Professor Desmond Govender of the Discipline of Computer Science Education in the School of Education delivered his virtual inaugural lecture titled, A Turbulent Learning Curve: Technology Integration.
Against the backdrop of ongoing research on the adoption of technology in education, Govender posed the question: ‘With ongoing technological developments, and the classroom having evolved into a sea-bed of technological advances, how do we facilitate an exploration of new education approaches that reflect today’s students and 21st century skills?’
He noted that integration of technology is a persistent challenge in most organisations and industry.
‘A recent survey, post the onset of COVID-19, shows that emerging technology adoption has a people problem and one needs to move out of one’s own way to embrace change. This is also true for the education sector. As early as 2007, it became evident that, regardless of the amount of technology and its sophistication, it will not be used appropriately unless educators have the skills, knowledge, and positive attitudes towards its use,’ argued Govender.
He explored the relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs pertaining to their level of competence and their attitudes towards technology integration. Govender used the analogy of how engineered control systems work to explain how humans act to keep their reference condition/goals in check.
He elaborated that educators have other higher-level goals which may impact their adoption and integration of technology: ‘Therefore, we need to ensure that we try to reduce the so-called disturbances to these goals.’
Govender also shared the potential and impact of augmented reality in the classroom, citing it as a whole new world for education, including biometrics, artificial intelligence and multi-touch services. ‘Learning can be transformed as we continue to discover new technologies and innovative knowledge. Therefore, technology integration can be viewed as a turbulent learning curve as we move forward,’ he added.
Govender concluded, ‘when technology integration truly becomes routine, it’s important to bear in mind that, ultimately, control is in our hands…the educator and human. As Albert Einstein believed, the human spirit must prevail over technology.’