By Meryem Laadem
By Meryem Laadem
Rabat – Nobody would deny the fact that the emergence of modern tools of communication, especially the Internet, has enabled most teaching institutions to change their modes of teaching, including the Moroccan school system. Many opportunities offered in the employment business sector are based on the new ICT. Chris Abbot, author of “ICT: Changing Education”, pointed out, “ICT is already changing society, and therefore education, even if schools do continue. The impact of change is not only technological but also social. The Internet is already changing practices in banking and shopping and in the creation of virtual communities, and any vision of the future of education has to recognize new methods of accessing information and new ways of relating to others.”[i]
Ultimately, technology integration in the teaching of foreign languages has two major goals: First, to achieve technological literacy, where students are expected to become digitally literate, hence they become well-prepared for a skilled work force in the global market that relies deeply on new technologies. The second goal is pedagogical, since ICT improves student learning through innovative approaches, most of which attempt to create authentic contexts for learning rather than depending absolutely on traditional old methods of teaching and learning.
Teachers play a critical role in using ICTs in their everyday teaching activities. A teacher may use the internet for research, a word processor for typing a piece of writing, a painting program for designing illustrations, PowerPoint for making a presentation, etc. However, none of these could be achieved if the teacher resists changing his or her old teaching methods.
When asking Moroccan public school teachers if they use technology in their everyday teaching, the answers in most cases are a strong “NO.” However, there are some exceptions, especially in secondary schools and high schools. Mrs. Bouhamidi, a high school English teacher with more than 20 years of experience, said: “I truly admit that teaching using the white active board or my laptop is more motivating for my students who learn easily more than when I resort only to the textbook or to the blackboard, which was boring ten years ago”[ii].
Despite the high demand for integrating ICT into teaching these days, its adoption still seems to be going slowly. Among the many reasons that hinder the compelling use of technology in teaching and learning is insufficient technological equipment and multimedia classrooms, in addition to the lack of Internet access in most Moroccan public schools.
On another side, there are teachers who are more enthusiastic to apply innovative instructional approaches mediated through technology, which support new methods of teaching and learning with the aim of developing students’ skills for cooperation, communication, problem-solving, and life-long learning; all necessary for the Moroccan job market. Moreover, some researchers found a connection between teachers’ technology usage and their beliefs and attitudes. According to Means (1994), “the primary motivation for teachers to use technology in their classrooms is the belief that the technology will support superior forms of learning”[iii]. This means that teachers’ positive or negative beliefs play a crucial role in defining whether or not to use technology in the classroom, and more importantly how to use it effectively.
It requires a different pedagogical approach. This is why the Moroccan Ministry of Education has organized many training programs encouraging teachers to use ICT in teaching. The most famous program is the “GENIE Program,” which has seen great success in fighting the computer illiteracy of almost 50 percent of teachers all over Morocco. Ms. Ilham Laaziz, director of the “GENIE Program”, said in 2009 that the program is one of the structuring projects of the major project “Numeric Morocco 2013”, which aims at making ICT a vector of human development, a source of productivity, and added value for other economic sectors and public administration and particularly to position Morocco as a regional technology hub[iv].
Technology training appears to focus mainly on technology knowledge and skills, while overlooking the relationships between technology, pedagogy, and content, which are missing in most training programs. Therefore, teachers need opportunities to practice effective technology integration strategies in supportive contexts during technology courses, technology-integrated methods, and field experiences. The availability of different technological machines and tools in all educational institutions is of great importance, since it provides the floor for teachers to get in touch directly with machines and technologies.
The use of ICT is indispensable in classrooms, as it is the key to ensure quality in our educational system and to open new horizons to students for better job opportunities in this globalized world. Still, the biggest challenge is incorporating the Moroccan curriculum into technological platforms in order to achieve quality for our educational system, and to follow other developed countries that have already made teaching and learning a fun process with productive achievements.
[i] Chris Abbott “ICT: Changing Education”, 2011 Routledge Farmer, London.
[ii] Moussa Ibn Nouçair High school. Khemisset.Morocco.
[iii] Means, B. (Ed.). “Technology and Education reform”. (1994).
[iv] Morocco – All for the successful integration of ICT in Education: theme of a Regional Forum in Marrakech. 12 December 2009.
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