Teachers’ Perceptions About the Usefulness of Information Technology in Instruction at Regent University College of Science and Technology

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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
According to Wernet et al, (2000) Information Technology-enhanced education is becoming an increasingly important part of higher and professional education, Lam & Lawrence (2002) also state that information technology does not only give learners the opportunity to control their own learning processes, but also provides them with ready access to a vast amount of information over which the teacher has no power or control. However, in this twenty first century where teachers in various universities are seen to be active agents in the process of change and implementation of new ideas (Woodrow, J. (1991),is of the view that their beliefs and attitudes may support or impede the success of any educational reform such as the utilization of an innovative technology program.

The use of information technologies such as Internet, World Wide Web, multimedia presentation tools etc., in education, offers a number of benefits such as allowing teachers to organize their teaching in an efficient manner, and helping them to visualize their abstract concept and creating the real world simulations. Achacoso, (2003) also stated that Information Technology does not only help the teachers to make the students understand the topic better, it also helps them save time when it comes to the explanation of the abstract matters to students.

The World Wide Web also for example, according to Li, (2007) provides teachers with a wide range of resources that are useful for their teaching, and if it happens that a teacher has limited time for developing teaching materials, he/she can directly go to a website and select any materials or topics that meet his/her needs. Usually, the already available resources do offer more than what may be needed by the teachers. Technology also plays an important role when it comes to networking of teacher from one university to the other or from different parts of the world sharing similar interests or having the expertise in certain field. Becker, (1999) says network building can help teachers solve their teaching problems and, therefore, enhance their professionalism.

The presence of information technology in the universities does not automatically promote the benefits for teaching and learning. The benefits of technology integration can only be attained if teachers know how to use the technology well, technically and pedagogically. Several researches such as Mouza, (2003) indicated that teachers’ lack of knowledge and skills have become primary factors in failure of an information technology integration program in the institutions. Many teachers can only operate basic computer programs although the computers they use can provide them with more advanced capabilities. The lack of time is also often considered as a problem by teachers in their technology mediated teaching. In fact, in preparing to teach with technology, Katheriner, (2007) argues, that it usually requires longer time than teaching without technology.

Regent University College of Science and Technology, a private university that was established with the purpose of focusing on teaching with information technology, was incorporated in 2003 and it was officially inaugurated in June 16, 2005. The mode of teaching at Regent University (Academic Policies (2008)) includes: * face to face teaching with seminar- room discussion and focus groups, * individual research with group projects and exercises, * oral presentation with written reports,

* analytical approach with case study methodology,
* business simulation with industrial visits,
* individuals and group meetings in with tutors and visiting speakers, * electronic forum discussion and teletutorials with audio-visuals facilities. These modes of teachings are executed through the use of technological tools such as MS Word, Power Point...
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