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The Impact Of Information And Communication Technology Education Essay

This background was categorized into three perspectives, namely; historical, conceptual and contextual: This chapter also presents the statement of the problem, purpose, specific objectives, hypotheses, scope and significance of the study.

Historical Perspective

The impact of Information and communication technology (ICT) in the past two decades has been enormous (Oliver, 2001). ICT is a force that has changed many aspects of people’s lives. As technology rapidly changes, more cost effective and more powerful technologies with great potentials for education continue to emerge and new types of people are needed. Indeed, in today’s information and knowledge-driven world, a completely new set of skills is required (Hawkins, 2002). In response to developing countries’ demand for strategies to prepare their youth to compete in a world driven by information, technology, and knowledge, the role of ICT tools in education should be more emphasized. It should be used to develop students' skills for cooperation, communication, problem solving and lifelong learning (Plomp, 1996); (Voogt, 2003). Development and application of ICT in African institutions of higher learning is critically important if the continent is to reduce the knowledge, technological and economic gaps between itself and the rest of the world (Kofi, 2007). Although computers and technology are prevalent throughout our society (Cuban, 2001), developing countries are far from reaping their benefits because of certain barriers. These include factors such as: lack of funding to support the purchase of the technology, lack of training among established teaching practitioners, lack of motivation among teachers to adopt ICT as teaching tools (Starr, 2001).

The Government of Ghana has placed a strong emphasis on the role of ICT in contributing to the country’s economy. (Dadzie, 2012) The country’s medium-term development plan captured in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRS I&II) and the Education Strategic Plan 2003-2015 all suggest the use of ICT as a means of reaching out to the poor in Ghana (Kofi, 2007). In 2004 the Ghanaian Parliament passed into law Ghana’s ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) policy, which is currently at various stages of implementation. Out of this policy the Ministry of Education produced an ICT in education framework document to integrate ICTs in schools.

It is worth noting that the ICT in education policy for Ghana had a long gestation period. An attempt at policy development for the sector predates the national ICT policy. A committee set up by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports outlined an ICT in education policy framework and produced a document that remained untouched for a long time. The objectives of the policy were to:

Ensure that students have ICT literacy skills before coming out at each level of education.

Provide guidelines for integrating ICT tools at all levels of education.

Provide means of standardizing ICT resources for all schools.

Facilitate training of teachers and students in ICT.

Determine the type and level of ICT needed by schools for teaching and administrative purposes.

Promote ICT as a learning tool in the school curriculum at all levels.

(Ghana, 2005)

In tertiary education, ICT policy is not particularly integrated and initiatives are taken on an individual institutional basis with the Ministry and /or with other partners. poly strategic plan here…. In recent years there have been numerous efforts and resources directed at improving teacher’s competence and confidence in using ICT effectively in classroom teaching and learning (Magambo, 2007). Researchers in the past have had interest in ICT implementation in several ways. For example, (Salih, 2004) studied factors affecting the application of ICT in distance education in Turkey whereas (Bagchi, 2007) looked at factors that drive adoption of ICT in Africa and in the Organization of Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) set of nations. (Peansupap, 2005) looked at factors enabling ICT diffusion and actual implementation in large construction organizations in Australia. (Malcolm, 2008) Diffusion of information communication technology in selected Ghanaian schools. (Alema, 2006) Critical issues in information and communication technologies for rural development in Ghana (Amekuedee, 2002) Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Teaching and Learning. (Hinson, 2006) Internet adoption amongst final year students in Ghana's oldest business school. However, while there is a great deal of knowledge about how ICTs are being diffused and used in high schools in developed countries and outside Ghana, there is not much information on how ICTs are being diffused and used by teachers in northern Ghanaian polytechnics, a gap this study endeavored to close.

Conceptual Perspective

In this study, the dependent variable is ICT implementation. ICT is an umbrella term that includes all technologies for the communication of information (Brock, 2000). For the purpose of this study, ICT was used to refer to computers in computer laboratories on campus, which are primarily designated for student use. Surry and Ely (2001) define implementation as the process of introducing an innovation into an organization and fostering its use. In an information technology context, implementation encompasses all the processes involved in getting new software or hardware operating properly in its environment, and making necessary changes. The independent variable in this study is problems. The Free Online Dictionary (nd) defines problems as situations that hinder the accomplishment, result, or process. In this study problems that were considered are; cost of ICT training materials, skills development in ICT, and administrative support. Cost of ICT training materials in this study refers to price paid to have computers and related peripherals in place. Skills development in ICT in this study refers to special ability (or expertise) enabling one to perform an activity by using a computer and its related peripherals in either teaching or learning. Administrative support refers to the help and guidelines given out by administrators in institutions of learning to aid computer training and integration of ICT into the curriculum.

Contextual Perspective

According to Bakkabulindi (2008) and Republic of Uganda (2002, 2007), most institutions of higher learning in Uganda, both tertiary and universities, depended on manual systems, with little use being made of computers in teaching, admission, examination, registration, students‟ records, finance and accounting. In addition, internet access and e-mail applications were minimal and what was on the ground were desk computers for office work and other general applications. Waite (2004, cited in Malcolm and Godwilly, 2008) indicate that even though teachers showed great interest and motivation to learn about the potential of ICTs, in practice, the use of ICT is relatively low and it is focused on a narrow range of applications, with word processing being the predominant use. The application of other ICT tools such as video conferencing, emailing and the Internet was rare. Moreover, institutions of higher learning are still using old versions of software, black board and textbooks in teaching.

The implementation of ICT to enhance and extend teaching and learning across a wide range of subject areas has proved challenging to many institutions of higher learning in Ghana, and understanding the issues regarding encouragement, support and infrastructures required to achieve this has proved to be complex. However, there are some institutions where majority of staff have adopted ICT use into their working practices, adapting existing approaches to teaching and learning and developing new ones. In other institutions with apparently similar desire for ICT to be used, and similar resources, only pockets of limited ICT use has been achieved.

Put Ghana…..Kasozi (2003) carried out a study on ICT issues in Uganda‟s education sector on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) implementation in the central region. His findings and conclusions were that there are still many problems facing ICT spread in the education sector. He highlighted the problems as initial capital being prohibitive and lack of technical personnel.

However, it should be noted that he investigated the level of computer literacy and competence among employees in the education sector. He did not investigate ICT implementation in institutions of higher learning. This renders his study of little use for enhancement of learning with ICT in institutions of higher learning in Kabale District. However, such studies dealt only with training skills and availability of resources affecting ICT implementation in institutions of higher learning and none was on Kabale District for which gap this study intended to close.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Diffusion of ICT through organizations needs to be effectively managed to better prepare for future ICT application adoption (Markus, 1987). The forces that have driven institutions of higher learning to adopt and incorporate ICT in teaching and learning include greater information access; greater communication, synchronous and asynchronous learning, increased cooperation and collaboration, cost-effectiveness and pedagogical improvement (Surry and Ely, 2001). ICT can be integrated into curriculum delivery through use of e-learning, video conferencing, electronic platforms, World Wide Web and open source software. Much as investment in ICT continues to increase, information communication technologies such as computers; video players and projectors have not been effectively used into lecture rooms in tertiary institutions in Ghana. Most teachers do not use these ICTs in lecture room as frequently in tertiary institutions as policy makers and researchers expect. Tertiary institutions like Ghana Technology University, University of Logon, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology…. have tried to integrate ICT into teaching and learning environments, but they have faced a problem of high costs in purchasing ICT tools and maintenance (Farrell, 2007). And yet, failure to access and adopt information and communication technologies and knowledge critically has hindered sustainable progress for individuals and communities as we enter the 21st century (Katundu, 2000). While several studies had documented minimal ICT implementation in tertiary institutions, ICT implementation had been studied under different perspectives (e.g. attitude, time, age, motivation and income) and none had been in the context of polytechnics in Ghana. While there could have been several contributing problems; cost of ICT training materials, skills development in ICT, and administrative support may have played a major role in affecting ICT implementation in the polytechnics .tertiary institutions of higher learning in Kabale (Rogers 2003). Hence the need for this study to establish problems influencing ICT implementation in selected Ghanaian polytechnics.

PURPOSE OF STUDY

The purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which training problems influence ICT implementation in the two institutes selected for the study.

OBJECTIVES

The specific objectives of the study were;

To investigate the application of ICTs in teaching and learning in the two institutes selected for the study.

To investigate the influence of cost of ICT training materials and technical support on ICT implementation in the two institutes selected for the study.

To explore the influence of administrative support on ICT implementation in the two institutes selected for the study.

HYPOTHESES

The research sought validity or otherwise of the following hypotheses;

ICTs are not used in teaching and learning in the two institutes selected for the study.

Cost of ICT training materials and technical support does not enhance ICT implementation in the two institutes selected for the study.

Administrative support does not enhance ICT implementation in the two institutes selected for the study.

SCOPE of the Study

Geographically, the study has been focused on polytechnics in northern Ghana, where ICT implementation was reported to be minimal. (Bbakkabundi, 2008, Republic of Uganda, 2003). Due to limited resources (e.g. time and finance), the researcher considered only 2 polytechnics out of 3 namely; Tamale Polytechnic and Bolgatanga Polytechnic. In content, the study focused on four problems i.e. cost of ICT training materials, technical support in ICT, use of ICT in teaching and learning and administrative support affecting ICT implementation. The sample population consisted of administrators, lecturers and final year students because these are the group that are about to complete their areas of studies. The study was carried out for 4 months from September, 2012 to December, 2012.

SIGNIFICANCE

The study is significant because previous studies on ICT use in Ghana have focused mainly on institutions of higher learning, university libraries, and the banking sector. These include studies by (Hinson, 2006), (Amekuedee, 2002), and (Abor, 2005). A few of the studies conducted in ICT in higher learning institutions were undertaken outside Ghana. No study has as yet been cited on use of ICT by northern polytechnics in Ghana. The research gap established, that requires to be filled, therefore, is the need for more studies on ICT related issues in polytechnic institutions in Ghana. The study could provide vital information to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MES), educational partners, and management of Tamale polytechnic, Bolgatanga polytechnic and Wa polytechnic in northern Ghana to establish how the use of ICT in teaching and learning, cost of ICT training materials and technical support, and administrative support may be positively or otherwise affecting ICT implementation, and hence be in a position to adjust appropriately. Management of polytechnic institutions in Ghana would be able to identify both administrative and technical bottlenecks and measures of dealing with them in prompting ICT implementation among their staff. Knowledge gained from this research study would be useful to educators and policy makers like National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in making wise decision in relation to their ICT investment. Theoretically, the study would also prompt more researchers in the area having contributed to literature for future studies.

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