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

The Challenges Facing the Integration of ICT in Teaching in Saudi Secondary Schools

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

The Challenges Facing the Integration of ICT in Teaching in Saudi Secondary Schools

Article excerpt


Studies have reported on the importance of using modern facilities to improve teaching in Saudi schools (Alkahtani, 2009a; Oyaid, 2009; Al-Buraidi, 2006;Alkahtani,2015b;Alkahtani,2016c). These studies make it clear that ICTequipment is necessary for teachers' for day-to-day tasks (reprographics for example) is either not available, or the equipment is inadequate. Both Abatain (2001) and Alshowaye (2002) reported on access in different parts of Saudi Arabia to, and the facilities for, information and communications technology (ICT) was subpar. They found some schools were poorly equipped to deliver ICT, including operating in "rented houses," facilities which had not been built to function as schools.

A number of issues arise regarding the integration of ICTequipmen into school programs, including the need to provide appropriate training, especially for teachers, before the program starts and as required on an on-going basis (Wright and Macrow, 2006). This training needs to focus on the operation of theICT equipment and on the curriculum in terms of content and delivery methods.

There is also the matter of the ICT equipment. First, it must be available, and second, it must be in good working order. Easy access to technical support for equipment maintenance is essential in supporting both teachers and students. ICT equipment that functions effectively and which is well maintained cannot help but facilitate the shift from the transmission model of learning (teacher disseminates information but usually there is no further dialogue or discussion) to one of "inquiry learning." Resolving ICT issues will not by itself result in a change from the transmission to the inquiry model-ICT availability and support alone does not comprise the sole difference (Ihmeideh, 2010)-but it can support the inquiry model equally as well as the transmission model.


Integration of ICT Equipment into the Classroom

The educational change currently under way in Saudi Arabia and in many other countries is driven by competition in economic development, and typically involves the adoption of computer technology as a package, along with teaching techniques that encourage independent thinking and creativity. This is partly because independent research lies at the heart of the new curriculum, and students need the Internet in order to carry out this research. In many countries that have only fairly recently achieved universal literacy, including in Saudi Arabia, it is rare for schools to have libraries of books in which students can look up information. Rather than buy such libraries, countries often prefer to take students directly to Internet for research, which is more widely used in contemporary government and corporate work (Pfeifer et al., 2005; Pennington, 2013; Bridges, 1986 cited in Brisson-Banks, 2010; Fielding and Moss, 2011, Alkahtani,2016c).

ICT is also believed to enhance work and education in other ways. It can be used to deliver lessons with interesting and enjoyable real-world examples and stimulating visual and audio illustrations from an extremely wide range of sources. In addition, ICT offers well-known benefits such as efficient new ways to compose documents and organize and store information. Email helps teachers and students communicate outside of class, holding online tutorials or submitting or returning homework, as well as allowing teachers and students to share their ideas with teachers and students in other schools. Dedicated software can be used for students with special needs. ICT is generally welcomed in schools and other institutions as a core 21st-century skill. Consequently, computers are widely used and computer skills are often considered to be necessary tickets into the world of institutional jobs (Hawkridge, 1989; Wishart and Blease, 1999; Smerdon et al., 2000; Downes et al., 2001; Watson, 2001; Cradler et al., 2002; Granger et al., 2002; Wasserman and Millgram, 2005; Baines, 2005; Alkahtani, 2009a; Al-Saif, 2006; Oyaid, 2009; John, online, Alkahtani, 2016c). …

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