Investigating the Impact of Information Communication Technology on Self-directed Professional Development of Teachers
The aim of this research was to investigate the perceived impact of ICT on Zimbabwean A-level science and mathematics teachers' self-directed professional development. The study was based on a questionnaire survey of 254 teachers throughout the country. Supplementary data came from 54 interviews. Some observations of teachers using ICT in teacher-centres, e-mail correspondence, and field reports also contributed to the database of the study. An analysis framework was developed through the use of grounded theory on the interview transcripts. The framework yielded 9 themes relating to the teachers' use of ICT for their professional development. These were: (1) perceived professional identity; (2) career development; (3) Managing the ICT environment; (4) theoretical and content knowledge; (5) practical knowledge and skills; (6) adaptation; (7) professional networking and; (8-9) perceived benefits to teachers and students.
Chaos (complexity) theory was used to identify the major attractors (goals) for teachers' self-directed professional development using ICT. Two attractors were identified. These were personal professional development and classroom practice. However, an over-riding factor common to both attractors was identified as self-efficacy. The study identified the over-arching driver for self-directed professional development as the teacher's need to improve their self-efficacy. A two dimensional model of self-directed professional development was suggested. The systemic element of the model focused on the self-correcting impact of ICT use on professional development, whilst the personal element focused on self-efficacy as the central stratum for self-directed professional development.
The study concluded by acknowledging the potent role that ICT is playing in the self-directed continuing professional development of teachers in Zimbabwe, and recommended, among other things, the inclusion of A-level teachers in the development of localised online materials resources for their subjects. This will help to enhance relevance of the materials to the Zimbabwean context