Attitudes towards computer usage as predictors of the classroom integration of information and communication technology at a rural South African university
The aim of this research was to determine whether attitudes towards computer usage predict ICT integration in the classroom at the QwaQwa campus of the University of the Free State. Attitudes towards computer technology were operationalised by using the scores of Computer Anxiety Scale, Attitudes towards ICT Scale, the Perception of Computer Attributes Scale, Cultural Perception Scale and Computer Competence Scale. The effect of confounding variables (age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, teaching experience, and computer training history) was controlled by building them into the design and measuring their effect on the dependent variables (ICT integration). The empirical study was supported by literature related to ICT integration in the classroom. Various theoretical models including Rogers’s Theory on Diffusion of Innovations (1995) and Ajzen and Fishbein’s Theory of Reasoned Action (1980) were used to better understand the key factors affecting ICT integration into the classroom, as well as the academic staff’s attitudes towards ICT integration in the classroom. The researcher followed a quantitative inferential research design to investigate the possible relationship between attitudes towards computer usage and ICT integration in the classroom. An adapted questionnaire was administered to all academic staff at QwaQwa campus of the UFS during the 2011-2013 academic years. A total of one hundred academic staff participated in the study. Descriptive and inferential analyses (full-model linear regression and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) were used to assess the relationship between attitudes towards computer usage and ICT integration in the classroom. The results from the study did not show a significant relationship between computer anxiety and attitudes towards computer usage and ICT integration, but did indicate a moderate relationship between computer attributes, cultural perception and ICT integration. Computer competence was seen as the most influencing factor affecting ICT use in the classroom. Based on the findings, it was recommended that effective institutional support (in terms of providing opportunities to academic staff to master adequate skills and knowledge) is required to ease and promote ICT integration in the classroom. Given the recent introduction of technology on the QwaQwa campus of the University of the Free State, the institution should not only focus on providing computers for the academic staff and students alike, but also foster a culture of acceptance of these tools amongst the academic staff and students. Academic staff needs to be assured that technology can make their teaching interesting, easier, more fun for them and the students, more motivating and more enjoyable.