Advancements in the technology and a reduction in the cost of acquiring technology has made nearly 60 % of public schools in Saudi Arabia to have connections to the internet and incorporate education programs that are powered by technology in enhancing learning in the school curriculum. Due to an increase in the use of technology in schools to enhance learning, the primary area of focus has been how to make the integration process efficient. The study will provide an analysis of various factors that should be considered in making sure that the overall goal of integrating ICT in schools is achieved.
This section will cover the background to the study, statement of the problem, Importance of the study, research questions, hypothesis and definition of operational terms.
1.2 Background information
Technology has become part of our daily lives in the recent past. The use of technology in the running of daily activities has been necessitated by the reduction in the price of internet and globalization that has seen the prices of electronic devices go down. The need for people to share and connections with each other together with computer gaming has seen both children and adults become techno survey (Zhao et al., 2001)
In the education spheres, technology has revolutionized the whole teaching and learning activities .Integration if ICT in the school systems has facilitated access to academic resources. In addition, some learning programs that are powered by technology have been integrated into the education system to help in self-directing the learners so as to enhance the understanding of the content (Chen, 2011). Despite all these developments, technology does not change the contents .But rather; it enhances a student’s understanding through programs that are tailored to suit students understanding.
According to Keegwe (2014) the technology which is incorporated in the education system to promote learning outcomes is referred to as Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Despite the high expectations on the ability of teachers and school administrators to stimulate learning through the use of ICT, the educational program has produced lackluster results.
Despite the benefits that have been realized through integration of technology in the school system, the new education approach has been faced with implementation challenges that are likely to bedevil the effectiveness of the program. To begin with, the educators lack an understanding on selection of the most efficient technology infrastructure to be used in the learning institutions and the impact of the chosen technology in stimulation of the learning outcomes. Another challenge in the use of TEL is that many teachers rely on technology to teach students instead of using it as a teaching aid to stimulate learning and access to information (Bajcsy, 2002)
Despite of the challenges that face TEL, the system has helped to enhance access to academic resources whereby those students who leave in the countryside or areas which are alienated from the comforts of the city can access education resources which are used by students in other parts of the world. Also, TEL has promoted quality in the education system whereby universal content that is generated by best educators is shared by all learners regardless of their location thus enhancing academic achievement and promotion of literacy levels (Bolt & Crawford, 2000).
1.3 Statement of the problem
The use of technology in schools to aid teaching and learning has enormous potential to stimulate teaching and learning outcomes. However, if the entire process of integrating technology is not well managed and backed with clearly defined objectives, the whole process can just be a waste of time and resources instead to helping teacher to achieve those learning outcomes that they were not in a position to realize before the introduction of the technology
1.4 Importance of the study
Since the incorporation of technology in the school curriculum has become has become a global issue of concern in promotion of learning outcomes and access to education, the study will bring be useful in enhancing the understanding of the implications of using TEL in achievement of educational objectives and reduction of literacy levels. An understanding of TEL will also play a crucial role in guiding the educators on how to effectively select technology programs to be utilized in the classroom.
1.5 Research Questions
The research will be seeking to address the following questions
- What is the impact of integration of technology in education on a student’s academic achievement?
- What is the role of teacher and administrators in enhancing the use of Technology-enhanced learning programs in schools?
- To what extent does proper use of technology in schools improve learning outcomes?
- Integrating of technology in educational system has a positive impact on a student’s academic achievement
- The teacher and administrators have a crucial role to play in promotion of technology enhanced learning
- Proper use of technology helps in promotion of positive learning outcomes.
1.7 Definition of terms
Academic achievement: This is an outcome after one undergoing through an educational program.
Information and Communication Technology: Technology that is used to stimulate learning.
Information processing theory: This is a theory for cognitive development that explains that human beings process information rather than just responding to stimuli
Media multitasking: This is the use of more than one technology enhances at once.
Technology enhanced learning: This is educational programs that are incorporated in the educational curriculum to increase learning outcomes.
2.0 Literature review
There use of technology thought classrooms in Saudi Arabia is a topic that has drawn concern among educators and other stakeholders. The effectiveness of the TEL has been an issue under debate for many years since its efficiency in promotion of literacy mainly depends on the integration of the technique into the curriculum together with the way both the students and teacher perceive the utility and the efficacy of the program. While many researcher are in agreement with the fact that TEL can successfully enhance a learner’s overall academic achievement.Bordbar (2010) notes that the findings on the most effective tools to be integrated in the education systems and the reasons why TEL programs should be integrated in the school system vary a lot.
2.1 Technology prevalence in the classroom
Learners have become accustomed to incorporating ICT in their daily activities in the schools a fact that has forced them to gain skills for media multitasking. Although many children spend most of the hours using technology in Saudi Arabian schools, this fact does not mean that technology has overshadowed the role of the teacher in the class. However, it is used to compliment what the teacher explains in the class to enhance understanding of the content (Bulfin & North, 2007).
Some of the technological platforms that have been incorporated into the learning institutions include mobile phones, sophisticated gaming, Immersive technologies, interactive videos, and electronic presentation tools Giltin (2001).While networked technology and digital media has gained prevalence in Saudi Arabia schools, many institutions still struggle to get access to the programs owing to the economic status of the country .
2.2 Technology-enhanced Learning and academic achievement.
A study by Johnson (2002) on the relationship between teaching and learning activities and academic achievement conducted in Saudi Arabia schools revealed that TEL programs stimulated overall students’ academic performance regardless of one’s race, age or socio-economic status. In his experiment dubbed” One computer per child” He argues that when technology is adequately utilized, it increases a learner’s involvement in the process of learning and promotion of the competence of the teacher. In addition, the use of technology in the schools helped in improving a student’s collaborative and communication skills. The qualities if instructional activities also improve since the students have autonomy to control their learning environment thus motivating them to work more extra harder (Honam, 2010)
In the United Kingdom, Klein (2010) in his one year imaging program in schools with multicultural students revealed that incorporation of creating instructional strategies that are powered by technology plays a crucial role in motivating students to take a leading role in influencing their academic ends. Student’s organizational and decision-making skills are enhanced since they take greater responsibility of the learning process. To achieve maximum results Means (2000) notes that that learners were taught prior to the integration of the program that they should not rely entirely on technology for learning but rather as a tool to aid their learning activities. An understanding of the role of technology in the school set up is crucial in ensuring that the intended purpose of integrating technology in the education system is realized.
2.3 Factors that make TEL a valuable tool to increase learning outcomes.
While integration of technology in the learning institution does influence learning outcomes, a in fact, it can stimulate the absorption and retention of more information in the process of learning. Young & Ping (2010) notes that there are a myriad of factors that have to be fulfilled to successfully integrate TEL in the learning environment. These factors are salient in enhancing proper utilization of technology in the education set up, failure to which will lead to limited success of the program (Poole, 2001).
The most important factor that shapes the efficacy of TEL id establishment objectives that are clear and measurable. Before integration of the technology, educators must be conscious of the reasons behind integration of the technology and how the new program will help in fulfilling educational goals (Panag, 2010).A critical analysis of this phenomenon will help in realization of maximum results from the program rather than being used for accidental purposes ( Rubin et al, 2010). The utility of TEL should not be integrated in the curriculum because of a mere fact that it is available , rather, it should help in achievement of learning objectives that the educators could not realize before inception of the new program.
The teacher understanding and competence is critical in the use of technology to stimulate learning outcomes. According to Russell (2001), the educators should have the requisite expertise in formulation and structuring of teaching and learning activities in a way that offer challenge to the student so as to build on his knowledge. Also, the teacher has to explain to learners why the technology is being used in the school and customize it in a way that makes learning more interactive and enjoyable. Sheer (2010) in support of these sentiments denotes that teacher have to undergo constant in-service trainings so as to gain skills on the emerging technological trends for them to remain relevant in the ever-changing world of technology.
For the program to realize more gains, learners must have autonomy in the process of learning. The strategy promotes sense of ownership which is crucial in improving the learning outcomes significantly. The sense of the learners owning the entire education program is a key motivation. The pupils will take an active role thus promoting a student centered a approach of teaching which is build on the students thinking of the entire learning activities instead taking a back seat and listening to what the teacher says in class. It also helps in production of students who are practical oriented. In the case where technology is used in teaching how to pronounce words of a new language, students should be allowed to pronounce the words. The role of the teacher here should be to guide and reinforcement of the learning experiences (Sinclair, 2009).
A meta- analysis of various technologies incorporated in the educational curriculum is also crucial in determination of whether the program is achieving its intended purpose. This can be done through a critical observation of the student’s behavior of the students who have been subjected to the TEL program (Thurlow &Tomic, 2004)
The culture of the learning institution has to be considered while designing a new TEL program in the school. Each institution has its own goals and aspiration that goes beyond student’s cognitive aspirations and academic achievement. The type of the technology to be employed should be one that compliments the realization of the school mission and maintenance of the school culture (Yau, 1999).
The type of technology which is selected by the school should be the one that goes handy with the learner’s level of understanding. It is worth noting that the brain matures at different levels a fact that call for administrators to select a TEL system that is suitable to various levels of learning. Students in lower classes needs simple technology while the senior schools may utilize advanced programs since their brains have fully matured.
2.4 The role of teacher and administrators in TEL programs
A study by Tripp & Herr-Stephenson (2009) indicates that nearly 60% of public learning institutions in Saudi Arabia have access to the internet and have incorporated TEL programs into the education system. However, the prevalence of the use of technology in stimulation of learning and the perception that TEL enhances academic achievement is not a guarantee the effectiveness of the program. While networked technology and digital media are increasingly gaining popularity among the youths, may people are yet to realize the benefits of the access to the modern technological infrastructure.
Teacher in the use of the technology is critical. Lack of understanding and competence on the side of the teacher could be a waste of time and resources. The teacher is the one who programs learning experiences and allow student to react to the challenges that he puts across. Teachers also have to find innovative ways on how to best use the technology so as to promote learning outcomes (Wilson, 2002).
The study will use survey that is a quantitative data collection technique. Survey entails collection of data from a section of the population to act as a representative sample of the characteristics of the entire population that saves the expenses of conducting the study. In addition, it is cumbersome to do a research on the entire population (Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003).
Questionnaires and the systematic random sampling techniques will be used in the study. The two techniques will be utilized since they not only save on cost but also time for conducting the research.
The study will be conducted in public schools in public schools in Riyadh. Since the area is the capital city of Saudi Arabia, it is endowed with adequate resources and is connected to infrastructure like power which is useful in establishment of Technology enhance learning programs in schools unlike the schools in the upcountry.
3.2 Sample size
The portion that the researcher uses to represent the characteristics of the entire population is known as a sample Ogule (2002). If the representative characteristics from the sample are correctly selected, it is easy for the researcher to make inferences about the behavior of the entire population. The study will use 40 respondents. The samples will use stratified sampling technique and questionnaires.
The study will use interview as a data collection technique. According to (Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003), an interview is a method of oral questioning which the researcher uses to get information in a well explained narration. The interview will utilize a one-on-one interview format. The researcher will use one respondent who is well acquainted with the area to act as a lead person and will help the researcher to convene meeting with various educational stakeholders and students. A number of 40 students and 40 teacher will be interviewed on the effectiveness of incorporating technology enhance learning in education and the challenges that they encounter in the use of the modern learning program. Each respondent will be interviewed individually then followed by a forum whereby all respondents will be asked questions altogether. The interview format will be flexible to allow the researcher capture the as many responses as possible. The data collected will be recorded in form of written notes. In ensuring that no details will be lost, to ensure that the researcher doesn’t lose any details, the voices off the interviews will be recorded with their permission.
Random sampling technique will be used to determine the impact of TEL on the schools in Riyadh. The sample questions will both be short, well typed and specific to avoid confusion of the respondent. Both open ended and close ended questions will be used so as to capture a wider scope of responses. In addition, the questionnaire will be translated into Arabic since most of the people in the town are of the Arab descent. This will help in the maximization of the outcome of the study since the respondents will be able to respond to the questions in a language that they understand best.
The reliability of the instruments used in the study will be established during the piloting of the study. A sample of the respondents will be subjected to the interview and the sample questions. The same process will be repeated after two weeks to establish consistency in the results of the study. A comparison in the results will be made to see if the tools being used in the study are valid. Those respondents who will be used in the piloting will not be included in the real study to avoid biases.
3.6 Validity of the instruments
This refers to the degree in which a research measure what it is supposed to measure. According to Ogule (2002) it is the degree in which the instruments used yields same results on repeated trials. Pre-test interviews will be undertaken before the actual study to ensure that the tools meets the helps the research
4.1 Data analysis
The data collected will be assembled and analyzed .SSP software will be used in the analysis of the quantitative data. Simple methods of data presentation will be used to enhance simple understanding of the findings.
Data analysis process will be systematized in phase. Will include cleaning up of the data where a thorough inspection of the data will be done and necessary corrections made where possible. The central importance of analyzing data is to help the researcher in answering the research questions. The data will be then be presented in tables and graphs
4.2 Results Discussions
Integration of technology into the curriculum can help in increasing student’s success in academics. However, care should be taken while integrating TEL programs in the education system to ensure that the intended purpose and objectives of the program are realized. What make the technology not to work is the strategies used in the integration of the program.
The study will focus on identifying the importance of integrating TEL in public schools in Riyadh which is a town endowed with almost all the resources. However, the results from the study might not be an accurate reflection of what is in the upcountry schools that have access to limited resources. The research also focused on the effectiveness of integrating technology in enhancing literacy in schools without putting into consideration the fact that different subjects use different technologies to enhance learning.
4.4 Recommendations for future research
Although a number of studies have been conducted to determine the effect of integrating technology in education. However, the studies don’t adders the issue in totality. More research has to be done on how specific technologies can be used in stimulating learning in particular subjects since various academic disciplines have varies instructional methodologies.
The use of technology in Saudi Arabia is an existing reality. The level to which technology will be used in the schools is projected to grow exponentially. Although a meta- analysis of the use of technology in schools reveals that it is an important tool in promotion of learning outcomes, Technology can still not be relied on as a medium of instruction, rather, it should complement teaching and learning activities
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