Instructional Technology Integration In Enhancing Teaching Education Essay

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Over the years, technology has played a vital role in educational innovation, providing both teachers and students with more options and flexibility in their teaching and learning practices. With the internet and computer technology availability, technology becomes increasingly indispensable in the field of education. In today's schools, multimedia software, content based CD-ROMs, online resources and many other technologies provide students and teachers with many new research tools, limitless wealth of information, shared professional practices (Keane, 2002), communication tools, and new modes of learning. Availability of internet in schools enables both the teachers and students to have a variety of opportunities to expand the curriculum.

Today's school continue o be challenged by the increased visibility, roles and cost of instructional technology tools. Considering current trends in education, a modern classroom would not be complete without computers, software, internet connections, projectors and a variety of other high-tech device (Keane, 2002). According to Hasselbring, Barron & Risko, (2000), schools will be equipped with the best hardware and software in the near future, but it is unlikely that teachers and students will use them effectively if teachers are not trained. The success of technology infusion in schools depends on training teachers. In the digital age, schools will require teachers to have competent technology skills and be able to effectively implement the use of instructional technology in classrooms. Therefore, it is logical to require teachers to be trained to handle such technologically equipped classrooms.

Technology integration in the classroom has become an important aspect of successful teaching. It has triggered many researchers to investigate different aspects of such integration (e.g., Kotrlik & Redmann, 2005; Bauer and Kenton, 2005; Judson, 2006; Totter et al., 2006; ChanLin et al., 2006; Zhao, 2007; Gulbahar, 2007; Anderson and Maninger, 2007; Abbit and Klett, 2007; & Wood and Ashfield, 2008). This is because it allows students to learn more in less time and allows schools to focus on global learning environments if used appropriately. In addition, it could be an effective teaching tool when used to engage all students in the learning process (Almekhlafi, 2006a, 2006b). During the last few years, technology has been adopted in many areas such as business, entertainment, government and education. The global adoption of technology has been the landmark on the educational scene for the last few years (Albirini, 2006). Harvey (1983) envisages that the effectiveness of the use of computers in education may be an important factor in determining which countries will succeed in the future.

In recent years, educational technology has been to a large extent incorporated into teaching and learning practice in many educational institutions across the globe. This phenomenon has taken place as a response to economic, social and pedagogical pressures (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2001). From the economic rationale, it is believed that knowledge and competence in technology will enhance graduates' opportunity to be professionally employed (Thornburg, 2002). Indeed, it is argued that the measured level of employability will strengthen the economy of a nation (Mutula & Bakel, 2007). The social rationale sees competence in the use of technology as a necessary skill for graduate to participate in community development (OECD, 2001). This can aid students to lead the society to meet the challenges of the global information. As regarding the pedagogical rationale, the integration of technology in education claimed to facilitate a transformation of teaching and learning process from being highly teacher centered to student centered (Trucano, 2005). The student-centered environment is argued to be more favourable than the teacher-centered environment because it gives learners the opportunity to actively participate in knowledge construction (Roblyer, Edward & Havriluv, 2004).

Teachers are managers of learning experience. As managers, they are meant to ensure that the environment is structured in a way that learners are given the opportunity to enguage in a deep and meaningful learning process. A way through which this role can be accomplished is for teachers to assume the responsibility of an educational technologist, a professional who embarks on the study of theories and practices associated with the use of technology in instruction. According to Seels (2004), in Westergaad (2008), there are general roles that educational technologists must take. First is the regulation and reinforcement of selected media to promote learning, second is to educate teachers and stake holders about the use of media and the third is critique and lobby policies that influence media utilization. Among the three roles, the first is expected from teachers in the classroom.

The fact that a lot of factors are responsible for students' underachievement is not new to researchers but amongst those factors could be teacher's perception of the effectiveness of technology.

Perception refers the way one think about something and ones' idea of what it is like, also it is an ability to understand the true nature of a subject especially as it affects our environment. However teachers perception of the effectiveness of technology is in different ways hence, learning is a process which produces series of changes in behaviour or it is more or less a change in behaviour that result from activities, training or observation. It is a change in behaviour that confirms learning.

Technology has had a significant impact on teaching and learning in schools (Cuttance, 2001). Reviews of several research projects have substantiated the potential of educational technology to enhance learning environments (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo, 1994) and improve student learning outcomes (Hativa & Becker, 1994) through active student engagement, collaborative learning, frequent and immediate feedback and real-world contexts for learning (Roschelle, Pea, Hoadley, Gordin & Means, 2000). In addition, ICT enhances higher order thinking (Educational Testing Service, 1989), and impacts on student attitudes, motivation, self esteem, social competencies and enjoyment of learning (Joiner, 1996: Rowe, 1993: Tiernay, 1996; Wellburn, 1996). However, the extent to which ICT facilitates and enhance teaching, learning and the learning environment is dependent in part on the adequacy of teachers' skills and knowledge (Wenglinsky, 1998).

Technology integration into teaching and learning process is an effective way to widen educational opportunities, but this is yet to be fully utilized by teachers as an instructional delivery system. Bauer & Kenton (2005) in their research found that some teachers were highly educated and skilled with using technology, but are not integrating technology on a consistent basis in the teaching and learning process. Ertmer, Conklin, Lewandowski, Osika, Selo, and Wignall (2003) indicated that beginning teachers wanted to use technology and have adequate technical skills, but teachers lacked knowledge on how to integrate technology in teaching and learning. Technology integration is not a 'one size fits all' (Wepner, Tao, & Ziomek, 2006) where teachers do the same thing for their students or where teachers possess the same specific skills to be competent technology users. Teachers need to know how and why to use technology in meaningful ways in the learning process for technology integration to work.

Like many educational reform efforts, the introduction of technology in schools has been less than successful. Over the last century there were several waves of massive investment in technology to improve education, but none has had significant lasting impact on education (Cuban, 1986). Implementation of technology is a complex process that depends on characteristics of technology, workers, environment, and subtle interactions among these components (Bayer and Melone 1989; Yetton, Sharma and Southon 1999; Wolfe, 1994).

Why isn't technology used more in schools? many failed educational innovations have quarried the reason why technology isn't used more in schools and also why can't innovations that seem to hold great promise be adopted by schools in spite of great efforts, (Fullan, 1991; Tyack & Cuban, 1995). Many researchers have been searching for solutions to this persistent puzzle. In this paper, the search continues by the examination of teachers' perception of the effectiveness of technology in enhancing teaching and learning. But it is not intend to simply repeat previous research to search for new factors that may affect technology uses in schools because it is believed that previous research have identified most, if not all, factors that may have an effect on technology integration in schools. What is needed is an integrating framework that can provide new directions for research and specific suggestions for policy and practice. Thus it is taken as a responsibility to extend existing research by investigating the relationships among the long list of factors that have already been identified to be related to school technology uses. In particular, teachers' perception of the effectiveness of technology to theoretically integrate and organize sets of factors that affect implementation of technology. It is also hoped that this framework will help in better understanding of other educational innovations, since technology, is a special case of innovation.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Due to the role of technology in the advancement of society in general and educational sector in particular, effective technology integration into teaching and learning has become the focus of many educators. Over the years, the problem of under achievement has been a general problem. For example, many researchers in Nigeria have conducted series of research to actually find out what could be responsible for the problem. In which factors such as lack of adequate laboratory equipment, ineffectiveness and lack of teaching proficiency of teachers, lack of qualified teachers and school factors have been identified as major causes of underachievement of students. Despite all these efforts of research and findings, the poor performances of students still exist. However, little emphasis has been laid on instructional technology integration into teaching.

Disproportionately very few schools and teachers adopt the use of instructional technology in classroom teaching across the nation. The perception of the effectiveness of instructional technology by teachers may play a role in the adoption and integration of these technologies. This henceforth justifies the need for this study to investigate the effect of teachers' perception of their technology integration competencies, barriers obstructing such integration, and incentives to increase it, in addition to other related issues in classroom learning environment.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this study is to examine teachers' perception of the effectiveness of technology and the rate at which they adopt technology into classroom teaching.

RESEARCH QUESTION

The following questions will guide this study;

How do teachers perceive the effectiveness of technology integration in the classroom?

What traits distinguish teachers who display a higher level of instructional technology usage and those who use computers less frequently?

What problems, real and perceived, affect teachers' acceptance of technology in the classroom?

STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS

There will be no significant effect of cooperative learning on students' achievement test score in integrated science.

There will be no differential effect on students' academic achievement in integrated science.

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

Mode of teaching and instructional tools employed in the teaching process is of a major importance in determining the achievement of students. This study will provide insight into teachers' perception of the effectiveness of instructional technology and the rate at which the adopt technologies. If the study findings reveal negative perceptions of instructional technology integration among teachers, this will highlight the need for teachers to combat deficit thinking. Because only by this will teachers develop positive attitude towards instructional technology utilization in teaching process. For the school administrators, this study may also give empirical support for a need to upgrade and increase the instructional technology tools in the classroom.

This study will also create in the students, teachers and curriculum builders the awareness of technology, its integration, effect and benefits. This will also help the teachers in knowing there level of technological competency and also factors that might be militating the integration of these technologies in teaching.

Furthermore, this study will show the schools and education ministries need to orientate teachers on the need for technology integration. It will also assist curriculum builders in their planning by suggesting specific strategies and procedures that can make technology integration easy and achievable.

With this study and the application of its injunctions, it is hoped that better result will be recorded in teachers' teaching skills and other areas of study where this study is been applied to be far better than the past ones.

SCOPE OF STUDY AND DELIMITATION

This is a study into the effect of teachers' perception of the effectiveness of instructional technology integration in enhancing teaching in selected tertiary institution in Lagos state.

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