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Understanding teachers’ integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching Grade 7 natural sciences.

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Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have evolved into the most fundamental component of modern industrial civilization. Many countries have now acknowledged, adopted and are starting to master and understand basic ICT skills and knowledge. The South African Department of Basic Education has also taken the initiative to implement ICT integrated teaching by providing ICT resources to schools. Teachers in South Africa are now confronted with an educational shift that challenge their technical skills as well as their knowledge and pedagogical expertise in the use of ICT in the classroom. Therefore, this study seeks to understand how teachers use Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in their teaching of Natural Sciences in Grade 7. The study was carried out at three primary schools in the KwaDukuza region of the iLembe District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was focused towards teachers who were already incorporating ICT into their teaching of Grade 7 Natural Sciences. This qualitative study involved three teachers purposefully selected from these schools. Data were gathered from document analysis, questionnaire, lesson observations, and semi-structured interviews. Teachers were observed teaching different topics of the Grade 7 Natural Sciences curriculum, such as Water Cycle, Solar System and Tides. The data collection were based on action research methodology and were done in two cycles. The collected data were analysed using thematic analysis, the categories and emerging themes formed the main findings of the study. The findings revealed that all three teachers had basic ICT skills such as using digital projector connected to their laptop to teach Grade 7 Natural Sciences but were poorly integrating ICT into their lessons. Teachers did encounter some difficulties in their classrooms, such as a lack of internet connection and insufficient resources, but they remain optimistic and eager to incorporate ICT into their teaching. Teachers further stated that they favour technology enhanced teaching over traditional teaching because it allows them to explain complex content more easily in a visual manner. They do have a positive attitude towards ICT but need advanced professional development in integrating ICT pedagogically. The participants feel that ICT can be utilized to improve Grade 7 Natural Sciences teaching and learning since it captures learners' interest and motivates their learning.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.