Barriers to integrating information technology in Saudi Arabia science education.

Al-Alwani, Abdulkareem Eid Salamah, Ph.D., The University of Kansas, 2005.

Abstract


This study examined current level of information technology integration in science education in the Yanbu school district in Saudi Arabia, and barriers to use. Sub-domains investigated included: infrastructure and resources, policy and support, science teachers' personal beliefs, and staff development. Survey determined demographic data and level of technology implementation, personal computer use, and current instructional practice. Mean frequency of information technology use was 1-2 times during a semester.

Science teachers rated barriers limiting use of technology in teaching with a scale ranging from 0 (does not limit) to 3 (greatly limits). Results found all four factors were significant barriers: infrastructure and resources (M = 2.06; p < .001), staff development (M = 2.02; p <.001), policy and support (M = 1.84; p < .041) and science teachers' personal beliefs regarding technology (M = 1.15; p < .001). Regression analysis found that locations, level of training, teaching experience, and gender predicted frequency of use (F(3,168) = 3.63, R2 = .10, p < .014). Teachers who received in-service training programs used IT significantly more frequently than those who did not receive any training (t = 2.41, p = 0.017). Teachers who received both pre-service and in-service training used IT significantly more frequently than those who did not receive any training (t = 2.61, p = 0.01). Low technology users perceived that there was no support or incentives for using technology, while high technology users did not perceive these barriers (r = -0.18, p = .01). High technology users had positive personal beliefs about how information technology benefits learning, while low technology users held negative beliefs about technology use (r = -0.20, p = .003). The more barriers science teachers experienced, the less likely they were to be information technology users (r = -0.16, p = .02).

There is a need for more computers in school, more teacher training, more time for teachers to learn to use technology, and more readily-available, technical support staff. Further studies are needed to represent all science teachers in Saudi Arabia, assess technology capacity of all schools, and assess in-service staff development.