The Dynamics of Access to ICT and Technology Practices of Secondary School Teachers




Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Access to ICT, Teacher technolgy practice, COVID-19 pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for effective teaching and learning. Access to ICT is a complex and dynamic phenomenon that significantly impacts teachers' technology practices. There is a need for more extensive studies to explore the dynamics of access and teacher technology practices in various contexts. This study explored the influence of access on the technology practices of secondary school teachers in the Western Cape, South Africa. A qualitative online survey was used to explore the lived experiences of teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. A diverse sample, in terms of gender, age, years of experience of teachers, and socio-economic status of schools, of 22 teachers voluntarily participated in the study. Van Dijk's cumulative model of access to ICT provided a useful lens to explore how and when the dimensions of access supported or hindered teachers' appropriation of ICT. This study found that most respondents were primarily exposed to traditional face-to-face teaching before March 2020. The suspension of in-school teaching, however, caused a dramatic shift in the way teachers interacted with technology, learning materials and learners. Three dimensions of digital inequality, associated with physical access, manifested in South Africa, namely the Virtual Classroom, WhatsApp, and Radio-Television groups. Most participants in this study returned to traditional teaching practices with increased use of technology when schools reopened again. The findings of this study suggest that access to technology is not a linear progression of successive stages that by default culminates in usage. This paper proposes a more holistic contextualised approach to access to create enabling environments for the use of ICT and empower teachers to use ICT in their teaching practices.



14 Aug 2023