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«February 2015 Volume 5 Issue 1 ISSN: 2146-7463 JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL STUDIES IN THE WORLD February 2015, ...»

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(4) What are K-12 EFL teachers’ suggestions for better ICT integration into language instruction?

Research Participants One hundred and eighty five K-12 EFL teachers (45 males) from Turkish primary and secondary education participated in the study. More than half of the participants were in the age range of 30-39 year-old. Thirty percent of the responding teachers were 40 year-old and above. The information about their possession of computer at home or school, internet usage frequency, graduated university and faculty type, taken ICT related courses, certificate about ICT, inservice ICT training was also collected. The demographic information of these teachers is presented in Table 1.

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Instruments A questionnaire was developed to investigate K-12 EFL teachers’ level of ICT competence and their attitudes toward ICT integration into language instruction. The items developed in the questionnaire are based on the questionnaires designed by Isleem (2003), Chen (2008), Albirini (2006), Al-Senaidi, Lin & Poirot (2009). The questionnaire, implemented in the present study, had three main sections, the first section including general information about the respondents’ age, gender, home and school computer possession, internet usage, graduated university type, graduated faculty type, taken ICT related courses, certificate about ICT and inservice training about ICT, the second section related to K-12 EFL teachers’ levels of ICT competence having 15 items presented on a five point Likert scale, ranging from ‘no capability at all’, ‘low capability’, ‘fair’, ‘good’, ‘excellent’ and the last section relevant to K-12 EFL teachers’ attitudes toward ICT integration into language instruction with 12 items presented on a five point Likert scale, ranging from ‘strongly disagree’, ‘disagree’, ‘neutral’, ‘agree’, ‘strongly agree’.

In addition to the questionnaire, an interview was designed for the qualitative part of the study. Open-ended questions based on the research questions and the developed questionnaire (e.g. What barrier(s) do you encounter when trying to infuse ICT into language instruction? What do you suggest for effective ICT integration into language education?) were prepared before conducting the interviews.

Procedure Validity of the questionnaire and the interview. Content and face validity of both instruments was established via the procedures of literature review, expert review and a pilot study. The panel of experts consisting of one

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associate professor of educational technology and materials design, two native experts and two non-native senior EFL teachers were asked to evaluate the comprehensiveness, acceptability and clarity of both instruments. Based on the feedback received from five experts, some items in the questionnaire were modified and some were deleted. The revised questionnaire was piloted in five primary schools in Turkey, with a total of fifteen K-12 EFL teachers. These fifteen K-12 EFL teachers were also asked to comment on comprehensiveness, acceptability and clarity of both instruments. Further revisions were made on the questionnaire based on the teachers’ feedback. Since K-12 EFL teachers had difficulty in comprehending some of the items in the questionnaire, the wording of some items was simplified by the researcher.

Reliability of the questionnaire. To check the reliability of the questionnaire, the instrument was analyzed through the Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient and the reliability was α = 0. 81, which showed a high level of reliability.

Administration of the questionnaire to the subjects. The questionnaire was administered to 185 K-12 EFL teachers from different public primary and secondary schools in Turkey in two years time (from 2008-2009 Academic Year to 2009-2010 Academic Year). Especially, local conferences, seminars, symposia that the researcher joined provided him with the opportunity to get together with K-12 EFL teachers working in different parts of Turkey and administer the questionnaire to them.

Conducting the interviews. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect in-depth data from fifteen K-12 EFL teachers. Open-ended questions were developed in advance. All interviews were recorded via the use of a voice recorder or transcribed for data analysis.

Data Analysis. Dual steps were followed by the researcher in the analysis of the gathered data. Firstly, the quantitative study was analyzed through the use of descriptive statistics. The data were coded and prepared for analysis by utilizing the statistical analysis software SPSS 16.0. The mean, standard deviation, frequency and percentage scores were calculated for each item in the questionnaire. Secondly, the qualitative study was analyzed from the transcriptions of the conducted interviews.

RESULTS

K-12 EFL Teachers’ Levels of ICT Competence Participants were asked to respond to 15 items to indicate their level of computer competence. The 5-point scale of responses ranged from one (no capability at all) to five (excellent). Table 2 summarizes the results of descriptive statistics (percentages, means, and standard deviations) of K-12 EFL teachers’ responses on the ICT Competence Scale. Over half of the respondents (94.1%) indicated that they employed computers with good or excellent competence (M= 4.54; SD=.76594). Similarly, 91.3 % of respondents stated that they used television / video with good or excellent competence (M= 4.06; SD=.63083). Other ICT tools which respondents utilized with good or excellent competence included: e-mail (90.8%) (M=4.01; SD=.82085), radio cassette recorder (88.6%) (M= 3.82; SD=.64465) and chat and forum (84.3%) (M= 3.74; SD=.81113). However, low capability was reported in the use of word processors (5.4%) (M= 2.42; SD=.68867), spreadsheets (6.5%) (M= 2.45; SD=.75850), presentation software (7%) (M= 2.71; SD=.74387), databases (12.4%) (M= 2.90; SD=.84135), web browser (12.4) (M= 2.78; SD=.86846), search engines (12.5%) (M= 2.64; SD=.88515), projector system (13.5%) (M= 2.55; SD=.91383), video camera (5.4%) (M= 2.15; SD=.66125), simulation programs (4.9%) (M= 2.17; SD=.62168), and drawing tools (11.9%) (M= 2.46; SD=.89682) since very few number of respondents reported that they were able to employ them with good or excellent competence. Overall, most respondents stated that they had “fair” competence in using ICT tools. The mean score of the ICT Competence Scale was 3.02, with a standard deviation of.770 indicating that the majority of the respondents felt that they had fair competence in deploying most of the ICT tools as presented in Table 2.





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K-12 EFL Teachers’ Attitudes toward ICT Integration into Language Instruction Participants were also asked to respond to the questionnaire items related to their attitudes toward ICT integration into language instruction. Table 3 displays the results of descriptive statistics (percentages, means, and standard deviations) of K-12 EFL teachers’ attitudes toward ICT integration into language instruction.

Higher scores indicated positive attitudes towards ICT, while lower scores indicated less positive attitudes.

Almost all of the respondents (90.3%) indicated their agreement or strong agreement that they can improve their teaching skills with the help of ICT. Likewise, the majority of the respondents (89.7%) agreed or strongly agreed that preparing course materials was easier with the help of ICT.

Other items in response to which the majority of the participants expressed their agreement or strong agreement included: item four “I think that ICT supports my teaching” (87.1%) (M=4.01; SD=.82085), item five “I am not sure that I am ICT competent for the use of ICT in my class” (80.6%) (M= 3.72; SD=.69525), item six “I think that ICT saves my time in the class” (89.2%) (M= 3.91; SD=.67479), item seven “I think that I become more productive when I use ICT in my class” (93.5%) (M= 4.02; SD=.70677), item eight “I think my students can improve their language skills better if I use ICT tools in my teaching” (86.5%) (M= 3.85; SD=.73373), item nine “ICT makes it easy to reach instructional resources” (91.9%) (M= 3.93; SD=.60443), item ten “I think that more time should be allocated to ICT use in language teaching” (90.8%) (M= 3.89; SD=.58902), item eleven “I am sure that preparing course materials is easier with the help of ICT” (89.7%) (M= 4.36; SD=.92294), and item twelve “I believe that more studies should be directed to the integration of ICT into curriculum” (88.7%) (M= 3.87; SD=.65167).

On the other hand, relevant to the most frequent negative attitudes toward ICT integration into language instruction, 34.1 % of the respondents expressed their disagreement or strong disagreement that they did not integrate ICT tools in their EFL teaching as much as other resources (M= 3.16; SD= 1.16361) Similarly, 37.9 % of the respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that they could cope with the problems that could emerge while using ICT (M= 3.23; SD= 1.20010). In general, K-12 EFL teachers’ attitudes towards ICT were positive, with an overall mean of 3.85 and a standard deviation of.79222, as shown in Table 3.

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Barriers in ICT Integration into Language Instruction In response to the open-ended question regarding what barriers K-12 EFL teachers encounter when trying to infuse ICT into language instruction, most teachers expressed that lack of ICT competency, lack of technical support, lack of time, lack of effective ICT training and inadequate institutional support were the main barriers that prevented them from infusing new technologies into language instruction. To illustrate, comments

illustrating these views were as follows:

"I am not enthusiastic about incorporating ICT tools into my teaching practices because I do not have the necessary knowledge and skills to utilize ICT tools." (Teacher 5, Age 35) "As an EFL teacher working at a primary school context, I am trying my best to use ICT in my classroom.

Unfortunately, technical problems such as waiting for websites to open, not being able to connect to the Internet, and malfunctioning computers negatively affects my teaching. If we had a technician in our school, he would provide us with technical support when needed. Hence, we would deliver English lessons smoothly in our school." (Teacher 8, Age 32) "Although I feel myself competent in utilizing computers and the Internet in the classroom, I do not use them regularly in my lessons. Since I am teaching twenty-five hours a week, I have no time to prepare internet-based lessons for my students and use ICT tools in my lessons." (Teacher 10, Age 35) "We do not have adequate training opportunities for us related to the use of ICT tools in a foreign language classroom. Unfortunately, we lack sufficient amount of in-service ICT training programs in our school.” (Teacher 12, Age 28) "In our school, we are willing to develop online English lessons for our students. However, our school has a very limited budget and it cannot provide us with sufficient financial support related to our technology project."

(Teacher 14, Age 42)

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K-12 EFL Teachers’ Suggestions for Better ICT Integration into Language Education In response to the open-ended question regarding suggestions for better ICT integration into language education, most teachers suggested that: (a) government support should be provided to renew the infrastructure of telecommunication especially in rural areas and purchase computing equipment for those schools, (b) technical support should be provided, (c) adequate ICT training should be presented and (d) effective planning should be made for ICT infusion into language instruction. To illustrate, comments

exemplifying these views were as follows:

"In some schools, since high-speed Internet and computing equipment are still lacking, K-12 EFL teachers cannot infuse ICT into their teaching. At this point, government support should be provided to renew the infrastructure of telecommunication in schools located in rural areas and purchase computing equipment for those schools.” (Teacher 14, Age 40) "Technical problems that we sometimes experience during our lessons demotivate us to employ ICT in our teaching. Computer slowdown, computer lockup and freeze, data loss, not responding printers, not opening websites are some of the technical problems that affect our teaching negatively. We should have a technician in our school to provide us with technical support when necessary. Only then can we conduct technology furnished lessons effectively.” (Teacher 8, Age 32) "In my viewpoint, language teachers should be provided with in-service ICT training programs. At this juncture, workshops, seminars and conferences should be organized in schools to teach language teachers how to put teaching materials online and deliver English courses online.” (Teacher 12, Age 35)

DISCUSSION

In the literature, a number of research studies have been conducted concerning ICT competencies of faculty members, prospective teachers, and K-12 teachers in the world as well as in Turkey (Yildirim 1999; Yildirim, 2000). To illustrate, Yildirim (1999) and Yildirim (2000) stressed that the best way to stimulate teachers to employ computers in the classroom is to maximize level of competency and that this can be achieved by offering several computer literacy courses tailored according to the individual’s level of confidence, anxiety, and competency. In this vein, most of the primary and secondary education institutions presented in-service training (e.g. workshops, seminars, and hands-on experience) for EFL teachers to make them competent users of new technologies in the foreign language classroom.

Relevant to attitudes toward ICT integration into language instruction, the results of the study showed that KEFL teachers’ attitudes towards ICT were positive. A plethora of research studies about teachers’ attitudes toward technology use have been conducted by researchers (Drent & Meelissen, 2008; Al-Zaidien, Mei & Fook,

2010) and most of available literature indicates that the success of technology use in the educational contexts is largely based on teachers’ attitudes toward technology use (Kellenberger & Hendricks, 2003, Albirini, 2006).



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