IN-SERVICE TEACHERS’ USE OF ICT IN TEACHING MATHEMATICS IN GHANA: A CASE STUDY IN THE CAPE COAST METROPOLIS

ABSTRACT
This study was set out to examine the barriers to ICT integration into Mathematics teaching and learning in selected Senior High Schools in the Central Region of Ghana. Specifically, the study aimed to examine the effects of internal barriers (constructive teaching beliefs, teaching experience, attitudes toward computer and technology competence) and external barriers (access to technology use, level of training in the use of technology, time adequacy, as well as, the culture of the teacher’s institution) in predicting in-service teachers’ usage of ICT in the teaching and learning of Mathematics.

The study employed the descriptive survey design to answer the research questions of the study. Five-point Likert scale questionnaire was the instrument for data collection. Both purposive and convenience sampling techniques were used to select 185 in-service teachers for the study. The multiple regression analysis was used to estimate the factors influencing ICT integration. The study revealed that in-service teachers’ ICT integration in the teaching of Mathematics was barely low. Both internal and external factors had significant effects on ICT integration; but the external factors had stronger predictability of ICT integration than the internal factors. The study recommended that the heads of departments should organize regular ICT training towards increasing teachers’ competencies and decreasing their anxiety to enhance willingness to integrate ICT in teaching and learning of Mathematics.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Overview
This chapter is the introductory section of the study which presents the general background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, significance of the study, delimitations and limitations of the study and the organizational plan of the study.

Background to the Study
Educational systems are based on teacher and curriculum concepts. Effectiveness and efficiency of an educational system may rely on these two inter-related concepts and the harmony between them. Any problems appearing in either of these concepts will decrease the qualities of the educational system, as a result affecting the learners. For this reason, the quality of an educational system should be parallel to the quality of teachers trained. Moreover, the quality of a teacher will be in harmony with the curriculum focused knowledge, skills and the attitudes acquired by the teachers.

Technological and computer competencies of teachers are important dimensions of this quality. Due to large investments of technology in many educational institutions, teachers are required to integrate technology into curriculum and classroom activities (Yasemin, 2008). For this reason, teacher education programs are reshaped and enhanced with the courses trying to infuse the use of various technologies. This enhancement includes the knowledge and skills necessary to use and integrate Information and communication technology (ICT) effectively. Besides, teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward technology usage should result in a positive one (Yasemin, 2008). Therefore, teachers should be designated in such a way that besides knowing how to use ICT effectively, they have to be empowered to integrate ICT into teaching and learning of mathematics so as to develop learners understanding and to support constructivism, cooperative learning and problem-based learning (Royer, 2002).

In Service teachers should be prepared to pedagogically integrate information and communication technology (ICT) into their teaching and learning practices. This is so because the importance of integrating technology in classroom instruction cannot be overlooked. According to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and Ghana Education Service (MOEYS & GES, 2002), integrating technology in classroom instruction ensures greater motivation, increases self-esteem and confidence, enhances good questioning skills, promotes initiative and independent learning, improves presentation of information/outputs, develops problem solving capabilities, promotes better information handling skills, increasing focus time on task, and improves social and communication skills. Although large bodies of research into factors determining the integration of ICT in education emerge from developed countries, recent researches indicate that developing countries are finding means to participate effectively in the global information society and to address the challenges regarding ICT in education (Tilya, 2008).

Despite the increased availability and support for ICT integration, relatively few teachers intend to integrate ICT into their teaching activities (Ertmer, 2005). Since the introduction of educational technologies into classroom settings, teacher education has faced the challenge of improving in service teacher education for successful integration of educational technologies into their teaching and learning practices (Sang, Valcke, Van Braak, & Tondeur, 2010). ICT integration in mathematics education provides mathematics teachers with integrative teaching methods that motivate students learning, support their independent learning and active participation in the discovery of mathematical concepts and topics and as a result, helps them have deeper understanding of the mathematical ideas (Nimer, & Wajeeh, 2013). Therefore, the integration of ICT in the teaching and learning of mathematics, as a result of ICT educational affordances, helps students have better achievement in mathematics, (Nimer, & Wajeeh, 2013).

Undeniably, Integration of ICT in education has increasingly become an important concern in education not only in developed countries, but in developing countries as well including Ghana. A recent study (Agyei & Voogt, 2012); indicate that, the influence of technological advancement has necessitated the need for a curriculum that can develop the mathematical power of students. This includes a shift from a curriculum conquered by memorization of secluded facts and procedures to one that emphasizes on conceptual understanding, computational skills, problem solving and the pedagogical integration of ICT. From the early 1990s, education stakeholders in Ghana have been concerned about how teachers and students use computers in schools and how their use supports learning (Boakye & Banini, 2008).

At the beginning of the millennium, education authorities in Ghana embarked on a number of projects to introduce Information and Communication Technologies into Ghanaian education set up at all levels of education. For instance, in the middle of the 1990s, educational providers realized that Ghanaian professionals could not compete on the global market for jobs, because they were limited in skill, especially in the area of Information Technology (Nyarko, 2007). The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports opined that “the integration of ICT into Education will result in the creation of new possibilities for learners and teachers to engage in new ways of information acquisition and analysis. ICT may enhance access to education and improve the quality of education delivery on equitable basis” (Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MOESS, 2006).

In their research study (Keong, Horani & Daniel, 2005) argued that, with the impact of technological forces on teaching and learning mathematics, it is possible to de-emphasize algorithmic skills; the resulting void may be filled by an increased emphasis on the development of mathematical concepts. In addition to that, technology saves time and gives students access to powerful new ways to explore concepts at a depth that has not been possible in the past. The power of technology and for that matter ICT leads to fundamental changes in mathematics instruction.

Also, there is substantial evidence that, in the right hands and used appropriately for specific purposes in specific contexts, ICT can be an effective tool in supporting teaching and learning (Agyei & Voogt, 2011). However, it is now firmly established that its introduction into schools does not by itself improve the quality of education or raise attainment (Hennessy, Harrison & Wamakote, 2010). Encouragingly, there is growing and widespread awareness that the pedagogical and technical expertise of the teacher is absolutely critical here. Governments in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and elsewhere, are emphasizing teacher development as the key to effectively implementing policy and curricula, to using ICT to enhance teaching and learning, and to raising educational standards (Hennessy et al., 2010).

Other studies (Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2008; Bottino & Robotti, 2007) sited in (Agyei & Voogt, 2011) have reported positive effects of incorporating technology in teaching mathematics such as to enhance motivation and improve students’ achievement. In spite of the numerous advantages that come with technology such as better understanding of mathematics concept taught, easy delivery of mathematical concepts as well as encourage constructivist approach of teaching and learning, many Ghanaian mathematics teachers do not feel proficient in teaching mathematics lessons that take advantage of technology-rich environments (Agyei & Voogt, 2011).

In Ghana, the teacher training institutions have a leading role to play in producing technologically competent teachers who will teach in the nation’s pre-tertiary institutions especially in the Basic Schools and Senior High Schools (SHS). The questions are: do this training with the intention of producing technologically competent teachers occur at these training institutions? And if yes, do these mathematics teachers at the SHS level use ICT in their teaching practices? According to (Agyei & Voogt, 2011), just a few use ICT in teaching mathematics. Hence, the need to study the SHS mathematics teacher and the barriers that influence the integration of ICT into mathematics teaching practices. ICT integration into mathematics teaching is regarded as a cardinal factor in the nations’ scientific and technological advancement because of its useful links to many other fields of human endeavour (Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (2009).

Integrating ICT tools such as computers and scientific calculators in mathematics instruction have the potential to change pedagogical approaches radically and to improve individual student learning outcome by transforming the classroom social practices (Forgasz & Prince, 2004; Goos, 2005). In view of the positive impact of ICT integration in mathematics instruction, the new educational reforms in Ghana which was launched in September, 2007 placed high emphasis on the integration of ICT in all subject areas. Integration of ICT in mathematics is not merely using computer for typing and printing questions, browsing and delivering lessons through PowerPoint but rather using ICT (computer) in teaching various topics in mathematics. It is therefore essential for in- service teachers to use technology in teaching.

In order to address a need, one must know what a problem is and use the computational skills acquired to solve mathematical problems. Despite, these positive impacts ICT makes on teaching and learning of mathematics, its integration is still a challenge (Agyei & Voogt, 2012). One of the challenges facing educators is how to ensure that the necessary combination of skills that will enable them to both effectively use today’s technologies in the classroom as well as continue to develop and adapt to new technologies that emerge in the future (Gill & Dalgarno, 2008). Since teachers are the central force in tapping the learning opportunities created by ICT, In-service teachers have a leading role to play in the realization of the goals specified in the various national ICT policy which will go a long way in the production of technologically competent students who will serve as the future workforce of the nation.....

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 130 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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