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The ability of newly qualified teachers to integrate technology into their pedagogical practice
Growing numbers of urban and rural South African classrooms are now occupied by learners accustomed to, or could easily learn how to use technology that they have been described as ‘digital natives’. In order to design lessons that facilitate knowledge acquisition in a way that is familiar and relevant to these digital natives in the 21st century classroom, teachers have to integrate technology into their daily practice. In response to this situation, the National Department of Higher Education (NDoHE) has drafted an e-Education policy to inform schools about the use of technology for innovative teaching and enhanced learning. Provincial education departments are expected to drive this policy. In the context of the historically entrenched socio-economic inequalities in South African schools, the use of technology could be a key instrument in closing the gap between privileged and underprivileged communities. Currently the Western Cape Education Department is involved in many initiatives to make technology more available and accessible. Although some public schools in the Western Cape have been provided with various forms of technology for teachers to use in their teaching, much more needs to be done to encourage newly qualified teachers (NQTs) to adopt, adapt and use technology effectively in the classroom. This study aims to answer the key research question: What factors influence NQTs’ ability to integrate technology into their pedagogical practice? In order to explore these factors, concepts from the TPACK and UTAUT2 models, which constitute the conceptual framework of the study, were used to collect, analyse and interpret data. From a review of the relevant literature, it emerged that although the factors that influence NQTs’ ability to integrate technology into their pedagogy have been extensively investigated internationally, few studies have been conducted in South Africa as a whole, and even fewer in the Western Cape; which makes this a pioneering local study. Because of the importance of technology in the 21st century classroom, factors that influence teachers’ use of technology need constantly to be monitored in order for school leaders to formulate programmes to encourage more teachers to integrate technology into their lessons effectively.
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