Integrating ICT into Classroom Teaching – The right mindset for every teacher

 

Findings from a research carried out by Onwuagboke, B. B. C. & Ukegbu, M. N., Centre for Educational Technology,  Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri – Imo State showed that teachers were aware of ICT resources but do not utilize them while teaching.

  Many constraints identified during the research includes lack of computer literacy on the part of some teachers, lack of ICT facilities, lack of funds, erratic power supply, no adequate knowledge of the use of internet among others. But above these things are certain misconceptions by classroom teachers which have constratined the use of ICT in classroom teaching.

There are basic misconceptions about integrating ICT into classroom teaching by teachers, educators, school owners and stakeholders in the education sector, which this article tends to offer another perspective:

ICT Tools are very important in the classroom

Of course, but the effectiveness of integrating ICT in classroom teaching and learning will be determined by the ability of the teachers to use ICT tools to create rich, complete and relevant lesson notes for their learners. ICT is a tool and should not be seen as a do – all approach to classroom learning or teaching. The competency of the manpower required for teaching with ICT tools is more important than breaking the bank to get these ICT tools. Hence, the need to develop Software (ICT tools) for teachers and not teachers for software. I recently has a meeting with a client who would like to develop an online academic resource center for their school; she asked me about the cost of developing the web application for this and I simply asked her of the contents for the e-library! There we got . Proper planning of integrating ICT into classroom teaching begins with the development of teachers’ skills in the use of these ICT tools.  

It is another stress that adds to my current workload:

I remember working with a client school to deploy Computer Based Testing Software for their examination process, teachers became displeased initially when I told them they would have to type their questions into the software, before then, they only have to type and print it with Microsoft word. They grumbled but yet we did it. The students took the CBT exams and almost immediately after the examination, scores were ready and scripts could be generated! Teachers who were grumbling before became very happy that they don’t have to mark and record, all have been automated by integrating ICT into their examination process.

In the past years, I have worked with several schools to deploy different software both for classroom activities and administrative task; there is just one common eyebrow raised: “…it is an extra stress I am bringing for them”. Yes! On the short term, it seems stressful to have to work with an ICT tool and also the traditional tool at parallel, but teachers mostly forget that this is a phase in the whole transition process. What I discovered was that most teachers were happy and will like to remain complacent with the way they were working and didn’t want to change. However, with much persuasion and consistency, the difference became obvious. Teachers need to understand that the initial stage of every integration process is usually demanding but with much cooperation and consistency, the benefit will be maximized.

 

It would change the way we do things here

No doubt most software and ICT tools developers may not have the basic education in pedagogy but it is useful to note that they always welcome your input and constructive criticism. Instead of abandoning that ICT tool because of some limitations, why not discuss it with the developer. This will help you adapt the software to your school’s procedures.

I have developed academic performance report sheet software for schools and the first question most teachers ask is will it fit into our own school’s report sheet method. I simply smile and reply, Yes! There is great benefit in keeping close communication with ICT tool vendors and developers. Ask all the questions before you get on board, like my usual advise, ask that vendor if he or she can make needed modifications to the software should the need arise.

 

It is the work of the Computer teacher

I get to hear this so often and one can’t help but understand that this is not borne out of laziness but from the fear of making mistakes. Most teachers are afraid of making mistakes while using ICT tools, hence they impede their own learning opportunity by always dodging the responsibility of using ICT tools. It is not a crime to ask for help when needed but it is wrong to shed your responsibility on others. Try, learn, make mistakes, smile over it and learn more.

 

 I am of the opinion that ICT integration into classroom teaching has to be a continuous  learning effort because even the technology keeps evolving with the changing demands of education and hence the training has to go on so that the teachers never finds it difficult to use technology and finds enough value to keep going.

 

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