Institute of Information and Communication Technologies - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1208-1218
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1250
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Nowadays technology is everywhere and the field of education is not an exception. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are integrated on a large scale into the educational process and offer powerful tools that support teaching practices. Therefore, we have conducted a survey among 190 Bulgarian teachers, mostly from primary schools, about their view on the ICT usage in class work. The main purpose is to reveal the place of modern technologies in the context of classroom education. We try to examine the teachers’ experience and analyse the ICT usage in terms of technology implementation during classroom activities in different learning subjects – knowledge delivery, exercises, examining/ testing and project-based work as well as extracurricular education and homework. At the same time we investigate the usage of educational games in the aforementioned activities.

The survey findings are considered in relation to the opinion of teachers with more than 20 years’ experience in the implementation of ICT tools in their practice (experts-teachers). Their views on the ICT usage in teaching, particularly in acquiring new knowledge and exercise, are obtained by mathematical approach. It is founded on the normative decision making approach (utility and probability theory) combined with stochastic approximation and mathematical models. The main point is the estimation and analytical representation of experts teachers’ subjective preferences made on the basis of their experience. An application of this approach in decision-making process concerning the aforementioned issue is presented. The mathematical formulation serves for development of a tool that evaluates individual experts-teachers’ preferences. The precise formal description and modelling of the decision-makers’ objectives permit rational behaviour in this complex problematic.

A utility function that represents these preferences is build. It forms the core of the mathematical model. It determines, in agreements with the teachers’ preferences, the best degree of technology integration in the two most common teaching activities – knowledge delivery and classroom exercises. The purpose is to estimate the grade of ICT usage for the particular educational activities based on teachers’ preferences as utility functions which reflects their own experience. As a result an optimal allocation of ICT resources usage across teaching activities based on the analytical model is derived and illustrated. The purpose of the investigation includes also the possibility to make recommendations for the rational usage of ICT tools in accordance with the intended purpose for various subjects and type of educational activities.

We analyse how the findings both from the conducted survey and the teachers’ assessment of ICT resources’ utility match with the experts-teachers’ recommendations. The comparative analysis shows that there is some disparity between the expert’s suggestions and the actual technology integration usage in teaching practice. A discussion about the possible reasons for this fact is given. A specific relation between teachers’ self-assessed ICT competence and professional experience is presented. The outcomes of our survey and their analysis are intended for policy makers and stakeholders to plan actions for further teachers’ professional development.
Technology enhanced teaching, ICT, utility function, preferences, value based decision support.