Integrating Technology in Tunisian Schools - Tech Learning

Integrating Technology in Tunisian Schools

Current Situation After the efforts deployed in providing more and more schools with the necessary equipment and in establishing regional INBMI (National Institute of Bureautics and Micro-Computing) centers, the possibility of integrating ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in ELT (English Language
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Current Situation

After the efforts deployed in providing more and more schools with the necessary equipment and in establishing regional INBMI (National Institute of Bureautics and Micro-Computing) centers, the possibility of integrating ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in ELT (English Language Teaching) has become relatively easier.

There is more training in the use of ICT as a means of improving the quality of learning and teaching as well as pupils’ proficiency.

The TNELT (Tunisian Network of English Language Teachers) team set up a program of assistance and/or training in the field of integration of the services and resources offered by the TVS (Tunisian Virtual School), the ICT School and the web in general in the learning/teaching of English.

In the assistance sessions, we focused on the different ways of exploiting and enriching the resources offered. We worked mainly with the cooperation of inspectors and teacher trainers. Some inspectors invited us to animate whole ICT sessions with a great number of Preparatory and Secondary school teachers.

Apart from this, we devised a special training program for regional coordinators, providing them with the tools they need to assist the teachers in their respective regions. Of course, other schools and other regions will be gradually covered little by little.

We’ve noticed that many teachers demonstrate great motivation and willingness to experiment with new technologies and software. Some of them have made good use of the opportunities provided and even started producing stimulating and interactive activities for pupils or collaborative projects aimed at both teachers and students.

Limitations/ Shortcomings

  1. Compared to the total number of Tunisian teachers of English, those who have experimented the integration of ICT in their classes are few and those to whom integration has become an unquestionable part of their course are even fewer.
  2. Among the few who are exploiting ICT resources with their students, rare are those who send us some feedback on their experience and the difficulties they encounter.
  3. As communication between TNELT team members and English teachers throughout the country is almost absent, we are not able to consider the extent to which they are implementing ICT in their every-day teaching and we do not really know whether their students are acquiring ICT skills and showing positive attitudes or not.
  4. The assistance and training provided are insufficient due to the limited number of TNELT team members. Besides, the regional coordinators we’ve started training are not ready yet to ensure the adequate assistance to their colleagues.
  5. The spirit of cooperation and collaboration between educators isn’t well developed.
  6. Colleagues usually complain about the non-cooperation of their school administration in matters of ICT integration.
  7. Accessibility to computer labs/ rooms is not timetabled; it lacks organization.
  8. Some teachers are still reluctant to use computers in their classrooms.
  9. As there are no material incentives, practitioners as well as administrators are not keen to try ICT facilities in their classrooms.
  10. As computers constitute a novelty in many a school, some pupils do not handle them with the due care and maintenance costs prove a heavy burden on the school’s budget.

That said, we praise the tremendous efforts of extremely dynamic teachers who have set new habits in their schools and convinced their reluctant administration of the feasibility and benefits of new technologies. Although not everything is rosy in the garden, we are confident that this new scheme will bear its fruit and pave the way for the School of Tomorrow.

Recommendations and Remedies

  1. Need for timetabled and well-organized ICT sessions included in the English teachers’ training calendar along with their in-service training.
  2. More involvement and commitment on the part of inspectors and teachers of English as far as the promotion of ICT developments throughout schools.
  3. It is highly recommended that a teacher be nominated as ICT coordinator in his/ her school. This person’s task will be to facilitate and organize the implementation of ICT integration. On this score, we suggest that his/her timetable be alleviated.
  4. Feedback is needed on the part of the colleagues integrating ICT. Reports and lesson plans based on integration should be published on the TVS website in order to disseminate this experience. We need to acquire new habits such as cooperation, collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  5. Make best use of the teachers who have developed higher levels of expertise in using ICT. They can assist/advise/train their colleagues, implement arrangements for monitoring and evaluating the work of pupils and teachers in ICT-assisted activities.
  6. Follow-up by TNELT team, school coordinators and regional coordinators should be reinforced.
  7. Educators should identify aspects of courses where pupils' individual needs can be met more effectively through the appropriate use of ICT, reinforce and develop a range of ICT resources that diagnose weaknesses and offer learning support, consolidation and extension tasks within curriculum areas and subjects.
  8. Schools ought to ensure that the use and impact of ICT on learning, teaching and pupils' attainment are regularly monitored as part of the school's evaluation activities.
  9. The integration of ICT in English language teaching should be explicitly stated in the official program in terms of its objectives and scenarios of implementation.
  10. Devising models of integration ready to be implemented within the schools where pilot projects have been set up.
  11. An ICT in ELT guide has to be developed by experts to optimize the quality of CALT (Computer Assisted Language Teaching) practice in our schools.

Gamra Zenaidi

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