16 SES 06 B, Enablers of and Barriers to ICT Use
This research focuses on the reasons why university teachers do not use digital technologies as a tool for teaching and learning in higher education institutions. Nowadays, technologies evolve faster than before and thus it is important that teachers are in continuous updating for those not to be an obstacle but an enabler of the teaching-learning process. For the educational use of these tools the most important thing is to take advantage of their characteristics and possibilities, since any of those resources might be a pedagogical help if they are used correctly (Valdés et al., 2012).
The progressive development of several emergent technologies is having an important impact in the way of how education is envisaged, designed and developed in teaching. (GUNI, 2013). Moreover, the advent of new scenarios and training modalities (MOOCs or mobile learning) as well as the growing use of technologies for adolescents in current society are changing the perspective of how teachers must perform their classes. The arrival of ICT to Higher Education is not new, but its inclusion into teachers’ methodologies is still ongoing and it is positioned in different phases of integration depending on the institution analyzed (Sandholtz & Reilly, 2004). Drawing from the premise that ICT integration in training processes helps to improve teacher methodologies, their pedagogical and digital competences and enhance innovation (Cabero, 2005; Salinas, 2008; Hargreaves, 2011), it is a process that needs to be studied in every context to assess what it is happening and why we are not there yet (Aduviri, 2012).
Furthermore, UNESCO (2014) published a report of strategies for improving education and in their strategic goals includes the need of integrating ICT in education: Expanding learning opportunities and the quality of education through ICT, and Rethinking education for the future: foresight and research. In both goals it is mentioned that UNESCO’s purpose is boosting adoption of ICT in education from a pedagogical point of view as well as transforming educational conception about it in the current knowledge society.
Thus, it is critical to identify barriers and resistances to ICT integration with the intention of finding the best enabler for eliminating each obstacle. The existing studies have analyzed the barriers from a theoretical point of view and referred to education in general without deepening in Higher Education. Bingimlas (2009) specifies the barriers in the system, Duart & Lupiáñez (2005) indicate that the problem is the organization since their structure is inflexible and it does not allow changes. Prendes (2010) reflects that teachers are competent in using ICT if they use certain tools such as email, visual presentations, and search engines. However, they have not developed enough skills for using social networks, microblogging, lifestreaming, virtual worlds or videoconference applied to education. Likewise, UNESCO (2011) mention some obstacles to integrate ICT in education such as personal prejudices, views and perspectives, resistance to consider new ideas or lack of in service teacher training programs.
The objectives of the study are: (1) Identify the existing barriers that hinder integrating ICT in higher education; and (2) generate proposals that contribute to bring down the barriers detected.
The study was developed with a mixed-method methodology. We use qualitative and quantitative methods with the purpose of contrasting the findings of both methods. That said, the study draws from the quantitative method to, afterwards, analyze the qualitative information, which implies a detail exploration of some interesting cases for the study (Creswell, 2003). The research is a multicase study, in which we intend to answer the question “why teachers do not integrate technologies in their teaching performance”. The study tries to find the causes of a specific problem (Yin, 1994). The cases selected are four universities in Catalonia from different locations and ownership (public or private). Thus, we carry out an analysis focused on specific contexts considering the factors that intervene in each case and giving suitable solutions for those contexts. The tools for collecting data are a questionnaire created adhoc and interviews. The questionnaire contains three types of questions: - Sociodemographic block: In order to compare the results based on characteristics such age, experience, gender, disciplinary area, digital skills, frequency of ICT use in class, etc. These questions are, mainly, closed-ended, except for those related to years (age and experience). - Statement block: Participants answer different statements about possible barriers to integrate ICT. These questions are a Likert-type scale. - Open questions: Participants answer two open questions about what they think it is the most significant barrier in their context and another giving them the chance to remark their opinion on the issue. The questionnaire is a tool that was previously validated by 12 academic and practical judges. After having collected all questionnaires, we also submitted it to a statistical validation test. The questionnaire obtained optimum Cronbach’s Alfa punctuation: .874 and .877 for the first two blocks. The sample consisted of 527 teachers, which is a representative sample for the total population for every discipline (Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Heath Sciences and Science and Engineering) and every university participating (UAB, UdL, UVic-UCC and UIC). After the analysis of the questionnaire, interviews guides were created to deepen in the highlight results found. The sample was 29 teachers, meeting the criteria established previously in order to maintain representation of universities and disciplines.
The results confirm that teachers are still using the same basic digital tools. Furthermore, the frequency of ICT use is low and sporadic and teachers do not use tools integrated with their methodologies, except for visual presentations of virtual environments. Mainly, visual presentations are used to show students contents and information but it does not promote collaborative work. Although virtual environments are a tool with many possibilities, they are still underused. After comparing results from sociodemographic data, results show that teachers that have greater digital competences use more frequently digital technologies in class. Also, the disciplinary area is a factor that affects the use of digital resources. Health Sciences and Social Sciences are the areas that use more diversity of tools. Gender, age or experiences are not a factor that affects the frequency of using technology, nevertheless, it has been possible to relate some specific tools to these characteristics. Female teachers use cloud storage, collaborative network and forums more frequently than male teachers. Older teachers tend to use virtual platforms, interactive software and videoconferences more than the youngsters. Related to specific barriers, the results show that the barriers that hinders integration are: technophobia, lack of time, generation gap, lack of planning, lack of incentives, lack of assessment and working saturation. In order to tackle these barriers and considering the factors affecting the issue, we propose an improvement plan with specific actions for every barrier. This plan includes a model that explains the relationship between barriers and factors with the purpose of comprehend the whole phenomenon.
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