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

Unsystematic Technology Adoption in Cambodia: Students' Perceptions of Computer and Internet Use

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

Unsystematic Technology Adoption in Cambodia: Students' Perceptions of Computer and Internet Use

Article excerpt


The introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) into the field of education has considerably changed the way teachers teach and students learn (Thang & Wong, 2010). With the pervasiveness of digital technologies in society, it is impossible to imagine future learning environments that are not supported, in one way or another, by ICTs. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2002) noted that the understanding of basic skills in ICTs is a fundamental aspect of education.

Unfortunately, less developed countries often experience difficulty with incorporating ICTs into their education system. This is particularly true in Southeast Asia where many countries lack a solid national infrastructure of electricity, Internet availability, human capital, and cell phone coverage. With core elements of a technological infrastructure not fully developed, school systems in this region experience dire challenges incorporating ICTs into the formal learning environment.

To integrate ICTs into the educational system of less developed countries, policy makers, funding agencies, politicians, and educators must understand the role of technology. This understanding includes how stakeholders perceive using technology, and what barriers they face when trying to use these technologies; both inside and outside of the formal school environment. The review of the literature that follows is intended to give the reader an understanding of digital technology in education in the Southeast Asia region with a specific focus on Cambodia.


Many less developed countries lack the funds, capability, and capacity to implement and sustain technology initiatives. Some researchers have argued that ICT access can be limited by a variety of micro and macro factors, including poverty and geographic isolation (Mariscal, Gil-Garcia, & Aldama-Nalda, 2011). With regards to ICT in education, each of the 11 ASEAN member countries can be assigned into one of three distinct groups (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, 2010). The most advanced countries have successfully incorporated ICTs into the education system. The second group includes those countries that are currently in the process of infusing ICTs into the education system. The third group includes those countries that have either started to develop and implement ICT in education policies or have implemented small scale ICT in education projects. Cambodia is part of this last group and is thus an interesting case to study because of its burgeoning development in the ICT in education sector.

Technology in Schools in Less Developed Countries

The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (2010) defines ICT in education as "ICT functioning as an integral or mediated tool to accomplish specific teaching and learning activities to meet certain instructional objectives" (p. 6). Given limited monetary resources and the need to improve educational quality, understanding how technology is being adopted in the education system of less developed countries is vital. In Western countries such as the United States, a decentralized system of educational control allows each state or region, and often times individual schools, to make decisions regarding the implementation of ICT in schools for teaching and learning. Outputs and inputs can vary greatly from one school to the next, and thus innovation adoption can look unique in each context. In countries with centralized education systems, like Cambodia, technology innovations (excluding pilot projects) are often rolled out across the country. Thus, understanding nuances of the technology adoption process in a limited number of schools in a country such as Cambodia, can inform planners, policy makers, and politicians.

Even with the many difficulties in obtaining and implementing ICT for teaching and learning, less developed countries are making strides in ICT use. …

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