The integration of information and communication technology into basic education schools in Oman : a study of teachers' use of ICT and the influence of related factors
This study investigates teachers' use of Information and Communication technology (ICT) in Basic Education schools in Oman. The introduction of ICT was a reform in the education system embarked upon in 1998 which aimed to transfer the schools from the traditional style to more progressive through the integration of technology into teaching and learning. The main focus of the present study is on exploring the influence of different factors on the use of ICT, such as the availability of different types of equipment, teacher training, learning resource centres, administration and attitudes toward the importance of the educational technology to the teaching-learning process. The study is based on both quantitative and qualitative data gathered using a variety of methods: questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations. The questionnaire sample consisted of 743 teachers. Interviews and observations were conducted with 23 teachers in all regions in Oman. Results indicate that teachers' use of ICT was low and most of them (around two thirds of the sample) still rely on traditional media tools; ICT use by Basic Education teachers was still confined primarily to laboratory settings; and teachers' technology experiences were not directly integrated into daily classroom instruction or lesson planning. Access to resources, time, training, home use and support were identified as factors that influence the integration of technology into daily instruction. Among the findings of the study are continuing weaknesses in ICT integration and the need for improved and more flexible in-service training. In addition, the study argues that the main concern of the Basic Education teachers was the lack of support, which could be improved by offering technical, administrative and suitable guides and knowledge to help them the achieve the higher levels of ICT integration.