Princeton University Library Catalog

ICT in Education: Barriers to Integration and Implications for the Digital Divide

Schreff, Rebecca [Browse]
Senior thesis
Rouse, Cecilia [Browse]
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Class year:
104 pages
Summary note:
Overview Information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly recognized for their immense potential to enrich education. This thesis investigates the barriers that hinder teachers’ efforts to integrate ICT into their classrooms in order to help increase opportunities to leverage ICT for teaching and learning. These barriers can occur at the institution/school-level in the provision of ICT, professional development, and technical support. Barriers can also exist at the individual/teacher-level based on teachers’ perceptions of ICT effectiveness and teachers’ confidence in using ICT. The existence of barriers that slow integration of ICT into classrooms is problematic on two levels. First, teachers, students, and administrators alike miss out on the potential for ICT to be a transformative force in education. Second, these barriers deepen the digital divide, that is, inequities in access and use of ICT. There is evidence in this study and in previous studies that barriers to integrating ICT disproportionately affect teachers in urban and high poverty schools, further widening academic achievement and educational opportunities between these groups. Findings This thesis’ primary mode of analysis is a survey of New Jersey public high school teachers. The findings of this study can advance schools’ understanding of the barriers that challenge teachers’ efforts to integrate ICT into their classrooms. Analysis of the survey data reveals that teachers hold positive opinions of the potential for ICT to contribute meaningfully to teaching and learning. As such, teacher/ barriers do not form significant obstacles. Rather, the most significant barriers occur at the institution/schoollevel. Barriers include limited access to ICT in sufficient quantity, ICT that are outdated or not operational, lack of time to develop lessons using ICT, and inadequate professional development to guide ICT integration. The findings further suggest that there are inequities in access, use, and provision of professional development to support ICT integration. These divides disadvantage teachers from urban and high-poverty schools. The results imply a need for schools to increase the provision of quality ICT, technical support, and professional development to facilitate the successful integration of ICT into classrooms.