Technology Integration before Student Outcomes: Factors Affecting Teacher Adoption of Technology in India
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Since the 1920s, ICTs have been endorsed as solutions to challenges of access and quality in education. Proponents have also supported technology use in education on grounds that it could potentially impact cognitive, affective, and pedagogical outcomes. Based on these perceived benefits, many developed and developing countries have been alarmingly swift at rolling out technology in schools. However, in spite of more than several decades of ICT investment in education, whether it leads to better cognitive, affective, and pedagogical outcomes remains unclear. Amidst the preoccupation with an outcomes-only approach, the notion of technology integration is getting neglected. Prior to determine how technology can impact students and teachers, it is critical we gain clarity on what is being done with technology within the classroom. This study explored the notion of technology integration and examined the individual and collective role of factors that influence teacher ability to integrate technology in a developing country context. It also studied the relationship between technology and pedagogy, examining to what extent these tools alter the teaching styles of teachers. Using a convergent/ concurrent mixed methods design, the study answered two broad questions: 1. What are the factors or conditions that either hinder or facilitate a teacher's ability to integrate technology with the classroom curriculum? 2. Are there observable differences between teachers with access to technology and those without in the extent to which they engage in constructivist pedagogy in the classroom? The study finds that technology integration is a complex process and the ability to use it effectively for teachers, in the sample, depended on the individual and collective impact of four factors: the existing policy climate, personal characteristics of teachers themselves, the school context, and the innovation being implemented. Further, the study finds no statistically significant difference in the pedagogical styles of teachers with access to technology and those without. Both groups of teachers display very similar teaching styles, and are engaging in as much or as little constructive pedagogy as one another. The study closes with a short discussion on the implications of these findings on ICT-based policy and practice.