Educator Discourses on ICT in Education: A Critical Analysis

By Bladergroen, Moira; Chigona, Wallace et al. | International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Educator Discourses on ICT in Education: A Critical Analysis


Bladergroen, Moira, Chigona, Wallace, Bytheway, Andy, Cox, Sanet, Dumas, Chris, van Zyl, Izak, International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology


ABSTRACT

This paper presents a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of Primary School Educators' dialogue on the use of ICT in an under-resourced schooling context. Educators play a pivotal role in the education system. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) interventions in schools will be effective only if educators are willing and able to appropriate the intervention to their existent needs, and derive real benefits. One of the barriers to the meaningful integration of ICTs in education in developing countries is the lack of alignment between what funders and project implementers intended (on the one hand) and the social meanings educators assign to the technology (on the other). The aim of this study was to understand the discourses around education and technology, as articulated by educators in under-resourced contexts in South Africa. Data for the study was collected through in-depth interviews with educators from under-resourced schools in Cape Town, in the Western Cape in South Africa. The results show that educators appreciate the value of ICT in education and are willing to adopt it. However, at the same time, they feel they lack capacity and support to achieve that goal effectively. The study also shows that global discourses on ICT may deny educators in disadvantaged communities the power to voice the challenges they face when integrating ICTs in their teaching processes.

Keywords: ICT, education, discourse, under-resourced areas

1 INTRODUCTION

The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning can enhance curriculum delivery, and concurrently improve the quality of education, provided that there is appropriate attention to pedagogy (Louw et al., 2008; Bytheway et al., 2010). However, in developing countries where the repercussions of poverty, unemployment, and a lack of resources are widespread, the large-scale and sustainable integration of ICTs in schools is yet to be realised, particularly in those institutions that are under-resourced. Research has indicated that, despite the provision of infrastructure, ICT adoption is not necessarily a viable outcome (Bytheway et al., 2010). Numerous factors influence both the introduction and eventual acceptance of ICTs in educational environments: personal and professional cognition and efficacy, a lack of knowledge and skills, and unfavourable socio-economic dynamics (Fanni et al., 2010; Van Zyl & Rega, 2011).

The role of educators is pivotal in the integration of ICT in education, as is the case with most educational innovation. (Demitriadis et al., 2003). It is, therefore, important to understand the meanings educators attach to technology and its use in the educational context. Research has shown that one of the barriers to meaningful integration of ICTs in education in developing countries is the lack of alignment between what the funders and project implementers intended (on the one hand) and the social meanings the educators assign to the technology (on the other). This paper examines discourses articulated by educators through the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework; an analysis which may assist respective policy makers in aligning strategies with actual teaching experiences.

The study is guided by the research question:

What are the dominant discourses around I CT in an educational context, as expressed by educators working in disadvantaged contexts?

Recent work has revealed a variety of prevailing discourses, for example "globalisation", "learning", "determinism", "liberation", "productivity", "disembodiment" (Brown, 2010). Hence, secondary research questions for this study include:

* How do discourses impact on I CT interventions?

* What contextual elements shape dominant discourses?

* What is the role and impact of related macro discourses concerning local and national government policy, school, and implementation management?

The focus on educators in disadvantaged communities is of particular academic interest because of the promise that ICT holds for schools in such environments (Bytheway et al. …

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