«jaltcalljournal ISSn 1832-4215 Vol. 8, no.1 Pages 17–32 ©2012 jAlt cAll SIg The growing body of literature on Computer CALL Assisted Language Learning ...»
between the teachers’ familiarity with the computer and their recognition of the sources of discouragement in CALL. As displayed in Table 1, teachers’ familiarity with the computer have statistically non-significant relationships with their recognition of the sources of discouragement in computer use. Based on these results it can be claimed that there are not any significant relationships between teachers’ familiarity with the computer and their recognition of the sources of discouragement in computer use.
Research question 2 As for the second research question regarding the factors that are the most influential in discouraging teacher in using computers, a repeated measures ANOVA is run to compare the seven factors that discourage teachers in using computers. The F-observed value for comparing the seven sources of discouragement is 21.05 (Table 2). This amount of F-value is higher than the critical value of 2.31 at 6 and 44 degrees of freedom.
Based on these results it can be concluded that there are significant differences between the seven sources of discouragement. As displayed in Table 3, the order of means are 1) “lack of enough facilities”, 2) “lack of administrative support”, 3) “lack of time”, 4) “perceived ease of use”, 5) “low mastery”, 6) “others’ attitude” and 7) “perceived usefulness”.
This comparison is further illuminated in Figure 1.
Although the F-observed value indicate significant differences between the seven sources of discouragement, the post-hoc Scheffe’s tests should be run to locate the exact places of differences between the means. The results of the post-hoc Scheffe’s tests are displayed in Table 4.
The jalt call Journal 2012: Regular Papers
All of the mean differences receiving an asterisk are significant at 0.05 level of significance.
Based on these results for question number 2, the following claims can be presented:
1. Lack of time is more discouraging than perceived usefulness and others’ attitude (means = 3.38, 2.10, 2.29 respectively). “What really prevents teachers from following an interest in CALL is a lack of time, since they tend to be sufficiently burdened already by their conventional administrative and classroom duties” (Jones, 2001, p. 365) The amount of time available to plan for implementing computers as instructional resources is scarce. Teachers see the time to plan as being the time to learn to become comfortable with computers; to take courses or training as necessary; to learn what software is available; to develop lesson plans and to implement lessons employing this new knowledge and technology (Akins, 1992, as cited in Lee, 2000).
It is natural and not unexpected to see a CALL-based course fail if no enough time for teacher training and preparation is allotted. Teachers need to be taught the necessary computer skills and expertise that are essential for a teacher if he/she is to survive the technical problems that may be caused by a malfunctioning system.
In this regard, school administrators and programmers are suggested to provide teachers with enough time before each class session to prepare themselves and the materials that are to be delivered by computer.
2. Lack of administrative support is more discouraging than low mastery, perceived usefulness and others’ attitude (means = 3.44, 3.02, 2.29 respectively). Many teachers refrain from using computers simply because they receive scant administrative support (Robertson et al, 1996). According to the results, little administrative support is a more influential factor than low mastery and other attitudes in discouraging CALL application in teachers. Scant administrative back up can have various reasons and is in part triggered by poor financial situation (see Froke, 1994; Herschbach, 1994; Lee, 2000; Lewis, Agarwal, & Sambamurthy, 2003). Cost of software, hard ware, systems’ maintenance, and staff training might not be affordable for all educational institutions.
On the other hand, fear of the technology crashing, freezing or being slow or generally ‘going wrong’ and the absence of an on-call help has significantly degenerated CALL applications in educational contexts. Many academic institutions don’t have an on-call administrative support unit and most of the troubleshooting is expected to be carried out by the teacher herself or the students. Many teachers, as will be discussed in the ‘low mastery” section don’t have the required know-how to overcome the probable technological failures and this in turn triggers teachers’ reluctance and a sort of phobia in technology administration. Training technical staff or even training teachers themselves can obviate this problem to a great extent.
3. Low mastery is more discouraging than perceived usefulness and others’ attitude but it is less discouraging than lack of facilities (means = 3.02, 2.10, 2.29, 3.64 respectively).
In the present study, low mastery is referred to the lack of the required knowledge and skill to cope with computers. Many teachers lack the experience of independently working with computers in their teaching career and thus feel uneasy to apply technology in their classrooms. In case of younger teachers, the situation is much more favorable since young generation has merged with technology and computers. Prensky (2001) has termed younger technophile generation “digital natives” in contrast with “digital immigrants” which refers The jalt call Journal 2012: Regular Papers to old generation with much less contact with technology. However, even in case of digital natives, they are not trained in a systematic way to deal with the instructional functions and capabilities or limitations of technology in classrooms. All or the major part of what they have experienced about technology is non-instructional or unfocused.
Even the mastery level of the students also has a direct effect on the teacher’s willingness to use computers in class. In case when students know more than teacher – and they often do – the teacher may fear to lose face (Chambers & Bax, 2006) and therefore is discouraged.
The other end of the scale, when students know little about computers, teacher may lose interest in applying CALL in class, fearing the reluctance and boredom on the part of the students that he might face during instruction.
4. Perceived usefulness is less discouraging than perceived ease of use and lack of facilities (means = 2.10, 3.36, 3.64 respectively). Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw (1989) defined PU as the degree to which a person believes that using a particular technology will enhance his or her job performance. According to the results, teachers in this study considered PU as weak inhibitor to computer use. It is interesting to note that among the means of sources of discouragement PU has the lowest mean. This shows that teachers under study have no negative perception about the usefulness of computers and technology in class. They have no doubt about the educational merits of students who use computers, no doubts about the usefulness of technology in the future of the students, in fulfillment of curriculum goals, and in students’ quality of learning in all language proficiency levels without underestimating the role and presence of the teacher.
5. Perceived ease of use is more discouraging than others’ attitude (means = 3.36, 2.29 respectively). This refers to the degree to which a person believes that using a particular technology will be free of effort (Davis et al., 1989). It is possible that while users may believe that computers are functional tools, at the same time they might have a feeling that they are hard to use too and this may outweigh the performance benefits by the efforts of using the application (Davis, 1989). PE explains the user’s perception of the amount of effort required to utilize the system or the extent to which a user believes that using a particular technology will be effortless (Davis et al., 1989). As such, it is possible that educational technology with a high level of perceived usefulness (PU) – the degree to which a person believes that using a particular technology will enhance his or her job performance – is more likely to induce positive attitudes. Furthermore, the relation between PU and PE is that PU mediates the effect of PE on attitude (Moon & Kim, 2001). That is to say, while PU has direct impacts on attitude, PE influences attitude indirectly through PU.
In the context of the present study, PE is the fourth discouraging factor in using computers. That is to say, teachers may have a dubious look towards the ease of computer applications in class. Of course, this view might be mainly derived from the other sources of discouragement like lack of administrative support, lack of enough training or even their attitude towards CALL application. Sime and Priestley (2005) found that teachers’ attitudes towards the use of computers is heavily influenced by how easy it is to use the tool and that teachers are reluctant to use the tools that seemed difficult to use. As Bax (2000) referred to in his article, lack of experience and technology use in classrooms gives rise to lack of PE. This is a fallacy that has emerged and fueled by teachers’ fear of technology as a hardto-get-along-with phenomenon.
26 However, one might say that the perceived ease of use might be highly correlated with Maftoon & Shahini: CALL normalization the age of the computer user and may claim that the higher the age of the applicant is, the higher the perceived ease of use would be. Among countless justifications for this fact, one can refer to the concept of “digital immigrants” which argued that older ages tend to be more unwilling to apply computers as they see it as an uneasy and fearsome tool (Prensky,
2001) or to the significant and negative correlation of subjective norms with the computer application of older users (Morris & Venkatesh, 2000). Although, this might seem a plausible argument as some studies have suggested (For example, Birren, Woods, & Williams, 1980; Czaja & Sharit, 1993; Myers & Conner, 1992; Sharit & Czaja, 1994), this study found an insignificant correlation between the age of the participants and their perceived ease of use (R = −.046; P =.75.05) Table 5: Pearson correlation age with perceived ease of use PE Age Pearson Correlation −.046 Sig. (2-tailed).750 N 50 This finding might be justified by acknowledging the fact that in the context of the present study, Iran, lack of facilities with a mean of 3.64 which has the highest mean among the sources of CALL use discouragement buys a large proportion of the blame. Lack of facilities – as the primary culprit – seems to have affected other factors as well. PE and PU although might have been generally believed to be much highly favored by younger teachers as they are relatively more digital native; this view has been adversely affected by the lack of facilities. No matter how a given task of CALL seems easy and useful, no willingness of CALL application on the part of users will arise if the necessary conditions are not met.
6. Others’ attitude (subjective norms) is less discouraging than lack of facilities (means= 2.29, 3.64 respectively). Teo et al. (2008) define subjective norms as “as a person’s perception that most people who are important to that person think whether the behavior in question should or should not be performed by the person” (p. 131). Previous studies found a positive and significant relationship between subjective norms and the uptake of technology (for example, Guha, 2003; Stefl-Mabry, 1999; Taylor, 1996).
In an organizational setting, it is possible to trace back the concept of ‘important people’ to the supervisor and the referent group. In other words, subjective norm is the degree to which a person perceives the demands of others on that individual to complete a task or, as in the case of this study, to use the computer. In the area of technology acceptance, this argument was implicitly assumed by Venkatesh and Davis (2000) who argued that when a co-worker thought that the system was useful, a person tended to have the same idea.
It should be noted that subjective norms can go beyond the academic environment and can be extended to the societal and even parental level. A teacher might contemplate the expectations of the society in the future; about the positive effects that can the employment of technology have on the students. What are students’ parents’ expectations of teacher in using CALL in class? How can he answer these expectations?
These questions and many others can induce anxiety in teachers (Russell & Bradley, 1997) which in return will discourage them to use CALL.
The jalt call Journal 2012: Regular Papers Lack of facilities however topped the means among the discouragement factors and needless to say, is far more discouraging than subjective norms. The number of the available computers in schools, the physical arrangement of computers, the availability of software, the timing and scheduling of the computer facilities in schools are among the many factors that discourage teachers to implement technology in their classes. Groves and Zemel (2000) rated facility availability as very important factors which influence the use of instructional technologies in teaching. In a similar vein, Farquhar and Surray (1994) proposed the importance of physical environment under the heading of organizational factors. They believe that the physical facilities available to the teachers play a key role in encouraging teachers to use computers.
Therefore, a key issue against the process of CALL normalization particularly in the context of this study is the lack and inadequacy of technological facilities. In order to reverse this anti-normalization process, many factors and serious measures should come into play. Schools, institutions, and university administrators should allocate decent financial budgets to buy and maintain enough numbers of facilities. Although Chambers and Bax (2006) argued against the mere dependence on hardware technologies and instead advanced a more ecological (rather than technological) perspective, it must be noted that a minimum and adequate number of facilities and provisions are necessary before any further step can be taken.
Based on the findings of the questionnaire, many teachers have complained that although there might be an available computer in each class, there are in most cases serious problems either with the hardware or with the software. They report that the majority of systems are infected with virus or so old, battered, and slow that a great portion of the class time is always wasted getting these problems fixed. Unsurprisingly, this will discourage many teachers to use computers in class and gets them to stick to more traditional means of information delivery.
conclusion In this study, authors aimed at investigating the sources of discouragement that act as an inhibitor to normalization of CALL in educational systems. These sources were identified and discussed and solutions were offered to overcome these inhibitors in an EFL/ESL setting.
Technology proliferation is inevitable and has become one of the challenges of the current century. The relation between the technology and teachers’ acceptance of it has become a major issue in the modern world. As discussed in this paper this unison is still not reached optimally and it will not unless the necessary infrastructures are established.