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826 R. Chitiyo, S. W.

826 R. Chitiyo, S. W. Harmon This study also looked at the primarily first-order barriers or constraints lecturers face in their quest to use technology in instruction. The unstable political and socio-economic environment in Zimbabwe today, and the deteriorating relationship between the state and both local and international investors and donors, has created a difficult situation in which the universities increasingly find themselves short of funding. With little or no funding, institutional support to IT integration in terms of access to computers, the Internet, related technological tools, staff development opportunities and other relevant support is limited. This lack of funding, which precipitates a web of other first- and second-order barriers or constraints, emerged as the single biggest obstacle to IT integration in this study, and it transcends all of the other constraints. The absence of ICT policies and an IT integration framework, which are partly due to the lack of funding, are also related to the issue of the cultural and contextual relevance of some aspects (like language and subject content) of IT integration in Zimbabwe. The other constraints, ranging from poor Internet access and connectivity, lack of relevant or appropriate expertise, absence of appropriate staff development to unreliable electricity supply and large class and/or group sizes, have their origins in or something to do with inadequate or lack of funding. Putting together all the findings reported in this study, and based on the stages of technology development (Entry, Adoption, Adaptation, Appropriation and Invention) by Dwyer et al. (1991), this study suggests that lecturers in the study were at the Entry and Adoption stages of IT integration. The subsequent stages of IT integration (Adaptation, Appropriation and Invention), as the study argued, may be achieved only when conceptualization and day-to-day integration of IT, institutional support (from lecturers’ access to technological tools and technical support, to consistent initial and continuous staff development), and constraints to IT integration have been holistically and systematically addressed. Recommendations of the study In line with the transformative approach to IT integration, and based on and complimenting the emerging national ICT policy framework, this study recommends the following: (a) The creation of a National ICT Council, which should be tasked with the formulation and implementation of ICT policies, with particular emphasis on ICT integration in the national curricula. The council should be made up of representatives of key stake holders in ICT integration. Such members should represent the president’s office, the reserve bank, ministry of finance, all ministries with ICT responsibilities, the business sector, and local and foreign investors, and donors. (b) The formulation of steering committees at institutional level (under the direction of the national council) to implement the technology integration policies at local level. This initial framework would need to address the following issues: • fund raising • improvement of access to technological tools and the Internet • initial (pre-service) teacher education and continuous (in-service) staff development • cultural and contextual relevance of subject content and ET • evaluation of ICT projects and programs 123

An analysis of the integration of instructional technology 827 Fund raising This could be done by establishing partnerships with stakeholders (such as the state, business sector, civic organizations and both local and international investors and donors), at national and institutional level, aimed at enhancing local and foreign investments in universities and raising funds for improving and maintaining national and institutional infrastructure. The funds generated would, through the established framework, be used in tackling and addressing the constraints to IT integration discussed in this study. Improvement of access to technological tools and the internet This would include exploring and recommending ways of ensuring reliable electricity supply, and ensuring ready access to the required technological tools and infrastructure. Adequate bandwidth for Internet requirements should be assured by controlling costs through opening up the telecommunications market, and ensuring that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) set up Internet exchange points that would route traffic within Zimbabwe or the sub-region, instead of through Europe and North America. Open source software and operating systems should be harnessed, as observed by Farrell and Isaacs (2007), who note that interest in Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) is growing rapidly in Africa. Advantage should be taken of organizations like the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and LinuxChix Africa, which are promoting the use and development FLOSS. Initial (pre-service) teacher education and continuous (in-service) staff development The dearth in knowledge, skills and appropriate attitudes in IT integration will need to be tackled through systematic staff development programs and initiatives at national and at institutional levels. The following initiatives are recommended: a. Strategic establishment (through recommendations of the various committees within the established national and institutional framework) of degree-level and graduate programs in ET and related areas at selected local universities. b. Establishment of continuous (in-service) staff development programs and opportunities for lecturers at the respective institutions. Programs may include faculty exchange programs, in-house training of technologists and technicians and joint workshops for faculty and staff. c. Creation of partnerships, joint ventures and collaboration with regional and international institutions seen as leaders in best practices in ICT integration. d. Establishment of a platform for teacher educators to share their knowledge, skills and experiences. This could be done through: • facilitating the formulation of a professional organization for teacher educators with special interest in IT integration. • encouraging and facilitating teacher educators to join regional IT integration discussion lists and mailing lists, such as the World IT Forum listserv. • establishing a local discussion list and mailing list(s) for professionals interested in IT integration in Zimbabwe. • encouraging teacher educators to subscribe to international discussion lists like ITFORUM, for them to benefit from discussions and experiences of fellow professionals at the international level. 123

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