Mathematics teacher–students attitude towards information and communication technology across three countries
Laubscher, Dorothy Joy
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Low achievement in Mathematics is a problem that faces schools, colleges and universities, not only in South Africa, but worldwide. Many efforts have been made to explore different ways in which teaching and learning can be more effective. ICT provides endless possibili–ties to enhance the teaching and learning of Mathematics. The purpose of this study is to determine teacher–students’ attitude towards ICTs in order to plan for effective, efficient and appropriate methods of Mathematics education. It further aims to determine to what extent these students will be willing to use ICTs in their own studies as well as in the teaching pro–cess in their classrooms, and aims to compare the students’ attitudes across three countries i.e. South Africa, Tanzania and Finland. The population consisted of Mathematics education teacher–students enrolled at the following institutions: School for Continuing Teacher Educa–tion (SCTE) at the North–West University in South Africa (317 students), the Iringa University College, University of Tumaini in Tanzania (111 students), and the University of Joensuu in Finland (56 students). This study followed a quantitative cross–sectional survey design com–prising a single mode research questionnaire to three groups of students in three countries. The instrument that was used was based on the Loyd and Gressard Computer Attitude Sur–vey (1984) (CAS), with a few additional questions to add to the relevance of this study. Questionnaires were completed by each group of students. The questionnaires were posted to each Mathematics teacher–student at the SCTE with a return envelope included. The re–searcher visited Tanzania and administered the questionnaire to the students at their univer–sity and some students in Finland completed the survey online while others completed a pa–per–based copy, which was returned to the researcher. Descriptive statistical techniques, reliability and validity of the instrument scale, inferential statistics (ANOVA), and cross–tabulations were used, and where appropriate, effect sizes were calculated. Findings indi–cated that the teacher–students have a positive attitude to computers and that they are willing to use ICTs in their own studies and in their teaching at school. The comparison of their atti–tudes revealed that the South African and Tanzanian teacher–students have a more positive attitude towards ICTs than the Finnish students. The teacher–students in the two African countries were also more willing to use ICTs than the students in Finland, despite their in–creased exposure and access to technology. To create an environment of effective Mathe–matics education, a number of factors play an important role. Mathematics education sup–ported by good pedagogical content knowledge can be transformed into effective Mathemat–ics education with the aid of a positive computer attitude and willingness to use technology. Together these aspects are supported by the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) framework.
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