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Factors Affecting Educators’ Attitudes in Integrating Information and Communication Technology in South Africa

Siphiwe Radebe1*, Sylvia Ramaligela2 and Moses Makgato1*

1Department of Humanities, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

2Department of Humanities, Faculty of Education, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa

Corresponding Author:
Siphiwe Radebe
Department of Humanities
Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology
Pretoria, South Africa
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: 03/12/2021 Accepted date: 17/12/2021Published date: 24/12/2021

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether the educator’s attitudes do influence the effective integration of ICT in teaching. Hence the study seeks to identify the variables that my significantly influence educators towards ICI integration of teaching in the classroom. These schools were supplied with ICT by the Department on Education way back in 2008. Moreover, these schools were the first to have received these tools. The sample consisted of 40 educators from secondary schools. Information was collected through questionnaires. Data collected were analysed using mean and standard deviation. The study used innovative theory of Roger with 4 levels that distinguish educator’s ICT competencies in terms of technological and pedagogical skills. The study found that two variables which had a high association with attitude and which distinguished between the participants were, I am glad there are more ICT these days”. and “Learners must use ICTs in all subject matters”, are the variables that contribute to the educator’s attitudes in the integration of CT in teaching in the classroom. Based on the findings the study concluded that educators had a positive attitude towards ICT. However, the study also concluded that despite a positive attitude towards ICT, the use of ICT tools in class is scarce and not being adequately subjected to innovative processes. The study recommended that variables such as cognitive and behavioural aspects. Need to consider by the Department of Basic Education by providing compulsory training for educators.

Keywords

Attitude, Diffusion, Educators, ICT, Innovation, Integration, Training

Introduction

Unfortunately, the implementation of ICT into Johannesburg central district 14 schools has not been guided by research [1]. This has often been the case in most countries across the world. In particular, the ICT implementation plans seem to be lacking consideration of educators’ reaction to the new tools. Such inattention to the educators’ attitudes may engender unforeseen repercussions for ICT diffusion in Johannesburg central district 14 schools. In his theory of diffusion of Innovation, Rogers (1995) considers attitudes indispensable to the innovation-decision process. ICT is a tool that supports the learning process and holds the promise to new solutions for the challenges that education is facing today. ICTs are defined as the digital tools that process and utilise information by the use of electronic computers, ICTs comprises the storage, retrieval, conversion and transmission of information electronically.

Despite ICT’s power to act as a tool for change, the fact that a lack of adequate ICT provision within schools still exists will hold back educational development that is needed. This view is shared in [2] who identify a range of physical and educational factors that affect ICT integration and adoption in the classroom. These factors include, among others, unreliable access to electricity, limited technology infrastructure (especially internet access, bandwidth, hardware and software provision) and educator attitudes towards ICT use. Among these factors, educator-related variables such as educators’ attitudes towards ICT were found to be the most powerful predictors of technology integration [3]. In Bangladesh, educators have been slow to adopt and use ICT in teaching due to challenges related to lack of time for lesson preparation, educators’ negative attitudes towards ICT and corruption at the managerial level of education sector. In Germany, ICT integration in pedagogy was not fully adopted in schools because of inadequate trained educators on ICT integration in subject-related technology. The educators have positive self-efficacy to use technology but have little knowledge on new pedagogical approaches that differ from traditional methods of teaching. The perceived problem at Johannesburg Central District (JCD) 14 is that the educators’ integration of ICT with teaching and learning activities is very low; and this might be associated with factors linked to attitude. Therefore, this study seeks to identify factors affecting educators’ attitudes in integrating Information and Communication Technology in their classroom practice.

Literature Review

The Attitudes of Educators from a South African Local Perspective

An attitude can be defined as an element that guides the behaviour of the individual, and the integrity and consistency in the feelings, thoughts, and behaviours of an object. In this regard, educators’ attitudes towards ICT use are regarded as determining their ICT-use behaviour in many studies. In the South African context, access to ICT tools is not always available. Research studies [4] [5] indicate that educators are either under-utilizing ICT or not implementing ICT tools at all in their teaching and provide reasons for why educators are reluctant to use it. This state of affairs is due to the fact that some Finnish teachers do not have the necessary digital literacy and do not know how to integrate ICT into their teaching strategies and learning methods.

Confirms that many computers in South African urban schools are locked in storerooms or used for administrative purposes and there is little use made of ICT in teaching and learning [6]. The limited use of ICT in teaching and learning processes is attributable to several factors, which can be categorized as school characteristics and educator characteristics [7]. The educatorrelated factors, considered first-order barriers, include variables such as attitudes, confidence, beliefs, age, gender, resistance, individual’s educational level, personal experience, and awareness [8]. In addition, Sherman and Howard found that access to computers was a first-order barrier towards Educational Technology (ET) use. In a qualitative study on four secondary school educators from two schools, these authors found a number of both first- and second-order barriers to ET integration in schools in the Western Cape, identifying as a secondary barrier to ET integration that educators did not understand the value of ET in teaching and learning.

Attitudes towards ICT in South African schools have previously been investigated, but few investigations have focused on the knowledge of educators in the use of various ICT tools in secondary schools. This is one of the main contributions that the study makes to the scientific field. Instead, previous studies focus on the lack of teacher confidence and resistance to change, and not for example on the number of innovations and research projects in which they collaborate, type of education that they employ, and type of school whether public or private in which they work, among other things. The field of study of these factors such as expertise and aptitude was broadened in this study, since including these factors gave the present study a more solid base, with the study aiming to predict factors that might significantly influence attitudes towards ICT.

Theoretical Framework

To understand how attitude, adapt to technological innovation, the Diffusion of Innovations Theory put forward by Rogers (2003) guided the study. Diffusion of Innovations, according to Rogers (2003), occurs through a four-step process. These stages through which a technological innovation passes are: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, and Implementation. However, in this study, we will use the decision stage because it focuses on how educator’s attitudes influence the effective integration of ICT in teaching and learning. Therefore, the decision stage refers to whether or not educators’ attitude influences the integration or use of ICT in schools can contribute to learners learning. To understand the level of influence, the study adopted three levels of Rogers’s adoption. Although Rogers used four levels of adoption, this study used only three levels that were found relevant, namely, laggards, majority and venturesome. In this study, these levels are explained as follows Table 1.

Decision Stage Laggards These are educators who do not embrace the integration of ICT can influence effective teaching
Majority These are educators who sometimes embrace the integration of ICT can influence effective teaching.
Venturesome These are educators who embrace the integration of ICT can influence effective teaching.

Table 1. Description of Rogers’s level of adoption.

Methodology

The study employed quantitative research method. Quantitative research method is the systematic empirical investigation of observable phenomena via statistical, mathematical, or computational techniques [9]. Refer to the population as an aggregate or totality of all the objects, subjects or members that conform to a set of specifications [10]. The population of this study comprised educators in secondary schools in District 14. The records of the District Office (D14) show that the total number of secondary schools is 11 with 401 educators, where 173 (33%) are male educators and 228 (67%) are female educators. The study used purposive sampling in selecting the schools and the participants for inclusion in this study. Defines purposive sampling as a form of non-probability sampling in which units to be observed are selected based on the researcher’s judgment about which ones are the most useful or representative [11]. Sampling is a technique used in eliciting data from the representative group from a larger population. The main reason for sampling is to collect specific data that will explore depth and understanding of the study [12]. The sample size in this case study consisted of 40 educators. Data are defined as information obtained in a course of a study [10]. The study collected the data in District 14 in South Africa by using structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was distributed to the respondents with teaching background. The complete filled-up questionnaires were gathered and collected for further data analysis to get the output and findings for the study. Data analysis is described as an activity, which involves the synthesis of data to come up with conclusions on a research problem [13]. The analysis includes both descriptive and inferential analysis. The researchers used descriptive analysis to analyse the frequency and percentage of the overall population in the demographic background. Besides, it is also used to determine the mean, standard deviation, frequency and percentage to identify the factors associated with the attitudes of educators in the integration of ICT.

Findings and Discussion

As the worldwide economy moves towards the extensive adoption of technologies, competition will grow for workforces that have the scarce skills required to execute, administer and work alongside the new tools. Growing these skills is therefore critical for learners wishing to remain relevant in an increasingly computerised place of work. As these skilled employees support the computerised industry, the demand for even more highly trained professionals will grow accordingly. Workstations will demand flexible learners whose jobs are reassessed, supplemented or aided by the technology they work alongside. South African government needs to work hand in hand with the international world in order to meet the international standards of education in technology in order to produce a workforce that will meet the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Therefore, this study examined whether the educator’s attitudes do influence the effective integration of ICT in teaching. This study focused on one research question. RQ1 investigated the factors contributing to educators’ attitudes in the integration of ICT in teaching to understand their attitudes. The findings of the study are therefore presented according to the question. To understand educators’ attitudes in the effective integration of ICT, the study adopted Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory and the study used decision stage as a measuring mode. To answer the research question, the study used a questionnaire which consists of eight questions which were grouped according to RQ. As indicated earlier, the study used a questionnaire to get the responses from the educators which was based on the Likert scale, which showed 1 ‘Strongly Disagree’, 2 ‘Disagree’, 3 ‘Neutral’, 4 ‘Agree’ and 5 ‘Strongly Agree’.

RQ1: How does the Attitude of Educators Influence him Effective Integration of ICT in Teaching and Learning?

This research question seeks to investigate factors contributing to educators’ attitudes in the integration of ICT in teaching. To understand their attitudes, (decision stage). This RQ only used eight questions, thus, Q1-Q8.

(Q1) ICT tools do not scare me at all.

This question investigated if educators are scared by any ICT tools such as laptops and computers Table 2.

ICT tools do not scare me at all (n=39)
1 2 3 4 5 SD Mean
Frequency 3 4 2 7 24 8.7 7.8
Percentage 7.69 10.25 5.12 17.94 58.97 22.3 19.99

Table 2. Description of ICT tools.

The data indicate that n=24 (61.53%) strongly disagreed that ICTs do not scare them at all, n=7 (17.94%) disagreed, n=5 (12.82%) where neutral, n=2 (5.12%) strongly agreed, n=1 (2.56%) agree with a standard deviation (SD) 8.7 (22.30) and a (M) mean of 7.8 (19.99). The implication is that educators feel comfortable with the use of ICTs. Most of the educators with 69.47% strongly disagreed that ICTs make them feel uncomfortable. These percentages are positive indicators showing that educators are confident enough to work with technology in the classroom. Therefore, most of the educators were venturesome since the use ICT tools indirectly reflect their beliefs on the effectiveness of ICT integration in their teaching. This finding was also found by [14] [15] who indicated those educators’ attitudes toward the use of digital technology, in primary education were found to be related to educators’ confidence, beliefs and self‑efficacy, and with a significant relation to school culture.

(Q2) I am glad there are more ICT these days.

This question investigated if educators are positive about the spread of ICT in schools Table 3.

I am glad there are more ICT tools these days. (n=39)
  1 2 3 4 5 SD Mean
Frequency 3 2 6 7 21 7.66 7.8
Percentage 7.69 5.12 15.38 17.94 53.84 19.64 19.99

Table 3. Description of more ICT tools.

The data indicate that n=3 (7.69%) of participants strongly disagreed, n=2 (5.12%) disagreed, n=6 (15.38%) where neutral, n=7 (17.94%) strongly agreed and n=21 (53.84%) agreed with (SD) 7.66 (19.64) and (M) 7.8 (19.99). The analysis above shows that educators are glad that there are more ICTs these days. Only 71.78% educators agreed that they are glad that there are more ICTs these days. These percentages are positive indicators showing that educators are aware of the importance of ICTs in education. Therefore, most of the educators were venturesome, as they reflected a positive attitude towards the availability of ICT tools which can improve their teaching. This finding was also found by who indicated that the Annenberg Public Policy Center has reported that among U.S. households with children aged 8 to 17, 60% had home computers, and children in 61% of households with computers had access to Internet services. In other words, 36.6% of all households with children had Internet services, more than twice the percentage of that in 1996 [16].

(Q3) Using ICT tools is enjoyable

This question investigated if educators are enjoying the use of ICT in teaching and learning Table 4.

Using ICT tools is enjoyable. (n=39)
  1 2 3 4 5 Non-R SD Mean
Frequency 2 2 3 7 23 2 8.31 6.5
Percentage 5.12 5.12 7.69 17.94 58.97 5.12 21.31 16.66

Table 4. Description of the usage of ICT tools.

The data indicate that out of 39 participants, n=2 (5.12%) strongly disagreed that using ICTs is enjoyable, n=2 (5.12%) disagree, n=3 (7.69%) where neutral, n=7 (17.94%) strongly agreed, and n=23 (58.97%) agreed that using ICTs is enjoyable, with (SD) 8.31 (21.31) and (M) 6.5 (16.66). This implies that most educators enjoy using ICTs, (76.91%) agreed that using ICTs is enjoyable. These percentages are positive indicators showing that educators are aware of the importance of ICTs in education and are enjoying using ICT. Therefore, most of the educators were venturesome because their interest in using ICT reflects their continuous use. This finding was in line with [17] findings that educators frequently use ICT for informative, organizational, recreational and lesson planning purposes.

(Q4) Learners must use ICTs in all subject matters

This question investigated if educators are agreeing that learners must use ICTs in all subject matters Table 5.

Learners must use ICT in all subject matters. (N=39)
  1 2 3 4 5 SD Mean
Frequency 4 4 9 6 16 5.01 7.8
Percentage 10.25 10.25 23.07 15.38 41.02 12.87 19.99

Table 5. Description of learners using ICT tools in all subjects.

The data indicate that out of n=39 participants, n=4 (10.25%) strongly disagreed that learners must use computers in all subjects, n=4 (10.25%) disagreed, n=9 (23.07%) were silent on this issue, n=6 (15.38%) strongly agreed, while n=16 (41.02%) agreed that learners must use ICTs in all subjects, with (SD) 5.01 (12.87) and (M) 7.8 (19.99). This implies that 54.04% educators feel that learners must use ICTs in all subject matters. These percentages are positive indicators showing that educators are aware of the importance of ICTs in education and that all subjects must be taught using ICTs. Therefore, most of the educators were venturesome because they believe that learners must use ICT in all their subjects. This finding was in line with [15] findings that technology was looked upon as a tool to help educators deliver a better lesson, but with experience, it was considered for the educational development of the learners.

(Q5) ICT would motivate learners to do more study.

This question investigated if educators are agreeing that ICT would motivate learners to do more study Table 6.

ICT would motivate learners to do more study. (N=39)
  1 2 3 4 5 SD Mean
Frequency 5 4 4 7 19 6.37 7.8
Percentage 12.82 10.25 10.25 17.94 48.71 16.35 19.99

Table 6. Description of ICT tools motivating learners to do work.

The data indicate that out of n=39 participants n=5 (12.82%) strongly disagreed that ICTs would motivate learners to do more study, n=4 (10.25%) disagreed, n=4 (10.25%) were silent on this issue, n=7 (17.94%) strongly agreed, while n=19 (48.71%) agreed that that ICTs would motivate learners to do more study, with (SD) 6.37 (16.35) and (M) 7.8 (19.99). The above results indicate that most educators feel that ICTs would motivate learners to do more study. Slightly over two-thirds (66.65%) agreed that ICTs would motivate learners to do more. These percentages are positive indicators showing that ICTs do have an impact on learners’ learning. Therefore, most of the educators were venturesome because they believe that ICT will motivate learners to do more in their learning. This finding was in line with [14] who observed that learners who were more motivated by ICT worked independently and wrote longer sentences with fewer spelling and grammar mistakes.

(Q6) ICT are a fast and efficient means of getting information.

This question investigated if educators are agreeing that ICT are a fast and efficient means of getting information Table 7.

ICT are a fast and efficient means of getting information. (N=39)
  1 2 3 4 5 Non-R SD Mean
Frequency     3 11 24 1 10.43 9.75
Percentage     7.69 28.2 61.53 2.56 26.75 24.99

Table 7. Description of being ICT being fast and efficient means of getting information.

The data indicated that out of n=39 participants n=3 (7.69%) were silent on this issue, n=1 (2.56%) did not respond to the question n=11 (28.20%) strongly agreed, while n=24 (61.53%) agreed that ICTs are a fast and efficient means of getting information, with (SD) 10.43 (26.75) and (M) 9.75 (24.99). This shows that most educators agreed that ICTs are a fast and efficient means of getting information. An overwhelming majority (89.73%) agreed that ICTs are a fast and efficient means of getting information. These percentages are positive indicators showing that educators are aware that ICTs are a fast way of getting information. Therefore, most of the educators were venturesome since they believe that ICTs are a fast and efficient means of getting information. This finding was in line with [18] findings who concluded that having a computer and access to the internet were perceived by the educators as influencing factors in enhancing the school culture towards technology integration.

(Q7) I would like to learn more about ICT.

This question investigated if educators are willing to learn more about ICT Table 8.

I would like to learn more about ICT. (n=39)
  1 2 3 4 5 Non-R SD Mean
Frequency   4 2 15 17 1 7.59 7.8
Percentage   10.25 5.12 38.46 43.58 2.56 19.47 19.99

Table 8. Description of learning more about ICT.

The data indicate that out of n=39 participants n=4 (10.25%) disagreed that they would like to learn more about ICTs, n=2 (5.12%) were neutral on this issue, n=15 (38.46%) strongly agreed, while n=17 (43.58%) agreed, n=1 (2.56%) did not respond to the question that they would like to learn more about ICTs, with (SD) 7.59 (19.47) and (M) 7.8 (19.99). The above results indicate that most educators feel that they would like to learn more about ICTs. An overwhelming majority (82.04%) agreed that they would like to learn more about ICTs. These percentages are positive indicators showing that educators have positive attitude they are willing to learn more about ICTs. Therefore, most of the educators were venturesome since these educators were willing to learn about ICTs. This finding was in line with [19] findings that when an educator is self-confident, he or she would possess positive attitudes toward ICT, and would be interested to integrate ICT into teaching.

(Q8) If I had the money, I would buy a computer.

This question investigated that if educators would the buy computers if they had money Table 9.

If I had the money, I would buy a computer. (N=39)
  1 2 3 4 5 SD Mean
Frequency     2 16 21 9.84 13
Percentage     5.12 41.02 53.84 25.25 33.32

Table 9. Description of acquiring a computer.

The data indicated that n=39 participants that if they had the money, they would buy a ICT, n=2 (5.12%) were silent on this issue, n=16 (41.02%) strongly agreed, while n=21 (53.84%) agreed, with (SD) 9.84 (25.25) and (M) 13 (33.32). This implies that the majority of educators wished that if they had the money, they would buy an ICT. (53.84%) agreed and (41.02%) strongly agreed that if they had the money, they would buy a computer. The above results indicate that 99.86% of educators feel that if they had the money, they would buy computers for educational purposes. These percentages are positive indicators showing that if educators that had the money, they would buy computers Therefore; most of the educators were venturesome because they were willing to buy their own computers for teaching and learning. This finding was in line with [20-22] findings that technology was looked upon as a tool to help educators deliver a better lesson.

Conclusion

The study examined whether the educator’s attitudes do influence the effective integration of ICT in teaching. The study found that two variables which had a high association with attitude and which distinguished between the participants were, I am glad there are more ICT these days”. and “Learners must use ICTs in all subject matters”, are the variables that contribute to the educator’s attitudes in the integration of CT in teaching in the classroom. Based on the findings the study concluded that educators had a positive attitude towards ICT. However, the study also concluded that despite a positive attitude towards ICT, the use of ICT tools in class is scarce and not being adequately subjected to innovative processes. The study recommended that variables such as cognitive and behavioural aspects. Need to consider by the Department of Basic Education by providing compulsory training for educators.

It can no longer be negotiated that educators must use ICTs in teaching and learning in the networked, knowledge-based society regardless of their age, gender and socio-economic background. The 4IR demands that educators integrate ICTs into teaching activities to prepare learners for the 4IR and the future workforce. The introduction of ICT in schools needs to be celebrated and appreciated. These technologies are electronic devices that have come to redesign the universe in all facets of human undertaking with its stronghold in the provision of education for all. Parallel to changes made to components of educational system owing to the emergence of ICT, traditional means of transferring knowledge can no longer meet learners’ needs in today’s society. As a result, it is crucial that the main element of educations system, especially educators, to be exposed educational developments and changes along with progress made in today’s world.

References

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