Collective Professional Development for the Integration of ICT in Higher Education - An Expansive Learning Approach to Overcoming the Barriers in ICT Integration at the national University of Costa Rica
By Willy Castro Guzmán
In this thesis, I explore, analyse and reflect on the individual practice of adoption and the collective practice of integration of technology in teaching and learning in a Higher Education Institution.
The study addresses the connections between ICT adoption in Education, the barriers of ICT integration, and the teacher professional development as means to promote adoption. With the recognition of the potential of ICT in education, the study reflects the appropriateness of the dominant traditional approach to the first and second-order barriers to technology and attempts to overcome this restrictive view in order to stimulate fundamental changes that can facilitate the contribution of technology for transforming of teaching.
The study consists of two parts. The first phase is an exploratory study for understanding the ICT-based teaching activities and ICT-based training activities of faculty professors. The use of Activity Theory facilitated the understanding of professors’ constraints of the adoption of technology and the institutional constraints of ICT integration. The main purpose of the first phase was to establish a more extensive research angle using the Activity System as the analytical tool to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon.
The second phase is an intervention process. The theoretical and methodological approach to competence development and facilitation of ICT deployment was "expansive learning" and "change lab". This method is a formative intervention type within the tradition of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory and brings significant changes in comparison with more traditional approaches in professional development to ICT adoption. The results of the intervention supports the idea of the need for changes in professional development to develop the professors’ agency to address time-limited constraints and challenges in ICT adoption and integration.
The two phases are connected to each other through "Expansive Developmental Research" as a methodological approach. They jointly produce a coherent dissertation that addresses the research problem and to answer the research questions.