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The Role and Barriers of Integrating Technology in the U.A.E Secondary School Science Curriculum. By Dr. Hassan A. Hussein [email protected] e. Introduction.
Dr. Hassan A. Hussein
Many studies show that effective use of technology does not only improve academic achievement but also increases students’ attitudes and self-concepts towards learning.
There are five reasons for using technology in education: i) increased teacher efficiency; ii) enhanced student information age skills; iii) support for constructivist approaches; iv) unique instructional capabilities; v) increased student motivation.
Schoepp, K. (2005)
• Technology design and improvement. (e.g., processes for meeting changing human needs, improving on development and uses of resources, improving systems, creating new materials);
• Technology in our lives. (e.g., communication, transportation, medical uses, personal care, household uses, entertainment);
• Technology for learning. (e.g., information retrieval, asking questions/finding answers, computing, experimenting, data gathering/analysis/ storage, networking, assessment, problem-solving, communicating).
Roblyer, M. D., & Edwards, J. (2000)
Throughout human history, there has been technology of many different forms. Rocks used as hammers, animal hide slingshots, and bone sewing needles.
Technology has, for decades, referred to the tools of science, such as microscopes, X-ray devices, balances and even meter sticks.
In our everyday lives, commonly used technology tools have included automobiles, telephones, eyeglasses and washing machines.
Many classrooms in U.A.E schools have technology equipments such as computers. But teachers may use them only to prepare lessons, to check attendance but their most important use by far is not in the role of instruction.
Traditional or teacher-centered strategy, which has been used widely in the UAE school system where there is the persistence of rote memorization as the basic learning strategy.
Dramatic growth and development in the UAE over past decades have made fundamental changes in the education system necessary; hence improving the quality of public school teachers became the heart of government efforts to achieve excellence in the classroom.
Three years ago new curriculum was introduced by Abu Dhabi Educational Council (ADEC) to reform the education system by embedding continuous quality improvement of teaching and learning. This new curriculum is a standard-based curriculum in which teachers design learning to enable their students to reach the level of understanding and to use technology is a part of learning process.
Utilizing traditional teaching method
Lack of technology
Most students in U.A.E schools, at all age levels, might have some expertise in the use of technology, however U.A.E secondary school students should recognize that science and technology are interconnected and that using technology allows students more autonomy in practicing higher-order thinking skills.
In order for schools in the U.A.E to progress, teachers should be proficient in integrating technology into their classrooms. They must have the ability to employ technology to improve student learning.
The use of technology have a little impact on students learning science if teaching does not move toward more student-centered and inquiry-based practice
In this approach,students are not allowed the flexibility to choose different activities in the same unit of work as there is not a variety of lesson activities. In the meantime computer technology is used only for drill, practice and mastery of basic skills.
This method makes technology use less effective, even with increased availability of technology tools in schools
► Many UAE students can not integrate
technology into learning about and doing science projects, thinking through problems due to lack of technology use in the science classroom.
► Technology should be integrated, not as a separate subject or as an occasional project, but as a tool to promote and extend student learning on a daily basis
Science teachers should use student- centered strategies such as
◊ Discovery learning
◊ Inquiry-based learning
◊ Cooperative learning
◊ Computer-assisted learning
◊ Problem solve learning
► Therefore, professional developments are crucial for science teachers to ensuring teacher proficiency in technology integration.
Dede, C. (2000). Emerging Influences of Information Technology on SchoolCurriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies,32(2), 281-304.
Germann, P., & Sasse, C. M. (1997). Variations in concerns and attitudes of science teachers in an educational technology development program. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 16 , 405-423.
Schoepp, K. (2005). Barriers to Technology Integration in a Technology-Rich Environment. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, 2 (1), 1 - 24.
Hill, H., Rowan, B., and Ball, D. L. (2005). Effects of teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching on student achievement. American Education Research Journal, 42(2), 371-406.