Technophilia versus Technophobia Technology in the classroom

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With the advent of technology it is fundamental to explore the perceived "technophobia" of educators and to find out whether fear is the underlying factor behind their views regarding technology. A survey was conducted with secondary educators and analyzed for their content in the light of the following questions: 1) what prevent teachers from using technology in their class? 2) Is there gender differences in Teacher computer acceptance? 3) Are Educators confident in using technology? The findings shows that both males and females are confident is the use of technology but are not willing due to lack of resources and no proper training acquired amongst other reasons.

Introduction

Ours is a fast developing world with the flux of information and technological evolution. The use of educational technology, also known as Learning Technology is by no means limited to overhead projectors, calculators, and laptop computers. It is an array of tools that help enhance a student's learning.

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Advantages on the use of Educational technology

In the aims to develop in the learner knowledge and skills to empower the latter in the field of technology, it is thus a fundamental issue to include the use of technology in the open social system defined primarily as the school system. Studies have also shown that the use of technology as a support of a lesson enhance the thinking & expertise in formulating and solving problems. However, the underlying question is how far our teachers are willing to use technology in their classroom?

Interpretations of Educator's view on technology

The first interpretation considers the individual traits of teachers on the extent to which they take up an innovation. This leads to different approaches. Some teachers are found to be early adopters and some come to an innovation late.

The second interpretation reflects teacher's attitude which include computer anxiety and technology acceptance. According to Russell & Bradley (1997), teachers would show low level of competency in technology use. Another interpretation shows that males were witnessed to be more confident and technophile vis-à-vis the females. This perception highlights the need to obtain a more balanced view of the Mauritian situation, by diagnosing the "technophobia "of teachers. Is it really a question of fear to use technology and overcoming it? Are there gender differences in computer acceptance by our educators? What prevent teachers from including technology in class? Are teachers willing to use technology if they are provided with all the facilities?

Analysis based on Literature Review

This study, based on a survey conducted with 372 secondary educators in Mauritius, attempts to provide some answers to the above mentioned questions by exploring the reasons why these teachers decided to use or not technology as well as the factors that influence these decisions. Only by understanding whether or not it is "technophobia" which influences the use of technology, that we can ensure the willingness of our educators.

Researchers found that technophobia affects the quality in teaching and learning to a great extent. With the high emphasis on the use of technology on education, it is justified that teachers have the appropriate know-how and confidence to use technology in the classroom.

In addition to the major difficulties like cost of maintenance, lack of IT knowledge, lack of equipment that has to be overcome for successful implementation of ICT in classes ( Hardy, 1998; Lam 2000, Simonsen & Dick, 1997), is teachers' attitude and acceptance towards technologies.

Hope (1997) wrote "Educators must compete with two factors:

(a) their psychological effect of change

(b) and their availability and readiness to go for training , and thus facilitating the use of technology."

Teachers' point of view and boldness towards technology play a vital role in integrating ICT successfully in classes. Ross, Hogaboam-Gray and Hannay (1997) reported that access to technologies increase educators' self - confidence and thus helping them in their teaching ability. Teachers' can make use of technology as a teaching aid to promote students' learning (Lam 2000).

Educators' technology attitudes are affected by the way they see and perceive information and communication technology. Many teachers are reluctant to use technologies and this unwillingness comes from their existing beliefs. (Norton, Mc Robbie, & Cooper, 2000). They must be ready to change their role in classroom and act as facilitators, thus using technology as a means to enhance their teaching. (Hardy, 1998)

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Pelgrum (2001) underlines this point: "there are notions that students should trained to learn more autonomously and to get access to and digest information more independently than has been the case so far". As information is now easily accessible to every one of us, the teacher should act as a facilitator, guiding his students through their own research. The integration of technology in teaching emphasizes on learners-centred teaching and promotes a constructivist approach in teaching. (E.g. Rakes, Flowers, Casey & Santana, 1999). With our increasingly technology-rich world, new concerns are arising especially in the educational sector where schools are expected to become the vanguard of knowledge societies (Scheuermann & Pedró, 2009).

Constraints on the use of Educational tools

One of the issues which have been noted regarding the utilization of technology is money matter. We suppose that school management finds it difficult to sustain the use of technology in the curriculum due to lack of financial resources. In addition, the ability to make full benefits of technology depends largely on the use of the latest improved and innovative tools that technology can provide. Such requirement adds additional financial resources which make the implementation of technology in school more reluctant in the end. Another identified constraint of integrating ICT into school curriculum is the need for training and informing the staff regarding various hardware and software utilization (Llyod and Yelland, 2003) so that student can actually benefits for the provided equipments. In addition, teachers might know how to use a particular software but panic easily when they have to tackle unexpected troubleshooting, deal with software glitches, sometimes password memory lapses or forgetting to create a back up file can be another issue (Llyod and Yelland, 2003). Many teachers lack of knowledge and expertise with ICT. It becomes a real headache when they have to deal with technical problems, and to manage with the educational software. Therefore, due to this lack of competence and confidence, they are reluctant to implement the ICT supported learning on their own. The successful implementation of ICT in class also depends largely on the teacher's ability and willingness to apply them meaningfully. According to Lam (2000), the lack of perceived legitimacy of the computer as an educational tool has an influence of teacher's adoption of the ICT. As human being, we deal with anxiety by either adopting or avoiding to the situation. The adopting teacher will identify the nature of the problem and consequently look for a sensible solution to the matter. For example, they might attend workshops or follow additional training to expand their understanding and experience in view to become more effecting in their job (Llyod and Yelland, 2003). On the other hand, the avoidance teacher will be reluctant to embrace this technology. They will find barriers such as time, age or duty of care to the use of ICT in the class. Nowadays, a large group among the leaders is feeling of adopting a course in the e-learning training program because of their lack of experience in this field or just because they don't know the benefit of this field in aiding of their class.

Some have had previously a negative experience or unsuccessful training of ICT that it has become a fear. Some teachers are reluctant to adapt ICT only because they will have to follow a training which is outside of their timetables, and they have additional workload where their personal life which hinders them from doing so. Right now, not all schools are fully equipped with the necessary or even the basic material to support ICT use in classroom and the difficulties of frequenting computer room on daily bases. The question is how do we implement the so called "Information age education" to our student when we as teachers are not empowered to do so? Teachers feel of having more responsibility on their shoulders for the preparation of all these work but with a less of end product/ salary/ rewards at the end.

The purpose of this research is to find out:

Is it really a question of fear to use technology and overcoming it?

Are there gender differences in computer acceptance by our educators?

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What prevent teachers from including technology in class?

Are teachers willing to use technology if they are provided with all the facilities?

Methodology

Procedure and Instrument used

Survey method

The respondents have to answer basic/factual questions like gender, number of teaching experience (filtered in < 5 yrs or more). Whether teachers are willing to use technology in their classroom will be answered in Yes/No; following which the criteria will be set and items being matched using the Likert scale respectively.

Stratified Random Sampling

Based on the Education statistics of 2009, the educator's population is estimated to be around 16000, inclusive of primary, secondary and prevocational teachers.

The stratified random sampling procedure is that probabilistic method where the target audience is classified in different strata.

However, it would be not practical to carry the survey among all secondary educators in Mauritius. We hence use a sample as shown in the table below :

Population Size

16000

Confidence Level

95%

Confidence Interval

5

Sample size

375

To make sure that the sample reflects the population, we use a random sample.With a population of approximately 16000, the sample size is determined using a confidence level of 95% and confidence interval being 5. Hence the sample size that was required is 375. However there were only 372 respondents.

Estimated Quota :

Male: 180

Female : 180

Actual Quota:

Male:155

Female: 217

Quota of HOD and New Comers also taken care o.fQuota Sampling

Convenience sampling

Considering the budget and time constraints in getting the results, it was convenient for us to conduct the survey in the schools we are currently working in and schools which are easily accessible. The demographic parameter is thus convenient to our best judgment. It goes without saying this is done for a closer monitoring in view of getting a higher response rate.

Advantage

1. A questionnaire provides better data for making decisions.

Disadvantage

 Respondents are very often not keen to fill in questionnaires, and the integrity with which they are filled is most of the times biased, if not monitored properly.  

Questionnaire design

Respondent Profile

The respondent profile helps to analyse the results in terms of age group, gender, field of teaching, qualifications, and years of working experience and level of computer training acquired. In so doing, it provides an unbiased conception on the results. However, we have kept a degree of anonymity.

Overview

The above section allows us to determine whether the educators are able to show what they understand from the term "Educational Technology". It may be that our educators are wrongly informed about the tools of educational technology. As mentioned in previous section in the report, Learning technology is not bound to laptop and projectors only.

Technological Resources

Obviously, educators are here required to tick the resources which are available at the respective schools. This will help identify if lack of resources be a reason for not using technology in class.

Personal Opinion

Personal opinion of the respondent is required. A dichotomous question which is going to be justified in the sections that follows.

Reasons for Prior " No" Answer

This section in the Likert scale will help determine the reasons why educators are not willing to use technology in class. According to other reports the reasons above mentioned were the most probable ones. Whether an educator fear the use of technology or is it because of other reasons that they deny the use of technology can be analyzed in this section, thereby meeting the objectives of our research.

Reasons for Prior " Yes " Answer

Prior to question 4, if respondents are willing to use technology in their class, the above are the probable reasons, once again in the Likert scale.

The last item of the questionnaire is an open ended reliability question where the respondent can give their own opinion on the willingness to use technology in class.

Data preparation for Analysis

Data Coding for questionnaire

For closed-end questions, numerical codes were assigned to each of the options (one for yes and two for no). This facilitated the data entry of the respondents so that the chosen codes could be directly input into the data analysis program SPSS. For open-end questions, the respondents' answers were marked down on a separate file and then classified accordingly.

Data Entry

After coding the questionnaires, the coded answers of the respondents were input in SPSS program into the appropriate variables for data analysis.

Data analysis

The SPSS program was used to generate descriptive statistics, Chi square tests (Crosstabs) to find the relationship between the two nominal/ordinal variables and One Sample T test to compare the mean difference.

Results And Discussion

Background information of respondents

In this study, a total of 372 secondary educators with 155 male and 217 female completed the distributed questionnaires. From Figure1, 40.6% of the respondents are aged between 20-30 years old, 30.6% between 30-40 years, 16.4% within 40-50 years and 11.3% above 50 years old. The majority of our participants (36.8%) teaches in the Art field (24.8% male, 75.2% female), followed by Mathematics (13.4%), Economics (13.4%) and Science side (12.9%). In terms of the teaching experience variable, 35.2% of the respondents have less than 5 years of working experience. More than half (53.5%) completed a university degree and another 33.1% reached until postgraduate level.

Figure . Respondent's profile according to gender

Figure . % of technological resources available in schools

Figure 2 shows that the most popular technological tool available in our secondary school is computer supported with internet access with a total of 29%, followed by projector (14%) and educational TV with DVD facility with a share of 12% respectively. Only a few schools are equipped with laptop, digital camera and mobile phones.

Teacher's willingness towards technology usage

To test whether educators are technophile, a reliability question was set up "are you willing to use technology" and "do you welcome the use of technology". The purpose was to identify how far is our participants' answers reliable and it was found out that 89.2% are willing to use technology while 80.6% do welcome the use of technology in class. Numerous studies concluded that the willingness to use ICT tools depend heavily not solely upon its usability, but also with respect to its perceived usefulness (Cox et al, 1999, Lam, 2000, Preston et al, 2000, Yuen & Ma, 2002). Based on another survey conducted by Rudd et al "Harnessing Technology Schools Survey" (2009), it was found that the vast majority of teachers are both enthusiastic and confident in using ICT to support teaching and learning.

Teacher's willingness according to Age Group

According to (Prensky, 2001) "digital natives" and "digital immigrants" illuminate the relative distance of older people from the internet compared to younger generations. Digital natives represents the first generations to grow up with new technology and have spent and are spending their lives surrounded by and using all kinds of technology. Whilst Digital Immigrants is that term defining those not born into digital world but at some point become fascinated by and adopted aspects of new technology. "Digital Immigrant Educators grouse"

Willingness to use technology in classroom

Total

Chi-Square Test

Yes

No

Age Group

>20-30yrs

Count

144

7

151

Value= 73.192

Expected Count

135.0

16.0

151.0

>50 yrs

Count

39

3

42

Expected Count

37.5

4.5

42.0

Table . Teacher's Willingness with respect to Age Group

From the above table, the following statements can be deduced:

Considering the youngest age group, >20-30 yrs, there is a ratio of 144 : 151 who are willing to use technology. In comparison with the age group, >50 yrs, there willingness ratio is almost the same, i.e, 39:42.

H0 : The willingness to use technology is affected by age group

H1 : The willingness to use technology is not affected by age group

Using the Chi-Square test with a value of 73.192, p = 0.000 <5%, we hereby reject H0. We conclude that at a 5% level of significance, there is an association between the use of technology and age difference. Using Cramer's V value = 0.447 out of a possible maximum of 1, there is a weak relationship between willingness to use technology and age group. From our analysis, we can justify the study conducted by Rudd et al "Harnessing Technology Schools Survey" (2009) that indeed age is not a barrier to use technology in class. Educators within an age group >50 years can be enthusiastic to use technology. The results negate the misconception about Digital Immigrantship that those with higher age group are reluctant to apply technology as a support in learning and teaching. We, therefore, deduce that the willingness to use technology is not affected by age group.

1.2 Teacher's willingness according to years of Working Experience

Willingness to use technology in classroom

Total

Chi-Square Test

Yes

No

Teaching Experience

<5 yrs

Count

127

4

131

Value= 28.979

Expected Count

117.2

13.8

131.0

>30 yrs

Count

30

3

33

Expected Count

29.5

3.5

33.0

Table 2. Teacher's Willingness with respect to Working Experience

From the above table, the following statements can be assumed:

Considering smaller working experience, ie, <5 years, there is a ratio 127 : 131 who are willing to use technology. In comparison with those of higher working experience, >30 yrs, there willingness ratio is almost the same, i.e, 30:33

H0 : The willingness to use technology is dependent on years of working experience

H1 : The willingness to use technology is independent on years of working experience

Using the Chi-Square value = 28.979, p= 0.000 <5%, we therefore reject H0 and conclude that at a 5% level of significance, there is an association between the use of technology and years of working experience. To confirm the strength of the relationship, Cramer's V = 0.280 out of a possible maximum of 1, there is a very weak relationship between willingness to use technology and years of working experience. Our findings are in contradictory terms with Baek et al (2006) where they implied that teachers are less concern to adopt technology to increase quality of learning especially as they are more experienced. The above results showed that working experience is not an obstruction towards the use of technology in class and that educators with a higher working experience can be keen to use technology. This negates the wrong notion that those with greater working experience are hesitant to apply technology as a support in learning and teaching. We, therefore, deduce that the willingness to use technology is independent on the years of working experience.

2) Gender differences in Teacher Computer Acceptance

2.1 Level of confidence

Based on the survey conducted by Parker &Leonie 2002, Haynie 2003, Weber & Custer 2005, it was found that female teachers are field dependent and technophobia while male teachers being field independent and prefer application of media to instruction.

Gender

Total

Chi-Square Test

Male

Female

Confidence level

Strongly agree

Count

42

43

85

Value = 0.957

Expected Count

38.3

46.7

85.0

Agree

Count

92

121

213

Expected Count

95.9

117.1

213.0

Disagree

Count

6

7

13

Expected Count

5.9

7.1

13.0

Table 3. Confidence level of participants with respect to gender

From the Table 3, the following statements can be deduced :

Both male and female are found to have an almost similar ratio of 134: 140 and 164 : 171, respectively towards confidence level of acceptance in the use of technology.

H0 : Confidence to use technology is independent upon gender

H1 : Confidence to use technology is dependent upon gender

Using the Chi-Square value = 0.957, p= 0.620 >5%, We conclude that at a 5% level of significance, there is no link between confidence to use technology and gender, therefore we accept H0. With Cramer's V = 0.055 out of a possible maximum of 1, we can confirm this disassociation between confidence to use technology and gender. Our findings contradict the results previously undertaken by Parker &Leonie 2002, Haynie 2003, Weber & Custer 2005. The results also oppose the study conducted by Russell & Bradley (1997), that teacher's lack of confidence in their ability to use computer in the classroom is likely to be related at least in part to their training and professional development. From our analysis, we have found out that, 112 out of 155 (72.3%) males and 157 out of 217 (72.4%) female are computer-trained. We hereby deduce that confidence to use technology is independent upon gender.

2.2 Willingness level according to gender

Based on the survey conducted by Young (2000) , he found that there is a significant gender differences in computer acceptance where male domain scale showed that male were more likely to have affirmed computers as a masculine area.

Gender

Total

Chi-Square Test

Male

Female

Willingness level

Yes

Count

149

183

332

Value = 14.774

Expected Count

137.8

194.2

332.0

No

Count

5

34

39

Expected Count

16.2

22.8

39.0

Table 4. Willingness level of participants with respect to gender

From the above table, the following statements can be deduced:

5 out of 154 males and 34 out 217 females are not willing to use technology in classroom. Despite both male and female are found to be confident to use technology, there is a disparity with the findings with respect to willingness.

H0 : There is no relationship between gender and willingness towards usage of technology.

H1 : There is a relationship between gender and willingness towards usage of technology.

Using the Chi-Square value = 14.774, p= 0.000<5%, We conclude that at a 5% level of significance, there is an association between willingness to use technology and gender, therefore we reject H0 .To confirm the strength of association, Cramer's V = 0.200 out of a possible maximum of 1, there is a weak relationship between willingness to use technology and gender. Our findings are in contradictory with the result previously undertaken by Young (2000). From the above results, we conclude that gender is not a hindrance towards the willingness of using technology in class. The results also oppose the survey conducted by Wong (2003), where he pointed out that males love to use information system more than females, this study expected that men have higher perceived playfulness than women.

Thus, this go up against what Young (2000) and Wong (2003) said that female hesitate to apply technology as a support in learning and teaching. Hence, we can say that from our study there were no differences to the willingness level according to gender.

3. Barriers that prevent Usage of Technology

Tool Used: Sample T test

To analyse the barriers that prevent usage of technology according to the previous test done on the willingness to use technology in classroom, we use the One-Sample T test procedure to find out whether the mean of a single variable differs from a specified constant (unwilling respondent) with a test value of 1.5 which represents the cut-off point of the unwilling respondent who strongly agree with the following barriers.

Test value = 1.5

Barriers

Mean Difference (x)

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Lower

Student not interested

2.037

0.24

No technical support

1.452

-0.23

No training

1.290

-0.46

Training not sufficient

1.871

0.21

Afraid equipment might break

2.500

0.79

Previous bad experience

2.926

1.32

Time constraint

1.143

-0.48

Lack of infrastructure

2.226

0.26

Lack of resources

1.226

-0.46

Not suited to my discipline

1.481

-0.27

Less confident

2.548

0.78

Table 5. Mean difference of respondent who are not willing to use technology in

classroom using One sample T test

Table 6. Cut-off point to analyze

mean difference

x<1.5

1.5 <x <2.5

2.5<x≤3

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

A 95% confidence interval of the difference was used to provide an estimate of the boundaries between which the mean difference lies in 95% of all possible barriers chosen by our unwilling respondents towards the use of technology. Since their confidence interval lie entirely above 0.0, we can conclude that the following barriers: 1. Student not interested, 2. Training not sufficient, 3. Afraid equipment might break, 4. Previous bad experience, 5. Lack of infrastructure and 6. Less confident are significantly above the test value (1.5) on the average. This means that according to our participants, they do not consider those barriers as the main obstacles towards the use of technology in classroom.

From Table 5, we can identify that the barriers that prevent integration of technology in classroom are: 1. No technical support, 2. No training, 3. Time constraint, 4. Lack of resources, 5. Not suited to my discipline.

To know the strength of the association, if the confidence interval lies entirely below 0.0, we can assume that the strongest identified barriers are:

Time constraint

Lack of resources.

Our finding are supported by researchers who have pointed out that there are many obstacles that prevent teachers from using technology such as inadequate infrastructure (Mehlinger & Power, 2002), Lack of training and personal expertise (Thompson & Sadara, 1999) and weak technical support ( NetDay Survey, 2001). Time and training appear to be the main factor (Morris 2009). Budget difficulty in obtaining materials, lack of audiovisual room and lack of trained personals (Higgins & Moseley, 2001)

In addition, the above findings justify that confidence level of unwilling participant is not an issue in the willingness to use technology. (Mean difference =2.548, falling in the Disagree category).

Conclusion and Recommendation

The continuing pressure of technology on education is said to be more and more dominant. Hence, there is a general pessimistic opinion that educators are "technophobic" and unwilling to use technology. This study has sought to show that the technophobia of teachers on a gender basis is a mistaken notion. Rather, lack of resources, lack of training and no technical support were found to be the most striking reasons for unwillingness to use technology in class.

This conclusion suggests that proper resources and training should be given to our educators where gender and years of experience is not an issue.