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

Understanding Factors Affecting Primary School Teachers' Use of ICT for Student-Centered Education in Mongolia

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

Understanding Factors Affecting Primary School Teachers' Use of ICT for Student-Centered Education in Mongolia

Article excerpt

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The past two decades saw continuous research progress and related discussion on teachers' use of ICT in education. The meaning of "teachers' use of ICT in education" has evolved. In 1990s, the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) of U.S. Congress identified that ICT can empower three major different parts in teacher's job: enhancing instruction, simplifying and assisting daily tasks, as well as fostering professional growth activities (U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment 1995). First, in terms of enhancing instruction, it was indicated that the ICT itself does not directly influence teaching or learning. But instead, ICT should be integrated effectively with teaching contents and pedagogies (Earle, 2002; U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). Second, Russell and Chen report that teachers tend to use ICT for improving the productivity of conducting daily tasks such as preparing lessons, keeping student records, communicating with colleagues and parents (Chen, 2010; Russell, Bebell, O'Dwyer, & O'Connor, 2003). Third, ICT opens the door for teachers to practice knowledge renewal on their own rather than receiving information passively in a pre-determined fashion. Russell et al. also suggests that teachers training activities may be capable of altering teachers' beliefs on the value of specific technologies through actually offering them opportunities to work with these technologies (Russell et al., 2003).

Recently, the use of ICT for enhancing instruction, especially its importance in supporting student-centered education has been widely discussed (American Psychological Association 1997; Buabeng-Andoh 2012; Commission of the European Communities 2008; Drent & Meelissen 2008; Chen 2010; Roy et al. 2014; de Leng et al. 2006; Phungsuk, Viriyavejakul & Ratanaolarn 2017). American Psychological Association, in its recommendation, encouraged teachers to consider appropriate technological and instructional practices to facilitate student-centered learning (American Psychological Association, 1997). However, Vrasidas found out that for primary schools in Cyprus where all of them are equipped with computers and connected to the Internet, teachers are not actively integrating ICT into education due to factors such as lack of time and ill-structured design of school curriculum (Vrasidas, 2015). Meanwhile, Smith reported that the use of ICT for presentations and information management were well received in schools (Smith, Rudd, & Coghlan, 2008). Following these trends, recent studies show the trend that ICT is adapted for supporting student-centered education. For example, Roy and his research team analyzed the implementation of locally contextualized video supported by Problem Based Learning (PBL) to foster proper education about forest fire in Tanzania (Roy et al., 2014). The study found out that ICT is effective in nurturing students' ability to think critically, and pro-actively search for possible solutions. More recently, Phungsuk, Viriyavejakul & Ratanaolarn explored a case of using Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to support PBL of undergraduate students (Phungsuk et al., 2017). As an ICT tool, VLE encouraged students to learn through participation, practice problem-solving skills on an individual basis, and exchange ideas with other members of a group. The study also showed that students who are learning with VLE scored higher on a study efficiency test.

The Mongolian education system experienced decentralization since early 1990s (Wu, 1994). As a result, the roles and responsibilities for local governments and schools have increased. During such transitional period, Mongolian primary education faced decrease in the school enrollment rate and school completion rate (Engel, Prizzon & Amgaabazar 2014). Given this situation, Mongolian Government implemented education reforms with new policies to assist the changes in education sector. …

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