University Of Tasmania
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Teachers' confidence with technology : perceptions of the impact of a student laptop computer program in Trinidad and Tobago

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:58 authored by Jaikaran-Doe, S
The government of Trinidad and Tobago provided free personalised laptop computers for all students transitioning from primary schools to secondary schools since 2010. This was made possible through the eConnect and learn program. The impact of this program on teachers' use of computer based technology in the classroom was the focus of this study. The investigation was undertaken using four constructs of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework: Technological Knowledge (TK), Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), Technological Content Knowledge (TCK), and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). A mixed methods approach was adopted to probe eight research questions in two phases. The first phase was the completion of the TK and TPACK surveys by teachers (n = 173) from 12 secondary schools and pre-service teachers (n = 53) from two campuses of the University of Trinidad and Tobago. The second phase consisted of a series of one-on-one, semi-structured interviews for in-service teachers (n = 21), pre-service teachers (n = 15), ICT technicians (n = 5), school supervisors (n = 3), and the Director of the eConnect and Learn program (n = 1). Statistical analyses with SPSS revealed there was a significant difference between in-service and pre-service teachers' confidence to integrate ICT for teaching and student learning. Final year pre-service teachers studying for an undergraduate degree were more confident in the integration of ICT than the in-service teachers. Teaching experience and qualification also impacted on teachers' TK, TPK/TCK, and TPACK scores. Teachers with less than 10 years of teaching experience as well as pre-service teachers had higher mean TK, TPK/TCK, and TPACK scores than teachers who were employed in secondary schools for more than 10 years. As part of the research, a comparison was made of the TPACK scores between pre-service teachers from an Australian University and the University of Trinidad and Tobago. Australian pre-service teachers had higher mean scores in five out of 20 TPACK items. In contrast, the Trinidad and Tobago pre-service teachers had a higher mean score in one item. Overall, both cohorts demonstrated a high level of consistency in their confidence to use ICT and support students' use of ICT in 14 items of the survey. The qualitative interview data were analysed using a modified form of coding strategies from grounded theory and thematic approach supported by NVIVO. Four common themes were identified: teacher support; challenges of the eConnect and Learn program; pedagogy with computers and related devices; and implications for the future of the program. Teachers perceived factors such as insufficient professional development, inadequate resources, inappropriate infrastructure, and lack of time for collaboration reduced the full implementation of the eConnect and Learn program. The eight stages of the Levels of Teaching Innovation model developed by Moersch (2010) were used to review and interpret Trinidad and Tobago teachers' pedagogical practices with computers and related devices. The majority of the teachers' responses occurred at the Awareness Level (Level 1) where teachers utilised mainly PowerPoint and videos. Few responses occurred at the higher levels. The study concludes with the conceptualisation of a Learning Environment Model aligned with the Levels of Teaching Innovation and the seven constructs of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. It is contended this framework provides a greater understanding on how to facilitate teachers' ability to integrate and evaluate technology integration for 21st Century teaching and learning in the classroom. Thus, this framework has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of how teachers can assist students to become more technologically proficient especially with eLearning which is important for the current and future knowledge economy.


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