Author Identifiers

ORCID: 0000-0002-7397-5736

Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Associate Professor Geoff Lummis

Second Advisor

Dr Alistair Campbell

Third Advisor

Dr Eileen Slater

Field of Research Code

130106, 130212

Abstract

This research investigated Bhutanese middle secondary science teachers’ ICT knowledge, skills, perceptions and attitudes, patterns of ICT use, and associated factors linked to effective ICT implementation in their classrooms. The study was based on the hypothesis that the use of ICT in secondary science education in Bhutan was affected by the teachers’ attitudes and perceptions towards the use of ICT; their knowledge and skills related to ICT; their TPACK and the barriers associated with effective implementation of ICT.

The research was primarily an exploratory study accommodating a post-positivist approach employing mixed design of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. A questionnaire survey on a sample of middle secondary science teachers was the quantitative study. Case studies of eight schools consisting of their historical background and performance records, semi-structured interviews with eight science teachers from these schools and focus group of students from three of these schools formed the case studies. The survey questionnaire targeted 189 middle secondary science teachers from a total of 63 middle secondary schools and secured a response rate of 85.7%. The survey questions covered patterns of ICT use in daily life, interest in ICT, confidence in using ICT and application of ICT in science teaching. A set of Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) questions (Mishra & Kohler, 2009) were also included to test the level of ICT integration achieved by these teachers.

The findings showed that overall, the teachers possessed moderate levels of ICT knowledge and skills; very few ICT elements were used in the teachers’ daily life, and still less were employed in science teaching due to lack of confidence. Although teachers had positive perceptions and attitudes regarding use of ICT in teaching science, many could not fully utilise ICT due to personal and institutional constraints. Teachers were found to use various ICT tools dependent upon their personal competence and confidence. ICT trained teachers used more tools and engaged with more innovation in the classroom, whilst teachers with low ICT competency and confidence exhibited little integration. ICT trained teachers also helped the school management in developing administrative facilities that engaged ICT, and they also involved students in using ICT presentations. Specialised ICT teachers facilitated innovative uses of ICT such as: interactive student-centred teaching; enhanced collaborative student work; improved problem-based and project-based learning. These teachers also shared their ICT knowledge and skills with other colleagues. Schools with a poor ICT resources often provided less time for professional engagement and therefore, inhibited the implementation ICT in classrooms.

Based on these findings, the research recommended the government to increase funding for ICT in schools to provide: more computer laboratories and extend the professional development opportunities for both pre-service and in-service science teacher contexts. More extensive research covering other types of educational institutions, more student-focused research, comparison of teacher and student perceptions and linking performance with ICT use were some new research areas suggested for future.

The limitations of sample size and sampling method and difficulties encountered in interviews using social sites in recording the proceedings were two main limitations identified in this study. The sampling and size limitations could affect generalisability of the findings beyond the context of this research.

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