Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Educative Uses of ICT, Technological Skills and Academic Performance of the Venezuelan University Students (Barineses): A Causal Perspective

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Educative Uses of ICT, Technological Skills and Academic Performance of the Venezuelan University Students (Barineses): A Causal Perspective

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The objective of this research was to analyze the relations among the educative uses of ICT, levels of skills in the technology handling (ICT Skills Index) and academic performance of the Barineses university students, in order to propose a model of causal relations that represents suitably, the effects of the technology use with academic aims on the results in the studies. It was a random, cross-sectional and anonymous study that follows the habitual evolution of the research process: it begins by being a descriptive research, and finishes as explanatory study. The sampling was by conglomerates and stratified groups, in three stages. The sample for the study consisted of 410 Barineses university students. A questionnaire applied by the students was used. The statistical analysis was carried out in two phases: descriptive univariado and with structural equations modelling. The proposed causal model during the research development, revealed significant influences of several indicators on the scores obtained in the ICT Skills Index; not occurring the same in relation to the influence of this last index on the Academic performance of the Barineses university students. This result seems to support, the often outstanding thing in literature on the subject, in relation to the difficulties found until now by the researchers, to demonstrate the effectiveness of the use of ICT on the results in the studies; and it again places in centre of the debate the well-known paradox of the non significance (see Russell, 1999, for a more detailed analysis of this phenomenon).

Keywords: Educative uses of Internet; Internet and higher education; Internet in Venezuela; e-Literacy; Academic performance; Effectiveness of the use of ICT.

INTRODUCTION

The formidable expansion of Internet in the last years seems to show itself of unequal way according to the social group which it is. Our Venezuela country is somewhat straggler, in relation to other countries, respect to degree of penetration of this technology with only 11.66% of the total population connected. However, it has experienced a fast growth in the last years that made elevate the number of users in 62% during the 2000, 40% in 2001 and 32% in 2002. This rate of growth fell appreciably to 0.14% during 2003, but it recovered his ascending tendency in 2004 with 26% of increase and during 2005 with 41% (Tendencias Digitales and Cavecom-e, 2005). In our context, like in many others, the pioneer social sector in the use of Internet has been the university community. Thanks to the impulse of the State by means of the creation and beginning of REACCIUN, the national academic network, fast and easy access to the universities of permanent form starting from 1994 was provided. Initially, this access was restricted to the educational personnel and researchers; nevertheless, gradually the universities have been extending the free connection to the students (especially in laboratories of computers with connection to the Network located in the university campuses).

It is not possible to be denied that in the last years many researches, congresses and workshop, mainly in the American and European universities, have been dedicated to the subject of the usages of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education and learning. Despite the previous thing, it is a well-known fact that in many of those researches, a little participation of the students in the stage of the projects design is demonstrated (for example, in those cases that imply elaboration of innovating learning materials). Basically, the participation of the students has been confined to inform to the promoters into such initiatives on its ideas and necessities related to the systems that will be implemented. In much counted occasions, the university students have been considered like principal actors in the processes of incorporation of ICT to the higher education institutions. Most of the times, the opinions of university authorities and teachers are only taken into account; in which we could identify like a top to bottom vertical perspective on the subject. …

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