TECHNOLOGICAL TOOLS FOR EDUCATION IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC: A STUDY OF ACCEPTANCE AND USER EXPERIENCE IN ITALIAN SCHOOLS
1 University of trento (ITALY)
2 University of Milano-Bicocca (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Much has been published in the last two years regarding the effects of the Covid19 pandemic on students, teachers and teaching practices, as well as the usage of various technology tools and approaches put in place by institutions and teachers to deal with the emergency. Nonetheless, fewer papers focus on the range of technologies employed from the standpoint of user experience and the effectiveness of the single tool as assessed by teachers. Italy was one of the first Western countries to be severely affected by the epidemic, resulting in a lockdown, and Italian schools have spent tens of thousands of euros to prepare themselves with technology solutions that would allow educational activities to continue. But how these technologies have been chosen? How have been used? How did the teachers react to them, and which were the preferred ones?
This study, which was conducted on 328 teachers from all types and levels of school in Italy (excluding higher education), aims to contribute to the reflection on technological tools for education through an in-depth investigation of technology acceptance, use during the lockdown, and user experience assessment of the most popular technologies.
Some survey results highlight how software that was the de facto norm before the emergency has been displaced by others that were not previously utilised. Tools that would have been considered critical have instead been set aside in favour of others. This choice was partly influenced by people in charge of new technology at the school and partly by individual teachers' preferences. Both choices were impacted by two significant factors: economic convenience and ease of usage.
The economic factor was critical because, historically, at least up until that point, schools had always had a scarcity of financial resources to purchase teaching materials; the enormous training task that schools and teachers had to face determined the factor of ease of use (including ergonomics and perceived affordances). It was essential to train teachers who had never considered using technology for teaching until the previous week; thus, the tool had to have as smooth a learning curve as possible and be useable even by teachers with limited digital skills. These tools also have to be easily accessible to families and students.
As for the acceptance issue, teachers demonstrate that they understand the relevance of technology in education and its utility and are convinced that they must stay current and prepared for their use. However, there is no consensus that these can improve teaching and learning processes.
Keywords: Educational technology, technology-enhanced learning, distance learning, e-learning, user experience, covid19, kindergarten, primary school, secondary school.