TEACHER’S PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THE USE OF TABLETS IN A STRATEGY TO INTEGRATE NEW TECHNOLOGIES ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF CUNDINAMARCA, COLOMBIA
Many initiatives have been developed in order to include technology on different aspects of our current society. Education is one of the areas in which public policies have been oriented toward the integration of information technologies and communication (ICT). Nevertheless, despite efforts made on infrastructure matters and pedagogical strategies to include ICT on schools, studies intended to identify the effects of technology in education are scarce, particularly in Latin America. In Colombia, some programs have been proposed by different government entities to foster digital literacy. The ICT Ministry has led one of the biggest strategies to provide tablets to public schools in all the country. This program is oriented to strengthen the dynamics of student learning and promote social inclusion through technology integration on education. Particularly, in Cundinamarca, the central region of the country, the program is focused in the innovation of the educational practice with the use of tablets to foster basic competences on students of sixth and seventh grade. To achieve this goal, teacher training on ICT competences and in situ accompaniments of educational practices on schools are implemented. In addition to these elements, another of the program purposes is to identify teacher’s perceptions about tablet’s use. This variable could be a determinant factor in the success of integrating tablets on pedagogical environments and a valuable source of analysis to understand the ICT inclusion process.
Information technology acceptance research is one of the fields that may contribute to answer questions related to the ICT integration on educative systems. Different models have been proposed to explain user acceptance of new technologies: theory of reasoned action, technology acceptance model, motivation model, theory of planned behavior, model of PC utilization, innovation diffusion theory, social cognitive theory and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT). Based on this last approach, a self-report instrument was designed to identify teacher’s perceptions about the use of tablets. The survey inquires about performance and effort expectancy, social influence, facilitating conditions, self-efficacy, anxiety and behavioral intention to use the tablets. Items related to these constructs were adapted from the original UTAUT model according to the research context and were designed to measure with a Likert scale ranging five points from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” teacher's perceptions about tablets use.
The survey is applied to participant teachers of the program in public schools of Cundinamarca. Teachers involved to the program belong to rural and urban schools, most of them teach on sixth and seventh grade and are linked to science, language, mathematics and technology areas. The instrument is implemented before the program starts and once the intervention process concludes. Preliminary results associated to the first application moment show that teachers have an overall positive perception about performance, effort expectancy and attitude toward using tablets. On the other hand, there is not a clear trend on teacher’s perception related to variables such as social influence and facilitating conditions. These results could be explained by the application moment of the survey, in which participant perceptions could be mainly focused on expectative of using new technologies.