Factors Influencing the Decision of Faculty to Use Educational Technologies

A Theoretical Analysis of Factors Influencing the Decision of Faculty to Use Educational Technologies in the Context of Institutions of Higher Education. Khan, M.A., Omrane, A., & Rodriguez, A. M. (2017).  Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 4(1) 147-164.

In this article the authors give an interesting and recognizable overview of all the different aspects you have to consider when you want to implement ICT in your education.
The lay-out is adapted to increase the readability on the screen.

Abstract
In this paper we study factors influencing faculty’s decision to use educational technologies to support their pedagogical strategies.

We briefly describe educational technologies commonly used by faculty to support teaching such as emails, video conferences, chat rooms, video lectures, blackboard discussions and Power Point Presentations for example.

We explain in detail faculty factors (i.e., gender, age and cultural background), student factors (i.e., academic performance and gender) and contextual factors (i.e., classroom size, institutional support, course subject, and time constraints) as influential factors in using educational technologies by the faculty to support teaching.

The paper findings suggest that the factors under study do influence the faculty decision to use educational technologies to support teaching, however, there are certain strategies education institutions can rely upon in order to overcome the barriers that discourage the faculty to fully integrate technology into their pedagogical strategies.

Recommendations and implications

As concluded that the educational technologies are parts and parcels of the education system and there is no way to deny the use of educational technologies in one way or the other.
Nonetheless, it is also concluded that there is still resistance from different forces within and without the education institutions to fully integrate educational technologies into the regular pedagogical strategies across the board. Therefore, herewith a number of practical recommendations are put forward for the educational institutions and their leadership to pursue while trying or wanting to adopt educational technologies to support pedagogical strategies.

(1) Faculty attitude must be changed from negative to positive towards technology and the uses of technology for teaching purposes. They must be assured that technology will make their teaching interesting, easier, fund, motivating and enjoyable (Bruce & Levin, 2001).

(2) Faculty should be made aware that the use of technology in teaching is helpful for the students alike since it encourages inquiry, helping communication, constructing teaching products, and assisting students’ self-expression (McCannon & Crews, 2000).

(3) The issue of the use of technology and its usefulness must be part of programs of faculty development and when discussing instruction, education, or training issues (Snelbecker, 1999).

 (4) Faculty perception of the usefulness of the technology should be improved and the constraints of self efficacy and structure must be removed (Buchanan et al., 2013).

 (5) Educational institutions must remove or at least reduce the barriers:

  • Lack of time to integrate educational technology in teaching activities;
  • lack of funding to purchase the equipment and software needed;
  • insufficient computing infrastructure (servers, bandwidth, storage capacity;
  • Insufficient computing facilities (labs, technology-equipped classrooms;
  • not enough training offered in the areas that interest you; not enough assistance with technical problems; not interested in using technology (Fu, 2013).

(6) Provide trainings and workshops related to technology to update teachers’ skills and knowledge (Al-Bataineh et al. 2008).

(7) Support partnerships that help teachers share effective technology practices and experiences (Ertmer & Otternbreit-Leftwich 2010).

(8) Augment curricula with technology-enhanced materials (Goktas, Yildirim & Yildirim 2009).

(9) Provide enough freedom for teachers in selecting and covering curriculum material (Honan 2008).

(10) Provide adequate technical support to the faculty and students (Liu & Szabo 2009).

However, the implementation task of such recommendations is not without limitations (Gilakjani, 2013).

Firstly, the use of instructional technology alone does not guarantee the effective use of the technology for teaching purposes.

Secondly, there is need for proper planning, implementing and evaluating the technology-pedagogy integration work. The use of technology in teaching should enhance both the quality and productivity of the education services provided to students. Achieving optimal conditions for faculty, students and the institution to integrate and maintain the technology-pedagogy integration is pivotal. It demands time, money, culture and strategy from the academic leaderships. It is also imperative to provide enough time, financial assistances, technical help and pedagogical guidance to the faculty in order to design teaching activities and experiences supported by technology; implement such activities as planned and assessing the effectiveness of technology based teaching.

Thirdly, as suggested by researchers in the field (i.e., Gilakjani, 2013), faculty will have to understand and be responsible for the social, ethical, legal, and human issues in connection with the technology-pedagogy integration.

Fourthly, exercising extreme patience from all the concerned corners is needed since integrating technology-pedagogy fully and truly is a slow and time-consuming process and task (Collins, 1997).

Fifthly, continuous collaboration from and good communication among the institutional leadership, faculty,

students, technology support center and pedagogical specialists will enable the technology pedagogy integration process and system to function smoothly and properly. For this to happen, all relevant stakeholders need to meet regularly to share best practices and on time information (Usun, 2005). The technology-pedagogy integration management should include faculty evaluation and feedback on how did they use technology in their classes and the impact of the same on their teaching effectiveness (Dahlstrom, 2015).

Sixthly, it is also a cumbersome task to identify and match differing variables such as new advances in educational technologies, nature of the course, learning outcomes of the course, lecture type and materials, students learning styles and professors´ teaching styles (Trucano, 2005).
Additionally, institutions of higher education must make the adoption of new technologies to support pedagogical strategies, an important component of the institutional strategic planning.

Seventhly, and finally, the macro environment (society, industry and technology) surrounding organizations is constantly changing and thus demanding for permanent need assessment methods, change strategy, new organizational system (Balash et al., 2011), culture and strong leadership.

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