Trends in Using ICT Resources by Professors in HEIs (Higher Education Institutions)
This study aimed at recognizing and analyzing the trends of ICT use (hardware, software, and digital educational resources) by higher education professors in the Antioquia region (Colombia), and characterizing this population according to their context.
The inexorable growth of ICT and the convergence of networks have produced great changes in human culture, and particularly in the educational environment. As a result, the development of appropriate technological competencies and the study of the trends of ICT use to meet this requirement become necessary.
The study follows a quantitative approach, with a non-experimental and correlational design. The sample consisted of 97 professors from different universities of the Antioquia region (Colombia), age between 21 and 60 years old, selected in a non-aleatory way, to fill in an online survey.
A contribution is the identification and characterizing of an active population in higher education and the trends in use of digital resources in the classroom from the professors’ perception that allows recognizing the pedagogical potential of these resources to enrich the process of social and educational appropriation of ICT in higher education institutions (HEI).
Findings show the level of use (low and high) of ICT (hardware, software, and digital educational resources) by university professors, identifying those that still maintain a predominant use (e.g., desktop PC); those that are innovative (e.g., laptop, smartphone), and those that appear with low frequency (e.g., apps, digital blackboard, clickers). These results show some factors that may influence the development of these trends, such as technological infrastructure, HEI support, teachers’ training, the accessibility and availability of resources, and preference for digital open resources.
According to the results, universities should provide technological resources and suitable connectivity necessary for educational innovation to professors. Besides, it is suggested to strengthen the pedagogical use of ICT by training according to the trends of use and professors’ competency levels.
This study made evident professors’ great preference of using storage, display, and sound devices, among them the desktop PC and the laptop continue being the key tools to boost the educational process, in contrast to the low use of tools to detect plagiarism, social networks, and apps to boost activities with emergent technologies. Considering the potential and richness these tools may offer in the educational processes, it should be interesting to carry out studies on factors or motivations that influence the little inclination to use them.
The analysis of the trends of ICT use from the perspective of university professors about hardware, software, and digital educational resources may suggest greater attention to the permanent training to take advantage of the pedagogical and technological potential of these tools.
This study allows thinking of other ways and lines of research that are the base to develop future proposals exploring the reality of new generations of professors. It also could be the base to carry out comparative studies in other regional contexts, which permit to compare, contrast and enrich professors’ diversity. On the other hand, this research also shows the importance of carrying out mixed studies that offer a greater level of comprehension, analysis, and reflection about the target population and the trends of use of ICT.