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As stated in the Literature Review, many developed countries are seeing ICT as a potential tool for change and innovation in the education field and they are thus, investing massively in the provision of ICT tools in the schools. Likewise, Kozma and Anderson (2002) wrote in their paper "ICT and Educational Reform in Developed and Developing Countries" that for an economy to be knowledgeable, education should be its primary necessity. Simultaneously, the teaching strategies in schools are bending towards ICT.
And as far as the result from our survey in concerned, the same case is deduced in the Mauritian context whereby we can see that all of the secondary Mathematics educators do have a computer in their possession as well as an internet connection. They are constantly making use of the computer as well as are connected to the internet on a daily basis. The Mauritian Government also is contributing in the integration of ICT in the education sector by introducing the interactive whiteboard in the schools which is an efficient teaching tool for the educators to teach in an innovative way and bring about a change in the habitual chalk-and-talk process of teaching.
However, a full integration of the teaching tools have not yet been made in all the Mauritian secondary schools since it can be noted from the result of the survey that most of the state and private educators are not in possession of an interactive whiteboard to their teaching practice. They are then obliged to conduct their classes in the computer lab as and when required but unfortunately, this is not possible for all educators; they are thus left behind to carry on with their usual chalk-and-talk way of teaching Mathematics without making the use of any ICT tool in their classroom. One of the main reasons that may be advocated is the lack of financial resources by the schools to purchase these ICT teaching tools, particularly those from the private schools who have to self-finance themselves to a certain extent and have the remaining funds from the Private Secondary School Authority, which is again to an extent not sufficient to carry out the necessary expenditures of the schools. Additionally, the state schools are limited to a certain budget provided by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources at every interval of the budget exercise. As explained by Hepp, Hinostroza, Laval and Rehbein (2004) that there is no universal truth for applying ICT in education; it all depends on every country's reality, priorities and long-term budgetary prospects and commitment.
Accessibility is therefore not considered just by having access to a computer and the internet but also, the other factors which influence the success to the integration of ICT in the education sector whereby it is a complex process which can be eased with the follow-up of the four stages as proposed in the Literature Review chapter.
5.2 USE OF ICT
ICT can be used in three ways at schools: for educators to present, assess and monitor knowledge; to enhance administrative work; as "learning content in relationship to students' information literacy" (Myungnghee Kang et al., 2011). Considering only the use of ICT by the secondary Mathematics educators, they are expected to make the use of this innovative teaching tool in their daily teaching practice. The educators are thus viewed as facilitators to the students rather than making the students dependent on them for their studies.
On the other hand, from the in-depth analysis of the survey, it is deduced that most of the secondary Mathematics educators of Mauritius used ICT for personal use rather than a teaching tool at the level of the schools. They are mainly engaged in surfing the internet or on e-mail and chatting exercises; they are thus tagged mostly as entertainers rather than facilitators by the students. Nevertheless, it also depends on the willingness of the educators to make use of ICT in his or her teaching and learning practice. For this reason, many studies on technology acceptance have been conducted over the years and it appeared that these studies had focused on the identification of factors that influenced technology acceptance among educators and students.
One of the main factors that can be seen to influence these educators can be the lack of training provided to them for the proper integration of ICT in their teaching practice. It is noted from the survey that 80% of the respondents have never made use of any Mathematics-specific software in their teaching practice since they have never been trained for the use of these software like Graphmatica or Maths Blaster. Nevertheless, some educators have made use of other software like the Scientific Notebook but they keep away from making further use of these software since the secondary Mathematics curriculum is also not properly designed for the use of ICT in the process of teaching as seen by 62.2% of the respondents.
As discussed in the Literature Review chapter on the benefits of using ICT in teaching of the subject Mathematics whereby both the opportunity to teach Mathematics better and to teach better Mathematics should be considered in school technology plans and teacher professional development. Thus, having a proper reviewed curriculum for the secondary level for the Mathematics subject will enhance the integration of ICT in the teaching of the subject.
Furthermore, besides the improvement in the curriculum, the educators are constantly seen to be motivating the students to make heavy use of ICT in their learning of Mathematics. 138 of the respondents have agreed to be giving a helping hand in the integration of ICT in the teaching and learning process but nevertheless, it all depends on the willingness of the students as well to accept this change. As depicted from the survey, there exists a relationship between the encouragement done by the educators and the willingness of the students but it is tested to be quite a weak relation which can be influenced by other factors. Thus, it is noted that very few of the students are willing to use ICT in their learning process of the subject Mathematics. Although the various advantages discussed in the Literature Review chapter by Papert (1997), very few of the 21st century students are quite keen to look for answers to their mathematical questions on the internet in Mauritius.
Statement (a) - Computers are very helpful to me in performing my duties.
As discussed in the Literature Review on the fact that with the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process, students become more independent of the educators and hence, allow the educators to get an excellent chance to learn from the students as well as to model being an information-seeker, lifelong learner and risk-taker. The same situation is applied to secondary Mauritian Mathematics educators whereby from the survey, it is found that 60.6% of the respondents do accept to the statement that computers are very helpful to them in performing their duties. Thus, the integration of ICT in their teaching practice makes their task of teaching a challenge in improving and bringing about innovation in their teaching skills.
Added to this, it is noted from the crosstabulation of the first statement as regards to the years of experience of the respondents that most of the people who agree to this statement have a teaching experience of 6-10 years which demonstrate that these respondents are very well aware of the previous situation whereby ICT was not being used and how the education sector is changing with the integration of ICT whereby it will be of great help to all the actors of the education field which consists mainly of the educators, the students and the administration.
Statement (b) - It is very important to keep in touch with ICT.
Likewise the first statement, the second statement which is to demonstrate the importance to keep in touch with ICT by the secondary Mathematics educators, it is found that 66.4% of them do agree with the statement since computer is seen to be a very important tool for the respondents in performing their duties properly. With the fast expansion in the technological world, it is therefore very important to keep in touch with ICT to be aware of the different developments happening all around, for example, the use of social networks like Facebook in the teaching and learning process. Following this statement, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources has already included this awareness in its Education and Human Resources Plan 2008-2020 (2009) whereby it is stated that for the provision of quality education to all, the review and development of instructional materials that are responsive to changing technological needs will be carried out.
Furthermore, it is also noted from the crosstabulation of the second statement and the age group of the respondents that most of them are of the age group of 31-35 years old. They are thus classified as being very conversant with the use of technology in the daily life and can see the importance and benefits ICT is bringing about to different tasks. Hence, they are very keen to keep in touch with the technological advancement to help in their teaching process.
Statement (c) - The internet provides me with valuable information to prepare lessons.
It is stated in the chapter of Analysis that 55.6% of the respondents agreed to the statement that the internet provides them with valuable information to prepare lessons while 10.8% disagree with this fact. It can be further discussed that those who have agreed with the statement are keen to be information seeker, lifelong learner and risk taker as discussed previously. They are ready to accept the technology integration in their daily practice as a challenge and meet the requirements.
Nevertheless, this is not the case for all respondents whereby the proportion of 10.8% who disagreed are reluctant to make use of ICT in their daily practice. As stated by Teo (2011), with the impact of technology on the teaching and learning process, expectations on educators to exploit technological advantages will rise, thus leading them to experience the pressures of having to toggle between pedagogy and technology in a seamless way. Being mainly in the age group of +45 years old, these educators are unwilling to bring about a change in their teaching practice by making use of the internet to prepare their lessons as they already have their long time experience in the preparation of their own notes.
Statement (d) - Computer can help me to be innovative in my approach to teach.
As stated in the Literature Review that many countries see ICT as a potential tool for change and innovation in the education field (Erdogan, 2009, adapted from Eurydice, 2001; Papanastasiou & Angeli, 2008), the trend is being followed by Mauritius also whereby it is noted from the survey conducted that 56.4% of the secondary Mathematics educators do accept to the fact that computer can help them to be more innovative in their approach to teach. It also coincides with one of the strategic goals of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius which is the provision of quality education to all and hence, the use of ICT as a tool for the teaching and learning process in the classroom is emphasized.
On the other hand, a proportion of 16.6% of the respondents have disagreed to the statement which comprises mostly those educators form the state schools rather than the private ones. This is so because although the Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius has integrated the idea of introducing ICT in the education sector in the Education and Human Resources Plan 2008-2020, it has not yet been fully operational with the non-availability of enough ICT resources to the state schools. Thus, the educators have to limit themselves to what they are being provided with to bring about an innovative approach in their teaching.
Statement (e) - Computers are valuable tools to motivate students.
21st century children choose to look for answers to their questions on the internet (Myungnghee Kang et al., 2011). Also, students who had followed ICT courses had more possibilities of being employed as most of the jobs nowadays require a good knowledge of ICT. Thus, as regard to the respondents, 74.9% of them have agreed that computers are valuable tools to motivate students in their learning process. Following this fact, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius has been promoting the study of ICT in lower forms of the secondary schools along with the upper forms. Added to this, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has recently included in its budget for the year 2013 the provision of one tablet computer to each and every student in Form IV classes, thereby motivating the students in using ICT in their learning process.
However, a further analysis of these data as regard to the willingness of the students responded to quite a negative approach from the students' side as very few of them are willing to make use of ICT in their learning approach of the subject of Mathematics especially; they are more likely to learn the subject as was directed previously rather than doing research work in the subject matter.
Statement (f) - I need more training for the proper implementation of ICT in my teaching.
With the analysis of this statement in the previous chapter, it has been noted that 4.36% of the respondents have agreed to the fact that they are in need of more training for the proper implementation of ICT in their teaching process. As such, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius has made this provision as well in its Education and Human Resources Plan 2008-2020 (2009), that is, the training of the educators in the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process. This is to be done with the strategic goal of embedding technology in the education system of Mauritius.
A further analysis of this statement was done according to the different age group of the respondents which revealed that all those who have agreed to the statement are from the group age of 36-40 years old and above and they are thus in need of additional training as they have not been exposed to much use of ICT before. Whereas, a proportion of 16.2% of the respondents have disagreed to this statement whereby they form part of the age group of 36-40 years old and below and they may thus be considered to be from the digital age as the educators that are being recruited nowadays have a full background of the use of ICT in the teaching profession as per their subject matter. These respondents may have followed courses from the Mauritius Institute of Education or from different universities whereby they emphasize on the use of technology along with the pedagogy skills in the education sector.
Statement (g) - Enough resources are available for use in my classroom.
The Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius has included in its Education and Human Resources Plan 2008-2020 (2009) the provision of ICT facilities to ensure that all educators make use of these ICT facilities on a regular basis for the teaching and learning process and this project was to be implemented by the year 2015. However, this does not reflect the objective to be met by the ministry as at the year 2012 whereby it is noted from the survey conducted that only 8.1% of the respondents have accepted that they have enough resources for use in their classroom while the rest have disagree or strongly disagree with the statement.
This disagreement can be noted from both the state educators and the private educators upon a further analysis carried out. The reasons that can be exploited from the state schools can be the limited budget provided to each school's fund and that of the private ones, the increase in the expenditures of the schools. Nevertheless, Hepp, Hinostroza, Laval and Rehbein (2004) have been very explicitly explained that there is no universal truth for applying ICT in education. It all depends on every country's reality, priorities and long-term budgetary prospects and commitment.
Statement (h) - Performance of pupils can be improved through the use of ICT in the teaching and learning of Mathematics.
As discussed in the Literature Review, research studies have brought forward the fact that the use of ICT as well as other teaching strategies have enabled students to move to higher-order thinking (Jonassen & Carr, 2000; Kearney & Treagust, 2001; Oliver & Hannafin, 2000). Thus, students develop constructive thinking skills. As a result the students are learning in order to prepare themselves for the future information age (Salomon, 1993). According to Kozma (2005), ICT can be used to enhance student understanding, thus increasing the quality of education. This statement has been agreed by 55.6% of the respondents as well whereby they do believe that the performance of the students can be improved through the use of ICT in the teaching and learning of Mathematics.
On the other hand, after analysing the data of this statement in accordance of the curriculum of Mathematics, it is to be noted that these respondents have also agreed to the fact that the curriculum of Mathematics for the secondary level is not properly designed for the integration of ICT in the process of teaching the subject. This demands a close follow-up along with the topic on curriculum design discussed previously.
Extent to which ICT is being used and accepted in the classroom.
Over the past few years, several large-scale international studies have documented the successful integration of ICT in schools (Lim & Hang, 2003, adapted from Mann, Shakeshaft, Becker & Kottkamp, 1999; Sivin-Kachala, 1998; Wenglinsky, 1998). However, this does not seem to be the case for Mauritius whereby most of the respondents have stated that ICT is being used and accepted in their respective classroom to some extent or not at all. This maximum number of respondents forms part of both the category of state and private schools. It can be confirmed that the whole education system of Mauritius is not functioning at 100% with the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process of the Mathematics subject.
Although, Hepp, Hinostroza, Laval and Rehbein (2004) have been very explicitly explained that there is no universal truth for applying ICT in education and that it all depends on every country's reality, priorities and long-term budgetary prospects and commitment, it should be taken into consideration that ICT education was already identified as an important pre-requisite for the economic development of Mauritius since The Master Plan on education was prepared in 1991. As at date, ICT integration in the teaching and learning of Mathematics has not been able to achieve a 100% success as compared to other countries.