In this final chapter, conclusions are drawn based upon the research work conducted throughout the literature review, survey, methodology and findings. The researcher tries to link the research questions formulated in the first chapter with results obtained in the previous chapter to assess whether these questions have been answered. A few recommendations are also stated based upon the research work carried out and results obtained. Future areas of research are also highlighted.
5.2 SOLUTION TO RESEARCH QUESTION
After the going through the steps of methodology, survey and analysis, the following answers were found to research questions formulated at the very beginning of the study.
Research Question 1: How ICT can enhance the teaching process?
The overall response from the survey was positive in that ICT can enhance the teaching process. Most of the educators are computer literate and have basic ICT knowledge. They can use this knowledge to access extra information as well as develop power point presentations and handouts in preparation and delivery of lessons. ICT needs to be considered as a 'tool' for enhancing education, which will also change the role of the educator. Teachers will become more facilitators of student directed learning rather than teachers of pre-digested information. The socialisation role of schools will become more important as more technical knowledge is obtained from technology.
ICT tools can be seen in all subject areas in various ways. The teaching process can be enhanced with ICT with the setting up of proper infrastructures and facilities as well as training in content and curriculum development. The potential for ICT to enhance teaching and learning cannot be realised unless teachers think analytically about their teaching. Such analytical thinking should include the effectiveness of ICT to provide new, more efficient and flexible ways of teaching and learning.
Research Question 2: What are the challenges faced by educators in the adoption of ICT in the teaching process?
Some of the ICT tools, from the list drawn after the survey, were implemented to observe how ICT-integration would enhance the teaching and learning process in one of the computer classes at TRSSS. Many of the benefits, outlined in table 2.3.1 in Literature Review, were experienced by both teacher and students. Students definitely enjoyed the new learning environment as there was opportunity for self-development and the academic outcomes related to curriculum also improved. Data for hypothetical analysis was also collected prior and after the period of case study.
Research Question 3: Does ICT enhance learning process?
Analysis of data collected at Form III level for two subjects with each
class having same number of students.
Use of ICT teaching and learning methods in one class.
Use of traditional teaching and learning methods in another class.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) greatly facilitate the acquisition and absorption of knowledge, offering developing countries unprecedented opportunities to enhance educational systems, improve policy formulation and execution, and widen the range of opportunities for all. One of the greatest hardships endured by the developing and under-developed countries is their sense of isolation. These new communications technologies promise to reduce that sense of isolation, and to open access to knowledge in ways unimaginable not long ago. The use of ICT tools in the classroom will help to better prepare the current generation of students for a workplace where ICTs, particularly computers, the Internet and related technologies, are becoming more and more ubiquitous.
Teaching and learning with ICT means focusing on how technology can be the means to teaching and learning ends across the curriculum. It includes:
Presentation, demonstration, and the manipulation of data using productivity tools for better understanding.
Use of curriculum-specific applications types such as educational games, drill and practice, simulations, tutorials, virtual laboratories, visualizations and graphical representations of abstract concepts, musical composition, and expert systems.
Use of information and resources on CD-ROM or online such as encyclopedia, interactive maps and atlases, electronic journals, subject-specific web pages and other references.
Information literacy is required for learning with technologies to be possible, implying that students have to learn about the technologies before they can actually use them to learn. This study has attempted both since the sampled population were already studying for computer studies as a subject. Thus an attempt has been made to integrate the two approaches with the use of ICT tools in the teaching and learning process.
The stakeholders of our education system need to consider seriously the integration of ICT into the teaching and learning process to improve the quality of education. On-line learning needs judicious application with regard to access, learning styles, competence and students personal preference. The following recommendations are being made for the government, school administrators and teachers. They have different roles and have different contributions to the success of ICT in teaching and learning.
Provision will have to be made at the level of the Ministry of Education to provide adequate training in content and curriculum development using ICT instead of just basic ICT skills. The computer training courses should be organized once every term.
To meet the needs of the new century, a comprehensive curriculum review should be carried out. A new curriculum is necessary which should provide a clear vision in how ICT can achieve their educational goal and what the new role of teachers and students in the learning process are.
Government should employ more teachers in order to reduce teachers' teaching and non-teaching duties for teachers to have more time to think, try and plan how to integrate ICT in their teaching.
The Government will have to ensure provision of proper ICT infrastructures and facilities in school environment to create backbone support for ICT-integrated teaching and learning.
Government should provide courses for head of schools so that they can learn more about the advantages, the ways and the difficulties of the implementation of ICT.
The Ministry should provide ICT teaching materials for teaching different subjects.
Government is recommended to employ IT coordinators and I.T technicians in every school.
Public Private Partnerships (PPP) can be sought as the setting up and maintenance of ICT infrastructure throughout all schools in the island is quite a costly investment. PPP can be a way to resolve problems of fiscal constraint (budgetary pressure) and satisfy the demand for ongoing improvements in infrastructure and public service delivery.
5.4.2 School Level
Vision and leadership of Rector and Senior teachers are critical factors to effective integration of ICT in schools. They should develop a comprehensive and concrete policy and plan in how to implement the integration in schools and how to ensure that students can be benefit from the new technology.
School I.T committee should not only focus on infrastructure but also help other teachers to integrate ICT in teaching and introduction of techniques involves. Where necessary, a committee should be formed to take up the jobs.
School administrator should do their best to provide department with at least one computer and access to the internet so as to promote teachers' usage of ICT.
Basic and necessary I.T equipment should be every provided in each classroom, such as computer, projectors and display screens. Each specialist room (workshops & laboratories) must be equipped with a computer, screen and a projector.
To provide students to learn through hand-on experiences, schools should set up more computer laboratory for the use of non-computer subjects or in case of limited resource, should make necessary arrangement such that non-computer subjects can have the opportunities to use the computer room.
School administrators should cultivate a climate of using ICT in the school. This I.T culture can give a clear signal to all teachers and students that the school emphasizes the use of ICT in teaching and learning. This culture also encourages teachers to show their experience in integrating ICT in teaching.
The school should provide more seminars to emphasize advantage of ICT in teaching and learning.
Sharing of good ICT teaching ideas can enhance teachers' attitude and the usefulness of ICT in teaching different subject. Hence, school administrators should organize more sharing sessions for teachers to exchange ideas, discuss and solve common problems.
Tailor-made training program focusing on the learning of meaningful integration of ICT in teaching should be provided to school teachers.
Schools should reduce teachers' non-teaching duties so that they have more time to focus on preparing quality teaching.
Schools should assign experts to tackle the technical problems so that teachers can focus on teaching rather than technical problem.
Psychological support and ongoing continuous assistance should be provided to teachers by school administrators. Encouragements such as praises are recommended. The school administration should encourage, motivate and monitor closely the use of ICT tools in the schools.
The school management should be more open to the suggestions of the Educators.
Students should have access to the computer room on a regular basis for the periods of extracurricular activities.
Schools can provide tailor-made teaching and learning packages for particular subjects.
Students need to be provided with adequate resources to be able to use these facilities even after school hours to remove the disparity between the Haves and the Have Nots. They can develop themselves analytically, pedagogically and academically through the use of ICT embedded in their education system.
5.4.3 Teacher Level
Teachers should update and equip themselves to meet the next challenges in the 21st century.
Teachers should understand that integration of ICT is an aid to teaching only. Teachers should use relevant technology in achieving in education goals, not adjust the goals because of the new technology.
Teacher should consider opportunities of using learning and teaching materials involving constructivist approach and not the drill- and -practice learning packages which emphasize on rate memorization only.
Teachers should psychologically and technically support each other to maintain a collaborative atmosphere.
Teachers should participate actively in sharing sessions organized by the school so that they can learn form their peers.
Teachers will have to invest in professional development and learn to use ICT tools to develop content-based software or web pages to enhance the teaching and learning. Their roles will change to become guides or facilitators. Educators have to understand that ICT is just a 'tool' to improve quality of education and not to take their place.
Teachers must include in their lesson plan the specific ICT tools used.
Teachers should have easy access to the computer rooms. Each school should have a minimum of two computer laboratories and the staff room should be equipped with computers (one computer for every ten teachers).
Teachers have all followed computer training courses but very few have the opportunity to put their skills into practice. Teachers should therefore be encouraged to make use of educational software.
5.5 FUTURE STUDY
Several issues cropped up during the study which was not considered at the beginning of the research. There is scope for future studies with regard to ICT-integration in teaching and learning process in:
ICT in content and curriculum development for improved education quality
Assessing whether same result is obtained with use of ICT in other subject areas.
Developing a local common platform where teachers and students from all schools can share their resources and knowledge as well as problems and difficulties in their teaching or learning process.
Furthermore, the current results might be probed into, to find additional research questions for further investigation, which can be studied in depth.
Further research can be done to study the relationship between the usefulness of ICT on different subject areas and ways to enhance their usefulness can also be investigated.
5.5.1 Unavoidable Weaknesses in the study
A case study cannot obviously aspire to provide results that can be approximated to a wider population of students.
There is also the assumption on growth and maturity factor over time factor, which has been nullified for the sake of hypothetical analysis.
Major issues might have been ignored while minor issues might have been stressed upon.
5.5.2 Personal Experience
This research work has provided me with the opportunity of integrating ICT into my teaching strategy as well as giving my students the opportunity of using it as a learning tool, which otherwise I would not have ever attempted. This experience has transformed my identity as an educator and I have decided to extend this strategy to my other classes. My students' attitude has become more respectful and friendly towards me. This transformation journey has been a very enriching experience.
5.5.3 Closing Words
"Simply forcing a teacher to integrate technology into the classroom is an exercise in futility ... What is needed is a shift in thinking so teachers will come to view technology as an effective tool to use throughout the course of planning, delivering and assessing instruction, not something that must be used to meet a government-mandated technology standard."