The aim of this study is to explore the perceptions of Mathematics teachers using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as educational tool in their classrooms. This study focuses on the Mathematics teachers’ 21st century-oriented pedagogical practices that propagate learning outcomes that are considered essential for all learners to prosper in this ever-changing and demanding information society. The learning competencies considered are termed lifelong competencies as they transcend the classroom and school environment and can thus be used to solve authentic problems in day-to-day life. The development of these learning competencies, especially by using ICT, has become vital in equipping learners with the necessary skills to become confident citizens in this globalised world.
The role the teacher plays is increasingly acknowledged as having a major impact on this process. An essential assumption of this study is that learning activities facilitated by teachers utilising ICT efficiently and effectively as an educational tool have the potential of enhancing the quality of learning competencies. Moreover, as the role of the teacher in these activities is highly important, the teacher’s characteristics and background have the potential to determine the overall success of the learners. Using the underlying principles of Activity Theory and the conceptual framework of SITES 2006 this study investigates the relationship between these three components, i.e. ICT integration, learning competencies, and teacher background and characteristics. The intricate relationships that exist among these three components are investigated in this study in the context of Mathematics education.
This is a secondary data analysis study that utilises data from the SITES 2006 South African Mathematics teachers’ questionnaire. Only Mathematics teachers who indicated using ICT as an educational tool in the discovery of Mathematics principles and concepts were considered. Using Spearman’s correlation coefficient, the data was analysed to determine the strength of the relationships among the variables. Findings of the study suggest that certain teacher characteristics do indeed influence the probability of teachers developing certain learning competencies in learners.
Moreover, the findings indicate that a number of the learning competencies investigated in this study are not as readily attained as others.