Technology integration : tracing in-service primary teachers' technological, pedagogical and content knowledge development
The past decade has witnessed the proliferation and use of computer technologies or ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) in varying levels in the traditional classroom within the South African context. The policy on e-Education (DoE, 2004) refers to the significance of e-Education and expects schools to be developed into e-Schools, consisting of a community of both teachers and learners. This policy also foregrounds how new models of learning are radically changing and challenging current conceptions of learning. As schools acquire technological infrastructure, teachers are expected to become technically skilled in order to deliver the curriculum utilising technology as a tool. Practising primary school teachers are generalists who subscribe to a more holistic approach of teaching. Specialised knowledge influences the in-service primary teacher's perceptions with regard to technology in the classroom. Technology integration,therefore, represents particular challenges for teachers as they search to construct a coherent, technological content base to inform their teaching. Learners with diverse ranges of learning abilities and needs are also present in classrooms, which may further compound the challenges teachers face within the confines of a rigid curriculum and emergent technologies. This study follows and documents the trajectory of a purposive sample of ten practising primary school teachers who had no specialised training in technology. A qualitative ethnographic research design, underpinned by an interpretive paradigm is employed. This research is premised on the argument that teachers can acquire the technical skill, underscored with the relevant pedagogical aims, needed for the seamless integration of emerging technologies required to enhance teaching and learning. "Without skilled pedagogical application of educational technology, technology in and of itself cannot provide innovative school practice and educational change" (Levin & Wadmany, 2006:158).