Conceptualisation and use of educational technology in the teaching and learning of Grade 7 geography in some primary schools in Mangaung
Mbaza, Nobalindi Elsie
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This study investigates conceptualisation and use of educational technology by teachers in some primary schools in Mangaung. Situated within educational discourses about knowledge and pedagogy, the central aim is to examine the discursive positions from which the respondent teachers construct the concept of educational technology. Their classroom practices are then examined to investigate how their conceptualisation of (educational technology) translates into practice. The investigation differs from the belief that associates educational technology with specific electric and electronic gadgets such as overhead-projectors, television sets, computers and so on. The concept of educational technology is not about equipment. It is a whole approach to teaching and learning inextricably bound with the epistemology and pedagogical assumptions encoded in the education system. The researcher investigates whether a teacher who conceptualises educational technology as artefacts and one who conceptualises it as a process will approach classroom teaching differently. To conduct this investigation this researcher conducted interviews and classroom observations with two teachers who conceptualise technology differently, namely as artefacts and as a process or 'know how'. The findings indicate that the teacher who conceptualises educational technology as artefacts follows a rigid teacher-centred approach in her teaching. The teacher who conceptualises educational technology as a process reveals an emergent learner centred approach in his teaching. Based on the findings of the literature reviewed, as well as the qualitative investigation, this study concludes that the concept of educational technology as a 'product', is incompatible with the position of Curriculum 2005 on knowledge as well as the role of the teacher. The literature reviewed indicates that even when information technologies are used in classroom based teaching and learning, the teachers need the skills and flexibility compatible with a social constructivist teaching environment. The conceptualisation of educational technology as a process seems more compatible with the expectations of Curriculum 2005 from teachers than when the concept is associated with specific artefacts. Based on the above findings this study recommends that programs, prepared to assist in-service teachers with the implementation of Curriculum 2005, need to consider educational technology as an educational concept and a process rather than artefacts. In line with the stance taken by Curriculum 2005 to affirm the teacher, pre-service teacher training should also incorporate this holistic concept of educational technology.