Rhodes University (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3859-3866
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
While teaching with various information and communication technology (ICT) tools in the classroom is at an increase in South Africa, marginalised schools such as those found in rural communities are still lagging behind in this area. This is despite some of the rural schools having ICT tools and teachers who are trained to use technology in teaching. We drew on Borg’s theory of cognition (2003) as we questioned why most teachers in marginalised schools were not using computers and or other technologies in their classrooms. Borg’s theory of cognition states that decision making is driven by cognitions, i.e. beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and thoughts and that an understanding of these will help to understand how teachers reach the decision to use or not use computers in their teaching. We found that most teachers in the rural schools we worked in believed that computers were important for their learners; they had positive attitudes towards the use of computers in teaching and were knowledgeable and skilled enough in the use of computers. However, teachers were not using computers not because of their cognitions, but because their schools did not have resources – in some cases – even basic resources such as electricity.

We then conducted an intervention that used a mobile computer laboratory (MCL) populated with netbooks with three teachers who had completed an in-service teacher training programme on ICT in education with our university. This paper comes out of a larger PhD study which focused on the perceptions and experiences of teachers using computers to teach Social Sciences. Being cognisant of the novelty effect on the learners, we focused on the teachers. This paper will therefore focus only on the teachers’ experiences teaching computers for the first time in their classrooms. Data we present in this paper was generated through observations of lessons as well as stimulated recall interviews (SRI) with the three teachers. The SR interviews were prompted by video recording of the lessons.

Findings revealed that teachers experienced high levels of participation and discussion in their classrooms when they started teaching with computers. Teachers noted an increase in the time spent preparing that is, looking for material online and planning lessons. However, teacher were quick to say that using computers saved them time in the long run as all three taught more than one class per grade. Even though we noticed during the classroom observations that teachers had some technical problems during their lessons, it was evident that their prior experiences with computers and other technology enhanced their overall classroom experience.
ICT, In-service teachers, marginalised, rural classrooms.