Information Systems In Education Sector Of South Africa Education Essay

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My general area of interest lies with the use of information systems in the education sector of South Africa, with particular reference to the improvement of mathematical literacy in schools and higher education institutions.

Motivation and Justification

Though South Africa is considered to be one of the most developed and economically viable countries in Africa, the area of education has been of concern in recent years. To combat this challenge, attempts have been made to improve the quality of teaching and learning in primary and secondary education through the influence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as one of the solutions (Bovee, Voogt & Meelissen 2007). Howie and Plomp (2002) explain that in 1999, the Minister of Education reported that numerical literacy was a priority and that the country needed a strategy to deal with it. More focus today seems to be on the incorporation of ICT into school curricula and training teachers in the relevant content-specific software (Louw, Muller & Tredoux 2008).

Research Interest

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What are the factors limiting the effectiveness and efficiency of mathematical software currently being implemented in South Africa? How should information systems integrate with other forms of technology in order to offer a wider spectrum of support to pupils and teachers?

SECTION 2: TOPIC AND LITERATURE

Preliminary Title

Improving mathematical literacy in South Africa using ICT.

Introduction / background

Since the apartheid regime, access to Information Technology education in South Africa has been limited, especially in higher education institutions (Wood & Goodman 1994). Wood and Goodman further proposed that software companies needed to formulate new strategies that would enable the companies to expound and make their presence felt in the "New South Africa". This indicated that major changes needed to be made in order to improve the quality of education in the country. Between 1996 and 2006, a research group named the Second Information Technology in Education Study (SITES) emerged with the aim to study the relationship between ICT and educational changes (Blignaut et al. 2010).

Recently, South African learners have been having difficulty in finding employment mainly due to the learners not being able to meet the mathematical literacy standards set by employers (Howie & Plomp 2002), It was also pointed out that the inability of South Africa to cut across traditional learning methods towards the maturation of this century's teaching and learning skills suppresses the much needed social and economic growth for the development of human capital (Blignaut, Els & Howie 2010).

One of the findings made suggested that the more learners actually spent time using the software, the more their mathematical skills improved (Louw et al. 2008). There have been studies which support this. These studies have proved that ICTs indeed are capable of enhancing pupils' learning and teacher's professionalism. It was recognised that ICT has had a positive impact in schools however, additional support in the form of training teachers how to use computers and the related software was vital. Other factors such as access to ICT resources, principals' teaching vision and teachers' professional development needed more attention (Blignaut et al. 2010).

In her study relating to the first year university students and their usage of computer algebra systems (CAS), Berger (2010) concluded that the mere fact that technology is available does not warrant enhanced learning in terms of learners grasping new syntax and the structure of the software. On the other hand, it was determined that there were significant differences in computer attitudes between students from township schools as compared to those from upper/middle class schools (Bovee et al. 2007). In contrast, it was found that no substantial gender differences in attitudes towards computers existed.

Problem statement

What needs to be done to ensure that the implementation of ICT in schools to be successful?

Material Accessed

Author

Margot, B.

Year

2010

Title

Using CAS to solve a mathematics task: A deconstruction

Journal Name

Computers HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~2~"&HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~2~"Education

Volume, Issue, Pages

55, 1, 320 - 332

Abstract

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I investigate how and whether a heterogeneous group of first-year university mathematics students in South Africa harness the potential power of a computer algebra system (CAS) when doing a specific mathematics task. In order to do this, I develop a framework for deconstructing a mathematics task requiring the use of CAS, into its primary components. This framework is based on the semiotic notion of diagrammatic reasoning whereby reasoning consists of construction of signs, transformation of signs, and observation and interpretation of signs. I use the framework to distinguish between the activities of students who were computer literate on entry to university and those who were not computer literate. The analysis suggests that formerly non-computer literate students are no worse than computer literate students in using CAS to construct various representations of signs, but that they are less able to interpret these signs. I propose that, in the South African context, this is largely due to inequities in prior mathematical education, rather than a lack of computer literacy per se.

Keywords

CAS; Diagrammatic reasoning, Computer literacy issues; Undergraduate mathematics students

Academic Database

ScienceHYPERLINK "http://0-www.sciencedirect.com.innopac.up.ac.za/"Direct

Author

Blignaut,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"A.S.;HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"Hinostroza,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"J.E.;Christo, J.E.; Mario, B.

Year

2010

Title

ICT in education policy and practice in developing countries: South Africa and Chile compared through SITES 2006

Journal Name

Computers HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~2~"&HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~2~"Education

Volume, Issue, Pages

55, 4, 1552 - 1563

Abstract

This paper presents a comparison between South African and Chilean results on SITES (Second Information Technology in Education Study) 2006 study, aiming to show and discuss both disparities and similarities, and trying to explain them through an analysis of their ICT in Education policies and national contexts. Firstly, these policies and contexts portray national backgrounds and initiatives. Secondly, methodological approach is described (a secondary analysis of the international data consisting in a two-way statistical analysis to calculate significant differences between South African and Chilean results, but also including some specific references to the northern hemisphere countries). Thirdly, main results are shown, organized in five sections: a) access to ICT resources; b) support to teachers; c) teachers professional development; d) principals' pedagogical vision and e) teaching and learning practices. Results of the analysis show that most of the disparities between both countries can be explained through differences in their national contexts and corresponding ICT in education policies (particularly those related to ICT equipment provision and teachers professional development programs) as well as due to their implementation period. These conclusions might be particularly useful to policy-makers in South Africa and Chile, highlighting some areas where improvement plans could be implemented.

Keywords

South Africa; Chile; SITES 2006; ICT in education; ICT policies

Academic Database

ScienceHYPERLINK "http://0-www.sciencedirect.com.innopac.up.ac.za/"Direct

Author

BlignautHYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~", S.; ElsHYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~", C.; HowieHYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~", S.

Year

2010

Title

Contextualizing South Africa's participation in the SITES 2006 module

Journal Name

South African Journal of Education

Volume, Issue, Pages

30, 4, 555 - 570

Abstract

The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) initiated the Second International Technology in Education Study (SITES 2006) - a large-scale comparative survey on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in schools. The goal was to understand the pedagogical use of ICTs in schools in 22 education systems. We aim to contextualize South Africa's participation in SITES 2006 on four levels: (i) the nature and structure of the South African education system, (ii) a review of South Africa's participation in SITES 2006, (iii) ICT infrastructure, facilities and equipment, and (iv) teachers'use of ICTs for teaching and learning. SITES 2006 administered three questionnaires to school principals, technology coordinators, and mathematics and science teachers. The final sample consisted of 666 mathematics and 622 science teachers. Although most education systems collected data via the internet, South Africa was the only country that used only a paper-and-pencil data collection strategy with an average return rate of 90%. South Africa scored low on most variables, e.g. ICT infrastructure, facilities, and equipment. A large percentage of South African teachers reported their ICT incompetence. South Africa's inability to cross the boundaries of traditional learning towards the development of 21st century teaching and learning skills inhibits social and economic growth for the development of human capital. © 2010 EASA.

Keywords

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This Essay is

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Developing context; E-education; Ict in education; Large-scale study; Mathematics education; Science education; Sites 2006; South AHYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~1~"frica

Academic Database

Scopus

Author

Bovée,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"C.; Voogt,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"J.; Meelissen,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"M.

Year

2007

Title

Computer attitudes of primary and secondary students in South Africa

Journal Name

Computers in Human Behavior

Volume, Issue, Pages

23, 4, 1762 - 1776

Abstract

This study investigated computer attitudes of 240 students from eight primary and secondary schools in South Africa. The student population of six of the eight schools that participated in the study can be characterised as middle or upper class. Two schools were from South African townships. All eight schools used computers for educational purposes, although the availability and use of the computers differed. The research question of the study was whether differences in computer attitude could be found between boys and girls, and to what extent these differences could be explained by student, school, and environment characteristics. In contrast to most studies on gender differences and computer attitudes, no gender differences in computer attitudes were found. However, this study showed differences in computer attitudes between students from the upper/middle class schools and students from the township schools. The latter showed a less positive attitude towards computers, but more interest in computer-related careers compared with the students in the upper/middle class schools. The study found that computer access and experience, which was significantly lower in the township schools, was also related to computer attitude.

Keywords

Technology; Attitude; Gender; Social economic status; Primary education; Secondary education

Academic Database

ScienceHYPERLINK "http://0-www.sciencedirect.com.innopac.up.ac.za/"Direct

Author

Hartley,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"M.S.; Treagust,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"D.F.; Ogunniyi,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"M.B.

Year

2008

Title

The application of a CAL strategy in science and mathematics for disadvantaged Grade 12 learners in South Africa

Journal Name

International Journal of Educational Development

Volume, Issue, Pages

28, 5, 595 - 611

Abstract

This study addressed one aspect of a national strategic recommendation in South Africa by examining the effectiveness of computer-based outreach programmes in terms of how the programmes were implemented and learners' perceptions of the classes. The role that the computer centres played at two schools was examined and the research endeavoured to provide descriptions of the implemented and perceived programmes. The findings provide insight into the implementation of computer-assisted learning (CAL) in disadvantaged schools and serve as baseline data for research into CAL environments in the South African context. Learners considered the application of CAL as a positive step to improve their learning but also placed a high value on the role of the teacher because of the perceived competencies of their teachers in helping them perform well in the matriculation examination. The findings of the study have important practice and policy implications for the implementation of CAL in disadvantaged schools.

Keywords

Development; Computer-assisted learning; Outreach; Learning environment; Computer centres; International education; South Africa

Academic Database

ScienceHYPERLINK "http://0-www.sciencedirect.com.innopac.up.ac.za/"Direct

Author

Howie,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"S.; Plomp,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"T.

Year

2002

Title

Mathematical literacy of school leaving pupils in South Africa

Journal Name

International Journal of Educational Development

Volume, Issue, Pages

22, 6, 603 - 615

Abstract

This paper discusses some results of South African (SA) grade 12 pupils on an international test of mathematical literacy, administered in the framework of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) under the auspices of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Three questions are addressed: (1) What are the strengths and weaknesses of SA school-leavers in mathematical reasoning and social utility from an international comparative perspective?: (2) What is the growth of SA pupils'mathematical literacy from grade 8 to 12? (3) What are the background variables that influence the level of mathematical literacy of SA school-leavers? Finally some implications of the results for SA education will be discussed.

Keywords

Comparative education; Literacy; Educational policy; Curriculum; Mathematics education

Academic Database

ScienceHYPERLINK "http://0-www.sciencedirect.com.innopac.up.ac.za/"Direct

Author

Louw,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"J.; Muller,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"J.; Tredoux,C.

Year

2008

Title

Time-on-task, technology and mathematics achievement

Journal Name

Evaluation and program planning

Volume, Issue, Pages

31, 1, 41 - 50

Abstract

Information and communication technologies hold much promise for use in education in developing countries. This study reports on an evaluation conducted on the introduction of computers in the delivery of the mathematics curriculum in one of the provinces of South Africa. Although the request was for an outcome evaluation very early in the implementation of the program, it was tailored in such a way as to fulfill a more formative role. Despite substantial variability in implementation, and in most cases with very weak exposure of the learners to the intervention, sufficient evidence emerged to indicate that this mode of curriculum delivery may be effective. Improvement in mathematics performance was related to a range of variables: some concerned classroom teaching practices, some referred to social differences between the learners, and some to the specific intervention. The strongest of these predictors in the sample was the strength of the intervention: the more time learners spent on using the software to study mathematics, the more improvement they showed from 1 year to the next in their performance in the subject.

Keywords

Education; Mathematics; Technology; South Africa; Evaluation

Academic Database

ScienceHYPERLINK "http://0-www.sciencedirect.com.innopac.up.ac.za/"Direct

Author

Wood,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"G.A.; Goodman,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"S.E.; Roos,HYPERLINK "http://0-www.refworks.com.innopac.up.ac.za/Refworks/~0~"J.

Year

1994

Title

Information technologies in South Africa: problems and prospects

Journal Name

Computer

Volume, Issue, Pages

27, 12, 48 - 57

Abstract

Development of South Africa's information technologies infrastructure has been skewed by apartheid and the constraints of past policies, but IT can be part of the solution. The authors consider how critical IT is to the process of change

Keywords

government policies; information technology; politics; socio-economic effects; South Africa; apartheid; information technologies infrastructure; policies

Academic Database

IEEE Xplore