CHAPTER THREE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
This chapter provides the findings of the literature review on ICT literacy from books, journals, government documents and conference papers. It reviews the meaning of ICT and the history of ICT in education. Although the purpose of this study is to ascertain the ICT literacy of secondary school principals in the Western province of Kenya, the literature review creates the context for discussion on the meaning and concept of ICT literacy, socio-demographic factors influencing ICT literacy, strategies for developing ICT literacy and challenges facing the development of ICT literacy.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) LITERACY
The meaning of ICT
Pernia (2008:11) defines ICTs as technologies used to communicate in order to create, manage and distribute information. She adds that a broad definition of ICTs includes computers, the Internet, telephone, television, radio and audio-visual equipment. She further explains that ICT is any device and application used to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information and knowledge. Digital technology is included in this definition as services and applications used for communication and information processing functions associated with these devices (Amara, 2006:2). According to the Education Testing Service (ETS, 2002:16-17), the International Literacy Panel regards ICT as combining Information Technology (IT) and telecommunications. The panel further explains that IT is the electronic display, processing and storage of information, but not necessarily the transmission of the information.
Onunga and Shah (2005:110) argue that digital technology reflects hardware and software products, communication tools and products with services used to transmit information. The term is meant to be as inclusive as possible to reflect the breadth of hardware, software and infrastructure that make up ICT (Pernia, 2008:11). According to Chemwa and Mburu (2007:1), ICT hardware includes electricity infrastructure, desktop computer, laptop computer, CD drive, printer, scanner, telephone (mobile or landline) and projector. Onunga and Shah (2005:113-114) define software as detailed instructions called programmes and data that enable the hardware to perform its tasks at high speed. They further classify computer software as system and application software. They outline that system software, which manages computer operations, includes the operating system of the computer, a compiler that translates programs and utility programs such as back up. In addition, the authors mention that application software handles the needs of the end user to solve specific problems; examples include software packages that can be used in school administration and related tasks. Ferrigan (2007:2) gives examples of ICT application software as word processing, spreadsheets, databases, e-mail, the Internet and presentation software, which enhance the quality of leader-worker interactions. In this study, ICT is therefore defined as a combination of ICT infrastructure which includes hardware and application software and networks that connect them.
The history of ICT in education
The first computer was the ENIAC (Electronic Numeric integrator and Computer), which was completed in 1946 (Besterfield et al., 2003:223). During the information age that followed, the growth in information and knowledge and the evolution of technologies that make information and knowledge growth possible has become increasingly faster (Pernia, 2008:13). Since hardware and software have developed over several years, the dates given in Table 3.1 are only a guide (Besterfield et al., 2003: 224).
The conceptual and planning work related to the implementation of ICT in schools goes back in history to the early 1980s while the increased emphasis on the holistic incorporation of technology into educational systems began during the 1990s (Baruch & Mioduser, 2005:202 – 203). This is supported by Feldner (2003:22) who asserts that computer technology entered schools with the desktop computer in the 1980s. He adds that by 1985 market forces had been significant in the education sector; making policy formulation in the education sector to have a business footing. This is through devolution of budgetary control to schools and the impact of a business approach in schools (Coulton, 2006:3). Since then, significant national efforts have been made in many countries to plan the implementation of ICT and to allocate the required government funds. As a result, in the last decade, an increasing number of countries have been promoting as explicit national policies, the incorporation of ICT into their educational systems, installing computer networks in schools, connecting them to the Internet and training ICT-oriented teachers (Volman, Van Eck, Heemskerk & Kuiper, 2005: 41).
Special attention has been granted to the process of diffusion of innovative ICT practices in all aspects of school life, including the curriculum and administration (Baruch & Mioduser, 2005: 204). They add that in recent years major steps have been taken in many countries to supply schools with an ICT infrastructure hoping that technology will improve the quality of school performance. In correspondence to these steps by most governments, this study is focused on investigating the role of ICT literacy in improving school leadership quality and how the leadership can influence school performance. The section that follows covers the nature of ICT literacy in the education sector.
The concept of ICT literacy
ICT literacy skills comprise a 21st century form of literacy, in which research and communication of information via digital technology are as important as reading and writing were in earlier centuries (Katz, 2008: 50). Sometime in 2001, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) convened an international panel which comprised of academics, development specialists and telecommunications experts representing the governmental and private sectors to study the growing importance of existing and emerging ICT (Katz & Macklin, 2006: 51; Pernia, 2008:11). The international panel defines ICT literacy as the ability to use digital technology, communications tools and networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information in order to function in a knowledge-driven society (Kenney, 2006:1).
Wijaya and Sunrendro (2007:2) describe the concept of ICT literacy to consist of the terms ‘ICT’ and ‘literacy’. They further explain that ICT literacy is a bridge between technical literacy and information literacy. In technical literacy, one learns basic skills in databases, word processing and data presentation; while information literacy is access, evaluation and use of information by means of technology. This is in support of the International Literacy Panel’s statement that the concept of ICT literacy involves three proficiencies outlined in (ETS, 2002:14), namely:
- Cognitive proficiency, which is the desired foundational skills of everyday life at school, at home, and at work. Literacy, numeracy, problem solving and spatial/visual literacy demonstrate these proficiencies.
- Technical proficiency, which involves the basic components of digital literacy. It includes a foundational knowledge of hardware, software applications, networks and elements of digital technology.
- ICT proficiency is the integration and application of cognitive and technical skills. ICT proficiencies are seen as enablers that allow individuals to maximise the capabilities of technology. At the highest level, ICT proficiency results in innovation, individual transformation and societal change.As indicated in figure 3.1, ICT proficiency includes both cognitive and technical proficiencies. While cognitive and technical proficiencies are both necessary components of ICT literacy, each represents independent domains in which the associated knowledge and skills interact to influence ICT literacy. These cognitive skills include general literacy, such as reading and numeracy as well as critical thinking and problem solving. Without such skills, the international panel believes that true ICT literacy cannot be attained. While ICT with its immense capacity to present, access and manage information is good, there must be a balance between the need for cognitive skills, literacy and knowledge and what the technology can achieve by itself (ETS, 2002:5).According to ETS (2002:5), the International Literacy Panel views ICT literacy as a continuum of skills, abilities and mastery of technical skills and knowledge. ICT literacy is defined as the ability to use digital technology, communications tools and networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information in order to function in a knowledge society (ibid., 2002:3-13). The panel’s definition reflects the notion of ICT literacy as a continuum, which allows the measurement of various aspects of literacy, from daily-life skills to the transformative benefits of ICT proficiency. This definition indicates five components of ICT literacy that represent a set of skills and knowledge presented in a sequence that suggests increasing cognitive complexity as ICT access, management, integration, evaluation and creation. Pernia (2008:12) confirms that the seven ICT proficiencies identified by ETS echo the increasing complexity of abilities including:
Define: Using ICT tools to identify and appropriately represent an information need. Access: Knowing about and knowing how to collect and/or retrieve information in digital environments; also the ability to develop a search strategy to locate information within a database.
Manage: Organising information into existing classification schemes.
Evaluate: Reflecting to make judgments about the quality, relevance, usefulness, efficiency, authority, bias and time of the information.
Integrate: Interpreting, summarising, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting information from multiple digital sources.
Create: Generating new information and knowledge by adapting, applying, designing, inventing, or representing information in ICT environments.
Communicate: Conveying information and knowledge to various individuals and groups.
CHAPTER ONE 1 ORIENTATION OF THE STUDY
1.2 THE POLICY CONTEXT OF ICT INTEGRATION IN EDUCATION IN KENYA
1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.4 RESEARCH AIMS AND HYPOTHESES
1.6 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.7 RESEARCH METHODS
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1.9 ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING THE STUDY
1.10 ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER TWO CHANGE MANAGEMENT, LEADERSHIP QUALITY AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE
2.2 CHANGE MANAGEMENT
2.3 QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT
CHAPTER THREE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
3.2 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
3.3 ICT LITERACY
CHAPTER FOUR RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
4.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS RESTATED
4.3 RESEARCH AIMS AND OBJECTIVES RESTATED
4.4 THE NULL HYPOTHESES
4.5 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
4.6 ETHICAL MEASURES
4.7 RESEARCH SETTING
4.8 RESEARCH METHODS
4.9 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
4.10 DATA ANALYSIS
CHAPTER FIVE RESEARCH FINDINGS: ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS
5.2 SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS INFLUENCING ICT LITERACY AMONG PRINCIPALS
5.3 DATA ANALYSIS ACCORDING TO RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
CHAPTER SIX FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH
6.2 FINDINGS FROM THE LITERATURE STUDY
6.3 FINDINGS FROM THE EMPIRICAL STUDY
6.6 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
6.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
6.8 CONCLUDING REMARKS
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PRINCIPALS’ LITERACY IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT): TOWARDS IMPROVING SECONDARY SCHOOL PERFORMANCE IN KENYA