Teachers' Beliefs and Attitudes regarding the Use of Tablet Computers as a Pedagogical Tool in Kuwaiti Schools
The paper draws on a mixed-methods exploratory-cum-explanatory research design to investigate the ways in which tablet computers are being integrated in Kuwaiti schools. It examines how teachers’pedagogical and epistemological beliefs influence their decisions to use the devices to facilitate and augment learning in and beyond conventional classrooms. The research is both significant and distinct in its approach towards understanding how teachers use real-life tablet computer-supported learning settings, theimpact of the technology onteachers’pedagogicalapproaches and what enables or hinders teaching and learning.This study examines this issue in depth to gain an understanding of what the growing use of tablet computers means for teaching and learning in Kuwaiti schools.
This inquiry is grounded in the theoretical frameworks of the Technology AcceptanceModel (TAM) and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). To address the aims of this study, pragmatism which iscloselyconnected with mixed methods research was adopted as the paradigm as it allowed the use of different methods of data collection. The data collection process involved three main phases. In the first phase, the quantitative data was collected via questionnaires consisting of TPACK and TAM constructs which were administered to a sample of150intermediate school teachers from one school district. The questionnaire was developed from existing validated questionnaires, for instance theTPACK scales developed by Canbazoğlu-Bilici et al. (2013) and the TAM constructs from thesurvey instrument designed by Teo (2009). In the second phase, qualitative data was collected via semi-structured interviews with a sample of 15 teachers.The third phase involved classroom observations of the 15 teachers who had taken part in the interviews.Quantitative data was analysed using thestatisticalpackage for social sciences (SPSS) version 21 software while qualitative data was thematically analysed.
The ensuing findings indicate that theteachers'perceptionsofaffordancesandconstraintsofthetechnologymayhavedeveloped over time and through the use of the devices in their classroom practices. Although theteachershadvariedself-efficacybeliefs,theyhadpositiveattitudestowardstheuseoftabletcomputers.The study also reveals that the teachers’ TPACK fostered skills to use these devices and that they could supportauthenticassessmentandpromotestudent-centredlearning.Furthermore,thestudyfound that policy makers lacked pedagogical understanding to support schools that wanted to integrate tablet computers. Although most findings reinforce what is already known about the field, this study is unique as these results are new for Kuwait and possibly more widely for the Middle East.
The study makes an original contribution to existing literature on mobile learning, in particular tablet computers, as it can inform the design of pedagogical approaches for enhancing teaching and learning in virtual environments. The study recommends that policy makers provide increased support for teachers and encourage schools to put in place mechanisms that improve teachers’ attitudes towards emerging technologies. Additionally, it recommends that teachers should be provided relevant and targeted in-service training programmes to enhance their skills and knowledge in order to integrate tablet computers into their teaching practices to effectively support a student-centred learning paradigm.
Keywords: TAM, TPACK, Schools, Teachers, Technology.