UTILITY ASSESSMENT OF ICT-EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES IN BULGARIAN SCHOOLS
Institute of Information and Communication Technologies - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are already an integral part of the education supporting teaching-learning activities to a large extent. The traditional educational process has started slowly, but steadily to change decades ago and now digital tools enable its fast transformation. Innovative tools offer diverse forms of acquiring new knowledge, as well as practicing and strengthening the knowledge. Much research on the technology-enhanced teaching has been done in general, but the attention has to be also put on its impact at the school level.
Therefore, we have conducted a survey among Bulgarian teachers in order to examine their experience in using ICT in diverse classroom activities in the different learning subjects. Our goal is to find out what the view of the teachers on the importance of technology resources for education is. We particularly focus on the results concerning knowledge acquiring and learning exercises. Furthermore, we investigate the usefulness of teaching instruments – presentations, virtual laboratories and learning games in schooling.
Simultaneously, we evaluate, represent and analyze the subjective preferences of teachers who have a long-standing practice of using ICT instruments in classroom activities. For this purpose, our method is grounded in a mathematical approach based on the utility and probability theories combined with the stochastic approximation in order to build a mathematical model. The core of this model is a utility function that represents the preferences of the teachers. We construct such functions for the usage of ICT-resources in two of the main teaching activities – knowledge delivery and classroom exercises – and additionally in educational gaming. Furthermore, we discuss the derived utility functions of the considered educational instruments concerning their optimal proportions.
The analysis of each utility function enables us to estimate the optimal degree of the technology-enhanced teaching in each of aforementioned activities. Moreover, the precise formal description helps us to gain a better insight into technology integration in the educational process and to improve the decision-making in those complex issues. Thus it is possible to estimate the role and extent of digital technologies in teaching-learning activities and to reach relevant decisions on the matter.
In this paper, we comment on the level of technology usage in teaching practice. The constructed mathematical models and the results obtained in this research are intended to help policy-makers and stakeholders in the educational area update, modify and adapt the curricula, support school equipment and carry out professional training of teachers. Those results can serve as a base for recommendations for an optimal degree of the usage of ICT-resources in the educational process so as to improve learning effectiveness.
Keywords: ICT-educational resources, utility function, preferences, decision-making support.