The education technology industry is said to be worth $6 billion (Selwyn 2016). There appears a widespread view as well as an increasing reliance on ICT to fix problems relating to the quality of higher education particularly within the global South countries. As we suggest in the paper, the literature we read for our study endorsed this viewpoint and called for more investments in improving ICT infrastructure within universities. Now, university teachers in such contexts could opt to wait for a technological revolution while passively accepting and accommodating contextual limitations that affect daily teaching practices; or they could attempt to use available technological facilities and artefacts to overcome the challenges and improve quality of teaching. In our study we made the assumption that it would be the second option that would be a preferred choice, and became interested in understanding the lecturers’ daily mundane use of ICT within their teaching practice. This was so we may support and inform ICT professional development opportunities available to lecturers in the global South universities.
We located the study in the context of a regional university in Pakistan. The university’s ICT infrastructure became less reliable and stable due to an earthquake in the region, and the lecturers were having to make-do with less-than-ideal, alternative technological arrangements available to them at the university to support teaching and learning. In our study, we adopted the research methodology of Phenomenography to explore the different ways university lecturers were using the digital technologies within their daily teaching practices. We were also interested in understanding as to how do lecturers arrive at using ICT in the manner they do.
Our research findings highlighted a nuanced view about the role of ICT within university teaching. We found that the lecturers were using relatively less-expensive and readily available technologies in different ways within the teaching practices. The research revealed that while ICT infrastructure is important, however there needs to be greater attention allocated to shifting academics’ assumptions regarding the role of ICT in university teaching as well as their pedagogical beliefs towards student-centred teaching.
Given the financial constraints faced by universities within these countries, we caution against much enthusiasm and belief in ICT investments without giving significant consideration to the pedagogical aspects of ICT use within university teaching. We argue that investments in ICT infrastructure when complemented with such professional development work, is more likely to lead towards enhancement in quality of university teaching.
(For further details on the paper see https://doi.org/10.1080/1475939X.2020.1810751)
Galway, G.J., Maddigan, B. and Stordy, M., 2020. Teacher educator experiences of iPad integration in pre-service teacher education: successes and challenges. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 29(5), pp.557-575.
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Neil Selwyn (2016) Minding our language: why education and technology is full of bullshit … and what might be done about it, Learning, Media and Technology, 41:3, 437-443, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2015.1012523