Prospective EFL Teachers' Perceptions of ICT Integration: A Study of Distance Higher Education in Turkey
Hismanoglu, Murat, Educational Technology & Society
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been promoted as a platform for providing learners with opportunities in any field (King, 2002; Rovai, 2002) and many significant studies have been conducted on the integration of ICT into classroom teaching to complement and modify the pedagogical practice (Hennessy et al., 2005). Due to ICT related development in the field of education, countries regard ICT as a potential tool for change and innovation in education and so make investments in ICT integration (Eurydice, 2001; Papanastasiou and Angeli, 2008). For instance, Turkey spent 400 dollars per person and allocated eleven point seven percent (11.7 %) of its budget to ICT. This rate is lower than the rates of Europe and Central Asia, since they allocate twenty two percent (22 %) of their budget to ICT implementation, yet it is still higher than the rates in developing countries (World Bank, 2007). Therefore, the Ministry of Education in Turkey attempted to set up computer laboratories and provide Internet connection in schools. To illustrate, the rate of schools with Internet connection increased from forty percent (40 %) (World Bank, 2007) to sixty-eight percent (68 %) (SPO, 2008) and it is projected that this rate will have increased to ninety-six percent (96%) by 2011 (SPO, 2006).
Although investments in ICT for educational innovations and improvements purposes have been continuing, the needs of teachers who will employ it in the classroom as a staple part of the curriculum is disregarded (Niederhauser and Stoddart, 2001; Vacc and Bright, 1999). ICT does not have an educational value in itself, but it becomes precious when teachers use it in the learning and teaching process. As Shakeshaft (1999, p. 4) notes, 'just because ICT is present does not mean that students are using it'. The impact of ICT is strongest when used in a particular content area and further supported by use across the curriculum (Ward and Parr, 2010). Since teachers are the key figures to utilize ICT in educational settings productively and to help integrate ICT into the curriculum, they need support and training to disseminate ICT integration into their classrooms.
Roblyer (2002) found that many pre-service teachers are still entering universities with little knowledge of computers and appropriate skills as well as lacking positive attitudes toward ICT use in the classroom. Moreover, Gunter (2001) states that many higher education institutions are still failing to prepare pre- service teachers for positive technological experiences. Hence, it is unlikely that teachers will be able to transfer their ICT skills to their students and encourage them to implement ICT when they themselves have negative perceptions toward ICT deployment (Yildirim, 2000).
As highlighted by a variety of substantial studies, however, not all teachers have been willing to introduce ICT into their language classrooms. In the last decade, a steady stream of work has variously addressed this issue (e.g., Mumtaz, 2000; Williams et al., 2000; Galanouli and McNair, 2001; Baylor and Ritchie, 2002). Studies have also shown that, for the younger generation of teachers, the basis of this unwillingness is sometimes to be found in the training on the use of ICT provided in the teaching and learning process (e.g., Watson, 1997; Murphy and Greenwood, 1998; Strudler & Wetzel, 1999).
As Rogers (1995) postulates in his theory of Diffusion of Innovation, technology adopters' perceptions are indispensible to the innovation-decision process. He suggests that studies should focus on users' attitudes toward ICT integration in the early stages of technology implementation. Perceptions (or beliefs or intentions) are being considered the cognitive components of attitudes and the literature shows that pre-service teachers' perceptions influence intentions which in turn influence behaviour (Ma et al., 2005; Dillon and Gayford, 1997). …