Are Minimal Digital Technology-Enhanced Learning Devices, A Devil or Messiah to Perennial Problems in the Learning Institutions? A Case for Zambian Secondary Schools

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

In 2014, the late Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of General Education in Zambia, Chishimba Nkosha pronounced that Information Communication and Technology (ICT) was a compulsory subject and examinable at Grade 9 although the subject was not going to be used for selection to Grade 10. This policy direction was pronounced in line with the revised curriculum. In November, 2015, several newspapers, mass media and the social media reported that thousands of children sitting for their Grade 9 ICT practical exams were forced to sit for their papers past midnight due to shortages of computers. The situation was further compounded by Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Company’s load shedding as some schools did not have power from as early as 12.00 hours and power was only restored around 22.30 hours. Despite the pronouncement of making ICT as a compulsory subject at Grade 9, the presence and use of minimal technology enhanced-learning devices such as mobile phones in schools is a serious offence and that has led many learners to be expelled from school or being given force transfers. All public schools in Zambia debar the use of cell phones as they are perceived as distraction. Elsewhere, schools and universities are using these technologies to support learners and teachers.// In this paper, therefore, the theory of technology acceptance and various sub-themes have been discussed. The research is quantitative in nature and it is based on the understanding of the different approaches taken by different institutions on the topic of embracing technology-enhanced learning mobile devices in secondary schools. Literature of various studies which were undertaken, the benefits and challenges were investigated. // The research findings indicate that policy makers should consider introducing the use of mobile phones in secondary schools in order to enhance teacher-preparedness and learner-performance; provide technical and pedagogical support, and embark on ICT orientation meetings in order to enhance the understanding of the full potential of the minimal digital technology-enhanced learning mobile devices in education as opposed to perceiving them as distractions. Further, the government and cooperating partners in the education sector should consider investing in mobile learning. // Paper ID 192

Secondary Education,Technology-Enabled Learning (TEL)