Technophobia as an impediment to successful integration of ICT in education
You might think that with abundant technologies surrounding us today, gone are the days when colleagues would slip a piece of paper under the door, with work-related information or perhaps an urgent matter that requires attentiveness.
This is simply an illustration of how individuals, especially the digital immigrants, are still lagging behind in the use of technology, whether in pedagogical processes or personal lives.
In the education sector specifically, it is not all educators who have embraced abundant opportunities afforded by technology in the 21st century, the main barrier being technophobia that in short is defined as the fear of technology.
Among other factors that affect the integration of technology into curriculum delivery and instruction at school level, one would single out technophobia to be the greatest challenge.
At advantaged schools in the general education sector there are computers and other technological tools lying idle, covered by the dust in classrooms or offices, due to minimal use of these educational tools.
Some teachers still prefer to vehemently depend on pens and papers in delivering education, even when facilities and tools are available.
This scenario points to the fact that availability of technological tools in classrooms is not equated to their effective use, especially when instructors are not fully equipped to make effective use of these technologies.
This is not to deny that there are still educational institutions where access to Information Communication Technology (ICT) facilities remains a challenge to the successful integration of technology at classroom level, but technophobia also has a key role to play, even when facilities are accessible.
Advances in technology have put tremendous pressure on educators to use technology in their teaching and learning processes, even in developing countries where educators face major challenges.
Progress has been made to address the barriers of limited resources to a certain extent; the real gatekeepers to effective integration of technology remain our attitudes and traditional beliefs, as well as limited knowledge and skills. With lack of or limited exposure to effective application of technology, instructors are discouraged or equally fearful to use technology in their classrooms.
With this handicap, instructors would be distressed to use technology in their classrooms, especially the digital immigrants who were not born with technology but now have to prove their competence among the technocrats who were born with technology, their students.
In the final analysis, a need still exists to inspire educators at all levels of education to integrate technology without anxiety, to enhance the teaching and learning processes.
This will better enable them to equip students with contemporary skills that are essential for the 21st century job industry, as the global marketplace edges closer to the fourth industrial revolution, with digital solutions as defining success factors.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the process of integrating technology in education is complicated, thus technophobia. Drawing on Thouësny and Bradley (2011), although existing literature points to the fact that using technology for teaching and learning is rewarding, incorporating it in education remains a serious issue of concern in both developing and developed contexts.
Elina T. Ithindi
Lecturer: Department of Education and Languages
Namibia University of Science and Technology