district. The study may further indicate the capacity building gaps which may be useful in formulating framework to empower ICT users in integrating ICT in the secondary school curriculum.
Limitations of the study
Some questions of innovation and teaching practices relied on the level of ICT knowledge of the respondents and some respondents had limited knowledge owing to their level of ICT awareness. This was solved by use of contingency question items such that one only responded to items that applied to him or her. An observation checklist was also be used to confirm, where it was possible, the veracity of responses in the questionnaire items. Again, owing to the nature of technology explosion and rapid changes taking place in education institutions, the ICT integration situation in secondary schools in the district may change rapidly within a short span of time, rendering the study to be obsolete. However, the findings may still be useful as a baseline for future study to assess the extent of such change.
Delimitation of the study
Delimitation of the study is the boundary limitation Best and Kahn (2005). This study focused exclusively on utilization of ICTs in teaching and learning activities but did not focus on ICTs utilization on other aspects in education like administrative processes. Although Nyeri South District is located in an
agriculturally productive area, it is typically a rural area; hence, the findings of this research may be generalized to other regions with caution since some conditions in the district may be unique and different from other areas especially those in urban set-ups.
Assumptions of the Study
i. Secondary school teachers and students are computer literate and are conversant with various computer usages in teaching and learning in Secondary Schools.
ii. The study assumes that secondary schools in Nyeri South District utilize ICT in the teaching and learning process.
Definition of significant terms
Access opportunity or right to make use of something.ICT access is usually determined by the number of ICT equipment available visavis the number of learners.
Broadband internet of speed greater than or equal to 256 kilobits per second (Kbps) in one or both direction
Computer training the process of enlightening an individual on how to use the computers
Computer Virus a computer programme designed to affect the normal functioning of computer. It can damage stored information or fill the computer storage devices. These include Trojan, autorun, bomb.
Digital Content Refers to information that is published and distributed in electronic form such as softwares.
Digital Divide It is the gap between those people with access to information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and those who do not have.
Hardware Refers to physical or tangible components of a computer including computer motherboard and its accessories.
Information Communication Technology any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit and analyze information electronically in digital form including the internet, broadcasting technologies and mobile phones. For purpose of this research the term ICT will be operationalised to imply only computers and related peripheral devices for instance projectors, printers and scanners.
Information Communication Technology Integration use of any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit and analyze information electronically to introduce, reinforce, supplement and extend learning or acquisition of skills.
Multimedia It’s a combination of various digital means of communication in computers. (images, sound, video and text).
Pedagogy A term generally used to refer to strategies of instruction or style of instruction.
Peripheral any auxiliary or external device connected to a host computer and it expands the computer capability for instance printers, scanners, LCD projectors. In this study the term ICT tool has been used generally to include the computer themselves, their peripherals or any other related facility.
Software program that instructs a computer to process data. Software’s can be categorized into open source and proprietary.
World Wide Web It is information superhighway; it comprises networks that are joined globally.
Organization of the study
The study is organized into five chapters: Chapter one highlights the background and statement of the problem, purpose, objectives, significance, limitations, delimitations, basic assumptions and the definition of significant terms of the study. Chapter two focuses on literature review which is organized into the following themes:- the concept of the ICT integration in education, internet connectivity and ICT equipments in the school, teachers professional development in ICT, digital curriculum and content of the schools and ICT integration policy implementation in education. Chapter three covers research methodology that was employed. These included research design, the target
population, the study sample size and sampling procedure, research instruments, validity for the instruments, reliability of the instruments, data collection and data analysis technique. Chapter four consists of data presentation analysis and discussions of the findings while Chapter five comprises of summary, conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for further research.
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
This section reviews literature related to the study on ICT integration in the teaching and learning process in secondary school education. The review is divided into the following: the concept of ICT integration in education; internet connectivity and ICT equipment in schools; teacher professional development in ICT; digital curriculum and content for schools and policy framework for ICT integration in education. The section ends with the discussion on theoretical framework and conceptual framework upon which the study was based.
Concept of ICT Integration in Education
Information Communication Technology (ICT) is basically a tool; it can be a hardware, a software or both. Jackson (2002) advises that teachers should not replace what they teach, but see ICT as a tool just like a calculator, a pen or chalkboard that help them to teach and students to learn. Hodgkison (2006) and Duplessis (2010) note three types of ICT integration present in schools; the first being, learning about computers without any link to classroom practice. The second is full integration with traditional goals whereby computer is just used as a transmitter of knowledge resulting to just learning “from” the computer and the third is full integration with constructivist learning space and context, implying that computers are taken as mediational or transformational tools resulting to
learning “with” or “through” using computers. An analysis of South African Institute of Distance Education (SAIDE) (2003) suggests that the generative mode integration is not the norm in most Sub-Saharan African schools.
Muchiri (2008) (citing Poole 1998) indicate that educators in United States of America (USA) are able to put computers to good use in preparing teaching and learning materials. They are able to produce syllabi, schedules and classroom materials professionally and more efficiently using computers. By use of productivity tools such as word processors, database management software, communication systems and graphic tools educators are able to duplicate excellence in managing the process of teaching and learning. Generally, educators have found ICT to be a crucial tool for supporting drills and practice in previously taught skills and concepts in class. Also opportunities for networking and collaborative learning indicate that several principles and theories which promote learner centered constructivist learning can be more easily integrated in teaching. Furthermore, the internet connectivity makes it possible for educational resources to be accessed and exchanged with relative ease.
Kenyan experience on ICT integration has been low despite the government and Ministry of Education’s efforts to support ICT integration initiatives. Ndiku, (2003) conducted a research on the experience of managers and computer teachers in eight schools in Uasin Gishu with a focus on problem encountered in implementing ICT projects. The research identified the following as the most
significant factors: insufficient number of computers and peripheral devices, teacher lack of adequacy in ICT knowledge; inadequate software for instruction and inadequate technical assistance .The research by Ndiku focused on problems encountered in ICT implementation but did not capture the extent of ICT usage in teaching and learning activities..