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Quek, Choon Lang
The world is at a pivotal moment where rapid digital transformation is reshaping economies and societies (OECD, 2018). In Singapore, recent national initiatives have propelled the use of technology in education. The SkillsFuture initiative, a long-term national effort to promote a culture of lifelong learning, calls for training providers to “expand online learning opportunities” (MOE, 2014, p. 3) to make learning flexible so that individuals can “learn anywhere and anytime” (p. 24). The Smart Nation initiative envisions a nation where work, learn, and play are enabled seamlessly by technology. In education, this calls for the innovative use of technologies to enhance teaching and learning. These initiatives have a direct impact on polytechnic education that prepares school-going cohorts to be industry-ready and upskill working adults for better career opportunities. However, published research on technology integration in the polytechnic context are scarce and there is limited knowledge of how lecturers use technology in teaching and learning. In this regard, this exploratory study sets out to examine technology integration practices of polytechnic lecturers in Singapore.
Situated in the context of a Singaporean polytechnic, this study aims to investigate polytechnic lecturers’ technology integration practices from the perspectives of professional knowledge and contextual factors influence as they reasoned about their technology-integrated lessons. The study is guided by two theoretical frameworks: the Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) as professional knowledge and the framework for context (Porras-Hernandez & Salinas-Amescua, 2013) to identify contextual factors.
A qualitative case study approach was adopted to understand polytechnic lecturers’ technology integration practices. Data were initially collected from semi-structured interviews with 12 lecturers (each as an individual case) and their technology-integrated lessons. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis guided by an a priori coding scheme informed by the two theoretical frameworks. To establish an in-depth understanding of polytechnic lecturers’ technology integration practices, four case studies (out of the 12 original cases) were selected for further analysis and discussion.
The findings indicated that lecturers engaged in all seven knowledge components of the TPACK framework in technology integration. Their technology integration practices were influenced by the contextual factors related to the dimensions of scope (micro, meso, and macro levels) and actor (lecturers’ knowledge of self and knowledge of their students). These lecturers also engaged their prior industry knowledge and experience in technology integration practices. The findings established evidence for a proposed Technology Integration Framework for Polytechnic Educators (TIFPE). The TIFPE identifies the types of knowledge components used by lecturers in technology integration. The study provided recommendations on how TIFPE can be used in professional development at the polytechnics in Singapore and potentially in other TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) settings. The study also suggested ways, through professional development and organisational support, to help polytechnic lecturers overcome contextual factors that are barriers to their technology integration practices.
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