The appropriation of educationpolicy on information and communication technology

The appropriation of educationpolicy on information and communication technology
The appropriation of educationpolicy
on information and communication technology
in South African schools
by
Thirusellvan Vandeyar
Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree
Philosophiae Doctor: Computer Integrated Education
in the
Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Faculty of Education
University of Pretoria
Supervisor: Professor Liesel Ebersohn
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Co-supervisor: Dr Jill Fresen
Oxford University, United Kingdom
August 2010
© University of Pretoria
Page 0 ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study is to explore how education policy on information and
communication technology (ICT) influences teaching and learning in South African
schools. An instrumental case study applying backward mapping principles as a
strategy of inquiry was used. Utilizing a social constructivist lens and guided by a
theoretical framework of a socio-cultural approach to policy analysis, this exploratory
qualitative research study set out to investigate how teachers in South African schools
appropriate education policy on ICT. The case study includedthree schools from
diverse socio-culturalsettings, with two participating teachers at each of the identified
research sites. The principal at each school and e-learning specialists (officials) at the
District and Provincial Departments of Education constituted additional data sources.
Data collection methods included interviews, classroom observations, field notes and
document analysis.Constructivist grounded theory methods and computer assisted
qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS)wereemployed in the analysis of data.
It was found that, teachers’ professionalism and agency arecrucial in formulating and
implementing a school-based e-education policy in practice.The national e-education
policy currently exists as an “invisible policy” within the school context. Secondly,
teachers reposition themselves as social and cultural actors of school-based policy
appropriation and formulation rather than as recipients of, or reactors to the national
e-Education policy. Thirdly, the lack of systemic support to teachers acted as the
catalyst for the emergence ofcommunities of practice between schools. The notion of
“our” system as opposed to an imposed system prevails. Fourthly, teachers’ ignorance
of the national e-Education policy indicates the need for policy development and
implementation at school level and denotesa new construct to policy appropriation. I
theorise that teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, professionalism and will to improve teaching
and learning through the use of ICT are integral and necessary conditions for effective
policy implementation.
Page 1 Keywords
Appropriation
Information and communication technology
e-Education
Policy implementation
Teacher professionalism
Communities of practice
Page 2 DEDICATION
This thesis is dedicated to my wife Saloshna, for believing in me,nurturing and
supporting me through this difficult period.
I owe all I am to you.
To my children Shavani and Mogeshin
forgiving me the freedom to pursue my studies with constant encouragement and
support.
To my autistic son Suthakir, who will never be able to read these words,
thank you for sacrificing our ‘together time’.
Page 3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the following people who made
invaluable contributions to this study and in the writing of this research report.
My supervisor, Professor Liesel Ebersöhn for her unwavering academic support and
dedication. Her vibrant and enthusiastic academic approach and intellectual rigour
turned every challenge I encountered in this study into new learning opportunities.
Her constant words of encouragement in every chapter were a tremendous source of
inspiration. Her exemplary role as a supervisor and mentor served to promote my own
growth as a young scholar, academic and researcher in the field.
My co-supervisor, Jill Fresen, for her thoroughness and open approach to my study.
Her time, advice and significant attention to structural and editing detail is
acknowledged and appreciated.
Professor Jonathan Jansen, for instilling in me a sense of intellectual rigour to explore
an intellectual puzzle and to push the boundaries back in this field of study. Thank
you for allowing me to experience the teachings of a true scholar, who gives of
himself so unselfishly.
My head of department, Professor Max Braun, for your continued support, patience
and understanding. Your interest in my personal well-being served as a pillar of
strength throughout this process.
The teachers that allowed me access into their private classroom spaces, and the
principals that allowed me unrestricted access to their schools, I thank you for sharing
your life experiences with me.
Professor Saloshna Vandeyar, for being an outstanding intellectual and academic
sounding board for my study.
Page 4 Page 5 UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
DECLARATION OF ORIGINALITY
Full names of student: Thirusellvan Vandeyar
Student number: 22284304
Declaration
1.
I understand what plagiarism is and am aware of the University’s policy in this
regard.
2.
I declare that this thesis is my own original work. Where other people’s work
hasbeen used (either from a printed source, Internet or any other source), this
has been properly acknowledged and referenced in accordance with
departmental requirements.
3.
I have not used work previously produced by another student or any other
person tohand in as my own.
4.
I have not allowed, and will not allow, anyone to copy my work with the
intention of passing it off as his or her own work.
SIGNATURE STUDENT: ..............................................................................
SIGNATURE SUPERVISOR:………………………………………………..
Page 6 UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
DECLARATION OF LANGUAGE EDITING
Sunday, 4 October, 2010
Full names of student: Thirusellvan Vandeyar
Student number: 22284304
Declaration
This is to certify that I have language edited the following doctoral thesis to
academic standards:
Title: The appropriation of education policy on information and communication
technology in South African schools
Dr Lesibana Jacobus Rafapa
Editor in Chief: Journal of Educational Studies
Scientific Editor: South African Journal for Folklore Studies
Language Editor: Nendila, newsletter of the University of Venda
Head of English Department: University of Venda
Private Bag X5050
Thohoyandou 0950
Tel, work: 015 9628361
Fax: 086 588 9550
Email: Lesibana.Rafapa@univen.ac.za
Page 7 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Orientation to the study
1.1
Introduction
21
1.2
Background context
22
1.3
Rationale for the study
24
1.4
Statement of the research problem
25
1.5
Research questions
28
1.6
Paradigmatic perspectives
28
1.6.1
Methodological and epistemological paradigm
28
1.6.2
Theoretical framework: Socio-cultural approach to policy studies 29
1.6.2.1 Policy as a socio-cultural practice
29
1.6.2.2 Policy as agency
30
1.6.2.3 Policy as a practice of power
31
1.6.2.4 Summary
1.7
32
Research assumptions
32
1.8Conceptualization of terms
33
1.9
Research design and methodology
36
1.9.1
The research process and phases of inquiry
38
1.9.2
Enhancing the quality of the study
39
1.9.3
Scope and limitations
40
1.9.4
Ethical considerations
41
1.10
Outline of chapters
42
1.11Conclusion
43
Chapter 2: Exploring the debates in the field
2.1
Introduction
45
2.2
The rationale of governments for an ICT policy in education
45
2.3
International landscape: Macro level Are policies implemented as planned?
2.3.1
47
ICT policy implementation: Trends and strategies
47
2.3.1.1 Slow pace of change
48
Page 8 2.3.1.2 Multidimensional approach and systemic change
49
2.3.1.3 Simplistic policies and competing priorities
50
2.3.1.4 Changes to national curriculum policy
52
2.3.1.5 Successful ICT policy implementation
54
2.3.2 Responses to ICT policy in education
2.3.3
2.4
2.3.2.1 ICT policy focus
55
2.3.2.2An inclusive approach to the formulation of policy
56
2.3.2.3 Policy deficits
57
2.3.2.4 Centralised vs decentralised centres of control
59
Summary of macro level findings
61
International landscape: Meso and micro level Are classroom practices changing?
2.4.1
2.4.2
2.5
63
2.4.1.1 Systemic support, capacity and competence
63
2.4.1.2Institutional culture and practice
65
2.4.1.3 School leadership
66
2.4.1.4 Teacher professionalism
68
2.4.1.5 ICT curriculum integration
71
2.4.1.6 The influence of ICT policy on learning
73
Summary of meso-micro level findings
74
75
South African scenario: Macro level-
Are policies implemented as planned?
2.5.2
76
South African scenario: Meso and micro level -
Are classroom practices changing?
2.5.3
80
Summary of findings - South African scenario
81
Comparison of findings between international and South
African landscapes
2.7
62
Social context of ICT policy implementation
The South African scenario
2.5.1
2.6
55
Conclusion
82
83
Chapter 3: Research design and methodology
3.1
Introduction
86
Page 9 3.2
Paradigmatical assumptions
86
3.2.1
Meta-theoretical paradigm
86
3.2.2
Methodological paradigm
89
3.3
Research purpose
3.4
Strategy of inquiry:
90
A case study approach based on backward mapping principles
3.5
91
3.4.1
Backward mapping principles
93
3.4.2
Selection of cases
95
3.4.3
Identification and selection of participants
99
The research process
103
3.5.1
104
Phases of inquiry: Data collection methods and instrumentation
3.5.1.1The pilot study
3.6
3.7
104
3.5.1.2 Semi-structured face-to-face interviews
108
3.5.1.3 Informal conversational interview
111
3.5.1.4 Classroom observations
112
3.5.1.5 Reflective journal
117
3.5.1.6 Researcher participant diaries
118
3.5.1.7 Document analysis
119
Data analysis: from research questions to findings
121
3.6.1
Data analysis: Interview data
122
3.6.1.1 Data reduction: bringing meaning, structure and order
122
3.6.1.2 Qualitative data analysis
123
3.6.1.3 Coding and categorization of data
124
3.6.2 Data analysis: Informal conversational interviews
127
3.6.3
Data analysis: Classroom observations
127
3.6.4
Data analysis: Field notes
128
3.6.5 Data analysis: Reflective journal
129
3.6.6
130
Data analysis: Document analysis
Touchstones for trustworthiness
3.7.1 Audit trail
130
131
3.7.2 Case-to-case transferability
131
3.7.3
Credibility
131
3.7.4
Confirmability
132
Page 10 3.7.5
3.8
Width and depth of study
132
3.7.6 Retest reliability
133
3.7.7
133
Researcher reflexivity and researcher role
Summary
134
Chapter 4: Findings and discussion of results
What are the e-education policy implementation practices in
teaching and learning?
4.1
Introduction
135
4.2
How do teachers interpret policy?
135
4.2.1 National curriculum policy: “readerly” or “writerly”?
136
4.2.2 E-education Policy: “readerly” or “writerly”?
138
Teachers implementing e-education policy in practice
143
4.3.1 Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes on the role of ICT
144
4.3.2
Teachers’ emerging pedagogies
146
4.3.3
Teachers as innovators and trendsetters in the use of ICT
150
4.3.4
ICT initiating teachers as collaborative learners
154
4.3.5
Teachers as drivers of ICT implementation
159
4.3.6
Teachers’ will to develop ICT competence and pedagogical skills 160
4.3.7
ICT defining teachers as administrative agents
4.3.8
ICT developing learners as researchers and independent
4.3
knowledge seekers
4.4
163
165
How does teachers’ practice influence learning?
166
4.4.1
ICT catering for multiple learning styles
167
4.4.2
ICT improving learnerattitudes
171
4.4.3
ICT promoting integrative and interdisciplinary learning
172
4.4.4
Learning about ICT and learning with ICT
175
4.5
Summary: Main results
176
4.6
Literature reflection
177
4.6.1 Introduction
177
4.6.2
Echoing existing knowledge on ICT policy in transforming
teachingand learning
178
4.6.2.1 ICT policy transforming teaching
178
Page 11 4.6.3
4.6.2.2 ICT policy transforming learning
182
4.6.2.3 New insights
184
Conclusion
189
Chapter 5: Findings and discussion of results
How do systemic structuresrespond to e-education policy to influence
teaching and learning?
5.1
Introduction
190
5.2
Drawing boundaries around schools
190
5.2.1
Ability of the school to change the behaviour of teachers to
implementpolicy
190
5.2.1.1 ICT school practice and leadership
191
5.2.1.2 Transforming schools – Creating an ethos of a
shared vision
5.2.2
195
Resources required by schools to affect the behaviour of
teachers to implement policy
199
5.2.2.1 ICT curriculum resources
199
5.2.2.2 The need for ICT competent teachers and capacity building 201
5.2.2.3 The need for ICT policy and policy guidelines
5.3
205
Beyond the boundary of the school
208
5.3.1 The ability of district and province to affect the behaviour of
teachers to implement policy
208
5.3.1.1 District and province ICT administrative directives
5.3.2
208
Resources required by district and province to affect the
behaviour of teachers to implement policy
210
5.3.2.1 The need for ICT policy, policy guidelines and effective
channels of communication
210
5.3.2.2 The establishment of ICT curriculum integration
guidelines and ICT attainment levels
217
5.3.2.3 The need for systemic competence and capacity in
e-learningdirectorates
219
5.3.2.4 The need for a shared vision and unified strategy between
e-learning and curriculum directorates at district and
Page 12 provincial levels
224
5.3.2.5 The need for “ICT willing schools” - promoting school
collaboration
229
5.3.2.6The need for ICT teacher training
232
5.4
Summary
234
5.5
Literature reflection
235
5.5.1 Introduction
235
5.5.2 Echoing existing knowledge on ICT policy transformation,
teaching and learning
235
5.5.2.1 ICT policy transforming schools
235
5.5.2.2 ICT policy transforming districts and provinces
240
5.5.3 New insights
248
5.5.3.1 ICT policy transforming schools
248
5.5.3.2 Transforming province and district directorates
251
5.5.4 Conclusion
254
Chapter 6: Implications for policy, research and practice
Summary of findings, recommendations andconclusion
6.1
Introduction
255
6.2
Summary of key findings
255
6.2.1
255
Province and district response to the national e-education policy
6.2.2 Response of schools
257
6.2.3 Principals as change agents
258
6.2.4
259
Teachers’ beliefs, attitudes and professional practices
6.3
Significance of findings - new knowledge generated
263
6.4
Research assumptions revisited
265
6.5
Suggestions for further research
267
6.6
Recommendations for policy and practice
268
6.7
Conclusion
269
References
271
Appendices
290
Page 13 Appendices
Appendix A
A1
Lay summary
A2
Letter of consent - principal
291
A3
Letter of consent -teacher
292
A4
Letter of consent - parent
293
A5
Letter of assent - learner
294
A6
Interview protocol - teacher
295
A7
Interview protocol - principal
297
A8
Interview protocol – district and province
299
A9
Interview protocol – pilot study
301
Appendix B
290
Original Transcripts (on CD)
B1
School A - Teacher 1(Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B2
School A - Teacher 2(Path =Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B3
School B - Teacher 1(Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B4
School B - Teacher 2(Path =Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B5
School C - Teacher 1(Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B6
School C - Teacher 2(Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B7
School A – Principal (Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B8
School B – Principal (Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B9
School C – Principal (Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B10
District Interview(Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B11
Province Interview(Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B12
Document naming protocol: Atlas.Ti - Codes
303
B13
Original Atlas.Ti codes(Path = Appendices B,E&F)
CD
B14
Exemplar of schedule of class visits
304
B15
Snapshot of hermeneutic unit: Phd_1
305
B16
Exemplar transcript of pilot study interview
CD
Page 14 Appendix C
Reflective journal
C1
Selection of schools situational context
306
C2
Selection of School A
308
C3
Selection of School B
309
C4
Selection of School C
C5
Selection of Teachers 1-6
311
C6
Selection of Principals 1-3
314
C7
Selection of District and Province Officials
315
C8
Pilot Study Reflections
315
C9
Observational sheet structure
316
C10
Use of digital technology
316
C11
School B –Teacher 1: Extract from Interview
C12
Reflection on recording
317
C13
Personal Reflections as researcher
318
C14
Selection of Schools-Padisago Primary School
319
Appendix D
310
317
Field Notes
D1
Observational sheet: School A -Teacher 1
320
D2
Observational sheet: School A -Teacher 2
321
D3
Observational sheet: School B -Teacher 1
322
D4
Observational sheet: School B -Teacher 2
323
D5
Observational sheet: School C -Teacher 1
324
D6
Observational sheet: School C -Teacher 2
325
D7
Observational sheet: School B -Teacher 2 – Apple project
326
D8
Researcher participant diary - design
327
D9
Informal conversational interviews
328
Page 15 Appendix E Document Analysis
E1
Websites(Path= Appendices B,E&F)
E2
Newspapers (Path= Appendices B,E&F)
CD
E3
NCS Policy (Path= Appendices B,E&F)
CD
E4
White paper on e-education(Path= Appendices B,E&F)
CD
E5
ICT School policy (Path= Appendices B,E&F)
CD
E6
Learners’ work(Path= Appendices B,E&F)
CD
E7
District e-learning unit mission and vision statement
(Path= Appendices B,E&F)
CD
CD
Appendix F Observation videos
F1
School A – Teacher 1
(Path: Appendices B,E&F, SchoolA–Teacher1.mpg)
F2
School A – Teacher 2
(Path= Appendices B,E&F,SchoolA–Teacher2.mpg)
F3
CD
School C – Teacher 1
(Path= Appendices B,E&F, SchoolC–Teacher1.mpg)
F6
CD
School B – Teacher 2
(Path= Appendices B,E&F, SchoolB–Teacher2.mpg)
F5
CD
School B – Teacher 1
(Path= Appendices B,E&F, SchoolB–Teacher1.mpg)
F4
CD
CD
School C – Teacher 2
(Path= Appendices B,E&F, SchoolC–Teacher2.mpg)
CD
Appendix G
G
Data analysis phases for various data sources
330
Page 16 LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1.1
Research design, strategy of inquiry and data collection methods
37
Figure 2.1
Macro level findings
84
Figure 2.2
Meso-micro level findings
85
Figure 3.1
Research process
Figure 4.1
Teacher changed pedagogy
148
Figure 4.2
Teachers’ emerging pedagogies
150
Figure 4.3
Developing learners as researchers and independent
103
knowledge seekers
166
Figure 4.4
ICT catering for multiple learning styles
170
Figure 4.5
ICT promoting integrative and interdisciplinary learning
174
Figure 6.1
A socio-cultural approach to local policy formulation and
265implementation
Page 17 LIST OF TABLES
Table 3.1
Summary of participants - Schools
101
Table 3.2
Summary of participants - Systemic
102
Table 3.3
Summary of participants - Pilot study
105
Table 3.4
Research questions in relation to data sources and
Interview questions
Table 3.5
Document analysis
Table 3.6
Code mapping: Three iterations of analysis
107
120
126
Page 18 LIST OF TERMINOLOGY
e-learning
•
e-education
•
•
The design, development and delivery of technologyenhanced learning experiences, using a multimedia such as:
web-based resources; audio-visual material, interactive
whiteboards.
In the South African context, e-education involves the use of
ICT to accelerate the achievement of the national education
goals. e-education also includes the connectivity between
learners, teachers, support services, and providing platforms
for learning. The broader goal of e-education is to improve
teaching and learning through effective use of technology and
pedagogy(Department of Education, 2004).
E-learning is flexible learning using ICT resources, tools and
applications, focussing on accessing information, interaction
among teachers, learners and the online environment,
collaborative learning, and production of materials and
resources to enhance learning (Department of Education,
2004).
Learners
•
Schools
Schools are classified as public, government or state schools;
former model C schools; or independent schools.
In the current study students, learners and pupils are terms
that are synonymous. However, the term learner will be used
consistently. A learner, as implied in this research is a person
who is in learning in the formal schooling period.
•
Former model C (or inner city) schools are public schools that
were previously (prior to 1994) designated for white learners
only. Both terms ‘model C’ and ‘inner city’ school will be
used interchangeably.
•
Township schools are public schools, typically situated in
suburbs out from the city centre and previously designated for
black persons.
•
Independent (or private) schools are defined as schools that
receive minimal financial support from the state.
Policy
Policy and reform are terms used interchangeably, and may imply
authorised policy or school based policy.
Macro, meso
In this study, macro implies national government; meso represent
provincial, district and school levels of government. Micro
represents the classroom and teacher level.
and micro
DoE
At the time of conducting this research the national department of
education was the DoE, and is referred to as such in this thesis.
Currently the DoE has been restructured into the department of
basic education and the department of higher education.
Page 19 LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
Acronym
Meaning
BECTA
British Education and Communication Technology Authority
CELTS
Cluster e-Learning Teams
CES
Chief Education Specialist
DCES
Deputy Chief Education Specialist
DoE
Department of Education
EFA
Education For All
ICT
Information and communication technology
IQMS
Integrated Quality Management System
LEA
Local Area Authorities (equivalent to District Offices)
MoE
Ministry of Education
NCS
National Curriculum Statement
NEPAD
New Economic Partnership for Africa Development
NGfL
National Grid for Learning
NGO
Non-Government Organisation
OBE
Outcomes Based Education
OFSTED
Office for Standards in Education
PELTS
Province e-Learning Teams
SIP
School Improvement Plan
SITES
Second Information Technology in Education Study
TELI
Technology Enhanced Learning Initiative
USEIT
Use, Support, andEffect of Instructional Technology
Page 20 CHAPTER 1
Orientation to the study
“The whole failed history of modern educational reform has
addressed the ‘needs of the child’. It has hardly paid any attention
to the work of the teacher, the one critical player in the school who
makes the biggest difference” (Marantz-Cohen, 2002, p. 532).
1.1
Introduction
This study is an inquiry into the experiences of teachers as they use information and
communication technology (ICT) to mediate policy in their classroom practice.
Teachers are significantly situated at the point where policy meets practice. This
study investigates how teachers appropriate1 the South African national e-education
policy in their teaching and learning repertoire. Currently much research in this field
of study is based on the nature and focus of the national ICT policy (Plomp et al.,
2009; Kearns, 2002), the rationale for introducing ICT into schools (Hawkridge,
1990), the application of ICT in teaching and learning (Cuban, 1998; Bekker, 2000),
teacher training and changed pedagogy (Kozma & Anderson, 2002), as well as ICT
infrastructure and access (Farrel & Wachholz, 2003). There is, however, very little
research on how education policy on ICT is implemented in schools. Accordingly, in
this study I ask how education policy on ICT influences teaching and learning in
South African schools.
As facilitators of learning, teachers and teaching arethe foundation upon which the
future democracy rests. Both teachers and teaching play crucial roles in shaping
student learning within a socio-cultural context. In South Africa the National
Department of Education (DoE) introduced the e-education policy with the intention
to change teacher pedagogy and learner achievement through the use of information
and communication technology (Department of Education, 2004). The policy aims to
“transform learning and teaching through information and communication
1
“Appropriation” is defined as “the ways that creative agents interpret and “take in” elements of
policy, thereby incorporating these discursive resources into their own schemes of interest, motivation,
and action, their own “figured worlds” (Levinson et al., 2009, p. 799)
Page 21 technologies” and thus to contribute to the economic growth and social development
of the country. The basic tenet of the policy is that through ICT, schools will improve
their level of functioning, teachers will change their teaching pedagogies and student
learning will improve.
This chapter provides an overview of the current study and consists of four sections.
First, the chapter addresses the “what”, the “why”, and the “how” of the study. It
attempts to offer an orientation to the study, by presenting the introduction and
background context, the rationale, problem statement and research questions that
guided the study. Second, a general synopsis of the two paradigmatic lenses and the
theoretical framework that underpin this study is presented. Third, the researcher
assumptions, conceptualization of terms, research design and methodologyare
explained. And fourth, the chapter concludes withensuing chapters of this study.
1.2
Background context
The post apartheid era in South Africa fuelled huge changes in the education system
and resulted in a barrage of new education policies for schools (Sayed &Jansen,
2001). Since South Africa's first national democratic elections in 1994, the
government has issued several curriculum-related reforms to “democratise education”
(Jansen& Christie, 1999). In 1997, a comprehensive reform called Curriculum 2005
with the philosophical paradigm of “outcomes-based education” (OBE) underpinned
the new education system. Teachers were at the very heart of this new policy
initiative, as they had to implement the new curriculum innovation and adopt new
policy mandated methods for teaching and learning. Coupled with the new
curriculum, teachers had to radically change their mindsets with respect to the OBE
paradigm. In 2002, another curriculum reform was initiated by government, called the
revised national curriculum statement (NCS) (Department of Education, 2002), which
still embraced the tenets of OBE. The NCS did not make provision for the use of ICT
(Blignaut & Howie, 2009), but encouraged curriculum integration, where
appropriate,in order to achieve educational outcomes. However, the core curriculum
did not provide guidelines on ICT in teaching and learning, and learning outcomes
were not aligned with the use of ICT (Holcraft, 2004). Recently, the minister of
Page 22 education announced another educational reform, namely “curriculum 2025”
(Mahlangu, 2010), which implies further changes to curriculum delivery.
Computers were introduced in South African schools during the 1980s, primarily in
independent schools and some well resourced public schools (Howie et al., 2005).
Since then ICT has become commonplace in most schools, and in particular public
schools (Plomp et al., 2003). The Technology Enhanced Learning Initiative (TELI) of
the Department of Education was the first initiative to provide a planning document
that introduced guidelines for the integration of technologies into teaching and
learning at educational institutions (Howie et al., 2005). ICT for teaching and learning
gradually made its entry into a broader range of schools, without schools being ready
to exploit its usefulness to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Yet, political
rhetoric and government policy advocated for teachers to use computers regardless of
the context that practitioners in particular and schools in general found themselves
(Surty, 2007; Pandor, 2007; PNC on ISAD, 2007).
The use of ICT in schools and its integration into teaching and learning had and
continue to enjoy wide political, educational and scholarly attention. Annually, school
governing bodies, government and private sector partnerships apportioned larger
education fiscal budgets for the acquisition of ICT in schools (Evoh, 2007). Prior to
the formulation of the national ICT policy in education, many schools had already
identified the need to implement ICT in their teaching and learning practices.
Czerniewicz and Hodgkinson-Williams (2005) indicate that the uptake of ICT in
schools continued regardless of the lack of policy support. In 2004, the White Paper
on e-education (Department of Education, 2004) (hereafter referred to as e-education
policy), as the first formal education policy on ICT, paved the way for ICT
implementation in South African schools. Numerous ICT initiatives in education had
not reached schools and reforms seemed to favour the implementation of broader
curriculum reforms over e-education policy (Blignaut & Howie, 2009).
Page 23 1.3
Rationale for the study
During my latter years in the teaching profession, it was evident that teacher beliefs,
attitudes and leadership were integral factors in the culture of teaching and learning.
As a principal, I was integral to a process that employed a top-down hierarchy to
implement policy mandates, more specifically the various curriculum reforms that
impacted on the classroom practice of teachers. I found that while research argued for
the inclusion of actors in the decision making process of policy formulation (Sutton &
Levinson, 2001; Dyer, 1999; Elmore, 1980; Cuban, 2001), the nature of educational
reform efforts continued to exclude teachers as educational professionals. Thus, to my
mind educational policy reform did not reflect the realities of teaching and learning in
classrooms.
Having worked in the field of education at all levels of the education system, and
particularly as a principal of a school, I had become sensitive to how teachersas
mediators translate policy into practice on the classroom floor. In 2006, I began work
as a lecturer in a faculty of education. Mymain focus of scholarship was computer
integrated education. Coupled to this I have an enduring interest in how ICT policy is
implemented in classrooms. It seemed to me that ICT policy implementation was an
emergent field of expertise, sharing similarities with other education policies but
unique in terms of its own implementation complexities. This, together with my
awareness of ICT initiatives in most schools, created an intellectual puzzle of how
teachers appropriate ICT policy to influence teaching and learning.
A growing body of literature on bottom-up policy implementation asserts that
negotiation and interpretation of policy by teachers is crucial to practice (McLaughlin,
1987; Hamann & Lane, 2004; Spillane, 1998; Sutton & Levinson, 2001; Elmore,
1980). Many varied descriptions and explanations of policy in practice are given
prominence by researchers: McLaughlin (1987) posits that policy is a process of
“bargaining and negotiation” by local actors. Spillane (1998) suggests that policy in
practice takes place through “sense making” and Sutton and Levinson (2001) explain
policy in practice as an “appropriation” of policy by actors. What is consistent in the
literature, is that the practice of policy is determined by actors situated at the point of
Page 24 policy implementation and may be different to policy as conceived by the
policymaker (Hamann & Lane, 2004). A review of literature in the field of national
ICT policy implementation revealed that this is a little understood phenomenon that
has not been significantly explored. In this regard I pursued an exploratory approach
to investigate how teachers are implementing the e-education policy in their
classroom practice.There are few studies on educational policy implementation in the
international area. Elmore (1980, p. 601) claims, “when one looks to the
implementation literature for guidance, there is not much to be found”. Dyer (1999, p.
46) argues that,
Policymakers looking to research on implementation studies will
unfortunately find the cupboard somewhat bare, for among the ‘meagre
literature on implementation’ there are few studies of education policy
implementation in developing countries.
Similarly, in South Africa there are few studies on educational policy implementation
(Jansen & Christie, 1999; Sayed, 2002; Tickly, 2003; Sayed & Jansen, 2001), and
even less research on educational ICT policy implementation. Of the research
conducted in the field of policy implementation, none has utilized the backward
mapping model to generate insights into the “blackbox” of processes involved in
implementing policy. In the context of this study, where comparatively little is known
about the ICT in education policy implementation process, the use of a socio-cultural
approach to policy studies (Sutton & Levinson, 2001) and a backward mapping model
(Elmore, 1980) to investigate policy implementation may generate numerous insights
into the dialogue of policy implementation.The use of these two complementary
methodological paradigms in a bottom-up implementation study may further
contribute to our improved understanding of policy implementation and open new
strategies to achieve policy mandates.
1.4
Statement of the research problem
Global national ICT in education policies placed education as the central actor to
pursue and attain national ICT objectives. Most countries in the world have an
existing blueprint for integrating ICT in schools. Similarly, South Africa attempted to
keep abreast with global trends and developed the mentioned national ICT policy
Page 25 (Department of Education, 2004) encapsulating a progressive vision to catapult the
country into the 21st century. The infiltration of ICT into classrooms has prompted
government policy in South Africa and policymakers all over the world to claim that
ICT can improve the quality of teaching and learning (Reynolds, Trehane, & Trip,
2003). The South African ICT policy in education is a recent policy in comparison
with international trends within the context of developed and developing countries.
The e-education policy (Department of Education, 2004) is exceptional in design in
that it evidently includes all rationales as delineated by Hawkridge (1990) namely,
social, pedagogic, vocational and catalytic rationales. In contrast other countries
pursue educational ICT policies with selective focus on particular rationales to initiate
ICT integration into school curriculum development (Cox & Marshall, 2007;
Tondeur, van Braak, & Valck, 2006).
Numerous provincial initiatives, for example, Gauteng online2 and Khanya3, were
taken by the South African government in partnership with the private sector to
provide schools with access to ICT infrastructure. This was done in an attempt to
meet the 2013 goal of the e-education policy to transform all schools into e-learning
schools and to develop ICT competent learners (Department of Education, 2004, p.
17; Wilson-Strydom, Thomson, & Hodgkinson-Williams, 2005). Governments,
including South Africa, are gradually shifting policy focus to realise “learning with
technology” as opposed to “learning about technology” (Jonassen, Peck & Wilson,
1999).Other non-government programmes such as Intel’s (Teach to the Future),
Microsoft’s(Partners in Learning), and government programmes (SchoolNet, South
African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE), Thutong educational portal) are
initiatives to respond to the e-education policy.
A review of the extant literature on policy implementation indicates that most
research in this field endorses a top-down approach to policy implementation studies.
Much research focuses on teachers as conduits of policy (Fitz, 1994;Harrison et al.,
2002; Rosekrans, 2006; Culp et al., 2003) and not on how better to engage teachers in
the implementation of policy (Marshall, 1997; Walsh, 1984).My study utilises a
2
Gauteng online - Gauteng provincial government initiative for provisioning and ICT access to schools
Khanya -Western Cape provincial government initiative for ICT provisioning and ICT access to
schools
3
Page 26 backward mapping approach (Elmore, 1980) in which teachers are not merely viewed
as policy imbibers but as interpreters, decision makers and constructors of policy.
The problem of policy implementation then arises as to how the national e-education
policy translates into practice in schools for teaching, learning and institutional
effectiveness? How are teachers interpreting and implementing the national policy on
e-education? And, what are the contextual issues that influence policy
implementation?
Within a developing country context, there is little research that governments can
draw on about the policy implementation process (Dyer, 1999). Similarly, in South
Africa, little is known about policy implementation. Consequently the country cannot
afford “wasted resources” that can result from misjudging the ease of policy
implementation (Dyer, 1999; Fullan, 2001; Elmore, 2004; Sutton & Levinson, 2001;
Levinson, Sutton & Winstead, 2009).Misjudging the ease of policy implementation
may be one of the most common planning errors made by governments, particularly
in developing country contexts (Dyer, 1999; Haddad, 1994). If implementation stages
are not well planned, local actors may resist policy or unexpected policy outcomes
may result, particularly as abstract policy moves across multiple implementation
stages (Dyer, 1999). Furthermore, in developing country contexts emphasis seems to
be placed on policy formulation rather than on implementation (Jansen, 2001). Thus,
policy formulation is seen as distinctly different to policy implementation which is
viewed as a policy add-on.
However, it is the practice of actors that determines the limits and success of policy
implementation (Smit, 2001). Most policy related research focuses on policy analysis,
implying a top-down approach that begins with the policy intent and views policy
implementation as being regulated by the policymaker. In my study, policy
implementation research focused on bottom-up processes to determine whether the
policy intent had the desired effect (Dyer, 1999).
1.5
Research questions
Page 27 My main research question is: How does education policy on ICT influence teaching
and learning within South African schools?
Sub-questions:
•
How do teachers appropriate educationpolicy on ICT in schools?
•
What is the ability of the hierarchical unit (principal, district and province)
within the education system to affect the behaviour of the teacher that is the
target of the policy?
•
What resources does this unit (principal, district and province) require in order
to have that effect?
1.6
Paradigmatic perspectives
1.6.1
Methodological and epistemological paradigm
Methodologically my lens identifies my view as a qualitative inquirer. The lens
through which I conducted this study establishes my decisions and sense-making of
how long I remained in the research field, whether data collection was saturated with
respect to themes and categories, and how the analysis of data would advance into
narratives to support the argument (Creswell & Miller, 2000) (See chapter 3). I
establish myself as a qualitative inquirer by assuming that reality is socially
constructed as perceived by participants in this study. This lens was useful in
representing multiple perspectives of participants’ realities. In this regard I employed
‘member checking’ to assess whether I captured participants’ interpretations
accurately. MetatheoreticallyI am drawn to the tenets that govern social
constructivism as my worldview. This epistemological paradigm shaped the choice of
procedures employed in the study (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). The social constructivist
epistemological paradigm advocates that reality exists through people’s subjective
social experiences of the world. In this study a social constructivist paradigm afforded
me the opportunity to interpret teachers’ perspectives of policy implementation. This
paradigm offered a lens to explore the experiences of participants in their local
context.
Page 28 1.6.2
Theoretical framework: Socio-cultural approach to policy studies
This section outlines the socio-cultural approach to policy studies and its relevance to
the inquiry of teachers’ experiences in implementing the e-education policy.The
socio-cultural approach to policy builds on the ontological, epistemological, and
methodological assumptions of my study. The socio-cultural approach to educational
policy is distinguished by various characteristics, namelypolicy as a socio-cultural
practice, policy as agency and, policy as a practice of power.
1.6.2.1
Policy as a socio-cultural practice
How individuals construct knowledge and locate their experiences is dependent on the
socio-cultural context of the individual. The socio-cultural approach seeks to expand
our understanding of the cultural, contextual, and political dimensions of education
policy. According to Sutton and Levinson (2001, p. 1), the socio-cultural approach to
education policy studies redefines the notion of policy as “a complex social practice,
an ongoing process of normative cultural production constituted by diverse actors
across diverse social and institutional contexts”. Particular attention is given to the
cultural meanings people use to interpret their experience and to generate social
behaviour. Policymakers and recipients of educational policy are cultural beings with
unique value systems, beliefs, attitudes and identities that influence the policy
process. Processes of policy formation occur across many social contexts.
The socio-cultural approach views policy as a social practice that categorises and
shapes actors at various levels of the system depending on the context and perceptions
of the actors at each level (Sutton & Levinson, 2001). As an ongoing social practice,
policy is applied in ways that are particular to specific situations, and within these
situations there exists an interaction in which the social actors, policy, and situations
inform one another. In this way, the cultural phenomenon to be studied is constituted
by the way in which the policy, practices, social actors, and the present social
definition mutually constitute the situation. This view suggests that policy can be
somewhat incongruent at different levels of organization in educational institutions,
and as an official policy moves across multiple settings in a school, it is appropriated
Page 29 by various social actors, thus it can and often does, take on many forms.The current
study focuses on teachers’ experiences as implementers of the e-education policy and
in this regard a socio-cultural approach attends to the “cultural meanings people use to
interpret their experience and generate social behaviour” (Sutton & Levinson, 2001).
1.6.2.2
Policy as agency
Contrary to policy that exists as the official tool of government, officially authorized
and supported by enforcement mechanisms, policy formation also occurs across other
varied social contexts. Policy may develop spontaneously and informally in places not
officially mandated with making policy. Schools may enact their own policy to
determine appropriate procedure and conduct, which may be “documented and
codified, or it may exist in unwritten form, through ongoing institutional memory and
practice” (Levinson, Sutton & Winstead, 2009, p.770). The socio-cultural approach to
policy studies is used in my study to emphasize the validity of local, unauthorised
forms of policy, as developed in schools.
Practice on the other hand, takes place within particular situations across varied social
contexts, “practice gets at the way individuals, and groups, engage in situated
behaviours that are both constrained and enabled by existing structures, but which
allow the person to exercise agency in the emerging situation” (Sutton & Levinson,
2001, p. 3). How teachers mediate and understand the e-education policy depends on
their beliefs, attitudes and professionalism which in turn influence their social
interactions. In this regard qualitative socio-cultural research into the everyday
practice of teachers conceives the policy process as a spontaneous response to sociocultural contexts, in which “the purposeful practice of diverse social actors reinstates
agency across all levels of the policy process, making it possible to see policy not
only as a mandate but also as a contested cultural resource” (Sutton & Levinson,
2001, p. 3). Elmore and McLaughlin (1988) posit the notion that implementation
shapes policy and that the attention is focussed more on the meaning of policy in the
lives of those affected by it.
Page 30 Policy can also be a practice that works on the view of the self in relation to the policy
context. Policy within an institution is constantly ‘negotiated’ and ‘reorganised’ by
the actors in their daily repertoire of institutional life. Aligned with the socio-cultural
epistemological view of constructing knowledge through social and cultural
participation, teachers’ perceptions of e-education and what decisions they make
relevant to the policy also influence their view of self. The socio-cultural approach to
policy analysis further notes that as policy filters down to be implemented at varying
levels within the school context, the local actors at the lowest level of implementation
may modify their actions in adherence to policy, or purposefully delay
implementation or simply resist policy directives through inaction. Policy thus needs
to be analyzed in terms of how people appropriate its meanings. Appropriation
focuses on the way teachers “take-in” and incorporate elements of policy into their
existing frames of reference, namely professional confidence, professional
interpretation and professional consciousness.
1.6.2.3
Policy as a practice of power
The socio-cultural approach explains policy as a “practice of power and interrogates
the meaning of policy in practice” (Sutton &Levinson, 2001, p.1). Policy making, in
itself, is directly linked to issues of power by means of the power dynamics that the
language of policy encourages through implementation in schools and classrooms
(Levinson, Sutton & Winstead, 2009). Levinson and Cade (2002, p. xiii) define
policy as “the exercise of power in the distribution of rewards and resources”. Sutton
and Levinson (2001) focus on policy actors across a variety of levels and at various
sites. Policy implementation is a practice of social relations between the policymaker,
those who implement policy, and the learners and teachers who are influenced by
such decisions (Sutton & Levinson, 2001; Levinson, Sutton & Winstead, 2009; Cade,
2003).
Sutton and Levinson (2001) give special attention to the multiple modalities through
which policy is formulated and appropriated. For example, as province and district
interpret e-education policy, particular meanings and subsequent decisions are made
that affect the local school. In turn, the administration at the local school then
Page 31 interprets these meanings within their own individual knowledge and school context.
The teacher then mitigates these meanings along with her own understandings that are
influenced by school power dynamics regardless of the original intent of
policymakers. The socio-cultural approach to policy can provide a clear exploratory
understanding of how policy mandates influence the realities of policy
implementation in schools. In mysphere of study national government created the eeducation policy, while provinces were mandated to implement the policy objectives
within the established systemic structures and schools.
1.6.2.4
Summary
A synopsis of empirical literature on the socio-cultural approach to education policy
studies revealed a number of features: First, local actorsattach cultural meaning to
interpret their experience and to generate social behaviour. Second, local actors
engage in situated behaviours which may be inhibited or promoted, but allows for
agency to be exercised. Third, local actorsfocus attention on the meaning of policy in
their lives. Fourth, local actorsassign different meaning to the same words (or text) in
policy. Fifth, local actors’resistance to policy may be conceived as a kind of
appropriation, in that it may culminate in the need for alternative policy. Sixth, local
actors appropriate meaning to policy, and analyse policy. And seventh, local actors
are agents of change generating new and enabling policy to suit their local context and
understanding.
1.7
Research assumptions
From literature I formulate a number of assumptions (Sutton & Staw, 1995) relevant
to the current study. First, once policy has been formulated it will be implemented
(Smith, 1973). Second, policy that is officially authorized and backed by government
enforcement mechanisms filters in a linear fashion from macro to meso to micro
levels in the education system (Younie, 2006; Harrison et al., 2002; Lim, 2007).
Third, actors at these various levels are knowledgeable about authorized policy, and
implement policy according to guidelines (Bell & Stevenson, 2006). Fourth, teachers
may modify their actions in adherence to policy, or purposefully delay
Page 32 implementation or simply resist policy directives through inaction. Fifth, systemic
structures provide sustained policy support and resources to teachers (McLaughlin,
2005). And sixth, the practice of policy is determined by actors situated at the point of
policy implementation and may be different to policy as conceived by the
policymaker (Hamann & Lane, 2004). I revisit these research assumptions in chapter
six.
1.8
Conceptualization of terms
The following terms are used in the title of this study or in the design of the
researchquestions, and warrant a definition as used in this study.
•
Government policy
Levinson,Sutton and Winstead (2009, p. 5) define policy as a “normative cultural
discourse with positive and negative sanctions, that is, a set of statements about how
things should or must be done, with corresponding inducements or punishments”.
Furthermore,Levinson, Sutton and Winstead (2009, p. 769) indicate that policy
defines reality, orders behaviour and may or may not allocate resources. In the context
of this study, government policy is what Sutton and Levinson (2001) define as being
officially authorized mandates that are supported by “enforcement mechanisms of
government”. Policy may also be developed in agencies or offices that are
“constitutionally charged with making policy”. According to Sutton and Levinson
(2001) authorized policy is principally a concern of the sovereign state and “policy
may be documented and codified or it may exist in unwritten form, through ongoing
institutional memory and practice”. According to Bell and Stevenson (2006), state
policy (national or local), has an impact on what happens at schools, and on the lives
of the people that work in these institutions.
•
Appropriation
I use the term appropriation as defined by Sutton and Levinson (2001). Levinson,
Sutton and Winstead (2009) adopt the word “appropriation” as an alternative to
Page 33 “implementation”. Accordingly, they define “appropriation” as “the ways that creative
agents interpret and “take in” elements of policy, thereby incorporating these
discursive resources into their own schemes of interest, motivation, and action, their
own “figured worlds” (Levinson et al., 2009, p. 799). Appropriation is a kind of
taking of policy and making it one’s own. Sutton and Levinson (2001) indicate that
the process of appropriation occurs when authorized text or policy is mediated by
various means and various institutional contexts to which it applies. Appropriation
takes into account local actors’ sense making in the implementation of policy, but
goes further “[to] point to the possible recursive influence of local actors on the
formation of authorized policy, even as it recognizes and valorises rather more local,
unofficial types of policy formation that are the outcome of these actors’ encounter
with authorized policy" (Levinson et al., 2009, p. 799).
•
Information and communication technology (ICT)
I used Newhouse’s (2002) broad definition of information and communication
technology. ICT is typically used to refer to computer technologies but also other
technologies used for collection, storage, manipulation and communication of
information. The White Paper on e-education defines ICT as the convergence of
information technology and communication technology.
•
Ability
In this study I define “ability” as having the power to perform an act whether innate or
as a result of learning and practice (Drislane & Parkinson, 2010). Ability was
indicated by systemic policy outputs such as guidelines, mission and vision
statements, and initiatives of the hierarchical unit.
•
Hierarchical unit
Hierarchical unit as a construct is defined as a group of interacting, interdependent
elements (principal, district and province) forming a complex educational
Page 34 organizational whole. A hierarchical unit regularly interacts as a unified whole
towards the achievement of a goal. Furthermore, within the context of the current
study, institutional hierarchy is ranked according to level of political authority and
power bestowed upon it by national government mandates (Drislane & Parkinson,
2010).
•
Educational system
Within the context of the current study, the educational system consists of primary
and secondary school education (In South Africa - general education and training
band) over which provincial and local districts exercise administrative control
(Education in South Africa, 2010). The ICT policy and resource support to schools
were aspects of the district and provincial e-learning directorates that were of
significance in my data.
•
Affect the behaviour of the teacher that is the target; to have that effect
The term “affect the behaviour” as used in this study implies to “have an influence
on” the “overt or covert observable and measurable activity of the teacher” (Drislane
& Parkinson, 2010). The “teacher that is the target” of the policy implies educational
policy reform that is intended for teachers to implement. Observation of teachers’
classroom practices was the essence of identifying change in pedagogic behaviour.
The term “effect” means any result of another action. In this study the effect was
identified as the change in behaviour of teachers’ practice as a direct consequence of
district, province and principals’ ability to do so. During interviews the effect of
policy on behaviour was indicated byteachers’ reference to:e-education policy, eeducation circulars, ICT curriculum integration plans, lesson plans,ICT teaching and
learning resources, principal’s e-learning support and the e-learning system. In
observation of teachers’ ICT-classroom practices the effect of policy on behaviour
was indicated by ICT integrated teaching and learning.
•
Resources
Page 35 According to Levinson et al. (2009) policy defines reality, orders behaviour, and may
allocate resources. In this regard resources may satisfy a particular policy
implementation need, like: financial, physical, policy, guidelines, training or expertise
development.
1.9
Research design and methodology
According to Lincoln and Guba (1985, p. 221) “research design is the plan, structure,
and strategy of investigation conceived so as to obtain answers to research questions
and to control variance”. The design is therefore all that the researcher does from
writing the research problem and questions, determination of cases, sampling
participants, data gathering and analysis. In chapter 3, I provide a comprehensive
discussion of the research design and methodology. Figure 1.1 below gives a synopsis
of the research design, strategy of inquiry and phases of inquiry. Subsequently a brief
summary of the research process and phases of inquiry areoutlined.
Page 36 Triangulationthrough
multiple methods of data
collection, multiple data
sources and the use of
two complementary
theoretical approaches
Research purpose
Strategy of Inquiry
Instrumental case study based on backward mapping principles
Selection of cases
Qualitative exploratory
design
Selection of
participants
3 schools - maximum variation purposeful sampling
Purposeful
sampling
Analysis
of
data
Participant
Method
and
instrument
Phases of inquiry
Interview
Observation
Semistructured
face-to- face
interviews:
teachers (6),
principals
(3),
district (1),
province (2)
Observation
of
teachers’cla
ssroom
practice
Grounded
theory
methods
Qualitative
video
analysis
approach
Figure 1.1:
Informal
conversational
interviews
Informal
interviews
with
teachers
Manual
process of
coding and
categorization of the
data
Field notes
Researcher
journal
To
Deepen my
reconstruct understandthe
ding of the
accounts of research
teachers,
processes
or salient
and to make
events
my work
within
more public
context
(school) of
study.
Content analysis as a
method that is commonly
applied to narrative data
Document
review
Interpretation of text
in artefacts;
policy
documents
etc.
Teacher,
Principal
Content
analysis and
textual
analysis of
extant text
Research design, strategy of inquiry and data collection methods
Page 37 1.9.1
The research process and phases of inquiry
I used an exploratory qualitative design aligned to a social constructivist methodology
in this study. The focusof the inquiry was not on teachers per se but bounded by the
process of teacher policy appropriation and thus an instrumental case study approach
was appropriate (Silverman, 2006). I followed backward mapping case study
principles (Elmore, 1980).
The cases for the study were defined by schools with teachers using ICT to teach the
national curriculum. I purposefully selected three schools from diverse socio-cultural
settings for maximum variation (Glesni, 2007). The three primary schools, located in
the Gauteng province of South Africa, provided the research sites for this study: a
former model C4 school, atownship5 school and an independent6 school. The
purposeful selection of teacher participants (n=6) for the study was done through
defined criteria. Principals (n=3) at each school, district (n=1) and provincial (n=2)
leaders at specific directorates, were purposefully selected as essential participants to
backward mappingprinciples.
Semi-structured face-to-face interviews (Fontana & Frey, 2005) represented the main
data collection method. I conducted classroom observations of teachers’ classroom
practices, in which I positioned myself as a reactive observer (Angrosino, 2005).
Interviews and classroom observations took place over a period of eighteen months. I
conducted informal conversational interviews (Peräkylä, 2005) with teachers
throughout the research period. I used field notes to record observations (Fontana &
Frey, 2005). I used a researcher journal, to remain focused on the research problem
(Hebert, 2002). The analysis of documents (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005)also constituted
empirical material. (See Chapter 3 for a synopsis of selected documents).
4
Former model C schools were public schools (classified prior to 1994) catering mainly for white
learners
5
Township schools are schools that are currently situated within ‘black’ communities
6
Independent schools are autonomous private schools that receive minimal state subsidy and target
affluent communities.
Page 38 I analyzeddata using constructivist grounded theory methods (Glaser & Strauss, 1967;
Charmaz, 2001). Codes were generated from data analysis software (Atlis.TiTM) and
continuously modified by the treatment of the data "to accommodate new data and
new insights about those data" (Sandelowski, 2000, p. 338). The extensive codes were
further analyzed a priori to identify data related to key concepts in the research
questions and through open coding (Miles & Huberman, 1994). This was a reflexive
and interactive process that yielded extensivecodes, themes and categories.
I
conducted multiple readings of the data, organizing codes and themes into higher
levels of categories within and across the interviews, observations, and other sources
of data (Merriam, 1998).
1.9.2
Enhancing the quality of the study
In an attempt to enhance the quality of this study I implemented strategies of
dependability, authenticity, credibility, confirmability, and transferability (Creswell &
Miller, 2000). As the social constructivist lens views reality as socially constructed,
that which we see is our interpretation and that which others report to us is their
interpretation of social experiences of the world (Gasson, nd). Emerging from this
view of the world, I endeavoured to ensure that findings were dependable and
authentic. To ensure dependability of my findings, I made explicit the processes
through which findings were derived. In this regard I maintained an audit trail by
defining in detail the procedures that I employed in data collection and analysis. For
authenticity, I ensured that findings were related to the main participants in the
research context, namely teachers, principals and systemic officials.
According to Creswell and Miller (2000), credibility refers to the extent to which
different stakeholders may make the same inferences from the data, and the extent to
which the researcher represents the reality from the viewpoint of participants, other
researchers and external peers. The choice of validity procedures for a study is
dependent on the researcher’s lens and paradigmatic assumptions (Creswell & Miller,
2000). In this study I attempted to reflect accurately on participants’ account of the
social phenomena and to ensure that this account would be credible to them. In this
regard I employed various procedures (Guba, 1981; Creswell & Miller 2000) to
Page 39 ensure credibility, namely triangulation across data sources and methods; noting
instances of disconfirming evidence; use of a researcher reflexive journal; member
checking; maintaining an audit trail; and, describing context, participants and themes
in rich and thick detail.
Although no study can provide findings that are universally transferable, the aim of
research is to produce information that can be shared and applied beyond the study
context to other settings (Guba, 1981). In this regard I collected rich and thick data
that may permit comparison of this study context to other possible contexts. To
enhance transferability, I provided thick description of the study context such as
demographics of the participants. Furthermore, I employed purposeful sampling that
was not intended to be typical or representative. Thus descriptions, notions, and
theories within the specified settings may be used for transferability without the
findings of the study being transferable. In an attempt to represent findings that
reflected participants’ experiences (and not mine) within the context of the study, I
used a method of constant reflexivity. In applying the construct of confirmability
(Gasson, nd; Guba, 1981) I acknowledge my implicit influences, beliefs and biases as
part of a social context that may affect the phenomenon under study. To limit my
biases and prejudices in the social context, I recorded my reflections in a researcher
journal. Triangulation of data, as already noted in credibility, was also applied as a
strategy for confirmability. Quality criteria are addressed comprehensively in chapter
three.
1.9.3
Scope and limitations
This study focussed on teachers in primary schools and the policy administrators at
school level and beyond the school’s boundary. The study also focussed on
experiences of teachers as they appropriate education policy on ICT in their teaching
repertoire. This study did not include teachers, principals andlearners at secondary
schools. This study identified and investigated primary school teachers that were
teaching the national curriculum through the use the ICT and does not include the
experiences of teachers teaching ICT as a standalone subject discipline.
Page 40 This study embraced an instrumental case study approach to provide insight into how
teachers appropriate ICT policy on education, and with no intention to drawing
generalizations beyond the context of this study (Stake, 2005, p.461). I followed
qualitative research methods as a systematic and reflective process in the generation
of new knowledge that may be contested, shared or imply transferability beyond the
current study context (Multerud, 2001). In this regard, I did not intend to generalise
the findings of this study to other contexts. However, the insights gleaned could
contribute to inform education on policy implementation at schools and how teachers
appropriate education policy.
1.9.4
Ethical considerations
Just like any research that involves human behaviour, measures were taken to ensure
that all ethical concerns with regard to voluntary participation, informed consent,
confidentially and anonymity were adhered to (Christians, 2005; Cohen, Manion
&Morrison, 2006). Care was therefore taken to protect the personal dignity and
confidentiality of the teachers who were the main participants in the study. Christians
(2005, p. 144) suggests that participants must agree to voluntarily participate “without
coercion” with “full and open” disclosure of information by the researcher. This was
achieved through an introductory interview explaining the objectives, nature of the
study, how results would be released and used, and allowing participants to check and
confirm their [inter]views before reporting in the study (Moss, 2004; Lemmer & van
Wyk, 2004). Furthermore, no actual names of participants were indicated in reporting
their views and practices.
Before entering the field, I first sought the permission from the relevant department of
education in Gauteng Province in South Africa. Next I solicited the approval of
principals at various research sites. Before conducting interviews and observations I
sought participating teachers’ approval as well as the approval oflearners’ parents,
district and province leaders. Finally learners were issued with letters of assent
explaining their level of participation. All participants completed a consent form to
indicate their voluntary participation and right to withdraw from the study at any time
Page 41 without giving any explanation (See Appendices A, A2-A5). Chapter Three, gives a
detailed exposition of this section.
1.10
Outline of chapters
Chapter 1
In this chapter an overview of this study is provided. The overview includes a brief
background context, justification for the study and the context of the three schools.
Also included in this chapter are the problem statement and the associated research
questions. This chapter explains the assumptions on which this study was based and
concludes with the theoretical framework that acts as a scaffold for this study. Finally,
I note the strategies for ensuring credibility and the ethical considerations of
anonymity and confidentiality.
Chapter 2
This chapter focuses on the review of the literature on empirical studies that relate to
this study. A core interest in the review of the literature is to establish what is already
known in the field about my proposed study. The review was primarily undertaken to
identify the debates in the field with particular interest in existing gaps and silences in
the field that gave credence to this study.
Chapter 3
Chapter three describes the research design. In this chapter the meta-theoretical and
methodological paradigms that underpin this study are presented. The methodological
grounding is pursued in depth by explaining the selection of cases, research sites and
participants. The chapter expands on the methodology for sampling, instruments of
data collection and the research process. This chapter includes an in-depth explanation
of the process of data analysis and concludes with issues of trustworthiness to enhance
the quality of the study.
Page 42 Chapter 4
This chapter draws on the emerging themes that were identified through data analysis.
It is through these themes that experiences of six participant teachers are narrated and
analyzed. Principally the research question of how teachers appropriate education
policy on ICT in schools is addressed. The main focus of this chapter was on
analysing data obtained from teachers as a unit of analysis. The chapter is concluded
by conducting a literature control against the results of data analysis.
Chapter 5
Chapter five similarly draws on the emerging themes that have surfaced through data
coding and categorization. The emergent themes represented the experiences of
principals and those of district and provincial e-learning participants. The main focus
of this chapter was on analysing data obtained from systemic structures beyond the
teacher. The chapter is concluded by conducting a literature control against the results
of data analysis.
Chapter 6
This chapter presents a summary of the key findings and foregrounds these findings
against the theoretical framework of this study. The literature research assumptions
are revisited in light of findings of this study. New knowledge that emerged from this
study and suggestions for further research are presented. The chapter concludes with
recommendations for policy implementation to improve teaching and learning.
1.11
Conclusion
There is significant interest by government, both in South Africa and internationally
to increase the use of ICT in teaching and learning. It is well documented that most
developed and developing countries have made either systemic changes or
incremental changes by restructuring, modifying or enhancing their policies on ICT
and curriculum to illustrate their commitment to pursue their education agenda and
Page 43 rationale. In this regard numerous studies focus on government intentions in policy
formation, and much research emphasis is on policy implementation as policy
traverses from the intention of the policy maker to the classroom of the teacher. Very
little policy implementation research especially in ICT policy on education is
positioned at the classroom level, where focus is on the teacher who is at the
crossroads of policy and practice. This study sought to inquire from a bottom-up
analysis of policy implementation beginning with understanding teachers who are
situated at the point of implementation.
In this opening chapter, I have presented an introduction to the study. This included
among other aspects, the background, the problem statement, study objectives,
research questions, rationale and significance of the study, delimitation and
limitations of the study. A brief description of the research design, data gathering
strategy, instruments, research sites, study sample, strategy of inquiry and analysis of
the gathered data was also outlined. In chapter two I present a literature review of
debates in the field.
Page 44 CHAPTER 2
Exploring the debates in the field
2.1
Introduction
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a review of the literature on ICT
(Information
and
Communication
Technology)
policy
implementation
in
educationfrom both international and national viewpoints. This review sets out to
explore issues that are relevant to my study and to inform policy. The literature review
commences by presenting an overview of the debates in the international field and
concludes by situating the South African scenario within the context of these debates.
Common threads running through both the national and international landscape
aremacro and meso-micro level policies of ICT on education.At macro level the focus
is on initiatives and issues withingovernment (national, provincial and district) ICT in
education policy implementation. The meso-micro level draws attentionto particular
ICT in education policy issues that influence policy implementation at school and
classroom levels.
This review of the literature is grounded in research based on comparative studies,
NGO, national and international surveys, ICT in education projects, international
reports and academic empirical literature that spans both developed and developing
countries. The review of research literature does not report on the findings of each
country per se, but on ICT in education policy implementation issues that have
common threads within the international debates.
2.2
The rationale of governments for an ICT policy in
education
Governments, policymakers and administrators of schools have placed ICT in
schools, with the intention that ICT is the panacea to all problems in education (Jung,
2005; Selwyn, 2007; Selwyn, Gorard, & Williams, 2001).Most governments hold the
expectation that by placing ICT in schools, all will bode well and that the new
Page 45 technology will naturally enhance teaching and learning. Yet such intentions when
exposed to empirical research, prove to be insubstantial and rhetoric. Numerous
scholars (Underwood et al., 2007; Cuban, 2001; Selwyn, Gorard & Williams, 2001;
Butcher, 2003; Selwyn, 1999; Condie et al, 2007; Thomson, Nixon & Comber,
2006)in the field have questioned this universal quest to place computers in schools,
and the policy intentions that accompany this innovation.
To begin to understand ICT policy in education, it is necessary to understand what
motivates governments to implement ICT in schools. Hawkridge (1990) outlines four
rationales of ICT policy formulation that are generally utilised by countries for the
introduction of ICT into schools. First, a social rationale defines the importance of
ICT in society and provides impetus for school integration. Second, a vocational
rationale calls on the need to equip learners for future workplace employment. Third,
a pedagogical rationale expresses the notion that ICT in schools will improve the
quality of teaching and learning. And fourth, a catalytic rationale suggests that ICT
will enhance the general performance of schools, integrating the functions of teaching
and learning, management and administration. Tondeur et al. (2006) suggest that
current curriculum developments in developed countries tend to focus mostly on the
social and vocational rationales as delineated by Hawkridge (1990). According to
Duguet (1990, p. 165) strategies and policies for introducing ICT into schools differ
from country to country only by the intention of the policymakers or government.
Some countries tend to impose a “restricted” policy that has a primary intention to
promote instruction in computer science and computer literacy, as opposed to those
countries that impose “comprehensive” policies that are intended to increase the
effective use of ICT-based teaching and learning across the curriculum. Duguet
(1990) argues that the social and vocational rationales as propounded by Hawkridge
(1990) are restrictive policies, while pedagogical and catalytic rationales are
comprehensive policies that are generally transformative in nature.
According to Pelgrum and Plomp (1993), it is not one single rationale that guides
policy makers or governments, but rather a combination of rationales. The selection of
particular rationales does, however, determine to a large extent the nature of the
implementation strategies. Both Hawkridge (1990) and Duguet (1990) indicate that
Page 46 the significant difference is that most developed countries have ICT policies that are
comprehensive in nature, while developing countries continue to produce policies that
are typically restrictive. They propose that developing countries should transcend this
barrier by developing ICT policies that are more holistic in their approach to ICT
planning.
Many varied rationales may exist for countries to introduce computer technology in
education, but all countries have to respond to factors and challenges that arise
beyond education. According to Dugeut (1990, p. 165) national, provincial, local and
district policies for introducing ICT into schools are expected to respond to
“pressures” that are external to the education sector. Here again the difference
between developing and developed countries lies only in the extent to which these
pressures influence the ICT in education policy.
2.3
International landscape: Macro level –
Are policiesimplemented as planned?
2.3.1
ICT policy implementation: Trends and strategies
Findings from an international comparative study(Kearns, 2002) on ICT in education
policies of ten countries (Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand,
Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States) indicate that most developed
countries pursued particular trends in their phases of policy implementation at the
macro level. Three discernible phases of ICT policy were identified: Phase One - ICT
policy is characterized by providing access to computers in schools, with emphasis on
teacher professional development and the development of online content. Phase Two the mainstreaming and integrating role of ICT into education in a more strategic way,
with emphasis on objectives and links to overall education strategies. Phase Three the transformation of teaching and learning, principally “transforming the way we
learn” (Kearns, 2002, p. 22).
The ten countriesresearched (mentioned above) have since surpassed these phases
(Kearns, 2002, p. 22). Notably, Sweden and the United States of America, both
Page 47 forerunners in international ICT policy, are currently on their third national plan for
ICT in education and on the brink of venturing into the third phase of policy
implementation. Furthermore, findings placed emphasis on the fact that none of the
countries surveyed had progressed to a stage to fully implement phase three of policy
implementation. However, collaboration between countries of the ICT league
(Canada, Netherlands and the Nordic countries) are beginning to explore ways to
progress to the third phase of policy for ICT in education. Furthermore, most
countries are faced with the enormous challenge of how to best deal with the
“exponential pace of technological, social, and economic change” Kearns (2002, p. 4).
The key is how countries have responded to this change in developing policy for ICT
in education. Kearns (2002, p.14) states that traditional policy approaches to
government processes, mechanisms and initiatives tend to be poorly suited to the
current requirements of a dynamic knowledge society. There is a need for new
approaches that meet the conditions and challenges of the dynamically changing
information age. Most of these countries have extended their education ICT policy to
develop ICT action plans, which act as policy instruments to promote the effective use
of ICT in education and training.Malaysia is one of many developing nations that has
taken up the challenge and is fast-tracking its ICT capabilities in an attempt to
leapfrog the country into a developed nation (Belawati, 2003; Chan, 2002).
2.3.1.1
Slow pace of change
A number of research studies in this field, indicate that ICT in schools is unfolding at
a disappointing “slow pace of change” (Dale et al., 2004; OECD, 2001; Kerns, 2002;
Pelgrum & Plomp, 1993; Lee, 2003; Younie, 2006; Murphy & Beggs, 2003; Smolin
& Lawless, 2007). The OECD (2001, p. 88) found that “compared with many other
sectors, education has been slow to make changes in organizational practice and
culture through the use of ICT”. Research findings of a comparative study indicate
that the adoption of ICT in schools seemed to follow the same pattern as any other
educational innovation (Kerns, 2002). Fluck (2003, p. 1) posits that ICT has had as
much “impact as any other innovation”. This clearly suggests that ICT as a relatively
new innovation has not necessarily translated into new teaching-learning strategies, as
Page 48 expected by policymakers. There is a need for research to identify strategies that
would accelerate the pace of change and ICT innovation in education systems
(Kearns, 2002). Lee (2003) argues that the slow pace of change and the degree to
which ICT was utilised in Korean schools was a result of government’s haste to
promote its educational informatization project without studying its effectiveness in
school practice.
Implementing government policy in ICT “is a complex procedure and not a direct
translation from government policy to practice” (Younie, 2006, p. 385). Furthermore,
Younie (2006) argues that change is either very slow or tends to fail because
government policy has to pass through various agencies and systemic levels. The
conduit through which policy traverses, from macro to micro levels within the system,
impacts on policy effectiveness and delivery. In contrast,Pelgrum and Plomp (1993),
suggest thatthe reason for disappointing progress in integration of ICT in education
may be due to simplistic government policies. It is these arguments that raise the
challenge to identify policy implementationand policy appropriation issues at micro
level that are relevant to my study.
2.3.1.2
Multidimensional approach and systemic change
Policy implementation should be “multidimensional”in its approach. Policy
implementation should not only focus on material issues such as infrastructure,
funding, and teacher training but also on change management at meso and micro level
(Younie, 2006). Accordingly Younie (2006, p.385) claims that policy implementation
should be viewed as a dynamic process that is “fluid, reiterative and non-linear”.
Policy can be materialised into practice by government, if government accepted and
remainedconstantly aware of the complexity of policy implementation, particularly at
local levels. Accordingly, a multidimensional approach to policy would yield an
understanding of the way teachers interpret policy and engage in the implementation
of ICT policy at micro level. The implementation of government policy is a complex
process and one that is multifaceted (Plomp et al., 2009; Younie, 2006).
Page 49 Researchers have advocated for systemic change for the successful integration of ICT
in education (Joseph &Reigeluth, 2005; Sutherland et al., 2004; Younie, 2006). The
implementation of an ICT policy on its own without complementary changes in the
education system as a whole would fail to meet the requirements of the information
society. Joseph and Reigeluth (2005) argue that it is only through systemic change, as
opposed to piecemeal change, that the education system can meet the challenges
posed by the information age. The metaphor of a “jigsaw puzzle” is used to suggest
that piecemeal changes arelike incremental reform, where one change in reform must
invariably impact on other linked changes in reform. Joseph and Reigeluth (2005)
strongly advocate a systemic approach where all aspects of the education system
(government policy, school governing bodies, district offices, schools and classroom
practice) change simultaneously.Sutherland et al. (2004, p. 423) posit that
policymakers tend to have a “utopian vision” of their expectations with regard to ICT
in schools and should not treat ICT as an “unproblematic innovation that will
somehow lead to enhanced learning”.
2.3.1.3
Simplistic policies and competing priorities
Unlike many developed countries, Africa as a continent is experiencing the same
invidious challenges and ICT policy implementation problems as most other
developing countries. Furthermore, within the African continent many NGOs and
trans-national government initiatives (such as NEPAD and EFA), have common
policy frameworks that are spread over the entire continent. On the African continent,
most countries hold political views that ICT offers great promise of being the
universal remedy that will create an opportunity for unprecedented economic growth,
control pandemic diseases, create distance education opportunities, give impetus to
the democratization process and good governance, and leapfrog countries out of
economic stagnation (Butcher, 2003; Selwyn, Gorard & Williams, 2001). These are
but a few of the African continent’s “wish list”, but the reality is that Africa is plagued
by numerous undesirable inhibiting factors that are unique to third world countries in
Africa, as opposed to other developing countries. In this regard Africa has major
“competing priorities such as the combat against HIV/AIDS, poverty and illiteracy,
and local constraints including poor technology penetration, unaffordability of
Page 50 equipment and lack of capacity” (Butcher, 2003; James, 2004). Africa has many
struggling nations that are plagued by political uncertainty, weak ICT infrastructure,
poor policy and regulatory frameworks and limited human resources.
According to van Reijswoud (2006, p. 1) Africa had many national ICT policies, but
not many ratified ICT policies, further indicating that “ICT at continental level still
has a lot of changes ahead”. Africa needs to pursue the challenge of being placed at
the cutting edge of technology or risk further deterioration within the next two
decades in its position within global development (Shrestra, 2000). The educational
reforms of Africa still need to keep abreast with the relative “faster pace of events on
the move around them”to meet thelearning needs of learners (Shrestha, 2000, p. 3).
Not all countries prioritize ICT in education as an area of concern. India as a
developing country recognised ICT in education as an important policy requirement,
but placed other more pressing issues, such as economic prosperity as a greater
national objective. Among the list of exigencies were uncoordinated efforts, lack of
electricity, poor communication infrastructure and non-sustainability in the use of ICT
for education. ICT implementation in India boasts many successes, particularly in
rural development, healthcare and transportation but not in the education arena.
Furthermore, India aimed to become a world leader in the information society and
knowledge economy with education as a focussed priority, but since government
policy in ICT has been a ‘solely’ government prerogative it was devoid of public
discourse and input (Bajwa, 2003a). Apart from a general lack of political will in the
ICT policy arena, political debates in India were at play. Some politicians
acknowledged the positive impact that ICT may have on teaching and learning while
others claimed that ICT could not be the focus of a nation that still prioritised
agricultural and economic development. Thus policymakers in India are facing a
dilemma of how to make ICT accessible for economic, social and educational needs.
However, without the financial resources to satisfy the most basic needs of housing,
schools, hospitals and healthcare ICT in education has weak political and policy
preponderance. It was evident that though India had established significant ICT
capacity, it had been directed towards strengthening the economy as a priority.
Page 51 Education ICT policy (or the lack thereof), without government’s enabling role
seemed to have taken a back seat.
However, in developed countries it would seem that the competing issues deal more
with educational rather than socio-cultural concerns. In Europe, the national
curriculum frameworks can also be in conflict with the contextual characteristics of
the local school system such as school policy, school culture and teacher beliefs.
These are the real issues that schools have to contend with and may act as significant
barriers to introducing ICT to enhance teaching and learning (Tondeur, Braak &
Valcke, 2006).
2.3.1.4
Changes to national curriculum policy
National policy that guides ICT curriculum integration takes on a variety of nuances
and occupies centre stage in the global arena.Most developed and developing
countries are gradually changing their national curriculum policy to accommodate the
integration of ICT in teaching and learning (Cox & Marshall, 2007; Plomp et al.,
2009). First world countries such as Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and the USA
are strategically planning to simultaneously address ICT issues such as infrastructure,
teacher training and computer integration into the curriculum (Fluck, 2001). Fluck
(2001) indicates that although economics is the major factor in determining the way
countries implement ICT equipment in schools, it is the ICT policy in education that
plays a crucial role. He suggests that:
some criteria for assessing the progress of policy decision would have to
examine the success of ICT deployment in schools. Such criteria might
include quantitative and qualitative comparisons of ICT infrastructure
provision. Student learning using this equipment could also be measured
similarly... Another level of evaluation would gauge the degree to which
the range of relevant policy initiatives had moved the country towards
Phase 3.
(Fluck, 2001, p. 149)
In Australia there is an absence of a national ICT curriculum policy but a ratified
national schooling framework does exist (Elliot, 2004). A study conducted on the
effective use of ICT in the absence of any mandated (policy) role for ICT in teaching
and learning found that there still exists a huge gap between rhetoric and reality
Page 52 (Elliot, 2004). Moyle (2006, p. 32) arguesthat visions for incorporating ICT into
teaching and learning in Australia must be supported by “system and sector ICT
visions and plans”.Furthermore, there needs to be an improved educational link
between policymakers, technical experts and curriculum experts. System level
policies must support the school’s ICT policy, or risk losing credibility among schools
(Moyle, 2006).
Norway has taken the lead in changing national curriculum to accommodate ICT in
schools. In this regard, the new revised national curriculum which was implemented
in the 2006-2007 period placed ICT as one of five basic skills to be embedded in all
subjects and at all levels (Pedersen et al., 2006; Erstad & Quale, 2009). The major
change in the curriculum relates to ICT integration specifications in different subjects
to promote learning. Central government regulates syllabus content, subject
combinations and examination requirements. However, schools are free to design
their own methods for organising teaching and learning (Erstad & Quale, 2009).
In Cyprus most parents and teachers seemed to favour the introduction of ICT in
elementary school (Karagiorgi, 2000). But, there was an ambivalence of opinion
whether ICT should be a discrete subject (techno-centric model) or integrated into the
entire curriculum (humanistic model). Teachers tended to lean towards an ICT
curriculum integration model, which was attributed to theirattitude and awareness of
the value of ICT application across the curriculum (Papanastasiou & Doratis, 2009).
Even though government policy opted for an integrated cross-curricular approach,
how the policy would be achieved was not evident (Charalambous, 2001).
Furthermore, Karagiorgi and Charalambous (2004) argue that the challenge
policymakers encounter is not only in identifying and adopting an appropriate model
(whether techno-centric or humanistic) for ICT in the national curriculum, but in
creating mechanisms to support the appropriate model. ICT use and application was
as a result of individual initiatives, due to an “open-ended” government policy on
implementation (Karagiorgi, 2005, p. 31).
Page 53 The above findings seem toemphasize that the development of an ICT policy in
education needs to be people orientated, has a focus on the innovation, and is practical
in implementation.
2.3.1.5
Successful ICT policy implementation
Many countries (Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Singapore) and Hong Kong (while
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) and not a separate country, it
will be referred to as a “country” in this thesis for the sake of convenience) have made
significant progress in integrating ICT into education (Plomp et al., 2009). The
Second Information Technology in Education (SITES Module-2) study indicates that
Singapore stands above all other countries, developed and developing, in respect of
ICT policy in education implementation and ICT integration (Howie, Muller &
Paterson, 2005). Singapore is noted to have made substantial progress by developing a
macro ICT policy in education that resulted in high levels of implementation at micro
level. Consequently, Singapore has made significant policy implementation strides in
its quest to use ICT to transform teaching and learning in schools. Pelgrum (2001)
argues that with the exception of Singapore, a huge gap exists between the ideal
(policy intentions) and the reality (policy in practice) in most other countries.
The Singapore Ministry of Education (MoE) identified four key ICT policy strategies
(Lim& Tay, 2003) namely, curriculum and assessment, learning resources, teacher
development, physical and technological infrastructure. According to Lim and Tay
(2003) lessons learned from the Singapore experience included the following: First,
the ICT master plan of Singapore was situated in an education system that is well
planned. Second, ICT must be perceived and used as a mediating tool to ensure that
the masterplan is education driven and not technology driven (Lim& Tay, 2003, p. 2).
Third, the ICT master plan should not be a standalone policy which bears little
cohesion or no relation to other educational policies and initiatives. And fourth, the
education system should react to the introduction of ICT and therefore teaching,
learning and assessment practices need to be modified to accommodate the new
technology. A significant finding that emerged from Lim and Tay’s (2003) study was
the fact that Singapore’s national ICT policy in education was formulated with the
Page 54 intention that it could be “operationalised” into goals that could be managed, was
realistic and achievable. Lim and Tay (2003) suggest that within the Singapore MoE
there was a dedicated division within the systemic hierarchy of the government that
was responsible for co-ordinating and implementing the ICT master plan.
Another country that seems to be moving in the direction of successful
implementation of ICT policy in education, although not as advanced as Singapore, is
Hong Kong (Plomp et al., 2009). Achievements of ICT in education in Hong Kong
were not only due to the readiness of schools to embrace new technology and to
involve teachers but also underscored the impact of policy initiatives of the Hong
Kong department of education. The national ICT policy in education fostered ongoing
support to schools that culminated in successful ICT policy implementation (Law,
Yuen, Ki, Lee & Chow, 2000).
2.3.2
Responses to ICT policy in education
2.3.2.1
ICT policy focus
Various researchers suggestthat governments are often misguided by the focus they
place in their ICT policy in education (Dale et al., 2004; Panel on Education
Technology, 1997; Plowman & Stephen, 2003; Beastall, 2006; Mulkeen, 2003b). An
analysis of policy documents and case study interviews with principals in schools in
the United Kingdom indicated that the focus of ICT policy and the management of
ICT policy were on provisioning of hardware and infrastructure. The ICT policy
neglected to inform schools on how ICT might be used in classroom practice (Dale et
al., 2004). Beastall (2006) and Dale et al. (2004) claim that ICT integration, teaching
and learning should be the focal point of policies defined by supranational, national,
local authorities and school management.
Lee’s (2003) comparative study of ICT policy integration initiatives in Germany,
Korea and USA schools found that there are policy convergences between these
countries. All three countries had a top-down national framework for ICT policies;
however, in Korea stronger impetus was exerted from central government in that
Page 55 every policy objective was delivered effectively and efficiently. All three countries
had almost the same spectrum of core policy, namely infrastructure, use of digital
content and resources, learner-teacher use of ICT and teacher training. However,
where these countries differed was in the focus of their respective ICT in education
policies. In Germany the focus was on infrastructure, digital content and resources. In
the United States emphasis was on teacher training and performance enhancement of
learners. And, in Korea there was an equal emphasis on all of the abovementioned
aspectsof the policy spectrum. The Chilean “Enlaces’ experience contributes to this
debate by arguing that designing an ICT policy in education is a far more complex
task than merely deploying hardware in the schools (Hepp, 2003; Hinostroza et al.,
2003).
2.3.2.2
An inclusive approach to the formulation of policy
Recent policy initiatives illustrate that many governments are adopting an inclusive
approach in developing an ICT in education policy.There seems to be an increasing
attempt by governments to include all relevant stakeholders in the development of an
ICT in education policy (Dale et al., 2004; Beastall, 2006;Hepp, 2003;Mulkeen,
2004). The Irish Department of Education and Scienceproduced a three year strategic
policy plan named the ‘Blueprint for the Future of ICT in Irish Education’. This
policy plan was gratuitously funded and yielded positive results due to participation
from all sectors of education, namely parents, teachers, school management, local
communities and government (Mulkeen, 2004).
The Chilean ICT in education project (Enlaces) supported the notion of stakeholder
inclusivity (Hepp, 2003). Policymakers at national levelclearly defined and
communicated the rationale, goals and timeframes for the expected outcomes to all
relevant stakeholders (teachers, school leaders, administrators and parents) in the
education system. Developing inclusive policies was also evident in Singapore in
which national ICT policy in education expected schools to have a clear and shared
vision of its ICT integration strategies by all stakeholders (Lim& Tay, 2003). It would
seem that countries that encouraged participation by all stakeholders (government,
Page 56 local government, school leaders, teachers and parents) in policy formulation
achieved successful ICT integration into teaching and learning.
2.3.2.3
Policy deficits
The lack of policy guidelines to support schools seems to depict a familiar policy
implementation problem that is apparent in most education systems in the
international arena. Dale et al. (2004) maintainthat the lack of macro-micro level
interaction is illustrative of the principle that though policy sets limits to practice, it is
also the reality of practice that sets limits to policy. In the United Kingdom, macro
level ICT policy in education offered little advice on how schools should use
ICT(Dale et al., 2004; Pelgrum & Plomp, 1993; Beastall, 2006). The National Grid
for Learning (NGfL) as the main policy driver of ICT in education in the United
Kingdom, issued
little specific guidance on the ways that ICT might augment or
combine with existing approaches to teaching and learning to bring
this about, and it was relatively silent about how these changes
might be different from other curricular and pedagogic changes.
(Dale et al., 2004, p. 469)
In addressing principals’ concern about how computers were to be used for
educational purposes, Pelgrum and Plomp (1993) and Beastall (2006)found that in
most cases policies had not been formalised and thus there was no written policy
documentation to guide school administrators.
This lack of national policy to support ICT in education was also evident within the
United States prior to 1997. The government of the USA commissioned the Panel on
Educational Technology(1997, p. 6) to determine the state of ICT integration in
schools. A number of relevant recommendationsregarding policy for the use of ICT
in schools were made to the government: First, there should be a policy focus on
learning with technology and not a techno-centric approach of learning about
technology. Second, emphasis should be on curriculum content and pedagogy and not
on hardware and technical issues. Third, there should be more emphasis placed on the
professional development of teachers. Fourth, the education system should be geared
for equitable and universal access to ICT. Fifth, greater experimental research
Page 57 programmes into the use of ICT in schools should be initiated. And sixth, district
offices should provide greater support to teachers, particularly in schools where there
is an absence of dedicated computer coordinators. This report was consistent with
other international research findings on policy deficits of ICT in education.
More recent literature (Kearns, 2002, p. 5) indicates that considerable improvement
has been made with respect to most recommendations, but is still concerned whether
“technology is outpacing policy”. Kearns (2002) indicates that the United States is on
the threshold of the third phase of policy for ICT in education which “goes beyond
foundation policies to consider pedagogical innovation in the use of ICT and the
major development of e-learning”. The third phase of policy for ICT addresses the
first recommendation by transforming the way people learn in a society. A review of
progress in 2000 showed substantial progress in achieving the above mentioned
recommendations. In 2000, the United States 2000 National Education Technology
Plandefined more ambitious policy objectives. These objectives were stated as goals:
First, students will have access to ICT in their classrooms, schools, communities and
homes. Second, teachers will use technology effectively to help students achieve
highacademic standards. Third, students will have technology and information literacy
skills. Forth, research and evaluation will improve the next generation of
technologyapplications. Fifth, digital content and network applications will transform
teaching and learning.
Similarly,India has policy and technology “know how” to implement ICT intervention
in education but “what is missing and what fails is in the translation of policy and
technology into good practice”(Reddi & Sinha, 2003, p. 252). Although there is a
paucity of government policy documentation and knowledge sharing of interventions
of ICT in education, India had made remarkable progress in its ICT development
program(Reddi & Sinha, 2003). Bajwa (2003a, p. 59) claims that the progress of India
is the result of developing national capacity in the “context of market-orientated
globalization”to leapfrogthe country into a developed one. However, there is a lack of
ICT policy directive in respect of a uniform curriculum that was mandatory for all
educational institutions(Bajwa, 2003b; Mallik, 2009).India faced a lack of policy
implementation strategies to streamline its education system with respect to ICT.
Page 58 Like India, the ICT in education policy of Indonesia lacks policy implementation
directives. The ICT policy in education focuses on infrastructure, connectivity and
capacity building issues (Belawati, 2003). The National Ministry of Education set
aside a number of policy initiatives, most pilot project based, for the use of ICT in
primary and secondary schools.However, the stark deficit of a policy for
implementing ICT into education, combined with unsustainable initiatives,
culminated in the slow uptake of ICT in education. Political instability and financial
difficulty, which are typical issues in developing countries, delayed the advent of ICT
in education in Indonesia.
The Nigerian experience of ICT in education policy demonstrates a major disparity
between policy formulation and policy implementation (Jegede and Owolabi, 2003, p.
8). Nigeria’s current ICT policies are outdated and “obsolete” and have not been
updated to cater for the dynamic changes encountered with new ICT technologies.
There is a necessity for new policy that needs to be current and deliverable to
teachers, in order to implement the policy philosophy and objectives (Jegede &
Owolabi, 2003). There seems to be a clear distinction between those countries that
have ICT in education policies which are progressing and working, countries that
have ICT policies that are dysfunctional and countries that lack ICT policies
directives altogether.
2.3.2.4
Centralised versus decentralised centres of control
In many first world countries governments exercise either centralisedor decentralised
control in ICT policy in education issues. In Australia the decentralization of
education as a state responsibility created challenges for state schools with respect to
ICT in education. However, decentralisation has been a boon to private schools hat
benefit from government’s subsidy (Cranston, Kimber, Mulford, Reid, & Keating,
2010). Fluck (2001, p. 146) suggests that there is a “possibility of divergence of
philosophy and practice”. Each state and territory implemented its own strategic plan
for using computers to improve education, administration and to enhance ICT
infrastructure in schools. Thus, Australia displays a variety of government policy
Page 59 positions towards the integration of ICT into classroom practice. States place different
emphasis on ICT use in classroom practice(Naidu &Jasen, 2003). Hence, it would
seem that Australia seems to follow a more decentralised approach to ICT policy
implementation.
In contrast, France as a developed country experienced centralised centres of control.
ICT policy in education decision making is mainly in the hands of central
government. Rigid hierarchical structures exist with prescriptive policy and
educational processes that are communicated via designated pathways from national
administration to school. School district and school inspectorate mediate with schools
to monitor compliance of national policy initiatives.The process of implementing ICT
into primary schools through French national state initiatives had been “neither
smooth nor really continuous” (Baron& Harrari, 2005, p.148). Regnier (2009)
suggests that the development of ICT policy in education in France is still incomplete
and has not culminated in much change in ICT integration into education system.
Although France introduced ICT into schools almost two decades ago, the
implementation of ICT in schools has remained a challenge.One indicator of ICT
implementation difficulty was the national “informatics for all” plan which met with
disillusionment only a few years after its inception (Baron& Harrari, 2005). As a first
world country, France still encounters huge ICT policy implementation concerns.
Sweden has a successful decentralized education system, with responsibility for
implementing and defining the use of ICT shared between central government and
local education authorities (municipalities). Central government functions to promote
ICT in education, provide in-service professional development to teachers and support
school improvement. Municipalities are tasked with equipping schools with ICT and
training teachers in the use of ICT as a pedagogical tool. A new national ICT policy
(2005) identified several goals for a “sustainable information society” (Karlberg,
2009). The level of ICT penetration in schools for teaching and learning is
significantly high, and most schools have ICT-based objectives for access to ICT,
teacher and learner ICT-based competencies and ICT integration into curriculum.
Even though Sweden is a leading ICT in education country, it still lacks policy
initiatives on the use of ICT in education (Karlberg, 2009).
Page 60 From the above it would seem that there is no single approach to ICT policy
implementation and that the implementation of ICT policy is dependent on the social,
cultural, historical, political and educational climate of a country.
2.3.3
Summary of macro level findings
Most developed countries have pursued trends in their phases of policy
implementation at the macro level.However, none of the countries has reached the
stage of transforming teaching and learning. There is a need for new approaches that
will meet the conditions and challenges of the dynamically changing information age.
A number of research studies in this field, indicate that ICT in schools is unfolding at
a disappointingly slow pace of change. Furthermore, it has been was argued that
policy implementation should have a multidimensional approach that focusses on
material issues such as infrastructure, funding, teacher training and changed
management at school level. Systemic change for the successful integration of ICT in
education is advocated.
Not all countries have prioritized ICT in education as an area of concern and
competing priorities outweigh the implementation of ICT in education. Furthermore,
in developing countries ICT policy in education has followed a rather simplistic
design that does not meet the needs of learners. Most developed and developing
countries are changing their National Curriculum policy to accommodate the
integration of ICT in teaching and learning. Singapore stands above all other
countries, developed and developing, in respect of ICT policy in education
implementation and ICT integration.
Responses to ICT policy in educationare fourfold, namely varied ICT policy focus, an
inclusive approach to the formulation of policy, policy deficits and centralised versus
decentralised centres of control. Evidently ICT policy implementation is dependent on
the social, cultural, historical, political and educational climate of the country.
2.4
International landscape: Meso and micro level –
Page 61 Areclassroom practices changing?
Policy in practice takes place at the classroom level and it is this level that sets limits
to implementation of government policy. The literature review of meso and micro
policy in practice focuses on ICT policy issues that influence ICT take-up at school
level and ICT practice at classroom level. In particular this review identifies meso and
micro level policy issues that impact on ICT policy implementation in schools. The
issues of policy burden, curriculum policy, meso level policy understanding,
institutional ethos and school leaderships, institutional support, teacher pedagogy,
teacher competence and training is presented in the current international debates.
At a meso-micro level the focus shifts to determine what motivates schools to
implement ICT.In a studyon the impact of ICT on learning and teaching,Newhouse
(2002)identifies three factors that determine the implementation of ICT in schools.
Firstly, in response to the huge financial investment schools make for access to
ICT,was the belief that ICT would improve learner achievement of curricula
outcomes.
Secondly, computers would provide adequate ICT literacy skills for
teachers and learners. And thirdly, ICT would increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of schools as organizations. These factors exist as common goals in the
national ICT policy of most countries and in ICT objectives of most schools.
In an attempt to explain how schools espouse government policy, DiMaggio and
Powell (1983) posit the concept that schools change by virtue of isomorphism, a
process which leads schools to adapt in similar ways to similar changes in external
conditions. DiMaggio and Powell (1983) define three isomorphic changes that occur
in institutional change. First, they suggest that some schools may exhibit “mimic
isomorphism” in which they copy or imitate proper or appropriate practice due to their
level of uncertainty of conditions, thus legitimising their response to policy. Second,
“normative isomorphism” occurs when schools as institutions adhere to norms or
educational experiences, through networking or the act of socialization. In this way
normative isomorphism is the learned norm experience that guides the school to react
to new policy. Third DiMaggio and Powell (1983) posit “coercion isomorphism” as
that process in which the school reacts to external pressure due to state regulation or
Page 62 policy. DiMaggio and Powell (1983) found that mimic isomorphism is the dominant
isomorphism that is prevalent in most schools, simply because they tend to opt to
follow examples of appropriate practice. It would seem that schools adopt different
implementation strategies to accommodate policy imperatives. The unique isomorphic
stance that schools assume is of particular interest to my study, as it has a direct
bearing and influence on the way in which ICT policy is appropriated in schools.
2.4.1
Social context of ICT policy implementation
2.4.1.1
Systemic support, capacity and competence
Policy in practice is influenced by the support or lack of support schools receive from
system level structures in particular district offices. Sustainable systemic support to
schools is an important factor for the successful implementation of government policy
in schools. In a case study of two districts in China, Hawkridge (1990) noted that
districts translate provincial policy to meet district objectives. These policy objectives
would then be refined to develop learner and teacher competences. Li (2003),
however found that policy mandates without resource support and application
methods culminated in a failure of ICT integration into the traditional education
setting.
Younie (2006) identified areas of concern at district level that needed to be addressed
in the implementation of government ICT policy in the United Kingdom. First, Local
Educational Authorities (LEA) lacked professional expertise to make informed
decisions and often failed to adequately consult with schools. Second, leadership and
management in ICT expertise was absent at LEA, schools and at various government
initiative levels. Third, schools lacked ICT expertise from within the school and
guidance from external systemic structures to move the national ICT agenda forward.
Fourth, unequal funding of ICT provisioning at schools yielded disparities between
schools with respect to resources and procurement. Fifth, teachers were still
unconfident in the use of ICT and claimed that training was inconsistent, over
prescriptive and lacked local context.
Page 63 Similar issues of the lack of systemic support and capacity of local districts emerged
in the United States prior to 1997. The Panel on Educational Technology (1997)
found that the introduction of technology in schools will not by itself improve the
quality of education. Their findings revealed numerous ICT policy implementation
concerns: First, teachers received little technical, pedagogical or administrative
support from local districts. Second, school districts focussed most of their funding on
the acquisition of hardware and software with little or no funds for the development of
teacher ICT competence. And third, a lack of in-depth and sustained assistance to
teachers in the use of ICT. The combination of the above factors culminated in a lack
of district educational support to schools.However, in 1999 the United States
Department of Education funded the Regional Technology in Education Consortia
(RTEC) to assist and support teacher professional development and promote the
effective use of ICT in education. Many federal states within the United States also set
up systems (such as workshops) to provide information and support services for
teachers and school districts (Kearns, 2002).
Significantly different, in Chile, schools received appropriate and regular information
from districts about ICT policy and how it fitted into the general education plans
(Hepp, 2003). In addition the Chilean ICT “Enlaces” project provided support and
training to teachers at classroom level, to gradually transform their teaching by
adapting ICT as a tool to enhance teaching and learning.Similarly in Hong Kong, ICT
in education achievements were not only due to the readiness of schools to embrace
the new technology and teacher involvement but underscored the impact of policy
initiatives of the Hong Kong Department of Education (Law, Yuen, Ki, Lee & Chow,
2000). In both Chile and Hong Kong it would seem that national ICT policy in
education that fostered ongoing support to schools culminated in successful ICT
policy implementation.
2.4.1.2
Institutional culture and practice
Schools that are progressive in using ICT for educational and administrative purpose
seem to enhance their level of functioning. The most significant benefit of ICT in
Page 64 school tends to be focussed on meeting the challenges of transforming the institutional
culture and practice. The most applicable ICT policy in practice takes place at the
school’s administrative functioning level (O’Dwyer et al., 2004). In most developed
countries as illustrated by the USEIT study conducted by O’Dwyer et al. (2004, p.
4)“teachers are influenced by the level of structure of the system in which they work”.
Furthermore,teachers were using ICT for non-instructional purposes based on their
day-to-day professional needs. Similarly the SITES module-1 study (Doornekamp,
2002)based on developed countries found that most schools progressed to using ICT
to monitor learner progress.The administrative use of ICT was one objective of
national ICT policy that has been well promoted in most schools across the
international spectrum. ICT offers affordances for improved administrative
functioning of the school for both teachers and administrators, particularly in
reporting to parents and thereby improving parental involvement (Dale et al., 2004;
Pelgrum & Plomp, 1993; Becta, 2006).
Singapore seemed to have made the transition from using ICT merely for
administrative purposes to effectively integrating ICT to influence teaching and
learning. Pedersen et al. (2006, p. 252) note that the implementation of ICT only
succeeds when the school organization is able to restructure itself, and “doesn’t just
overlay ICT on the old organizational structure”. Singapore schools were
recommended to support the uptake of ICT by teachers, and teachers were required to
use ICT as a tool in the teaching and learning environment (Lim& Tay, 2003, p.
22).The ICT policy of the MoE of Singapore was mindful not to prescribe to schools
how ICT should be used in the curriculum, but offered guidelines to encourage
teachers to be innovative in applying the national policy to their teaching strategies. In
this regard, Lim and Tay (2003) posits that Singapore’s ICT policy provided schools
with significant freedom to implement the national ICT policy. The ICT policy of
Singapore allowed schools to make their own internal policy decisions on how to
integrate computers in schools,thus creating a supportive institutional culture to
promote the effective implementation of ICT.
This decentralised approach gave schools the mandate to implement ICT within its
own contextual situation based on school culture, change dynamics, ICT staff
Page 65 competencies and administrative readiness of the school. Government acknowledged
that schools are structurally different and schools were given autonomy to design their
own ICT resources needs and computer layout. Singapore schools had only one
principal national policy obligation, and that was to adopt ICT to meet the needs of
the national policy standards. In this regard ICT practice in Singaporean schools ICT
took the following policy provisions into consideration: First, the ICT priorities of
staff, learners and curriculum had to be considered. Second, ICT national evaluation
standards and benchmarks were observed to identify successful integration. Third,
responsible support authorities within the school (ICT committees, administration,
teachers and technical support) needed to be established for successful ICT
implementation. And, fourth financial resources and time frames for ICT integration
had to be considered.
In contrast, in developing country contexts such as Indonesia, ICT use in education
was still in its initial stages with computersbeing used mostly for school
administrative purposes. In Malaysia, school leaders are expected to role model the
use of ICT through administrative processes and thereby encourage teachers to use
ICT in their administrative and teaching repertoire (Lim& Tay, 2003). Although these
findings are consistent with the International study in Education Achievement (IEA),
most schools used ICT for administrative purposes and did not follow through to
curriculum delivery (Pelgrum & Plomp, 1993).
2.4.1.3
School leadership
A pertinent factor that impedes the implementation of government ICT policy is the
volume of policy that schools have to implement (Cuban, 2001). Constant policy
changes in terms of new curricula and new teaching strategies are imposed on school
systems in an attempt to overcome ineffective teaching practices, poor parent
involvement, new educational philosophies and now educational technology policy
(Cuban, 2001; Dale et al., 2004). Schools are hard pressed to implement policy
directives and principals and teachers are challenged to transform “multi-purpose
policy” into educational experiences within policy frameworks (Dale et al., 2004).
Hence, institutional culture to embrace ICT as a teaching-learning innovation and
Page 66 institutional leadership are inextricably linked as crucial factors in the successful
implementation of government ICT policies at micro level (Moyle, 2006; Mulkeen,
2003a; Pedersen et .al, 2006). A study of educational leaders across all states in
Australia, found that a “whole school” approach to introducing ICT into teaching and
learning and organization improvement requires good leadership (Moyle, 2006, p. 2).
These findings also indicate that principals are curriculum and pedagogical leaders,
and they support and lead ICT integration into teaching and learning. Evidence from a
study conducted in Irish schools found that the “ethos of schools” and the “thinking
and beliefs” of principals and “collaborative planning” are likely to yield positive
results (Mulkeen, 2003a).
The implementation of ICT in schools brought forth new experiences for principals.
Harrison et al. (2002) ImpaCT2 study of school principals, found that ICT in schools
presented a very different set of problems forprincipals.Similarly, Karagiorgi (2005)
and Pedersen et al. (2006) found that most principals lacked the experience and
expertise to manage the new technology in school. A study conducted by Pedersen et
al. (2006) indicate that ICTimplementation often occurred in schools in which
principals did not have “clear criteria for success and no monitoring of the
benefits”(p. 13).In contrast Law et al. (2000) found that some schools in Hong Kong
made
remarkable
ICT
implementation
progressprior
to
the
government’s
announcement of the IT in education (ITEd) strategy. In this regard, principals were
instrumental in planning and exploring ICT implementation and indicated the schools’
readiness to encompass the new innovation and change accordingly. School leaders
contribute significantly to the success of ICT in schools and therefore they should
employ strategies to enhance ICT use in school (Lim& Tay, 2003; Doornekamp,
2002).
School leadership is central to identifying the level of ICT penetration into the
teaching learning situation at school (Elmore, 2005; Harrison et al., 2002). The
response of principals to the implementation of ICT was threefold in nature. Some
principals supported ICT in school and had the “hope” that ICT would produce
positive benefits at some time in the future. Other principals were of the view that ICT
in education was a necessary investment to make and would have a wider significance
Page 67 for the ICT in school initiative. Some principalsfelt trapped by policy, decision
makers and external authorities who made decisions for the school irrespective of
whether the school had more pressing issues to contend with or not. In each of the
three cases, however, principals were dubious whether ICT will really impact
positively on teaching and learning (Harrison et al., 2002). Furthermore, it was found
that principals of schools had a very simplistic understanding of national and local
ICT policy. Evidence indicates that most principals could not explicitly or implicitly
identify “policy drivers” at nationalor local levels (Harrison et al., 2002). However,
although school principals were oblivious of the specific targets and objectives of
national and local policy documents, they were nevertheless aware of the broad aims
and targets of policy initiatives.
2.4.1.4
Teacher professionalism
Teachers are significantly positioned at the crossroads of policy and practice. In this
regard teacher professionalism is key to whether ICT is integrated in their teaching
and learning repertoire. Reynolds et al. (2003) argue that teachers need to revisit their
teaching methodologies to encompass an environment that is conducive to e-learning
and to the use of ICT. Fullan’s (1992) case study of ICT implementation in Canadian
schools found that ICT is an innovation that presents a major challenge for the
professional growth of teachers. In this regard Fullan (1992, p.3)claims that the
implementation of ICT in schools is a phenomenon that is uniquely different to minor
changes in curriculum content and is not simply a question of re-organising the
knowledge base of educators but essentially getting “teachers to start from base zero”.
Elliot (2004) and Pelgrum (2001) suggestthat teachers are generally requesting more
ICT professional development with a particular focus on the use of ICT in the
curriculum. Cuban (2001), Conlon and Simpson (2003) and Baron and Harrari (2005)
concur that teachers can and do use computers for their own use. They are not
techno-phobic, however they do not know how to use computers in their teaching and
learning practice. Beastall (2006), Tearle (2003), (Younie, 2006) and Becker (2000)
argue that the introduction of ICT in education in United Kingdom schoolsdid not
have a complementary effect of increasing the professional development of teachers.
Page 68 Furthermore, they claim that changing teachers’ classroom practice to embrace the
new technology did not unfold naturally as expected by policymakers, even in
countries with the most developed ICT in education policies. Similarly, findings from
experiences of teacher training in Irish schools illustrate that once teachers are taught
how to use technology it would not necessarily translate to teachers’ using ICT in
their pedagogy (Mulkeen, 2003a, p. 292). In the Flemish school experience, Tondeur
et al. (2006, p. 13) affirm that ICT teacher competence “does not automatically result
in changes in classroom practices”. Government should change to a more
individualised method of training, such as peer-to-peer training of teachers according
to individual needs, as opposed to a “blanket approach” of compulsory training which
tends to alienate teachers (Beastall, 2006, p. 108).
Despite the proactive effort of the Malaysian government to positively influence
school and learner achievement through the use of ICT in education, one of the major
barriers of this initiative was teacher professionalism. The Malaysian ministry of
education realised that teacher training was crucial to the successful implementation
of ICT in schools and used a successful “cascade model” of training the trainers
(Chan, 2002). Pelgrum (2001) argues that teacher training is often neglected by
governments in large-scale innovations, and for such innovation to succeed teachers
must be equipped with the required skills and knowledge (Pelgrum, 2001).
Although numerous ICT initiatives and policy intentions had been established and
supported through government interventions, “the impact of it on the actual practice
of teaching and learning has not been significant” (Belawati, 2003, p. 110). According
to Chan (2002) there is a need for support from all stakeholders in the education
system, a need for teacher capacity building and a need for establishing ICT policy
and guidelines that is necessary to promote ICT use in schools. Harrison et al. (2002)
found that although learners developed positive attitudes and good skills towards the
ICT curriculum use, teachers failed to seize the opportunity to follow through to
appreciate the potential of ICT by merely using it as a teaching tool.Dale et al.(2004)
concur that no other technology advancement has created the current gap between
learners and teachers understanding of the affordances that ICT offers as a teaching
method. Watson (2001) and Dale et al. (2004) suggest that teachers’ professional
Page 69 control over their teaching methodology seemed to be threatened with the introduction
of ICT.
Practising teachers’ failure to embrace ICT and the opportunities it presents may be
attributed to their lack of confidence in using the new technology or the inherent
technical problems that technology presents in the classroom situation (Condie et al.,
2002;Dale et al., 2004; Cuban, 2001). ICT policy implementation in schools was often
hampered due to frequent inherent technical faults of technology and the expectation
of technical faults that significantly impacts on teachers’ confidence within the
teaching-learning situation (Becker, 2000; Dale et al., 2004; Cuban, 2001; Hennessy,
Ruthven & Brindley, 2005; Fluck, 2003; Condie et al., 2002). Teachers did not use
ICT because of factors beyond their control and not because of personal resistance, as
one teacher indicates that “the fact is that machines do not deliver what they
promise…but we want to use this stuff” (Hennessy et al., 2005, p. 168).
With the advent of ICT as a new innovation to teaching, there is now certainty that
teachers are now more important in the teaching learning situation than ever before.
The need for ICT competent teachers stems from the need for ICT competent learners
and for ICT-rich learning environments that enhance learners’ learning across the
curriculum. In mandating teacher competence standards for ICT, the United States
adopted a policy approach to preparing pre-service teachers with ICT skills as a
requirement for teacher certification and licensure (Kearns, 2002).Policy directives in
France demanded that new teacher recruits must be certified as competent in ICT
before being tenured into the teaching profession. The policy expectation that “new”
teachers with ICT training would be more adept to ICT use in classrooms did not
materialise as “they do this without bringing dramatic change to the learning process”
(Baron & Harrari, 2005, p. 153).
International initiatives on improving teacher professionalism for the successful
implementation of ICT in the classroom are varied. Australia’s ICT policy has
legislated much towards teacher capacity. Teacher qualifications are embedded within
“ICT in Education” postgraduate courses at higher education. New educator recruits
are equipped with ICT skills before actual employment into teaching. However, the
Page 70 older cohort of teachers are reluctant to venture into adopting or adapting ICT into
education (Naidu & Jasen, 2003, p. 153). In respect of professional capacity building,
the Malaysian government requires all teachers to take a basic informatics course at
teacher colleges. School principals, administrators and support staff are also targeted
for ICT training in management information systems and information literacy.
2.4.1.5
ICT curriculum integration
The introduction of ICT into schools has created the need by most governments to
revisit their national curriculum to integrate ICT into teaching and learning. The
Becta-Impact 2007 study recognises ICT as a useful tool to enhance teaching and
learning. However there is a lack of a common vision between policymakers, school
managers, staff and learners in their understanding of what integration of ICT for
learning really means in practice (Underwood et al., 2007). Although ICT in schools
in the United Kingdom was intensely supported by various government policy
interventions and ICT directives, an identifiable gap existed between what policy
legislation required and what was actually happening in school classroom (Younie,
2006). “Personalization” as used in the Impact 2007 study implies the tailoring of
pedagogy, curriculum and learning support to meet the needs of every
learner(Underwood et al., 2007, p. 54). In this regard the Impact 2007 study suggests
that
the
national
curriculum
tends
to
constrain
personalised
ICT
learning.Becta(Underwood et al., 2007) suggests that although government should not
be the creator of educational learning content for ICT, it should nevertheless extend
policies to support the development and use of quality content.
The introduction of ICT is impacting on the development of the new curriculum for
education in most developed and developing countries (Tondeur, Braak & Valck,
2006). The Flemish government had identified and designed a framework for
learnercompetencies and expected outcomes that learners should acquire by the end of
primary school. These schools were highly autonomous to develop their own policies
and to organise their own teaching and learning, as well as tocompile quality control
policies in response to national curriculum policy requirements. Tondeur et al. (2006)
indicate that teachers in Flemish schools focused on the development of ICT technical
Page 71 skills, whereas the curriculum policy expected teachers to integrate ICT within the
teaching learning situation. This gap between the proposed ICT-curriculum policy
requirements and the implemented curriculum suggests that there had been little
inclusion of ICT into the ‘modern’ curriculum learning areas as a means to improve
learning. In Ireland however, Mulkeen (2004) found that ICT was gradually seeping
into schools’curricula learning areas, but not uniformly. These finding are relevant to
my proposed study as it tests the waters to determine whether national policy is
translated as intended at school and classroom levels.
In Scotland, there was a need for clear and adequate guidance from national and local
government for ICT implementation at curricular level (Robertson, 2003).
Furthermore, there were limited examples of ICT being used consistently and
effectively in teaching and learning to promote learnerattainment across the
curriculum. Another issue at play in Scotlandis the debate as to whether ICT should
be a subject in its own right or should be integrated across the curriculum (Condie et
al., 2002).Similarly in France, curriculum changes to accommodate for ICT
culminated in the inclusion of a stand alone subject namely, “informatics tool”into the
school curriculum (Baron & Harari, 2005). Peck, Cuban and Kirkpatrick (2002)
suggest that ICT has had little impact on teaching and learning in the United States
because of subject compartmentalising within the school curriculum. Many
governments have taken the policy initiative to integrate ICT into teaching and
learning, it would seem that these initiatives have not translated into practice on the
classroom floor. The implementation of ICT still favours a technocentric approach
with ICT being viewed as an isolated subject with little understanding of what
integration of ICT for learning really means in practice.
2.4.1.6
The influence of ICT policy on learning
The extent, to which ICT in education has improved learning and learner
achievement, is a hugely debated issue among techno-promoters, techno-cynics and
academic researchers in the field of ICT in education (Peck et al., 2002; Fluck,
Page 72 2003;Lemke & Coughlin, 1998). The role of ICT in educational attainment had been
the focus of researchers and policymakers. For government, ICT implementation in
schools that leads to improved learner achievement would vindicate the huge fiscal
budgets that have been spent on the new innovation.
Much research has been conducted in first world countries, in particular the United
States and the United Kingdom to ascertain the influence of ICT on learner attainment
(Reynolds et al.,2003; Harrison et al., 2002; Cox et al., 2003; Becta, 2006; Plomp et
al., 2009). Schacter (1999) findingssuggest that learners learn more in less time,
learners develop positive attitudes towards learning and some achievement was
evident. Furthermore, his findings indicate that ICT did not have positive effects in
every area in which they studied. Harrison et al. (2002) found that greater ICT
experience and use in curriculum could be associated with improved performance in
examinations. Extending this debate further, Cox et al. (2003) suggest that there exists
a strong relationship between the pedagogical expertise of the teacher, the way in
which ICT is used and learnerachievement. A longitudinal study conducted by
Harrison et al. (2002) on the impact of ICT on learner achievement found that ICT
had a positive relationship onlearners’ learning of mathematical skills, however the
results varied in relation to the amount and type of ICT used in the curriculum.
Conversely, many researchers argue that there is insufficient evidence to conclusively
prove that ICT improves learning (Becta, 2006; Reynolds et al., 2003;Condie, et al.,
2002; Conlon & Simpson, 2003). ICT represents only one factor in the multitude of
factors in the learning environment (Newhouse, 2002). Similarly, Harrison et al.
(2002, p. 320)found that “it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to relate
improvements in school achievement to a single cause”. A study conducted by
Cuban(2001) revealed that even in the most perfect conditions, ICT access did not
contribute to improve learner achievement.
Kozma (2005) draws on a wide range of research evidence to illustrate that placing
computers in classrooms is not enough to influence student learning. Numerous
studies (Cuban, 2001; Condie et al., 2002; Conlon & Simpson, 2003; Kozma, 2005;
Becta, 2006; Sutherland et al., 2004) indicate that there is no consistent and direct
relationship between access (and use) of computers and student learning. Although
Page 73 research evidence indicates a positive relationship, it cannot be concluded that one
(computer access and use) causes the other (learner attainment).
Most research
studies that explore the impact of ICT on learner attainment tend to be mere snapshots of case studies and do not translate into formidable evidence to entrench the
belief that ICT will impact on learner attainment. Therefore research methodology
and instruments of design have yet to isolate ICT as an innovation factor that does (or
does not) impact on learner attainment.
Although the primary focus of ICT in education policy is on improving learner
achievement, the advent of ICT in education resulted in unexpected outcomes.The
introduction of ICT in schools has culminated in some benefits that were not intended
as educational outcomes by policymakers (Reynolds et al., 2003).These serendipitous
outcomes took the form of: motivational factors that technology brings to the
classroom particularly for underachievers and “problem”learners(Pelgrum, 2001;
Becta, 2006; Kozma, 2005; Pittard, 2004); reduction of the number of school dropouts (Kearns, 2002) and an increase inthe motivation and self esteem of diverse
learners(for example: gender, disabled, language, socio-economic status) (Harrison et
al., 2002; Kerns, 2002; Becta, 2006).
2.4.2
Summary of meso-micro level findings
A review of the voluminous literature revealed a number of pertinent meso-micro
level findings regarding the implementation of ICT. ICT policy implementation
unfolded within a particular socio-cultural context. Depending on this context, schools
adopted one of three isomorphic implementation strategies to accommodate policy
imperatives, namely mimic, normative and coercion isomorphism.
Effective implementation of the ICT policy in education at school level is essentially
dependent on three factors. First, schools should foster a supportive and nurturing
institutional culture and climate.Second, school leadership is crucial for the successful
implementation of national ICT policies at micro level. The implementation of ICT in
schools brought forth new experiences for principals who responded to this challenge
in nuanced ways. It was also found that some principals had a very simplistic
Page 74 understanding of national and local ICT policy. Third, teacher professionalism is key
to whether ICT is integrated in teaching and learning. Fourth, schools have little
understanding of what integration of ICT for learning really means in practice. In
instances where ICT was successfully integrated into teaching and learning, ICT
seemed to influence learning in a positive way. And fifth, policy in practice is
influenced by the support or lack of support schools receive from system level
structures in particular district offices.
2.5
The South African scenario
Since the introduction of ICT into the South African education arena in 1996, ICT has
become commonplace in most schools and in particular public schools (Howie,
Muller & Paterson, 2005). ICT in education is a relatively new field of study in
schools. It was previously exclusively lodged within the curriculum domain of some
privileged secondary schools (as Computer Science) and further only accessible to
schools that had access to ICT infrastructure.
This new teaching technology has made its entry into schools, without schools being
ready to exploit its usefulness to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Today,
political rhetoric and government policy advocate for teachers to use computers
regardless of the context within which they find themselves (Surty, 2007; Cronje,
2007; Pandor, 2007; Department of Education, 2002; Department of Education,
2004). Currently, schools are in a state of organizational turbulence in their attempt to
implement the White Paper on e-education ICT policy. In most developed and
developing countries,
schools over the past few years have been subject to an
onslaught of legislation and policy that has meant changes in curriculum, assessment,
governance and school fiscal control. South Africa as a new democracy has had more
policy reforms within a short period than most other countries, beginning from the
post apartheid “Curriculum 2005” (1997) to the current “National Curriculum
Statement” (2004).
National policymakers have been quite adept in producing policy (White Paper on eeducation ICT policy) from a centralized education department that had to be
Page 75 implemented at provincial education departments (Department of Education, 2004).
The use of ICT in schools, its integration into the curriculum and the impact it has on
teaching and learning have and continue to enjoy wide political, educational and
scholarly attention. Day by day, more and more countries are apportioning larger
education fiscal budgets to the acquisition of ICT for schools (Plomp et al., 2009), and
South Africa is no exception. The principal question to ask is whether this surge of
ICT into schools has resulted in a corresponding return on investment? To date
virtually no single study has conclusively determined that ICT in schools has resulted
in a significant improvement in learning (Kozma, 2005). Accordingly, this study asks
how, whether and to what extent have schools transformed their teaching-learning
practice to encompass government policy in ICT?
The review now focuses on research studies of the landscape of the South African
ICT in education policy from a macro to micro perspective.
2.5.1
South African scenario: Macro level –
Are policies implemented asplanned?
National policy has progressed in leaps and bounds in the understanding of the role of
ICT in education.The White Paper on Education and Training (1995) and the South
African Schools Act (1996) are the two main policy documents that define and shape
the policy environment for the provision and use of ICT in schools. However, analysis
of policy trends from 1997 to 2003 indicates that theICT policy landscape of South
Africa lacks policy, legislation and strategic planning (Van Audenhove, 2003). In this
context South Africa does not differ significantly from other developing countries in
Africa.
In a national survey on the use of ICT in schools, the following findings emerged
(Lundall & Howell, 2000): First, there are comprehensive education policies that
support the progressive development of ICT in schools, yet there are no specific ICT
policies, guidelines or action plans that are particularly structured or developed for
ICT implementation in schools. This finding is supported by Van Audenhove (2003,
p. 2) who claims that South Africa lacks an “integrated policy or policy document”
that would drive the information society forward. Second, policy formulation
Page 76 initiatives are not assigned to any particular government department. There is a joint
responsibility by the Department of Education (DoE) and Provincial Departments of
Education for the integration of technology into schools. The National Educational
Policy Act (Act 27 of 1996) mandates the DoE to develop policy and lay down norms
and standards, whilst Provincial Education Departments are tasked (among others)
with the provisioning of education, provincial legislation, funding, information and
infrastructure, provision of books and computer services.Lundall and Howell (2000)
argue that the translation of national policy to provincial policy needs to be
determined. However, provincial governments experienced difficulty in managing
rapid changes and policy overload. Similarly the study conducted by Van Audenhove
(2003) cites many incidences that identify a strong political will in South Africa to
foster ICT within all spheres of government particularly for socio-economic and
educational benefit.Third, there were huge inequities in education, namely resource
provisioning, infrastructure, funding and teacher capacity and these negatively
impacted on the implementation of ICT in schools (Lundall & Howell, 2000).
Czerniewicz and Hodgkinson-Williams (2005) indicate that prior to 2003, South
Africa differed from other countries in their top-down approach to ICT policy
formulation. In the South African context, the e-education policy was made available
for public comment (Czerniewicz & Hodgkinson-Williams, 2005). Although the eeducation policy was opened for public comment, it fell short of an inclusive policy
formulation process. The policy climate based on political rhetoric, speeches and
debates, however, favoured ICT for educational benefit (Surty, 2007; Cronje, 2007;
Pandor 2007). South African political leaders were in unison in their belief that ICT
will overcome the legacies of apartheid (Van Audenhove, 2003, p. 10). Howie et al.
(2005, p. 12) in the SITES (module-2) national survey also found that provincial
budgets are under-resourced to supply all public schools with ICT, furthermore basic
needs such as water supply, sanitation, electricity, coupled with poor access to
computers, are competing priorities that impede the implementation of e-education
policy.
In 2004, the white paper on e-education was developed by the department of
education (DoE, 2004). Important issues of the e-education policy that are relevant to
Page 77 my study are: the main principle of the policy, the definition of e-education, eeducation policy framework for teaching and learning, the policy framework on
teacher capacity building, some policy implementation strategiesand phases of policy
implementation.
The e-education policy places e-learning within an outcomes based education (OBE)
paradigm and further defines it as a learning process that takes teachers and learners
through “learning about ICT”, “learning with ICT” and “learning through the use of
ICT” (DoE, 2004, p. 19). The main principle of the e-education policy is the
achievement of national education goals by “providing modern technologies to
schools in order to enhance the quality of learning and teaching” (DoE, 2004, p. 6).
ICT should be used as a resource for whole school developmentto improve
productivity, management and administration; curriculum integration and delivery,
communication and teacher and learner collaboration.Furthermore, this principle
identifies ICT as a resource to accommodate different learning styles, apply and
produce knowledge for the “real world”, promote achievement for learners, remove
learning barriers for learners with special educational needs, provide “expanded
opportunities and individualized learning experience” (DoE, 2004, p. 16).
The e-education policy framework acknowledges the importance of ICT as integral to
teaching and learning. The policy promotes an OBE philosophy focussing on learner
centred learning. Central to the successful implementation of the e-education policy is
the issue of teacher competence and the need for teacher development at both inservice and pre-service levels. The policy advocates for a programme to address the
lack of teacher ICT competencies to use ICT in their administrative and classroom
practice.
In response to this need for teacher development and support, the national department
of education (DoE)developed a national framework for teacher development as
advocated in the policy “Guidelines for Teacher Training and Professional
Development in ICT” (DoE, 2007). This policy outlines an approach to teacher
development in ICT; e-education and the implementation of the national curriculum
statement (NCS) and teacher ICT knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. Of
particular relevance of the DoE policy on “Guidelines for Teacher Training and
Page 78 Professional Development in ICT” is the reference to ICT literacy, ICT curriculum
integration, e-education policy implementation principles and teacher developmental
levels (entry, adoption, adaptation, appropriation and innovation).
Implementation strategies of the e-education policy includea system-wide approach,
co-ordination and collaboration, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation
process and planning cycles. This system-wide approach suggests numerous national
initiatives (not described)of the education system; universal excellence for teachers,
learners and managers of institutions; and a multi-pronged strategy for the integration
of ICT at all levels of the education system.Furthermore, co-ordination and
collaboration within and between government departments, provincial and other
government departments, NGO’s, business and industry, higher education, general
and further education institutions and the involvement of local communities is
advocated in the e-education policy.
To monitor the implementation of the e-education policy, the policy advocates for
regular reviews and periodic evaluations. Significantly the policy requires districts,
provinces and national DoE to collect planned monitoring and evaluation data. The eeducation policy identifies three phases of policy implementation: Phase one (2004 to
2007): focuses on institutional readiness to use ICT for teaching, learning and
administrative purposes. Phase two (2007 to 2010):integration of ICT into teaching
and learning. And, phase three (2010 to 2013): ICT integrated at all levels of the
education system (teaching, learning, management and administration).
Drawing on the debates in the field, it would seem that South Africa has a rich and
thorough policy base from which to draw, although the contextual issues and realities
at
micro
level
impact
negatively
on
ICT
policy
implementation
in
classrooms.According to Czerniewicz and Hodgkinson-Williams (2005, p. vii) the
“uneven policy terrain” in South Africa did not stop the advent of ICT in schools, but
impeded the introduction and integration of ICT in schools. The uptake of ICT in
schools continued regardless of the lack of policy support on ICT. There is however,
limited research on ICT integration in teaching and learning in South African schools
Page 79 and even less on how ICT policy influences teaching and learning in South African
schools.
2.5.2
South African scenario: Meso and micro level –
Are classroom practices changing?
The SITES (module-2) international survey set out to compare developments in ICT
in educationof 27 countries(Howie et al., 2005; Muller, 2003). A number of findings
emerged with regard to the South African experience: First, a fair number of schools
had ICT policies in place, but in many cases these were not being implemented.
Second, principals indicated that the lack of teacher ICT competency poses a major
obstacle to implementation of ICT in schools. Third, teachers experienced insufficient
preparation time and excessive workloadsthat contributed to inhibiting ICT
integration in schools. Fourth, inadequate and insufficient teacher training regarding
the integration of ICT into different learning areas and the absence of a properly
developed curriculum for teaching computer skills exacerbated the huge list of ICT
policy implementation issues. Fifth, most schools in South Africa used ICT
extensively for administrative purposes and as a tool to monitor learner progress. And
sixth, the reluctance of teachers to use technology to enhance their teaching resulted
in the lack of exposure of learners to ICT.
The research concurred with international data that ‘other’ contextual issues impacted
on ICT policy implementation at schools (Howie et al., 2005; Muller, 2003). Firstly,
time exigencies discouraged teachers in the use of ICT. The use of technology
required much preparation time, and teachers felt that they were already burdened by
the routine of lesson planning, assessment of large number of learners and their extra
and co-curricular duties. Consequently, teachers resorted to traditional teaching
methods that served them well in the past. Second, technology faults also dissuaded
teachers from utilising ICT. Teachers claimed that technological glitches resulted in
foiled lessons and thus they often had to resort to backup plans.
2.5.3
Summary of findings - South African scenario
Page 80 A number of ICT initiatives (Blignaut & Howie, 2009) are currently being
implemented across South Africa. However, many of these initiatives do not directly
align with the e-education policy and have not yet reached every school and district
(Holcroft, 2003; Howie et al., 2005). In a developing country like South Africa,
emphasis is placed on access to ICT and capacity building initiatives. The integration
of ICT into the curriculum and effective management strategies for the successful
implementation of ICT in all schools have yet to occur.
The policy document on “Guidelines for teacher training and professional
development in ICT” is one of the initiatives by the DoE to implement the e-education
policy (DoE, 2007). This policy document identifies the need for ICT integration into
curriculum delivery,with specific ICT guidelines and goals particularly structured for
ICT implementation in schools (DoE, 2007).However, the translation of national
policies to provincial policy still needs to be determined.In contrast with the
international top down policy approach, South Africa attempted to develop an
inclusive (participation by all stakeholders) ICT policy. It would seem that South
Africa has a healthy policy base from which to draw, but the contextual issues and
realities at micro level impact negatively on ICT policy implementation in
classrooms.
Academic research into ICT policy in education from a South African perspective has
escaped the focus of researchers. Czerniewicz and Hodgkinson-Williams (2005, p. ix)
argue that within the South African context local research in ICT is “undertheorised”
and acknowledge that there is a “paucity of research regarding relevant ICT policy”,
particularly how schools have taken up this challenge remains scarce. The apparent
silence in the literature in South Africa, coupled with a dire lack of research on how
schools appropriate education policy on ICT establishes a justification and relevance
for this study (Mulkeen, 2003b; Tondeur etal., 2006; Plowman & Stephen, 2003;
Thomson, Nixon & Comber, 2006).
2.6
Comparison of findings between international and South
African landscapes
Page 81 This section attempts to draw a comparison of findings between the international
perspective and the South African scenario toICT policy in education. Fig 2.1
illustrates macro level findings and Fig 2.2illustrates meso-micro level findings. The
concept maps draws attention to literature similarities, differences and silences within
South Africa and internationally.
Findings from the literature at macro level (Fig 2.1) indicate there is a dearth of
literature on: bottom-up policy implementation studies, research on ICT policy
guidelines to schools and research on ICT pedagogical guidelines. There are
significant differences in the nature of ICT policies between South Africa and the
international communities, for example; in South Africa the policies are defined by
simplistic goals while international ICT policies have achievable goals; internationally
curriculum was revised to include ICT, while in South Africa ICT integration is only
superficially mentioned. The concept map also reveals numerous similarities (policy
deficits, overloaded curricular, focus on infrastructure, lack of systemic support etc.)
on ICT policy implementation between South Africa and other countries.
At the meso-micro level (Figure 2.2), there are silences in the South African context
with respect to the manner in which schools take up national ICT policy particularly
according to DiMaggio and Powell’s (1983) isomorphic changes that occur in
institutions.Silences in the literature at the international level are also evident with
respect to bottom-up implementation of policy. The concept map illustrates significant
differences between schools in South Africa and other countries. Internationally
schools are supported by specific guidelines and encouraged to implement ICT policy
and encouraged to become autonomous. Literature similarities suggest that South
African schools experience the same inhibiting issues that impede ICT policy
implementation such as: the huge volume of policies, the lack of systemic support and
lack of enabling policies.Also evident from the literature is the lack of bottom-up ICT
policy studies in the international arena at the meso-micro level.
2.7
Conclusion
Page 82 A review of the extant literature in the field yielded numerous findings. From the
foregoing literature it is evident that there is huge interest to explore the use of ICT by
teachers in classrooms. There is also plenty of research based on the top-down
approach to policy implementation. However, there is a death of literature that
explores how teachers take up education policy on ICT in their teaching practice. It is
in this regard that my study is positioned to fill this gap in the literature which is
apparently lacking at both national and international levels, with a view to discovering
how teachers appropriate education ICT policy in their teaching and learning
repertoire. I positioned my study and designed research methods to determine the
day-to-day classroom experiences of teachers as they negotiate policy.
Page 83 Fig 2.1: Macro level findings
Comparison of the literature in the international andSouth African landscape
Page 84 Fig 2.2: Meso-micro level findings
Comparison of the literature in the international andSouth African landscape
Page 85 Chapter 3
Research design and methodology
3.1
Introduction
The main focus of this chapter is to present a systematic flow of the entire design of
the research process. I present a case study of the experiences of teachers as they
conduct their daily pedagogic routine of using ICT to teach particular learning areas
of the national curriculum. Simply stated, this study is an attempt to understand how
teachers experience and respond to national ICT policy in their classrooms to improve
teaching and learning.This chapter therefore seeks to clarify the research design,
justify the methods selected for data collection and describe the manner in which the
data was analyzed.
I begin by justifying my idiosyncratic theoretical affiliation to the social
constructivism paradigm and the research methodology that will guide and underpin
this bounded case study. Proceeding from my philosophical worldview, I provide an
overview of the initial stages of the research and finally inform the reader of the more
formal stages in which I describe the research strategies, design of the instruments for
data capturing and how the data was be analyzed. I conclude the chapter with a
description of the methods I employed to enhance the trustworthiness of the study, my
autobiographical role as researcher and the limitations of the research.
3.2
Paradigmatical assumptions
3.2.1
Meta-theoretical paradigm
Bounded by my experience as a teacher, who over time adopted constructivist
teaching methods, and as an academic using qualitative emphasis in my research
programmes, my philosophical path and methodology for this study was
predetermined. I have come to realise that developing expertise in various qualitative
approaches and to become conscious of a particular philosophy of science take time,
Page 86 often through a number of years of study. The idea that reality is socially constructed
and “the dynamic interaction between the researcher and participant is central to
capturing and describing the ‘lived experience’ (Erlebnis) of the participant” appeals
to me as a “would be knower” (Ponterotto, 2005, p. 131). According to Guba and
Lincoln (1994), issues of research methods are secondary to questions of paradigms,
in that the paradigm (which is the worldview) guides the investigator in the choice of
methods. Thus I focus the discussion on the epistemology that I affiliate to, which in
turn provides the conceptual roots and underpins my study.
Many years of experience in the teaching fraternity (most in senior management
positions) gave me the opportunity to observe teachers in my school as they attempted
to make sense of government policy ranging over a variety of educational issues. The
social constructivist paradigm supports my years of tacit observation that the teacher’s
experience is an active process of interpretation and teachers are not mere passive
recipients of policy. In adopting the social constructivist epistemology, I acknowledge
that actors are not mere describers of events, they also actively engaged in broader
policy discourse and conflict (Jacobs & Manzi, 2000; Morgan& Smircich, 1980;
Neimeyer, 1998). According to Burr (2003, p. 9), social inquiry is lodged in the
“consideration of how certain phenomena or forms of knowledge are achieved by
people in action”.
My choice of social constructivism as a meta-theoretical paradigm in this study is
based on the notion that it characterises knowledge as a set of beliefs or mental
models people use to interpret actions and events in the world (Jackson & Klobas,
2008). In other words, social constructivists are concerned with the ways in which
people construct knowledge. In social constructivism, it is the individual who imposes
meaning on the world rather than the meaning being imposed on the individual
(Karagiorgi& Symeou, 2005). In this regard the social constructivist research
paradigm caters for an investigation into the constructions and broad meanings about
how teachers appropriate policy. I observed the realities of lives of teachers as
participants during the study and constructed ideas and meaning out of their voices in
the field (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). Hence, this study is an attempt to understand
multiple realities constructed by participants in their natural setting (Creswell, 2003).
Page 87 In this study teachers did not construct their interpretations in isolation but against an
environment of shared understandings, practices and language(Denzin& Lincoln,
2000). According to Karagiorgi and Symeou (2005), meaning or knowledge is always
a human construction and categories of knowledge and reality are actively created by
social relationships and interactions. Using social constructivism as a theoretical
paradigm in my study, I argue that teachers’ appropriation of ICT policy on education
is socially constructed. According to social constructivism, norms and shared beliefs
comprise actors’ identities and interests, for example the way people conceive
themselves in relation to others.
I acknowledge that the social constructivist paradigm has some inherent limitations.
First, I accepted that I would not be able to exclusively study the teacher because all
individuals are always members of a greater society (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). In other
words, as a researcher I could not (and did not intend to) isolate an individual from the
environment in which he or she lives, but would still be able to interpret the findings
within the social context of the teacher’s world.I believed this limitation would have a
minimal affect on the outcome since the study places the teacher’s experience within a
socio-cultural context and recognises the teacher as an integral part of that context.
Another disadvantage of social constructivism is that it denies the existence of
objective knowledge (Au, 1998, p. 299). That is, researchers are no longer researchers
once they become involved in the research process because their deeper understanding
of the research topic may distort the research results (Guba & Lincoln, 2000). In order
to reduce this limitation, I applied self reflexivity, i.e. constantly acknowledging my
subjectivity and bias. I constantly reminded myself that I may influence or be
influenced by the research process.
In the systematic quest to push the boundaries of new knowledge, it is my philosophy
of science that provides the ‘conceptual’ roots that underpins and guides this desire
for knowledge. According to Filsted (1979), the research paradigm is the “set of
interrelated assumptions about the social world which provides a philosophical and
conceptual framework for the organised study of that world”. The choice of social
constructivism as a philosophical paradigm may explicitly guide my research
assumptions, general research methodology and in particular the selection of the tools,
Page 88 instruments, participants, and methods used in the research study (Denzin & Lincoln,
2000; Willig, 2001). The main data collection methods underpinning this social
constructivism paradigm were the active processes of observations and interviews as
an important means in trying to understand how actors perceive and make sense of the
social world. It is primarily by “letting research participants speak for themselves”
that we become conscious of their realities through the text created (Denzin &
Lincoln, 2005, p. 209).Social constructivism also endorses the particular analysis
methodologies that I applied to the garnered data, namely a grounded theory approach
and narrative analysis (Ljungberg, Yendol-Hoppey, Smith& Hayes, 2009, p. 690).
3.2.2
Methodological paradigm
Researchers Robertson (2003) and Hoepfl (1997) support the notion that there is an
over reliance on quantitative methods by researchers working with technology in
education.It is not my intention to add to the academic debate that promotes one
research methodology over the other, but rather to give credence to the fact that the
research methods of choice are inextricably linked to my worldview as a researcher. A
qualitative research methodology may offer another perspective on the meaning that
ICT policy on education experience has for teachers, thus enabling thick and detailed
descriptive analysis. By using a qualitative research lens in this study, I attempted to
accurately represent the socially constructed realities of the participants as they
perceive it to be (Creswell & Miller, 2000). Thus, a qualitative methodological
approach allowed me to design empirical procedures, describe and interpret teachers’
experiences as they implement education policy on ICT in their classrooms (Denzin &
Lincoln, 1994; Pickard & Dixon, 2004). It was also my intention to use a variety of
qualitative approaches reviewed in the literature to enhance my own development as a
researcher.
The benefit of a qualitative approach to this study is that the research focuses on
teachers’ experiences and the meanings they attach to events, processes and structures
in their schools as social settings (Berg, 2007; Skinner, Tagg & Halloway, 2000).
Using a qualitative approach necessitates a prolonged and intense contact with
teachers in their everyday situations, and in this way provides a holistic view, through
Page 89 the participants’ own words and perceptions of how they understand, account for and
act within these situations (Miles & Huberman, 1994). A qualitative approach
captures the essence of my research, to understand the real life experiences of teachers
in their natural settings as they implementation the e-education policy in practice
(Marshall & Rossman, 1999). A qualitative research methodology adds value to this
study by offering a way of thinking about studying social reality (Straus & Corbin,
1990).
Qualitative research methodology is sometimes criticised for lacking scientific rigour
(Mays& Pope, 1995). Numerous claims are made against qualitative research
methods. The first is that qualitative research merely represents a collection of
anecdotes and personal impressions of participants, with strong researcher bias.
Secondly there is a lack of reproducibility because of researcher personal interest,
suggesting that there is no guarantee that a different researcher would come to the
same
conclusions.
Thirdly,
qualitative
research
is
criticised
for
lacking
generalizability. Fourthly, qualitative research generates voluminous information
about a small number of research settings (Mays& Pope, 1995). I address all these
criticisms in this study and particularly in the section on touchstones of
trustworthiness (3.7).
3.3
Research purpose
I selected a qualitative exploratory research design (Keaveney, 1995; Bowen, 2005) as
I sought to gain new insights about how teachers construct meaning in their lives,
which among other things is informed by their experiences,as they negotiate ICT
policy on education in their teaching practice. An exploratory study, as in this
research design, was promoted by making use of an open, flexible and inductive
approach to understanding the actors’ constructions of their experience. The principle
of an exploratory approach is to add to the existing knowledge base, academic
debates, understanding and perceptions of the implementation of ICT policy on
education.
Page 90 The ultimate goal of this exploratory inquiry was to gain new insights from which
new assumptions can be developed (Gaeger & Halliday, 1998). In this exploratory
study I did not try to confirm any relationships prior to analysis but instead allowed
the methodology and the data to define the nature of the relationships (Boudreau,
Gefen &Straub, 2001). This notion is supported by Lincoln and Guba (1985) who
posit that in exploratory research, social phenomena are investigated with minimal a
priori expectations in order to develop explanations of these phenomena. An
exploratory approach is an attempt to investigate the “little-understood”(Marshall &
Rossman, 1999, p. 33) phenomenon of ICT policy appropriation by teachers, a topic
that has not been explored in the research literature.As an academic, I undertake this
study primarily to inform knowledge on ICT policy and practice. My expectation is
that insights can inform policy makers in their efforts to resolve ICT policy
implementation problems within the education context.
3.4
Strategy of inquiry: A case study approach based on
backwardmapping principles
According to Denzin and Lincoln (2005), a strategy of inquiry depicts the skills,
assumptions and material practices that researchers-as-methodological developers use
when they transfer from a paradigm to the gathering of empirical materials. Emerging
from a qualitative methodological paradigm I positioned the investigations as a
backward-mapping case study by implication relying on specific methodological
practices. The strategy of inquiry in this study (case study design) made it possible for
me to use specific approaches and methods to collect and analyse empirical data. In
this case study, I relied mainly on interviewing, observing and document analysis as
primary methodological approaches. I also planned to combine observation with
asking questions by employing ethnographical research principles of ‘non-obtrusive
interviewing’ (Lofland & Lofland, 1984).
I selected an instrumental case study approach (Stake, 2005). In this study the case is
defined by schools with teachers implementing ICT in their teaching and learning
practice. I elicited the experiences of the teachers as actors as well as other
stakeholders (principals and district officials) through an instrumental case study. I
Page 91 captured, analyzed and conveyed the experiential knowledge of the actors through
situational descriptions (see reflections in Appendix C) and largely through thick and
rich narratives. In instrumental case studies the case is of secondary interest (Berg,
2007). In this regard this case study is bounded (Stake, 1995) by its specificity to
teachers and focuses particular attention on how teachers appropriate education policy
on ICT to influence their teaching. I purposefully selected multiple cases (collective
cases) as an approach to extend the instrumental case study (Stake, 2005) which
yielded similar, variety and redundant findings which were all important in their own
way. According to Merriam (1998, p. 19), case studies involving the study of a
process have significant value for research and ‘insights gleaned from case studies can
directly influence policy, practice, and future research”. Thus a case study approach is
particularly significant for my study which sought to understand how teachers, who
are critically positioned at the point where policy meets practice, appropriate
education policy on ICT in their classroom practice.
The significant benefit of a case study method lies in its ability to open the way for
discovery, in that it creates a platform for further inquiry that may be pursued in
subsequent studies (Silverman, 2006). However, case studies also bring along
scientific challenges of issues of objectivity and generalizability (Berg, 2007).I
acknowledge some limitations of the research design in that it was an exploratory case
study which employed subjective measures and limited generalization. First, is the
criterion of objectivity, which is closely associated with the construct of
reproducibility of the study. In this inquiry I attempted to reduce the effect of
subjectivity and simultaneously enhance replication of the study by offering a detailed
articulation of the procedures of the study so that other researchers may repeat the
research if they so desire (Berg, 2007). Second, I approached this study with the
intention of understanding the single phenomenon of how teachers appropriate
education policy on ICT in their classroom practice. Although the results of this study
may have important implications for both policy and practice, I did not purposefully
intend to draw any generalizations from this inquiry. I thus reiterate that this inquiry is
an instrumental case study to provide insight into teachers implementing policy.
In terms of my design choice I was able to elicit the experience of every-day life of
the local actors (teachers) and try to “make sense from the point of view of another”
Page 92 (Agar, 1986, p. 12). I infused the instrumental case study with Charmaz’s (2001)
constructivist approach to grounded theory as a systematic guideline for collecting,
analysing and explaining the garnered empirical material. This decision is supported
by Denzin and Lincoln (2005, p. 382), who posit that grounded theory “may be the
most widely employed interpretive strategy in social science today”.
3.4.1
Backward mapping principles
Elmore (1980, p. 601) challenges researchers to write case studies that focus on a
“particular sequence of events and a specific set of causes and consequences” in such
a manner to offer guidance to policymakers on how to anticipate policy
implementation problems. I designed my research strategy for this study by drawing
on the work of Elmore’s (1980) policy implementation research. I firstly explain
forward mapping and backward mapping as two contradictory policy analysis
approaches, and then I follow through to explain how and why I opted for a backward
mapping strategy of inquiry in this research study.
In order to understand Elmore’s (1980) “backward mapping” approach it is necessary
to differentiate it from the traditional “forward mapping” approach. Forward mapping
is the strategy that policy makers attempt to pursue in order to affect the
implementation process from a top-down approach. This strategy is initiated at the
highest level in the policy making process. The implementation process begins with
the statement of the policy maker’s intent and then cascades down through the
hierarchical structures of the provinces and districts and eventually to schools. At
each level the policy intent is translated into more specific implementation steps to
define what is expected (such as regulations, responsibilities, administrative actions
and mission statements consistent with the policy intent) of the implementers. Finally
the forward mapping process elicits an observable effect in the form of an outcome on
the actor who is the target of the policy. The level of achievement of the outcome is
measured to determine the success or failure of the implementation process. Elmore
(1980) suggests that forward mapping is a classical “textbook approach” to policy
implementation studies. However, there are major flaws and limitations associated
with forward mapping as an analytical approach to policy implementation. Most
Page 93 important is the notion that in the forward mapping approach, policy makers have
control of the “organizational, political and technological processes that affect
implementation”. This assumption is substantiated by acknowledging that
administrators at each hierarchical level exercise a delegated authority which is
controlled by the policy maker.
In other words the assumption is that policy
implementation is controlled from the top. Another weakness of forward mapping as
an analytic strategy is that it offers a limited range of implementation explanations for
policy implementation failures.
I turned my attention to the “backward mapping” approach as proposed by Elmore
(1980). Backward mapping and forward mapping share the same notion that the
focus of policy makers is on affecting the implementation process and in so doing
hope to positively influence the outcomes of policy intent and decisions. However,
backward mapping challenges the assumption that policy makers have control over
what happens at the point of policy implementation. Backward mapping also disputes
the assumption that “explicit policy directives, clear statements of administrative
responsibilities and well-defined outcomes” will necessarily foster successful policy
implementation. Backward mapping is firmly grounded in assumptions that are
contrary to forward mapping. First, backward mapping does not take for granted that
policy is the only or major driver on the behaviour of the target of the policy. Second,
backward mapping does not rely on compliance with the intent of policy makersas the
standard of success or failure, but rather on the ability of actors at one level of the
implementation process to influence actors at other levels in the system (Elmore,
1980). Third, in backward mapping the assumption is that if one is close to the source
of the problem, the greater is one’s ability to influence it. This is where I chose to
focus my research, at the smallest unit in the system where change is expected,
namely the teacher.
Backward mapping describes a significantly different approach by analysing policy
implementation at the point where policy meets practice. Elmore (1980, p. 604)
explains that backward mapping is an analytic approach that is positioned to observe
specific behaviour at the “point at which administrative actions intersect private
choices”. Contrary to forward mapping which begins with the policy makers’ intent,
Page 94 backward mapping begins to describe specific behaviour of the policy implementer at
the “lowest level of the implementation process that generates the need for policy”.
Once the exact target of the policy at the lowest level of the system is established and
the behaviour is described as a set of effects, the backward mapping analysis backtracks through the structure of the “implementing agencies”posing at each level two
questions; What is the ability of this unit to affect the behaviour that is the target of
the policy? and what resources does this unit require in order to have that effect?
In this study the target of the ICT policy on education are the teachers who are
positioned at the intersection of policy and practice, who thus constitute the main
focus of this inquiry. Once the behaviour of the teacher that is the target of the policy
was described (through observations and interviews), the inquiry backed-up through
the implementing agencies of the school, to the local education district and then to the
provincial education department.
The experiential knowledge of the actors was
captured, analyzed, interpreted and conveyed through situational descriptions (see
reflections in Appendix C1) and largely through thick and rich narratives of the case
study. I now give a detailed account of the data collection strategies.
3.4.2
Selection of cases
The selection of information-rich research sites occurred prior to determining the
participants as units of analysis. My expectation of finding suitable sites to conduct
the field work waned from the selection of typical sites to selecting exemplary sites
(Glesne, 2006). I assumed that the practice of using ICT to teach national curriculum
exists to varying extents in all schools (typical sites), ranging from highly affluent
independent schools to township schools in the heart of impoverished communities.
However the reality of accessing data-rich sites to conduct research led to identifying
exemplary schools across various socio-cultural contexts rather than typical schools.
Stake (2005) suggests that sometimes atypical cases offer greater opportunities to
learn as compared to typical sites. In this regard the search for information-rich
research sites compelled me to engage purposeful sampling (Stake, 1995). The
process of purposeful selection yielded an opportunity for an in-depth study to
understanding and gaining insight on issues of central importance to this study. I
Page 95 reflect on my experience of trying to access information rich research sites that at the
onset I assumed would be an easy task.
Journal
reflection
Reflection 3.1
I became desperate and now tried to access at least one township school
that was using ICT to teach the curriculum...I became concerned that
suitable sites for inclusion in the sample may be few and far between.
This time I sought to access the teaching experience of PGCE and
BEd(Hon) programmes, these students in the field as pre-service students
and in-service teachers respectively. A teacher in the BEd(Hons)
programme informed me of his school in the town of Eersterust, that was
using ICT to teach the curriculum. This school as indicates that
sometimes selecting a case that adheres to sampling criteria, turns out
“to be no ‘choice’ at all”, I was obligated to take this school (Stake,
1995).
Reflection 3.1 (see Appendix C)
In order to achieve significant understanding of the phenomena under study, I had to
choose cases according to particular criteria that may yield information rich cases. For
instrumental and multiple case study design a formal method of sampling was
required that may yield a representative selection of cases (Stake, 2005). I wanted to
select three urban primary schools from different socio-cultural settings in an attempt
to make use of maximum variation sampling (Patton, 1990; Lincoln & Guba, 1985).
The rationale for using maximum variation sampling was that it would enhance the
value of this study by capturing common patterns from great variation that may
emerge from diverse socio-cultural contexts. I selected cases that cut across varied
socio-cultural and socio-economic situations (see table 3.1), in order to identify shared
patterns and yield detailed descriptions of each case. At this point in time, I
acknowledge that a limitation of maximum variation sampling as a method for small
samples is that high heterogeneity can be a problem because individual cases may be
significantly different from each other.
I also note that while balance and variety in a case study approach is important,
‘opportunity to learn is often more important’ (Stake, 2005, p. 451). Accordingly, I
identified three research sites based on the socio-cultural contexts of these schools. A
well resourced former model C7public primary school, a poorly resourced
7
Former model C schools were public schools (classified prior to 1994) catering mainly for white
learners
Page 96 township8public primary school and an independent9 school were selected according
to preformed and particular criteria (See Appendix C1 to C4 for journal reflections). I
excluded rural schools from the sampling criteria based on my assumption that rural
schools have many other significant challenges to basic educational needs. These
challenges range from the lack of basic services such as water and electricity supply
to substandard classroom infrastructure (Roodt & Conradie, 2003; Mbelle, 2008). I
assume that the use of ICT in teaching and learning would be far removed from the
agenda of schools thus disadvantaged.
I used Stake’s (2005, p. 451) view that the selection of cases should offer ‘opportunity
to learn’, and proceeded to select cases from which I could learn the most. I based the
purposeful selection (Berg, 2007) of possible information-rich research sites on
numerous criteria. Some criteria were formulated with reference to the framework of
the international study (Kozma, 2005), while others were determined and modified to
accommodate local circumstances within the context of this study.
•
First, I wanted to select schools with stable ICT infrastructure. I qualify the
meaning of ‘stable’ in that computers must be functional for effective teaching
and learning to occur. ICT technical problems should not compromise day-today curriculum delivery.
•
Second, schools had to have effective administrative management of ICT
computer laboratories. Good management implies that the computer facilities
and equipment should be functional and effectively maintained for optimum
use of the technology resources.
•
Third, and to my mind most important, schools had to integrate ICT in the
curriculum as an accepted practice in teaching and learning. This criterion
became evident through a scrutiny of the prospective school’s timetable and
by observing whether the use of the computer labs or ICT centres was
indicated as a dedicated curriculum delivery activity (Kozma, 2000).
•
Fourth, the schools had to be sufficiently well resourced in order to facilitate
and sustain the use of ICT in teaching and learning (Kozma, 2000). In this
8
Township schools are schools that are currently situated within ‘black’ communities
Independent schools are autonomous private schools that receive minimal state subsidy and target
affluent communities.
9
Page 97 regard the school should have the means (financial or externally supported) to
be able to maintain the use of ICT laboratories or equipment for teaching and
learning to take place.
•
Fifth, sites were selected by identifying ICT-enabled practices (for example
participation in e-learning seminars, community involvement, competitions,
etc.) that each school values and wanted to hold up to others in their
community and within the school’s district (Kozma, 2000).
•
Sixth, selected schools had to adhere to and implement education policy on the
National Curriculum Statement (NCS) (Kozma, 2000).
•
Seventh, in addition I selected schools that had at least two of the main phases
(foundation phase, intermediate phase and senior phase) in the General
Education and Training (GET) band within the South African schooling
system. The rationale for selecting primary schools as research sites was twofold. First, primary schools have been in the process of implementing the
revised National Curriculum Statement (NCS) (Department of Education,
2004) fundamental policy for more than four years (from 2004) and thus may
have overcome curriculum implementation milestones.
Secondary schools, however, have only initiated the new curriculum policy from
2007, and then only in grade seven. My assumption was that secondary schools were
still in the throes of negotiating changes required by the new national curriculum
policy statement (Department of Education, 2003). Second, unlike secondary schools,
primary schools are not compelled to use ICT because of the national NCS curriculum
policy statement (Department of Education, 2003). In this way, secondary schools use
ICT in teaching and learning because of the curriculum policy requirement for
subjects like Technology and Computer Assisted Technology (CAT) (Department of
Education, 2003). My assumption was that primary schools using ICT in their
curriculum would be doing so by virtue of their own intention, whether driven by the
e-education policy (Department of Education, 2004) or not. This method of sampling
would elicit a more realistic understanding of the appropriation of education policy on
ICT by teachers.
Page 98 Journal
reflection 3.2
3.4.3
Based on my perception and experience of primary schools within
educational district in which I taught and the fact that the provincial
government has been active in the roll out of computer centres through the
Gauteng-On-Line (GOL) project since 2004, I assumed that obtaining
information-rich township school, that satisfied the selection criteria as a
research site would be fairly easy and uncomplicated. But in reality this
did not unfold as expected.
Reflection 3.2 (See Appendix C)
Identification and selection of participants
As stated previously, the case constituted schools with teachers implementing ICT in
their teaching and learning practice. I purposefully (Glesne, 2006; Berg, 2007)
selected the teachers at the schools according to preset criteria. First, the teachers had
to be professionally qualified. I qualify this criterion because many schools tend to
appoint ICT qualified persons as teachers without any formal teacher training. This
information was determined from my initial introductory interview with the
principals. Second, the identified teachers were selected by their willingness to
participate in the study and not by their level of ICT competence, qualification or
experience. Third, the participant teachers had to be teaching the national curriculum
using ICT. I did not expect that every curriculum delivered lesson to be an ICT
infused lesson, but that the teachers were using ICT as part of their daily teaching
practice. Fourth, I excluded those teachers that taught ICT as a standalone learning
area without curriculum integration. Fifth, I selected teachers from the junior,
intermediate and senior phases without any restriction on the choice of the learning
area. I preferred teachers from the intermediate or senior phases with the hope to
include teachers from various learning areas. Sixth, selection of participants was not
based on language of instruction, race, gender or age as these criteria were irrelevant
to the study.
I had initially decided on one teacher at each research site as my unit of analysis.
Drawing on my personal experience, most members of school management did not
use their mainstream curriculum deliverers to teach ICT, but relied on a separate
dedicated teacher to do this (often employed by the school governing body). Thus I
expected to find at most one teacher at each school that may be identified as the ‘ICT
Page 99 integration’ teacher. However at both public schools a different scenario played out,
contrary to my expectations as reflected in the following excerpt from my diary:
Journal
reflection 3.3
I subsequently, requested if both of them would be willing to be interviewed
and observed in their daily routine of teaching. My observation was that
the technology teacher was reluctant to be part of the study, although he
did not say this openly, he referred to me as an ‘inspekteur”8 in his casual
talk to other teachers in my presence. His utterance gave me an opportunity
to allay his concerns about the object of the research.
Reflection 3.3 (See Appendix C)
At the township school (school A), a school from a low socio-economic suburb of
Eersterust10 east of Pretoria11, two teachers (teacher 1 and teacher 2) were actively
engaged with ICT in their delivery of the national curriculum. The first teacher readily
agreed to participate in the study, while the second teacher had some reservations12
but eventually agreed to participate in the study (see Journal reflection 3.3). At the
second research site, a former model C school (school B) which is situated in a middle
socio-economic sector of the city centre, both teachers (teacher 1 and teacher 2) were
identified by the principal and enthusiastically agreed to participate in the study. At
both public schools, School A and School B these teachers (teacher 1 and teacher 2)
were the only two teachers using ICT to teach the curriculum. However at the
independent school (school C), a school within a high socio-economic community,
many teachers were using ICT in their classroom practice. However, only two
teachers (teacher 1 and teacher 2) were using ICT more often than other teachers and
thus selected as units of analysis (Refer to Appendix C5for journal reflections). Table
3.1 gives a detailed summary of the research sites, the socio-economic status of
schools, the demographics of the participants and the research question that is being
investigated.
10
Eesterust – a township previously designated for people classified as coloured.
Pretoria – capital city of Gauteng Province (one of nine provinces in South Africa).
12
Inspekteur – Afrikaans term for inspector (of schools).
11
Page 100 Research
Question
Participants
Unit of
Analysis
Teachers
Teachers
1
Principal
Principal
2
1
Teachers
Profile of participants
Teacher 1: Coloured male. Age: mid 40,
marriedDesignation: Head of Department- Natural
ScienceCurrently teaching: general science grade 6
Qualification: Teacher Diploma, Bed(Hons)
Teaching experience: 23 years
2
Principal
Institution
‘Township’ Public School
Low socio-economic sector
Former model C school.
Medium Socio-economic sector
Independent School.
High socio-economic sector
School C
School B
School A
System
Hierarchy
Level
Table 3.1: Summary of participants – Schools and teachers
Teacher 2: Coloured male. Age: 43, married
Designation: Teacher
Currently teaching: Technology grade 6&7, grade 7 –
computer literacy
Qualification: Teacher Diploma
Teaching experience: 18 years
Principal. Coloured, male age 55. Married
Designation: Principal for past 10 years
Qualification: Teacher Diploma
Teaching Experience: 30 years
Teacher 1: White male. Age 40, Married
Designation: Deputy Principal
Currently teaching: EMS and Afrikaans 5&7
Qualification: Teachers Diploma
Teaching experience: 20 years
RQ1
RQ2
RQ3
RQ1
Teacher 2: White female. Age 28.Unmarried
Designation: Teacher
Currently teaching: Maths and EMS Grade 6&7
Qualification: BA, PGCE
Teaching Experience: 6 years
2
Principal: White Male. Age 58. Married
Designation: Principal for the past 5 years
Qualification: Teacher diploma, BA
Teaching experience: 33 years
Teacher 1: White male. Age 35. Married
Designation: Head of Department for Afrikaans
Currently teaching: Afrikaans grade 6&7
Qualification: Teacher Diploma, BA, Bed(Hons)
Teaching Experience: 18 years
RQ2
RQ3
RQ1
Teacher 2: White male. Age 27
Designation: Teacher
Qualification: BEd
Teaching experience: 6 years
1
Principal: Male. Age 45
Designation: Acting Principal
Qualification: BEd
Teaching experience: 23 years
RQ2
RQ3
Page 101 Applying a backward mapping (Elmore, 1980) approach I had to select participants at
various systemic levels as I backtracked through the system. At school level the
principal is apparently the gatekeeper of policy implementation and was conveniently
selected (Berg, 2007). At each of the research sites principals voluntarily agreed to
participate in the study. Beyond the schools’ boundaries, I purposefully (Berg, 2007;
Glesne, 2006) selected participants at various system levels namely, district and
provincial e-learning officials. The schools that were identified determined the
selection of the relevant hierarchy district systemic unit. At district level, the elearning chief education specialist (CES) was identified as a participant based on the
function of this unit with respect to e-education policy implementation. This district
office is situated within the Gauteng13 Province. I selected the head of the e-learning
directorate at the provincial education department to be a participant in this study.
However on the day of my planned interview with her I was informed that two other
e-learning officials within this directorate will participate in the interview, namely the
deputy chief education specialist (DCES) and the chief education specialist (CES). All
officials at both district and provincial levels were keen to participate by virtue of
their interest in the study. Table 3.2 illustrates the demographics of the systemic
participants.
13
1
2
Research
Question
Participants
Unit of
Analysis
Institution
District
E-learning
directorate
District
E-Learning
Official
Province
E-learning
Directorate
Province
E-Learning
Official
Provincial
Education
Department
Local
Education
Authority
System
Hierarchy
Level
Table 3.2: Summary of participants – Systemic
Profile of participants
District Official: Black, female. Married, Age 43.
Designation: Chief Education Specialist: E-learning
Qualification: Teachers diploma + Currently studying
Bed(Hons)
Official 1: Black male, Age 36.
Designation: Deputy Chief Education Officer
Qualification: BSc + Teachers Diploma
Official 2: Black female, Age 43.
Designation: Chief Education Specialist
Qualification: BA + Hed
RQ2
RQ3
RQ2
RQ3
Gauteng province - one of nine geographical regions in South African
Page 102 3.5
The research process
Paradigmatic Lenses:
Social Constructivist
Qualitative methodology
Case Study Design:
ICT policy implementation in three schools
Pilot Study
Three teachers, n= 3: Female (2) Male (1)
Data Collection
Unit of Analysis:
Two teachers from each school, n = 6: Female (1), Males (5)
Principal of each school, n = 3: Male (3)
District Official, n = 1: Female (1)
Provincial Official, n= 2: Female (1), Male (1)
Data Gathering Technique and Instruments
Technique
1. Semi-structured
interviews
Research
Question
RQ1, RQ2,
RQ3
2.Observations
RQ1
Teachers,
Principals,
District & Province
Teachers
3.Informal
Conversational
interviews
4.Content analysis
of documents
RQ1
Teachers
RQ1
Teachers, Principal,
District & Province
Iterative
and
Interactive
•
•
•
Participants
Documentation
Digital voice recordings (verbatim
transcript)
Video recording, photographs, field
notes, researcher journal
Digital voice recordings, researcher
journal
Policy documents, lessons, official
documents, digital images
Data Analysis
Constructivist grounded theory research methods
Transcribing, coding and identification of core themes
Iterative
and
Interactive
Member checking
Figure 3.1: Research process
Page 103 The flow chart above (Figure 3.1) gives a schematic representation of the research
process that unfolded in this study.In this section I give a detailed account of the data
collection instruments and methods.
3.5.1
Phases of inquiry: Data collection methods andinstrumentation
3.5.1.1
The pilot study14
Social researchers Teijlingen and Hundley (2001, p. 1), suggest that pilot studies are
crucial elements of a good study design. Teijlingen and Hundley (2001) list numerous
reasons for conducting a pilot study. Of primary importance to this study is their
notion that a pilot study may assist in the development and testing of research
instruments, designing a research protocol, assessing whether the research protocol is
realistic and workable and collecting preliminary data. In this study I used a pilot
study to pre-test (Berg, 2007) the semi structured face-to-face interview protocol with
three teachers. This data gathering instrument had to elicit appropriate responses from
participants in my target population. Glesne (2006), suggests that pilot studies should
be as close as possible to the realities of your actual study, not merely for the sake of
data collection but with the idea to learn about the research process.
In this study, I used the principles of pilot studies as espoused by Teijlingen and
Hundley (2001) and Lancaster, Dodd, Williamson and Pract (2004) to test the
interview protocol schedule in a pilot study. After several iterations of critically
designing and redesigning the interview protocol with my supervisor, I tested the
interview protocol (Berg, 2007; Glesne, 2006) with three teachers in three primary
schools in Laudium15, a western suburb of the capital city of Pretoria. I piloted the
interview protocol with the teachers of the three primary schools, as this sample
represented the general target population of my sample (Glesne, 2006). The schools
were easily accessible and thus convenient (Berg, 2007), through my level of
collegiality as a teacher and my previous position as a principal of a public school in
this suburb. Two of the teachers were Indian female, one of which was from the
14
15
See Appendix B16 (Exemplar of pilot study transcripts view protocol)
Laudium - a suburb previously (prior to 1994) designated for people of Indian decent.
Page 104 foundation phase teaching literacy, numeracy and life-skills and the other from the
intersen phase16 (intermediate and senior) teaching languages and social science. The
third teacher was a male teacher also from the intersen phase that taught mainly
mathematics and natural science. All teachers were conveniently selected based on
their level of expertise in using ICT and the fact that they knew me as a teacher and
ex-principal. The interview lasted at least forty five minutes and was conducted
immediately after the teachers completed their scheduled lessons for the day. The
table (Table 3.3) below gives the demographics of the pilot study sample:
Table 3.3: Summary of participants - Pilot study
School Type of School
Gender Age Teaching
phase
Learning areas
School Public primary
1
school
Female
42
Foundation
phase
Literacy, numeracy and
life skills
School Public primary
2
school
Male
34
Intersen
phase
Mathematics and
Natural science
School Public primary
3
school
Female
40
Intersen
phase
Afrikaans
Teijlingen and Hundley (2001), raise concerns that certain limitations of pilot studies
may lead to ‘contamination’ of the study. One important issue raised was the tendency
of making inaccurate predictions or assumptions on the basis of the pilot data. The
experience I gained from the pilot study was that my own preformed assumptions
would be more easily challenged in settings that are not familiar and thus open to new
understandings. I reflect on my experience of piloting the interview protocol below:
Journal
reflection 3.4
The findings from the pilot study made me feel very uncertain for a
number of reasons. First, although the teachers responded to my questions
very openly and honest, the teachers used the opportunity to use me a
‘sounding board’ for their general grievances about their real experiences
and frustrations with regard to ICT use in the school. Issues such as the
lack of training, denial by management to use the computer centre, lack of
software and numerous other issues surfaced. I wondered ‘Is this a
worthwhile study?’
Reflection 3.4 (See Appendix C)
16
Intersen phase is a combination of two phases , the intermediate and the senior phase that are
positioned within the primary schools in the South African school system.
Page 105 Working from the findings of the pilot study, I reflected on my sample of schools and
on the questions in the interview protocol. I reconsidered whether questions in my
interview protocol were structured to elicit the appropriate responses, and began to
fine tune some of the questions. For example, I reduced the total number of questions
to twenty focussed questions, added more prompts to certain questions that required
responsesand minimised simple ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses. (See Appendix A9 for pilot
study interview protocol). The main experience gained also compelled me to reflect
on the manner in which I selected my sample of schools and the units of analysis for
the study. In this regard I identified specific criteria for purposeful sampling that
would yield information rich participants. According to Glesne (2006, p. 31);
“When studying in your own backyard, you often already have a
role-as teacher or principal or case worker or friend. When you add
on the researcher role, both you and those around you may
experience confusion at times over which role you are or should be
playing”
Additional limitations of pilot studies suggested by Teijlingen and Hundley (2001) are
that the data from the pilot study should not be included in the main findings. I
avoided this obvious concern based on the fact that since the interview protocol was
moderately modified after the pilot study, any data used from the pilot study would be
inaccurately represented in the main study. Kvale (2005, p. 155) suggests that the
wording of a question ‘inadvertently shapes the content of an answer’. Although the
interview protocol was tested in the target population, I precluded all participants
from the main study to limit the effect of ‘contamination’ of data. In so doing I
prevented participants in the main study that were already exposed to the interview
protocol and the novelty lost through familiarity with the instrument culminating in
compromising data integrity.
The pilot study also made me aware that my own preconceived views on certain
issues could influence the behaviour of the participants and thus the integrity of the
data through my own body language, tone of voice, expression and utterances.
Though difficult to implement in reality, I attempted to make minimal use of these
verbal and non-verbal cues, except to indicate to the participant that what he or she
had to say was important to me.
Page 106 Most data collection methods and instruments were formal and rigid whilst others
were less formal in nature but integrated into the data gathering process. I used six
instruments to collate data (See Table 3.4), with the intention that each may inform
the research question in a particular manner and crystallize (Settlage, Southerland,
Johnston & Sowell, 2005) the data collection method. The instruments ranged from
interviews, observations, researcher journal, field notes, document reviews, informal
conversational interviews and participant diaries.
Table 3.4: Research questions in relation to data sources and interview questions
How do teachers
Appropriate
educationpolicy on ICT
in schools?
Interview
Questions
Relative to
research
questions
Informal
conversational
Interviews
Document
reviews
Participant
Diaries
=Triangulation
Instrument
What is the ability of the
hierarchical unit (principal,
district and province) within
the education system to affect
the behaviour of the teacher
that is the target of the
policy?
After teacher
interviews
What resources does
this unit (principal,
district and province)
require in order to
have that effect?
After teacher
interviews
Trustworthiness
Conducted
by?
When
conducted?
Key to Codes
Field Notes
Research questions
Observation
Source of Data
Digital
video
recording +
Observation
sheets
Reflective
Journal and
Field notes
Transcripts
Policy
documents;
Schemes,
Preparation,
Websites
Digital
Voice
Recording
E1,E2,E3,E4,E5,
E6,E7,E8,E9,E10,
E11,E12,E13,E14,
E15,E16,E17,E18,
E19,E20,
P1,P2,P3,P4,P5,
P6,P7,P8,P10,P13
Prolonged observation, Pilot study, Member checking, Multi-site, Multiple
participants
Researcher
July ’08 to September 09
After
transcribed
July’09 to
September
‘09
July ’08 to
September
09
August ’09 to
July ‘09
Teacher
Responses +
P15
D4,D6,D7,D8,
D10,D14,D15,
D16,D19,
Pr4,Pr6,Pr7,Pr8,
Pr10,Pr14,Pr15,Pr
16,Pr19
Teacher
Responses +
P16
D7,D11,D20,
Pr7,Pr11,Pr20
E=Teacher ; P=Principal; D=District official; Pr=Provincial official
Page 107 3.5.1.2
Semi-structured face-to-face interviews17
Interviews are important in situations when we cannot observe behaviour or when we
do not know how participants experience their world (Merriam, 1998). Face-to-face
semi-structured interviews afforded me an opportunity to explore the meaning
participants attach to their experiences “erlebnis” (Ponterotto, 2005, p. 131). Face-toface allowed me to observe non-verbal cues and appropriately react or modify my
inquiry in response to non-verbal cues (Holbrook, Green & Krosnick, 2003; Lee
2003) of participants particularly when they elicit confusion, uncertainty, or waning
motivation. In this regard I was able to constructively react to these cues by reducing
task difficulty and reinforce interest by skipping selected questions which I felt were
adequately answered previously. The process of personally conducting the face-toface interviews was crucial as I could modify my line of inquiry by probing into
unanticipated, interesting or unique participant responses (Lee, 2003; Suchman &
Jordan, 1990).
Although I designed the interview protocols18 as a set of open-ended questions, I was
free to modify and change the sequence of the questions according to the manner,
appropriateness and context in which conversation flowed (Fontana & Frey, 2005).
The design of the interview protocol ensured that I make effective use of the limited
interview time, interview multiple participants in the same systematic and
comprehensive manner, and keep focus. In designing the interview protocol, I created
an opportunity to change the way the questions were worded, gave the interviewee
additional prompts or rephrased the question(s) when the need arose (often evident
when interviewees are silent after a question is posed). Furthermore, I kept a resource
of planned prompts and additional questions that could be included as follow-up to
probe into particular responses or to supplement the interview (McCracken, 1988).
The pilot study I conducted alerted me to be cautious of creating interviewee fatigue
through prolonged interviews and being sensitive to this phenomenon I remained
focussed on observing any cues of fatigue and offered participants an opportunity to
rest or continue with the interview at some other time. In the process of data
17
18
See Appendix B for verbatim transcripts of interviews
See Appendix A6 to A9- Interview protocols
Page 108 collection I also attempted to be reflexive by reporting on exactly what transpired.
Thus I employed ‘bracketing’ (Ahern, 1999) in an effort to set aside my researcher
assumptions and influence in order to elicit the reflected experiences of respondents.
Four waves of formal face-to-face semi-structured interviews (Fontana & Frey, 2005;
Glesne, 2006) were planned. The interviews were conducted with teachers, school
principals, e-learning district official and provincial e-learning directorate leaders.
Interviews were scheduled for a period of approximately 45 to 60 minutes and the
interview data sets were classified as follows:
First wave of interviews
The first wave of inquiry was to gather data by conducting face-to-face semistructured interviews with the teacher participants. Since the schools in the sample did
not occur concurrently I began to conduct interviews from July 2008 at the three
selected schools, as and when schools came onboard in this research study. In
planning and preparation to conduct the interviews, I had to consider various aspects
and conditions for data collection such as the identification of the participants, premeetings with participants, permission to conduct the interview, duration, location and
the constant scheduling and re-scheduling for each interview (McKinnon, 1988). I
conducted semi-structured interviews with each of the six teachers at their respective
schools and during the course of their normal professional activity. Since this study
was exploratory in nature, an open-ended interview protocol was deemed appropriate
(Devers & Frankel, 2000; Fontana & Frey, 2005). I designed all the interview
protocols (Leece, 2002) with the first section briefly probing for establishing
background context of the participant, and in so doing rich and thick data pertaining to
the participant’s life history was captured. The second section of the teacher interview
protocol probed into teachers’ experiences with regard to ICT for teaching the
curriculum, student learning, administrative task, official documents for planningand,
institutional and system support. Central to the design of the interview protocol was to
avoid the pitfall made by McLaughlin (1987) in pursuing a top down strategy in
designing the categories for the interview protocol. In this study a backward mapping
approach sought to reflect the realities of teachers’ classroom practices and not the
policy system (Research question 1).
Page 109 Second wave of interviews
The second wave of semi-structured face-to-face interviews was directed at the
principals at each research site. The interviews with the principals occurred only after
teacher interviews and lesson observations were completed. To garner data of each
case with the goal of seeking the particular and the common, I designed the
principal’s interview protocol according to Stake’s (2005, p. 447) six criteria for
probing each school’s particularity (see Appendix A7). The interview protocol design
focussed on three sections namely, history and background context of the school,
principal’s vision of the role of ICT in education, implementing policy and
institutionalising the use of ICT in the school (Research question 2 and 3).
Third and fourth waves of interviews
The third and fourth waves of semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted
with district and provincial officials tasked with e-education policy implementation at
schools. The interview was designed to probe the district and province’s level of
understanding of ICT policy and their role in facilitating the take up of education ICT
policy in schools. The interview protocol was designed (Leece, 2002) based on four
sections namely, leadership and background context, policy planning and
implementation with the system, capacity building and effective practice, and
professional development (Research question 2 and 3).
Data capturing and recording
I relied on digital recording equipment to preserve the answers of the interviewees,
which proved to be useful during the subsequent categorising and data analysis(see
Refection 3.5). Patton (1990, p. 348) suggests that a tape recorder is an
‘indispensable’ tool for capturing data, while Lincoln and Guba (1985, p. 241) do not
recommend it because of intrusiveness and technical failure reasons. Immediately
after the interviews, I downloaded each voice recording and converted it to particular
file formats for ease of playback during transcription. These interviews were
transcribed and the transcriptions became the data source for analysis.
Page 110 Journal
reflection 3.5
I am a traditionally a ‘technology junky’ and could not imagine doing
research on ICT without a using technology affordances such as a digital
voice recorder: Also, I prefer to keep eye contact with the interviewee to
show that I am interested in what s/he says: Thirdly, I do not write fast
enough to be able to transcribe and make notes of the participant’s body
language as well.
Ref: Reflection 3.5 (see Appendix C)
Limitation of face-to-face interviews
A possible limitation of this method of data collection is that participants may tend to
provide responses that they presume the researcher wants to hear (Glesne, 2006), as
indicated in the excerpt below:
Journal
reflection 3.6
This is evident as one of my participants indicated “you know Mr
Vandeyar, I am not very good at interviews.” I gathered that he felt that the
purpose of the interview was to determine correct or incorrect responses
from him.
Ref: Reflection 3.6 ( See Appendix C)
In an attempt to reduce the Hawthorn effect, I made regular visits to the schools to
mingle with the participants in their natural setting, in order to gain their trust and
confidence before formal interviews began. I also maintained various communication
channels such as e-mails, sms’s, and telephonic means to develop a relationship of
trust with the participants, before scheduling the interview meeting.
The semi-structured interviews allowed for generated data to be used to compare and
obtain common issues and experiences of the teachers which could lead to codes and
themes for data analysis (Merriam, 1998). The semi-structured interviews were used
as one of the principal data collection instruments as a means to cross check my
observations, journal reflections and field-notes.
3.5.1.3
Informal conversational interview19
The informal conversational interview, as the name implies, is relaxed in nature, and
the generation of questions is spontaneous arising from the natural flow of
19
See Appendix D8 (Example of an informal conversational interview)
Page 111 conversational (Peräkylä, 2005). In this study informal conversational interviews were
conducted with teachers on many different occasions and in various contexts. I had
the advantage of exercising maximum flexibility and modified questions depending
on the context of the investigation.The main advantage of the use of an informal
interview approach is the depth of information gathered compared with the more
structured approach. One disadvantage of this approach however is that data
collection tends to be less systematic and analysis may prove problematic. To
overcome this limitation I made notes of pertinent issues discussed to initiate further
discussion or gain clarity on the issue.Another limitation was that informal
conversational interviews were often conducted in the field and digital audio taping
was not practical or convenient, thus it was necessary to resort to taking field notes.
In order to capture relevant data related to my observations I often resorted to
conducting casual conversations with the participants (Peräkylä, 2005, p. 869).
Although I carried the digital recorder, I chose not to record the informal
conversational interviews (Patton, 1990, p. 113) as this could spoil the spontaneous
‘moments’ of conversations as they occurred in corridors, staff room and between
lessons. I documented informal conversations as field notes, which were later used as
a source for data analysis. I reflect on my experience of being unable to recall exact
conversations:
Journal
reflection 3.7
During one of my initial visits to a school I lost valuable data in the form
of narratives of teachers in their informal discussions with me, my
reflection of these spontaneous discussions could not capture the exact
words of the participants. In order not to make the same mistake again,I
attempted to make effective use of my reflective journal or voice record
the information.
Reflection 3.7 (see Appendix C)
3.5.1.4
Classroom observations20
Emerging from a constructivist paradigm, I used unstructured observation to
foreground the importance of ‘context and the co-construction of knowledge between
20
See Appendix F (CD Videos, path = D:\Videos\)
Page 112 the researcher and the researched’ (Mulhall, 2003, p. 306). The reason for using
classroom observational methods in this study was to determine whether what
participants’ say they do is the same as what they actually do in practice. Unstructured
observation (Mulhall, 2003) allowed me to capture not only the process of policy
implementation but also the context. In using unstructured observation I adopted a
role as a reactive observer (Angrosino, 2005, p. 732). I acknowledged that in my role
as a reactive observer I was part of the social setting under study (Giacomini & Cook,
2000). Reactive observations are controlled settings and assume that participants are
mindful of being observed and are ‘amenable to interacting with the researcher only in
response to the elements in the research design’ (Angrosino, 2005, p. 732). I
purposefully chose this role as a researcher because of the useful source of data that
this approach may yield. As I was positioned as a reactive observer (Angrosino, 2005,
p. 733), some teachers would engage in communication with me during the lesson
(whilst students were occupied), giving me a window of opportunity to ask questions
about ‘what is really going on in’ their lessons. After observation, I noted the
discussions in field notes so that I could later reflect on what was said.
I am however, not oblivious to the potential source of bias that may surface due to my
presence in the research setting. While a dual reactive observer role creates
opportunities for observation, it also brings along challenges as to whether the
observed social interactions among other participants are natural. In order to capture
more detail, I pursued more than one mode of documenting my observations21. In this
regard I used field notes, reflective journal (discussed in a following section), video
recording and digital photographs. Angrosino (2005, p. 74) suggests that ‘technology
makes it possible for the ethnographer to record and analyse people and events with a
degree of particularity that would have been impossible a decade ago’.
I structured my observations by using three procedures as delineated by Angrosino
(2005, p. 733) inherent in observational research. In terms of descriptive observation
(Angrosino, 2005) I tried to eliminate preconceptions and noted (field notes) detailed
descriptions of everything that was taking place. Then, I employed focused
observation (Angrosino, 2005) in which I chronologically documented field notes on
21
See Appendix D – D1(Field Note - Classroom Observations)
Page 113 the observations22 and materials that were significant to the study, focussing on well
defined categories of pedagogy, policy, student involvement, ICT skills, time
management and specific ICT use in the classroom. Lastly I performed selective
observation (Angrosino, 2005) of a general nature recording field notes on classroom
layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues. The reflection
below indicates some aspects relative to the design of the observation field notes.
Journal
reflection 3.8
In my field notes journal I made focussed observations of: Grade, Topic,
duration, time and lesson progression; the use of technology; its
effectiveness and learner involvement. Technical glitches and backup plans,
ICT soft skills and curriculum delivery.
Ref: Reflection 3.8 (See Appendix C)
I commenced with classroom observations at each school as soon as the interviews
with the respective teachers were concluded. The period of observations at the schools
began in July 2008 and ended in October 2009. However, there are periods
whenpublic schools were not accessible to researchers(by regulation), especially
during the first and fourth school terms and when independent schools were closed for
vacation. I refrained from data collection during these periods and did not impose on
the hectic schedule of public school teachers during these periods. The observational
data gleaned was for the purpose of giving a description of the socio-cultural settings,
classroom activities, teaching and learning, and most important the meaning of what
is observed from the perspective of the participants (Silverman, 2006). Classroom
observations not only afforded me an opportunity for deeper understanding of the
interviews (particularly to observe issues that participants are not willing to discuss or
participants themselves are not aware of), but also provided knowledge of the context
in which policy implementation unfolds.
Though several observational strategies to reactive observation (Angrosino, 2005) are
available, I chose to locate myself within the classroom to engage in limited
interaction and intervening only when further clarification of actions was needed
(Schatzman &Strauss, 1973). Where and when possible, provision was made to setup
the equipment prior to children entering the class, allowing me to record all
22
See Appendix D – D1 (Classroom observation)
Page 114 observations from the commencement of the lesson. I usually positioned myself at the
back of the classroom so that I could be as unobtrusive as possible, yet observe the
full effect of the technology being used for teaching but viewed from the same angle
as the children. This observation position also presented the opportunity to collect
data that satisfied ethical issues of data collection, as I could capture the images of
children without compromising their identity. Armed with the curriculum time-table
of each school I composed a composite roster to track schools, teachers and lessons
for observations. During school visits for lesson observation I relied heavily on a
composite lesson schedule of all the school research sites, which prevented double
booking on any particular day (See Appendix B14 for a schedule of class visits).
Observation as a data collection technique provides a lens to view the ‘experiences’ of
classroom life over a period of time. Observation as one of the main data gathering
techniques used in this study, posed some challenges. Observational data is subject to
interpretation by the researcher (Mulhall, 2003). In an attempt to minimize
investigator bias and ‘maximize observational efficacy’ I used standardized
observational procedures as outlined above (Angrosino, 2005, p. 732).I also attempted
to reduce observer bias by eliciting feedback from participants whose behaviours were
being reported. This process brought forth two distinct benefits, firstly by showing the
participants my observation notes I could establish a ‘self correcting investigative
process’ (Angrisino, 2005, p. 733). Secondly, the disclosure of my observational notes
to the participants improved ‘rapport’ (Glesne, 2006, p. 110) as a ‘distance-reducing’,
‘anxiety-quieting’ and ‘trust-building’ mechanism. Another limitation of intensive
observations at a small number of schools is that it could be seen as instructive and
illustrative, and not as representative of all schools.
Documenting observations: Field notes, audiovisual data and reflections
I utilized field notes in accordance with Bodgan and Taylor’s (1998) view that field
notes are a primary source of recording conversations and observations. Using their
suggestions for writing up field notes, I addressed two significant issues that had
implications for the credibility of the study. First, I had to make certain that my notetaking was thorough and detailed in describing the situated context. Second, I had to
Page 115 reflect and differentiate between what was actually said or observed as opposed to my
interpretations of what was said or observed. This difference is evident from an
excerpt from my reflective journal (see Appendix C14).
Journal
reflection 3.9
The deputy principal, in his enthusiasm to assist me in my research,
suggested ‘why don’t you prepare the curriculum lessons using ICT, and I
will get my teachers to deliver the lessons’. I informed him that it is my
intention to observe the way ICT is integration in the curriculum in its
natural process and not through my facilitation or influence. It was
evident that ICT was not used to deliver the curriculum. He agreed to
contact me when the computer centres would be functional, and that was
the last I saw or heard of this school.
Ref: Reflection 3.9 See Appendix C
I used the two basic approaches to field observation as espoused by Giacomini and
Cook (2004) namely, direct and indirect observations. I spent sufficient time (See
Table 3.4) in the context of the social milieu under study for direct observation and to
record direct observations in the form of detailed field notes or journal entries. During
indirect observation I used audiotape, video recording and still photography to capture
data.
I relied on the use of mental notes while interacting with participants and when the
situation did not allow for full note taking (Glesne, 2006), later I transformed these
mental notes into jotted notes (Glesne, 2006; Berg, 2007) as a reminder to write more
complete field notes. The rationale for jotted or cryptic notes was to capture events as
they unfolded during in-classroom and out-of-classroom activities, serving as a
memory aid for constructing more substantial field notes (Glesne, 2006). Often on
leaving the research site, I also digitally audio-recorded my own reflections of
observation and events; this lapse in time allowed me a different gloss on the actual
events.
I transcribed these recordings into my reflective journal as detailed
descriptions (Berg, 2007), attempting not to engage in discussion with anyone before
this was done. I also pursued my personal subjective reflections and comments by
writing emerging thoughts on a notepad for future use and data analysis (Berg, 2007).
Page 116 To record classroom lesson observations, I used a pre-designed observation sheet
(Mulhall, 2003, p. 311) to make notes and record my observations of both verbal and
non-verbal cues (See Appendix D1 to D6). I also used the observation sheet as a
formal structure to record field notes in situ during classroom observations of
anything that was noteworthy, interesting unusual, or ‘most telling’ (Wolfinger, 2002,
p. 89). I made temporal notes to track the teaching processes of: introduction, content,
time on technology, assessment and conclusion of lesson. Where an opportunity arose
I took note of indicators of best practice in respect of using ICT in the teaching
learning situation. Angrosino (2005) posits that true objectivity emerges from
observational research when there is agreement between the participant and the
observer ‘as to what is really going on in a given situation’. In order to achieve this I
made detailed notes on discussions with teachers immediately after each lesson to
validate my observations and perceptions.
3.5.1.5
Reflective journal23
I drew on my ownexperience of keeping a research journal during this studyto deepen
my understanding of the research processes (Janesick, 1998). In this regard the use of
a reflective journal was twofold; first as a benefit to me as a writer, and second to
make my work more public (from a reader’s perspective). By reflecting and
documenting my experience, I invited an enhanced awareness of myself as a person
and made for more informed decisionmaking during the research experience (Holly,
1989). From a reader’s perspective, access to my reflective writing provides insight
into my perspective on some professional activity. Initially I did not think of a
reflective journal as a methodological tool to generate data, (as compared to the way I
requested participants to do in their participant diaries) but rather as a form of
reflective writing which I engagedin during the research study. However, as the
research progressed and the value of keeping a reflective journal became evident, I
began to realize that itwas in fact another source of data about my research(Thomas,
1995).
23
See Appendix C – Reflective journal
Page 117 From the outset, I documentedmy behaviour and thoughts in a journal which by the
end of the research included writtenreflections about many aspects of the research
from inception tocompletion. I incorporated excerpts from my journal into the writing
of the research report, by identifying extracts that are salient in some way (to me and
the reader). I made significant reflective notes, especially when I struggled with a
difficult problem, for example in gaining access to research sites, or some aspect of
field work (for example the pilot study). Such extracts conveyed personal significance
which the research process has had for me, and also allowed me to share a personal–
professional experience and an awareness that my ownjournal had made some
relevant contribution to my work (Yinger & Clark, 1981). A reflective journal
allowed me to engage in a form of self-inquiry, grounded by my own experienceas a
researcher, through which I could identify and understandspecific ways in which I
benefited through the journal. Janesick (1998, p. 24), views journal writing as “a type
of connoisseurship by which individuals become connoisseurs of their own thinking
and reflection patterns and indeed their own understanding of their work”and argues
that journal writing is “a tangible way to evaluate our experience, improve and clarify
one’s thinking, and finally become a better . . . scholar”(p. 3).
I used Borg’s (2001) “process benefits” to document my reflection in the journal by
noting that each extract was prefaced by a short description of the contextin which it
occurred, and has a title which identifies the key aspectof the research process it
highlights.
3.5.1.6
Researcher participant diaries24
Bolger, Davies and Rafaeli (2003, p. 579) put forward the view that participant diaries
give the researcher an opportunity to capture the events and experiences of the
participant (teacher), that in essence it “captures life as it is lived”. The basic benefit
derived from participant diaries is that they promote the examination of reported
events and experiences as they occur in their natural and spontaneous context (Julien
& Michels, 2004). The advantage of this method of data collection was the reduction
of distortion that may occur when reflecting on past events or experiences (Clayton
24
See appendix D7 (Example of participant diary format)
Page 118 &Thorne, 2000). This method of data capturing also provides complementary
information to the research study. Bolger, Davies and Rafaeli (2003) propose various
diary designs and numerous formats that may be used in research studies. I opted to
use a “paper and pencil” participant diary format, because it is simple and effective,
but also because I did not want to burden the teachers with additional tasks. I
requested that teachers note their reflective experiences on the ICT-integrated lessons
that they delivered. Teachers had to record in their diaries the date, curriculum
learning area, topic, ICT tools used, whether they perceived ICT enhanced teaching
and learning, the problems they experienced (if any) and the nature of support (if any)
they received from school management (Charmaz, 2001).
Although diaries are an excellent source of data, some limitations occurred during the
course of this research study. First, from a practical application participants required
training on the use of this protocol and its value, I assumed that teachers will naturally
“know how to do this” (Charmaz, 2001). Secondly, keeping a diary by its very nature
is a demanding task that requires participant discipline, commitment and dedication.
Although I designed a very simple diary format, I realise that teachers are
overburdened with paper-work and did not document this data. Hence, researcher
participant diaries were envisaged, but did not realise, as data source.
3.5.1.7
Document analysis25
The final phase of inquiry was to use document analysis to supplement other data
gathered. The goal of document analysis was twofold, first to determine whether
elements of the e-education policy could be traced in these documents and second, as
an additional source of data. According to Giacomini and Cook (2000), the analyses
of documents are particularlyuseful in policy, history and organizational studies. I
employed the method of interpreting text in artefacts with the particular notion of
seeking meaning and context relevance for qualitative interpretative analysis
(Charmaz, 2001; Glesne, 2006). The table (Table 3.5) below gives an indication of
artefacts that were sought for data capturing, namely policy documents, curriculum
documents, lesson plans, learner outputs and web-sites.
25
See Appendix E (Snap shots of documents: National and school policies, learners work etc.)
Page 119 Table 3.5: Document analysis
Policy Documents
School ICT policy; National Curriculum Policy
(Department of Education, 2002); White Paper on eeducation (Department of Education, 2004);
District and Province ICT circulars, policies, mission
and vision statements. (See Appendix E7)
Curriculum Documents
School’s meso and macro planning/ Worksheets/School
syllabi and schemes of work
Lesson Plans
Teacher lesson plans
Learner’s outputs
Learners written notebooks/Assessment/ICT work
Web-sites
School websites/teacher’s resources and websites
School artefacts
Newspapers/portfolios/ICT presentations/photographs
The documents that were collated from the various schools were mostly ICT syllabi,
school portfolios, school ICT policy, newspaper information and learners work.
Documentation about ICT integration or teacher ICT-integrated lesson plans was
almost non-existent or teachers were not required to illustrate this in their planning
(See Appendix B, CD26, B6 - school C Teacher 2 interview transcript). At school
level, very little reference was made to the national e-education policy, while district
and province levels only mentioned the e-education policy. In some cases there was
sufficient detail of a school’s ICT policy (as in the case of the independent school),
whilst in other instances documents were virtually scarce or non-existent (as in the
case of the two public schools).
Over and above documents collected at school sites, I used content analysis of school
policy documents, national policy documents, circulars, photographs, newspaper
accounts, web-sites, while brochures and official education policy on ICT for were
used to supplement data. According to Silverman (2006), documents represent social
constructions and need to be treated seriously. Document analysis is also unobtrusive,
and interaction errors between researcher and participant are avoided (Mouton, 2001).
Although documents cannot be used to report on what actually took place, I used
document analysisto identify its intended purpose of use (Giacomini & Cook, 2000).
26
Refer to CD (Path=interviews\schoolC-Teacher2\teacher2.txt)
Page 120 Chamaz (2001, p. 37) notes that the researcher does not affect the construction of
extant text (organizational documents, government and school policy etc.) and that
though extant text ‘may mirror reality’ there are limitations. For example, school
management may develop their policy documents for the sake of compliance with
education regulations but may not exhibit the practices defined in the document.
However, documents of extant texts often complemented interview and observation
data garnered in this study.
3.6
Data analysis: from research questions to findings
This section profiles analytic methods employed to make sense of the mass of
qualitative data that was collected over a period of time. I attempted to provide indepth explanation of the analysis process in order to bring meaning, structure and
order to the data. The main focus of data analysis will be to yield congruency between
the reality of the phenomena studied and the emergent themes. This study is situated
within a qualitative paradigm which entrenches the concept that the form of data
capture, is ultimately in the form of text. Most data was converted into text, and the
text was the primary model for the object of interpretation (Schwandt, 1999).
As indicated in a previous section, the data was collected through a variety of methods
(face-to-face
semi-structured
interviews,
classroom
observation,
informal
conversational interviews, field notes and researcher journals and document reviews).
In the final analysis, the data sources for analysis included interview transcripts
(Appendix B), digital video (Appendix F), my research diary (reflections and field
notes) (Appendix C), field notes of informal conversational interviews (Appendix D),
document reviews and observation schedules (Appendix E). However, photographs
and participant journals were not used for analysis. As indicated previously (see
3.5.1.6), participants did not submit diary data. Photographs were also not used as
data sources since the audiovisual data capture sufficed. Each of these data sources
were analyzed separately and then integrated according to the emergent themes.These
forms of data formed part of ‘a procedure involving the simultaneous andsequential
collection and analysis of data’ (Creswell, 2002, p.449). I now expand on the data
analysis methods employed for each of the abovementioned documented data sources.
Page 121 3.6.1
Data analysis: Interview data
All the empirical data garnered through semi-structured interviews were coded and
analyzed through techniques adapted from grounded theory methods as espoused by
Charmaz (2005). The goal was not to develop grounded theory but to present a viable
interpretation of the findings collected. The following sections describe the detail
phases involved in the analyses of this data. (Refer to Appendix G, for data analysis
phases for various data sources).
3.6.1.1
Data reduction: Bringing meaning, structure and order
The garnered digital interview data needed to be processed before analysis could
begin and this was achieved through typing, editing and transcription so that the data
would emerge as words or text. I used the method of data preparation and
transcription as explicated by McLellan, MacQueen and Neidig (2003). I also
followed their guidelines and instructions on how to prepare a transcript as well as
track and store the digital audio recordings. Eleven interviews were conducted in
total; six with teachers, three with principals and two with education department
officials. A total of 350 pages of interviews were transcribed.
By personally transcribing each interview I could reflect on my experience of the
interview as I listened again to the voice of the participant, and I could immediately
reflect on the conversation and make contextual notes in the transcription. This
allowed me to place text emphasis on the experiences of the participant (Fontana &
Frey, 2005). Another advantage of transcribing the interviews personally was that as I
progressed through the transcription, I immediately took note of possible codes that
emerged as units of meaning (Miles & Huberman, 1994). On completion of each
interview transcript I cleaned the document in terms of anonymity, printed it and hand
delivered it to the participant for member checking(Creswell & Miller, 2000). The
participant was requested to make amendments to the text if the interview transcript
was not correctly captured, or make additions to the text if they felt that their ideas
were not appropriately captured.
Page 122 I utilized Miles and Huberman’s (1994) data-reduction methodology as a means to
reduce the mass of raw data into a manageable form ready for analysis. Drawing on
their “components of data analysis” (p. 23), I subjected raw text data to refinement as
a distinct process in the data analysis process. During the data reduction phase the
qualitative data was reduced by selection, summary and paraphrasing of text. The
main purpose of data reduction was to reduce the data into a form that could be
examined for patterns and relationships.
3.6.1.2
Qualitative data analysis
As a novice researcher, I found the welter of garnered data overwhelming and realised
that a manual analysis of the mass of data may not suit my needs. The use of a
Computer Assisted/Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software(CAQDAS) appealed to
me as a tool for transcription analysis, coding, text interpretation and content analysis
(Stemler, 2001; Silverman, 2006; Pope, Ziebland& Mays, 2000). I chose to use
Atlas.tiTM which appealed to me for a number of reasons. Other than having the ability
to perform qualitative analysis on text, graphic and audio data and being able to
perform multiple coding on multiple cases, it has a user friendly interface for opencoding, searching, retrieving and network-building features (Weitzman, 1999). I took
note of the fact that using software for data analysis may elicit the effect of distancing
me from my data, by focusing on small chunks of text or text locations thus opposing
the ‘Gestalt’ principal of ‘keeping the whole picture’. Fortunately, Atlas.tiTM reduces
this effect by keeping you in touch with all your data files on screen, and codes can be
assigned within the context of the interview. The software appeared to elicit the same
effect as manually flipping through pages of the transcripts, thus keeping you
constantly immersed in the data.
Before importing all text files (transcriptions) into an Atlas.tiTM project, a number of
steps required to clean the data for consistency had to be performed. This was
achieved by firstly changing all actual participant names and school names to
pseudonyms (for ethical reasons). Second, a document naming protocol (refer to
Appendix B12) had to be devised that would indicate the pseudonym of the school or
participant (for example, School A or Teacher 1). The document naming protocol had
Page 123 to be simple enough to provide a means of identifying the participant or school by
means of the file name. On establishing a research project in Atlas.tiTM the program
creates a ‘hermeneutic unit’ which Muir (1997, p. 8) refers to as an ‘idea container’,
in which all associated material of a research study is placed. Thus all garnered
interview data such as text are treated as a single project, which I named as ‘PhD
Data’. This method ensured that did not strip the data at hand from the context in
which they occurred. Addendum B15 is screen snapshots of the hermeneutic unit
created for this research study.
3.6.1.3
Coding and categorization of data
I adopted the two main phases of a grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2001, p. 46)
for coding and categorising the data, namely initial and focussed coding. The initial
phase involved the coding of the data. According to Charmaz (2001) coding is the
first step of progressing beyond the interview transcripts and towards making
analytical interpretations. The coding scheme was accomplished through a
combination (Weitzman, 1999) of a priori and open coding. The three main themes
(theoretical categories) were determined a prioriguided by the three research
questions, while subsequent analysis was guided and modified through interaction
with the data and developed inductivelythroughopen-coding (Freeman& Richards,
1996). Coding was done by labelling segments of the data in order to simultaneously
categorise, summarise and account for each piece of data (Charmaz, 2001).
According to Merriam (1998), Glesne (2006) and Patton (1990), categorization of the
data begins with the first transcript of the first set of transcribed data; interview
transcript, field notes, document analysis or informal interview transcripts. Through
several reading iterations of each transcript I began with open coding of the data and
simultaneously created a cumulative working electronic (word document) copy
‘running list’ of all open codes for quick access and to facilitate the open coding
process for the CAQDAS software (Merriam, 1998, p. 181).
During the first iteration of the data, initial coding was done by gradually progressing
through all the interview data, reading the entire transcript. I constantly checked
Page 124 whether the codes that appeared in the first transcript were also present in the second
and so on.
New codes were added by open coding. This method of constant
comparing of transcripts was strictly adhered to, in order to yield a master list of all
codes reflecting ‘recurring regularities’ Merriam (1998, p. 181). These patterns of
recurring codes emerged as conceptual categories that were created defining what we
see in the data (Charmaz, 2001; Glesne, 2006; Patton, 1990).
The culmination of the first iteration through a process of surface content analysis
(Silverman, 2006) was that 43 codes were generated. Table (3.4) indicates how the
raw data was coded during the first iteration. In the second iterationof the data, focus
coding was done to synthesize and refine the data, by comparing the data within
categories and between categories. In other words “constant comparative analysis”as
espoused by grounded theory proponents (such as Glaser and Strauss) was utilized in
this study to compare data with data, to identify similarities and differences and
categorise findings (Charmaz, 2005). In this process some categories were merged,
while others were collapsed or eliminated because of irrelevance in response to the
research question. According to Peräkylä (2005, p. 870), analysis of text takes place
through a number of reading iterations of the empirical data and then “try to pin down
their key themes and, thereby, to draw a picture of the presuppositions and meanings
that constitute the cultural world of which textual material is the specimen.”
During the third iteration of the data, axial coding was done to relate categories to
subcategories, and specify the properties and dimensions of a category. This process
(see Table 3.4), brought the data analysis to a level of interpretation. The categories
that emerged had some congruence with the reality of the phenomenon under study.
Underlying patterns that form theoretical constructs about how teachers appropriate
education policy could now be investigated. In order to maintain conceptual
congruence (Merriam, 1998) and to make sense of the emergent categories, I
subjected the emergent codes and culminating themes to a hierarchy scheme as
indicated in Table 3.6.
Page 125 Table 3.6: Code Mapping: Three iterations of analysis
(to be read from the bottom up)
Code Mapping for appropriation of educationpolicy on ICT
(Research sub-questions 1, 2 and 3)
RQ#1:
RQ#2:
RQ#3:
How do teachers appropriate
education policy on ICT in schools?
What is the ability of the
hierarchical unit (principal,
district and province) within the
education system to affect the
behaviour of the teacher that is
the target of the policy?
What resources does this unit
(principal, district and province)
require in order to have that effect?
(Third Iteration: Application to data set)
The appropriation of education policy on ICT in South African Schools
(Second Iteration: Pattern Variables)
Themes by de-contextualization and re-contextualization
Code
Code
Code
1A. Teachers Interpreting Policy
1B. Teachers implementing
Policy
1C Teachers practice
2A School capacity
2B District and province capacity
3A School resources
3B District and province resources
(First Iteration: Initial Codes/Surface Content Analysis)
Code
Code
Code
1a Policy readerly teachers
1a Policy writerly teachers
2a Institutional Practice
2a Institutional Leadership
2a Transforming the institution
3a ICT curriculum resources
3a ICT competent teachers
3a ICT policy and implementation
guidelines
1b Teacher beliefs and attitudes
1b Emerging pedagogies
1b Teachers as innovators
1b Collaborative learners
1b Drivers of implementation
1b Teachers’ will
1b Administrative agents
1b Developing learners
2b ICT Administrative directives
3b ICT policy institution policy,
.....guidelines, and communication
3b ICT Curriculum integration
guidelines and ICT standards
3b Systemic capacity and
nnncompetence
3b Common vision and strategy
3b Lack of directorates cohesion
3b ICT Willing schools
3b ICT Teacher training
Raw Data
Raw Data
1c Multiple learning styles
1c Learner participation
1c Integrative and interdisciplinary
learning
1c Learning with and about ICT
Raw Data
Page 126 3.6.2
Data analysis: Informal conversational interviews
The analysis of data captured from information conversational interviews was coded
in the same manner as that of the interview data. The audio recordings of informal
conversations (where this was done) and the field notes of the conversations were
transcribed and subjected to the same analysis process as the data of the face-to-face
semi-structured interviews. However, since this data source did not yield voluminous
data, I performed a manual process (Basit, 2003) of coding and categorization of the
data. (Refer to Appendix D8)
3.6.3
Data analysis: Classroom observation
In this data collection method, the use of video to document observations ofteachers’
ICT-integrated classroom practice in three diverse schools proved helpful in
generating data on the implementation of the e-education policy and about teaching
methodology. The rich images of the classroomsprovided an opportunity to analyse
teaching and learning issues with particular attentionto the manner in which teachers
used ICT in their teaching practice and the explicit teaching strategies they adopted in
ensuring learning outcomes were achieved (Grossi, 2007; Ebersöhn & Eloff, 2007).
Video data as an information source tends to be relatively unaltered through the eyes
of the researcher and has a number of distinct advantagesover other types of
data(Pirie, 1996; Jacobs, Kawanaka & Stigler, 1999). Video data as observational
datacan more easily be brought back from the research sites and analyzed thought
‘new lenses’. I was interested in understanding how teachers use ICT in their
classroom practice and thereby illustrate how they appropriate the e-education policy.
In this study video was used to capture the teaching pedagogy, learning activity, ICTintegrated curriculum content, classroom events and activity including visual (such as
the writing on the blackboard, smartboard) as wellas verbal communication and
content.
The analysis of video materialthat was collected in this study included watching,
analysing and coding it. As Jacobs, Kawanaka and Stigler(1999) suggest a major
Page 127 advantage of a qualitative approach to video recordings is that it more easily allows
for thediscovery of new ideas and unanticipated occurrences. I applied Jacobs,
Kawanaka and Stigler’s (1999) qualitative video analysis approach to my observation
data. The first step of the analysis began as the video data werewatched, critiqued,
analyzed and then recorded as supplementary observational notes that were made in
situ. In this kind of controlled setting, I used my classroom observational notes and
searched for any additional codes or categories that may have emerged. I then made a
second repeated viewing of a particular video and applied the open coding scheme
that was developed and applied to the interview transcripts. (Refer to Appendix D1 to
D6 for examples of observation analysis.)
3.6.4
Data analysis: Field notes
Spradley (1980) suggests that observations that are only descriptive are both
time-consuming and ineffective. In this study documented field notes were
immediately followed by a period of analysis that led to more focused fieldwork.
According to Mulhall (2003), any writing, both in the field and hereafter, is a
representation or a construction of events by the researcher. Field notes often tend to
govern where they are constructed, and I often attempted to make notes at the research
site before leaving. Many of the jotted phrases or words in the field notes were used
to remind me of key events and dialogues. The field notes were then written up in
more detail in a private space. Although this technique relies on an accurate memory
and a recall of events, it does avoid some of the problems of confidentiality and
participants being sceptical about the note-taking in their presence.
I used both field notes and the reflective journal as an analytic approach to reconstruct the accounts of participants or salient events within context. Data sources
such as field notes and reflective journals enriched and enlighten my writing (Ellis&
Phelps, 2002). Although the experience of the researcher in the field is subjective, the
field notes and researcher journals were not set aside as irrelevant information (Ellis&
Phelps, 2002).
Page 128 One practical issue of concern was how the data wererecalled and whether the field
notes and reflective journal would inform the study. During the writing up of notes
specific critical incidents or exchanges were related to other similar or contrasting
events. Moreover, I wrote up events as they happened in real time, distinguished
between descriptions that portrayed the physical environment, participants, other
people and actions which make up a setting. I also noted dialogue (or transcriptions)
which werea written representation of what was said (Mulhall, 2003). (Refer to
Appendix D for examples of field note analysis.)
3.6.5
Data analysis: Reflective journal
In this study I engaged in reflective writing by presenting and analysing extracts from
a research journal, with the purpose of doing research and to develop as a researcher
(Borg, 2001).The journal was not just a place where I recorded events or documented
existing thoughts, but more importantly, as Maxwell (1996) suggests, a forum for
reflection where ideas were generated and explored and discoveries made in and
through writing. The analysis below is concerned primarily with these processes. In
addition the reflective journal is viewed as an“evidential store” (Thomas, 1995, p. 5)
or “educational archive” (Holly, 1989, p. 71) which provides a record of the
researcher’s experiences during a project and which can be retrospectively analyzed.
An analysis of my journal identifies several ways in which I benefited by periodically
returning to entries I had previously made.
As I explained earlier, myfocus was on providing an account of my personal
experiences of the research process. I applied content analysis (Glesne, 2006)to the
research journal as an analytic method that is commonly applied to narrative
data(Miles& Huberman, 1994, p. 9). The analytical process involved reading the
journal, identifying and labelling reflective processes occurring in the data,
identifying relationships between these processes, and searching for common
sequences amongst them. The examples I present in Appendix C illustrate recurrent
patterns of reflection occurring in the research journal that were established as a result
of this analysis. I used Borg’s (2001) ‘product benefits’ to analyse the reflective
journal. (Refer to Appendix C for examples of reflective journal analysis.)
Page 129 3.6.6
Data analysis: Document analysis
According to Stemler (2001), content analysis is also useful for examining trends and
patterns in documents. Using this research method Stemler (2001) conducted a
content analysis of school mission statements to make some inferences about what
schools hold as their primary reasons for existence. I used content analysis of schools’
ICT policy, teachers’ lesson plans, learners’written work, school ICT attainment
standards, ICT related policy documents; school newsletters and portfolios, school
and teacher web-sites to determine if national policy mandates related to e-education
have manifested themselves in school ICT policies. Textual analysis (Charmaz, 2001)
allowed me to place the analysis within the social context of the school. Although I
used textual evidence to corroborate other evidence, I also used Charmaz’s (2001, p.
39) questioning technique as a means for analysing the extant text in order to gain
insights into ‘perspective, practices, and events not easily obtained through other
qualitative methods’. (Refer to Appendix E for example of document analysis)
3.7
Touchstones for trustworthiness
Floden (2007) and Malterud (2001) describe the tenets of quality and rigour as distinct
dimensions of the evaluation of quality research. Floden (2007, p. 505) suggests that
judgement made on quality focuses on whether the study addresses a “question of
broad interest and social significance”. In my understanding it determines whether a
study addresses an intellectual puzzle that is “important to scholarly knowledge or to
policy and practice, or preferably, both”. My assumption is that this exploratory study
will make a contribution to the body of scholarly knowledge that is significant for
policy implementation and significant for practice. Floden (2007, p. 505), explains
that issues of rigour are those that the study employs to “guard against many threats of
validity”. To address touchstones of rigour in my research study I attempted to clarify
and provide a clear justification for the methods used and to respond to the
trustworthiness of the findings. It is my intention to provide adequate evidence in
order to give credence to this study as one that pursued sound methodological rigour
and can withstand an analytical defensibility of qualitative research.
Page 130 3.7.1
Audit trail
The research design also attempted to pursue an audit trail by showing detailed,
transparent and reliable methodological processes. I provide extensive access to all
processes of documenting this study: raw data, analyzed data, data-collection
instruments, research methods, decisions and activities in the relevant appendices
(Sandelowski, 2000). Thedetailed audit trail enhances qualitative issues of credibility,
transferability, dependability and confirmability and places the study firmly beyond
verisimilitude perceptions (Tobin & Begly, 2004).
3.7.2
Case-to-case transferability
The focus on selected sites could raise validity issues with respect to the
transferability of the findings. To overcome this threat, I adopted the strategy of
selecting different schools from socio-culturally diverse settings for in-depth study. I
also made a concerted attempt to use various data collection methods and instruments
that would strengthen the notion of triangulation and thus yield findings that would
suggest that the study investigated what it was meant to (Multerud, 2001; Berg 2007).
In the previous sections I made an in-depth account of the various methods of data
collection which, coupled with elaborate and detailed reflections, provides ample
description of the context of each site and the description of the units of analysis. This
in-depth account, coupled with the advantage of using maximum variation sampling,
may facilitate and promote case to case transferability (Yin, 2003).
3.7.3
Credibility
Yin (2003) refers to credibility as the extent to which the researcher captures and
represents the reality of how things really are from others’ (informants and fellow
researchers) standpoints. Credibility through triangulation of the descriptions and
interpretations was continuously accomplished throughout the study. Credibility of
the findings was also accomplished through in-depth data collection that was sought
from a wide range of different, independent and different means; pilot study,
interviews, observations, field notes, informal interviews or casual discussions and
Page 131 document analysis. The prolonged engagement in the research field allowed for data
to be captured in the natural settings of the participants, but more important is that
valued judgements that are made were due to the level of consistency at the research
sites over a period of time. This allowed for observed similarities and differences, and
judgements that are made remained the same over time and thus supporting the notion
of dependability of findings.
3.7.4
Confirmability
The trustworthiness construct of confirmability was achieved by employing a strategy
in which the interview transcripts and the findings were fed back to participants. The
process of member checking was to ensure that the findings represent a reasonable
account of the participant’s experience (Graneheim & Lundman, 2004).
3.7.5
Width and depth of study
Hoepfl (1997) and Patton (1990) state that sampling errors may occur due to
distortions caused by insufficient depth, lack of breadth, and changes over time in the
data collection process. I attempted to address these issues of distortion (Mouton,
2001), first through the triangulation of various sources of data whereby greater
research depth was achieved; second, greater breadth of the research was achieved
through a variety of sampling sites and the inclusion of a greater number of
participants at each site in the study; third, as participant observer I attempted to
prolong my visits to school beyond the intermitted scheduled visits by extending
school visits and observing lessons through more than one school term. According to
Gerring (2004), “a single unit observed at a single point in time without the addition
of within-unit cases offers no evidence whatsoever for causal proposition”. I also
understand that my observations as a single researcher are limited to my own
perceptions and introspection, and my presence in the research field may influence the
behaviour and speech of the participant. However the prolonged engagement at each
research site may help to reduce this effect (Mays& Pope, 1995).
Page 132 3.7.6
Retest reliability
To promote retest reliability I meticulously maintained records of interviews,
observations, field notes and a detailed explication of the process data analysis (Tobin
& Begly, 2004). I also indicated above that my role as a researcher is to produce a
plausible and coherent explanation of the phenomenon under focus. The use of
qualitative software analytical tools (CAQDAS), digital video and audio recording
enhanced the accuracy with which the analysis of data was achieved. More significant
is that the electronic transcripts, reports generated by Atlas.tiTM, digital formats of video
observations and audio recordings are available for subsequent analysis by
independent observers.
3.7.7
Researcher reflexivity and researcher role
I turn to the work of Multerud (2001), who describes a criterion for validity as
researcher self-disclosing their basic biases, beliefs and assumptions. I also
understand that in trying to understand the ‘other’ we learn about ‘ourselves’ (Fontana
& Frey, 2005). It is the researcher’s personal value system that is under scrutiny and
that shapes the inquiry. Without having to repeat myself here, I refer to the reflections
in the appendix (Appendix C13) in which I acknowledge and describe my beliefs,
biases and preconceptions as I enter the research process. I also suggest that where
possible I attempt to ‘bracket’ those biases and preconceptions as the research study
proceeds (Ahern, 1999).
My role as a researcher is described most succinctly by Glesne (2006), as that of a
researcher as learner. Having this view in the research field culminated in my ability
to reflect on all aspects of research procedures and findings. Glesne (2006, p. 46)
posits that ‘as a learner you are expected to listen’. This is supported by Ponterotto
(2005, p. 131) as he refers to the researcher as a “would-be knower”. Often there were
days in the research field when I was unsure that my reflections of what I was
observing or hearing would lead to anything significant. However, there were more
days that I felt optimistic of my reflections but not certain of how they would all fit
together - (data collection; audio; video; transcripts; coding; reflections; analysis).
Page 133 Getting mixed messages about my progress from my supervisor and co-supervisor,
accompanied by feelings of guilt about family neglect, all created immense anxiety in
my role as a researcher (Glesne, 2006). I took solace in understanding that this is
“normal” and my supervisor’s words that“things do get messy”.
3.8
Summary
In this chapter, I describe the meta-theoretical and methodological lenses that guide
and underpin this study, namely the social constructivism theory and the qualitative
paradigm respectively. I also describe the qualitative methods and instruments that I
employed to garner data. Furthermore I explicate why I succumbed to a groundedtheory data method to analyse data content as text in an attempt to explore how
teachers respond to ICT policy on education. Finally I proffer criteria that attempt to
enhance the trustworthiness of the study.
In chapter four I turn my attention to the findings and interpretation of the data. I also
engage with the literature to elucidate my findings in the context of international
debates.
Page 134 Chapter 4
Findings and discussion of results
What are the e-education policy implementation practices in teaching
and learning?
4.1
Introduction
In this chapter I present and illustrate the findings that emerged from the data
collection process outlined in chapter three. I elaborate on the themes that emerged
from data analysis after interviewing teachers. The purpose of interviewing teachers
and observing them in their classroom practice was to explore how they appropriate
nationale-education policy on ICT in their teaching and learning repertoire. The
themes that emerged from the data analysis led me to analyse the findings according
to three categories. In the first category, I noted how teachers interpret policy. Second
I report on the voices of teachers’ experiences as they implement the e-education
policy in practice. The third category describes the narratives of teachers’ practice on
how ICT influences learning in classrooms. Responses of teachers to the e-education
policy and their actual classroom experiences represent my primary focus. Although I
interviewed teachers at three different schools, the significant themes are presented
collectively. I present the utterances of respondents as verbatim quotations in text
boxes to underpin the themes and sub-themes. I used inclusion and exclusion criteria
to define each category as unique from other categories.
4.2
How do teachers interpret policy?
I approached teachers’ interpretation of policy from two different coding dimensions.
The coding was done to elucidate responses of teachers when they applied policy in
either a “readerly” context or in a “writerly” context (Bathes, 1975). Whether the
teacher is “readerly” or “writerly” is not inherent within the policy text, but is vested
in the interactions between the policy text and the teacher. In simple terms according
to Helsby (1995) the teacher may opt to be unquestioning and accept policy
Page 135 regulations and thus demonstrate “readerly” texts, or (s)he can resist and attempt to
challenge and reinterpret policy and thereby demonstrate a “writerly” characteristic.
4.2.1
National curriculum policy: “readerly” or “writerly”?
“It is prescribed. I cannot, what I can do is collect little bit, and broader little bit,
but I have to stick to my, the policy” ; “Putting it on paper and saying you have to
do this”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
National Curriculum Policy; Teachers and principals as re-interpreters of
policy; Teachers and principals applying policy as mandated.
National e-education policy.
In the context of this study, principals and teachers applied the National Curriculum
policy by adopting a “readerly”or “writerly”position. Teachers responded to
implementation of the national curriculum policy unquestioningly and seemed to
accept policy as it is intended. This “readerly” stance seems to emerge as a result of
focussed support, policy workshops, policy directives and sustained school visits from
the district office.
Two teachers, one in a well resourced independent school and the other in a poorly
resourced township school, suggested that they do not have much say in the manner in
which the National Curriculum policy is applied. Although teachers applied the
National Curriculum policy, they saw it as being restrictive and thus it limited the
integration of ICT into the curriculum. Both teachers indicated that they were
obligated to follow the National Curriculum policy as required, with little or no
freedom to interpret it from their own perspective. This township school teacher
explained his obligation to work within the confines of the National Curriculum
policy.
Well with regard to our learning area policy, technology policy, I
don’t have much say. It is prescribed. I cannot, what I can do is
collect little bit, and broader little bit, but I have to stick to my,
the policy, the core content they even give us the core
content…We don’t have freedom because we have set content
which is prescribed so youcan’t do your own thing. But I’d like to
have more freedom because I have a lot of ideas that I want to
utilise.
(P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:26 (181:183)
Page 136 The township school technology teacher narrated how he adheres to the requirement
of meeting the learning outcomes as delineated in the National Curriculum policy,
before venturing into ICT integration.
Well obviously you will be looking at the learning outcomes
[referring to the policy document on NCS], it has to meet the
expectations of the curriculum. So I try to, and of course you have
to do it at their [learners] level. There are some interesting things
that you can download that is way above their level and it doesn’t
benefit the child. Especially looking at the junior phase that we’re
in and ja through experience. You’ll test something, you’ll try
something it might work it might not work. And then you have to
adapt.
P2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 5:60 (479:485)
This teacher at the township school voicedhis dissatisfaction with the National
Curriculum policy that was prescribed. He seemed to be of the opinion that this
prescription of policy did not address local needs and inhibitedICT implementation.
He narrated his concerns:
Yes... yes I’d like to move away from that ‘passed-on’ content
which is prescribed. It doesn’t correlate and neither does it
satisfy my needs nor the learners’ needs. They need an
environment that they can learn more.
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:23 (171:176)
In the one instance the principal of theformer model C school was unaware of the
existence of the national e-education policy. He had an expectation that policy was in
the process of being developed by government, and would eventually reach schools.
However, this principal appeared to exercise his leadership role to promote the ICT
vision of the school in the absence of any guiding policy. The principal also suggested
that though the National Curriculum policy was unclear on ICT integration, he
interpreted the national curriculum to be more adaptable to ICT integration in
teaching and learning situation, hence he demonstrated a ‘writerly’ stance. He
suggested that the National Curriculum policy was subject to his interpretation and
thus viewed the policy as being adaptable to the use of ICT in teaching and learning,
he explained:
Page 137 4.2.2
E-education policy: “readerly” or “writerly”?
“We’re making it up as we go along. We’re using our own stuff”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
The e-education policy. Teachers exercising agency, interpreters and
constructors of policy. Teachers as appropriators of policy.
Policy as prescriptive and less open to interpretation.
Most teachers in this study were aware that a national e-education policy existed,
however, they were ignorant of the contents of the policy. Consequently teachers did
not interpret the policy and thus, it was difficult to conclude whether they were
“readerly’ or “writerly” in their approach to policy interpretation. A maths teacher at
the former model C school expressed the view of most teachers in this study with
regard to her knowledge of the e-education policy:
I haven’t seen it [e-Education policy] [laughs], I haven’t seen it
haven’t been through it but know about it that there’s a white
paper on e-learning, that’s at National [level]. At district level, I
don’t think there’s any, I haven’t seen it.
P3: School B, teacher 2.txt
Another teacher at the township school claimed that he heard about the eeducationpolicy at a workshop “Yes, the White Paper isn’t familiar to all educators. I
heard of the White Paper when I went to e-learning exhibition station”, however, he
too was unaware of the contents of the e-education policy.Most teachers seemed to
desire some policy implementation support and expressed the need to be guided by
policy requirements. Hence, they adopteda “readerly” stance. The concern expressed
by a teacher at the former model C school was that he would like to have had access
to more structured guidelines on how to implement the e-education policy.
Look we’ve got that White paper [e-education policy], but something
more better and more…that explains it better and more structured.
P 3: School B - Teacher 1.txt - 3:59 (714:722)
A maths teacher at the former model C school responded to policy implementation by
suggesting that she preferred to apply policy as it was intended and thus represented a
policy “readerly” stance. This teacher also suggested that the district office should be
Page 138 forthcoming in mandating how the policy should be implemented, with appropriate
guidelines to schools in general and teachers in particular.
Putting it on paper and saying you have to do this. Ja, just like the
way they do with textbooks. Or give a list of open source websites
that’s accessible to the teachers, that they[district]actually went
through and say we’ve put our stamp of approval on it.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:126 (1039:1041)
In the absence of their knowledge of the e-education policy it would seem that
teachers still integrated ICT into their teaching practice. Teachers were instrumental
in developing and designing their schemes, curriculum or policy documents to suit
their own pedagogy, institutional needs and local ICT context. Although there was an
expressed desire to have access to more tangible policy, teachers nevertheless relied
on their own professionalism in developing an unwritten policy that integrated ICT
into their teaching and learning practice. Whilst the national curriculum policy
seemed to be “cast in stone”, teachers appeared to be developing a school e-education
policy according to their own understanding and professional experience.
All teachers in this study developed their own learning programmes (schemes of
work) to incorporate ICT into the curriculum and developed ICT literacy attainment
levels for each grade. Of the sample of six teachers, only one teacher at the former
model C schoolappeared to be knowledgeable of the content of the e-education policy.
He indicated that he “browsed” through the e-education policy. This teacher adopted a
“writerly” stance to policy interpretation as evident from the following:
We used it [e-Education policy] when we drew up our
schemes…We try and fit it [ICT] into the curriculum…er..so that
it’s got to be part of the curriculum.. ja…ja what they[teachers]
busy doing…ja
P 3: School B - Teacher 1.txt - 3:25 (300:301); 3:59 (714:722)
At all three schools in this study, teachers appeared to prioritise achieving the learning
outcomes as prescribed by the National Curriculum policy. However, once this was
accomplished these teachers expressed their freedom to incorporate ICT into their
teaching practice by virtue of their own understanding. These teachers seem to act
Page 139 professionally by determining their own teaching methods and strategies for ICT
integration. Two teachers, one from the independent school and the other from the
inner city school, expressed their views in this regard:
100% total freedom [emphatic]. There’s no prescription there’s
no, er I can use anything I want. So it’s not er, in our school we
focus on just being able to reach the outcomes, but how you get
there it’s totally up to you.
P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:22 (195:197)
Well we don’t use text books... so for me I like I said, it is very
open I decide...there is no limit here…you have to do it this way
you have to do it that way. We have our work schemes we have
our lesson plans we have to cover our LO’s [learning outcomes]
and that’s it and oh the assessment standards have to be met and
they have certain guidelines…you want to use a PowerPoint
presentation…that’s up to you.
(P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:47 (362:369)
Some teachers, due to their level of frustration at the lack of policy support and policy
directives, initiated their own need to develop policyas is evident from the voice of the
maths teacher at the former model C school “We’re using our own stuff. They
[district] don’t give guidelines, I don’t think it’s fair”. Thus, the non-existence of clear
policy guidelines seemed to have led teachers to be guided by their professionalism to
define their own policy implementation goals. The mathsteacher of theinner city
school responded to how the district’s policy vision and goals could be appropriated
and implemented. The protest by this teacher serves as an exemplar of concern
expressed by all teachers in this study.
There needs to be a link. We don’t know what they [district]want,
we’re making it up as we go along. We’re using our own stuff…
It’s not like they [district] have it all lined out like the portfolios,
you have to have this, this and this in your portfolio. They don’t
say we want this kind of teaching, and…
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:136 (1075:1080)
A maths teacher at the independent school suggested that because there appeared to be
no specific policy, guidelines or directives on how to integrate ICT into the
Page 140 curriculum, he had initiated his own approach to integrate ICT into his teaching
practice. He had found a way to overcome systemic constraints in the use of ICT in
his teaching and learning through his own initiatives and classroom practice.
It [ICT use] can’t take time away from the schedule [teaching]so
experience what I can do. As for the content, I can choose what I
want... I have become a renegade I’d rather rush in the week ... so
that we can incorporate [ICT] ... it’s nice for learning and also fun.
It [ICT] helps them understand that maths isn’t war. Kids are kids
so I make it fun to learn.
P 6: School C - Teacher 2.txt - 6:22 (333:337)
Principals at the identified research sites, however, were ignorant of the e-education
policy and expressed the need for district and provincial guidelines on how ICT
should be incorporated into the school’s teaching-learning environment. All three
principals in this study explicitly indicated that there is no guiding policy. The
principal of the inner city school argued that it was the internal policy of the school
that determined the extent to which ICT is used in teaching and administration
practice.
And the usage of it and why this and why that and the training and
government policy. Because there’s no I don’t think there’s official
GDE [Gauteng Department of Education] policy for that. Schools
develop what they have and they usage of that and the why. With your
policy[holds his hand in a fist position]you also got a hold on what’s
happening in the classroom, if the policy says marks must be e-mailed,
assessments must be done in the computer centre and things like that.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:26 (344:346)
The principal of the independent school echoed the same sentiments as that of the
above public school principal in his account of the schools’ internal policy that guides
the use of ICT in curriculum delivery.
Yes, we encourage it. I don’t think there’s policy that says we must use
it but it does make learning more exciting and improves learners’
attention. There is a section in the policy [schools’ ICT policy] that
deals with use of information technology in your classes and teachers
can use that as base to ask for ... a projector or whatever may be the
case.
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:17 (98:103)
Page 141 In all three schools the principals seemed unaware of the national e-education policy.
They made no direct or indirect reference to it, not even when prompted to indicate
which policy guides their ICT institutional teaching and learning practice. The
principal of the former model C school offered the following account of his
understanding of the National Curriculum policy and the role of ICT. He seemed to
portray a ‘writerly’ stance to interpretation of the National Curriculum policy.
No it’s [how to integrate ICT in the curriculum] not spelled out,
it’s not there [in policy]. But I think the way we do it and how we
use it, when I think back now definitely more than ever before. Ja,
the previous things were all referred back to a specific text book,
it’s [policy] open now. But the answer we get lately is that you
must do is right for your school. And do what’s best for your
learners…You mustn’t do it because policy says so. What is the
reality, if this is the reality, then policy must change. The reality
is we need this [ICT]. So the policy can’t say you must work with
the text book, then the policy [holds hands in a fist like manner,
referring to it as policy] must change, so that is room for us.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:62 (728:732); 8:47 (573:575
The independent school did not appear to face the same curriculum implementation
policy demands as experienced by public schools. The principal stated his case in this
regard “in independent schools we can forge ahead [with] what the government has
prescribed as a periphery. We get more leeway in terms of what is best for the
learners”. Although the independent school principal acknowledged that there is no
official e-education policy that guidedhis decisions, he suggestedthat the independent
school had the privilege of changing the curriculum policy to suit the best interest of
their learners by observing national education policy only at the ‘periphery’. The
township school, however, seemed to be confined to more stringent policy control.
The principal of thetownship school suggestedthat district requirements must first be
met in applying the national curriculum policy, after whichteachers took the liberty to
incorporate ICT in the way they deemed fit. He explained:
What they [teachers] normally do is they get the guidelines
[national curriculum] from the facilitator [district official], in
terms of what should be in the learning programme and work
schedules and do their planning from that. They [teachers] can
also change to suite our own specific needs.
P 7: School A - Principal.txt - 7:25 (175:178)
Page 142 In the interest of fostering the integration of ICT into the school curriculum, teachers
(through the leadership of their principals) apparently initiated and created their own
policy by adapting curricula to incorporate ICT. This response was in accordance
their contextual experience and their ability to foster the local context in which ICT
was integrated into the curriculum. In a bid to challenge policy directives the principal
of the inner city school changed policy to suit ICT issues relevant to teaching and
learning. This principal portrays a ‘writerly’ stance and gives an explanation of his
well reasoned argument of how the writing policy of the school had changed to
accommodate the inclusion of ICT to cater for the socio-cultural context of the school.
We just changed our writing policy as well, doing print only. Why
cursive? [cursive writing] the juniors [meaning Foundation
phase] say ja well it's fine motor skills, gross motor skills all that
cursive. The teachers now prefer print. Because they say they
spend three months, six months in grade three to four, teaching
them to write cursive and then a year later the teacher in grade
five says read the writing in print. Theonly thing our children see
when they open a magazine, newspaper anything, textbook it’s
print. When they work now they work here [shows a textbook], its
print. So why waste 6 months of a person’s life if the print is a
neaterprint. And we see a lot of our children, that is again our
embassy children, a lot of our embassy children arriving only
write print, ja [emphatic].
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:177(996:998)
4.3
Teachers implementinge-educationpolicy inpractice
Against the background of the former category, I turn my focus to the teachers’
narratives on how they knowingly or unknowingly implemented the e-education
policy in their actual classroom practice. The analysis of the data results indicates that
the whole sample of teachers in this study was implementing the e-education policy in
their day-to-day teaching practice unknowingly. These teachers displayed huge
interest in the use of ICT in their teaching practice and their voices revealed numerous
ways in which they seemed to implement the e-education policy. The data suggests
that teachers appear to be acutely in tune with integrating ICT into the curriculum and
the numerous pedagogical issues at play. The following eight sub-categories became
apparent and form the framework for thediscussion in this section. First, teachers
Page 143 displayed a teaching philosophy that demonstrated positive attitudes to the use of ICT.
Second, teachers established emergent pedagogies. Third, they tended to be
innovators and trendsetters in the manner in which they exploited new ICT. Fourth,
teachers used ICT to collaborate, learn and share information. Fifth, teachers
recognised the important role they played as professional drivers of ICT integration.
Sixth, teachers hadthe strong will and determination to improve themselves. Seventh,
teachersused ICT for administrative purposes;and eight, teachers developed learners
as independent knowledge seekers.
4.3.1
Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes on the role of ICT
“And if you don’t use or stay up with technology we will miss certain learners”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Teacher’s identity, personal beliefs and attitudes, vision and philosophy
of teaching, professional conviction.
Institutional and policy influences, socio-cultural influences.
At all three schools teachers displayed a positive attitude to the use of ICT in their
teaching and learning practice. Participating teachers seemingly realised the value of
ICT as a tool to re-invigorate their teaching practice, and acknowledged that ICT
could open new opportunities to enhance learning. These teachers also appeared to
recognise that the use of ICT as a tool needs to be executed responsibly in the school
environment. Above all, these teachers do not want to be coerced by policy to use
ICT, they want to use it on their own terms and in their own pedagogical way.
One teacher at the township school reflected on the manner in which ICT could be
used to stay abreast of current technology which learners are familiar with. He seemed
to suggest that it is imperative for teachers to meet the challenges that technology
brings to the classroom, particularly since learners seem to be engaging uninhibited
with technology.
And if you don’t use or stay up with technology we will miss
certain learners, there are other learners that are acquainted
with technology and they learn through this medium of
electronics. P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:12 (149:151)
Page 144 So for us to grow, for us to give meaning to teaching is very
important. Teaching in itself is a tool, so I see ICT computers as a
tool for other tools.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:11 (147:148)
The same teacher reflected on his attitude as a professional user of ICT and felt that it
should be used as a tool for curriculum integration that supports teaching and learning
with relevant information and not merely as a novelty tool.
You must evaluate your content, how they respond and you must
also evaluate your content with regard to your assessment and
your policy and your learning outcomes and your assessment
standards. I mean you cannot let your ICT run away with you
[laughs] and you just fly away with irrelevant information, you
know, checks and balances all the time. P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:90 (554:561)
The participants in this study appeared to desire some form of motivation to teach.
They all seemed to suggest that the traditional approach to teaching had lost its lustre.
However, with the introduction of ICT into the teaching-learning situation there is an
opportunity to redeem their rightful place in the classroom. In both public schools, the
voices of the teachers seemed to be in unison and reflected the need for creating new
motivational methods and tools for teaching.
We need something to boost our energy …yes…ja. And I think
it’s[ICT] giving fun to teachers if they know how to use it.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:19 (152:153)
Participant teachers in this study appeared to reflect sound professional attitudes
towards the manner in which ICT could be used to enhance teaching. This township
school teacher reflected on his understanding that the use of ICT brings forth a need
for professional commitment and thorough preparedness for curriculum delivery. This
teacher also seemed to suggest that ICT use could effectively address the need for
different learning styles.
Page 145 But you need to be prepared, and you need to be well prepared,
when you design your lesson to see how you can cater for all
those learning styles into the lesson. You need to be prepared. To
know where to find the stuff and to use your tool [ICT].
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:87 (526:533)
The voice of a teacher from the independent school seemed to explicate his beliefs on
the impact of ICT on teaching and learning. He saw the incorporation of ICT into the
teaching environment as an eventuality that would occur irrespective of whether
teachers accepted it or not. However, he suggested that teachers needed to ‘evolve’
with the process to give the advantage to the learner who is already adept with using
ICT.
I think the days of black and white on a text book are limited. I
can feel part of the evolution. And we can move to a stage where
someone can better ourselves using IT… Just to use it for its
potential. If this thing sits here and gathers dust then I’ll be doing
both myself and the kids a disservice. Perhaps me more than the
kidsbecause they go home and play with their internet, play their
video games with a pen pal from Germany at the same time while
I go home and read a book. It’s a goal toincorporate it [ICT] and
it’s a goal to evolve with it.
P 6: School C - Teacher 2.txt - 6:4 (137:141)
4.3.2
Teachers’ emerging pedagogies
“It’s [ICT] actually taken me back to re-evaluate how I teach the subject and
material that I use in teaching the subject. Ja, so it has, it’s taken me back revisited
and re-evaluated, ja.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Teachers revising their original position on teaching and learning;
Teachers subject and pedagogic knowledge; Teachers viewing ICT as
integral.
Teachers using ICT with traditional teaching methods. Reluctance to
adopt change.
Most teachers in this study indicated that ICT created an opportunity and a challenge
for them to revisit their teaching styles and methodology in order to enhance their
teaching practice. These teachers seemed to be enthusiastic about the opportunity that
ICT offers to change or modify their teaching from a traditional approach to an ICT
based teaching practice. All teachers in this study appeared to support the notion that
Page 146 an ICT integrated approach has value in catering for different types of learners.
Furthermore, the teacher participants in this sample also appeared to demonstrate their
professionalism as negotiators and designers of curriculum content and acknowledged
that ICT has the potential to bring the real world into the classroom environment. The
remarks of a teacher at the township school reflect the sentiments of many participants
in this study.
But the greatest advantage of ICT is that learners must
experience the real world in the class. The class mustn’t be a
place where it is ‘kunsmatig’[artificial] you know…And then
from the learner’s point of view it makes them see and the first
time I tried I showed them bridges, different types of bridges, and
there’s a nice slide show on bridges you can see the unstable,
there’s the one hanging bridge that’s moving before it finally
collapses, the children like to see that. But, it’s not animated, it’s
a film, a real snapshot or something like that. So that I usually
show them.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:37 (248:250), (235:239)
Jo, a technology teacher at the township school offered various examples of how ICT
had changed his teaching pedagogy. He elaborated on numerous specific instances in
which ICT had impacted and changed his teaching methods. This was also evident in
my classroom observation27 of his teaching practice. In one instance he effectively
increased the font size to cater for learners seated at the back of the class. In his
narratives, he described how ICT had impacted on his teaching practice. However, in
his teaching practice he immediately requested to illustrate his point by demonstrating
the effectiveness of ICT in the presence of his learners, allowing them to interact with
him and the smart-board (see Figure 4.1, below).
27
See Video clip: DVD-School A, lesson 2.mpg
Page 147 Figure 4.1: Teacher changed pedagogy
A learner demonstrates to the class using the interactive whiteboard, a learner
(seated on right) at the teacher’s PC loads the appropriate lesson, and the teacher
explains to the class.
It [ICT] also gives us the opportunity to use different strategies,
teaching strategies you know. Learners that are more mathematically
orientated, you can quickly take a drawing and put it in a
mathematical form that is access that a computer gives you. Also
what I love about the Smart board you can very easily go into depth
with 3-dimensions, different dimensions with drawings, it give you
colour, you can play with colour. It gives you access to different pens,
you can draw using a paintbrush, the creative aspect.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:26 (206:211)
This teacher also seemed to change his teaching technique in order to realise real
value and innovation which he clearly expresses in his narrative of his experience.
And what I also like about ICT is the shows motion and sound at the
same time. Something that I like to show them is a working, what do
you call that?[simulation] I give them a questionnaire on that, the test
is also based on the excursion and that is how I bring in the working
of the engines and then I show them that slide show, and it has sound
and they understand motion, pressure and compression and all that.
So that was good…With regard to social science I did the rivers, I did
the maps, er, er. Even History is nice, History yes, even the Koi-Koi,
music and sounds you can use. The language, I played that for the
children.P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:52 (332:334);(215:216)
Page 148 All teachers in this study seem to be unanimous about new affordances that ICT
brings to their teaching practice. One of the teachers at the independent school
explained the manner in which ICT made him re-examine his traditional teaching
methods. He appeared to have made a radical change from his conventional
‘textbook’ approach to one that encompasses and embraces ICT.
You know, you get in a comfort zone when you get into teaching
the same subject area for year after year. Especially, when you
do it with textbooks. And by doing that it’s actually taken me back
to re-evaluate how I teach the subject and material that I use in
teaching the subject. Ja, so it has, it’s taken me back revisited and
re-evaluated, ja.
P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:50 (415:419) Although most teachers in this sample seemed to accept that the use of ICT in their
teaching practice had culminated in a change in teaching methods employed, one
teacher in theformer model C school issued a caveat. She believed that developing a
sound pedagogy was a prerequisite to using ICT and explained that the use of ICT
does not necessarily translate into good pedagogical practice.
ICT can’t fix bad teaching you know it’s not gonna help. If you’re
a bad teacher its[ICT] not gonna fix it.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:35 (285:286)
An
experienced
grade
six
participating
teacher
at
the
township
public
schoolacknowledged that although his teaching pedagogy had changed because of his
use of ICT, his basic teaching principles remained unaltered “Well the fundamentals
remain the same I would say”. He substantiatedhis claim by alluding to the need for
teachers to be ICT competent as a requirement to apply the fundamental principles of
teaching (see Figure 4.2, below).
Well the fundamentals remain the same I would say. The
fundamentals remained, you move from the known to the
unknown. From big to small, dynamic movement for you as a
teacher. The fundamentals remain. But funny enough but you can
only get to that stage, when you are acquainted with the thing
[ICT], with the tool. P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:69 441:445)
Page 149 Figure 4.2: Teachers’ emerging pedagogies
Teachers change pedagogy to a learner centred approach.
4.3.3
Teachers as innovators and trendsetters in the use of ICT
“You know as soon as we give canned solutions to everybody, we’re back at where
were ten years ago.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Teachers as technological leaders; Creative thinkers, futuristic in outlook,
initiators, experimenters, designers, risk takers and agents of change.
Teachers uninspired by ICT; teachers as technophobes and resistant to
ICT use. Teachers as uninitiated individuals
The voices of participant teachers seem to suggest that they are eager and willing to
experiment with the possibilities that ICT brings to the classroom. Teachers appear to
push the boundaries in using ICT in their classroom practice, by employing innovative
means to change their teaching practice as reflected by a mathematics teacher in the
inner city school.
I think in terms of ICT its me…I’ve trained myself also…I’ve
looked and I got ideas from the internet as well how people are
using ICT. And I come and apply it and I do it. There’s no such
thing as listen this week you must use a web-cam video thing or
this week you have to use I pods or whatever or you have to use a
pod cast or PowerPoint. The PowerPoint thing I made it myself
because I really didn’t know how to do it.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:49 (387:394)
Here a teacher at the independent school narrates how he employed ICT as a new
pedagogical practice in his classroom. Prior to this comment, he tells the story of his
Page 150 transition from using overhead projectors to ICT and how this new technology has
opened new teaching possibilities.
And then when I found PowerPoint a whole new world the opened,
because now you can do it visually…I used programs, where if I had a
student that had fallen behind, instead of wasting other students’ time,
I would put them on computers to practice and revise.
P5:School C-Teacher 2.txt
In all three schools participant teachers appeared to exhibit a sense of adventure in
trying out different teaching strategies to incorporate ICT in their teaching practice as
indicated by the narrative of a teacher at the independent school. He explained how he
utilises propriety software to teach second language children, tenses in Afrikaans28.
As a teaching [meaning opportunities for teaching] I use my
interactive boards quite comprehensively, and with PowerPoint
again to bring over specific concepts to the children visually. And
one of the things I’m doing quite [ does not complete], I feel is very
successful is ‘tenses in Afrikaans’, especially with the English child
that its a bit of a problem, but using PowerPoint and animation in
PowerPoint you can actually show them where and how it changes,
so they enjoy it. So for your visual learner it makes it more
interesting and easier to learn.
P5: School C - Teacher1.txt :
The same teacher described an open-source software program that allows teachers to
develop their own learning objects (lessons) for learning management systems. He
protested against schools and teachers that used learning activities designed by other
teachers or institutions, and remained steadfast in his belief that it should cater for
local context and needs.
Ja, but the problem with that is some want it because they [other teachers]
don’t want to develop it themselves. As eXe-learning [referring to open source
software], it’s a tool that there but you still have to develop it for your needs
and your contexts, and that’s the way it should be. You know as soon as we
give canned solutions to everybody, we’re back at where were ten years ago.P
5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:73 (611:615)
This teacher also seemed to suggest that teachers have to be ICT pace-setters for the
purpose of improving the teaching-learning process. The teacher was of the opinion
28
Afrikaans is one of eleven official languages in South Africa
Page 151 that the new technology innovation should be used to facilitate curriculum delivery
and promote learner understanding and not be used merely as new a teaching tool
without purpose.
You know, education when you look from the days when we were
at school, we thought that the overhead projector was ‘bees
knees’ and er, but technology is changing and if we don’t em
…use the technology and give our children the benefit of what is
out there we doing them a disfavour. So it’s not the sake of just
using technology for the sake of using technology, but it must
have a further purpose of helping the child understand what is
happening out there…, but ja, I really enjoy bringing that into the
classroom.
P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:19 (163:170)
The voices of teachers from all three schools seemed to suggest that teachers realise
the important role ICT plays in developing learners that are competent for life beyond
school. Of significance is the observation that teachers appeared to place high
relevance to the use of ICT and the skills that learners will require as they venture into
the workplace beyond their school years. A principal of the inner city school seemed
quite moved by his commitment to provide optimum opportunity for his learners.
So that made us start thinking about the children in the school
today what will they do one day? And that just triggered our
minds all the time to say we have a school like this, now we go to
keep it up. You can’t have a school like this and take steps
backwards, you’ve got to take it forward with what you have on
the table now.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:17 (229:233)
The narratives of both principals and teachers apparently exhibit strong images of
their vision of the role that ICT could play in a local context, national and
international arena. Both teacher and principal seemed to recognise that ICT in
education could also develop learners to be internationally competitive. A principal of
one of the public schools(inner city) explained:
Principal: Ja, it was not long ago that we spoke about the year 2000,
when we got to 2000, we spoke about 2010 it’s next year, I mean 10
years [clicks his fingers, for emphasis]. They guys are already talking
about 2020 I mean it’s there [clicks his fingers again, for emphasis].
But you must move on with the time, because there’s different
expectations from 2010, there’s different expectations from 2020.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:174 (959:962)
Page 152 Teacher 1: But the greatest advantage of ICT is that learners must
experience the real world in the class…The classroom must be made
as real as possible to what the learner’s experience home, and
eventually greatest is preparing them for the workplace... But to make
them realise that this thing will be a part of their working life in a big
way. Office, factory, even if you clean floors you know, it’s an
electronic gadgets.
P2: School A Teacher 1.txt.
The same principal narrated his concerns that schools need to look to the future and
schools need to be proactive to provide an education for the “learner of tomorrow”.
He talked about teachers and principals seeing the “big picture” and that that “The
bigger picture is not the school’s premise, we not teaching for today, we teaching for
life.”
So ja, I dare say those children are on old school desk at the
moment, and the world is opening it’s a global environment. You
can’t say don’t worry we just at the bottom of Africa. Lets solve
our problems, for these children it’s globalization, they might not
even work here they might work in another country. Or they
might work here, but they might work world-wide, because they
got a cell phone and a laptop, they are preparing for
that…Principal:(continued) Like I say children in primary
schools now, don’t even know what they going to do one day.
There will be jobs that do not even exist at the moment that they
will be doing. So, who must equip them, we must equip
them….And off course is to power and equip the present
generation,because the article I read the other day that says that
“80% of these children at school today are preparing themselves
for jobs that do not yet exist” [phone rings] So what are
preparing themselves for? [phone rings again] We need to gear
them and give them the tools and equipment and opportunity to
do that for later life. Ja to empower them and to equip them for
life. Ja, not to teach for today but to teach for life.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:174 (959:962)
The township school teacher had the same vision of what is expected of schools and
teachers in particular. Here he described his expectations of the goals of teaching ICT.
Page 153 4.3.4
ICT initiating teachers as collaborative learners
“The other day, the Social Science teacher came to me and wanted to know
something about the earth. We went to Google Earth and we found interesting facts
about the earth.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Teachers working together over time; Sharing knowledge, skills,
pedagogy, understanding, values, goals; Sustained partnerships and
contact; joint activities. Various nuances of teacher collaborations.
Teachers as independent individuals; self learners. Student learning
across disciplines.
In all the schools in which data was collected, diverse collaborative learning
experiences were evident. Teachers received capacity and support in respect of ICT
integration from numerous self-initiated collaborative learning experiences. Such
collaborative learning seemed to exist in a number of forms. First, teacher-teacher
collaboration existed between two or more teachers in the same school. Second,
teacher-teacher collaboration between teachers from different schools was evident.
Third,school-school collaboration occurred between two schools. Fourth, teacherlearner collaborative learning experience manifested. Fifth, schools and teachers did
not see the schools’ physical location as a limitation to collaboration and had
aspirations to collaborate between local, national and international schools. Sixth,
teachers expected the local education district to serve as an e-learning resource hub
for all schools to collaborate as well as share resources and teaching expertise.
Teachers within the same school seem to find that the use of ICT culminates in the
need to collaborate with each other more often in the same learning area fields.
Teachers also appeared to interact with each other across curricula fields of
specialization, which was different to their previous experience. Through the use of
ICT the sharing of experiences, resources and pedagogy seemed to move teachers to
new collaborative levels as professionals within the same institution. A science
teacher at the former model school narrated how she cooperated with another science
teacher in sharing resources and pedagogy.
Page 154 I do collaborate, we are two teachers teaching science she has one
class, I have one class. We sharing science. I would go and find
information, we did a water cycle, I would say listen you can take your
class to the media room you can show it to them. They go in and show it.
I’ve done it when we did the lab, when we had safety rules, I did a
PowerPoint presentation about safety rules andworking in the
laboratory, each on took our classes there and we showed it to them.
Like I said the excel work I got it from another, teacher she showed me
how to use that and I trained another teacher. So we passing it on.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:78 (713:720)
At the township school, a science teacher explained how the social science teacher
sought his help in the teaching of geography.
Yes! Each and every learning area, we can actually utilise it. The other
day, the social science teacher came to me and wanted to know
something about the earth. We went to Google Earth and we found
interesting facts about the earth.
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:28 (198:200)
A newly recruited teacher at the inner city school told his story of how he works in
partnership with teachers from other schools. Although the nature of the district
cluster meeting is for particular learning areas, informal sharing of ICT teaching ideas
and methods would take place between teachers.
When we have an EMS [Economic and Management Sciences] meeting
we will talk about the computer centre or when we have an athletics
meeting I’ll know that that guy there runs the computer centre so I’ll sit
with him and chat to him and say how do you do this and how do you do
that. So it is not formal about ICT.
P3: School B – Teacher 1.txt
Theprogressive principal of the former model C school narrated how ICT
technology can be used to share human resources such as teacher expertise
between schools. He explained how the use of the internet could facilitate this
collaboration concept.
Page 155 If you come on a Friday or Thursday and you will see a virtual
lesson. That’s what we are trying to do through KAD is to have a
virtual teacher, where my math teacher will teach math one
morning for Brooklyn and Waterkloof. While she is doing her
lesson in her class via skype she will do the same lesson for
Brooklyn Primary and Waterkloof. Next week, that technology in
that very school, so when that teacher does structures there, four
schools will link up with skype, and that top teacher there on
structures will teach that lesson to four other schools as well.
School B – Principal.txt
The same desire to collaborate with other schools is expressed by a teacher in the
township school. This teacher envisions the rich nature of school-school partnership
through the use of the ICT technology. The idea of sharing of teacher pedagogical
expertise, resources and lessons is a central thread that seems evident from all
teachers in this sample.
A challenge I would say that I would really love us to take on is to
have learners via the internet, via the Smart Board to
communicate, to have live lessons. And with internet and with
technology available, with a camera, you can have a camera, not
a data projector, connected to the lesson , it records and
immediately another school can see what we are doing, we can
share.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:62 (392:396)
In addition, the use of ICT in schools appeared to create opportunities for schools to
explore collaboration with other schools across various socio-cultural, socio-economic
and geographical boundaries. Principals and teachers seem to identify benefits of
sharing resources, skills and expertise between schools. ICT resource scarce schools
appear to be open to the idea of using ICT to communicate and share with other
schools perceived to have fewer resources then themselves. The independent school
teacher talked about his experience and collaboration with a poorly resourced public
school.
Page 156 I am involved with Irene Middle School, and we [school] trying
toget a computer lab for them, because the Gauteng-on-Linelab is
not working. And even the new one they put in is notworking, so
they are sitting without those technologies andtheir children are
not getting the benefit of being able tousing those technologies.
P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:12 (132:136)
In the township school, the technology teacher elaborated on the collaborative
experience of his school with an independent school. Initially the collaboration was
based on technical support and eventually developed into curriculum support. This
township school exploited many avenues to foster collaboration between other
schools. Situated in a low socio-economic environment, the school sought
partnerships as a means to uplift and improve its ICT practice.
We are in partnership with the German school…Yes, it’s a
private school. We met once a month to discuss computers as well
as ways to move forward but that has stopped. We wanted to
know to how to set up a computer centre andhow to manage it. At
that time, we had computers but we needed them to tutor us and
show us how to get the network running. Later on, they helped us
with lessons for the whole syllabus starting from grade 1 to grade
7.
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:39 (284:297)
A teacher and the principal of the inner city school expressed their desire to take
collaboration between schools beyond local, provincial and national boundaries. This
maths teacher expresses her envisaged ideas with respect to creating international
collaborative experiences.
There’s so many things if you think about skype, you don’t have
to go out of this classroom, you can skype someone and say listen
I have this problem or did you receive the test? So the first step I
thought was getting the school connected and then connecting
you know…and I was always thinking outside, like I said at the
seminar…and I said about the NEPAD schools in Africa…and
how amazing itwould be if you could sit here and you link to a
classroom in Uganda or Kenya..we are not connected to schools
so we must still get connected to each other, and then go to a
higher level and now we connect to other schools and now we go
on further and connect to other countries. P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:29 (221:228)
Page 157 The principal of the same former model C school narrated his vision of collaborating
with other schools in an attempt to share teacher expertise and best practices. He also
envisaged ultimately international collaboration between schools.
Using skype, I want to use the best math teacher in Pretoria to
present a lesson here in my school, and my excellent technology
teacher can do lesson for those children again. And to have
communication with other schools nationally and internationally,
where we can communicate and share ideas. P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:5 (141:147)
The general perception from teacher responses in the sample is that teachers are not
technophobic, but rather teachers seemed to be invariably concerned with being
embarrassed in class due to the lack of confidence in the use of ICT in classroom
teaching. However, in this study most teachers indicated that they are comfortable
with collaborating with learners. In fact teachers acknowledged learners as resourced
individuals, apparently accepting that many learners may be better equipped in the use
of ICT than they are. This teacher-learner collaboration has emerged from the use of
ICT and has culminated in promoting the teaching-learning process.
A grade six maths teacher at the independent school, indicated that he is comfortable
with the collaborative assistance he obtains from his learners. He described his
classroom ICT experience as one of mutual learning that enriches both himself and his
learners.
Sometimes when I am stuck, they [learners] are the ones to help. I
think it’s exciting for them and they can enjoy maths so I don’t
see it as a barrier…I can relate to that. Whenever I get stuck, all I
hear is, ‘Sir! Click on the control panel ...’’ and then I am sorted.
They empower me and I empower them... itbecomes a good
relationship.
P 6: School C - Teacher 2.txt - 6:29 (416:418)
From the excerpt above it seems as though teachers are comfortable with enlisting
ICT technical help from learners. The narratives of both the teacher and principal at
the independent school seemed to represent the voices of all teachers in this study. In
Page 158 the first excerpt below, the deputy principal expressed his collaborative learning
experiences with learners in his class.
It has opened up a situation whereby you can ask ‘who knows
how to do this?’ and take the opportunity to learn. I have also
had to enlist the help of my learners whenever I got stuck using
the computer.
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:41 (207:211)
4.3.5
Teachers as drivers of ICT implementation
“There’s also the fear that it [ICT] might replace teaching, and I’m totally against
that, I don’t believe that it’s ever going to happen. We still need the human factor
wherever you go.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Teachers acknowledging their pivotal role as professionals; Past
experience with policy; Teacher as a critical component of the didactic
triad; ICT pedagogues; Teacher as an essential component of ICTcurriculum delivery; facilitators and mediators of learning; human and
social actors; Blended learning.
Teachers as technocentric promoters; Teachers promoting online learning
or virtual teaching and learning
Participant teachers from all schools in the data collection sample, both public and
private schools appeared to be resolute that their roles as professionals will not be
compromised nor diminished by the introduction of ICT into the school environment.
In fact teachers apparently recognised their importance as professional drivers of ICT,
bringing in the ‘human element’ in the teaching-learning environment. In his
narration, this grade six language teacher at the independent school echoed the
attitude of all teachers in this study.
You know, my problem with ICT, especially coming from that
background, some teachers actually see it as something that it
should actually take over teaching, it should replace teaching.
There’s also the fear that it might replace teaching, and I’m
totally against that, I don’t believe that it’s ever going to happen.
We still need the human factor wherever you go. I’ve being seeing
that even in home schooling that they have the computer
programs, it’s not 100% successful because you still need the
interaction. Er’m, I see it as something that’s going to grow and
it has to grow with the teacher wanting to be involved with it and
not being forced to be involved with it.
P5: School C – Teacher 1.txt
Page 159 Participant teachers reported that with the introduction of ICT into classrooms there
seemed to be an enhanced need for teacher intervention and teacher presence. If ICT
enriched classrooms are to cater for the personal needs of the diverse range of
learners; slow, mediocre, gifted, orlearners with special educational needs, then
human intervention to create didactically sound teaching-learning environments is a
necessary. A grade six technology teacher at the township school expressed his
thoughts on ICT enriched classrooms.
So that was a challenge to use it and remind myself that I’m still a
teacher, I need to be aware of what’s happening in the class. The
slow learner and all that, so the human factor you need to blend it
in with the tool[ICT], with the tool. But it has definitely enhanced
the human aspect.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:70 (445:452)
A participant teacher in a private school expressed his concern that student teachers
do not seem to be ICT competent and suggested that new teachers entering the
teaching profession could be leaders in driving ICT transformation in schools.
So that when a student [meaning newly qualified teachers] comes
in they should actually be the drivers, and say we want this
technology because we know how to use it, that we expect it. And
if you have that expectation you will make it work. P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:70 (586:591)
4.3.6
Teachers’ will to develop ICT competence and pedagogical
skills
“I’ve trained myself”, “as teachers there’s many of us we want more”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Teacher’s willingness to learn and improve; lifelong learners; personal
commitment and interest; ICT skills and pedagogic knowledge.
Teachers improving for personal, monetary gain or promotion.
Institutional capacity building; District and province capacity building.
All teachers in the data collection sample seemed to demonstrate a strong inclination
to develop themselves so that they can use ICT more effectively in the classroom
situation. Teachers appeared to take the initiative (and used their own available
resources) to develop their ICT competence. Most teachers in this study, like the
Page 160 maths teacher at theformer model C school used the internet resources to build
personal and professional capacity.
I think in terms of ICT it’s me. I think how I use it it’s by my own
discretion. I’ve trained myself also…I’ve looked and I got ideas
from the internet as well how people are using ICT. And I come
and apply it and I do it…(cont)There’s nothing from the top
[Government]… The PowerPoint thing I made it myself because I
really didn’t know how to do it…I love going on the internet and
finding new things and so I started with that just going using it
for worksheet purposes. And then I saw video clips and stuff like
that you can use. I went to “teacher tube” and those things. So I
saw there are things you can show in class.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:3 (24:29) ;(387:394)
In some instances (the independent school and the inner city school), the principal and
school governing body created opportunities for teacher development in subsidising
training cost.
At the moment, nothing much because I haven’t learnt something
new in terms of learning a course but they are very open to new
suggestions. In fact, they [principal and SGB] will sign the
necessary forms and pay for you to get training if you request.
P6: School C - Teacher 2.txt - 4:69 (637:641)
However, in the case of the township school, teachers can improve their ICT
competence, provided they do it at their own cost, or wait for the district office to
react to the needs of teachers in the school improvement plan. All teachers in this
sample seemed to demonstrate a significant enthusiasm to up-skill themselves in ICT.
This teacher at the township school has also taught himself through internet resources
and collegial support.
Since I started using ICT has made me think to myself that I have
missed a lot, really! If I knew what I know now- I’d be very far.
ICT works wonders for me and I have also shared the knowledge
that I gained with my colleagues…Yes, I am also learning more &
more... I learn something new about computers each day. It
doesn’t stop; the learning curve is steep…Yes. It’s a progressive
learning process from one stage to another stage. I am half way
climbing the mountain
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:40 (313:323); (133:134)
Page 161 The mathematics teacher at the inner city school articulated her desire to improve her
knowledge on ICT. She narrated her story of how she improved her own ICT skills
and her need to develop her ICT pedagogical practice.
You know work on WORD, as teachers there’s many of us we
want more. We want to be trained on how to design our own
website. One of the things I learned, either through my ICT, that I
done in university, and myself on pod-casting and these things I
taught myself…I think they underestimate what there is and what
teachers can do already…Ja just give us more information about
it even. Even if it’s offering us how to operate ICTs like
multimedia in your class and ideas. But I want even more
information…
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:69 (637:641), (649:661)
A teacher at a well resourced independent school expressed his enthusiasm to develop
sound pedagogical skills. He described his eagerness to learn and use ICT in his
teaching practice as a natural impulse.
I have always been opened minded. It a natural evolution, come
next year at a time like this and I’ll have discovered something
else new. It started in high school as teachers would encourage
us to take computer classes to gain the skill. We were just
learning how to type. I am very glad, it been a snow balling effect
since then.
P 6: School C - Teacher 2.txt - 6:30 (421:427)
At the same school another teacher explained the interest teachers demonstrate to use
ICT in their classroom practice once they are given an opportunity to experience this
first hand.
What is interesting is if you look at the, our school setup, in our
preschool we do not have a turnaround of teachers, minimum
turnaround…and when they started using the technology they
grab it. And they saw the benefits. I must say to see what they
doing in Afrikaans on those interactive boards are wonderful.
Math as well, I think it’s more suited to mathematics because you
can visually stimulate them and show them. And drill and
practice is brilliant on them [interactive white boards], one of the
lessons you’ll see tomorrow is specifically geared towards maths
and how they use it in the classroom. P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:46 (374:392)
Page 162 4.3.7
ICT defining teachers as administrative agents
“I just thought I could do better because, in the past, I would write my notes and
put them in a file and the things got lost. Now, using the computer…”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Includes teacher’s using ICT for administrative practices such as:
curriculum planning and design, preparation of work, recording and
reporting of assessment, managing of learner databases, tracking learner
assessment, communicating, and procurement of learning materials.
Teachers using ICT for teaching and learning, or using ICT for personal
use. Institutional administrative practices.
Teachers appeared to gainfully use ICT to transform their administrative practices.
All schools in this maximum variation sample indicate that the initial motivation to
use ICT was to alleviate the administrative burden of teachers and the school. Most
teachers began using ICT in their administrative tasks to reduce the need for paper
based assessment record keeping. Teachers developed skills to use ICT for a range of
administrative tasks such as curriculum planning, lesson preparation, record learner
assessment marks, creating reports, recording and balancing attendance registers and
communicating with parents.
The technology teacher at the township school narrated his transition from a paperbased lesson planning approach to an electronic system. He also explained how using
ICT has simplified his filing system that allowed him to simply edit his lessons when
he did his planning for teaching.
It was something that came into my mind. I just thought I could
do better because, in the past, I would write my notes and put
them in a file and the things got lost. Now, using the computer
and memory stick... I chose to make my life easier. You can
easily edit your lessons with ease
P4: School B. Teacher 2.txt
This mathematics teacher at theformer model C school described various
administrative tasks she had to perform with the aid of ICT.
Some of the
administrative duties that are obligatory are primarily achieved through the use of
ICT.
Page 163 Like I said letters that I type to parents, e-mail communications.
Obviously all the worksheets I type on the computer, photos I
download from the internet, video clips and stuff. For
administrative purposes in terms of what we doing inschool, your
filing you do all your filing on the computer putting pictures and
things for my interleaves. Then also I said the internet, I also do
the Arcadian, the school’s newspaper. That helps a lot I do it
electronically. The school’s physical document that we hand out,
that I do also on the computer.
P4: School B – Teacher 2.txt
An experienced language teacher at the independent school narrated his experience in
changing his administrative burden by resorting to ICT as a means to modify and
reduce the excessive paperwork. The ICT solution also served to reduce time on task.
Absolutely.We er, er. When I started at Golden Thread our report
[meaning learner progress report] was between 17 and 20 pages
long. And it was a lot of work, compiling it, writing it because it
was done by hand. So I eventually went to the principal and said
‘this is not on’. So I developed an access database that we’ve
been running our reports on now, instead of taking two weeks to
do our reports we do our reports in two days.
P5: School C: Teacher 1.txt
A teacher from theformer model C school offered an account of how he accomplished
his administrative tasks through the use of ICT. This teacher was particularly
employed because of his ICT competence. He wasalso tasked with managing the
official website of the school.
Yes we do the extra mural time table and I do my own marks, like
you said yesterday I use the excel spreadsheet where it works out
the OBE [Outcome Based Assessment] codes for the marks.
P3:School B: Teacher .txt
Teachers apparently also recognised the benefits of using ICT to reduce their paper
based planning. The teacher at the township school explained how the use of ICT has
facilitated and reduced his paper work.
Using paper work was being a burden; sitting there and piling
up papers then my friend who is also a teacher showed up how to
use a computer... how to do this and how to do that... even marks
schedules.
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:33 (234:236)
Page 164 The principal of the same school explained the purpose for which ICT is used by
teachers in executing their administrative duties.
Well, mainly admin e.g. drawing up work schedules, learning
programmes, lessons plans, management plans, assessments and
recordings but I had mentioned earlier there are teachers using it
in the classroom.
P 7: School A - Principal.txt - 7:15 (122:128)
4.3.8
ICT developing learners as researchers and independent
knowledgeseekers
“It’s a very powerful tool and we also teach children how to do research so that it’s
not just a matter of copying and pasting but utilising the information.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Constructivist approach to teaching and learning; Teachers as guides to
knowledge creation; Teachers as initiators and mediators of
learning;Altering traditional paradigms of the teacher providing wisdom;
Supporting learners to find their own knowledge needs, search for and
evaluate information for themselves.
Teachers as sole providers of knowledge. Teachers’ perceptions as
‘Sages’;Learners as knowledge consumers.
The use of ICT in their classroom practice, suggestedthat teachers apparently accepted
their role as facilitators of learning rather thanthe traditional perception of the teacher
as an expert. In allowing learners to perform research using ICT, teachers may change
their pedagogical positions from being the ‘sage on the stage’ and accept being the
‘guide on the side.’ Furthermore, teachers seemed to acknowledge that ICT offers
research opportunities to learners, which leads learners to independent discovery and
knowledge construction (See Figure 4.3, below). A science teacher from the township
school explained,
The opportunities for the learners is- they can you use the
computer to do research or they can use the knowledge they
have gained to develop themselves even further. Everything is
about development. From my point of view, they get a chance to
improve their computer skills as well. The learners also give me
freedom, I actually see that they use the internet and I can see
their weakness and their strengths.
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:10 (84:89
Page 165 The deputy principal at the independent school described the use of ICT by
learners to conduct research and the introduction of a new subject in the
curriculum that enhanced ethical research.
It’s a very powerful tool and we also teach children how to do
research so that it’s not just a matter of copying and pasting but
utilising the information for their projects. In fact, we have
introduced a subject in our curriculum called information skills
which teaches them how extract data and avoid plagiarism.
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:6 (52:56)
Figure 4.3: Developing learners as researchers and independent knowledge
seekers
In this lesson, learners had to do research based on their hospital experiences,
create online surveys and present their findings using spread sheets and
presentation software.
4.4
How does teachers’ practice influence learning?
This theme describes the experiences of teachers in relation to their implementation of
the school e-education policy. In this theme the focus is on teachers’ experiences in
relation to how ICT improved learning. Once again various sub categories emerged on
how teachers report on the effect that ICT has on learners and learning. The various
sub categories range from catering for multiple learning styles, improving learner
Page 166 participation, integrative and interdisciplinary learning, improved curriculum delivery
using ICT and enhancing ICT literacy skills.
4.4.1
ICT catering for multiple learning styles
“But I think that is the challenge to get to the slow learner. And another challenge
is to use the tool [ICT] to stimulate the fast learner. And I think in education in
broad, those two gaps we fail as teachers”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Teaching to individual learner needs characterised by their particular
learning styles such as visual learners, kinaesthetic learners and auditory
learners. I also included slow, gifted and special educational needs
learners. Diversity in learning styles.
Ignoring individual difference between learners. Teachers
acknowledging all learners as equal in learning ability.
According to the views expressed by the participant teachers, traditional classroom
practice sans ICT had not adequately addressed the needs of learners with learning
difficulties. Neither had it catered for advanced or gifted learners. All participant
teachers emphasized that an ICT enriched classroom could favourably benefit learners
with learning difficulties. Teachers in this sample uniformly reported that ICT offers
teachers an opportunity to cater for a spectrum of visually, aurally and kinaesthetically
challenged learners. Participant teachers also recognised the pedagogical potential that
ICT has for learners with visually or auditory challenges. A technology teacher at
thetownship school described how ICT could be used as a tool to cater for learners of
differing learning styles.
But I think that is the challenge to get to the slow learner. And
another challenge is to use the tool to stimulate the fast learner.
And I think in education in broad, those two gaps we fail as
teachers. There is still a lot of development in us as educators to
enter those areas of two extremes. We cater for the average. And
the sad thing with OBE the educator does not see the approach of
OBE is so broad. Every learner can learn, that is the principle of
outcomes based [education]. And we don’t see how we can use a
variety of tools like ICT as one, to make that learner to
understand that he can learn. That he can learn and grow.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:89 (541:548)
Page 167 The same teacher of the township school mentioned that the use of ICT in his teaching
repertoire could cater for learners in terms of Gardner’s “multiple intelligences”
(Gardner, 1995). The use of ICT in the classroom practice of teachers suggests that
teachers were also able to appeal to various sensory experiences of learners. Teachers
were able to teach using ICT by capturing the attention of a diverse group of learners
as delineated by Gardner’s ‘multiple intelligences theory’. The technology teacher at
the township school explained how ICT caters for different learning styles.
For example, with children that are more audio orientated, they
have the opportunity to play things over and over. The children
that are body-kinaesthetically they can play music and form their
own triangles with their bodies, so you can incorporate different
learning styles. Children that are Rembrandts you can make them
draw, come and do their own art and things.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:84 (522:523)
A grade six former model C teacher put forward the notion that the use of ICT in her
classroom has facilitated the manner in which she conducts her lessons. She now has
the means to revisit her lesson presentation in the event that a learner needs additional
support, or as a means for revising her lesson.
Well For me…When you use ICT. Something like ICT in math the
opportunities there for learning is you have your fast worker that
em..you know..got the opportunity to go..if you have like a
PowerPoint presentation like my fraction presentation is the child
can either do it by himself or as an introduction in class. So the
fast workers can go and work on their own…For the slow
learners you can you can say Ok lets go back to that slide so
when you are busy talking in class and busy explaining the
worksheet like this [clicks her fingers rapidly], and he says
madam I don’t understand that concept. Now he says wait I don’t
understand that slide…go back to that slide. So there’s a learning
opportunity …You can go back and actually say “there it is”.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:6 (37:46)
A teacher at the township school reported on his experiences of using ICT in his
teaching practice. He comparedlearners’ reactions to his current ICT teaching method
as compared to his previous ‘textbook’ approach. He suggested that ICT is the
medium of instruction that facilitates learning.
Page 168 Yes, I think so. Making use of ICT, I have noticed that learners
tend to learn more. They tend to learn very quickly. The reason
why I am saying that is it because it’s a different environment.
It’s a different way of doing things. They were used to textbooks
and writing down notes but looking at a computer helps them to
visualise the information. They see more colour, they see more
shapes. It actually helps them to remember more. They are also
very eager to learn more at least that is what I have observed. I
hope I am not talking too much.
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:9 (70:77)
The voices of teachers at two different schools, theformer model C and the
independent school, seemed to be in agreement about the manner in which ICT caters
for different learning styles. In the two excerpts that follow, teachers explicated how
ICT fosters learning. They also supported the above teacher’s notion that it is a
different learning experience from the traditional “chalk and talk” approach (See
Figure 4.4, below).
It [ICT] makes it more interesting..It makes it different it’s not
just the teacher writing on the chalkboard…telling them this and
this and these...they write the questions in their books and answer
them. Its something they can see it they can hear it…they
experience it differently...they excited when they come to the
lesson. They do it totally different from the way they do it in the
class… and yet they learning without realizing it…they playing
games and they don’t realize that they learning.
School B – Teacher 2.txt
I think it makes it more interesting for the learners. It is definitely
they enjoy it more and they learn better and faster. Because they
not just reading now and listening they seeing as well and they
experiencing… They taking the one and putting it with another
apple and there’s two apples there and they…they live it. You
know it makes it much better.
School C – Teacher .txt
Page 169 Figure 4.4: ICT catering for multiple learning styles
In this lesson, the teacher uses various strategies to challenge each learner’s
learning style. While some learners are engaged with the interactive smartboard,
other learners are engrossed in the physical manipulation of 3-D objects.
Page 170 4.4.2
ICT improvinglearnerattitudes
“There are certain classes in the school where the children will run to get to that
class. Because the moment they walk in there, it’s a new world. It’s a new world.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Improved learner attitudes;learner enthusiasm;learner motivation to learn;
enhanced teacher-learner communication and report; improved learner
attendance and discipline; Learners as active participants
Learners as passive participants/recipients of knowledge. Teacher’s
motivating learners without ICT intervention.
All teachers in this sample indicated that the use of ICT in their teaching practice
culminated in significant improvement in the participation level of learners. A grade
five teacher at the inner city school reported that the use of ICT in her classroom
improved her relationship with learners. She also suggested that the use of familiar
ICT language improved her communication with learners. She tried to engage with
her learners through the use of ICT as a common area of interest, yet maintained
learner discipline and respect.
I think you connect more with the children on a level, different
level. I mean when I explain the project to them and I speak about
ipods and mp3’s you can see they are on a different level in
connecting to you. You don’t talk about stuff that they are not
interested in. And having this project with them in the afternoons I
get to know them better and on a different level as well. They more
comfortable, and they also share their ideas with me, I learn a lot
from them.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:85 (747:753)
An innovative mathematics teacher at the independent school reflected on how ICT
seemed to elicit enhanced learner enthusiasm in certain areas of mathematics that
would appear to be uninteresting under traditional teaching methods. He related his
experience of how ICT has contributed to the motivation of a learning disabled
learner.
Yes, they wanted to do it. What are we doing? Numbers and
tables the most boring thing in maths. The building blocks in
mathematics so we have to do it and knowit by heart. That Indian
boy, for example, who was born weeks prematurely and suffers
from various ailments. He’s very behind and when we look at his
marks on black andwhite, on a book and pen...disastrous! But
bring him up on the board [electronic white board], he’s so
different. You can’t even recognise him.
P 6: School C - Teacher 2.txt - 6:8 (156:162)
Page 171 Within this sample of participants, principals and teachers seemedimpressed by the
change in the attitude of learners to learn. Teachers in this study attributed this
experience to various stimuli created by the use of ICT in their classrooms,
particularly auditory and visual. A teacher at the township school explained how the
use of appropriate technology enhances learner participation.
Another girl brought a CD last year so. Mandela’s voice there’s one
clip, on Encarta, the sound they know that voice, it’s nice it really
stimulates them, really stimulates them.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:53 (336:338)
4.4.3
ICT promoting integrative and interdisciplinary learning
“Based on the excursion and that is how I bring in the working of the engines
and then I show them that slide show, and it has sound and they understand
motion, pressure and compression and all that”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Cross curricular integration and interdisciplinary learning. Curriculum
integrated learning areas and learning. Learning to OBE principles.
Learning restricted to subject specific criteria. Learning viewed as
isolated pockets of knowledge defined exclusively by the subject.
Teachers as collaborative learners.
The integration of ICT in the curriculum apparently created opportunities for
interdisciplinary learning. In the narrative of a teacher from the township school, he
explained the integration of ICT into the teaching of the social science. He also
described how ICT is used to integrate other learning areas, in this case Geography
and History. Furthermore, he indicated that he used ICT to expose learners to the
disciplines of music and indigenous language.
With regard to social science I did the rivers, I did themaps, er,
er. Even History is nice, History yes, even the Koi-Koi, music and
sounds you can use. The language, I played that for the children.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:52 (332:334) A technology teacher at the township school narrated how his technology lesson that
integrated ICT was extended to include an out of classroom real-life experience of
Page 172 anexcursion29 to a motor manufacturing plant (see Figure 4.5; Appendix D2, School
A).
I give them a questionnaire on that, the test is also based on the
excursion and that is how I bring in the working of the engines
and then I show them that slide show, and it has sound and they
understand motion, pressure and compression and all that. So
that was good.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:32 (227:230)
A maths teacher at the inner city school described how an ICT problem based
project30 incorporated the various curriculum learning areas of Language, Economic
and Management Science and Social Science (See Appendix D7, School B,Apple
project).
Ja, This is now in EMS… I linked to this “Apple Mac” project
with what I am currently busy with in EMS. So I had to go and
design something for the rest of the children, because it’s only ten
kids that are taking part. I had to make it in such a way that it
relates…links, now our kids don’t have access to Apple and all
those software, so I instead we’ll do a PowerPoint, so the kids
will have to hand in a PowerPoint and about the ‘Development in
South Africa’, but they will use it like a documentary, make a
documentary. Images, their opinions their views, also like the
Apple thing so that it aligns.So they will do their, still their
PowerPoint, for their marks to submit for their assessment. Then
this is something extra they are going top make like a little movie
as well.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:56 (497:509)
29
30
See CD – School A, Video_Lesson 2.mpg; Video_Excursion.mpg
See CD – School B, Video_Project.mpg
Page 173 Picture 1
Picture 2
Figure 4.5:ICT promoting integrative and interdisciplinary learning
In picture 1 (above), ICT is used to simulate the workings of the motor. In
picture 2 (above), learners are on excursion to a motor manufacturing plant, to
integrate classroom learning with real life experiences.
Page 174 4.4.4
Learning about ICT and learning with ICT
“At the moment we still do computer literacy, and then we use [ICT] for teaching”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
ICT as a distinct but informal learning area (learning about ICT); ICT as
an instructional and cognitive tool to deliver the curriculum more
effectively (learning with ICT).
Learning without ICT.
All school principals and teachers in this study identified the need to develop the basic
ICT literacy skills of learners and teachers, as a crucial baselinefor the successful
delivery of an ICT integrated curriculum. School principals structured the curriculum
to cater for a dual purpose in the use of ICT. Teachers realised that an ICT literate
learner potentially facilitates curriculum delivery and theintegration of ICT into the
teaching and learning environment of the school. On the other hand, schools and
teachers realised the need to develop the ICT literacy skills of learners for future
employment. This dual focus had allowed teachers to integrate31 ICT into their
teaching practice almost seamlesslypending learners’possession of the necessary ICT
skills (see Appendix D, D1-D7). In all schools in this sample learners attended
scheduled ICT literacy classes as an independent skills development learning area.
In the independent school, learners were formally taught computer literacy at the
primary school stage and from grade seven onwards they were expected to complete
specific modules of the International Computer Drivers Licence (ICDL) programme
(See Appendix E8, Document analysis – ICT literacy standards). Teachers were also
encouraged to complete the ICDL course as a subsidised school programme.
Oh absolutely. One of our goals is to get all the teachers ICDL
standard, the four core modules proficient, because as soon as
you do that, it makes it easier for them to do their policies, to do
their exam papers. I’m at the point where I am trying to get a
teacher not to do cutting and pasting a paper, because some of
them still physically cut a page before they go and copy it. So yes,
I do believe it has value. Again it’s also for their own self esteem.
And ja, a lot of them are using it in their own private capacity
because they wouldn’t have done it before.
P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:51 (421:427)
31
See CD, School C, Lesson_1.mpg
Page 175 At both public schools in this study, computer literacy is taught from foundation
phase to grade seven(See Appendix E8, School A and School B) ICT literacy
standards).Teachers found this dual approach to be imperative to the successful
delivery of the curriculum using ICT, since they did not have to teach ICT skills in the
delivery of their lessons. The principal of theinner city schools explained how ICT is
employed at his school.
At the moment we still do computer literacy, and then we use for
teaching, weteach mostly English and math…The ‘now’
generation is computer literate so we move that slightly to the
back and we use more e-learning at the moment.
P7:School B – Principal.txt
A teacher at the inner city school that was tasked with supporting teachers to integrate
ICT into the curriculum reported on the way he interacted with other teachers. Using a
curriculum content management system he advised teachers on how to use the
software based content to integrate ICT the curriculum.
They don’t normally, they come to me and say we doing this,
this…and I see how we can fit it in with doing word or doing a
PowerPoint presentation or how can we do an excel spreadsheet
on the work that they doing and where will it fit in. So we their
things and then I’ll say we doing excel now, religion won’t work
here come back in thefourth term...can you do that work with
them in the forth term...or is there something in the forth term
that…so we try to incorporate their work into our.
P 3: School B - Teacher 1.txt - 3:23 (232:238)
4.5
Summary: Main results
The teachers’ initiative to use ICT occurred in an environment that was devoid ofthe
national e-education policy and absent of any support from the district and provincial
systemic structures.The National Curriculum Statement appearedto be stringently
pursued by school principals and teachers, while the national e-education policy was
absent as a policy to teachers and principals. Teachers in this study indicated their
need for greater policy intervention as well as curriculum and pedagogic support as
they tried to make sense of how to integrate ICT into their daily teaching practice. The
Page 176 narratives of teachers in this sample seem to suggest that they are adept at changing
their situational conditions to incorporate ICT in their teaching and learning practice.
It is also evident from teachers and principals in this study that the systemic structures
(district and province) were not perceived by schools as sources of policy support.
Schools sought affiliations with other schools and private sector companies to make
sense of the way ICT was to be integrated into the teaching-learning environment.
Most school principals indicated that schools appear to be left to their own devices in
determining how best to integrate ICT into their institutional practice of teaching and
learning. Teachers formed collaborations with other teachers and other schools as a
human capital resource for support, knowledge sharing and skills development.
Teachers also desireddistrict teacher clusters, not merely as a means for formal
meetings, but as a forum to share pedagogic methods and develop their ICT
competence. In this regard, schools expected greater involvement from the district
office to act as a focal point for linking schools, sharing resources (human and
physical) and developing ICT based curriculum content.
4.6
Literature reflection
4.6.1
Introduction
The e-education policy mandate to schools was to develop learners and teachers in the
use of ICT (Blignaut & Howie, 2009). The policy is also explicit in its attempt to
enhance teaching and learning through curriculum delivery. This study produced
findings that are pertinent to such policy implementation outcomes. I attempt to lodge
the results of my findings against the literature in the field, with a particular focus to
define supporting evidence for existing knowledge on ICT policy in education. I also
ground new insights that emerged from the current study against the backdrop of
existing knowledge.
A review of the voluminous literature in this field of study revealed how teachers
translate national ICT policy intent into classroom practice. In stark contrast,the
current study revealed that South African teachers were ignorant of the national eeducation policy and had developed their own school based ICT policy that mandated
Page 177 their classroom practice. Thus for the purpose of this literature control, supportive
evidence from the current study emanates from teachers’ experiences of their school
based ICT policy, while existing knowledge in the field is based on national policy
directives.
4.6.2
Echoing existing knowledge on ICT policy in transformingteaching
and learning
4.6.2.1
ICT policy transforming teaching
The role of ICT policy in transforming teaching will be discussed under the headings
teachers’ interpretation of policy; teachers’ beliefs and attitudes;emerging pedagogies;
teachers as innovators; teachers as collaborative learners;and teachers as drivers of
ICT in classroom practice.
Interpretation and implementation of ICT policy
Interpretation and implementation of ICT policyin education was a specific area of
interest in the current study. A review of the international literature reveals
thatteachers are viewed as implementers of policy(Croll et al., 1994). Findings in the
literature (Lasky, 2005; Clune, 1990) particularly in developed and developing
countries suggests that teachers tend to be ‘readerly’ in their mediatory approach to
policy implementation. In this regard teachers are thus viewed as conduits for policy
implementation by interpreting policy as it was intended. The ‘readerly’ stance of
teachers in developed and developing countries may be attributed to systemic policy
that is well articulated at various system hierarchical levels. Findings from the current
study are consistent with those of the literature, in that all teachers also applied a
‘readerly’ stance but only in response to the national curriculum policy. However, one
principal exhibited a ‘writerly’ position. Proudford (1998) argues that a ‘readerly’
approach to policy text is unlikely to succeed because teacher’s prior understandings,
experiences, codes, beliefs and knowledge mediate what they make of it.
Page 178 Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes
Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes about the role of ICT and education in general are
critical to policy mediation (Cuban, 2001). Significant research supports the notion
that teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards the use of ICT are crucial to the successful
integration of ICT into schools (Stevenson, 2004; Spillane, 2000; McLaughlin, 1987;
Fullan, 1996a). These studies also suggest that teachers’ knowledge and belief
systems act as a filter through which teachers view and interpret their teaching
practices. In the current study participant teacher’ beliefs, attitudes and professional
disposition were central to their appropriation of school policy on the use of ICT in
teaching practice. This finding concurs with that of Stevenson (2004) in the United
Kingdom with regard to the teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and practices relating ICT use
in their classrooms. According to McLaughlin (1987), implementation of policy
involves a process of sense making. This sense making is associated with the
implementer’s ‘knowledge base, prior understanding and beliefs about the best course
of action’.Galloway (2010) claimsthat teachers’ beliefs guide their teaching, and thus
they do not use ICT in their classrooms for self-gratification but rather for enhancing
teaching and learning.
Teachers’ emerging pedagogies
Findings in the current study reflecting teachers’ emerging pedagogieswere consistent
with literature. Research on classroom practices of teachers (Sandholtz, Ringstaff, &
Dwyer, 1997; Schofield & Davidson, 2002; Means & Olsen, 1997; Means, Penuel, &
Padilla, 2001) found that some teachers had changed their pedagogy because of using
ICT. In this study most teachers also experienced a change in their teaching styles
because of ICT use. Teachers in this study acknowledge that ICT brought forth new
challenges that demanded a change in their teaching pedagogy. One teacher in this
study however, (a negative instance in analysis) suggested that his pedagogy did not
change, he explained this by stating that the principles of teaching remained the same.
This finding is consistent with the literature (Swaminathan & Yelland, 2003; Zhong &
Shen, 2002) which indicates that teachers may use ICT with traditional methods of the
past.The findings from the current study support the idea that teachers’ pedagogy had
changed from the teaching methods they employed prior to teaching with ICT.
Teachers as innovators and trendsetters
Page 179 Teachers in the current study acted as innovators and trendsetters in the use of ICT in
their classroom practice. Participant teachers in this study acted as change agents or
‘voortrekkers’32 by experimenting with the use of ICT in their teaching repertoire.
Cuban (2001) poses a range of constraints under which teachers work and notes that
the essence of teachers as innovators is their ability to take risk in the adoption of ICT
in their classrooms.Galloway (2010, p. 4) identifiesvarious pedagogical methods that
is associated with using new approaches to the use of ICT and distinguishes these
methods from the previous methods of teaching. Similarly, teachers in this study were
engaged in new innovative practices that challenged their previous teaching
methods.Rogers’ (1995) defines innovators as teachersthat are early adopters of ICT,
tend to have higher aspirations, have greater empathy, display a better ability to cope
with uncertainty and risk, and have a more favourable attitude towards change.
Teachers in the current study are consistent with Rogers’ (1995) definition as it aptly
described teachers in this study as innovators and change agents.Watson and Tinsley
(1995) and Watson (2001) found that ICT use as innovationremained with a minority
of teachers and was only apparent in practices of teachers who could relate the use of
ICT to their pedagogical method for their own subject. Within the context ofthe
current study, it was evident that not all teachers in the schools were using ICT. The
innovators were a few teachers who were at the heart of determining the success or
failure of the e-education policy.
Teachers as collaborative learners
In the current study ICT was the catalyst that fostered teachers as collaborative
learners. Numerous types of affiliations were also evident in the literature. According
to Schrimshaw’s (2004, p. 21) findings teachers acknowledged ICT as an area of
constant change and teachers adopted an attitude of ‘in it together’ and that no one
teacher is better than the other. The consequence of this view is that teachers
exercised a willingness to learn from each other and to support each other (Smeets,
2005; Scrimshaw, 2004). The findings in the literature concur with the current study,
in which teachers shared knowledge, experiences, resources and pedagogical ideas
through their own desire to do so. Teachers seemed to develop themselves through
interaction with enthusiastic and committed colleagues (Andrew, 1999). Peer support
32
Voortrekkers – an Afrikaans term for pioneers
Page 180 and collaboration were also found to be one of the strongest influences on the success
of ICT training as just-in-time collaborative learning that occurred allowed for the
transference of learned skills to classroom practice (Galanouli et al., 2004). In the
current study collaborative learning took place within the context of teachers’
immediate curiosity and need-to-know approach to constructing ICT curriculumintegration knowledge. Krumsvik’s (2006) findings were concurrent with the current
study in that teachers within a school through collaboration efforts created space for
staff cohesion and new recruited teachers were able to adopt the school’s educational
ethos.
Teachers as drivers of ICT
Teachers in the current study were steadfast in their belief that ICT implementation in
classrooms required “human” intervention and teachers are the responsible drivers of
ICT in classrooms. Studies conducted by Zepp (2005) are similar to my findings in
that teachers focussed on their concerns about the importance of human qualities such
as ‘human touch’, ‘motivation and care’ in an ICT teaching-learning environment.The
current study also found that teachers understand that their professional position in the
classroom will not be compromised because of ICT.In this regard, research that
suggestedthat teachers were techno-phobic, unwilling to venture into the use of ICT in
their teaching practice or simply distance themselves from using ICT, did not concur
with teachers’ experiences in this study.
In foregrounding the current study against the body of literature a number of findings
have emerged, which areconsistent with the literature. Evidently, ICT policy
transformed the teaching practice of teachers in this study in many significant ways.
First, teachers were ‘readerly’ in their interpretation of the National Curriculum
policy, demonstrating practices prescribed in the policy. Second, teachers’ beliefs,
attitudes and professionalismtowards ICT were crucial drivers in policy
implementation. Third, teachers (in the main) modified or changed their teaching
methods from a traditional approach to one that encompasses ICT as a teachinglearning tool. Fourth, teachers engaged in experimentation with ICT in their
classroom practice, acting as early adopters of ICT and innovative leaders. Fifth, the
use of ICT in their classroom practice enhanced collaboration between teachers within
Page 181 the school context. Sixth, teachers were resolute in their belief that the innovation
demanded their presence as human professionals to guide teaching and learning.
4.6.2.2
ICT policy transforming learning
I noted various aspects of ICT policy transforming learning. I discuss each of the
following categories that emerged from the study in relation to the existing body of
knowledge:ICT
catered
for
multiple
learning
styles,
ICT
enhanced
learnerparticipation and motivation, ICT promoted integrative and interdisciplinary
learning, and learners were engaged in developing ICT skills as well as using ICT for
curriculum learning. ICT catering for multiple learning styles
Teachers in this study acknowledged the use of ICT to cater for multiple learning
styles. Teachers clearly emphasized the benefits of ICT to support learners across the
spectrum, from learners with special education needs to gifted learners. Individual
learning styles differ from person to person, and these individual differences become
even more apparent in the classroom teaching-learning situation. Thus, a real
challenge in using ICT for learning, is keeping the learners it is designed for in mind
(Canavan, 2004). Although participant teachers in this study are convinced that ICT
will promote delivery of the curriculum to the individual needs of their learners, their
main concern seemed to be that of learners with special educational needs. Smeets
and Mooij (2001) and Prain and Hand (2003) argue that ICT may serve as a tool for
curriculum differentiation, providing opportunities to teachers for adapting the
learning content and task according to the needs and capabilities of each individual
learner. Teachers in this study also acknowledged that ICT allows for a shift towards
learner-centred learning environments (Department of Education, 2004; Smeets,
2005). This conclusion is consistent with observations made by Pisapia
(1994a;1994b). Galanouli (2004, p. 66), suggest that teachers must recognise the
different ‘learning styles’ of their learners, and in so doing, understand and challenge
their attitudes to ICT.
Page 182 ICT improving learnerattitudes
Gaining and maintaining attention of learners was key to promoting improved learner
participation and in this regard ICT use in classrooms can enhance the quality of
education by increasing learner motivation. Although learners developed positive
attitudes and good skills towards the ICT curriculum use, teachers failed to seize the
opportunity to follow through to appreciate the potential of ICT (Harrison et al.,
2002). Many studies(Jonassen, 2000; Webb, 2005; Reynolds, Trehane & Tripp, 2003)
suggest that the use of ICT in education improveslearner motivation to learn. The
findings in this study were consistent with the literature in that all teachers and
principals had no doubt about motivational factor that ICT brings to the teachinglearning situation.
ICT promoted integrative and interdisciplinary learning
Teachers in this study found that ICT promoted integrative and interdisciplinary
learning. Teachers also realised that using ICT provides opportunities for access to an
abundance of real-life resources for teaching and learning. Similarly, researchers
(Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2004; Roschelle, Pea, Hoadley, Gordin& Means,
2000) suggest that ICT can bring exciting curricula based on real-world issues into the
classroom. ICT can also provide scaffolds and tools to enhance learning.
Learning about ICT and learning with ICT
Most schools in this study followed a dual approach in learning about ICT and
learning with ICT. First, all schools in this study were teaching ICT as a standalone
informal learning area (not a National Curriculum subject) to develop learner’s ICT
skills. Secondly teachers in schools were also using ICT to teach their specific
learning areas of the National Curriculum.Some research (Chalkley & Nicholas, 1997;
Richardson, 1997; Smeets & Mooij, 2001; Williams, Coles, Wilson, Richardson &
Tuson, 2000) showed that the focus in most schools was on traditional, skills-based
ICT use. Loveless (2003) also found that teachers insisted that ICT skills be taught as
a prerequisite skill for curriculum integration. The findings in the literature (Reynolds,
Trehane & Tripp, 2003; Watson, 2001) were similar to the current study, which
indicated that there was a need for a dual purpose for ICT in all schools.
Page 183 In immersing my findings in existing literature in the field, it was apparent that the
similar learning experiences were unfolding with regard to the use of ICT in schools.
These learning experiences reflect the classroom practices of teachers as they
implement policy.
4.6.2.3
New insights
In foregrounding the findings of the current study against existing knowledge in the
field, several pertinent findings emerged that were unique to this study. New insights
on the role of ICT policy in transforming teaching and learning are discussed in this
section under the following topics: teachers as formulators of policy; teachers changed
beliefs;
teachers
changed
pedagogy;
teachers
innovative
practices;
teacherscollaborative practices; negotiating learning through ICT; teachers will to
learn and develop; improved learner-teacher relationships; motivation to learn;and
ICT promoting integrative learning.
Teachers as formulators of policy
Teachers in the current study demonstrated their ability to transcend the notion of
being conduits of policy. Schmidt (2000) suggests that with little in the way of
training or informed dialogue, teachers may experience frustration.Accordingly
Schmidt (2000, p. 831) claims that “when individuals are left to interpret new
situations independently confusion can result”. Schmidt and Datnow (2005) found
that when teachers became frustrated and were uncertain about how the reform fits
into the school they withdrew from the implementation of policy.
Significantly
different, althoughteachers and principals in the current studyhad limited (or no
understanding) of the tenets of national e-education policy,they moved beyond
uncertainly and developed ICT policy for their school,using their own interpretations
of what was necessary for teaching and learning within their context.
Teachers’ changed beliefs
Teacher beliefs and attitudes about the role of ICT also played out differently as
compared to the literature. In the current study two teachers and a principal seemed to
have changed their attitudes to teaching and learning with ICT after their work
Page 184 experiences in the corporate world. Fullan (1988) indicates that teachers’ beliefs
sometimes follow from their actions. This was also evident from findings in the
current study in which aprincipal and two teachers had some prior corporate ICT
experience. Their corporate practice seemingly acted as a catalyst for their belief
system and propelled their use of ICT in teaching and learning. These beliefs led them
to be more enlightened about the vocational (Hawkridge, 1990) value of ICT to their
learners. Schmidt and Datnow (2005) found in their study that teachers are positively
biased towards policy interpretations that fit their prior beliefs and values.
Furthermore, they found that teachers and principals tend to be reactive and affiliate
to policy ideals if policy is convincing. In the current study teachers were apparently
not aware of the details of the e-educationpolicy document, and principals were
ignorant of the e-education policy. Significantly different to existing knowledge in the
literature, teachers in this study were not reacting to national policy regarding ICT in
education. Guided by their beliefs, attitudes and professional instinct were driving
ICT implementation in their schools.
Teachers’ changed pedagogy
According to Kozma (2003a; 2003b) teachers change their pedagogy within the
context of school improvement or reform. In contrast, teachers in the current study
were changing their pedagogical practice through their own desire to improve
teaching and learning coupled with a positive institutional culture and principal
support. Thus, teachers in the current study were not responding to policy mandates to
change their pedagogy as indicated in the literature (Pelgrum & Anderson, 1999;
Kozma, 2003b). Furthermore, the experiences of teachers in the current study suggest
that they changed their pedagogy mainly for the purpose of learner improvement.
Teachers’ innovative practices
Teachers’ innovative classroom practices in this study were found to be different from
the literature. Law et al. (2001) found that teachers’ use of ICT depended on its
usability and perceived usefulness. However, in the current study teachers seemed to
be convinced that ICT had value for teaching and learning and they were willing to
venture and experiment with the technology.Demetriades et al. (2003) found that
teachers ignored innovative practices in order to meet school curriculum delivery
Page 185 targets. These findings differfrom those of the current studywhere teachers pursued
innovative and challenging pedagogic practices in their curriculum delivery despite
curriculum demands, and without compromising curriculum policy outcomes.
Teachers’ collaborative practices
Collaborative practices emerged as a construct that was pivotal to the experiences of
teachers in this study. It was evident that teachers relied on other teachers for ICT
skills and curriculum support. Fox and Henri (2005) found in their study that Hong
Kong teachers bonded only within subject specific areas or between teachers with
similar responsibilities. Furthermore this study found no evidence of a culture of
sharing. Kozma (2003a) and Mumtaz (2000) also suggest that teachers’ collaborative
experiences were within the confines of school boundaries. In the current
studyvarious collaboration practices were established including teacher-teacher
collaboration within school and across disciplines, teacher-teacher collaborations
beyond the boundary of the school, and school-school collaborations (see chapter 5)
were actively pursued by teachers as a source of mutual support. This collaborative
experience promoted a culture of sharing across teaching disciplines, schools and
districts. Furthermore teachers and schools formed collaborative support networks
between schools that were socio-culturally and socio-economically diverse. In this
way schools seemed to foster their socio-cultural responsibilities to poorer schools.
Negotiating learning through ICT
With the advent of ICT in classrooms, research suggests that teachers tend to
experience a sense of concern that ICT in education would culminate in their jobs
becoming redundant in the teaching learning situation (Cuban, 2001). In contrast,
Fullan (1996b) and Pedretti et al. (1999) support the notion that ICT as a teaching tool
has created a demand for good teachers, and teachers in technology driven classrooms
are now more important in the teaching learning situation. Evidence from the current
study indicate that teachers have positive attitudes and beliefs about the learning
possibilities that ICT brings to their classrooms. Teachers were convinced that ICT
had entrenched their professional roles more than ever before. Furthermore most of
the critical roles of the teacher, (for example pastoral role of teacher, teacher as a lifelong learner, teacher as researcher etc.) as delineated by the norms and standards
Page 186 policy document (Department of Education, 1998) became more significant and
relevant, now that teachers were using ICT in their teaching and learning practice.
Teachers in this study acknowledged the significant role they play in ICT-curriculum
mediated environments, noting the ‘human element’ as vital in the classroom context.
According to Zepp (2005) ‘humanistic qualities’ refer to those qualities that serve
learners’ personal needs such as motivation, humour, interaction, explaining and
answering questions.
Teachers’ will to learn and develop
Policy success is critically dependent on the will and local capacity of teachers as
implementers of policy (McLaughlin, 1987; Sutton & Levinson, 2001). McLaughlin
(2005) indicates teachers’ will, attitude, motivation, and beliefs are central to
teacher’s response to policy’s goals or strategies, and these characteristics of teachers
are less influenced by policy intervention. Furthermore McLaughlin (2005) argues
that local capacity can be addressed by policy initiatives for teacher training,
allocation of financial resources and engaging consultants to provide absent expertise.
Evident from the current study is that teachers displayed the will, positive attitudes
and determination to try the innovation in integrating ICT into their practice.
A lack of time to learn to work and experiment with technology, to rethink learning
and teaching and develop personalized methods and planning are challenges
frequently reported in research (Butler & Sellborn, 2002; Earle, 2002; Harasim et al.,
1997; Jackson et al., 1999; Pelgrum, 2001). With these and other challenges, Cuban
(1986) suggests that we should not expect many teachers to make this effort to change
to using ICT in their classrooms. Preston et al. (2000) and Cox et al. (1999) also found
teachers in their study were not willing to take the initiative to improve their
pedagogy and develop new skills. The teachers in the current study faced the same
challenges as those teachers mentioned in the literature (Becker, 2000). However,
teachers in the current study were eager to develop their ICT knowledge as well as
skills and pedagogic know-how and to apply it within the classroom context.
According to McLaughlin (1987) and Sutton and Levinson (2001) policy success is
critically dependent on local capacity and the will of teachers as implementers of
Page 187 policy. McLaughlin (2001) indicates that local capacity can be addressed by policy
initiatives for teacher training, allocation of financial resources and engaging
consultants to provide absent expertise. However teachers’ will, attitude, motivation,
and beliefs are central to teacher’s response to policy’s goals or strategies, and these
characteristics of teachers are less influenced by policy intervention.Evident from the
current study is that teachers displayed positive attitudes, will and determination to try
the innovation and thus government already has one foot in the door in convincing
teachers of the benefits ICT to their teaching practice.
Improved learner-teacher relationship
Learners may lack the motivation to learn if ICT as tool is not integrated into the
curriculum, and is used by learners with the expectation that learning would “just
happen” (Lim & Chai, 2004). In the current study, observations were based on
teachers’ use of ICT in curriculum delivery, and in this regard teachers planned their
lessons which were mediated through ICT to improve learning. One particular finding
which surfaced in the current study, that does not seem evident in the literature, was
that the use of ICT led to an improvement in the relationship between teacher and
learner. This finding based on a teacher’s experience indicated that the use of ICT in
her classroom opened new avenues for communication with learners and improved
learner confidence. Furthermore, the use of ‘ICT language’ created means to motivate
learners to engage in discussion with her.
ICT promoting integrative learning
Teacher experiences in this study suggest that ICT promoted integrative and
interdisciplinary learning. Although all teachers advocated for the use of ICT in
curriculum delivery, learners were also learning across subject disciplines. Loveless’
(2003) finding is contrary to the argument presented in the current study. Loveless
(2003) study found that teachers viewed ICT as a cross curricular tool that could be
used in all subjects. Andrews (1999) found that schools in the United Kingdom made
very little cross-curricular use of ICT. In the current study the use of ICT in
classrooms allowed learners to understand that particular subjects did not exist as
isolated compartments but were integrated with other subjects.
Page 188 4.6.3
Conclusion
Within the context of this study a number of new insights emerged with regard to ICT
policy transforming teaching and learning. Firstly teachers’ beliefs, attitudes and
professional instinct catalyzed them to become activators of local policy formulation
and policy implementation. Teachers (though ignorant of the e-education policy
mandates) were initiators of school ICT policy. Teachers changed their pedagogy not
in response to policy directives, but guided by their beliefs and attitudes that ICT can
enhance teaching and learning. Despite curriculum demands and curriculum overload,
teachers engaged in innovative practices in their classrooms, demonstrating their
professional calling. Teachers’ will to learn and develop culminated in their
engagement in professional collaborative communities of practice. Weaving all the
threads from this summary, it is evident that teacher beliefs, attitudes and professional
identity are the core tenets that determine the success or failure policy implementation
at classroom level.
Page 189 Chapter 5
Findings and discussion of results
How do systemic structuresrespond to e-education policy to
influence teaching and learning?
5.1
Introduction
In the previous chapter I reported teachers’ narratives of how they responded and
experienced the implementation of the e-education policy in their classroom practice.
In this chapter I present and illustrate the results that emanated from the data collected
at various systemic levels, beginning with the school and its institutional practice. In
setting boundaries around the school I report on the principal as a gatekeeper to the
implementation of the e-education policy. I then backtrack through the system,
reporting on two important systemic structures beyond the school’s boundary, namely
the district office and the provincial education department. At district level I report on
the experiences of the head of the e-learning unit namely the chief education specialist
(CES). At provincial level, I report on the experiences of two officials in the elearning directorate, the deputy chief education specialist (DCES) and the chief
education specialist (CES). In this regard my inquiry was guided by Elmore’s (1980)
backward mapping approach (refer to Chapter 3) which focuses on two specific
themes, namely; the ability of each unit within the system to affect the behaviour of
teachers who are the target of the implementation of the e-education policy, and the
resources required by each unit within the system to have that effect.
5.2
Drawing boundaries around schools
5.2.1
Ability of the school to change the behaviour of teachers to
implement policy
The theme drawing boundaries around the schoolfocuses mainly on the experiences of
the principal as unit of analysis. The focus is on the various institutional practices
relating to the manner in which participating principals manage their schools. I report
on the rationale of the school for using ICT for administrative purposes, institutional
Page 190 practice in the use of ICT, the school’s policy relating to the use of ICT, monitoring
and evaluation of ICT use in classroom practice and the provisioning of resources for
the school for teaching and learning.
5.2.1.1
ICT school practice and leadership
“You see somewhere you got to force it down otherwise you know what, it becomes
a toy you play with it for a month, and then it’s shelved.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Ethos and climate of school; School culture; School policies; School
leadership; School governing body support;School administrative
functions; ICT curriculum integration. School collaborative practice.
Teachers’ administrative practices; Systemic support; Socio-economic
factors; District administrative processes.
In most schools the implementation of ane-education policy began with the primary
need to change the administrative functioning of the school in a quest for school
efficiency and effectiveness.The school practice seemed to support teachers using ICT
for administrative purposes in their curriculum planning, preparation of work, lesson
planning and assessment recording (See 4.3.7). Depending on the level of
administrative support required by the principal, particular teachers wereoften tasked
with additional ICT administrative duty such as updating of the database of the
school, placing resource orders for district ratification, procurement of teaching and
learning materials, presentation of school budget, conducting annual surveys using
customised databases or creating poll registers for school governing body elections.
At the former model C school the principal described the curriculum software support
that teachers in his school obtained from the ICT resource centre of the school.
Teachers are encouraged to use the ICT curriculum learning support to supplement
their teaching and assessment practice. The school made a significant investment to
acquire ICT curriculum content to support the use of ICT by teachers in their teaching
practice. The former model C principal explained the software curriculum support to
teachers.
Everything is curriculum based, ja, ja. And then of course there’s
the basic development programs of design and making question
papers.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:75 (114:117)
Page 191 In the well resourced independent school, management also seemed to give teachers
required support without prescribing the use of ICT. However, the use of ICT
seemingly contributes to theannual performance management appraisal of teachers. In
this manner the school was arguably applied its performance management policy to
subtly coerce teachers to use ICT in their teaching practice. The principal of the
school tactfully related the school’s support of teachers in this regard.
The school has also made it [ICT] available for the teachers
whether they use it or not is their prerogative…Yes, it plays a role
when they have to write the personal development programme at
the end of the year.
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:8 (59:61)
The principal of the inner city school seemingly also incorporated the use of ICT as a
criterion for assessing teacher professional performance namely, the integrated quality
management system (IQMS). Both inner cityschool and the independent school
exercised control by instituting a policy requirement that ICT is incorporated into the
daily practice of teachers. On enquiring how these schools ensured that their policy is
being implemented by teachers, the public school appeared to follow-through in terms
of monitoring the implementation of ICT in the classroom practice of the teacher.
Two schools in this study namely, the former model C school and the independent
school identified their internal policy as a means of driving the implementation of ICT
into the daily practice of teachers. The excerpts below illustrate that the two principals
concurred with each other with regard to ICT curriculum integration policy.
Ja, so you must change your inside system as well so they
[teachers] must realize that I won’t fit into the system if I cannot
operate this [ICT]... So the only thing that can keep it going is to
create the need for that and also to have a policy that enforces
the continuous use in the classes, ja.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:84 (199:200)
The ICT programme is broad but that was one of the key goals. It
has been incorporated into the curriculum and it’s not optional.
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:8 (59:61)
Page 192 Both the independent school and the inner city school acknowledged that the huge
(one of the largest budget allocations) financial commitment of the schools to have
ICT resources should yield a return on investment, namely improved teaching and
learning. The former model C principal explained his notion on achieving a ‘return on
investment’:
You see that’s money driven, when you invest a lot of money into
something you want a return. Our return is academic excellence.
So with our class visits, with our IQMS, with our academic visits
to classes we want to see those lessons, we paying for.Ja, no
definitely, purely a financial decision.You see somewhere you got
to force it down otherwise you know what it becomes a toy you
play with it for a month, and then its shelved. So the only thing
that can keep it going is to create the need for that and also to
have a policy that enforces the continuous use in the classes, ja.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:116 (427:430) 8:115 (418:423)
The leadership of principals in this sample of schools demonstrated their ability to
change the behaviour of teachers through various initiatives. These initiatives, school
policy, school administrative demands and appropriate channels of communication
played out in the institutional practice of the school and thus paved the way for
teachers to become exposed to intentions of the school’s e-education policy. The
principal of the inner city school explicated the ICT policy demands placed on
teachers in respect of completion and submission of learner assessments.
With your policy you also got a hold on what’s happening in the
classroom [holds his hand in a fist position – representing
policy], if the policy says marks must be e-mailed, assessments
must be done in the computer centre and things like that...I just
say I take no marks anymore unless you e-mail it to me. Your
assessment comes via e-mail or I don’t see it. I don’t sign it off...
Then I say right take your time, you have the whole weekend, do
it and e-mail it. I check it, I approve it, I e-mail it back. Easy,
because when you start using you start understanding it, and the
more you use it, the more easier it becomes.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:86(200:208); 8:104 (346:348)
The principal of the independent school illustrated that the need for effective
communication was the main driver to use ICT in the administration of the school. In
Page 193 his response he explained how the use of ICT in the administrative functioning of the
school facilitated teacher access to policy documents and official resources.
As I said, it’s a great communication tool if you are purely using
it for work e.g. checking email after class is so easy and instant.
You don’t have to wait long for response. It has revolutionised the
workplace from management point of view...Staff wise,
communication is the primary reason we’ve had to put a
computer on every table for each teacher and everyone can
access a number of documents. In senior prep we’ve included all
the school policies ranging from sports to academics to social
and government policy so all those documentation is available.
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:39 (190:19); 9:1 (31:35)
All participating schools used ICT as an administrative tool to a greater or lesser
extent, but principally as a means to store and retrieve learner data. The two principals
in this sample of public schools expanded on their administrative use of ICT. Most of
the ICT administrative processes seemed to be school initiated and some are as a
result of compliance with the relevant district or provincial requirement. The
principals of the inner city school and independent school tended to lead by example
in the manner in which they administered their schools (see above excerpts). Firstly,
these principals were apparently active users of ICT in their daily practice (see above
excerpts). Secondly, principals created an opportunity for access to appropriate
technology in order to enhance school administrative processes.
Though the principal at the township school was not proficient in the use of
computers or ICT, he nevertheless seemed to have transformed the administration
system of the school to be ICT compliant. The technology teacher at the same school
expressed his approval of the progress his principal had made in transforming the
administrative system of the school.
I really appreciate that his [Principal] head is screwed on, our admin
of the school is 100 [100% ICT] and all that.
P 1: School A - Teacher 1.txt - 1:51 (324:326)
The principal at the former model C school cited one instance of how the use of ICT
for administrative purposes has reduced his reliance on a paper-based approach.
Page 194 And you know what as a principal, the day you need a copy of
this, you can’t find it. You know it’s somewhere, you just can’t
find it. Or suddenly the quintile money allocation, you know that
you’ve had it, but it’s gone. Now it’s easy to get it. That’s what
we want to do now is scan those documents in and save it.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:191 (1107:1113).
Principals at the participating schools appeared to take different approaches towards
themotivation of teachers to use ICT in their daily practice. In both public schools the
principals seemed to encourage teachers to use ICT in their daily practice by
attempting to reduce the burden of bureaucracy, paperwork and time. The principal of
an inner city school narrated his concern of the paper load that burdens teachers, and
offered ICT support as a means to assist teachers.
We trying to do away with this paperwork. We got a big server so
we can save a lot, all our documentation… That’s time
consuming, because the biggest thing with the teachers is time to
find those things, to take it back to use it in the class again. That’s
why we are trying to make the process a bit shorter for them.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:77 (128:129)
At well resourced schools it is acceptable practice that various secretaries are
employed to assist support and facilitate teacher’s administrative duties. In this study
the poorly resourced township school principal explained how the employment of a
teacher-assistant led to the reduction ofthe administrative duties of teachers.
May I just mention that we do have what we call teacher-assistant
which is aimed at alleviating the paper load for our educators.
There is a young girl who is helping out people at the foundation
stage. In addition, we have issued every teacher with a memory
stick
P 7: School A - Principal.txt - 7:15 (122:128)
5.2.1.2
Transforming schools – Creating an ethos of a shared vision
“So we brought in young, energetic new dimension, new generation teachers into
each grade... So we planned, that was a political game as well.”
Page 195 Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
School employment strategies; Teacher induction and support; School
based teacher training initiatives.
Department teacher In-service training initiatives; Teacher self-study
initiatives; School clusters
All schools in this study seem to convey a similar message in their attempt to change
the teacher corps at schools to reflect the ethos of the school. Principals appeared to
hold the view that a change in the teaching staff to include ICT envisioned teachers
would gradually lead to ICT being used for teaching and learning.In the township
school, the principal and governing body made attempts to change the mind-set of
teachers to accept ICT as a tool for teaching and learning. The principal elucidated his
idea for motivating teachers.
As I usually tell the educators that none of us has a primus stove
[oil-burning stove] in the kitchen so why do you want to use the
blackboard. Think about it, you want a microwave. Don’t work
hard, work smart.
School A: Principal.txt
At the independent school, teachers were supported with technology resources and
encouraged to gradually adopt ICT in their teaching practice.
Yes, we encourage it. I don’t think the policy that says we must
use it but it does make learning more exciting and improves
learners’ attention. There is a section in policy that deals with use
of information technology in your classes and teachers can use
that as base to ask for ... a projector or whatever may be the case.
School C: Principal.txt
However, at the inner city school the principal seemed to apply a more aggressive
approach, by gradually trying to change the teaching staff with younger generation
ICT competent teachers. He indicated that this strategy was aimed to gradually
employ teachers that would change the ICT ethos of the school. The school governing
body also created teaching post for each of the seven grades at the school, and filled
these posts with ‘younger generation teachers’. The principal of this inner city school
described his staffing strategy and the support he gave to teachers.
Page 196 I think the big advantage was that our governing body said they
were going to create a third class in each grade and they will
appoint nine governing body teachers. So we brought in young,
energetic new dimension, new generation teachers into each
grade. So that helped us in a grade where there are three
teachers, one is a young generation teacher. The old teacher is
still there but, she is out-voted by the other two now. So we
planned, that was a political game as well. To appoint teachers
that have the skill, we’ve appointed a new teacher now. An
excellent interview. We actually phoned on the intercom phone
his principal and his deputy, ag HOD.Great references.fantastic
guy, his been in our school for now four weeks, he has not
presented one lesson. He says you guys are in a different world, I
want to go back where I come from, I cannot work like this. We
said hey, that’s why you here because you are good, we will
empower you with this, because it new for you. We will help you,
because with your skills and with this…
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:166 (849:855); (299:304)
The same inner city school principal explained the recruitment drive of the school and
the initiation of an intensive induction programme to support newly appointed
teachers to use ICT in their teaching practice.
Internally we have boffins here like Miss Bo, Vanie, VanZyl, ja
those guys train them, ja whose got problems. Wehave an
induction programme for new teachers, yes it takesus about three
months the induction programme, to say thisis how we do it.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:153 (784:789)
School principals in this study seemed to realise the need to develop the capacity of
their teachers from within their institutions to support ICT transformation at schools.
In this regard, the independent school and the well resourced former model C school
relied on their own resources to develop teachers in the use of ICT. Both schools
identified the need and the importance of forging ahead and not to wait for external
support (district) to develop their teachers. The principal of the independent school
related his story on how his school developed capacity and supported teachers in ICT.
Initially, they looked into teachers training and it was
compulsory; this was for you to use it, we encourage it. That was
one way of the measures we used to ensure that the teachers are
proficient and make efficient use of computers in their classes.
P9: School C- Principal.txt.
Page 197 (continued)
They also extended the computer rooms available in the school…
A few years ago, we started with computer teacher but he
couldn’t cope entirely by himself with the integrating and
networking of the school. He was sent to a training course at
University of Pretoria.
P9: School C- Principal.txt.
At the former model C school the deputy principal was recently employed by the
school particularly for his ICT skills, and was responsible for teacher support in
integrating ICT into the curriculum. This school also employed a full time technical
assistant to support teachers with ICT technical issues. The principal of the school
elaborated on the opportunities for support and training that the school management
and teachers were exposed to.
That’s why we enjoy the KAD programme becauseonce every
three months, my whole management goes formanagement
training… We create opportunities here, otherwise it comesfrom
nowhere. We send our teachers quite often to seminars,courses
things like that.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:152 (783:784)
Contrary to other schools in this study, the township principal appeared to be
dependent on district support for the training of teachers. The principal indicated that
the professional development needs of teachers (for example ICT teacher training) are
noted in the school improvement plan (SIP), which he expected the district office to
follow through on providing training for teachers. The principal of the township
school described how without appropriate teacher training the laptops that the school
had acquired for teacher use, may lose their value.
Let me mention why it’s important to have these ICT equipment in
your premises but having it in a township school is a challenge
due to theft. The other challenge is- how many teachers would
know how to use a laptop if we gave each one of them a laptop?
So we have to come up with programmes to develop them, train
them and stimulate them because chances are they will give the
laptops to their children. Therefore, the challenge is training and
development...That would be noted and presented to those who
are supposed to hear it- the district must pick it up from there.
P6: School A- Principal.txt
Page 198 5.2.2
Resources required by schools to affect the behaviour of teachers
to implement policy
In this sub-theme I report mostly on the narratives of the principals as they relate their
experiences about issues that impede their ability to foster the use of ICT in their
schools. I report on principals’ concerns relating to the universal issue of lack of
physical ICT resources, the need for ICT-curriculum based content resources, specific
pedagogical training for their teachers, the need for policy guidelines, the challenge to
recruit ICT competent teachers and changing mindsets of teachers.
5.2.2.1
ICT curriculum resources
“I got the interactive whiteboard, we got the projector, we’ve got the lap-top, we’ve
got the demo lesson now where’s the content?”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
ICT-curriculum integrated content. ICT curriculum based teaching and
learning resources.
National curriculum policy; ICT attainment standards.
The initial response to resources required by the school, led most school principals
including the principal of the affluent school to suggest that physical ICT resources
were necessary for the successful implementation of the school-based e-education
policy. The principal of the independent school responded to the need for ICT
physical resources for teachers.
I think most teachers would like to use the best piece equipment in
their classroom, that is a given, but the problem it is expensive.
We’d like to replace the old projectors with the newer ones
because they pick up the internet. We have also identified a
number of learning areas that would benefit from having a
projector in the classroom. In terms of resources, that would
make all the difference.
P 9: School C - Principal.txt - 8:122 (475:483)
On deeper interrogation, school principals indicated other compelling issues that are
necessary for curriculum delivery using ICT. The principal of the former model C
school identified a need for appropriate ICT based curriculum content. Such content is
Page 199 crucial for curriculum delivery and the support of teachers in the use of ICT in their
classrooms (see next excerpt).
This principal of the former model C school seemed concerned about the lack of
curriculum content that is available to schools to integrate ICT. He had through school
means acquired ICT curriculum content for some learning areas from a private
company specialising in educational software. He gave a detailed explanation of the
hurdles he experienced in obtaining suitable ICT curriculum based content. He also
described his frustration at the constant changing of the national curriculum policy.
KAD [private company] said they will provide that [curriculum
content], but they not coming to the table. So that they go to
Britain and get those British things and they bring them in. And
now we they trying to change it, but those things are patented and
all that, and you can’t just do that. That is one of the questions we
have. The schools that took the math package with them, now
three years later they say where’s the lessons?...I got the
interactive whiteboard, we got the projector, we’ve got the laptop, we’ve got the demo lesson now where’s the content? Where’s
the content? So I think there’s a big fuel in the development of the
content? Once we can stabilize the curriculum, and know what
the curriculum would be. I see in the newspapers now, in the
primary school, they want to cut down to 4 or 5 learning areas…
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:122 (475:483);
The same principal explained that because schools are desperate for relevant ICT
curriculum-based content, principals and teachers seemed indiscriminate in their
method of approach to access curriculum based material. He also expressed the desire
for locally developed ICT curriculum content. In this regard, the principal apparently
felt that the Department of Education should create an ICT curriculum development
unit to develop such content, which could be packaged for school curriculum support.
We try to make them all educational based. I think the problem at
the moment is to find content…Ja, “The great escape”, but we
want to know, we want to know content, content, there’s no
content. The guysbuy any program that they can get their hands
on, and it all in pounds and dollars and this and that.But I thinka
lot of the content can be developed here in our country.If there’s
people that geared for it Ja, ja. If theeducation department opens
a section and say we are doingcontent for e-learning and they put
the people there, andthey equip them and everything, they can
provide that. You get your lesson on a CD.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:205 (1199:1203), (468:470)
Page 200 In contrast with the argument put forward by the principal of the inner city school
above, the principal of the independent school seemed to suggest that schools and
teachers in particular should change their mindsets and not be ‘curriculum bound’. He
related his point of view:
There are so many people who are curriculum bound especially
this time of the year because they feel as though they don’t have
the time to teach. That is where a new mind shift needs to happen
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:42 (216:219)
Teachers as classroom practitioners supported the principals’ view in respect of the
need for appropriate ICT based curriculum content. An inner city school teacher
suggested that software and web-resources should be given to schools by the district
office, in the same way in which textbooks are evaluated and recommended by the
district.
And then offering us and say you know how to work acomputer,
here’s the education software you can, give alist of educational
software you [District] evaluated and say theseare the one’s we
went through and we think these are theone’s that are excellent…
Ja, just like the way they do with textbooks. Orgive a list of open
source websites that’s accessible tothe teachers, that they
actually went through and say we’veput our stamp of approval on
it.
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:141 (1089:1091) (1093:1096)
5.2.2.2
The need for ICT competent teachers and capacity building
“Teachers have resigned they left. They just said you know what I’m not in for
this... And there must be training, because a lot of our people are not trained, our
people come from disadvantaged areas where this does not exist.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
ICT teacher competence, knowledge, skills and expertise in the use of
ICT. Teacher ICT professional and academic qualifications. Pre-service
training; School-basedcapacity building initiatives for in-service teachers.
Learning areas competencies; Teachers as self learners; Teacher’s self
initiated study. District, province and national training initiatives
Page 201 A resource required by all schools that emerged from the voices of teachers and
school principals is the dire need for ICT competent teachers that are entering the
teaching profession. Both principals of the public schools indicated that new recruits
that are skilled or qualified in ICT are in short supply. School principals seemed to be
hard pressed to identify new teacher recruits that are ICT competent or at least have
the will to use ICT in their teaching practice. The principal of an inner city school
expressed the issues at play in trying to recruit teachers that are ICT competent.
Ja you know challenges like to convince people[teachers] that it’s
important, that there’s a need for that. Challenge is to find well
equipped people…you might have this but the skills are not there,
or the passion is not there. Then it’s [computers] locked in the
safe, I mean it won’t be used…ja, you know what, over the last
three years, we really started with this. Teachers have resigned
they left. They just said you know what I’m not in for this.
P8: Principal School B
Fundamental to the need for competent teachers is the issue of ICT teacher training
for in-service and pre-service teachers. The voices from all participants in this study
appeared to concur with the notion that higher education teacher training is not
developing ICT competent teachers. The township principal explained his idea of
producing ICT skilled teachers at higher education institutions.
I think so and I think that when it gets to the training of
educators, one should introduce somewhere in the course
whether as a minor or a major to introduce it a requirement for
teaching before they graduate from varsity.
P7: School A- Principal.txt
An Afrikaans teacher studying towards a postgraduate degree and employed at the
independent school mainly toprovide technical and pedagogical support to other
teachers in the use of ICT,voiced his opinion with respect to pre-service teacher
training at a higher education institution.
I’ve got a concern that students coming from Tukkies [meaning
University of Pretoria], that they are just oblivious to the
technology in the classroom, and I believe that is the breading
ground where it should really start at university level. So that
when a student comes in they should actually be the drivers…but
the teachers going into the schools are not geared [very
emphatic] to do those things yet.
P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:70 (586:591)
Page 202 All school principals in this study recognised the need for teacher training,
particularly in the pedagogical use of ICT. In-service teachers seemed to have
surpassed the ICT literacy stageand they now desired specialised training in
pedagogical methods, time management to balance the integration of ICT with
curriculum delivery and advanced ICT skills. The technology teacher in the township
school expressed his excitement to learn how to use ICT more effectively in his
teaching practice.
Yes, all I’m doing on excel is my recording [meaning
administrative task] But it would be good to see how we can
incorporate excel in teaching, because I know that many people
love excel...[excited] oh, oh I can see it. It opens a big door for
teachers.
School A: Teacher 1.txt.
Participating principals appeared to require teachers to become more skilled in the
manner in which they employed ICT in their daily teaching and learning practice. The
former model C school principal narrated his vision of an ICT skilled teacher
emerging from university study.
This is a tool and everything around it is a tool, they [teachers]
must just use it, that’s why training is very important. I would say
over the next 3-4 years I would expect that we appoint coming
from the university or anywhere, that walks into my class and I
say there’s the network point there’s the laptop, there’s it, thank
you very much can I just quickly transfer my lesson to my laptop
[illustrates the process using his cell phone and the laptop].
That’s how I see it. If the HOD says where’s you prep, I just say
can I transfer it quickly, where’s your laptop, blue tooth on
alright there’s my prep…
School B- Principal.txt
The voices of the principals in this study revealed various degrees of reliance on
systemic support for teacher training. In the case of the township school their need for
support seemed to be one of desperation. The principal explained that though teachers
should take responsibility for their own development, he expected the department of
education to facilitate the training of teachers.
Page 203 And also for the teachers already in the working environment,
they [District] should come up with interesting course or seminar
or workshop to add to their teaching credit. I don’t think the
department has been focusing in that... Obviously the
responsibility starts with us; it’s about where we want to go... the
teachers will raise objections. So try and help yourself out first
and it’s also the responsibility of the authority [Department of
Education] for example... We are all teachers and we all need
support.
School A: Principal.txt
On the other hand, the inner city school and the independent school are apparently self
reliant and less optimistic of support from district. Both of these schools seemed to
provide in-house opportunity for teacher training. The former model C school
principal elaborated on the training opportunities the school offered for new teacher
recruits.
We create opportunities here, otherwise it comes from nowhere.
We send our teachers quite often to seminars, courses things like
that. Internally we have boffins here like Miss Bo, Vanie, Van Zyl,
ja those guys train them, ja whose got problems. We have an
induction programme for new teachers, yes it takes us about three
moths the induction programme, to say this is how we do it.
Forget about where you come from ‘this is how we do it’, ‘this is
why we want it’ and this is ‘how we want it’. We make an effort,
it’s time consuming, it takes a lot of time.
School B: Principa.txt
The principal of an independent school explained the need for training for all teachers
in his school. The school has developed one teacher to champion the process of ICT
integration into the curriculum by supporting teachers as and when they need support.
Although the main task of this teacher is ICT support, this placed excessive strain on
this teacher.
At the moment, some of our staff would benefit from a training
programme because there is only one person available and as
much as he is willing to help, it becomes too much for one
person…Certainly, there is need for teachers training…
P8: School C: Principal.txt Page 204 A public school principal described the dire need for adequately skilled teachers.
Although he is a principal of a well resourced inner city school, he seemed to realise
the need for ICT training of all teachers, particularly those that are from
disadvantaged communities.
And there must be training, because a lot of our people are not
trained, our people come from disadvantaged areas where this
[ICT] does not exist. And even if you deliver this today there, it
will not work because the guys are not skilled... You need to
empower the guys and equip the guys to get them to use these
things, because the more they use it the easier it becomes. And the
easier it becomes the more you start experimenting with it, the
more you experiment with it the more you discover which makes
it much more easier.
P:7 School B . Principal.txt
The township school principal explained the limitations he experienced in training
teachers in the use of ICT. He described the Integrated Quality Management System
(IQMS) process through which training needs of teachers was determined. The IQMS
assessment instrument was used to record each teacher’s professional development
needs, which were noted in the school improvement plan (SIP). The limited budget of
the school would be used where possible for the professional development of some
teachers, but not necessarily for ICT training. He expected the district office to react
to the composite needs of the school as indicated in the school improvement plan and
to provide training to teachers. He elaborated,
You’ll assist with immediate support. Once again, I’ll refer to our
budget; we do have a tab for development of educators. That
would be noted and presented to those who are supposed to hear
it- the district must pick it up from there.
School A: Principal.txt
5.2.2.3
The need for ICT policy and policy guidelines
“Look we’ve got that White paper, but something more better and more…that
explains it better and more structured”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Systemic policy support (department of education, provincial and district
policy). Official circulars, memoranda and guidelines.
School’s policies and institutional support.
Page 205 All three schools in the sample, through the voices of teachers and principals,
appeared to desire ICT policy guidelines that are tangible. They did not seem to
perceive the national e-education policy as a workable document. Even though
teachers in all three schools were aware of the e-education policy and principals were
unaware of the policy’s existence, there appeared to be an outcry for more simplified
policy guidelines for schools. A teacher of theformer model C school expressed the
sentiments of all schools with respect to the need for policy guidelines and support
from district, province and national.
Interviewer: When you and the principal spoke to me earlier you
said ‘there is so much that we can do but we do not know what
must we do’
Teacher 1: Maybe set up a better syllabus, may have meetings.
Say to all the teachers in the computer rooms we have a cluster
meeting for you. Do this…Do This … get ideas exchange
ideas…That must come from the department. Look we’ve got that
White paper, but something more better and more…that explains
it better and more structured.
P 3: School B - Teacher 1.txt - 3:57 (702:715)
Another teacher at the former model C school indicated a lack of guidelines from
district. This teacher expressed a dire need for ICT integration policy guidelines that
would enable her to teach effectively. She gave vent to her feelings of frustration.
There needs to be a link. We don’t know what they want, we
making up as we go along. We using our own stuff... They don’t
give guidelines, I don’tthink it fair. I don’t think many teachers, I
don’t thinkits fair
P 4: School B - Teacher 2.txt - 4:135 (1075:1078); (1082:1084)
Schools are seemingly on their own with respect to developing their ICT policy. All
of the schools were at different levels of progress with the development of their own
ICT policy: The independent school had a copy of their policy and immediately emailed it to me (See Appendix E5). The policy document however, is generic and
effectively spells out acceptable behaviour for learners in the use of ICT. The
document does not relate to issues of teaching and learning. The former model C
school indicated that they are developing an ICT policy and “it’s in the process of
development and changing all the time”, while the township school did not have an
Page 206 ICT policy as reflected by the principal’s plea ‘we are heading towards that [ICT
school policy] and may I request you to assist us please.’
In the narratives of the principals of all schools in this study, they implied their
knowledge or lack of knowledge of the national e-education policy. None of the
participating principals referred to the e-education policy in our discussions, either
implicitly or explicitly, as a source document for their planning. The principal of the
model C school seemed to be “waiting” for appropriate policy from the national
department of education. He explained his anticipation of an e-education policy and
district response to his inquiry.
Interviewer: are there any provincial, national or district policy
that you can turn to, to give you guidance for the school itself?
Principal; No, no. I often spoke to the IDSO, the lady who phoned
me just now. But the answer we get lately is that you must do is
right for your school. And do what’s best for your learners. I
think once the Gauteng-on-line computers are installed and are
operational, there will be a policy from the top coming down for
that.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:105 (355:362)
The principal of an independent school suggested that though the e-education policy
may exist, he had no knowledge of it. He acknowledged that there may be gaps in the
implementation of the e-education policy which the independent school had ignored
and forged ahead.
It’s [e-education policy] probably available out there but we are
unaware. I know that when I was in a government school, I’d get
those documents and I’d end up just filing them away. Nowadays,
we are so reliant on IT that I’m not sure if I have seen the white
paper policy document {laughing}. However, there are missing
gaps since inception and maybe in independent schools we can
forge ahead with what the government has prescribed as a
periphery. We get more leeway in terms of what is best for the
learners.
P 9: School C - Deputy Principal.txt - 9:28 (150:154)
The principal of the inner city school expressed his concern that the district office
remained at a distance in term of policy support. He elucidated the lack of policy
guidelines, directives and support that are expected from a district office.
Page 207 Ja, I think the time is right now for the district to play abigger
role. To come forward and say guys we areimplementing
Gauteng-on-line centres in you schools, we starting thisMath,
Math Literacy, we starting this and this, this is the biggerpicture.
This is where we are now this is where we want togo, and this is
how we are going to get there. Some of youguys are almost there;
some of you guys haven’t started.This is what we going to do.
There’s no big picture, That’s the way to go, because it’s [ICT]
there already, they not using it.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:195 (1149:1155)
The same principal described his frustration at not being able to access sufficient help
in setting up the school computer laboratory (provincial funded). He put across his
uneasiness with not knowing whether he is proceeding correctly in creating an elearning school, but at the same time acknowledged by district for his ICT progress.
When the Gauteng-on-line came here we could not find a person
that could advise us. The what? The where? The how? What must
we do with that? What is it used for? Nobody can tell us…We get
a lot of support, in a way of ‘we like what we see’, ‘we like what
you do’ [Pause] And we get the blessing of what we do and how
we do, but nothing else, there is nothing [qualifies his opinion], I
don’t think there is anything [reaffirms].
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:183 (1053:1059)
5.3
Beyond the boundary of the school
5.3.1
The ability of district and province to affect the behaviour of
teachers to implement policy
In this sub-theme I focus on the capacity of the systemic structures of the district and
provincial education departments to influence the behaviour of teachers towards
implementation of the e-education policy.
5.3.1.1 District and province ICT administrative directives
“That’s why the course was here, they [district] don’t take paperwork anymore…
They say from now on you will be doing it like that.”
Page 208 Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
District’s ICT administrative processes; District’s ICT administrative
training and support.
School’s administrative initiatives and processes.
This sub-category is defined by administrative directives taken by systemic levels to
persuade schools to adhere to policy requirements. The district has indirectly changed
the behaviour of teachers in relation to the implementation of the e-education policy
by enforcing schools to adhere to ICT enabled administrative processes. At most
public schools teachers are apparently tasked with this administration responsibility
and are often clustered for software ICT training by the district office. In other
administrative functions schools are obliged to complete the annual survey, which is a
comprehensive electronic database of the school’s teaching and non-teaching staff,
learner population, building audit, physical resources and an inventory of ICT
equipment.
The district also enforcedthe use of a district supplied software package in schools for
learner data, curriculum planning, financial control and school time-table planning.
The township school principal described the purpose of this program, for which
teachers or secretaries receive appropriate training.
We are linked to this SAMS programme which in a nutshell
refers to the recording of information of learners. It is in some
way linked to that ...[internet], it’s a data capturing programme as
well as the annual survey that we are doing via .... Our financial
system is also in the system and we use Pastel programme.
P 7: School A - Principal.txt - 7:8 (73:76) (78:82)
The principal of the former model C school described the district’s administrative
demand that the procurement of learning support material is done electronically. He
explained the use of his school as a centre for school cluster training in the use of the
prescribed software for procurement of teaching and learning material.
That’s why the course was here, they [district] don’t take
paperwork anymore. They’ve got a format it’s on the computer,
you’ve got to complete it and e-mail it.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:190 (1093:1097)
Page 209 (continued)
They don’t want papers anymore. That’s why they had all the
media centre teachers, and all the teachers working with
textbooks and the retrieval of books and the ordering of books.
They say from now on you will be doing it like that.
P 8: School B - Principal.txt - 8:190 (1093:1097)
The technology teacher at the township school was tasked with the procurement of
teaching and learning support materials. He narrated how he coped with this
administrative duty while having to teach at the same time.
Let me come back to the LTSM [learning-teaching support
material] part. I am currently busy with placing book orders for
the entire school so I have ample time to do this because I do
mythings on the computer. I can make copies of my notes and
give it to my learners to continue as I am busy working with the
internet. We don’t have a lot of admin help so we have to do it,
yourself.
5.3.2
Resources required by district and province to affect the
behaviour of teachers to implement policy
In this sub-theme I focus on resources that the district and provincial education
department may find necessary in bringing about change in the behaviour of teachers
in the implementation of the e-education policy. The following sub-categories were
evident from the coding of data, and these are the need for policy guidelines and
channels of communication, guidelines for ICT curriculum integration and ICT
assessment levels, district capacity and competence to monitor and evaluate
implementation of e-education policy, the need for a shared vision and unified
strategy, the need for ICT willing schools and ICT teacher training.
5.3.2.1
The need for ICT policy, policy guidelines and effective channels of
communication
“The e-education policy is actually is the bible...just preaching the documents that
we adopted from the department [National]”, “I don’t blame those teachers if they
haven’t seen it [e-education policy], these policy documents.”
Page 210 Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
•
Provincial and national ICT policy guidelines; Systemic channels of
communicating the e-education policy.
School ICT policy;School or teacher’s personal interest or access to the
e-education policy; Schools channel of communication of the e-education
policy to parents; cluster and cascade collaboration
Adopting the e-education policy
The provincial department of education and the district office seemed to speak with
one voice in their attempt to explicate the lack of their own e-education policy
initiatives. Both systemic levels did not appear to have developed their own ICT
education policy or policy guidelines that could be used to portray and simplify the
mandate of the e-education policy to schools. The district office chief e-learning
specialist responded to the issue of a district ICT policy as follows:
Interviewer: Does district have its own ICT policy?
District Official: [very long pause] Eh…not necessarily. We just
preaching the documents that we adopted from the department.
Interviewer: Which documents would that be?
District Official: The e-Education policy, obviously. Which is our
bible, you know what ever we develop even in our operational
plans. That’s is where we take our , our, all our operational
objectives.
P10: District.txt
At both district and provincialsystemic levels the education department officials
reported that they have “adopted” and “aligned” their directorates to the national eeducation policy. The e-learning directorate at provincial level appeared to be fully
conversant with the process of creating mandated policy. Despite this, the provincial
e-learning directorate apparently did not have an e-education policy that drives the
national e-education agenda, nor did it have policy to guide districts’ e-learning
directorates.
The same can be said about the district office, in that district has also adopted the
national e-education policy and relied on this document as is evident from her words
“the e-education policy is actually is the bible”.The chief education specialist (CES)
offered an explanation for the e-learning directorate’s apparent policy deficiency.
Page 211 CES: Before you [laughs] In developing our policy, ok we take
the national we match the provincial document you know,
because that’s the province, we having the premiers office, still
coming with their own vision, coming with their own strategy, to
make sure we align the provincial aims or objectives and goals
with those of National’s, and then we mix the two and come up
with our own policy. So that’s the process that has been started,
that’s the policy that’s going to ensure it’s our policy, and…
Interviewer: How far is that process in place at the moment? In
developing your own policy?
Interviewer: [silence]... Is it in the process, is it reaching
finalization, is it in the process? Is it in the pipeline?
CES: How? We always sit at the ground stage. Already we have
one circular that is approved.
P12: Province.txt
While district and province find their feet in establishing their own e-education policy,
these systemic structures seemed to act merely as a conduit for the national eeducation policy. School teachers, howeverexpressed adire need for clear policy
guidelines in order to implement the e-education policy (See 5.2.2.4). Teachers
appeared to seek more tangible policy guidelines and not simply an imposition of the
national e-education policy. Ironically, provincial and district officials expected
schools to have their own ICT or e-learning policy, but schools apparently did not
have district or provincial policies to guide them.
Schools on the other hand,
seemingly did not mention or refer to any of the provincial circulars or district memos
nor did they reference the national e-education policy in their official school elearning policy document (see Addendum E).
At district level, the e-learning specialist suggested that theobjectives and mission
statement of the e-learning directorate (refer to Addendum E7) that were used at
seminars should be clearly understood by schools. However, schools are looking to
district for making the e-education policy clearer for them to understand and
implement. In this regard neither the district office nor the provincial e-learning
directorate appeared to have produced any policy guidelines to schools that simplified
or elucidated the expectations of the national e-education policy. Schools seemed to
be on their own to integrate the national curriculum policy with the e-educationpolicy.
Page 212 At both these systemic levels, there was an absence of policy directives to school that
would guide the implementation of e-education policy in schools.
•
Communicating the e-education policy to schools
Fundamental to the lack of adequate guiding policy was the issue of communicating
the e-education policy to schools. This sub-category also focuses on the district and
province’s modus operandi of communicating all policies or e-education policy
related circulars, guidelines or memoranda to schools.A crucial resource required by
district and province was to improve the e-education policy channels of
communication between province, district and school. All participating principals
were seemingly unaware of the existence of e-education policy as they did not
mention the policy as a resource document. Contrary to the experience of principals,
systemic structures beyond the schools’ boundaries (district and province) indicate
that all schools apparently have the e-education policy. The provincial deputy chief eeducation officer explained their dilemma with respect to communicating the eeducation policy to all relevant stakeholders at school.
DCES: Normally when we go to schools, which is a problem
generally with all the other policies. You go to the school, and ask
them do you have this particular policy they say no, but when you
probe you find that its there, [laughs out loud], you know. And,
and but our case is to have educators where, all the educators are
capable I mean are aware of what we are having and they
implementing all the policies.
P11: Province Officer.txt
The e-learning units of both district and province identified road-shows, seminars and
conferences as the means to communicate the objectives of the e-education policy and
showcase e-learning best practices. The provincial e-learning official claimed that
many schools are far ahead in e-learning because of their exposure to these road
shows. The provincial directorate suggested that road-shows allowed them to reach
their target audience and communicatethe e-education policy. The deputy chief
education specialist (DCES) at provincial level elaborated on his confidence in road
shows as a means to communicate the e-education policy and as a means to change
the behaviour of teachers towards implementing the e-education policy.
Page 213 DCES: In terms of changing that behaviour of teachers, you see
one thing that I had observed, before I joined Head Office, was
what CES and the other members did was to do the road shows,
road show in order advocate e-learning and district officials also
did the shows with the schools, but it was not a once off thing,
even now currently that programme is still running, where we
still advocate this and this of ICT’s.
P:12. Province.txt
A teacher at the inner city school described how she apparently came to know about
the existence of the nationale-education policy, through her participation in an elearning exhibition organised by the local district’s e-learning unit.
Teacher 2: Yes, the white paper isn’t familiar to all educators. I
heard of the white paper when I went to e-learning exhibition
station.
P 2: School A - Teacher 2.txt - 2:53 (413:416)
The district e-learning official claimed that communicating the e-education policy to
all stakeholders was a challenge. At district level the e-learning education specialist
appeared tobe rethinking the road-show or conference approachas means to
communicate the e-education policy. According to her, road shows, seminars and
conferences are limiting methods to communicate the e-educationpolicy as they
exposed only the e-learning champion teacher at the particular school to the policy
and not all teachers. According to the district official, the selected teachers that
represent their schools at these e-learning seminars and conferences did not expose all
stakeholders at their schools to the e-education policy. This culminated in a gap in the
way the e-education policy was supposed to be communicated.
Both district and province indicated that teachers who attend the e-learning
conferences and district meetings tended to take the policy documents with them
when they transferred from one school to another.The district e-learning official
described her negative experience of using conferences as a means to communicate
the e-education policy “Because this system of clusters and big conferences, I notice it
does not work, much more hands on, individual approach, even if we can do two
schools a year”.
Page 214 Because this system of clusters and big conferences, I notice it
does not work... Why, its because only one or two delegates [who
attend the conference], and when they come back [top school].
The fact they say I [other teachers] did not get to attend the
conference. I said people its time to connect with the schools, so
they are yet to see us... Some of them might not even be aware
that we exist as a unit, you see.
P 12: District.txt - 2:53 (413:416)
•
Cascades and school clusters
With regard to using the cascade system of communicating the e-education policy, the
district and provincial e-learning units also stand divided in their view of its
effectiveness. The provincial e-learning directorate appearedto be convinced that their
cascade system is a process that provides ample opportunity for the e-education policy
directives to be mediated effectively at all levels of the system. With the cascade
system seemingly in place, provincial officials indicated that the e-education policy
document is in every school. The provincial e-learning official explained the cascade
process in communicating the policy.
DCES: …So we workshop these policies again. Thus it is
cascaded down to the schools, via the clusters ok. So our
facilitators at the district level have formed clusters, and that is
cascaded down to the CELTs, the school’s e-learning team and
that’s how our policies are being mediated in the province.
P12: Province.txt
Contrary to the expectation of province’s strategy on the formation of formal clusters
(CELTS) in districts, the district officer did not seem convinced of its effectiveness.
There seemed to be a mismatch in understanding between district and province in
terms of the channels of communicating the e-education policy. The district official
expressed empathy with teachers already overburdened with curriculum based
clusters. She expressed her concern that clusters did not function as a means to inform
schools about the e-education policy.She expressed her beliefs that the cascade and
cluster systems of communicating the e-education policy are processes that did not
work.
Page 215 Regardless of the fact that whenever I send out a memo, I say ICT
the in brackets in full what it is. But not everybody get to read
that memo. That is for me…the question of clusters information
doesn’t filter through, the cascading model it does not work
[emphatic]. It does not work you see. I don’t blame those
teachers they haven’t seen it, regardless of the memos that have
gone to the schools, or the...the…these policy documents.
P11: District Officer.txt - 11:116 (830:835)
The district e-learning official apparently changed her strategy of communicating the
e-education policy to schools. The e-learning district official proposed working with
all stakeholders at individual schools to communicate the e-education policy. The elearning unit seemingly embarked on a whole-school training approach, training one
school at a time. The district official enthusiastically explained her new
communication strategy.
So, at this point in time, what we are doing, we are visiting
schools and training the whole staff, on the e-Education policy…
But with e-learning everybody have got to come onboard. So
what we do, we go out we bring the school to a stand-still, the
SGB, the educators, the clerks,
P10: District.txt
In this district strategy all stakeholders seemed to be targeted and exposed to the eeducation policy. The whole-school training involved a one-hour PowerPoint
presentation to all stakeholders. The participants in this workshop were given a hard
copy of the PowerPoint presentation (see Appendix E7) and either a handout of the eeducation policy or a websites address for schools to access the document. She
relatedhow the workshop unfolded.
Then we give them a one-hour presentation, where we give them
the whole background on the document [e-education policy]. We
have prepared slides for them, we make copies we hand them out,
we also give them hard-copies, but the hard copies because we
don’t have enough, we just give them to the HOD’s [head of
department]. Otherwise we just give them the web-site, because it
is available on-line.
P10:District.txt
Page 216 The main goal of the district official’s new approach to communicating the eeducation policy is to prepare teachers for future workshops or training. She believed
that the one-hour workshop would lay the foundation for teachers to understand the
broader framework of the e-education policy.
So that whenever we invite them for training, whenever we
introduce ICT, they will understand the thinking you know, where
we coming from, you know. They will understand the use of ICT’s
within a broader framework of the policy that has been adopted
by the department.
P10: District.txt
5.3.2.2
The establishment of ICT curriculum integration guidelines and
ICT attainment levels
“We still haven’t set those standards as a unit [district], not even as a department
[province]”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
ICT curriculum integration guidelines and district support; ICT
attainment levels
Teacher ICT qualifications
Participating schools seemed to be integrating ICT into the curriculum through their
own interpretation and understanding. At all three schools in this study the observed
lessons were indicative of teachers using ICT to teach the curriculum (See Appendix
F1-F6, classroom observation video clips). Schools are trying to make sense of how to
integrate ICT into the curriculum. Without any guiding policy on how to integrate
ICT into the curriculum, schools are exploring this through teachers’ own initiatives.
Most schools and teachers have acquired their own ICT software and resources that
are curriculum based and are learning through their own experiences of how to
integrate ICT. The principal of the former model C school explains that the national
curriculum policy is open to his interpretation and thus the opportunity to integrate
ICT. He expressed his enthusiasm for ICT to be integrated in the core curriculum
policy.
Page 217 Interviewer: The new NCS policy, would you say the NCS has
catered for ICT integration?
Principal: No…it is, it is, its how you going to use it. I think it
leans it more than ever before, that you can use it… No its not
spelled out, its not there. But I think the way we do it and how we
use it, when I think back now definitely more than ever before. Ja,
the previous things were all referred back to a specific text book,
its open now…It leads it more definitely, more than the old
curriculum, or even when we first started with OBE, it was chaos,
nobody knows what to do. Everybody just tries their own thing… I
think it would be lovely for in a policy document for a learning
area, at the end of each topic or there’s 4or 5 websites where you
can find more information on this or that. That will be fantastic,
because that’s what the teachers need..
P7: School B – Principal.txt
District and provincial e-learning directorates did not appear to have guidelines to
support teachers’ attempts to integrate ICT into their teaching and learning. The lack
of ICT curriculum integration policy or guidelines did not seem to capture the
attention of systemic structures. The provincial e-learning directorate appeared to
focus on ICT resources (software) and management issues (time-tabling). The DCES
of the e-learning unit responded to ICT curriculum integration guidelines as follows:
Interviewer: How does the province plan to encourage teachers
to integrate ICT into the curriculum?
DCES: Well we’ve given out the draft document that we’ve got.
We have made sure that each and every school they allocate a
time table, they allocate a period on the time table where all
learners will have access to that, but over and above we also got
support structures in terms of our CELTS structures, our cluster
e-learning team our clusters andour provincial e-learning
officials they assist, they visit schools there thereafter again we
say we also need to provide schools with some ICT resources, get
curriculum program, that’s another aspect which we can solve
and make no mistake with that and we have already made our
plan to support the e- teacher initiative project. So definitely
P11: District.txt
All schools in this study have also developed their own ICT attainment levels (see
Addendum G) appropriate for each phase in the school. Both district and provincial
departments seemingly did not have established guidelines for ICT attainment levels.
The district and provincial e-learning officialsappeared to be seeking guidance to set
ICT attainment levels. The district e-learning official explained that ICT
Page 218 attainmentstandards have not been determined by the district office nor have they
been developed by the provincial e-learning directorate.
Interviewer: Does your unit have student attainment standards in
terms of ICT? In other words do you have what you expect
schools to teach their children?
District Official: Ja, not as yet. But I see that we are not going to
be complete until we are able to do that, you know. We still
haven’t set those standards as a unit, not even as a department
[provincial].
P11: District.txt
The provincial e-learning chief education officer corroborated the utterances of
the district officer in respect of ICT attainment levels for schools. The elearning directorate seems to be searching for a solution for this deficiency, with
the expectation that relevant research could provide a solution.
Interviewer: Does this unit or directorate have student attainment
levels in terms of ICT?
CES: You see at the moment, we are seeking research in this
regard, we need a research, you know to guide us for some of the
questions you are asking, so hopefully when we get a report we
can implement it
P11: Province.txt
5.3.2.3 The need for systemic competence and capacity in e-learning
directorates
“I’m beginning to study, you know. Yes, because people want to know, that you
know your stuff...They need to know I’m an ICT co-ordinator who is
knowledgeable...unfortunately we are a very small unit, hey...and I’ve only got three
facilitators”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
District capacity to realise policy goals; District and province ICT
qualifications, knowledge and skills; ICT Pedagogic know-how; District
and provinces perceptions of ICT competence; Ability of the e-learning
units at both district and provincial level to support schools; manpower
resources and their capacity to engage in supporting schools; School
perceptions of district and provincial E-learning officials competence;
Teacher’s capacity to realise policy; District and provincial’s
perceptions of teachers ICT competency; Institutional support; Inter and
Intra school collaborations to realise policy.
Page 219 In this sub-category I focus on two complementary aspects of systemic competence
and capacity. In the first instance I present various participants’ views on the district’s
ICT professional competence and the support (or lack of support) that these systemic
units offer to schools. Second I focus on human resource constraints (capacity)
confronting district and province in respect of their support to schools.
•
District competence
The voice of a district officer suggested that she needed to be acknowledged as a well
resourced ICT person. The district official indicated that she had begun to further her
studies in order to gain recognition from schools as an expert in the field of e-learning
and in this way have her competence recognised by the schools. She made several
utterances of the same words, apparently as a plight to be acknowledged as someone
‘who knows what she is doing’, her verbal protest seemingly being in response to the
reaction she got from principals of schools. She also felt that there was a need for her
to demonstrate through her current studies that she is an authority in the field of elearning. The district official pointed out that the vision and mission statements (See
Appendix E7) of the e-learning unit was ofher own design and represented her motive
to drive the e-education policy implementation process personally.
District Official: I think first of all they need to look up to me as
somebody who knows what she doing.
Interviewer: And how would that happen?
District Official: I’m beginning to study, you know [laughs]. Yes,
because people what to know, that you know your stuff. When you
are giving a workshop they want to know it’s worthwhile…So,
first of all people have got to know that you know what you doing.
You know where you are trying to get them to. Make your
objective and your vision very clear...we got our own slogan ‘ELearning Unit: creating smart schools’ .
Interviewer: that is particular to your unit?
District Official: To me, you know. That is what I want to see
happen. That is what is driving me. So, I think it is very important
for people to know they are led by somebody who know what she
seems to do. That’s why I am very quick say I’m busy with my
honours [laughs],
P:11. District.txt
At both the district and provincial levels, the voices of the department of education’s
officials were in contrast to the experiences of teachers in classrooms and the
Page 220 perceptions of principals. The district and provincial officials were adamant that they
possessed the necessary competence to support schools, whilst schools were not
confident that they could obtain help from these systemic units. A teacher at an
independent school echoed the sentiment of all participant teachers in this study. He
expressed the view that district officials apparently lack competence and capacity to
support schools.
No I would not. I would not, because if I see what is happening
in government schools, we are way beyond that. And I don’t think
they have, this is a personal opinion, that they have the
knowledge,expertise or the resources to be able to do it the way it
should be done.
P 5: School C - Teacher 1.txt - 5:66 (558:563)
Schools did not mention the district office or the provincial education department as a
potential source of obtaining advice or capacity building support. In the report of the
district e-learning specialist, she narrated her concern that district officials
experienced situations in which schools and teachers in particular were above the ICT
competence level of the district officials.
District Officer: And than it’s a little embarrassing for the
facilitators sometimes when they go to schools, and they find that
teachers are far ahead.
P10: District.txt
In the excerpt that follows the provincial education department official seemed
confident that district officials had the necessary competence to support schools. She
raised her concern that the district e-learning unit did have the competence but not
adequate human resource capacity to manage and support all schools.
CES: It is not being fair on the district; we have people who
are…that have expertise at the district level who will able to
assist them and so on and I have already indicated that we are
having this problem of capacity, a person to share himself with so
• District
and province
many schools.
Hencecapacity
we have the other strategies of clustering
schools to promote collaboration, working and ja, ja, ja.
P11: Province.txt
Page 221 •
District capacity
The e-learning chief education specialist at district office and the province e-learning
directorate indicated that their lack of capacity to support schools stemmed from the
limited human resources that were characteristic of their unit. Both district and
provincial officials suggested that their ability to effect the e-learning policy was
constrained by the fact that the e-learning units were manned by too few officials in
relation to the number of schools that they had to service. Schools seemingly also
acknowledged the inability of the district office to service all schools. The district
official narrated her concern of the lack of adequate personnel in her unit.
District Official: Unfortunately we are a very small unit, hey. We
are only fourpeople, myself who is the co-ordinator and who does
the management work. And I’ve only got three facilitators. The
strategies that I’ve adopted, first and foremost I believe that
schools have to be informed about the policy [implying the eEducation policy], so that what ever action that we take [pause]
you know, the schools will understand it within the broader
framework of the department’s thinking.
P10: District.txt
At provincial level the e-learning directorate officials indicated that their e-learning
directorate was a newly established unit without sufficient staff to administer the
implementation of the e-education policy in all schools. The deputy chief education
officer articulated his concern:
•
But I think it’s also to do what the CES has said in terms of
human resource, that we are running short of human resource. If
you look at our district officials at most they have three elearning officials and if you look the ratio of the e-learning
official and the school and you check that against the number of
school days that we’ve got, it’s by chance that you can visit one
school twice in a year, hence they looking to other schools for
support.
P11: Province.txt
The provincial e-learning team recognise their human resource limitation. In order to
overcome their inability to support schools the e-learning directorate at provincial
level suggests the need to establish two separate, yet cohesive units within the
Page 222 directorate that will facilitate different aspects of the e-learning policy mandate. Both,
CES and DCES identified a need for the establishment of an e-learning policy
development unit that would focus on policy development, and an e-learning policy
implementation unit that would support, monitor and evaluate policy implementation.
The e-learning official explains how the restructuring of the e-learning unit would
promote better functioning.
CES: Um… one, we [are] having a problem with the human
resources. At the moment we are having one unit , at some point
we thinking we need at least a minimum of two units ok, we
should have the people who a focusing on policy, development of
policy and all that ok. We should be having people who are
looking at support of educators, because you know, sometimes,
the team we have to have to develop policy, conference, support
teachers, the two clash…human resources is one…
P12: Province.txt
According to the e-learning directorate the lack of human resource severely impacted
on their ability to oversee the implementation of the e-education policy. At provincial
level the education specialist also indicated that the e-learning directorate is a newly
established unit and they have yet to monitor the implementation of the e-education
policy. The provincial unit seemed unable to visit all schools and thus suggested that
it was the district’s responsibility to monitor and evaluate all schools in their district.
The chief education officer elaborates on the problems she experiences with regard to
monitoring the implementation of the e-education policy at schools.
CES: Monitor implementation? Ahmm, The provincial thing
that’s discussed in our office, we having the district visits you
know. And we have a formal meeting like this, trying to check
properly of the processes of mediating the policies or
implementation processes, we don’t stop there. We go further to
see schools and visit them to see how far you’ve gone. Offcourse
if we do that for many schools we will not be able to finish. We
having a set of schools which we visit, with the district, to see
how far they’ve gone. So the expectation is there, the districts are
doing their visits to schools too, to say after we have indicated
what is suppose to be done and how its suppose to be done, and
actually checked and monitored the implementation, they do the
same.
P12: Province.txt
Page 223 5.3.2.4 The need for a shared vision and unified strategy between elearningand curriculum directorates at district and provincial
levels
“Compulsory is not the language that I would like to use. I would rather say it’s [eeducation policy] a guideline.”, “Now they show you an aspect of the curriculum
that you have never even heard of, they show you high tech stuff that you can’t
even understand”, “We don’t have a specific budget we rely on other directorates,
you have to go and beg”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
Coherent understanding and a common shared vision between the unit for
curriculum development and the e-learning unit at both district and
provincial systemic levels; systemic cohesion in implementing the eeducation policy; District and provincial e-learning financial constraints.
The ICT policy and curriculum integration strategies of schools; School
budget and infrastructure.
A prominent feature that emerged from the findings is the lack of a shared vision
between the provincial education department, the district office and schools as to the
extent to which the national e-educationpolicy is to be implemented as authorised or
mandated policy. The provincial e-learning official explains her understanding of the
e-education policy. She seemed uncertain whether the e-education policy is an
imposed policy that must be implemented at all systemic levels or whether the
national e-education policy is merely a guideline.
Interviewer: Is the policy compulsory, is it a guideline? What is
your perception on implementing the national policy?
District Official: [long pause]Ja, compulsory is not the language
that I would like to use. I would rather say it’s a guideline. And
we’ve got to find a way of, you know, making it or making the
teachers finding sense in using it, making more sense in using it.
It’s my responsibility, as a co-ordinator, to make sure that
schools buy in to it, I wouldn’t say compulsory as such.
P:10 District.txt
At district level the e-learning chief official also suggested that the national eeducation policy was not compulsory for implementation but rather served as a
guideline to schools for implementation. She expressed her concern that schools and
teachers must make sense of the document in order to implement the policy as a
guideline.
Page 224 Interviewer: Is it [e-education policy]suppose to be implemented
in schools? CES: It’s a policy document so it no way usually
[laughs hysterically], we are suppose to be implementing it, but
at the same time we can say we having guideline document from
national. And we also developing guidelines at provincial level
for school to implement whatever you want in that document.
P:12 Province.txt
At school level, most schools in this study are seemingly implementing the eeducation policy without realising that they are doing so. They seem to lack policy
support and guidelines as to how to go about implementing the e-education policy.
These schools are following their own professional understanding and interpretation
of how ICT is to be gainfully employed within the school context. A principal of the
former model C school explains his efforts to obtain policy support and expresses his
expectation that policy will eventually follow from the systemic levels.
Interviewer: are there any provincial, national or district policy
that you can turn to, to give you guidance for the school itself?
Principal: No, no. I often spike to Jorinha, the lady who phoned
me just now. Because she’s very knowledgeable and she really
helps us a lot [referring to the district IDSO assigned to this
school]. But the answer we get lately is that you must do is right
for your school. And do what’s best for your learners. I think
once the Gauteng-on-line computers are installed and are
operational, there will be a policy from the top coming down for
that.
P7:School B Principal.txt
One of the main findings with regard to district and province,point to the disjuncture
between the curriculum implementation and e-learning unit at both district and
provincial levels.The unit for curriculum is staffed by experts in curriculum and the
unit for e-learning comprises of specialists in e-learning.These units (e-learning and
curriculum directorates) exist as separate system support entities and consequently
there is a mismatch of intentions. At school level the teacher is expected to integrate
ICT into his or her teaching and learning practice in delivering the curriculum.
However the district curriculum officials inspect teachers on curriculum-based issues
associated with the implementation of the national curriculum policy, whilst the ePage 225 learning unit is supposed to provide support to schools in terms of the e-education
policy. Hence, the officials from the curriculum unit focus exclusively on curriculum
issues and do not seem to havecompetence in e-learning. The district e-learning
official narrates the dilemma she experiences emanating from this division of purpose
between the two units.
District Official: As far as I am concerned we actually not
supposed to be a separate directorate from curriculum. Because
now I’m burning my own candle there, they are burning their own
candle there...we tried to involve curriculum but it’s not working,
but we tried it out. But if we were in the same directorate,
whenever anything from curriculum goes out, my wish is that it
would be all integrated…So that’s what we are doing it
separately now.
P11: District.txt
On the other hand the officials from the e-learning unit did not engage with
curriculum delivery issues. This problem arises because they cannot address the use of
ICT in teaching and learning without infringing on the curriculum unit. The district elearning seemed to be focused on establishing schools e-learning infrastructure,
though they are aware that the e-education policy goes beyond mere infrastructure
issues.
Although the provincial e-learning chief education specialist expects that teachers not
to view ICT as an ‘add on’ but rather an integral part of the curriculum for teaching
and learning, the same lack of correspondence is playing out between the systemic
curriculum unit and the e-learning unit. Furthermore the voices of the e-learning
officials at district and provincial levels suggested that they would be able to exercise
greater influence on schools if the e-learning unit were an integral part of the
curriculum unit. The provincial chief e-learning specialist explains their strategy to
resolve this dilemma.
CES: One other angle that we emphasizing on is the
collaboration with curriculum people so that educators should
realize that e-learning is not an add-on you know, its part of the
curriculum, ok
P11: Province.txt
Page 226 (continued)
CES: So we training our curriculum facilitators so that when they
go out to the schools to support educators they see it as one thing
[with emphasis], you know. And when they go and do a lesson
plan and see the type of resources they are could use in their
classrooms, some of ICTs should be part of that, and that should
be one thing and not e-learning on that side and curriculum on
this side so we training our curriculum facilitators to integrate it.
P11: Province.txt
Another major problem faced by the e-learning directorates at both system levels was
the imposed budgetary constraints. At both the district and provincial levels the elearning units operate only on an administrative budget. Since these units do not have
their own monetary allocations as a resource to disburse to schools, they find their
ability to function effectively constrained. The culmination of this lack of resource
means that they are limited to support in ICT infrastructure or resources. The problem
is exacerbated by the fact that government schools are also prevented from
channelling their curriculum support budgets to include e-learning resources. The
district e-learning specialist explains the limitations they experience in guiding
schools to acquire appropriate ICT resources.
District Official: The problem at this point in time in Gauteng, I
think it’s a problem that other provinces had, we don’t have an
allocation [meaning budget] for ICT like we have for LTSM, and
this is something that I’ve always queried because for LTSM
you’ve got your ILP allocation, you’ve got your Dinaledi
allocation, you’ve got your kick-up allocation, I mean I remember
there was a time that they[schools] were so flooded with that
money, that they even approached me and said we are drowning
under books[textbooks], we want to spend the money on ICT’s.
And I wrote a letter to the province and they respond to us ‘No’
P12: District.txt
The district e-learning official describes the initiatives and various attempts she had
undertaken to support schools. She narrates her frustration at not being able to
convince higher systemic authorities that ICT is an integral part of curriculum
resources.
Page 227 District Official: Yes, it was ring fenced[term used to indicate
that money cannot be used for any other purpose except what it
was budgeted/intended for] and as far as they were concerned
resources, curriculum resources don’t include ICT. Even with
that I have a problem, because if you read the Dinaledi policy
and the Kidza policy, there is now where, where the policy says
ICTs are excluded. It’s actually broad, it says this allocation is to
support, or to, to resource schools your know in terms of LTSM
etc, you know whatever it is to support curriculum delivery. Yes,
it was ring fenced[term used to indicate that money cannot be
used for any other purpose except what it was budgeted/intended
for] and as far as they were concerned resources, curriculum
resources don’t include ICT. Even with that I have a problem,
because if you read the Dinaledi policy and the Kidza policy,
there is now where, where the policy says ICTs are excluded. It’s
actually broad, it says this allocation is to support, or to, to
resource schools your know in terms of LTSM etc, you know
whatever it is to support curriculum delivery
P10: District.txt
At both district and provincial level the e-learning specialists give vent to their
frustration of not being able to adequately support schools. Their apparent financial
constraints seemed to prevent them from effectively functioning as an e-learning unit
to support school and teacher’s needs. In the narrative of the province’s e-learning
specialist, she describes the e-learning unit’s need for financial resources and financial
independence to be able to support schools.
CES: Another thing is, I am not sure whether I should say it is the
issue of the budget. We don’t have a specific budget of so many
Rands for e-learning to buy equipment or even for training
educators, we rely on other directorates to supply us with the
budget so that we can do what we are suppose to be doing. Which
is kind of strange because you have to go and beg and when the
people say yes the we can run and do what we suppose to be
doing. …There’s no budget that is particularly ring-fenced for elearning.
P12: Province.txt
Page 228 5.3.2.5 The need for “ICT willing schools” - promoting school
collaboration
“Because our people never really believed that they could run their schools as world
class institutions...hence we are advocating the use of cluster meetings to take place
so they can support each other”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
School culture, climates and ethos; schools as change agents; schools as
dynamic institutions, schools as socio-cultural institutions and
communities of change; District and province’s school collaboration and
partnerships initiatives. Cluster e-learning teams (CELTS), District
school twinning initiatives.
Teacher professionalism; teachers competencies; teacher capacities;
Schools’ initiatives for collaboration and partnerships. Teacher’s
collaborative initiatives. School socio-cultural links and affiliations.
One particular resource that district apparently required is what the district official
calls “willing schools”. The district chief education specialist indicates that the culture
of hand-outs and excessive support has actually created schools that can neither stand
on their own nor sustain themselves.
Let us get schools onboard as equal partners. Let us not just
make them into receivers of …its not good for their souls. They
have to be brought as partners, we would rather have 50 schools
participating but let it be 50 willing schools
P10: District.txt
The challenge that the district currently encountered was that of changing the sociocultural mind-sets of schools to develop themselves into e-schools.
I always say to them guys it’s unfair to let our kids [referring to
township children] wake up at half past four in the morning and
be on a bus by five to access those things 40km way from where
they live. When you can transform the very institutions that we’ve
got in the townships.
P10: District.txt
In attempting to change the mind-sets of these communities of practice at townships
schools, the challenge was more pronounced with schools that did not use the
financial opportunity to rise above their socio-cultural conditions. The district officer
apportioned this to what she believed to be a “cultural issue” that plagues township
Page 229 schools. She was adamant that many schools were not empowered to take control and
use ICT opportunities to improve their own teaching-learning environment. In her
opinion this culminated in constant support to township schools and has led to their
inability to develop as progressive institutions of learning. She narrates her plight in
trying to get township schools to change their socio-cultural approach to ICT.
And for me they don’t have reasons to justify that, because in
terms of allocations, look how the department has structured the
quintiles. The poorer the community the more money we pump
into it. I mean we’ve got a school in Mamelodi that gets up to R2
million in allocations, but when you walk in there you don’t see it.
I, I think that’s a cultural thing. …Then you’ve got to wake them
up a bit. So I think it’s, I don’t know if it’s the correct word
‘cultural barriers’, you know…they just need a bit of
encouragement and a push here and there, because our people
never really believed that they could run their schools as world
class institutions.
P10: District.txt
In an attempt to get “willing schools” onboard, district and provincial officials rely on
ICT enabled schools to collaborate and support other schools. The nature of the
support is apparently not defined and it would seem that schools determine their own
levels of partnership, but in so doing could promote the implementation of the eeducation policy. This principle seems to be well entrenched at provincial level, and is
evident from the voices of the e-learning education specialist. School collaboration
and partnership appears to be strongly advocated at both systemic levels.
The
provincial officials use the term ‘twinning’ to represent collaboration between two
schools. One of the e-learning officials at provincial level narrates how ‘twinning’ is a
uniquely provincial e-learning initiative.
DCES: …But it is also one of the programs that we also
advocating in the e-learning directorate, to say in terms of
supporting our schools lets encourage our schools to twin with
one another. Let those who have let them assist with those who
are struggling, so it’s also one of our programs.
P11: Province.txt.
The township school in this sample collaborates with an independent school for
technical support and curriculum planning. This township school is also ‘twinned’
Page 230 with another public school for ICT literacy support. The principal of this same
township school elucidates further partnerships that were forged through the use of
ICT. The schools involved in this collaboration were not from the same suburb and
were separated geographically by some 40km, yet collaboration resulted in the
sharing of skills, expertise and resources. The principal explains the collaborative
experience.
Thereafter, the department came up with this idea of
collaboration. We sent 50% of the teachers to a college in lotus
garden once a week for basic computer literacy lessons. While we
were there, the relationship between the two schools grew.
P6: School A - Principal.txt - 7:2 (48:51)
The former model C school principal explicates how his school is used as a model for
e-learning schools. His school’s achievements appear to be mentioned at district
meetings, and this exposes his school to visits from other schools often out of district
boundaries.
Ja, because he heard, at one of their district meetings, my IDSO
said that you know what, Constantia primary and Apex Primary
and Watervalley primary, our schools are doing this. So the guys
came to visit us. So they use us much more as a benchmark, and
because of that, ja you got our blessing and just carry on and do.
P8: School B – Principal.txt
According to the two provincial e-learning specialists, the formation of school elearning cluster teams called CELT’s (Cluster E-Learning Teams) is a provincial and
national initiative to support schools in the implementation of the e-education policy.
The two provincial education officers were seemingly convinced that the formation of
CELT’s is a provincial capacity that could promote collaboration between schools as
they negotiate the national e-education policy. At the provincial e-learning directorate
the chief education specialist appears to be convinced of the effectiveness of school
clusters (CELTS) as a structure for schools to support schools effectively.
CES: Ja, this is so true. Hence we are advocating the use of
CELTS clusters, so the cluster meetings needs to take place so
they can support each other, and it can be directed as what needs
to be done.Hence we have the other strategies of clustering
schools to promote collaboration, working.
P12: Province - Focus Group.txt - 12:48 (416:422)
Page 231 The notion of school cluster support systems seems to take on a variety of nuance.
Although no district clusters exist for ICT, all teachers in this study seem to value the
idea of cluster meetings as a forum for sharing knowledge, ideas, skills and pedagogic
experiences. A teacher at the independent school shares his experience of working in
teacher cluster support groups “in the cluster meetings they [teachers] can learn about
these things. Use those opportunities to do practical on learning to use the ICT’s].
Another teacher at the former model C school also expresses his interest in the idea of
forming ICT cluster groups within the district. This teacher gives his rationale for
establishing ICT cluster groups “maybe set up a better syllabus, have meetings. Say to
all the teachers in the computer rooms we have a cluster meeting for you. Do
this…Do this … get ideas exchange ideas”.
However, contrary to the provinces’ CELT structures and wishes of teachers for
cluster formations, the district officer is not convinced of the efficacy of establishing
ICT cluster teams. She believes that teachers are already over burdened with other
curriculum based clusters and ICT clusters will not work. However, she explains that
collaborating with the curriculum designated clusters will be more effective.
No I really wouldn’t like to form clusters,because I feel this is too
much on the schools and allthat, and all that. I would rather see
ourselves workingtogether with curriculum within their cluster
meetings.Like who does languages, he always invites us. What I
do Iinvite curriculum software come and demonstrate what
youhave, that is what I am doing so far, but I am not thinkingof
separate ICT classes...Because this system of clusters, I notice it
does not work, much more hands on, individualapproach, even if
we can do two schools a year, better then….
P11: District.txt
5.3.2.6 The need for ICT teacher training
“We firmly believe that training alone is not just going to be proficiency, we believe
in support, support, support.”
Inclusion
Criteria
Exclusion
Criteria
District and province’s perceptions of the need for teacher training in elearning; professional development of teachers.
Teacher and principals perceptions of training in ICT or e-learning;
schools initiatives for teacher capacity building in ICT. Teacher self
study
Page 232 Teacher training is a required resource that runs as a common thread through all
spheres of the system. The voices of school teachers, principals, district and provincial
officials are in unison with regard to this resource. A resource required by both district
and province and an aspect in dire need at schools is the issue of teacher training.
Schools have evidently indicated their need for training often through the school
improvement plan (SIP) and both district and province are acutely aware of this need.
However, district and provincial office do not seem to be in touch with the nature of
training required for schools. All schools in the sample have instituted a two-stream
approach to the use of ICT in their schools. School principals and teachers realise that
ICT literacy is a necessary competence for teachers and learners, and ICT integration
into the curriculum is a consequence of ICT literacy. School teachers now require
training in the pedagogical use of ICT in their teaching practice and not merely ICT
literacy training. Province on the other hand believes that schools are not aware of this
difference. The district official explains her plan to train teachers from disadvantaged
communities.
District Official: Yes, for example the white paper speaks of
getting the learners ICT capable by 2013. So even with the
strategies that we develop, we make sure that we meet that
ambition of the department by getting everybody ICT capable by
2013. And you already know of the programmes [in-service
training programmes for teachers from two disadvantaged
communities] that I am trying to get off the ground with UP
[University of Pretoria] in an effort to try and make the 2013
objective.
P:11 District.txt
The provincial e-learning specialist narrates their strategy of training teachers through
the teacher development unit. The specialist seems to suggest that training alone will
not yield proficient teachers, that there should also be relevant and ongoing support.
CES: Uhm…to change the behaviour [laughs] it will take a quite
a long time, ok. But with things that we have planned and with
that strategy we will workshop the educators and already we’ve
had discussion with teacher development directorate, these are
the programmes we’d like to train our teachers on, so we going to
train them on that. We firmly believe that training alone is not
just going to be proficiency, we believe in support, support,
support, ok. So hopefully our district officials are going to
support the educators in the implementation of again.
P:12. Province.txt
Page 233 At the former model C school the mathematics teacher suggests that district office is
unaware of teachers’ level of ICT skills. Her desire is for more advanced ICT skills
training to take place in order to enhance her teaching and learning practice.
But I do think there’s a certain amount of under-estimation, I
think they [District] underestimate what there is and what
teachers can do already. And they thinking more along the line of
getting teachers trained on word.
School B: Teacher 2.txt
5.4
Summary
In this chapter, I presented the results from the interviews with the principals of all
three schools, the district e-learning leader and the two e-learning officials from the
provincial e-learning directorate.
The main categories that were explored in the interviews were how systemic
structures responded to their capacity to change the behaviour of teachers to
implement the e-education policy and what resources these systemic units (school,
district and province) required to have the desired effect. The main themes that
emerged suggest that principals of schools are creating every opportunity within their
means to foster the implementation of the e-education policy. The schools however
lack (among other); ICT policy implementation guidelines, ICT competent teachers,
relevant curriculum content to integrate ICT;
training opportunity
to develop
teachers’ ICT pedagogical skills and district as a source of e-education policy support.
At district and provincial levels the issues that inhibit policy implementation are more
pronounced and these include the lack of; ICT policy implementation initiatives,
proper guidelines to schools for the implementation of the e-education policy,
competence of the curriculum directorate, cohesion between curriculum and elearning directorate, fiscal independence, understanding of teachers’ real needs as
compared to perceived needs, willing schools, effective channels of communication,
common understanding of systemic support structures in respect of school clusters,
Page 234 ICT curriculum attainment levels, pedagogical focus on ICT, policy implementation
monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to name but a few.
5.5
Literature reflection
5.5.1
Introduction
In this section I situate the results of the findings within the context of international
debates and empirical studies. I report on evidence that is supported by the literature
but also report on new insights that emerged from this study. I synthesized the results
of this study to encompassed ICT policy transforming schools as institutions of
teaching and learning, and ICT policy transforming the systemic structures of district
and province.
5.5.2
Echoing existing knowledge on ICT policy transformation,
teaching and learning
5.5.2.1 ICT policy transforming schools
The manner in which ICT policy in transformed schools unfolded in numerous ways:
beliefs and vision of principals; leadership of the principals; school capacity and
teacher development initiatives; support and collaborative networks; management of
teaching; ICT curriculum content and the recruitment of skilled and competent
teachers.
Beliefs and vision of principals
The beliefs and vision of principals are central to ICT implementation in schools
(Fullan, 1992; Spillane et al., 2002). All principals in this study had a similar
understanding of the significant role of ICT in their schools and were unwavering in
their commitment to promote its use. Principals in this study were visionaries in their
understanding of ICT for teaching and learning, but also of the vocational
(Hawkridge, 1990) role of ICT. School leadership was pivotal for ICT on education
reform to take place. Although schools in this study did not have a coherent whole
school ICT policy, teachers were guided by institutional goals, shared vision and
Page 235 aspirations of principals. All three participant schools were managed by principals
that identified with the need to use ICT across the entire spectrum of the school’s
activities. Similar findings emerged from the literature in which Fullan (2002) found
that the visionary role of the principal should be those of support and development as
well as an agent of change. Phillips (1986), Condie et al. (2002), (Becker, 2000) and
Stevenson (2004) found that the use of computers will only flourish within schools
that encourage it through the leadership of the principal.
Leadership of the principal
Elmore (2005), Fullan (1992), Leithwood and Montgomery (1982), Yuen et al. (2003)
and Yee (2000) suggest that the leadership of the principal is key to successful ICT
implementation in schools. School leadership was a crucial factor for the infusion of
ICT into the school’s teaching, learning and administrative environment. According to
Fullan (1992) organizational challenges, opportunities, responsibilities, and leadership
strategies must be considered well before ICT implementation in schools. In the two
public schools in this sample, principals did not have the opportunity to respond to
these issues of strategic planning (computers were placed in classrooms as a need to
become competitive with emerging trends). Both public schools had to make
significant structural adjustments and changes to their existing buildings to
accommodate ICT laboratories. At the private school, however, it seems that
organizational strategies were in place before computers were placed in classrooms,
as the school’s physical structure was designed and planned to accommodate
computer and research centres. All participant schools were progressive in using ICT
for teaching and learning and administrative purposes and seemed to enhance their
level of functioning. In my study principals enthusiastically pursued ICT to transform
the administrative capabilities of their schools. Similarly in the literature O’Dwyer,
Russell and Bebell (2004, p. 4) also found that “Teachers are influenced by the level
of structure of the system in which they work”. This was consistent with findings in
my study, in which teachers were gradually coaxed to change the way they worked
and used ICT for non-instructional professional needs.
Kozma (2005), Rumsvik (2006) and Andrews (1999) argue that principals are pivotal
to structuring the school environment to support learning. In schools where a shared
Page 236 vision for teaching and learning exist between teachers, principals, learners and
community there is a focus on moving the school forward and not a focus on “figuring
out what policymakers want them to do and then doing it – or not” (Kozma, 2005, p.
141). In my study autonomy and local decisions (although constrained by a rigid
National Curriculum policy) had not deterred principals from pushing the ICT
integration agenda forward in their schools.
School capacity and development of teachers
Principals are at the heart of school capacity and the development of teachers’
knowledge and skills are institutional practices that would lead to sustainable
education reform (Fullan, 2000). According to Schiller (2002), the successful
implementation of ICT as an educational innovation is not only about equipment or
software but also about influencing and empowering teachers. The need to acquire
teachers that are competent and skilled in the use of ICT is a common thread that runs
through the literature (Grey et al., 2006). Principals were challenged to find suitably
qualified or skilled teachers.
Findings from my study echo those found in the
literature.
Support and collaboration
In all three schools in this study, the institutional culture and practice was one
ofsupport and collaboration. Principals argued that teachers required support in view
of improving teaching and learning in their schools. At school level collaboration took
place through teachers’ own initiatives to learn and network (see 4.3.4) and not in
response to externally developed policy. Teachers in these schools were encouraged
by principals to share knowledge and collaborate with each other. Principals in this
study were focussed on influencing, empowering and supporting teachers, though this
played out differently according to the socio-cultural context at each school. At the
independent school the principal was also actively involved in developing teachers’
skills in the use of ICT. The former model C school provided in-house capacity
buildings and school management was exposed to a monthly ICT training camp. This
finding concurs with the literature in terms of intra-school support and collaboration
in which “islands of innovations” formed (Bracewell et al., 2007; Hadjithoma &
Karagiorgi, 2009, p. 84). In the township school, the professional development of
Page 237 teachers in ICT was mainly left to the teacher’s own initiative, congruously
withWilson and Berne’s (1999) findings in a case study of schools, in which teachers
were responsible for their own professional development.
Management of teaching
Another similarity, echoing literature, was the distinction made between ‘traditional’
management of teaching and ‘flexible’ management of teaching in schools. Kozma
(2005, p.141) describes traditional schools as those that are hierarchically structured
with teachers’ classroom practice ‘tightly controlled by inspectors and principals’.
Furthermore he explains that teachers are often accountable for teaching a specific
lesson in a specific way and on a specific day. Within the institutional practice of the
three schools in this study, the findings are consistent with Kozma’s (2005) definition
of traditional schools. In this study, public schools as institutions of learning and
teaching are clearly defined by the norms and standards policy document (Department
of Education, 1998) that regulates subjects into well defined time controlled
categories. School principals are not at liberty to exercise planning discretion on how
to allocate the teaching-learning time of official curriculum subjects. Notional subject
time is clearly established by national policy, and schools are obliged to adhere to
these regulations. Schools (particularly government schools) are structured around the
management of teaching and could not be restructured to cater for flexible learner
grouping or changing of the school scheduled to accommodate more time for learner
projects, teacher planning and collaboration as suggested by Darling-Hammond
(1997).
ICT curriculum content
ICT curriculum resources refer to ICT curriculum content and software that support
teaching and learning. The development of curriculum content for ICT-supported
teaching and learning is a policy area of concern in the literature (Ng, Miao& Lee,
2009). Findings in my study concur with the literature review in that government had
introduced ICT into schools without the corresponding curriculum content to support
teachers. Within the South African context the e-education policy (Department of
Education, 2004) makes several pertinent references to ICT-curriculum integration.
However, the National Curriculum policy (Department of Education, 2002, p. 28)
Page 238 makes very little reference to the use of ICT resources in support of learning. A
screening of the attainment targets revealed that ICT competencies were not included
in an explicit way in the formal curriculum but generically as “the learner is able to
apply technological processes and skills ethically and responsibly using appropriate
information and communication technologies”. This mismatch between what teachers
are expected to do with ICT in their classroom and curriculum demands is consistent
with findings in the literature (Gulbahar & Guven, 2008; Cuban, 2001).
Haddad (2003) argues that the introduction of computers in schools without the
accompanying curriculum related ICT-enhanced content creates a problem for
integrating ICT into teaching and learning practice. Pelgrum and Plomp (1993)
suggest that software curriculum development is a macro responsibility. Haddad
(2003) supports the notion that curriculum development is an obligation of
policymakers
and
integral
to
the
teaching-learning
process.
Furthermore,
policymakers have a choice to develop or acquire curriculum content software.
However, a principal in my study expressed the dire need for appropriate local ICTbased curriculum content. Similarly, Unwin (2005) and Haddad (2003) also found the
need for the development of local content as opposed to the acquisition of curriculum
content that is not ideally suited to local context. Teachers in my study also
acknowledged that the curriculum needs to cater for local context and to prepare
learners for life outside of school.
Recruitment of skilled and competent teachers
The need to recruit teachers that are competent and skilled in the use of ICT is a
commonchallenge that plagued all principals in this study. Similarly, findings from
the literature (Gray et al., 2006) found that principals were concerned that the lack of
specialised teachers for ICT will negatively impact on the range of activities offered
by the schools, and the effective implementation of the curriculum. Further findings
from the literature (Gray et al., 2006; Gulbahar & Guven, 2008) indicate that a
majority of principals anticipated an increase in teacher shortages over time,
particularly is subjects such as sciences, mathematics, technology and design and ICT.
Their claim is consistent with the findings in my study, in which principals were
challenged to find suitably qualified or skilled teachers.
Page 239 5.5.2.2
ICT policy transforming districts and provinces
The transformation of district and provincial e-learning directorates will be discussed
in the light of the emerging findings in my study and situated in literature in the field.
The results from my study identified the following findings: issues of a shared vision
and unified strategy between directorates, channels of communication, ICT
curriculum integration and attainment levels, systemic competence and capacity in the
e-learning directorates, “ICT willing schools” and school collaboration and ICT
teacher training.
Shared vision and unified strategy
A finding in the literature similar to that of my study was the lack of a shared vision
and unified strategy between the different directorates (curriculum directorate and the
e-learning directorate) at both provincial and district level. Younie (2006) found that a
multi-agency of initiatives on ICT existed in the UK education systemic structures.
This multi agency culminated in the lack of communication and cooperation between
the various agencies, also culminating in the retarding of planning and
implementation of policy initiatives. Similarly within the context of my study,
although minimal agency and the lack of collaboration between different directorates
within district and provincial education departments were evident, the e-learning and
curriculum directoratepursued the same national curriculum policy agenda but in
different ways. The result was that the e-learning directorate staff often worked in
isolation from other directorates.
Channels of communication
Channels of communicating the e-education policy to principals and teachers have a
direct bearing on what transpires in classroom practice. O’Dwyer et al. (2004) found
that district decisions influenced classroom practice.
Similarly in my study the
passive decisions taken by the district directorate in terms of their silence, absence
and non-support also influenced classroom practice.
Page 240 ICT curriculum integration and attainment levels
The international trend particularly in developed and developing countries is the
design of appropriate curricula that reflect ICT integration and ICT assessment
standards in the activities that define teaching and learning. According to Fluck
(2001), the preparation of a curriculum framework for the use of ICT in schools is a
long and costly process for government. However, he maintains that such a
framework is one factor that will move schools towards real change in implementing
ICT in teaching and learning. Fluck (2001) also promotes the notion of key ICT
competency skills to cater for the government’s vocational (Hawkridge, 1990) need
for economic growth and international competitiveness. Condie et al.(2007) found
that teachers were using ICT schemes designed by government, to integrate ICT in the
curriculum.
Internationally, many developed and developing countries restructured their national
curriculum to incorporate ICT into the design (Chan, 2002; Lim, 2007). Various
systemic structures take responsibility for this task, depending on whether a
centralised or decentralised system is favoured. In the range of countries in the
literature, responsibility for education is distributed in different degrees between
central government and local government tiers (Plomp et al., 2009). Within the South
African context central government designs the curriculum through the national
department
of
education,
while
decentralised
provinces
are
tasked
with
implementation (Blignaut & Howie, 2009). Post 1994 South Africa has witnessed
rapid and successive curriculum change. However, these curriculum changes have not
seized the opportunity to include ICT as a standalone subject (Howie & Blignaut,
2009) neither for a vocational rationale, nor as a pedagogic one (Hawkridge, 1990) by
integrating ICT in all subjects across the curriculum. Thus the e-education policy
(which places emphasis on these rationales) and the national curriculum policy
continue to be two non-coherent and isolated policies, each making its own demand
on teachers.
In the United Kingdom, the National Curriculum also went through revisions with the
introduction of ICT. However teachers implementing this policy change
acknowledged that the broad aims of the curriculum policy were not easily interpreted
Page 241 by teachers and thus were not implemented in their classroom practice (Fluck, 2001).
This phenomenon also played out in the findings of my research study, with a
participant teacher requiring simplified policy and guidelines that he could interpret as
indicated by the former model C teacher as follows “look we’ve got that White paper,
but something more better and more…that explains it better and more structured”. In
the UK experience, Fluck (2001) notes that a reasonable uptake of the policy was
achieved through a comprehensive series of guides that linked the broad ICT aims to
conventional subject areas. Within the South African context, the absence of specific
guidelines from all relevant systemic structures was still evident, leaving schools to
decide for themselves. Becker (2000) also found that curriculum overload was a
contributing factor to the lack of use of ICT in the practice of teachers, because
teachers felt that the use of ICT inhibited their curriculum delivery, as was evident
with a teacher in this study.
In many countries there is a divergence of philosophy and practice in the manner in
which ICT is integrated into the curriculum, or exists as a standalone subject in the
national curriculum. But there are concerted attempts by governments to include ICT
in the curriculum offering in one way or another. This is significantly different from
the South African context in which ICT is relegated from the policy focus of
curriculum planners. The international trend reflects concerns of governments to build
frameworks and strategies to promote the educational use of ICT (Kearns & Grant,
2002). Lessons in ICT policy implementation indicate how the Flemish government
has responded effectively to Hawkridge’s (1990) rationales for introducing ICT in
education. The Flemish government policy includes non-compulsory ICT attainment
targets for primary schools, formulated as ICT competencies (Tondeur, van Braak &
Valcke, 2006). Their rationale for not defining a new school subject for ICT in the
primary school was that ICT has relevance for all subject areas. In this regard ICT
competencies are cross-curricular attainment targets, with central ICT competencies
to influence the learning process. Within the context of my study national, province
and districts have not taken the lead to determine ICT-curriculum integration
guidelines nor ICT attainment standards.
Page 242 Sherry’s (1998) study indicates how a district was involved in supporting schools to
provide curriculum implementation guidelines. Districts through project leaders were
involved in developing schools’ home web-pages that had links to learner activities
and to curriculum resources that could be shared by teachers. As part of this district’s
activities, curriculum based resources were made available for teachers, like a
classification scheme for internet-related resources, district-wide curriculum related
ideas, activities, lesson plans and resources that could be accessed by teachers via the
Internet. Similar to Sherry’s (1998) study, teachers in my study ‘expected’ the same
type of support from their local districts. Teachers in this study were well aware of the
potential of collaborative effort and support they can give each other. However, they
needed impetus from district office to coordinate this process. A teacher at the
township school describes his vision regarding the district offer of support “I mean the
department should be accessible, the department should pool teachers like us, if you
can give us a simple classroom and say listen on the computer develop lessons”.
Systemic competence and capacity
In my study systemic competence and capacity in the e-learning directorates was
twofold in nature, namely human capital and administrative agents.
Cohen and
Barnes (1993a, 1993b) claim that policy intended to change the teaching practice of
teachers, as in the case of the e-education policy, requires learning by actors who are
charged with implementation of the policy. Spillane and Thompson (1997) suggest
that ‘learning’ in turn requires that those who make or administer policy
implementation perceive their roles to be teaching rather than as mere regulators of
policy. Spillane and Thompson’s (1997) view of district capacity from a teaching and
learning perspective is contrary to the way in which district officials in my study
viewed their role in policy implementation. Karagiorgi (2005) found that districts did
not view themselves as systemic structures that create opportunities for teachers to
learn. Similarly in my study districts viewed their administrative purpose as the
transmission of policy (Hamann & Lane, 2004). At both province and district levels
the e-education policy focus seemed to have been applied to enhancing the ICT
administrative prowess of schools. Schools were required to convert their
administrative systems to adhere to particular districts demands. In this regard district
appropriately responded by providing the necessary support in the supply of
Page 243 administrative software, as well as train and skill teachers in the use of ICT for a host
of administrative functions.
How and what teachers learn (new curriculum, new teaching methods, policy or
skills) depends significantly on the capability of district leaders and teachers’
knowledge, beliefs and experiences (Spillane & Thompson, 1997, p. 186). In my
study, districts did not seem to have the capacity to support schools as teachers tried
to make sense of how to integrate ICT into their pedagogical practice. Spillane and
Thompson (1997, p. 199) construe district capacity to support policy as the ability to
learn the “substantive ideas at the heart of the new reforms and to help teachers and
others within the district to learn these ideas”. Furthermore, they define district
capacity as consisting of human capital (knowledge and skills), social capital (having
social links within and beyond the district, trust to support open communication) and
financial resources (allocation of staff, time and materials). These constructs of
capacity aptly describe the issues facing district and province’s e-learning systemic
units in my study. Provincial e-learning leaders claim that districts officials had
relevant human capital to support schools with respect to knowledge and skills, while
school principals and teachers were otherwise convinced. This is similar to
Karagiorgi’s (2005) study suggesting that when district officials visited schools they
were unable to solve teachers’ problems. The district e-learning teams in my study
also did not seem to have capacity for social capital, seemed to lack social links within
the district and trust to support open communication with schools.
Contrary to Karagiorgi’s (2005) finding, in my study the e-learning directorates at
district and provincial levels had not made themselves ‘visible’ to schools. Spillane
and Thomson (1997) found in their study that districts identified and capitalised on
teacher-leaders, who were committed and knowledgeable about the new policy to
drive the new policy. In my study participant teachers also recognised the value that a
pool of individual ICT experts, with well developed understandings of the e-education
policy, would bring to ICT integration in their classroom practice. Systemic e-learning
units namely, province and district indicate that their capacity to implement the eeducation policy in all schools was severely constrained by the lack of capacity within
each unit (Farell & Isaac, 2007; Ng, Miao & Lee, 2009)
Page 244 “We go further to see schools and visit them to see how far you’ve gone.
Off course if we do that for many schools we will not be able to finish. We
are having a set of schools which we visit, with the district, to see how far
they’ve gone. At district level, I cannot talk about district” (Province elearning CES).
In like vein a teacher expressed that teachers do not have confidence or trust in the
local district’s e-learning unit as a competent resource to address their ICT
implementation concerns, “And I don’t think they [district] have the knowledge,
expertise and the resources to be able to do it the way it should be done”.
Similar findings also emerged in Ofsted’s (2001, p. 13) study of local education
authorities. Local districts did not have the essential understanding of their schools’
ICT needs. In the UK situation (Ofsted, 2001) it was unusual to find district officials
with a good overview of current ICT developments in their schools or sufficient
understanding of whole-school issues relating to ICT. Local districts lacked support
and guidance for schools’ ICT development planning. This finding reflects the same
experiences of principals and teachers in my study with respect to district’s apparent
lack of support, visibility and guidance to schools (Spillane et al., 2002).
ICT willing schools
The need for “ICT willing schools” emerged as a prominent finding in my study.
Harris’ (2002) argues that school willingness is intrinsically linked to senior
management and classroom teachers’ desire to attempt new approaches. These
schools were aware that some approaches would not succeed, but acknowledged that
reluctance to try new teaching practices would not promote school progress. Harris
(2002) also found that schools took a risk to promote the use of ICT, by providing
appropriate ICT resources to allow all learners to achieve their potential. However, in
my study the district leader’s perception and experience of school willingness to
change was contrary to Harris’s (2002) findings and contrary to the findings in respect
of participating schools in this study. In my study, all participating schools were
willing to explore and venture into introducing ICT into teachers’ daily practice.
Uniquely different from findings in the literature (Spillane& Thomson, 1997) are the
experiences of the district e-learning official. Her experience relates to particular
Page 245 schools in her district that were reluctant to venture into ICT integration and attempt
new teaching and learning practices. She expresses her concern that the lack of
willingness occurs particularly in township schools and believes that it is a sociocultural issue “I think that’s a cultural thing. …Then you’ve got to wake them up a
bit. So I think it’s, I don’t know if it’s the correct word ‘cultural barriers…because our
people [township schools] never really believed that they could run their schools as
world class institutions”. Furthermore, she also found that these schools lacked the
will to be innovative, forward-looking and were often disinterested in sustaining
district initiatives. The district e-learning official’s perception was that schools
hadbeen turned into institutions that were constantly receiving hand-outs and hence
deprived of self empowerment opportunity. She explains her dilemma “let us not just
make them into receivers of …it’s not good for their souls. They have to be brought as
partners we would rather have 50 schools participating but let it be 50 willing
schools”. According to Spillane and Thomson (1997) schools’ reaction to
opportunities presented by district depends primarily on teachers’ beliefs and
experiences which influence their willingness to change, but it also depends on the
capability of district leadersto create a learning environment in which schools develop
local capacity through collaboration and access to new information about teaching
instruction,.
School collaboration
In my study developing communities of practice seems to take on different nuances at
district and provincial levels. District and province seem to have different ideas about
the need for collaboration and what it entails. Although province favoured formal
teacher cluster meetings and cascade systems as a way to promote the e-education
policy among teachers, district did not see the merit of such an exercise. This finding
is contrary to the literature in which international trends seem to be promoting peer
collaboration at district level as an effective means to develop teacher competences
and pedagogy in the use of ICT (Hadjithoma & Karagiorgi, 2009). Granger, Morbey,
Lotherington, Owston and Wideman (2002) illustrated that other forms of learning
that are less formal such as internet learning, learning from friends and family and
particularly peer collaboration were much more useful to teachers and more likely to
Page 246 translate into the transfer of skills to classroom practice. These forms of informal
learning were particularly evident from the experiences of teachers in my study.
Granger et al. (2002)also indicate that the importance of collaboration ‘cannot be
over-estimated’, as teachers need each other for a variety of professional purposes
such as peer teaching and learning, planning and ICT technical problem solving.
Findings from my study revealed that while district and province do not share a
common philosophy of school clusters as a means of promoting school and teacher
collaboration, school teachers were practicing collaboration in an informal way. If
districts and province neglect to capitalise on this essential form of teacher learning,
the chances are that the implementation of the e-education policy will be further
retarded.
ICT teacher training
Evidence from this study identified teacher training as an essential component to ICT
policy implementation. The need for teacher training surfaced at all systemic levels
namely province, district, school principal and teachers. Although the district and
provincial education departments are acutely aware of this need, very little has been
done to move teacher ICT training beyond school level intervention. Significantly
different from the literature was that most developed countries have moved beyond
basic ICT skills and were progressing to diversify their ICT teacher training
programmes (Waite, 2004). Lessons from studies (Ofsted, 2002, p. 3; Kirkwood, van
der Kuyl, Parton & Grant, 2000) addressed teacher training challenges, like grading
courses according to teacher competence levels, cost in terms of teacher personal time
and expense, duration and time of training, relevance to classroom practice, face-toface training as opposed to distance learning and teachers’ feelings of inadequacy,
stress, and frustration. Stevenson (2004) and Galanouli et al. (2004) found that
professional development programmes helped teachers to integrate ICT practice. The
lack of teacher training initiatives was clearly evident in my study. However teachers
in my study acknowledged the need for specific training and the lack of district
response to their needs.
Page 247 5.5.3
New insights
In this study the findings elicited several new insights in policy transforming schools,
and district and province education e-learning directorates. School level
transformation took the following forms: ICT leadership and institutional practice,
ICT curriculum resources and the school’s need for policy guidelines. At district and
provincial levelsnew insights revealed the need for shared vision and a unified
strategy within directorates, communicating policy, establishing ICT curriculum
integration guidelines and ICT assessment standards. New insights were not only in
terms of the teachers appropriating policy, but in the South African context these
insights pushed the boundaries back in terms of existing debates in the field of study.
5.5.3.1
ICT policy transforming schools
It is important to note that the e-education policy existed as an “invisible policy” and
did not directly transform schools. Principals were unaware of the existence of the eeducation policy. Teachers on the other hand, acknowledged that they were aware of a
‘policy out there’ but they were ignorant of the policy mandates. However, ICT policy
transformation did occur within the institution.New insights in terms of ICT
leadership and institutional practice that emerged were twofold in nature. Firstly,
these were in terms of school collaboration and networks. Secondly, these were in the
management of the teaching of ICT.
School collaboration and networks
In this study principals and teachers formed collaborations and networks with
successful and forward looking schools to keep abreast of changes and challenges in
the use of ICT in teaching and learning. Mutual support was another motivating
factor for ICT collaborations and networking between schools. Collaboration between
schools took on various nuances in this study. Schools formed links with other
schools that shared the same vision and aligned themselves with other schools of
similar socio-cultural contexts. Schools also formed collaborative links with other
disadvantaged schools and thereby exercised a social responsibility. This significant
aspect of school-school collaboration was not evident in the literature.
Page 248 Management of the teaching of ICT
Andrews (1999) also found that some schools lacked self awareness, vision, and
leadership and did not know when or how to respond to change, while others accorded
low priority to ICT use in education. The lack of leadership was not evident in the
schools in my study. Principals had a visionary outlook that was inspired by a belief
system and set of attitudes that seemed to motivate change in their schools. They were
willing to take risks and to go against the grain in the interest of teaching and learning.
In the absence of provincial and district directives and support, these principals were
proactive an enthusiastic in empowering and building the capacity of teachers to
implement ICT in their teaching practice. In contrast, the international experience
illustrates that principals found managing ICT infrastructure easier than managing
teachers’ use of ICT (Dale et al., 2004). Principal also felt that the implementation of
ICT was an area of concernwhich they were not trained to manage (Harrison et al.,
2002). Karagiorgi (2005) and Pedersen et al. (2006) concur with the ImpaCT2
(Harrison et al., 2002) study that most principals felt they lacked the experience and
expertise to control the new technology in school. According to Veen (1993) and
Pelgrum (1993), principals’ poor attitudes or lack of insight and understanding
retarded ICT integration in their schools.
New insights that emerged in terms of ICT curriculum resources for the
transformation of schools focussed on curriculum content, recruitment and capacity
building of teachers and schools’ need for policy and policy guidelines.
Curriculum content
Significantly different from the literature is that in my study, school principals
(although constrained by curriculum delivery demands) found means and methods to
integrate ICT into their curriculum without any policy guidelines. Kozma (2005)
suggests that districts, schools and teachers should have some freedom within the
curriculum policy to adjust instructional goals to cater for local context, socio-cultural
needs and learners’ interest. In this regard the principal of the former model C school
acknowledged that he interpreted the National Curriculum to be open to ICT
integration.
Page 249 Recruitment and capacity building
There is seemingly a dearth of literature on the particular recruitment strategies of
principals and school governing bodies. Of the limited studies conducted in this area,
findings indicate that the absence of policy support did not sustain the innovative
practices of principals (Thompson, Nixon & Comber, 2006). In this study a principal
actively pursued a strategy to appoint ICT competent teachers that affiliated to the
vision of the school. In my study the principal of the former model C school made a
concerted effort to gradually change the mindset of the teaching cohort in his school
to reflect a staff that shared his vision for ICT implementation. He strategically
appointed an ICT competent teacher at each grade level to effectively change the
mind sets of other teachers in favour of ICT use. He also appointed a teacher whose
main focus was on ICT integration into the curriculum. Another strategy he employed
was to develop teachers by creating opportunities within the context of the school.
As a curriculum implementation resource schools expressed the need for policy and
policy guidelines. In the South African context, National Curriculum policy and the eeducation policy are two significant policies that do not seem ‘to talk to each other’.
Consequently, participating schools in this study seemed to be operating in a vacuum,
applying the National Curriculum policy but oblivious in the mandated e-education
policy. In the absence of national e-education guiding policy principals of schools
were developing their own policy for ICT implementation. Although all schools in
this study had no whole school ICT policy, the ICT policy of the school seemed to
have devolved into specific learning areas and in the ICT attainment standards of the
school. Such devolution of policy to specific learning areas or subjects facilitated
subject specific contextualization of learners’ learning.
Schools’ need for policy and policy guidelines
In contrast, findings from the literature indicate that schools do not operate in
isolation of government mandates. In the UK, schools had ICT policy but often only
in response to satisfying impending school inspection, and were rarely indicative of
the influence of ICT on teaching and learning (Andrews, 1999). Andrews (1999)
claimed in these cases the institutional practice had not yet developed (or not
thoroughly enough) a solid policy to cope with ICT in their classrooms and beyond, at
Page 250 present and in the future. In my study all schools evidently did not have well defined
written policy intentions that embraced all aspects of teaching, learning and
curriculum integration. However, school principals were well in tune with the view of
the potential of ICT as a tool for teaching and learning, embraced ICT in practice and
had a vision of the future of ICT in their schools.
The literature argues that for effective transformation to roll out at school there needs
to be a common and coherent understanding of policy at all levels of the education
system (Hopkins& Levin, 2000; Kozma, 2008). Furthermore, each of the different
directorates needs to be in sync with the others and each has its unique responsibilities
in the system to ensure effective implementation of the policy on the classroom floor.
This process is emphasized in the literature and is vital for the effective uptake of
policy in the classroom. School change in terms of ICT in education practices at
schools was coordinated with the larger system (Sergiovanni, 1994; Talbert &
McLaughlin, 1993). According to Kozma (2005, p. 142) school, district, province and
national policy should be in “sync, coordinated by an overarching set of goals or
vision”.
Cohen and Hill (2000) and Elmore (1995) indicated that coherent and
coordinated policies that are targeted at all components of the system tend to reinforce
and enhance improvement. In my study the schools were isolated from the larger
system, which culminated in the lack of consistency and policy focus at different
levels of the system. Yet schools formulated and implemented their own school based
e-learning policy.
5.5.3.2
Transforming province and district directorates
New insights that emerged regarding transformation of district and provincial elearning directorates elicited the following: creating shared vision and a unified
strategy within directorates; channelling the e-education policy; establishing ICT
curriculum integration guidelines and ICT assessment standards.
Creating a shared vision and a unified strategy
In my study there is an apparent lack of a shared vision of the e-education policy and
a lack of a unified strategy at different levels in the education system. Government
Page 251 ICT policy on education was not viewed by province and district e-learning
directorates as an authorised (Levinson et al., 2009) prescriptive mandate for
implementation. The district official responded to her interpretation of the national eeducation policy as follows, “compulsory is not the language that I would like to use.
I would rather say it’s a guideline”. Similarly, she did not believe that the policy
should be imposed on schools. An explanation of this finding may be corroborated by
a similar study (Ofsted, 2001), which found that local education authorities (districts),
may lack the professional expertise to inform decision making, culminating in
districts inadequate consultation and support of schools. According to Elmore and
McLaughlin (1988) district administrators’ reaction to policy and strategies creates
conditions for teachers’ willingness and ability to appropriate policy. Districts act as
‘processors” to policy demands, develop implementation strategies and allocate
resources while principals act as facilitators of policy. Spillane and Thompson (1997)
view local capacity as teacher’s capacity to teach in new ways, and district’s capacity
to support these changes. They also contend that local education authorities (districts)
are charged with making policy which is as important as administering policy
implementation.
Channels of communicating the e-education policy
Significantly different findings in my study indicate that district and province seemed
to act merely as channels of communicating the national e-education policy, without
administering policy implementation. In my study district’s own interpretation of the
e-education policy and policy initiatives were absent. Districts, in this study seemed to
perform an administrative function of transmitting national policy, and in all cases
schools in my study had not received policy. In all three schools in this study,
principals were oblivious of the existence of the e-education policy. Consequently
principals’ ignorance of national policy meant that they could not facilitate national
mandates. Schools in my study, particularly teachers, required policy support from the
systemic structures to guide their teaching practice.
Within the context of my study the issue of district’s challenges to communicate the
e-education policy was not focussed on the interpretation or misinterpretation of the
policy intentions by teachers, but on the lack of means to transmit the policy
Page 252 document to those for whom it was intended. The literature is silent in this regard, so I
am tempted to suggest that this lack of communicating the national e-education policy
to stakeholders was unique to the local context of my study. In my study district
officials accepted and acknowledged that school principals and teachers may be
unaware of the e-education policy document, but school principals were also unaware
of the existence of the specialised e-learning directorate which was established to
administer the implementation the e-education policy and support schools. The
literature on communicating policy differs significantly from the issues at play in the
context of my study. Most literature that focuses on communicating policy identifies
the challenges that policymakers face in crafting a system to communicate the
mandates of policy exactly as they intended. Research on communicating policy
focuses on attempting to express the main underlying principles of the text of policy
accurately to the actor at the point of implementing policy (Spillane, Reiser & Reimer,
2002). Thus according to Brown and Campione (1996) communicating the rationale
for the policy to local actors situated at the point of policy implementation is crucial to
the success of policy implementation. They contend that some practices of policy may
be the result of actors missing the genuine intent of the policy. In this regard it is a
common understanding that teachers are often unaware of the specifics of policy
(Kozma, 2003a). The overarching assumption arising from the above discussion is
that policy will be communicated to the teacher, but it is the interpretation of the
policy intent that is of concern.
ICT curriculum integration guidelines and ICT assessment standards
Contrary to the literature, findings in my study indicate that the South African
national curriculum framework does little to advance the integration of ICT into the
curriculum (Blignaut & Howie, 2009; Department of Education, 2002). In this regard
all schools in this study attempted to integrate ICT into their curriculum delivery
practices and develop ICT assessment standards, mostly through the effort of teachers.
Schools and teachers in my study were apparently unacknowledged by district for
their innovativeness, as district was out of touch with schools’ endeavours to integrate
ICT. Furthermore, school teachers were experimenting with ICT in their classrooms
and were uncertain whether or not they were exercising pedagogically sound practices
in their attempt to integrate ICT in their teaching-learning repertoire. A teacher at
Page 253 theformer model C school says “there needs to be a link. We don’t know what they
want, we making up as we go along. We using our own stuff... They don’t give
guidelines”
5.5.4
Conclusion
School transformation regarding the appropriation of ICT policy in education in a
South African context leaned significantly towards principals as change agents. In my
study vision, beliefs, attitudes and leadership were fundamental for the
implementation of an e-education policy. The absence of the national e-education
policy and the lack of curriculum resources did not deter principals from fulfilling
their leadership role. The leadership of principals was twofold namely, pressurising
teachers to implement the school formulated policy on the one hand while providing
continued support to do so on the other hand. Significantly the absence of district
support and guidance catalyzed, school principals to form school-school collaborative
networks that served as a source of continued support, motivation and inspiration.
Page 254 Chapter 6
Implications for policy, research and practice.
Summary of findings, recommendations and conclusion
6.1
Introduction
This chapter attempts to present a summary of the key findings and to foreground
these findings against the research questions and theoretical framework of this study.
The literature research assumptions outlined in chapter one, will be revisited in the
light of the findings of this study. New knowledge that emerged from this study and
suggestions for further research will be presented. The chapter concludes with
recommendations for policy implementation to improve teaching and learning.
The main purpose of this study was to explore how national policy on information and
communication technology influenced teaching and learning in school classrooms. In
responding to the research questions of this study: What is the ability of the
hierarchical unit within the education system to affect the behaviour of the teacher
that is the target of the policy? andwhat resources does this unit require in order to
have that effect? I present key findings according to provincial and district response to
the national e-education policy, responses of schools and principalsas change agents.
In addressing the research questions: How does education policy on ICT influence
teaching and learning within South African schools? and how do teachers appropriate
education policy on ICT in schools? key findings are presented according to teachers’
beliefs, attitudes and professional practices.
6.2
Summary of key findings
6.2.1
Province and district response to the national e-education policy
At the systemic level I found that the absence of incremental reform or guidelines in
respect of the e-education policy from national government suggests that national
government had not pursued the implementation of the e-education policy with the
same conviction as it had with other education policy initiatives. The national e-
Page 255 education policy implementation strategies seemed limiting, simplistic and without
specific systemic (province and district) mandates, directives or time frames as
indicated by the policy statement “each province will set its own targets within the
broader framework” (Department of Education, 2004, p. 39). According to Spillane,
Reiser, and Reimer (2002, p. 390) local implementation will be hampered if national
government does not design clear and consistent directives with respect to the
“behaviour desired from implementing agents and agencies”.
Furthermore province and district e-learning officials did not seem to pursue the
national e-education policy as a policy that was destined for implementation. Spillane
et al. (2002) explain how personnel at system structures modify policy intent and
principles as they interpreted policy through their own frames of reference. In the
current study, district and provincial e-learning officials appeared to view policy
through their own experience and seemed to have missed (or misconstrued) the core
intentions and implementation strategies of the national e-education policy (Spillane,
Reiser& Reimer, 2002). It is apparent from the findings that district officials did not
refuse, retard or resist policy, but seemingly did not understand the policy intent or
implementation strategies of the e-education policy(McLaughlin, 2001).
Although districtand provincial e-learning officialswere officially authorised by the
enforcement mechanism of the national e-education policy, any formation of policy
had to be “warranted institutionally” (Levinson et al., 2009, p. 771) and supported by
the personal qualities of “those involved”.
However, there was a sense of
ambivalence at both district and provincial levels on whether the e-education policy
was meant to be implemented. This uncertainty may be a reason that district and
provincial
education
departments
did
not
pursue
the
government
policy
implementation agenda. In the current study, the e-learning directorates appeared not
to believe in a need for their own interpretation of the e-education policy guidelines.
They apparently viewed themselves as conduits of government policy by adopting the
national e-education policy. Thus both province and district e-learning officials
seemingly lacked the “will” to make policy or develop an incremental supporting
policy for schools (Levinson et al., 2009, p. 771).
Page 256 In the current study, exigencies expressed by teachers and principals in schools for
policy guidelines could have been a catalyst motivating district and provincial elearning leaders to respond to the call for support. Perhaps, e-learning officials’
unresponsiveness to the policy support needs of teachers could be attributed to the fact
that they may still be steeped in a traditional culture of a top-down approach to policy
implementation. Local actors at district and provincial levels apparently did not
exercise
agency
in
the
policy
process.
Consequently
schools
(teachers,
principals)were not coerced, pressured or encouraged to implement the national eeducation policy. This apparent lack of support from district and provincial e-learning
officials, coupled with the lack of enabling policies had a consequential effect of
alienating schools from the district.
6.2.2
Response of schools
In the current study (against a backdrop of systemic instability and lack of systemic
support) school-based initiatives were promoted to implementICT. At school level,
principals were key to the implementation of the school-based ICT policy. In most
developed countries, principals and teachers have at least an overarching
understanding of the national ICT policy directives (Harrison et al., 2002). Within the
context of the current study,on the other hand,principalswere uninformed and
oblivious of the e-education policy directives, while on the other hand teachers
expressed a superficial understanding of this policy. However, teachers in the current
study developed and implemented a school-based ICT policy separate fromthe
national e-education intent.
In their need for guidance and mutual support principals and teachers initiated
“communities of practice” (Wenger, 1998; Wenger, 2000) in the implementation of
ICT. These communities of practice developed within each of the schools in the
current study, forming networkswith other schools. All participating schools in this
study attempted to develop a network of like-minded schools. Initially, communities
of practice developed through mutual engagement and a shared vision. Schools and
teachers affiliated to other schools as members of a community of practice and tried to
understand and negotiate meaning about the implementation of ICT.The former model
Page 257 C school aligned itself with forty-three other schools, the township school forged links
with another public school within the same socio-cultural context, and the
independent school developed mutual engagement with other private schools.
These communities of practice were not determined by locale, but were based on the
need to establish an understanding of how to integrate ICT into the teaching and
learning practice across the curriculum. In these communities of practice, principals
and teachers shared a common purpose needing to stay abreast of ICT innovation and
pedagogical trends. The partnership thus developed was subject to continual
negotiation“in the very process of pursuing it”Wenger (1998, p. 77). The independent
school and former model C school were committed to the idea of communities of
practice and pursued it with a sense of purpose that promoted sustained and
supportive communities of practice. As the township school however, operated on an
ad-hoc and needs basis, the community of practice did not develop into a structured
format. Furthermore, it was evident that all three schools demonstrated social
responsibility towardsthe identified resource scarce schools by offering professional
support in terms of ICT skill and pedagogy development to these schools in a
collective vision of a better society.
6.2.3
Principals as change agents
I argue that communities of practice led school principals (as change agents) to form
policy as “a kind of purposeful knowledge making” (Wenger, 1998). In this regard the
leadership of principals was pivotal in determining the direction in which the school
would move to integrate ICT. The personal qualities of principals, combined with
their engagement in communities of practice, and the practical exigencies arguably
created an institutional environment warranting the need for a policy on ICT
integration within the school context. Principals evidently created the warranting
conditions and had the will to make policy for their schools (Levinson et al., 2009).
Page 258 6.2.4
Teachers’ beliefs, attitudes and professional practices
In responding to the main research question “How does education policy on ICT
influence teaching and learning within South African schools?” and “how do teachers
appropriate education policy on ICT in schools?”, I put forth the view that teachers’
beliefs, attitudes, and professional practices were the main drivers of change in ICT eeducation policy formulation and implementation.
This study created an opportunity to view and understand policy formation and
appropriation as a socio-cultural practice “[as] a set of activities embedded in and
informed by certain cultural models and social relations” (Sutton & Levinson, 2001,
p. 141). Appropriation as a ‘form of creative interpretive practice’ (Sutton &
Levinson, 2001; Levinson et al., 2009) provides the backdrop against which teachers
in the current study are viewed. Teachers engaged in their own interpretation of what
was important and essential as they became involved in the practice of an e-education
policy. So what drives teachers to appropriate, formulate and implement a local
school policy? Why did teachers in this study change their teaching practice when
many other teachers have not taken on the challenge (Wilson-Strydom et al.,2005)?
What influenced the professionalism of these teachers given the educational landscape
from which they emerge?
I argue that the beliefs and attitudes of teachers’use of ICT were the mainstay of their
classroom practices. Beliefs and attitudes of teachers inform their value system,
which in turn dictates their actions and classroom practices (Drake, Spillane &
Hufferd-Ackles, 2001; Spillane 2000). In this study I found that teachers believed that
they could make a difference in the lives of learners.
Within aconducive and supportive institutional culture that promoted ICT
implementation in the school, teachers in the current study actively took on the
challenge of integrating ICT into their teaching practice and became the main drivers
of change in their schools. Participating teachers were engaged in numerous practices
that promoted ICT integration into their teaching-learning repertoire. In the current
study teachers’ practices guided their beliefs and attitudes (Spillane, Reiser, Reimer,
Page 259 2002). School policy on ICT was developedthrough teachers’ practices - I posit that
the life history of actors in each research site influenced the construction of local
policy. In this regard experiences of three teachers in the corporate world contributed
to a change in their belief systems about the use and value of ICT in education. They
thus returned to the teaching profession motivated to empower learners to meet the
vocational challenges of the corporate world.
Teachers in this study were engaged in pedagogical experimentation, and recognised
their role as drivers of ICT. They exhibited a strong will to learn and develop, were
innovators and trendsetters and had a strong sense of concern to develop ICT skills of
learners for vocational purposes. This array of qualities indicates that teachers in the
current study were personally competent. According to Sutton and Levinson (2001)
and McLaughlin (1987), policy successes are critically dependent on the local
capacity and will of teachers as implementers of policy. McLaughlin (1987) indicates
that local capacity can be addressed by policy initiatives for teacher training and by
the allocation of financial resources. However, teachers’ will, attitude, motivation, and
beliefs are less influenced by policy intervention.
I examine teachers’ beliefs and attitudes as significant constructs to explain why
teachers appropriate ICT policy. From a socio-cultural approach to policy analysis, it
appears that teachers in this study were motivated by their instinctive professional
attitudes and beliefs to overcome educational challenges and to pursue what is in the
best interest of learners and institutions (schools). The ICT classroom practices of
participating teachers go against the norm of challenges experienced in their daily
lives, namely: education policy overload, low teacher morale, overcrowded
classrooms, class of diverse learners, new teaching philosophy, curriculum policy
changes, absence of systemic directives and support. Notwithstanding these
challenges, participating teachers appropriated and implemented an ICT policy
negotiated at a personal, cultural and social level. Sutton and Levinson (2001) affirm
the exceptional practice of these teachers as a socio-cultural approach to policy:
‘social democratic processes must have leaders and groups struggling
with courage, passion, and a strong sense of moral conviction to bring
about change” (Sutton and Levinson, 2001, p. 119).
Page 260 Teachers in the current study demonstrated a strong sense of moral conviction to bring
about change in the lives of learners. Teachers were intrinsically motivated to pursue
ICT implementation at their schools without the promise of service benefits, monetary
incentives, promotion opportunity or professional benefits.
Why did these teachers choose to incorporate ICT in their teaching practice?The
corporate experiences of some of the teachers in this study seemed to be a significant
contributing factor to their beliefs and attitudes culminating in their changed
classroom practices.In each of the schools (the former model C school, township
school and the independent school) I encountered at least one teacher in the sample
that had left the teaching profession, entered the corporate world and subsequently
returned to the teaching profession. At each of these schools, teachers were seemingly
the drivers of ICT integration. Plausibly their corporate-life experience reflected a
reality of the world beyond school. These teachers apparently understood the demands
of the corporate world and this experience entrenched their belief system.The sole
intention of these teachers was to make a difference in the lives of learners by being
effective teachers and doing their professional bidding.
But, it is not only this experience that seemed to have a bearing on the belief systems
of teachers’ appropriation of policy. Teachers in this study were motivated to equip
learners with ICT tools of the future. Teachers exhibited a strong sense of
commitment to optimise learners’ chances in education - as mediated by teachers’
own ICT experiences. Almost all teachers expressed that ICT in their teaching and
learning practice will enhance the lives of learners and prepare them for the
workplace. A teacher at the township school explains his beliefs in the use of ICT in
his classroom practice.
“The classroom must be made as real as possible to what the learner’s
experience home, and eventually greatest is preparing them for the
workplace... But to make them realise that this thing will be a part of their
working life in a big way. Office, factory, even if you clean floors you
know, it’s an electronic gadgets.(School A - Teacher 1). The principal of the former model C school explains his level of conviction that ICT
has a place in the education of learners to:
Page 261 “Like I say children in primary schools now, don’t even know what they
going to do one day. There will be jobs that do not even exist at the
moment that they will be doing. So, who must equip them, we must equip
them…” (School B – Principal).
I submit that the corporate experience and teachers’ vision for futures oflearners
represent two compelling factors driving the belief systems of participating teachers.
In this regard I posit that teachers’life experiences, will and determination influence
their belief systems to appropriate school-based ICT policy in their teaching practice.
It is teachers’ beliefs and attitudes that drive their commitment and dedication to
teaching. This is evident from the manner in which participating teachers undertook to
develop and improve their knowledge, skills and pedagogy. Most of the participating
teachers took the initiative to further their education in ICT by making use of their
own initiative to be self-taught.
Teachers in this study therefore believed that exposing learners to ICT learning
experiencescould enhance career chances of learners.To my mind this belief initiated
intrinsic motivation to form communities of practice in order to meet technological
challenges in teaching. All teachers in this study formed their own informal reference
groups drawn from teachers utilising ICT across the curriculum, within their school
and between other schools. This school collaboration initiative allowed teachers to
discuss ICT issues such as, instructional pedagogy, curriculum relevance, skills and
assessment methods. After much collaboration and deliberation teachers formulated
an instructional framework policy consisting of ICT curriculum integration and ICT
attainment standards, which ultimately formed the basis of an ICT curriculum policy
for schools. Hence, a bottom-up policy formulation process occurred. My findings
indicate the significance of policy appropriation (Levinson, Sutton &Winstead, 2009)
within a local context and the ability of teachers not only to be developers of policy
that has meaning for them, but also to be drivers of ICT implementation in schools.
In this study, teachers and principals were agents of change, generating new and
enabling policy (Sutton &Levinson, 2001). Irrespective of the lack of systemic
support, teacher agency was encouraged by leadership, support and guidance from the
principals within the school context (Sutton & Levinson, 2001). The current study
also adds another dimension to the socio-cultural approach to policy analysis
(Sutton& Levinson, 2001). In this regardteachers’ ignorance of nationalePage 262 educationpolicy may be conceived as a kind of appropriation, since it resulted in the
need for policy development and implementation at school level by teachers. This
appropriation seemingly stems from the professional attitudes and beliefs of teachers.
I found that the will, beliefs and attitudes of teachers in the implementation of ICT
was not driven by the e-education policy mandates, but rather by teachers’
professionalism and a desire to improve teaching and learning. The school-based eeducation policy was informed by teachers’ classroom practices, their belief systems,
the leadership and will of the principal, and warranting institutional demands.
Practices of teachers coupled with their professional conduct and beliefs determined
the e-education policy of the school. In this manner, teachers exercised agency and
appropriated a school-based policy. Significantly the school-based ICT practices
reflected the policy intentions of the national e-education policy. The latter thus
requires a further investigation into the purpose of policy if practice is effective in the
absence of knowledge of policy.
6.3
Significance of findings – new knowledgegenerated
The new knowledge that emerged and pushed boundaries back in this field of study
was fourfold in nature. First, teachers’ professionalism and agency wascrucial in
formulating and implementing a school-based e-education policy in practice.Second,
teachers repositioned themselves not as recipients or reactors of the e-education policy
but as social and cultural actors of school-based policy appropriation and
formulation.Third, the lack of systemic support catalysed communities of practice
between schools. Fourth, teachers’ ignorance of the nationale-educationpolicy may be
conceived as a new construct to policy appropriation (Sutton & Levinson, 2001),
since it resulted in the need for policy development and implementation at school
level.
Contrary to much of the literature on ICT policy implementation at schools this study
found that the innovative ICT practices of teachers determined the formulation and
implementation of a school-based ICT policy(Somekh, 2000; Hopkins & Levin, 2000;
Page 263 Carnoy, 2004; Tondeur et al., 2006; Wilson-Strydom et al., 2005). The status of the
national e-education policy existed as an ‘invisible policy’ within the school context.
Teacher professionalism included professional confidence, professional interpretation
and professional consciousness that were crucial to the policy appropriation process.
Teachers repositioned themselves not as recipients of policy (merely reacting to
policy) but as social and cultural actors with the ability to articulate, construct and
implement new educational procedures that eventually became formulated and
appropriated as new educational policy within a school (and community of practice)
context.
Furthermore, teachers were disillusioned by the manner in which government
programmesor reforms were imposed on them, without adequate support or expertise
on the way to apply the new educational reform. District e-learning officials seemed
to lack capacity and competence to provide ICT-integration and policy support to
teachers.Schools seemed to operate in vacuums in terms of implementing the eeducation policy. Lack of district support however led to improved teacher
collaborative efforts, shared experiences, trust, collegiality and the willingness to
experiment with new pedagogies. Participant teachers were content to try out new
approaches to teaching, to develop and integrate ICT across the curriculum to suit
their local context and to make decisions to develop, modify and expand on the ICT
attainment standards.
Literature on the socio-cultural approach to policy implementation (Sutton &
Levinson, 2001) reveals that the conventional flow of policy (as it filters down to be
implemented within the school context)assumes one of three responses: teachers may
modify their actions in adherence to policy, may purposefully delay implementation or
may simply resist policy directives through inaction. This study adds a new dimension
in policy appropriation, namely that teachers’ ignorance of the nationaleeducationpolicy may also be conceived as a kind of appropriation. Figure 6.1 below
provides a schematic indication of how socio-cultural conditions may promote local
policy to be appropriated, formulated and implemented at schools.
Page 264 Policy Support
Figure 6.1:A socio-cultural approach to local policy formulation and
implementation
6.4
Research assumptions revisited
This section responds to the research assumptions made in chapter one.
Research assumption 1:
Once policy has been formulated it will be implemented.
Findings do not support this assumption. In the current study it was found that the
national e-education policy, though well crafted and inclusive in its design, was not
implemented at schools and remained as symbolic policy. I posit that teachers should
be included as co-constructors of policy.
Research assumption 2:
Policy that is officially authorized and backed by government enforcement
mechanisms filters in a linear fashion from macro to meso to micro levels in the
education system.
Findings do not support this assumption. In the current study the national e-education
policy filtered from national to province and district, but remained inaccessible at the
school level for which it was ultimately intended.
I posit that a bottom-up
Page 265 consultative approach inclusive of relevant stakeholders be adopted that affirms
practice as a crucial mechanism to inform policy.
Research assumption 3:
Actors at these various levels are knowledgeable about authorized policy, and
implement policy according to guidelines.
Findings do not support this assumption. In the current study, province and district
were knowledgeable about the authorised policy but they did not implement the
policy according to their mandates. Principals, on the hand, were ignorant of the
authorised policy; teachers were aware that such a policy existed but were ignorant of
the contents of the policy. However, a school based policy was formulated that
ironically reflected the ideals of the authorised policy. I posit that a participatory
approach to policy formulation be adopted that encourages policy appropriation.
Research assumption 4:
Teachers may modify their actions in adherence to policy, or purposefully delay
implementation or simply resist policy directives through inaction.
Findings do not support this assumption. In the current study, teachers were ignorant
of the mandates of the e-education policy and thus did not resist, delay or adhere to
national policy imperatives. However teachers’ classroom practice determined and
formulated a school-based e-education policy. Thus, the implementation of the eeducation policy unfolded not as ‘policy in practice’ but as ‘policy as practice’.
I
posit that teachers have the professional ability, knowledge and vision to formulate
policy. If policy is formulated from practice it will be willingly appropriated and
effectively implemented.
Research assumption 5:
Systemic structures provide sustained policy support and resources to teachers.
Findings do not support this assumption. In the current study systemic policy support
and guidance from province and district were lacking. Schools did not receive
resources to promote the implementation of the e-education policy.
I posit that
officials at the district and provincial levels be teacher experts in the field of ICT to
improve teaching and learning by means of sustained policy support to teachers.
Page 266 Furthermore, officials should perceive their role beyond that of policy administrators
to that of policy formulators and implementers.
Research assumption 6:
The practice of policy is determined by actors situated at the point of policy
implementation
and
may
be
different
to
policy
as
conceived
by
the
policymaker.Findings do not support this assumption. Significantly different in the
current study was that teachers although ignorant of the e-education policy as
envisioned by the policymaker, implemented the policy as intended. I posit that
teachers have the knowledge, expertise and professionalism to formulate policy with
the same vision and insights as policy makers. Thus, teachers are an extremely
valuable resource in policy implementation and should not be ignored in the policy
formulation process.
6.5
Suggestions for further research
Any qualitative study uncovers more to investigate, and whether one scans the
horizon or delves for depth in the field, opportunities for further research abound.
The ICT policy landscape is rich with possibilities for research in educational issues.
New frontiers to explore relate to policy implementation issues, and the role and
responsibilities of local actors within this context. A number of areas for possible
research were identified as a consequence of this study:
•
How does the e-education policy influence teaching and learning in secondary
schools?
•
How can communities of practice be sustained as a means of support to
teachers implementing the e-education policy?
•
How does the socio-cultural context of districts influence e-education policy
appropriation?
•
Why is there a lack of will to formulate e-education policy at district and
provincial levels?
Page 267 •
How can districts be supported in providing practical guidelines and support to
schools in implementing ICT policy?
•
How do e-education policy mandates affect the structures of schooling, and
how do these in turn mediate teacher identity and agency?
•
What socio-cultural contexts in township schools influence the
implementation of ICT in teaching and learning?
•
How do ICT communities of practice operate within former model C schools?
•
How can effective ICT communities of practice be established at township
schools?
Further studies may build upon the findings of the current study and may deepen the
quality constructs of transferability and generalizability. I recommend these areas of
research to better understand experiences of teachers with regard to e-education policy
appropriation, mediation and implementation.
6.6
Recommendations for policy and practice
The following recommendations for policy, practice and scholarly interestare made as
a result of this study. These recommendations emerged within the context of this
bounded case study. However they may be translated to similar policy implementation
scenarios.
•
Recommendation 1
This study entrenches teachers as significant role players in the implementation of
policy. In order for policy to change teachers’ practice, policymakers should engage
teachers as pedagogical professionals in the formulation of policy. In this regard,
teacher agency and the appropriation of policy are key to successful implementation.
•
Recommendation 2
Page 268 The use of backward mapping model as a research strategy may improve our
understanding of policy implementation issues, create new opportunities for policy
studies and contribute to the achievement of policy goals.
•
Recommendation 3
Principals as leaders of schools should be knowledgeable of the national e-education
policy in order for government mandates to filter into classrooms.
•
Recommendation 4
District and provincial e-learning directorates should elevate their professionalstatus
beyond administrative functioning and transmission of policy. E-learning directorates
should formulate policy guidelines and offer sustained support to schools.
Furthermore, curriculum directorates and e-learning directorates should by necessity
be an integrated unit with a shared vision for ICT curriculum integration.
•
Recommendation 5
Officials at both curriculum and e-learning directorates should be professional experts
in ICT, in curriculum and in ICT-integration curriculum delivery. These directorates
should aspire to translate policy into practice at directorate level, by applying ICT to
their own administration and services. Communities of practice may be developed
through district initiatives. These communities of practice may exist between districts,
and between districts and schools.
6.7
Conclusion
Utilising a socio-cultural approach to policy as practice, this study added various
nuances and textures to the expanding body of research that explored teachers’
experiences of the implementation of the e-education policy. The beliefs, attitudes,
will and professionalism of teachers to improve teaching and learning through the use
of ICT are integral to policy implementation.
Policy implementation whether
Page 269 favoured by top-down policy analysts or backward mapping proponents, continues to
occupy centre-stage in policy studies. A sustainable benefit of the backward mapping
approach is that, as actors at various levels are drawn in, their own positive and
proactive professional roles are enhanced in an interlinked process of defining and
implementing policy.
It could be expected that over time, this flexibility and
responsivity of the educational system would develop to include teachers’ voices.
Whatever the intention of government for crafting the e-education policy, the
introduction of ICT into schools created change in the school environment and left an
indelible mark on the practice of teachers. Teachers should not be seen as mere
conduits of national policy, but rather as social, cultural and professional actors that
have the ability to articulate, construct and implement new education policies.
Teachers are crucially situated at the point where policy meets practice. They are an
extremely valuable resource in policy implementation and should not be ignored in
the policy formulation process.
“Those who seek to understand the meaning and import of
educational policy seek at thesame time to inform it, as citizens and
as professionals.Being mindful of the dangers ofspeaking for others,
policy researchers are nonetheless in a position to raise awareness
inthe policy formation process of the multiple sites in which policy
manifests, as well as themultiple meanings that governing policy
may acquire in daily practice.”
(Sutton & Levinson, 2001, p. 15).
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Page 289 Appendix A1
Lay Summary
Introduction to Schools
1.
Name: Thiru. Vandeyar
2.
Affiliation:
University of Pretoria – Faculty of Education
Focus area: CIE [ACE;BEd(hon);MEd;PHd]
•
Programme Co-coordinator MEd(CIE)Computer Integrated
Education
Purpose: Instructional designers/management of E-learning/
•
3.
PGCE
Study/Project: PHd: How do schools take up government policy on ICT
Focus Question: How does education policy on ICT influence teaching and learning in South
African schools?
4.
Permission to conduct research – Official Department of Education (copy)
5.
Formal letter of introduction to principal (copy)
6.
Primary schools that are functional, stable, and using ICT to teach the NCS not just ICT as a
stand alone
7.
My research study would entail:•
Interviewing one teacher that is predominantly involved with
teaching the curriculum using ICT
•
Observing as many lessons as possible
•
Interview with the principal
•
Collecting data on: Mission/History/Context/Syllabi & Policies
(ICT)
•
8.
Photographs/video/Voice recordings
Anonymity and confidentiality
Page 290 9.
Duration: At least one term, until saturated data capture
10. Non obtrusive, abide by school schedule and policies
11. Suggestions of teacher sample?
12. Date for interview with principal?
13. Other concerns:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…
Thank You
Appendix A2
Letter of consent - principal
Faculty of Education
Department of Curriculum Studies
University of Pretoria
Date:
The Principal/Deputy Principal
Cornwall Hill College
Pretoria
Letter of Consent for Principal/Deputy Principal (or Delegated representative)
Dear Sir.
I am a lecturer/student [a graduate student under the direction of Professor Liesel Ebersohn] in the
Faculty of Education- Department of Math, Science and Technology of the University of Pretoria.
I am conducting a study to research the take up (appropriation) of education policy on ICT within
schools in South Africa.
Your participation in this research will involve being interviewed and observed during the conduct of
your normal work programme. I will try my utmost to ensure that most interviews do not exceed 45-60
minutes at a time. You will also be involved in ensuring that the essence of your input captured during
the interviews is correctly recorded.
Your participation in this study is voluntary. If you choose not to participate or to withdraw from the
study at any time, there will be no penalty, obligation and it will not affect your situation position
within the school. The results of the research study may be published, but your name will not be used.
All information that you provide will be kept strictly confidential. No school or person will be
identified in my research and participants will be entirely anonymous and referred by pseudonyms.
Page 291 Please note that the principal will be aware of your identity and thus your participation will not be
confidential.
There are no foreseeable risks or discomforts if I agree to participate in this study.
Although there may be no direct benefit to you, the possible benefit of your participation is the research
findings and conlusions drawn from the study will be made available to you and you may be invited to
research forums/seminars in which this study is relevant.
If you have any questions concerning this research study, please call me (012) 420 2372 or [e-mail:
thiru.vandeyar@up.ac.za].
Sincerely,
T.Vandeyar
******
***********************************************************************************
I, __________________________________ of Cornwall Hill Preparatory school give my consent to
participate in the above study.
_______________________________ (signature) _______________________ (date)
If you have any questions about your rights as a subject/participant in this research, or if you feel you
have been placed at risk, you can contact the Ethics Committee of the University of Pretoria at 0124202772 or sonja.coetzee@up.ac.za
Appendix A3
Letter of consent - teacher
Faculty of Education
Department of Curriculum Studies
University of Pretoria
Date:
The Principal
Cornwall Hill College
Pretoria
Letter of Consent for Principal (or Delegated representative)
Dear Sir/Madam.
I am a lecturer/student [a graduate student under the supervision of Professor Liesel Ebersohn] in the
Faculty of Education, Department of Curriculum Studies of the University of Pretoria.
I am conducting a study to research the take up (appropriation) of education policy on ICT within
schools
in South Africa.
Your participation in this research will involve being interviewed and observed during the conduct of
your normal work programme. Although I will try to be as unobtrusive as possible, I will require your
valuable input both before and after the conduct of your lessons. I will try my utmost to ensure that
most interviews do not exceed 45-60 minutes at a time. You will also be involved in ensuring that the
essence of your input captured during the interviews is correctly recorded.
Your participation in this study is voluntary. If you choose not to participate or to withdraw from the
study at any time, there will be no penalty, obligation and it will not affect your situation position
within the school. The results of the research study may be published, but your name will not be used.
Page 292 There are no foreseeable risks or discomforts if I agree to participate in this study.
Although there may be no direct benefit to you, the possible benefit of your participation is the research
findings and conlusions drawn from the study will be made available to you and you may be invited to
research forums/seminars in which this study is relevant.
If you have any questions concerning this research study, please call me (012) 420 2372 or [e-mail:
thiru.vandeyar@up.ac.za].
Sincerely,
T.Vandeyar
******
***********************************************************************************
I, __________________________________ of ___________________ school give my consent to
participate in
the above study.
_______________________________ (signature) _______________________ (date)
If you have any questions about your rights as a subject/participant in this research, or if you feel you
have been placed at risk, you can contact the Ethics Committee of the University of Pretoria at 0124202772 or sonja.coetzee@up.ac.za
Appendix A4
Letter of consent – parent
University of Pretoria - Department of Math, Science and Technology Education
Faculty of Education
Goenkloof Campus
Leyds Street
Pretoria
Dear Parent / Guardian
INFORMATION REGARDING RESEARCH BEING CONDUCTED AT YOUR CHILD’S
SCHOOL
This letter is to inform you about the research that will be conducted at your child’s school. The
research will form part of my Phd degree that specializes in Computer Integrated Education. The
purpose of my research project is to investigate how teachers appropriate (take-up) education policy on
ICT to influence their teaching and learning practice.
In order for me to collect my data I will be interviewing and observing teachers in their classroom
practice. I will only interview the teachers by asking them questions before and after the lesson.
Lessonobservation will focus on how teachers teach using ICT and this will entail observing their
classroom practice and how learners respond to their teaching. The data will be collected as and when I
am invited by the teachers to observe their lessons. I have already received permission from the
Department of Education and the Principal to conduct the research.
Your child will not be directly involved in the research except that they will be observed in their
normal classroom environment. All the necessary arrangements have been made regarding the research.
All ethical issues have been considered and precautions have been taken to prevent any unfair or
unethical practices. All information will be handled strictly confidential and any photography will not
be used where the identity of the child will be revealed. Your child’s name will not be used in the
research report. Your child will not be at risk during the research. The observations will take place in a
safe environment. Please remember the research is voluntary. If your child does not want to take part in
Page 293 the research, they can withdraw at any time. Their choice to withdraw will not result in any
consequences. If you have any concerns about the research, or if you do not want your child to take
part in the research, please contact me or the school through Mr L. Smith.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Yours in education
T. Vandeyar
Researcher
Principal: ________________
(012) 4202372
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I, __________________________________ parent/guardian of ______________________________
in grade _________ of Cornwall Hill Preparatory School give permission for my son/ daughter/
guardian to participate in the above research study.
_______________________________ (signature of parent/guardian)_____________________ (date)
Yours in education
Mr T.Vandeyar
If you have any questions about your rights as a subject/participant in this research, or if you feel you
have been placed at risk, you can contact the Ethics Committee of the University of Pretoria at 0124202772 or sonja.coetzee@up.ac.za
Appendix A5
Letter of assent – learner
University of Pretoria
Faculty of Education
Department of Math, Science and Technology
Groenkloof Campus
Pretoria
LETTER OF INFORMED CONSENT TO A MINOR CHILD
A Phd research project of the University of Pretoria
Project title: The appropriation of education policy on ICT in South African schools
(To be read to children under the age of 18 years.)
Why am I here?
Sometimes when we want to find out something, we ask people to join something called a project. In
this project we will want to observe your teachers and you as you participate in your normal classroom
activities that is focused on your own development and learning. Before we ask you to be part of this
study we want to tell you about it first.
This study will give us a chance to see how we, together with your school and teachers, can help
schools, teachers and the government to better understand how computers in used in schools for
teaching and learning.
We are asking you to be in this study because your parents/guardians have agreed that you can be part
of our study.
What will happen to me?
If you want to be part of this study you will only need to do what is expected of your teachers as you
participate in your normal classroom activities. This will be done when your teacher invites me to visit
and observe his/her lessons.
If you agree, I would like to take photographs and audiovisual footage of you during some of the
classroom activities. People will not be able to see your face or hear your voice if I decide to show the
images of you in your classroom. In the reports that I write I will not mention you by name nor will I
use a photograph that will reveal who you are.
Will the project hurt?
No one, not even someone in your family or your teachers will be told of how you performed in class
or of how you react or respond to your teacher.
Will the study help me?
Page 294 We hope this study will schools, teachers and the government about the use of ICT in schools.
What if I have any questions?
You can ask any questions you have about the study. If you have questions later that you don’t think of
now you can phone me or you can ask us next time I come to visit you here at your school.
Do my parents/guardians know about this project?
This study was explained to your parents/guardians and they said you could be part of the study if you
want to. You can talk this over with them before you decide if you want to be in the study or not.
Do I have to be in the research study?
You do not have to be in this project. No one will be upset if you don’t want to do this. If you don’t
want to be in the project, you just have to tell me. You can say yes or no and if you change your mind
later you don’t have to be part of the project anymore. It’s up to you.
Writing your name on this page means that you agree to be in the research study and that you know
what will happen to you in this study. If you decide to quit the project all you have to do is tell me or
your teacher.
Signature of the learner: _______________________
Date: _______________________
Signature of the researcher: ____________________
Date: ________________________
If you have any questions about your rights as a subject/participant in this research, or if you feel you
have been placed at risk, you can contact the Ethics Committee of the University of Pretoria at 0124202772 or sonja.coetzee@up.ac.za
Yours in education
Mr T.Vandeyar
Appendix A6
Interview Protocol – teacher
Research Question:
How does eduaction policy on ICT influence teaching and learning inside
public schools in South Africa?
A. Background questions
1
How long have you been teaching?
2
What subject/learning area did you specialize in, in your initial teaching
qualification?
3
What learning area are you teaching now?
4
What kind of training/professional development related to ICT have you
received?
5
How long have you been teaching?
6
What subject/learning area did you specialize in, in your initial teaching
qualification?
7
What learning area are you teaching now?
8
What kind of training/professional development related to ICT have you
received?
B. Key Questions
Page 295 1
Why do you use ICT in your classroom?
2
What do you believe are the core personal goals for teaching ICT in the
classroom?
3
What do you see as some of the opportunities of integrating ICT into your
learning area? (Prods)
• For learning?
• For teaching?
4
What do you think is/are the most important contribution/s of ICT to
education?
5
How long have you been utilizing computers to teach your learning area?
6
How do you go about planning your lessons using ICT in the classroom?
7
How often do you use ICT in teaching this subject/learning area?
8
How much freedom do you have to decide on the content of what you teach in
lessons that use ICT in the classroom?
9
Who decides how you teach using ICT in the classroom? (Teaching strategy)
• Do you make this decision?
• Subject Committee?/Subject leader?/ HoD?/Subject advisor?
10 Have you used ICT in teaching other subjects? Why?
Or do you think that ICT has a place in teaching other subjects? Why?
11 What are some of the challenges in integrating ICT in your lessons?
12 What led you to use ICT in your teaching? (Prods)
• Directive? By whom or what?
• Personal interest?
13
Do you collaborate/partner with other teachers in making use of ICT? If so
what kinds of collaborations exist?
14 How has using ICT in your classroom changed your approach
to/understanding of teaching?
What role do you see ICT playing, if any in the professional development of
teachers?
How and in what ways do you think ICT has influenced learning among your
16
learners?
17 In what way has ICT affected your learners? (prods)
• learners’ motivation to learn (if at all)?
• Cater for different learning styles?
• learner morale? If so, In what way and for whom?
15
Page 296 How do you ensure that what you teach using ICT is suited to your learners
18 needs? (prods)
• Content?
• Relevance?
• The presence or absence of specific learning needs or
accommodations?
19 To what extent has the use of ICT in your learning area improved
performance/attainmentlevels of your learners?
20 Do you use ICT for administrative purposes? Please elaborate.
21 If there is anything that could be changed, what would you change about the
way ICT us being used in schools?
Appendix A7
Interview protocol – principal
Semi-structured questions used for the interviews with principals.
Focus of the
interview
History and
background of
the School
Vision of
Education and
Role of ICT
Questions to be posed
1.
When was this school established?
2.
How long have you been a principal/deputy at this school?
3.
When were computers introduced in this school?
4.
What are the main uses of ICT at this school?
1.
What are the key values and aspirations for ICT at your school?
2.
What do you think are the key contribution and roles of ICT in education?
3.
For what purpose do teachers use ICT in your school?
4.
Does the use of ICT affect the roles of teachers and learners and the interaction
between them?
If so can you describe either the expected roles or the observed impacts.
Page 297 1.
Does your school have an ICT in education policy? Can you please elaborate
2.
What provincial, national or district policy documents do you refer to for
guidance to develop your own school ICT policy? (prod: Can you name some
of the policy documents that you can refer to for guidance?)
3.
How do you ensure your school policy to take effect in classroom practice?
•
4.
What policy guides the integration of ICT in teaching and learning?
How do you think you could change your teacher’s behaviour to apply
education policy?
5.
What resources does do you think you will need in order to change the
behaviour of teachers towards applying the education policy on ICT?
6.
Is the use of ICT integrated across the curriculum or is it a standalone subject?
7.
How does the school/teachers go about designing school-based curriculum to
incorporate ICT policy
8.
Implementing
policy and
institutionalizing
the use of ICT in
the school
Which policy documents do you or your teachers refer to for curriculum
planning? (Does it make provision for ICT inclusion in teaching and learning)
9.
What are the main benefits or satisfaction that has been derived from the use of
ICT in the school curriculum?
10. What are the biggest challenges in implementing ICT use in education?
11. Do you think teachers have the necessary pedagogy to naturally integrate ICT
in their teaching practice?
12. What key measures have been put in place to support ICT in education use?
(Whose motivation? )
13. Is there somebody in the teaching staff particularly appointed as a result of ICT
implementation?
14. Do you think the introduction of ICT in the school resulted in any changes in
the relationship amongst teachers, especially with respect to collaborations?
15. What opportunities are available for the professional development of teachers
with respect to ICT use in the school?
16. In your opinion is there any change in the role of being the principal (deputy)
as a result of ICT being introduced into the school curriculum?
17. To what extent has the district office or provincial government provided
assistance or given guidance in respect to the use of ICT in your school?
Page 298 Appendix A8
Interview protocol – district and province
Focus of the interview
Section 1:
General information,
Leadership and vision
Questions to be posed
As you may know, you have been selected to participate in this survey
because you are the district E-learning program leader. Throughout the
survey, I will be asking you about issues that relate to ICT in education in
your province. Many of the questions will ask you about policies within
the Gauteng Department of Education or National Policy.
Other questions will be specifically directed to your “unit”. This refers to
your unit within the National Department of Education and in particular
the Gauteng Department of Education (exact division/directorates name)
5. Please describe your role function as District E-learning specialist.
(Designation?)
• Prompt: in promoting ICT in Education in schools?
6. How long have you been in this post? Can you describe your
experience? Career path
7. What qualifications do you hold? Prompt: Professional, Academic &
relevant to ICT/E-learning/Policy
Page 299 Section 2:
Policy planning and
implementation with a
systems perspective.
Section III:
Building capacity and
effective practice
Section IV:
Professional
development
8.
Can you describe how this district education department has taken up
the national ICT in education policy?
9. Does the district have its own ICT in Education policy? How was it
developed? What was the source documents used to conceptualise
this policy?
10. Can you describe how thedistrict ensures that policy (District,
Province or National) reaches schools?
• Have there been any actions / initiatives that the district
education department has undertaken to inform or communicate
national policy intentions?
Workshops/training/Subject-advisory or interest groups
• What measures has your department taken to ensure that this
policyin being implemented at schools?
11. Are there any expected outputs from district offices and schools to
determine compliance with policy?
12. Do you think the ICT in education National policy improves:• Teaching ? In what way, can you elaborate
• Learning? In what way , can you explain.
I would like to shift focus to more general ICT issues.
13. What role do you see ICT in education playing in schools?
• What do you see as the opportunities that ICT in education
presents to schools?
• What are some of thechallenges that the district department
experiences with respect to ICT in schools?
14. Does your district have learner attainment standards in respect of
ICT?
• (If not) are there any such standards being developed?
15. How does the province plan to encourage teachers to integrate ICT
into the curriculum?
16. Do you think teachers are implementing the national ICT in
education policy at school? Why?
17. How do you think you could change teacher’s behaviour to apply
education policy?
18. What resources does do you think you will need in order to
change the behaviour of teachers towards applying the eduaction
policy on ICT?
Both technical and human resources
19. From my school visits, I would like you to respond to some of my
observations and interview responses:
20. Is there anything else that you think is important for me to know
about ICT in the province?
Page 300 Appendix A9
Interview protocol –pilot
Research Question: How does education policy on ICT influence teaching and
learning inside public schools in South Africa?
B. Background question
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. What subject/learning area did you specialize in, in your initial teaching
qualification?
3. What learning area are you teaching now?
Jonathan[supervisor], if I ask
4. What kind of training/professional development related to ICT have you
policy goals, am I not inferring
received?
a top-down approach as
opposed to a bottom-up
(backward mapping) approach?
Page 301 B. Key Questions
2. Why do you use ICT in your classroom?
3. What do you believe are the core policy goals of whom, what
authority(Jonathan, are you implying DoE, Province or District? when we
ask of whom, what authority) for teaching ICT in the classroom? (prods)
•
Personal goals
•
School goals
•
Policy goals
4. What do you see as some of the opportunities of integrating ICT into your
learning area? (Prods)
•
For learning?
•
For teaching?
5. What do you think is/are the most important contribution/s of ICT to
education?
6. How long have you been utilizing computers to teach your learning area?
7. How do you go about planning your lessons using ICT in the classroom?
8. How often do you use ICT in teaching this subject/learning area?
9. How much freedom do you have to decide on the content of what you teach in
lessons that use ICT in the classroom?
10. Who decides how you teach using ICT in the classroom? (Teaching strategy)
•
Do you make this decision?
•
Subject Committee?/Subject leader?/ HoD?/Subject advisor?
11. Have you used ICT in teaching other subjects? Why Or do you think that ICT
has a place in teaching other subjects? Why?
12. What are some of the challenges in integrating ICT in your lessons?
13. What led you to use ICT in your teaching? (Prods)
•
Directive? By whom or what?
•
Personal interest?
14. Do you Collaborate/PARTNER with other teachers in making use of ICT? If so,
what kinds of collaborations exist?
15. How has using ICT in your classroom changed your approach to/understanding
of teaching?
16. What role do you see ICT playing, if any in the professional development of
teachers?
17. How and in what ways do you think ICT has influenced learning among your
learners?
18. In what way has ICT affected your learners? (prods)
• learners’ motivation to learn (if at all)?
Page 302 •
•
Cater for different learning styles?
learner morale? If so, In what way and for whom?
19. How do you ensure that what you teach using ICT is suited to your
learners needs? (prods):• Content?
• Relevance?
• The presence or absence of specific learning needs or
accommodations?
20. To what extent has the use of ICT in your learning area improved
performance/attainment levels of your learners?
21. Do you use ICT for administrative purposes?Please elaborate.
22. If there is anything that could be changed, what would you change about the
way ICT us being used in schools?
Appendix B
B1-B11 and B13: See CD
Appendix B12
Document naming protocol
Instrument
Participant
Atlis.tiTM
Document naming Protocol
Page 303 Interviews
School A - Teacher 1
P1:SchoolA -Teacher 1.txt
School A - Teacher 2
P2: SchoolA -Teacher 2.txt
School B - Teacher 1
P3: SchoolB- Teacher1.txt
School B - Teacher 2
P4: SchoolB-Teacher2.txt
School C - Teacher 1
P5:SchoolC –Teacher1.txt
School C - Teacher 2
P6:SchoolC-Teacher2.txt
School A - Principal
P7:SchoolA-Principal.txt
School B - Principal
P8:SchoolB-Principal.txt
School C - Principal
P9:SchoolC-Principal.txt
District - Official
P10:DistrictOfficer.txt
Provincial – Official
P11:Province-FocusGroup.txt
Appendix B14
Exemplar of schedule of visits for observations, interviews and other data
collection
Number codes in grid indicates time-tabling day for the particular school
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Week 1
(04/05/2009) 05/05/2009
06/05/2009
07/05/2009
08/05/2009
(5)
Interview Jelly (6)
Interview Jones (1)
Observe Jelly (2)
Observ Jones (3)
Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
Week 1
Interview Concet
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Page 304 Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
Week 1
Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
Week 1
Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
Week 1
Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
Week 1
Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
Week 1
Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
Week 1
Arcadia Primary
Cornwall Hill
Jakaranda Primary
11/05/2009
12/05/2009
13/05/2009
14/05/2009
15/05/2009
4
5
6
1
2
Observation
Observation
Observation
Observation
Interview Principal
Monday
18/05/2009
Tuesday
19/05/2009
Wednesday
20/05/2009
Thursday
21/05/2009
Friday
22/05/2009
3
Interview Principal
4
5
Observation
6
1
Observation
Observation
Observation
Observation
Monday
25/05/2009
Tuesday
26/05/2009
Wednesday
27/05/2009
Thursday
28/05/2009
Friday
29/05/2009
2
3
4
5
6
Monday
01/06/2009
Tuesday
02/06/2009
Wednesday
03/06/2009
Thursday
04/06/2009
Friday
05/06/2009
1
2
3
4
5
Monday
08/06/2009
Tuesday
09/06/2009
Wednesday
10/06/2009
Thursday
11/06/2009
Friday
12/06/2009
6
1
2
3
4
Monday
15/06/2009
Tuesday
16/06/2009
Wednesday
17/06/2009
Thursday
18/06/2009
Friday
19/06/2009
6
1
2
Tuesday
23/06/2009
Wednesday
24/06/2009
Thursday
25/06/2009
Friday
26/06/2009
4
5
6
1
Observation- Neo
Observation - Peter
Interview Principal
5
Monday
22/06/2009
3
Observation -
Appendix B15
Page 305 Hermeneutic Unit - Phd
Appendix C
Page 306 Journal Reflections C1
Selection of schools situational context
Reflection: 3.1
Context: Description of context - Selection of research sites
Based on my perception and experience of primary schools within educational district in which I taught
and the fact that the provincial government has been active in the roll out of computer centres through
the Gauteng-On-Line (GOL) project since 2004, I assumed that obtaining information-rich township
school, that satisfied the selection criteria as a research site would be fairly easy and uncomplicated.
According to my sampling criteria, all I required was at least one township school that was using ICT
to teach any of the learning area(s). For my first research site, I sought to identify a public township
school within the Tshwane33 South education district. The Tshwane South district consists of 229
(primary and secondary) schools, of which 175 are public schools and 54 independent schools (DoE,
2009).
Selection of research sites
Reflection: 3.2
Context: Description of context: Selection of sites
The other district office leads took me to schools in Atteridgeville34. I visited a school named
‘Seaparankwe’ which was in the heart of this suburb. Prior to my visit, I contacted the school
telephonically, and requested to speak to the principal. I made some simple enquiries about the manner
in which ICT was used in the school. The principal informed me that they use ICT for their teaching
and learning. On my visit to the school, I was introduced to the ‘ICT’ teacher, who invited me into his
office. I began to discuss the possibility of conducting research with him and explained the criteria for
selection. He informed me that at one time they used ICT to teach, however due to the numerous
technical problems with the GOL laboratories teachers often had to shelve their lessons. The constant
problem with their dysfunctional computer centre made them to abandon any effort to use ICT in their
pedagogical practice. The computer centre in now only used for computer literacy. Dismayed but still
determined, I requested this school to refer me to other schools that they may know of, that uses
computers to teach the official curriculum.
The school referred me to a neighbouring school in the same suburb. At JJ de Jong primary school, I
met a colleague who was an ex-district officer, but was now the deputy principal of this school. We
shared some information about our careers and then discussed the research project. In this school,
computers were used exclusively for developing computer literacy skills. The ‘teacher’ that was
33
Tshwane is the name of a municipal district in the province of Gauteng. The province is divided into
seven educational districts, of which Tshwane South is an educational district.
34
Atteridgeville is a predominantly black suburb in the western region of the municipality of Tshwane
Page 307 employed to teach was not professionally qualified, but rather a student that had computer literacy
experience. The computer centre was originally donated by a private company ‘IBM’ prior to their exit
from South Africa during the pre-democracy era. The school desperately sought my assistance in a
number of issues that they have to overcome in order to use ICT in their curriculum. I could empathize
with their concerns but reluctantly had to exclude this school from being a possible research site.
Selection of research sites
Reflection:3.3
Context: Description of context: Selection of sites
I decided to follow a more progressive approach to identify township schools that satisfied my
selection criteria. I enlisted the assistance of the co-ordinator of the University of Pretoria’s outreach
programme at one of the university’s satellite campuses. This unit within the university has close links
with schools in its endeavour to assist with ICT curriculum support and accessibility of ICT to schools.
However, most of these outreach schools are secondary schools using ICT to teach Computer Assisted
Technology (CAT). Further leads from the outreach unit led me to primary schools that use ICT only to
teach computer literacy, it is not integrated into the school curricula programme. I became concerned
that suitable sites for inclusion in the sample may be few and far between. This time I sought to access
the teaching experience of students from the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and
Bachelor of Education-Honours (Bed-Hon) programmes, these students in the field as pre-service
students and in-service teachers respectively. I used the opportunity to discuss my sampling criteria
with these students during my lecture sessions, or requested time to do so from other lecturers. An
teacher in the BEd(Hons) programme informed me of his school in the town of Eersterust35, that was
using ICT to teach the curriculum. This school as Stake (1995, p. 3) indicates that sometimes selecting
a case that adheres to sampling criteria, turns out “to be no ‘choice’ at all”, I was obligated to take this
school. I made several visits to the school to meet with the principal of the school. However, each time
the principal was away on departmental issues of textbook procurement, unpaid salaries of teachers and
the like. However the deputy principal met with me and steered me in the direction of the Head of
Department responsible for Information Technology at the school. Thus school A ultimately became
my sample representing the township public primary school. I purposefully elaborated on the
complexity of identifying a township public school as a research site, to emphasize the fact that many
schools though resourced with computers (either through their own means or through government
initiatives, or both) were not using ICT in their teaching practice. .
35
Eersterust is a township in the eastern part of the municipality of Tshwane. It is a township that was
demarcated for ‘coloured’ people during the apartheid era.
Page 308 Selection of research sites
Reflection: 3.4
Context: Description of context: Selection of sites
As a matter of importance I need to clarify that I grouped public schools in ‘Black’, ‘Coloured’ and
‘Indian’ communities as schools designated by government as previously disadvantaged. So my focus
was to obtain a school from this category as a sample. However, not one of the public primary schools
in the Indian township of Laudium36 was using ICT to teach the national curriculum policy. In fact,
many of these schools employed people that were not professionally qualified as teachers, to teach ICT
as computer literacy. Furthermore, in these schools ICT is viewed as a separate entity and not
incorporated into mainstream teaching and learning.
Appendix C
Journal reflection C2
Selection of school A
Reflection: 3.5
Context: Identification of a township school
Research Site A – Township school
First, I resorted to telephonic communication with schools, requesting to speak directly to the principal.
I introduced myself and explained the research project, informing them that the research was
sanctioned by the Department of Education. The sequence of questions I posed to them was “does your
school have computers?”, “do your teachers use the ICT to teach their children?” and “In which
learning areas do your teachers use the ICT”. Once I had a positive feedback on these three questions I
would follow-up and request an interview to discuss and produce the relevant documentation of the
project more in detail. Almost all township schools that I contacted indicated that they have computers
and they use ICT for teaching and learning. However, when I probed to enquire in which learning areas
it was used the response was “we use the computers to teach children how to type” or “we use the
computers to teach children how to spell.” I then attempted to identify possible sites for the research
from my own knowledge of the demographics of schools and through liaising with a senior official
(Institution Development School Officer - IDSO) in the education district, who gave me some school
leads. Having access to this resource list of possible schools I decided to change my strategy and
personally visit these schools. Though personal school visits gave me contextual information, all
possible township school research sites did not pan out, through this method.
36
Laudium is a township in the Western region of the municipality of Tshwane. It is a township that
was demarcated for ‘indian’ people during the apartheid era.
Page 309 Appendix C
Journal reflection C3
Selection of research sites
Context: Selection of school B – A former model ‘C’ school
As indicated above my contact with preservice students in the PGCE programme, afforded me an
opportunity to access schools that were service through the university-school mentorship programme.
During one of my lectures I requested my students to refer me to schools according to their teaching
practice experience that satisfied the selection criteria. I was overwhelmed with the response, that there
were many schools using ICT to teach the curriculum, I was spoilt for choice. Students readily listed a
host of schools where they had personal experience and were impressed with the school’s use of ICT in
teaching and learning.
Confident that most of these schools would satisfy the sampling criteria, and being classed as a former
‘C’ schools, I sent out a number of e-mails to schools that were suggested by my students. In the email I formally introduced myself, briefly explained the essence of nature of the research and requested
an appointment. From my own experience as a principal, I preferred face-to-face information sessions
about any proposed research that was to be conducted at my school. It was my intention to pursue all
positive leads, until a school that satisfied all or most of the sampling criteria were identified. While
most schools responded positively to my request for an appointment, the need to follow through with
all was not necessary. A school situated in Pretoria, within close proximity to the university was the
first to invite me to the school. I had a casual meeting and informative meeting with the principal, who
was delighted to have his school as a research site for my project. After I gave him my lay summary
(Glesne, 2006), formal official documentation and a detail analysis of my expectations from the school,
he approved in principal to the research immediately. In my discussion with the principal regarding
ethical issues of confidentiality and anonymity, the principal was adamant that his school is trying their
best and he does not mind the school to be mentioned by name. The principal immediately introduced
me to the deputy principal who was responsible for ICT in teaching and learning. The school satisfied
my sampling criteria and was subsequently selected as a research site for the study.
Page 310 Appendix C
Journal reflection C4
Selection of research sites
Context: Selection of school C – An independent school
I was tempted to pursue an independent school within the suburb that I taught in, as this would be
convenient sampling. However, my experience with the pilot study averted my focus from these
schools. Furthermore, most of the independent schools in Laudium are structured along religious
principles and this would create extraneous issues and complicate the study.
Three possible independent schools were the object of my sampling criteria. I sent out e-mails to the
independent schools, two of which are conveniently within close proximity to the university, once
again following formal communication protocols. One of the schools, an independent school for girls,
replied to my e-mail stating “The Head asked me to reply to you to say that, as an independent school,
we are not affected in any way by education policy on ICT to influence teaching.” I followed up with
the second independent school, with several telephone calls, and then finally a forced visit. The
personal assistant to the principal met with me, I discussed the research study and handed in all relevant
substantiating documentation, and practically pleaded for an interview with the principal. She informed
me that the school will contact me soon when they have made a decision and that was the last I heard
from this independent school.
Context: Selection of research sites
Once again, I became concerned that I would not be able to gain access to a research site necessary for
the rationale of selecting schools from diverse socio-cultural contexts. I decided to make use of
contacts to help remove barriers to gaining access to a schools site (Lofland and Lofland, 1984; Devers
and Frankel, 2000). A colleague, who was a teacher at an independent school, made contact with an
teacher at the school where I intended to conduct my research. Although I communicated with this
teacher (via e-mail), and established his confidence in participating in the study, ethically I did not meet
with him until I established the proper bureaucratic protocol. The third independent school was located
approximately 20km out of Pretoria, in a beautiful suburb of Irene. The newly appointed primary
school principal responded to my e-mail and afforded me an opportunity to discuss the research study.
At this meeting I presented my credentials, letter of introduction and other official documentation to
support the lay summary. The meeting was very brief, but he indicated he will have to discuss the
possibility of the research study with the relevant school authorities.
Three weeks later, I was given another appointment to present my proposed research study; I wondered
what it was about my initial portfolio that was not clear. At the second meeting, I was met by the
principal of the secondary school, the deputy principal, the information specialist teacher and a
Page 311 representative of the School Governing Body. They ushered me into the staff room and since it was
immediately at the end of the last teaching contact session, the staff room was filled with teachers. We
sat around two sofas and I could sense the enthusiasm as I presented my research project. The
occasional question and interesting comments in a somewhat active staffroom, made me feel that I was
indeed being listened to.
The principal immediately sanctioned the search project, stating that the
school embraces research studies and affording opportunity to researchers.
I was led off with the
information technology teacher, who was incidentally also a Phd student, to be introduced to the
teacher that (by consensus of the interview group) would be my unit of analysis at this site. It also
happened to be the teacher I had been in communication with. Thus, the third research site was
established according to the preset criteria and for maximum variation sampling.
Appendix C
Journal reflection C5
Context: Description of context: Selection of teachers 1-6
Selection of teachers at School A
At the first research site, this was a school in the suburb of Eersterust. As indicated earlier, I did not
meet with the principal on the numerous scheduled appointments. Even though the principal granted
me access to the school to conduct my research, I was not certain whether this was indeed a viable
research site. Most of my initial communication was with the deputy principal. She identified the head
of department as the person that would attend to all my research concerns, since he was the most
computer literate teacher using ICT to teach some learning areas of the national curriculum. I had a
detailed discussion with the head of department about my research. I briefed him on the purpose of my
study and how I intended to involve an teacher and the principal. The head of department gave me a
brief background of the context of ICT use in the school. He had identified himself as the main
participant according to my requirements. During the time I spent with him, he indicated that another
teacher was also using ICT to teach one of the curriculum learning areas. This teacher was a
‘technology’ teacher that used the interactive ‘white board’ in his classroom to teach technology, he
taught children in grades 6 and 7 technology. The head of department for mathematics and sciences,
taught children in grades 5 to 7 natural science, in the GOL computer centre with desktop PC’s.
I subsequently, requested if both of them would be willing to be interviewed and observed in their daily
routine of teaching. My observation was that the technology teacher was reluctant to be part of the
study, although he did not say this openly, he referred to me as an ‘inspekteur’37 in his casual talks to
other teachers in my presence. His utterance gave me an opportunity to allay his concerns about the
37
‘Inspekteur’ is an Afrikaans word for inspector. An ‘inspector’ in the pre-democratic days of
apartheid was a term designated for district officials that came to school to check on Teacher’s
performance. It is a term within education social circles as one that associated with being ‘policed.’
Page 312 object of the research. After a very casual discussion I informed him that I was not here in my capacity
to judge or appraise his teaching or request that they present special ‘unnatural lessons’, but merely to
describe what is happening as I observe them in their natural milieu. Mr Peters, the technology teacher
and Mr Neo the head of department agreed to become participants in the research study. I used the
initial visit to establish channels of communication by sharing (telephone, cell phone and e-mail)
details with the two teachers. This school scheduled its teaching cycle in-tandem with the days of the
week. I also requested information about each of the teacher’s personal teaching roster, so that I could
determine the exact scheduled times for future lesson observations. I was still perturbed that I did not
have an introductory meeting with the principal, and requested the head of department liaise with me in
establishing such a meeting. The channels of communication were open for negotiating the interview
schedule with the two teachers and the principal. Thus at this research site, two teachers were
identified as participants for the study.
===============
Context: Description of context: Selection of participants
Selection of teachers at School B
As indicated above the identification of the unit of analysis at the second school progressed much more
easily. The deputy principal was immediately identified by the principal as the most suitable candidate.
I was introduced to the deputy principal Mr Jelly, who was recently appointed to the school mainly
because of his ICT expertise. On my next scheduled visit to the school, I planned the visit for after
formal contact teaching time, I knew that he would be more relaxed and open to discussion. I spent
approximately 40 minutes with Mr Jelly in a meeting about my planned method for data collection. Our
discussion was not very formal as we strayed off into involved discussions about the world of ICT. It
was easy to establish rapport with this teacher, simply because we had much common ICT learning
(self taught) experiences. The discussion progressed to identifying the date and time for the interview
and the scheduled class visits for observations. This school operated on a six-day school cycle, unlike
school A, this meant that I had to keep track of school day according to the cycle and the actual date
(see appendix A).
During my interview with Mr Jelly, our discussion led to the mentioned of another teacher at the school
that was very enthusiastic about using ICT in her teaching. Although she is not assigned to the
computer centre, she has become very involved with the use of ICT. She also recently won an award
for using ICT in her teaching of mathematics. I was very keen to meet this teacher and he subsequently
invited me to observe the ‘Apple-Macintosh’ ICT project that she was involved in. Mr Jelly introduced
me to this teacher. This teacher, Ms Jones, had a very spirited and cheerful personality and we
developed rapport almost instantaneously as she explained the project that the childrens engaged in at
that moment. On further casual discussion with her and noting her enthusiasm in using ICT in her
classroom to teach some learning areas, I requested if she would be willing to be a participant my
Page 313 research study. Ms Jones had no reservations at all and she willingly agreed. Thus, I now had the two
teachers that would culminate in my unit of analysis at this site.
I followed through with planning to schedule the principal interview and observing those lessons that
she used ICT to teach the national curriculum. Both the deputy principal and Ms Jones had access to email facilities, during and after official school hours. We shared contact details to open and facilitate
channels of communication.
==============
Context: Description of context: Selection of participants
Selection of teachers at School C
At the independent school, I was formally introduced to the head Teacher for ICT in the primary school
phase (although I had communicated with him via e-mail), immediately after my appointment with the
interview committee. Our introduction was very brief, as he was to report for duty for an extracurricular event. We were officially introduced by the Information Technology head of the secondary
school and we shared cell phone contact details and I was given an appointment to see him the next day
after school hours. The next day I arrived at the school 10 minutes earlier than the scheduled time but
unlike the public schools, I was not allowed to go to his class or office but was made to wait in the
visitor’s lounge while the secretary contacted him. Mr Concet arrived a few minutes late and I
introduced myself and the research study to him. I also gave him another copy of the lay format
information and supporting documentation.
By this time he was well aware of the focus of the research and clinically mapped the way forward,
without much prompting from me. Mr Concet taught mainly Afrikaans to grades 5 and 6. At this school
grade 7 was lodged in the secondary school division. His major concern was how many lessons do I
need to observe, this made me sense that he felt that he should satisfy my lesson observations needs as
quick as possible. My response to him was that it is difficult to assess. I also informed him that I would
like to understand the contextual issues at play and that the data gleaned from my lesson observations
may be saturated after 2 lessons or after 10 lessons. This implied that I could not commit to a fixed
number of observations, except that I would like to capture as much lesson observations as possible
over at least two consecutive school terms. His question raised uncomfortable thoughts that suggested
to that my research should be ‘quick and dirty.’ Mr Concet suggested we meet an hour before school
starts to conduct the interview. We remained in constant communication with each other through cell
phone short message services (sms).
On one of my visits for classroom observations at the school I was introduced to another teacher,
during the tea break in the staff room. This young mathematics teacher spontaneously invited me to
observe a lesson of his. His impulsive decision made me realize that the use of ICT in teaching and
learning at this independent school was the norm and not the exception. During and after the lesson
Page 314 observation, we had an interesting discussion of the use of ICT in teaching and learning. The report
with particular teacher was so open and sincere that I requested for him to be a participant in this
research study. Mr Humby agreed and subsequently became the second candidate at this independent
school. I hasten to add that most teachers at this school have made the transition to using ICT to teach
the national curriculum, but my limited time and resources would not afford me the opportunity to
interview and observe all teachers at this school. Suffice to say that with the inclusion of Mr Humby, I
now had two teachers at each this school as voluntary participants in this research study.
Appendix C
Journal reflection C6
Context: Description of context: Selection of principals 1-3
Selection of Principals at School A, B and C
The main research question sought to identify how teachers appropriate education policy on ICT in
their teaching repertoire. As indicated above purposeful sampling was stringently applied in this
context to illuminate information rich sites and principal participants (Patton, 1990).
Having
accomplished the site and teacher participants, I turned my attention to identify the principals at each
research site. This process of including the principal as a participant is an essential part of the data
gathering according to Elmore’s (1980, p. 604) backward mapping approach which states that “having
established a relatively precise target [teachers] at the lowest level of the system, the analysis backs up
through the structure of implementing agencies.”
Typically at all public schools there is only one principal assigned to the school, even if the school is
classified as being comprehensive (incorporating grade one to grade twelve). Thus at school A and
school B the respective principals were selected by obvious consequent of the selection of the research
sites. At school A, the principal was in his late fifties, designated as a ‘coloured’ according to
population statistics. Mr Norton spoke in English but occasionally switched to a bit of Afrikaans
whenever he could not find the appropriate English word. His office was constructed of prefabricated
asbestos panels, as was most of the school (the building structure format for most schools of
disadvantaged schools during the apartheid era). Mr Norton office was small and the paperwork on his
desk filled almost every small space, the walls in his office displayed many unframed certificates,
awards and photographs. He is resident in the same suburb as the school. His approach was very casual
yet firm with his teachers.
At school B, the principal was in his mid-fifties, very neatly attired and very disciplined. His office was
isolated from the main school, with his own private garden. Mr John’s office was spick and span, with
a place for everything and everything in its place. His table was uncluttered with one or two paperwork
items and his lap top computer on his right hand side. A small corner with sofas was decorated for
creating with a more casual atmosphere. On either side of the board behind his table were the national
flag of South Africa and the school flag. In the centre of this display was a large frame that housed the
Page 315 school blazer. On the wooden coat stand his graduation cloak hung immaculately. John is classified as
a ‘white’ male by our race classification.
At the independent school, however, and in this case there was more than one principal even though
they exist within the same building. The principal of the primary school being a newly appointed
person referred me to interview the previous acting principal, since he felt that the acting principal
would be more au fait with the existing school policies. In this case the acting principal was selected as
a participant sample. Mr Williams is a ‘white’ male in his late 40’s. He was very officious in his
presentation, but extremely casual in his approach. His office desk had been cleared and devoid of any
sign of paperwork.
Appendix C
Journal reflection C7
Context: Selection of district and province officials
The policy implementing agencies beyond the school boundaries within the South African school
context are the local educational districts and higher up the hierarchy is the provincial educational
department. In an attempt to foster thoroughness, the sub-questions in this study are equally important
in trying to establish the ability of the hierarchical unit (district and province) within the education
system to affect the behaviour of the teacher that is the target of the policy. The selection of a district
and province officials as secondary participants was more evident due to the hierarchy that exist within
the educational system. Each of the nine provinces has a central education department comprising of
various directorates. The province is further sub-divided into education districts (according to
geographical-municipal demarcation and boundaries), headed by a district director. Within the districts
are various units such as curriculum delivery, learning and teaching support materials, labour, IDSO’s,
education learning area specialist and E-learning units. Only one person heads the E-learning unit at
both district-level and at provincial-level (director) respectively, these persons will be sought to
constitute the unit of analysis beyond the school based research sites.
Appendix C
Journal Reflection – C8
Context: Pilot study reflections
Ref: 3.4
I transcribed the digital interviews from the pilot study, and sent it for comment to my supervisor. The
findings from the pilot study made me feel very uncertain for a number of reasons. First, although the
teachers responded to my questions very openly and honest, the teachers used the opportunity to use
me a ‘sounding board’ for their general grievances about their real experiences and frustrations with
regard to ICT use in the school. Issues such as the lack of training, denial by management to use the
Page 316 computer centre, lack of software and numerous other issues surfaced. I wondered ‘Is this a worthwhile
study?’ In discussion with my supervisor a number of issues regarding the transcripts were discussed.
A number of possibilities emerged: First the results suggested that teachers may not aware be of policy,
second that teachers were aware of policy but were not implementing it. Third, the possibility that
policy was not enforced by principals. And, fourth my supervisor suggested that maybe my approach to
questioning may not be correct. This was very disturbing, but was evident from the yes/no answers and
not probing further.
Appendix C
Journal Reflection – C9
Context: Observational sheet structure
Ref: 3.8
My classroom experiences in all three schools were rewarding and exciting. Teachers were very
accommodating and keen to use ICT in the teaching-learning environment. Though difficult initially to
be able to capture video, photographs and resort to taking field notes I gradually learned how to
become effective at all three. Teachers, often would engage in conversation with me during the lesson
(while learners were pre-occupied with work). The pre-designed observational sheets assisted in
focussing on particular aspects of the lesson. In my field notes journal I made focussed observations of:
Grade, Topic, duration, time and lesson progression; the use of technology; its effectiveness and learner
involvement. Technical glitches and backup plans, ICT soft skills and curriculum delivery.
Appendix C
Journal Reflection – C10
Context: Use of digital technology
My experience with technology has made me very comfortable and reliant on ICT as a tool to organise
myself. I also understand the risk with working with technology, and in this regard tend to be
overcautious in encountering specific problems. With regard to my study, I am a traditionally a
‘technology junky’ and could not imagine doing research on ICT without a using technology
affordances such as a digital voice recorder: Also, I prefer to keep eye contact with the interviewee to
show that I am interested in what s/he says: Thirdly, I do not write fast enough to be able to transcribe
and make notes of the participant’s body language as well.
Page 317 Appendix C
Journal Reflection – C11
Context: School B -Teacher 1: Extract from interview
One of the most challenging aspects of my field-based research was to gain the confidence of teachers
that came aboard as participants. In the independent school and the former model C school, gaining
entry was facilitated by the principals enthusiasm to be part of this study. However, in previously
disadvantaged schools there has always been a history of teachers’ disapproval of classroom visits, by
management and principals. Evidently teachers in the township school, were wary of my intentions
even though they were reassured of ethical issues. One teacher at the township school was very nervous
in the initial interview, This is evident as one of my participants indicated “you know Mr Vandeyar, I
am not very good at interviews.” I gathered that he felt that the purpose of the interview was to
determine correct or incorrect responses from him. I informed him that there is no right or wrong
answers, but he constantly enquired whether his response was adequate. Gradually, over time I met him
before his scheduled lessons, or between lessons and he eventually opened up and spoke freely about
his concerns.
Appendix C
Journal Reflection – C12
Ref:3.7
Context: Reflection on recording
During one of my initial visits to a school I lost valuable data in the form of narratives of teachers in
their informal discussions with me, my reflection of these spontaneous discussions could not capture
the exact words of the participants. In order not to make the same mistake again, I attempted to make
effective use of my reflective journal or voice record the information. Immediately on leaving the
research site, I would sit in my car, reflect on the teachers comments and would make notes capturing
key ideas to recapitulate asformal field notes.
Page 318 Appendix C
Journal Reflection – C13
Reflection:
Context: Personal reflections as researcher - Autobiographical reflections of
personal role in the study
From 1981 to 2006, I initially served as a teacher, mainly teaching children mathematics at the senior
secondary phase. From the mid-1980’s I developed a passion for using computers to teach and facilitate
my administrative duties, by being placed as a computer literacy teacher without any formal training. I
travelled the journey in education rising through all the hierarchy ranks at school level. During the midninety’s I lectured to in-service students at a college of education on the use of computers for
administrative purposes. The last ten years school experience as a principal, I had the joy of teaching
the curriculum to children using ICT. At this point I declare my bias in this research study and my
behaviour to the participants may reveal implicitly or explicitly my passion for teaching and using ICT
in teaching and learning. As a lecturer in computer integrated education, I had particular opinions
about what teaching should be like in an ICT enabled environment. I was inquisitive to see how
teachers use ICT in practice (Malterud, 2001). After leaving teaching for a period of three years, I
assumed that all schools especially within the Tshwane province would be well adapted to the use of
ICT, particularly to teach the curriculum.
An important role as a doctoral student researcher was to demonstrate independent research ability.
Numerous tasks of data collection and data analysis were hence done as a sole researcher in this study.
In this regard I was responsible for numerous activities as a researcher, from the design of all data
collection instruments to the process of software coding and the analysis of the data. The period of
research was punctuated with support from my supervisors as and when the need arose, particularly
when I was concerned whether this was a ‘worthwhile’ study and to discuss the findings of the pilot
study and the questions used in the interview protocol. The lack of collaboration or participation of
multiple researchers places this study as idiosyncratic and my bias as central in the analysis and
interpretation of the data.
I also remain constantly aware of my contribution to the construction of meaning throughout the
research process, and acknowledge that I cannot remain ‘outside my research study’ while conducting
research. Through personal reflexivity I take cognisance of that my own values, experience as a
teacher, social identity, interest (in ICT) and belief systems (as a social constructivist) may shape the
research. However, as one engages in the research study, I had to consider how the research may have
affected and possibly change me (epistemological reflexivity), to reflect on my assumptions (and
knowledge) that I construct in the course of the research. It is through an awareness of this reflexivity
Page 319 that I enter the research arena as a contributor to the construction of meaning throughout the research
process.
Finally, I turn to the work of Lincoln and Guba (1985), in which they suggests that a researcher must
develop a skill appropriate as an instrument through which data will be collected. Although the data
was processed using software tools, it remains the researcher’s perceptive skill and prerogative to
induce data analysis. I also draw on my personal experiences, my professional experiences and
professional literature, to demonstrate those characteristics expected of a researcher in exercising
theoretical sensitivity in the qualitative inquiry process. To reduce what Hoepfl (1997) calls ‘observer
status distortions’, I attempted to clear my mind of comparative subjectivity as I moved between the
research sites of extreme socio-cultural and socio-economic disparities. I will also ensure that vivid
observations do not take precedence over the pallid observations by taking all observations within the
context in which they occur (Hardy & Bryman, 2006).
Appendix C
Journal Reflection – C14
Reflection:
Context: Selection of schools – Padisago primary school
I became desperate and now tried to access at least one township school that was using ICT to teach the
curriculum. Subsequently, I requested the help of the local district office (Tshwane South District) Elearning facilitator, who I thought will give me more fruitful referrals to schools that satisfied my
sampling criteria. In this instance case I was referred to two township schools. One such school was
Padisago primary school which is situated in the township of Soshanguve , approximately 40km from
Pretoria. The school is thriving amidst the obvious poverty of its surroundings. The deputy principal
met with me, and I gave him a copy of my lay summary (see addendum A). I was impressed with the
school, from the moment I entered the gate, the school had made a conscious effort to rise above the
poverty conditions that was just outside its gates. Through a lengthy discussion with the deputy
principal, he agreed in principle for me to conduct my research, however one of their computer centres
was being re-arranged and the GOL computer centre not yet functional. The deputy principal, in his
enthusiasm to assist me in my research, requested that I prepare the curriculum lessons for ICT and he
will get his teachers to deliver the actual lessons which I can then observe. I informed him that it is my
intention to observe the way ICT is integration in the curriculum in its natural process and not through
my facilitation or influence. He agreed to contact me when the computer centres would be functional,
and that was the last I saw or heard of this school.
Page 320 Appendix D1
Field note: Observational Sheet (Exemplar)
Context: School A- Teacher 1
UNSTRUCTURED OBSERVATION SHEETS
Lesson observational scheduleFile Reference
Video file reference
Descriptive observation
Eliminate preconceptions and note detailed descriptions of everything that was taking place
Participant
Teacher 1
School
School A
Learning area
General Science
ICT
equipment
PCs with internet conectivity
Date
Duration 35min
Teacher PC
Grade 6
Phase
Topic
Phases of matter
Intersen
Focussed observation (pedagogy, policy, learner involvement, ICT skills, time management and specific ICT use in the classroom.)
Observations/ Field Notes
Students were briefly introduced to lesson
objectives. Students were allowed to work
in groups due to access limitations.
Students had to research
Special/ Pedagogic
OrBest Practice
Time
Soft skills for
curriculum delivery
Student occupied
teachers’ chair and used
teachers’ computer to
demonstrate to class on
molecular model of solid
Used word to draw
5 (introduction )
15-20 Research
Windows; Word
Encarta
10 Report back
Internet search
Policy
Implementation:
Policy Reference
ICT skills
Pedagogic
application
5 Student explanation
Selective Observation (Classroom layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues.)
Gauteng Online infrastructure. More than forty students allocated to 25 PC’s. Classroom seemed crowded and not designed for effective use of ICT. Learners were crammed
together and could not effectively use desk space effectively. A plasma screen is linked to teacher’s PC. Teacher exercised good discipline and control.
Page 321 Appendix D2
Field note: Observational Sheet (Exemplar)
Context: School A- Teacher 2UNSTRUCTURED OBSERVATION SHEETS
Lesson observational scheduleFile Reference
Video file reference
Descriptive observation
Eliminate preconceptions and note detailed descriptions of everything that was taking place
Participant
Teacher 2
School
School A
Learning area
General Science
ICT
equipment
Topic
Interactive smart board
Date
Duration 35min
Teacher PC
Grade 6
Phase
Intersen
Motors and machines
Focussed observation (pedagogy, policy, learner involvement, ICT skills, time management and specific ICT use in the classroom.)
Observations/ Field Notes
Teacher driven lesson; workings of the
motor, discussion of rubric for assessment
of project.
Teacher displayed format rubric and
class developed rubric with teacher.
Worksheet for field excursion discussed
with learners
Special/ Pedagogic
OrBest Practice
Time
Soft skills for
curriculum delivery
Use of simulation:
graphic + sound,
animations to bring to life
workings of a motor .
Learners called to smart
board to white board
5 (introduction previous
work)
15 minutes explanation
Windows; Word
10 learner activity
5 conclusion
Policy
Implementation:
Policy Reference
ICT skills
Pedagogic
application
Recording of
assessments
Selective Observation (Classroom layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues.)
Room converted to accommodate use of smartboard. Learners desk arranged perpendicular to board. Many chairs and table were broken or not of consistent type (stools,
chairs, padded teacher chairs etc). Sunlight protruding through windows did not optimise classroom for smartboard use.
Page 322 Appendix D3
Field note: Observational Sheet (Exemplar)
Context: School B- Teacher 1UNSTRUCTURED OBSERVATION SHEETS
Lesson observational scheduleFile Reference
Video file reference
Participant
School
Descriptive observation
Eliminate preconceptions and note detailed descriptions of everything that was taking place
Teacher 1
ICT
student PC’s
Date
equipment
School B
Data projector
Grade 5
Learning area
Life Orientation
Topic
Duration 40min
Phase
Intersen
Religion
Focussed observation (pedagogy, policy, learner involvement, ICT skills, time management and specific ICT use in the classroom.)
Observations/ Field Notes
Special/ Pedagogic
Time
Soft skills for
curriculum delivery
Policy
Implementation:
Policy Reference
Introduction 5 minutes
(teacher display)
5-25 student independent
work.
Windows
ICT skills
Word
Pedagogic application
OrBest Practice
Students were introduced to the curriculum-based
software and were led (very effectively to the require
research work). Students had to select a reading
passage (with graphics illustration) related to a
particular religion (not of their own). They had to
read, summarise and develop a word presentation.
Access to curriculum
resources on network
5 conclusion – written work
Selective Observation (Classroom layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues.)
This computer centre is situated below the stage floor. The computer centre was developed by the school, and existing infrastructure was used to accommodate a computer
centre. A teacher’s computer is situated alongside students’ PC’s but the teacher’s work is projected onto a screen. Each student has his/her own computer and is allowed to
personalised the desktop.
Page 323 Appendix D4
Field note: Observational Sheet (Exemplar)
Context: School B - Teacher 2
UNSTRUCTURED OBSERVATION SHEETS
Lesson observational scheduleFile Reference
Video file reference
Participant
School
Descriptive observation
Eliminate preconceptions and note detailed descriptions of everything that was taking place
Teacher 2
ICT
Data projector
Date
equipment
School B
Teacher Laptop
Grade 5
Learning area
Mathematics
Topic
Duration 40min
Phase
Intersen
Fractions – Assessment
Focussed observation (pedagogy, policy, learner involvement, ICT skills, time management and specific ICT use in the classroom.)
Observations/ Field Notes
Special/ Pedagogic
Time
Soft skills for
curriculum delivery
Policy
Implementation:
Policy Reference
5 min (Brief revision of
fractions) – chalkboard
5-10 min. Teacher switched to
powerpoint presentation to
explain fractions.
learners involved in 3-D
puzzle construction
5 conclusion – written work
Windows
ICT skills
Powerpoint + animations +
music
Pedagogic application
OrBest Practice
Teacher initiated lesson on chalkboard then switched
to present lesson from laptop with brief revision of
fractions.
Learner were issued with test and PowerPoint
presentation was designed with sound and music, with
a clock. Learners had to complete entire test
according to the PowerPoint timed presentation of
sound: bomb explosions, clock and music.
Use of Powerpoint
animation with music and
graphics of popular
international singer
(EMENEM) to seemingly
counting down.
Music inserts encouraged
learners to almost sing
and dance to tune.
Selective Observation (Classroom layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues.)
Classroom layout very conventional – All learners faced the chalkboard/screen. Teacher positioned herself in a learners desk in centre of class. Desk arranged in three
columns (±10 learners per column). Classroom environment conducive to teaching and learning. Teacher had minimal effort in controlling discipline.
Page 324 Appendix D5
Field note: Observational Sheet (Exemplar)
Context: School C - Teacher 1UNSTRUCTURED OBSERVATION SHEETS
Lesson observational scheduleFile Reference
Video file reference
Descriptive observation
Eliminate preconceptions and note detailed descriptions of everything that was taking place
Participant
Teacher 1
School
School C
ICT
Interactive smartboard data projector
equipment
Teacher Laptop
Learning area
Afrikaans
Topic
Date
Duration 40min
Grade 7
Phase
Intersen
Project on the Hospital
Focussed observation (pedagogy, policy, learner involvement, ICT skills, time management and specific ICT use in the classroom.)
Observations/ Field Notes
Special/ Pedagogic
Time
Soft skills for
curriculum delivery
Policy
Implementation:
Policy Reference
10 min (Brief revision of
project) – chalkboard
10-20. Teacher used internet
to create an online survey in
which students made input
via their PC’s to complete the
survey.
10-minutes learner activity
Windows; Internet;
ICT skills
Spreadsheet; PowerPoint;
Pedagogic application
OrBest Practice
Teacher introduced topic again, revised the task
outputs. Discussion about hospital experiences.
Teacher created an online survey, using the results to
create a spreadsheet, which was use in powerpoint to
create a graphs
Teacher allowed for students to use their own initiative
and students not compelled to use ICT.
See Document analysis of learner outputs in respect to
this activity
Teacher created his own
website with:
Reading material
(newspaper articles);
access to his holiday
photographs; project
assignment details.
Allowed
Learners as researchers
Selective Observation (Classroom layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues.)
Lesson was delivered in the library resource centre. Students had access to the internet. Teacher demonstrated at smartboard, whilst students all had their own PC linked to
teacher discussion. Realtime survey was done in class environment. Layout conducive to teaching and learning and groupwork.
Page 325 Appendix D6
Field note: Observational Sheet (Exemplar)
Context: School C - Teacher 2
UNSTRUCTURED OBSERVATION SHEETS
Lesson observational scheduleFile Reference
Video file reference
Participant
School
Descriptive observation
Eliminate preconceptions and note detailed descriptions of everything that was taking place
Teacher 2
ICT
Interactive smart board & projector
Date
equipment
School C
Teacher PC
Grade 5
Learning area
Mathematics
Topic
Duration 40min
Phase
Intersen
Multiplication
Focussed observation (pedagogy, policy, learner involvement, ICT skills, time management and specific ICT use in the classroom.)
Observations/ Field Notes
Special/ Pedagogic
Time
Soft skills for
curriculum delivery
Policy
Implementation:
Policy Reference
5 min (planned lesson failed
to load from teacher PC)
5-25 min. Teacher switched to
use of games in teaching
multiplication
learners involved in 3-D
puzzle construction
5 conclusion – written work
Windows
ICT skills
OrBest Practice
Although the planned lesson did not load teacher
immediately switched seamlessly to alternative lesson.
Learner driven lesson – learners were involved with
various activities. Two learners were at the smart
board competing with each other and against their
own clocks for speed and accuracy. All other learners
were given coloured coded 3-D cubes to construct and
deconstruct. The classroom was abuzz with activity.
Some students were identified for individual drill and
practice at the smartboard. Last 5-10 minutes learner
completed their written task
Use of game for drill and
practice.
Learner called to smart
board to co-ordinate
dimensions of smart
board.
Learners very adept and
comfortable with use of
technology.
Pedagogic application
Selective Observation (Classroom layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues.)
Classroom layout very conventional – All learners faced the chalkboard/smartboard. Desk arranged in three columns (8 learners per column) Classroom environment
conducive to teaching and learning. Teacher had minimal effort in controlling discipline, as lesson was learner-centred
Page 326 Appendix D7
Field note: Observational Sheet (Exemplar)
Context: School B - Teacher 2
UNSTRUCTURED OBSERVATION SHEETS
Lesson observational scheduleFile Reference
Video file reference
Descriptive observation
Eliminate preconceptions and note detailed descriptions of everything that was taking place
Participant
Teacher 2
School
School C
ICT
Laptops – Learners
equipment
Digital Camera
Learning area
Apple Project
Topic
Date
Duration 40min
Grade 7
Phase
Intersen
Project on the History of South Africa _ integrating Leraning areas
Focussed observation (pedagogy, policy, learner involvement, ICT skills, time management and specific ICT use in the classroom.)
Observations/ Field Notes
Special/ Pedagogic
Time
Soft skills for
curriculum delivery
Policy
Implementation:
Policy Reference
This lessons was ongoing for
the past 3- weeks
Learners had to stay in after
school hours and develop
their project.
10-minutes learner activity
Windows; Internet;
ICT skills
Spreadsheet; PowerPoint;
Digital Photography
skils
Apple movie maker
Learners as researchers
OrBest Practice
This was a project based lesson. Learners were
developing a movie based on South African history .
Learners were grouped into 3-4 Leaners per group
Teacher provided all
technical and software
skills. Learners had to
devised their own themes
Selective Observation (Classroom layout, discipline, teacher control and classroom management issues.)
Lesson was delivered in teachers classroom . Learners had access to digital camera and appropriate software. Teacher assisted with software technocal skills when required.
All groups had their won lap tops supplied by Appel as a Appel-school project. Layout conducive to teaching and learning and groupwork.
Page 327 Appendix D8
Researcher participant diary
Date
Learning area
Topic
Reference to resource documents in planning
Objectives in the use of ICT to enhance learning/teaching
Reference
School:
A
B
C
ICT Tools
Reflections of
Lesson
Nature of support
required in respect of
ICT
Teacher
Page 328 Appendix D9
Informal Conversational Interviews
Context: (Post interview) School B – Teacher 2 – Assisting other teachers in the use
of ICT
Jo: A teacher just asked me now, she doing food in English, so she wants to know, how can she “ín
show and tell”, she wanted to know what can she use in ICT to show the kids.
Interviewer: I think some of them have just got a gift, I know when it comes to powerpoint at times I
have to ask my daughter or to help me out.
Jo: Yes, so I said go in to U-Tube type in “kids making food”, “kids, making salad”, there pops up a
video, “now you cut the carrots, ...” [responds with the other teachers voice] – that’s exactly what I
want...thats exactly what I want. I said exactly, is’nt it wonderful to use the internet for learning,
otherwise I must go and take a book and photocopy, it it going to improve the quality of their
education, if she shows them that video, the quality of speeches she’s going to get, it going to be much
higher. Because they gona know exactly what they must do. Now that they got the idea they can make
a sandwich, a salad, an ice-cream banana split.
Interviewer: Is it a video that its been shown?
Jo: On U-Tube, she asked me what can I do to show them what they must do. Mostly its American.
Kisd explain how to make a sandwich, “now you take your butter...” That’s exactly what I want them
to do.
Interviewer: It’s ideal for show and tell
Jo: Another teacher asked for ancient Egypt, it’s a view of pyramids. I never been to Egypt.
Interviewer: To see it from different sides?
Jo: To go into the colosseum, an inside tour of the colosseum, How can we not improve our education?
How can you tell them how it works?
Interviewer: Jo, if you have to tell me what’s lacking from the department in terms of supporting this
type of teaching? You and Vanie seems to be the anchor in this school.
Jo: and Johan
Interviewer: Certainly this is what you would want?
Jo: Like I said I am frustrated because of resources. [Explains about hardware resources]because I will
use it more. Give us training to teachers. Just basic, what is your topic. You type in your topic, and a
suggestion they[district] give suggestions, you type in ancient Egypt and they send suggestions back.
But resources mostly
Page 329 Informal Conversational Interviews
Context: School A – Teacher 1 (Pre-lesson discussion)
Interviewer: I see exceptional people like you and John, and other schools that I hev been to, they are
using ICT to teach the curriculum.
Teacher 1: Yes, Yes. You must actually make it work. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes a lot of
planning you know.
Interviewer: That is much of my concern. As much as you are putting in all that effort, on your own. I
am trying to understand what more do teachers want. Is this sufficient? Area you happy with the
lessons? Do you think there is more support you can get to improve, you talked about your content, to
improve your teaching strategy in terms of your ICT skills, John spoke about training as well, you
mentioned it as well, workshops?
Teacher1: But Mr Vandeyar, In terms of IQMS, On the School improvement plan (SIP), it is stated
there that my need is IT and at this level, so the department knows, know exactly what my needs are.
Interviewer: In terms of ICT?
Teacher1: In terms of ICT itself and bringing in the curriculum you know. But Mr Vandeyar, I attend a
lot of meetings [interrupts to call learners into classroom]. I attended a lot of e-learning, bit no one talks
about how the teacher must use ICT in the curriculum. No one!
Interviewer: Not even at district level? Are these district meetings?
Teacher1: They don’t talk about it at all, they just say, “you must make use of ICT, make use of ICT, it
stops there”
Interviewer: But you want specifics? Do you think they have the ability to show you how to do that?
Teacher1: No Mr..., I am being honest. I don’t think they have the ability. Let me give you a scenario. I
did a computer course, and most of the guys that did the course were from the department, and they
actually had to help us.
Interviewer: I understand
Teacher1: But what I know and what they know, I am not trying to be funny. There won’t be a
possibility, they don’t talk about these things, nothing.
Interviewer: So they come to these meetings and say you should be using ICT, but there no
demonstration, they don’t show a particular lesson?
Teacher1: Nothing, Nothing. They don’t know how to do it, Mr Vandeyar, really. I actually want to
invite the science (CES) Zelna and give a lesson, but I am actually afraid..
Interviewer: Why would that be the case?
Teacher1: Then she’s going to use me. OK I will do it, but afterwards its going to be.. I a lot I need to
do I need to learn. Afterwards I will help, but at this moment , I need to develop myself to grow. I am
doing things now but I don’t know if it is right or wrong, so.
Interviewer: So you need to develop your level of confidence?
Teacher 1: Yes. Yes, yes
Page 330 Appendix G
Data analysis phases for various data sources
Development of
interview
Schedules
Data interpretation
Review of
interview
schedule with
supervisor
Specification of
properties and
dimensions of
categories: Inclusion
and exclusion criteria
Pilot study to test
interview
protocol
Revised
interview
protocol
Adjust selection
criteria for
schools
Selection of
Cases
Establish
criteria
Data Analysis:
Grounded theory methods
Codes, categories and
themes
Sample schools
Selection of
research sites
Teachers
Principals n=3
Data Analysis:
Three iterations
• Data with data
• Data with categories
and between categories
• Axial coding –
categories to
subcategories
Initial contact
with schools:
Interview
Purposeful
selection of
participants
District and
Province
Initial contact
with schools:
e-mail,
telephonic
Field notes
Classroom
Observation
Data
Analysis:
CAQDAS
(Atlas.Ti)
Data
Analysis:
Sequential
analysis
Document
analysis
Methods of data
collection
Interviews:
Four waves
Interviews 3:
District &
Province
Interviews 1:
Teachers
Interviews 2:
Principals
Page 331 
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