Factors influencing use of ICT by Special Needs Education teacher trainees: a case of Kenya Institute of Special Education
Guantai, Grace G
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Although the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in mainstream education has its origins in the 1970s, it has only been in recent years that the government has recognized the importance of and paid special attention to the use of K'Ts in Special Educational Needs. The current emphasis on inclusion and the everadvancing technologies have stimulated much interest in using various ICT applications for both individualized learning and for. integrating students or pupils with disabilities into a mainstream school environment. Despite the effort being made by individual organizations, government and other stakeholders, several constraints continue to affect the use of ICT tools in the teaching and learning situation hence the need to look at these factors that influence the use of ICT tools by Special Education Teacher trainees for Special Education and training at KISE. Objectives of the study were to assess the ICT skills of the teacher trainees, how often they are able to access ICT tools for SNE and training content, and to establish their attitude towards the use of ICT in learning. The study was based on the Theory of constructivism. The constructivist principles posit that learning is achieved when the learner actively constructs or builds new ideas or concepts based upon current and past knowledge. In other words, 'learning involves constructing one's own knowledge from one's own experiences. Focus was on teacher trainees from KISE who specialize in training of special needs education training. A survey was conducted to collect qualitative data from a sample drawn from the KISE population. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to the selected respondents. Data collection process was done by the researcher. The findings of the study will provide a feedback to policy makers at KISE and other stakeholders, in order to make necessary ICT systems improvements as well as making ICT a significant component of distance education in their institution.The raw data was coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS,) for windows. This was done for all the items in the questionnaire. These were the demographic information of the respondents, the ICT skills the respondents have, the frequency of the trainees access to ICT services for content and their attitude towards the use ofICT. This was presented in form of tables, charts and graphs. The analyzed data was discussed in view of the objectives of the study. These are the actual ICT skills that the teacher trainees had, the frequency on which the teacher trainees accessed the ICT services for content and the attitude of the teacher trainees towards the use of ICT in the Special Needs Education and training. From these discussions various recommendations were made these includes teaching basic ICT skills to the trainees, availing internet services with increased bandwidth to the trainees. There is also need to provide specialized assistive devices and software for the disabled learners.