Assessment of Technology Integration in Vocational Education and Training Schools

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper aims at determining the technology integration level of vocational K-12 teachers and effects of gender and age on teachers' technology integration level. Quantitative descriptive research method was used. Data were collected through Levels of the Technology Implementation (LoTI) questionnaire, which assesses three dimensions: Level of Technology Implementation (LoTI), Personal Computer Use (PCU) and Current Instructional Practices (CIP). Participants of the study were 232 vocational K-12 teachers. This study revealed that participant teachers had higher LoTI, PCU and CIP Levels. This study also showed that there was a significant difference between gender in LoTI and PCU scores. Male teachers' LoTI and PCU scores were higher than female ones. And also, a significant difference was found between age and teachers PCU scores. Younger teachers had higher PCU scores than their older counterparts. Some suggestions and recommendations were given in the light of the research findings.

Keywords : Technology integration; Assessment; VET schools; LoTI; Turkey.

INTRODUCTION

The society in which we live is constantly changing. As we move through the Information Age, technological advances are changing the way that many organizations operate. Education is not immune to these changes (Griffin 2003). Schools cannot truly prepare students to function within society if the curriculum fails to cover the equipment and skills they will actually use in the real world. Schools cannot hope to improve either the academic achievement of their students or the overall value of their programs without sufficiently integrating technology (Donahoo & Whitney 2006). Students must be able to use technology if they are going to live and work successfully in an increasingly complex and information-driven society (Miller 2007). Students must be technology literate in order to excel in future jobs and to be productive citizens (Griffin 2003).

Computers and the Internet, creates new opportunities for teaching and learning. As Hew & Brush (2007) stated, computers and Internet technologies can help students improve their scores on standardized tests (Bain & Ross 1999), improve their inventive thinking (CEO Forum on Education and Technology 2001), and improve students' self-concept and motivation (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo 2000). Valdez (2004) found, with an extensive literature review, technology can impact student achievement significantly.

Studies indicate that technology can accelerate, enrich, and deepen basic skills; motivate and engage student learning; helps relate academics to the practices of today's' workforce; strengthens teaching; increase the economic viability of tomorrows' workers; contributes to school change; and connects schools to the real world (Schacter 1999).

An effective use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools can have an immediate positive impact on the schools' learning environments such as, by creating more dynamic interaction between students and teachers, increasing collaboration and team work in problem-solving activities, stimulating creativity in both students and teachers, and helping students to control and monitor their own learning. Furthermore, successful use of ICT in schools can help students to develop skills; both specific to ICT and more generally, that will be useful for them in their future academic and professional lives (OECD 2005). Such students will have the advantage of being familiar with different media common to the modern workplace, and should be able to use these ICT skills to access, compile, synthesize and exchange information effectively.

Technology Integration

Technology in itself does not support learning. It can play out its full potential only when it is well integrated into learning environment (Otto & Albion 2004; Voogt & Knezek 2008). The availability of ICT is not, in itself, sufficient to enhance learning and teaching and in turn, increase attainment. …

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