Exploring the integration of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) into the teaching of Life Sciences through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
In the last decade, there has been intensive discussion on the benefits of Indigenous knowledge (IK) in science education. This study investigates incorporating Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) into the teaching of Life Sciences using Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), with the goal of determining whether teachers are applying the skills they learned in the Short Learning Programmes (SPLs) that were conducted for teachers on integrating IK in the teaching of Life Sciences through ICTs. Secondary school Life Sciences teachers who were trained to use smartboards and other technologies to improve teaching and learning made up the study sample. The teachers who took part were from township schools of Tshwane North District of the Gauteng Department of Education, (GDE). The research study is informed by the review of literature on the integration of IK in science education and the use of ICT in teaching and learning of science. This is a mixed method study with strong emphasis on the qualitative side and quantitative data supports the study, hence it is QUAL-quan study in which teachers were interviewed and lesson observations were conducted. The recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed using a thematic content analysis technique. The Views of the Nature of IK (VNOIK) instrument was used as pre- and post-tests to track any changes that occurred in the teachers’ views on IK. Third generation Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) was used as a lens to interpret the data. CHAT was used as a research lens, to enable to the identification of factors / ‘tensions’ that limit ICTs supported IK integration in the classroom, as well as how electronic platforms, have either assisted or restricted the implementation of skills that were learnt in the SLPs, on the integration of IKS into the teaching of Life Sciences through ICTs. Although this study is predominantly qualitative, numerical data was collected with the use of the FIT:COM instrument, which uses the Likert scale, therefore there is limited quantitative data (quan) which supports the qualitative data (QAUL). The main findings that were identified from this study were: 1. Even though teachers acknowledged that the short learning program provided them with some knowledge and skills in employing applicable IK in ICT supported learning, most teachers continue to teach in the traditional method. 2. As indicated by the results on VNOIK before and after intervention tests, in chapter 4 table 4-16, teachers developed more complex understandings of indigenous knowledge during the SLP, the post-intervention statistics, on the other hand, revealed virtually little or no transfer of the acquired knowledge and skills to the classroom. 3. Despite the well-documented benefits of learner-centred incorporation of IK into topic teaching, this study found that teacher-centred, passive teaching practices predominated in the classroom lessons that were observed post the interventions. 4. The CHAT analysis in Chapter 4 demonstrated how systemic pressures undermine the potential affordances of tapping into learners' interests to achieve optimal learning. 5. Teachers appreciate the potential that ICTs may offer to teaching and learning, but in this study, many lack the skills to improve technology, pedagogy, and content (TPACK), and hence are hardly utilizing this opportunity. 6. While the Department of Education supports for the integration of ICTs in teaching and learning, South Africa's digital divide continues to impede internet access. 7. Teachers encounter a range of challenges in ICT-supported learning environments, including a lack of knowledge on how to use the available resources effectively. As a result, it is difficult for them to assist learners to acquire learning skills. 8. There is a lack of internal and external assistance for teachers to build abilities to use available resources effectively. 9. The findings of this study demonstrated that, with a few notable exceptions, most teachers use ICT devices to transmit knowledge rather than to foster self-directed learning, higher order thinking, or 21st century skills The findings revealed that the short learning programs had an impact on instructors' attitudes and skills, as they recognized the need of making learning interesting and exciting. Post the interventions, teachers were excited to conduct lessons where they have an atmosphere of shared learning goals, which allows interactive participation of learners to promote optimal learning achievements. The reality of the school environment, however, mandates otherwise, as teachers confront systematic pressure to educate for present results, which puts them under pressure to comply with regulation and to produce good results as opposed to producing critical thinkers. The severe scarcity or lack of resources, particularly in poor socioeconomic communities, deprives future generations of important and memorable learning experiences.
- Education