A Change Laboratory Professional Development Intervention to Motivate University Teachers to Identify and Overcome Barriers to the Integration of ICT

By Guzmán, Willy Castro | Outlines : Critical Practice Studies, January 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

A Change Laboratory Professional Development Intervention to Motivate University Teachers to Identify and Overcome Barriers to the Integration of ICT


Guzmán, Willy Castro, Outlines : Critical Practice Studies


Introduction

The direction of societies towards the use of technology in all fields of knowledge places a high pressure on universities to carry out an intensive integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) (Huang & Price, 2014) as a transforming tool in teaching and learning.

According to Kozma (2008), teacher professional development (TPD) is an essential component of operational policies for ICT integration. However, TPD is on the one hand a support and on the other, a barrier. Some research has pointed toward barriers as explanations for the limited results of ICT integration (Almekhlafi & Almeqdadi, 2010; Ertmer, 1999; Groff & Mouza, 2008; Pajo & Wallace, 2001). Ertmer (1999) has classified barriers as first-order and second-order barriers. The former are barriers that are external to the teacher and outside his/her control (Hixon & Buckenmeyer, 2009), and include a lack of equipment, lack of time, lack of support, and insufficient quality of TPD. To Ertmer (1999), first-order or external barriers are relatively easy to eliminate once money is allocated, so that attention should be given to second-order or internal barriers. The latter, the internal barriers are those impeding fundamental changes that are connected to teachers' underlying beliefs (Ertmer, 1999), such as teachers' lack of interest, resistance to change, or lack of confidence. To Hew and Brush (2007), it may be problematic to give attention to second-order barriers in isolation if the assumption is that overcoming the second-order barriers is all that is needed. Moreover, Hixon and Buckenmeyer (2009) acknowledge the importance of addressing all the barriers, and recommend that teachers' professional development support this task.

TPD is one of the most valuable ways to facilitate the overcoming of barriers by teachers. However, a lack of opportunities, an insufficient offer of TPD, a low quality and inappropriate approaches of TPD-ICT are, likewise, first-order barriers (Goktas, Gedik, & Baydas, 2013; Goktas, Yildirim, & Yildirim, 2009). Moreover, the focus of TPD-ICT initiatives has been placed over solving the technical, pedagogical and content-related limitations for teachers adopting technology in the classroom. The attention has been primarily placed on the development of technological skills, and secondly on the pedagogical and didactical approach to technologies. Recently, the knowledge content dimension has been added to TPD-ICT in a more comprehensive approach (Koehler & Mishra, 2008). However, the initiatives remain oriented to individual adoption by teachers, and not to collective integration. The researchers are still cautious about the contribution of TPD in transforming ICT integration in education. According to BuabengAndoh (2012), despite the central role of TPD in fostering the adoption and integration of technology in education, and the high investment in training, the results are limited.

The difficulties are perhaps due to a combination of a lack of adequate approaches in the study of barriers to ICT adoption and integration (Castro & Nyvang, 2018); and a lack of knowledge of the current challenges in professional development for ICT in education. The barriers faced by teachers are not considered at the classroom level or in relation to their individual internal dimension. There is a complex relationship between causes and effects on teachers' feelings, beliefs and behaviour (Castro, 2016).

According to Haapasaari, Engeström, & Kerosuo (2014), sustainable transformations require employees to take an active role. New approaches to provoke profound changes in work organizations are required to overcome the barriers to ITC integration in education. In this regard, this study aims to answer the following questions: (a) What expressions of transformative agency are found in a Change Laboratory professional development intervention to integrate technology in a university department of mathematics? …

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