Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Inservice Teacher Training and Technology: A Case of Botswana

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Inservice Teacher Training and Technology: A Case of Botswana

Article excerpt

     The challenges that are facing teachers of the new millennium are
     many and complex, and for teachers in Botswana, they find
     themselves at the crossroad of so many changes that are rapidly
     taking place both in and outside school. Among these changes has
     been the introduction of technology in schools, and just like any
     other reform that takes place in education; teachers play a key
     role in its development. Schools in Botswana have been and are
     still being equipped with computers to be used in the
     teaching/learning process. Literature indicates that there is a
     great need for teachers to learn and use technology with their
     students. Practicing teachers are faced with a challenge to learn
     technology so that they can function in technology-based classrooms
     that are being created in schools. Inservice teacher training takes
     different forms in different schools.

     The purpose of this study was to investigate how practicing
     teachers in one secondary school in Botswana are prepared to work
     with technology in their classes. Data was collected through
     indepth interviewing of teachers and officials from the Ministry of
     Education. Findings indicate that teachers who have already
     acquired computer knowledge through their own initiative do the
     technology teacher training in this school. Teachers are also
     not satisfied with the training that they are given. The study
     recommends a more systematic approach to teacher training in the
     school so that more teachers can be involved and also benefit from
     the training.

Literature Review

For computer technology to be successful in schools, teachers need to be trained and well prepared to competently integrate it into their curricular. Teacher training is a core activity in the development of educational technology practices because at the center of effective use of instructional technologies are those who oversee the daily activities of the classroom--the teachers. They are the main promoters of any innovative activity in education; therefore, it is important to help them to effectively integrate technology into their work (Pettenati, Giuli, & Khaled, 2001). The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) report of 1995 stated that for teachers to use technology well, they not only need to have access to it, but they also have to discover and experiment different ways that it can be applied. It is therefore important to understand how teachers relate with technology, what their role is in this new environment, and what is being done to help them function in technology-based classrooms.

The use of computers in schools poses a challenge for practicing teachers who already have their own established ways of teaching and do not know much about computers because they were not part of their preservice training. These teachers are faced with a task of learning something completely new and having to change their way of teaching, which is not an easy task for most of them.

The Need to Train Inservice Teachers to Use Technology

Technology has no doubt fully entered the education system and teachers find themselves in a position where they do not have much choice but to learn it. For most experienced teachers, technology was not part of their initial training, and educators admit that reeducating this existing teaching force is not easy, but it is necessary (Technology and the New Professional Teacher, 1997). Teachers play a key role in students' learning and there is no way they can stay ignorant of the changes that are taking place in education that affect their students. According to a report by president Wise of the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education:

     It is impossible to deny the tremendous effect rapid
     technological growth has had on our society. This explosion of new
     technologies has changed the way we live-from the way we do
     business and to the way we communicate with each other. … 
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