Information and Communication Technology Integration into Teaching and Learning: Opportunities and Challenges for Commerce Educators in South Africa

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ABSTRACT

The study examined the opportunities available and challenges experienced by Commerce subjects' educators using ICT. Quantitative and qualitative descriptive research was used. Six high schools were purposely selected for the study because they are all equipped with computer laboratories. A purposive sample consisted of 138 school-based commerce educators, 6 School governing Bodies (SGB) members, and 6 school managers from one particular Area Office (AO) in the North West Province, of South Africa were selected. Questionnaires, interviews and observations tools were used to collect the data. The findings of the study identified some major opportunities and challenges in integrating ICT into teaching and learning activities. The study recommends relevant and appropriate management and use of ICT by teachers and resource to empower schools with ICT infrastructure - physical and human resources, as well as ICT training which will empower commerce educators to transform their traditional modes of delivery towards new modes of delivery.

Keywords: Department of Education (DoE), Area Office (AO), North West Province, South Africa, Commerce Educators, High Schools, Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), National Curriculum Statement (NCS). ICT,

INTRODUCTION

The current national education system of South Africa aims at providing learners with a curriculum that is designed to develop reasoning, problem solving and learning strategies (Aliassi, 2000). Integration of information and communication technology (ICT) into teaching and learning is essential for meaningful interaction between learners and educators in commerce education. Commerce educators are defined here to comprise high school teachers who facilitate learning in accounting, economics and business studies subjects. ICT can be used to advance cognitive skills such as comprehension, reasoning, problem-solving and creative thinking (Department of Education, 2003). ICT is expected to improve educational outcomes and enhance and improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning (Jaffer, Ng'ambi & Czerniewicz, 2007). Since 1998, South African Schools have been following outcomes-based education, one of the aims of which is to prepare young South Africans for a globally competitive and technologically sophisticated economy (Todd & Mason, 2005). Under the new revised curriculum, the South African Department of Education is phasing in National Curriculum Statement (NSC) grade-by-grade and subject -by subject basis. According to the new policy on education (DoE, 2010) there will be clearly delineated topics for each subject and a recommended number and type of assessments per term. The role of ITC in the curriculum review has not changed but even re-emphasized to support learners and teachers improve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools (DoE, 2010).

CURRENT STATUS OF COMMERCE EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA.

The shift from the traditional curriculum to the new curriculum has brought with it innovations not only in teaching, but more fundamentally in knowledge: what to be taught and how to learn in schools. Commerce educators are expected to use technological principles to achieve the desired educational goals. Technology is thinking tool that educators are expected to integrate into teaching and learning strategies (Hyeon-Suk, 2001). ICT can serve as a vital catalyst for social change and economic development, especially in developing countries. According to Kozma, Mcghee, Quellmalz and Zalles (2004), information and communication technology can make a significant contribution to human development. With this backdrop of existing literature the present study aims to investigate the challenges and opportunities for ICT integration into commerce curriculum for high schools.

Information and communication technologies are becoming more integral to the lives of South Africa's citizens. …

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