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Journal of Education Research and Behavioral Sciences Vol. 4(1), pp. 005-019, January, 2015
Available online at http://www.apexjournal.org
ISSN 2315-8735© 2015 Apex Journal International
Full Length Research
Evaluation of a Government ICT Programme for
Secondary Schools: A Case Study of Teachers’
Perception of Caribbean Boys’ High School
Onuoha, C.A., Ferdinand, D. and Onuoha, P.C. *
UWI School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical Sciences University of the West Indies
St. Augustine Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica
Accepted 10 December, 2014
To explore the perceptions of the teachers at a Boys School in Trinidad and Tobago about the extent to
which eConnect and learn (eCAL) programme enhances the teaching-learning activities in their school.
The eCAL programme was introduced into secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010 with the
aim to bring technology to teaching-learning activity in the twin Island nation. Since then, there have
been praises and complaints from the Teachers’ Union, parents, etc. about the programme. There has
not been any formal assessment of the programme. This study intends to document the perceptions of
the key stakeholders in the execution of the programme. A qualitative case study was undertaken at a
popular Boys School in the Island. It utilised a criterion-sampling technique where only the teachers
who have used the programme for four years or more were engaged. Data were analysed using themes
and codes and presented as narratives or stories around the themes. Most teachers have positive
perceptions of the programme but hinted the need for better training, proper integration and assistance
with more resources including Information Technicians. The study in general conformed to other
studies of similar nature from other countries. We however recommend among others, a more managed
system to properly harness the usefulness of the programme. A formal evaluation of the programme is
due, having used the programme for 4 years.
Key word: Information Technology, Caribbean Schools, Secondary Education, Developing countries.
This study investigated teachers’ perceptions of the
eConnect and Learn (eCAL) program, an Information
Communication and Technology (ICT) tool ata Secondary
School in Trinidad and Tobago. ICT is one of the
teaching strategies that education sectors around the
globe have been adopting for a number of decades
because of its transformative value. Schools are now
integrating ICT across all disciplines of the curriculum.
ICT is believed to be one of the tools for transmission of
the 21st Century skills; ICT is regarded as a vehicle for
new and faster ways of delivering and assessing
information and also providing educational opportunities
*Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +1-
for all (Ministry of Education (MOE), 2005). The
integration of ICT “expands and enhances teachers’
practice, as teachers are now required to design learning
experiences that access wireless learning technology and
diversify classroom practices”(MOE, 2010, P.2).
ICT tools such as laptops are the latest technological
innovation believed to have a major impact on the
educational process (Norton and Sprague, 2001; Roblyer
and Doering,2013), and also one of the tools used to
transmit the 21st Century skills that students need to
succeed in life, school and work; and to fit into the global
economy. In order to enhance teaching and learning in
schools through ICT integration, the government of
Trinidad and Tobago in 2010 introduced the eConnect
and Learn (eCAL) Program which is geared towards
providing laptop computers to students entering secondary
schools. ICT integration is an integral part of the school
006 J. Educ. Res. Behav. Sci
curriculum that can be used to enhance teaching and
learning. The integration of technology into the curriculum
motivates students to learn and also supplies relevant
and meaningful contents that get students to reason and
solve problems. It was envisaged that it would also help
teachers to deliver their lessons faster and more
efficiently (Norton et al., 2001). Furthermore, ICT
integration in schools enhances and stimulates student’s
interest in school. It increases academic performance
and teacher productivity, enhances problem solving,
fosters creative and critical thinking, (Clarke, 2007;
Maloy, Verock-O’Loughlin 2011; Almadhour, 2010;
Gundy and Berger, 2010; Roblyer et al., 2013).
Some countries like USA, Australia, Singapore, South
Korea, France, Turkey, Canada, Japan, and the UK have
adopted 1:1 computer integration in their educational
system. The use of iPad is prevalent in US schools. For
example, by October, 2011, Clarke and Svanaes (2012)
indicated that about 1000 k-12 schools had one-to-one
iPad program. Some schools in US have gotten
stakeholders to help implement one to one laptop
programs while some parents provide laptops for their
children. A report from the National Endowment for the
Arts in 2007 shows that technology integration into the
curriculum has distracted students from academic
learning, that is negatively affecting their achievement;
also reading habits are in decline among US teenagers
and young adults (Maloy et al., 2011).
In the UK, there has been emphasis on the need for
schools to integrate ICT into their curriculum because of
the many benefits it has on teaching and learning. The
UK Information Technology (IT) educational system has
been criticized of wasting its technological talents due to
inadequate IT integration into the curriculum, although
integrating IT into the curriculum comes with a lot of
distractions that hinder students’ learning (Hall, 2011).
However, a focus group interviews using 18 teachers by
Hennessy, Ruthven and Brindley (2005) indicated that
teachers view ICT integration in schools as a means for
enhancement of their classroom practice. On the other
hand, Hertzler (2010) opined that there is need for further
research to determine the effect ICT integration has on
teaching, students’ achievement and behaviour because
teachers are faced with problems while integrating ICT in
their subject areas. Also, as Clarke ( 2007) explained that
teachers are faced with the problem of a psychological
tug-o-war because school leaders, technocrats and
change facilitators pay little or no attention to their
perceptions and the challenges that confront them while
integrating ICT in their subjects.
According to Jackson (2012), some secondary school
teachers view technology integration as a tack-on for an
already packed full program and they do not think they
have time and space for it , that is because they cannot
envision technology as being a means of delivering and
improving the curriculum they teach. Buabeng-Andoh
(2012) conducted a study on “Teachers’ Perceptions and
Practices of ICT in Teaching and Learning” in Ghana.
Result from that study showed that teachers’ teaching
methods have not changed with ICT integration and also
ICT integration has no impact on their teaching. Another
study by Tondeur, Keer, Braak and Valcke (2008)
indicated that teachers are of the opinion that: for ICT
integration to be effective in teaching and learning, that
school’s ICT policies should be well developed and
In the English speaking Caribbean countries, some
teachers have articulated that ICT integration is needed
in secondary schools because of the many benefits
teachers and students can derive from it (Clarke, 2007).
The Jamaican educational sector has also recognized the
importance of ICT integration into the curriculum that is
why some private sectors have initiated one laptop per
child (OLPC) program where they distributed laptops to
students to use at home and school. Furthermore,
computers have been placed in Jamaican school
laboratories by a number of initiatives such as Jamaican
2000 Project, Ed Tech Project 2020 and the Ed Net
Project. Similarly, the government of St. Vincent and
Grenadines promised one laptop per child to every
secondary school student in 2010. Following up on that
promise, in September 2013, their Prime Minister, Dr.
Ralph Gonsalves, announced that the government had
sourced 15,000 laptops at the cost of US$6 million
through the Ministry of Education and Technology and
arrangements for more laptops to be bought for students
A study conducted by the Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB), has indicated that provisions of one to one
laptop to students will do little to improve the quality of
education in Latin American and Caribbean countries. In
its stead these countries should invest in teacher training
and develop educational software for students. The study
also found out that students with weak adult supervision
at home may spend more time on their laptops on things
that will not help them academically. So the study
proposes more evaluation that will measure the
effectiveness of such programs like one to one laptops in
the region (Chong, 2011) and one of the ways to
accomplish this is to explore teachers’ perceptions on 1:1
laptop programs such as the eCAL program.
Although there might be high rate of ICT integration in
the Caribbean schools as reported by UNESCO Institute
for Statistics’ Survey (UIS) on ICT integration (UNESCO,
2012), ICT integration in the region may not be improving
teaching and learning for there might still be limitations to
technology integration that hinder its effectiveness in the
learning process, which are yet to be studied (UNESCO,
2012). Also Mason (2007) indicated that there are not
enough studies in the Caribbean on how ICT is used at
the educational level including its integration.
The eCAL Program
The government of Trinidad and Tobago introduced the
eConnect and Learn Program in 2010, its implementation
started in 2010/2011 academic year through the Ministry
of Education. According to the Ministry of Education
(MOE, 2010, p.1), the primary objective of the eCAL
program is to “leverage the potential of Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) to significantly
enhance the Trinidad and Tobago education system
through the provision of laptop computers to secondary
Although there were trainings for teachers, supervisors
and principals on the use and integration of the eCAL
program, these trainings were not adequate, the first Vice
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’
Association (TTUTA), Devanand Sinanan described
these trainings as “Cascade Approach”, teachers were
trained for two days and they in turn became trainers of
their fellow teachers although this cascade approach is
not always a successful one. It was however indicated
that this cascade approach to the eCAL may not be
achieving its goals (Allaham, 2011). Subran (2010) also
predicted that when teachers are not adequately
prepared to use computers, it would have a negative
effect on teaching and learning; and on how they
integrate the eCAL program. There have been views and
concerns expressed by stakeholders since the start of the
eCAL program. Teachers and parents have concerns that
form one student whom by nature of their ages, are not
responsible enough to care for their laptops and
distinguish between good and bad things learnt from
laptops. As a result these, students see their laptops as
technological toy to play with and this may affect their
performances at school. In addition, parents and teachers
have complained that their children and students spend
most of their time with their laptops on games, YouTube,
face book and other social networking (Leacock, 2012).
TTUTA in 2010, through its president, Roustan Job
expressed concerns about the eCAL program, including
additional cost for electrical wiring, wireless internet,
inadequate trainings for teachers, security and storage
facilities for students who choose to leave their laptops at
schools (Allaham, 2011).
On their study of teachers’ perceptions of ICT
integration, Almekhafi and Almeqdadi (2010), opined that
most teachers, who were willing to use technology,
Onuoha et al 007
expressed positive experiences with technology
integration. These teachers increased their use of
technology by integration in the classroom and used
technology more creatively, thereby enhancing their
teaching. Also, Murphy (2007) found out that use and
integration of computer in foreign language compre-
hension have significant positive effects, contrasting
Buabeng-Andoh, (2012) and Kwaku and Ansong-Gyimah
(2010) that found no significant difference in improving
teaching and learning.
In other studies, Dunleavy, Dexter and Heinecket
(2007), Makgato (2012) and Adeyinka, Majekodunmi and
Ayodele (2007) showed that although the integration of
ICT in schools improves teaching and learning there is
still slow integration of ICT in the classroom due to lack of
trainings, lack of expertise and technical support.
However, the Great Britain’s office for standards in
Education (OFSHED) published a report indicated that
integration of ICT in secondary schools’ curriculum does
not meet the needs of all students (OFSHED, 2012). The
slow rate of ICT integration has led some educators to
conclude that computers have not and will not produce
substantive changes in teaching and learning. In an
exploratory survey design that 45 teachers participated
through questionnaire and interview done by Maiima,
Ondigi and Mavisi (2013) in Kenya on teachers’
perceptions about ICT integration showed that teachers
understand the benefits of ICT integration but are not
ready to adopt it due to various challenges.
In a study conducted by Drenoyianni and Selwood
(1998) to determine teachers’ perceptions of computer
use in the classrooms, questionnaire and interview were
used with 50 and 11 teachers respectively. It showed that
72.9% of teachers perceived that computer integration
has positive effects on students’ learning such as
motivational effects as well as improving basic skills and
concepts. Also 89% of the teachers said that computer
integration did not change their teaching practices but it
had a positive effect on the way they managed work in
the classroom, this result concurred with other
researchers like Cox and Rhodes (1990), Martin (1991),
and Amshad (2012) found out from their studies. Also a
survey study done by Gorder (2008) on teachers’
perceptions of technology integration, in which 300 k-12
teachers were the participants, the Technology integrated
matrix (TICM) was used to determine teachers integration
of technology, the results shows that teachers use
technology in class to facilitate and deliver instruction but
do not integrate technology as well into their teaching and
learning. Furthermore, the result also indicates that there
is little difference in perceptions of integration based on
demographic characteristics. The only significant
difference in technology integration and uses is based on
grade level as teachers in grades 9 – 12 tend to integrate
and use technology more than those in grades 5 – 8. He
calls for further research on teachers’ perceptions of one-
008 J. Educ. Res. Behav. Sci
to- one computing where students have their own mobile
In the midst of these, it has become necessary to
document some of the perceptions of the teachers who
have been engage in this new programme introduced by
the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. There has not
been a formal evaluation of the effectiveness of the
programme, and perhaps the result of this study will
assist in the process.
To explore the perceptions of the teachers at a Boy
School in Trinidad and Tobago about the extent to which
eConnect and Learn (eCAL) programme enhance the
teaching-learning activities in their school.
The researcher employed a qualitative case study in
order to understand the research issue under
investigation. The study is rooted in the qualitative
paradigm research approach. Qualitative study is best
suited for this research because the researcher wanted to
understand the research issue from the meanings
teachers ascribe to it and also from their experiences as
it regards to the eCAL program as a way of enhancing
teaching and learning. Also, the study is to provide an in-
depth investigation into the participants’ thoughts,
experiences in relation to the research issue. The
experiences and the meanings the participants ascribed
to the research issue were important to answer the
research questions of this study, because the participants
are the ones that use the eCAL program through an
integrated approach. The researcher interviewed the
participants to elicit what they know and have
experienced with the program in its natural setting. This
supported what Denzin and Lincoln (2000) as cited in
Creswell (2007, p.36) opined that “qualitative researchers
study things in their natural settings, attempting to make
sense of, or to interpret phenomena in terms of the
meanings people bring to them”. The researcher explored
the experiences, meanings and multiple realities of the
participants in relation to the issue under study.
This is a case study that enabled the investigator to
understand the research problem using the case of a
specific Boys’ Secondary School, as stated by Creswell
(2007), case study research involves the study of a
research problem explored through one or more cases
within a bounded system. The case study was employed
since the research issue was examined by exploring the
eCAL program as to whether or not it is enhancing
teaching and learning at the particular Boys’ Secondary
School. According to Merriam (1998), case study is
appropriate when investigating and evaluating educa-
tional programs and innovations. It is also appropriate for
informing policy. Furthermore, this research involved an
in-depth description of the eCAL program whether or not
it is an enhancement for teaching and learning at the
selected Boys’ Secondary School in Trinidad. Therefore,
this study examined teachers’ perceptions’ of the eCAL
program for enhancement of teaching and learning at the
The researchers used purposeful sampling technique to
select participants for the study. There are forty-five
teachers at the selected school. From this population,
seven teachers that teach forms one to four and with at
least four years of teaching experience were selected for
interview. The interview was conducted at the
participants’ school. Purposeful sampling was used
because the participants were selected on the criteria
that they integrate the eCAL program at the school and
they teach forms one to four, as stated earlier, the eCAL
program started in 2010/11 academic year, that is four
years ago, so presently only form one to four students
are in possession of the eCAL laptops.
Five teachers were taken, one from these departments:
Language, Social Science, Science, Visual and
Performing Arts and Mathematics Departments. Two
teachers were selected from Information Technology (IT)
Department that teach IT and Technology Education
respectively. The participants were four male and three
female teachers. The inquirers selected the participants
and site for the study because they can purposefully
inform an understanding of the research problem. The
selected seven participants have more than ten years of
teaching experience and have been teaching at the
selected school for more than four years. These
participants also integrate the eCAL program into their
lesson deliveries. They are in contact with students who
are in possession of the eCAL laptops. Pseudonyms will
be used in place of the names of the participants.
Therefore, throughout the study, the researchers will refer
to these participants as: Ali, Jane, Anne, Ahmed, Asha,
Tony and Adams. Table 1 illustrates the sampling
Data Collection Methods
The main instrument for data collection conducted a face-
to-face, one-on-one semi-structured interview with the
participants. The questions for the interview were written
in advance, reviewed and used to understand the
research issue. The semi-structured interview allowed the
Onuoha et al 009
Table 1. Research Design Matrix.
Research question Data source Data collection instructment Data analysis
1. Do teachers of the selected
secondary School in Trinidad and
Tobago perceive the eCAL program
to enhance teaching in their
iii. Documentation: Artifacts
ii. Interview, Field notes.
iii. Field Notes
Data Coding /
2. Do teachers of the selected
secondary School in Trinidad and
Tobago perceive the eCAL program
to enhance learning in their school?
iii. Documentation: Artifacts
i. Face-to-Face Interview
ii. Field notes
iii. Field notes
voices of the interviewee to be less constrained and they
were able to voice out their perceptions of the eCAL
program for enhancing teaching and learning; and it also
gave room for follow up questions.
The interview questions started from general questions
to specific questions and closing question. The questions
were open-ended questions that allowed the participant
to elaborate more of their perceptions of the research
problem. The interviews were tape-recorded and later
transcribed. This facilitated subsequent data analysis.
The researcher made use of multiple data collection
methods to enhance the validity of findings from this
qualitative case study. Therefore, in addition to interview,
the investigators explored the issue under investigation
using other forms of data collection such as observation
and artifacts. Creswell (2007) stated that in qualitative
case study, the investigator explores a case overtime,
through an in-depth data collection involving multiple
sources of information like observation, interview and
documents. Observation was used and it allowed the
researchers to gather live information within its context
and also for the purpose of triangulation, which is to add
more validity to the study. According to Creswell (2008),
researchers use triangulation to enhance accuracy of
their study. The researchers observed forms one to four
lesson periods. Furthermore, there was observation of
documents like artifacts in relation to academic work such
as animations produced with the help the eCAL program.
The researcher looked at these artifacts because they
were written and drawn representation of thoughts. The
artifacts were academic tool for enhancing teaching and
learning that showed students’ creativity. Notes were
taken during the observations. The interviews and
observations were conducted for about three weeks.
Data Analysis Methods
Thematic analysis was used to analyze data from the
interviews and observations, according to Boyatzis
(1998). Thematic analysis is a process of developing
codes that serves as labels for sections of data. Thematic
analysis is a way of categorizing strategy for qualitative
data which helps researchers in developing themes. For
this study, codes and themes were developed from the
interview and observation data. The participants’
responses to the interview questions were transcribed
verbatim. It was typed in the word document and printed
out as transcript. The data were scrutinized line by line
using the open coding method to form codes and
categories. Themes were generated from the categories
formed and story was built around the generated themes.
individuals to participate out of their own free will, free
from fraud, deceit, duress or manipulation (Berg, 2009).
The participants were informed of the purpose of the
study and were also informed that they have the right to
withdraw from the study at any time which ensured that
the interview was conducted openly without deception. In
order to ensure that participation was confidential, the
researcher used pseudonyms in referring to the
participants in the study. Table 2 provides the research
matrix earlier described
This study was carried out to explore teachers’
perceptions of the eConnect and learn (eCAL) program
for enhancing teaching and learning at a Boys’
Secondary School in Trinidad and Tobago. Data were
collected for a period of three weeks at the selected
school. Seven teachers who taught at the school were
interviewed to elicit their perceptions of the research
issue; observations of classroom activities and artifacts
were also made at the school.
Research Question 1: What are the teachers’
perceptions of the eCAL program for enhancing
teaching and learning at the selected secondary
School in Trinidad and Tobago?
To answer this research question, the data collected from
010 J. Educ. Res. Behav. Sci
Table 2. Demographic characteristics of the participants.
Pseudonyms Gender Department Years of teaching
Ali Male Mathematics 10 2, 4 and 5
Jane Female Language 17 1,2,3,4 and 5
Anne Female Visual and Performing
13 1,2,3,4 and 5
Ahmed Male Technology Education 28 2
Asha Female Social Science 28 4 and 5
Tony Male Science 9 1,2,3,4 and 5
Adams Male Information Technology 12 3,4 and 5
the school were scrutinized to form codes and categories.
The following themes emerged from the categories: (a)
Clarity and uses of the program, (b) Level of integration,
(c) Effects of the program on teaching, (d) Hindrances to
effective use and (e) The way forward.
Clarity and uses of the innovation
This theme is on the amount of information teachers have
on the eCAL program and how teachers at the school
use the eCAL program through an integrated approach to
enhance their teaching.
The program is used as a devise where teachers not only
to improve their classroom practices but also to teach
faster. Through the program, students download notes,
teachers and students share information via the internet,
teachers teach students using web and tutorials web
page. All students have equal access to the internet. This
is supported by what Anne said:
I have students download notes and bring to the
classroom. I also use educational games and software to
teach my students. When I project images on the
projector, the students have the same image in front of
them on their laptops. Sometimes, I have students e-mail
their assignments to me.
Similarly, Adams said:
I have class marker, students do on line exams. I use
websites to do animation and Projects.
Some teachers also use the program to get parents
involved in their children’s academics, parents can
access information put up by teachers on the different
websites like the School rack, Edmodo. Jane expressed:
…a lot of work like the syllabus and homework are put up
on the websites so that parents can access them and
know what their kids are doing so that school works are
not taken for granted.
Although teachers expressed many uses of the program
and how it can be integrated, some teachers do not know
the benefits of the program because they do not have
enough information about the program; some said the
Ministry did not do much in terms of dissemination of
information about the program and its’ implementation
process. Ali expressed:
I don’t use it much because I have not been introduced
to the eCAL in a formal way; I have not been introduced
to the concepts formally, so I don’t clearly understand the
benefits of the program.
There was little or no information about the program on
some subject areas and there was no follow up. Most
teachers are familiar with the program because they
know laptops were given to students by the government
and teachers are supposed to incorporate the program
into their lesson but there was little or no information
about the actual implementation of the program. Anne
There have been limited information as it pertains to the
subject I teach.
The researcher during observation at the school came
across a teacher who started teaching at school about
two years ago although he has taught private lessons for
more than six years. He has very limited information
about the program. He said the Ministry should create an
avenue where new teachers to the system will be
educated on how to infuse the program in their lessons.
Level of Integration
Most of the participants opined that the eCAL program is
integrated mostly at the lower classes (forms 1 and 2).
The integration of the program starts to dwindle as the
students move to higher classes.
There is sometimes discontinuation of use of the laptops
from form two because at this time, most of the students’
eCAL laptops are damaged. Asha stated:
…by the time students are in form two, their laptops are
no longer working and you cannot do anything with it
when majority of students do not have functioning
Some teachers indicated that because of too much work
and preparing students for external exams, they do not
integrate the program often in the classroom, as Jane
I use it more often for form one and two. In form three we
have to get them ready for NCSE and that is the time we
have to do a lot of drills and stick to the books.
Furthermore, data from the observation shows that there
is limited integration of the program in higher classes of
forms three and four. Some teachers do not integrate the
eCAL program into their lessons but mostly give students
assignments, research and group projects to be done
using their laptops.
Effects of the program on teaching
With regard to effects of the eCAL program on teaching,
the teachers indicated both positive and negative impacts
of it on teaching.
Five participants indicated that the eCAL program has a
positive effecton their teaching at the school. According
to them, the program reduces paper work because some
of the assignments can be e-mailed; some of the class
activities like assignments can be done and graded via
the Microsoft word, Microsoft office excel and power
point. The program helps to keep the class activity active
and interesting; it breaks the monotony of chalkboard-talk
teaching method which has existed for a long time.
Onuoha et al 011
Teachers present their lessons in different ways to cater
for the different students’ learning abilities. Jane stated:
…if I find it too much talking, I will introduce something
like technology into the lessons to make it a little more
interesting, to pick their interest, it could be something on
multiple choice, something to research, it could be some
power points and video.
From observation, the researcher observed that teachers
were able to move around the class while delivering their
lessons; they were to stay at any angle of the classroom
teaching and monitored students’ activities in the
classroom and this was possible because students have
some of the lesson notes, videos, power point
presentation on their laptops in front of them. Also, Jane
in her view stated that:
I think we have gotten a bit archaic in our teaching and
everything has to be from the textbook or just on the
board…. our society is advancing, so we have to
advance as well especially in the use of technology in the
The eCAL program is helping the teachers to get more
advanced with the current trend of teaching. Some of the
teachers expressed that there are various benefits the
program can offer; and these benefits are positively
impacting on their teaching practices.
Two teachers are of the view that the program has
negative effects on teaching. These teachers said that
there is the challenge of controlling and monitoring the
students while teaching. Ali has to say that:
It is hard to get the students focused because the internet
provides a lot of distractions for students, in using the
laptop in the classroom. It poses challenges in that we
have to move around in the classroom to make sure
students stay on task because they are ready to go to
face book or the You tube or pull out other websites that
may be more attractive to them…so we have their
attention for a short period and they are quick to go to
Most students switch over to other web sites and do
things that are not related to the class activity. A lot of
time is spent on trying to keep the students on track and
getting them to do class works.
Hindrances to effective integration
All the seven participants in the study said that there are
hindrances to effective integration of the eCAL program.
012 J. Educ. Res. Behav. Sci
Management and Maintenance issues
As stated earlier, the program has a lot of benefits to it
but some factors according to teachers such as:
insufficient information, technical problems with the
laptops, most students’ laptops are damaged or stolen,
inadequate infrastructure, lack of resources that are
seriously affecting proper and efficient usage of the
program. Asha has this to say:
It is usually difficult when you come to class and only five
boys have functional laptops and three quarters of the
class do not have working laptops, there is little you can
design as a teacher with the program and we don’t have
enough online resources to assist us.
Some of the participants explained that another
hindrance to the eCAL program is internet inaccessibility.
There are cases when some have designed their lesson
to infuse the technology but get frustrated when the
school internet system could not function well. Anne said:
I have wanted to do stuff since the introduction of the
program because I have found a lot of free wills things
but I can’t because of the limitation of the band width of
the school, so I have to scrap off any idea of sort.
Also, during the last week of data collection, the
investigator observed that the school internet system
crashed; as a result of that teachers could not do internet
related activities and also could not retrieve any reports
on the program. In conclusion, there are both positive
and negative impacts of the eCAL program at the
selected school. Also, there are challenges teachers are
facing at the school while trying to integrate the eCAL
The way forward
There are barriers indicated by the teachers that are
hindering the program from improving their lesson
deliveries. Some of the participants pointed out that
infrastructure such as storage facilities for the laptops,
internet system, online resources and computer
laboratory should be properly fixed for the program to
successfully improve their teachings. Adams said:
The implementation should have been done in stages.
The infrastructure should have fixed first and then they
start dissemination of the laptops; also resources for
teachers to use online, that will make it a more successful
program. They put the horse before the cart.
The teachers suggested that there should be proper
training for teachers on how to use the technology for
school activities. Also, they said that there should be on-
going training and appraisal of the program to keep the
teachers on track and informed on the latest information
about the program. Anne stated:
There should be proper training for teachers and the
training should be on-going because technology changes
regularly and I think the curriculum needs to be looked at.
In addition, Jane said:
We need to be informed of any changes taking place so
that we can change as well to give the children better
education. The Ministry can have literature about the
eCAL program that they send out weekly, monthly, yearly
like newspaper, bulletin or journal.
In conclusion, Most of the teachers perceive the eCAL to
be enhancing teaching. Although, five teachers said there
is limited information about the program. Also, five
participants explained that there is limited information
about the program. All the participants indicated that
there are hindrances to the integration of the program
such as non-functional laptops among others. They all
offered suggestions to the improvement of the program.
See Appendix E for consistency of responses by the
participants for research question one.
Research Question Two: What is the impact of the
eCAL program on learning?
To answer this research question, there was open coding
of the data collected. Codes were formed; categories
were derived from the codes. The following themes
emerged from the categories formed: Uses of the
program in learning; Usefulness of the program; Negative
effects; Barriers to effective integration
Uses of the program
The eCAL program in its pure design was meant to be
used and integrated by teachers and students to enhance
teaching and learning in Trinidad and Tobago. Some of
the participants explained various ways the program is
used at the school by students.
The program is used for problem-based learning as
students use it for research and projects. Students create
videos and do animation using their laptops. Adams said:
Students can go home and use their eCAL laptops to
research and do their homework. I do project because a
lot of my stuff is on project based learning, when students
have project to do, they would have access at school and
home, as well as having internet access so it really helps
Individual and group work
Students use the eCAL program to engage in private
studies, do individual and group assignments; sometimes
they do power point presentations with their personal
laptops. Ahmed said:
They use it more to do research and projects. Previously,
when I give them research some of them won’t be able to
do it but now they have access to laptop and internet
even if they don’t have internet at home, they can do their
research in the school.
Data from artifact
The researcher was able to watch two animations
created by students. The animations were “on proper
laptop use” and be viewed at this link:
http://1drv.ms/1n6tEOg. Students use the eCAL program
to access the internet for academic activities. One thing
with students having their personal laptops is that they
can use it anywhere at their time for their learning.
Usefulness of the program
The eCAL program can be beneficial to students in their
learning if used properly.
The 2Ist Century Skills: Some of the participants
expressed that the program is useful to students and
helps them in their academic pursuit; according to them,
the program exposes the students to internet use,
students develop technology skills, become creative and
innovative, collaborate with other students, and interact
with technology while at the same time acquiring the 21st
Century skills. Adams said:
…they are getting to interact with technology rather than
disconnect from technology while in the classroom which
are two big areas and it helps students acquire the 21st
century skills which is the new drive now. The students
on their own look for solutions for problems research and
get their school work done using the technology.
In addition, the artifact viewed by the researcher shows
students creativity and critical thinking, they were able to
create insightful animations on care and proper use of the
Onuoha et al 013
laptops, these animations can be viewed on this link:
Different learning experiences
It makes learning to be student-centered as students take
active role in the class. It gives students autonomy to
research and do assignments easier than before. The
program has provided new learning experiences for
students and caters for students’ different learning
abilities, Anne in her view stated:
It is a different tool for us teachers to get students to
learn because each child is different. You may find a child
who is a visual child, you can find a program that has a
lot of visual images; it will work in explaining the subject
matter. It also assists each child’s learning ability, as well
as gets them familiar with using the technology.
Students get excited when they use the technology
especially in certain subject areas like Mathematics,
It gets students more excited about certain subject areas,
for example in Math class…I have seen teachers using it,
and they might have a projector showing certain sites,
example we use Mymath website and I see students on
their laptops doing assignment that the teacher assigned
to them on Mymath. They are looking at videos with their
laptops, looking at how things are done; they become
more excited about the subject area.
Motivational tool for boys
The teachers explained that when one method is used in
teaching sometimes, the boys get bored and lose interest
in learning but with the program, teachers can present
their lessons in different forms; so they see the program
as a motivational tool for boys; it inspires them to pay
more attention and get more interested in school work
even as they interact with technology. Jane said
…it takes away from the students seeing a person in
front of them all the time, inducting, you know, especially
at the school, a boys’ school. I think it is the way forward
for education for boys, for young men is something
hands-on, something with visual, not just reading,
remembering and giving back, so that’s why I find this as
a good program, it is good especially for young men if I
may be bias.
Students also are more motivated and interested in
school activities. Students while using the program
become creative, develop confidence, take ownership of
014 J. Educ. Res. Behav. Sci
their work and also acquire higher order thinking skills.
Some of the participants also explained that initially
during the first two years of the program, it was helping
students to learn. Asha explained:
Initially, the boys were able to explore their interest,
develop their confidence as researchers, gives them
ownership of their work; and we have a program in the
library for form one, where we expose them to research
techniques. Our form one did beautiful work using their
technology; it really inspired them to learn.
The researcher observed that the school is a technology
school and emphasizes that teachers integrate
technology in their teachings. It has certain mechanism
put in place for teachers to use technology. It has a well-
equipped computer laboratory and every teacher has a
desktop computer and all the classrooms have
Furthermore, the school has designed and also paid for
some websites that are aiding teaching and learning at
the school. Examples of such websites are Edmodo
which is used for Library and Information subject,
Mymath. On Mymath website, students answer
mathematical questions on their own and the site corrects
their answers and gives them feedback.
All the participants opined that the eCAL program has
some negative effects on students learning despite some
positive impacts it has on learning.
Most of the participants indicated that students abuse the
program by using their laptops for non-educational
related activities; they are no longer do proper studying
and there have not been any marks improvements. There
are cases of reported cyber bullying by students.
Students most times get distracted from learning because
they are playing games, viewing you tube, using face
book when they are supposed to be learning. Ali in his
…from my experience a lot of students get distracted
easily unless there are measures put in place to ensure
that students stay on task, and parents and teachers are
supervising. The internet provides a lot of distractions.
Since the distribution of the laptops to students, we have
had quite a challenge in getting the students focused,
especially for forms one and two students whose priority
seems to be playing games.
Also, the researcher observed that some students get
easily carried away and lose concentration in class while
lessons are going on because they focus all their
attention on watching the video on the screen of their
There are cases where students view inappropriate and
restricted sites. Tony stated:
…there are no restrictions as regards to the laptop,
because students are able to access sites that are
supposed to be restricted, they view pornographic
Students use the laptop a lot of the time for purposes that
are not designed to enhance their learning.
Some form one and two students due to their age,
misuse the eCAL program. They mostly use it for playing
games instead of studying with the technology. Ahmed
…but it not necessary for form one and two levels, most
times I have seen them misuse it on gamming. The form
one and two do not need the laptop that early, by form
three into form four; I think that’s when they need it.
Students are exposed to safety risk as they are
sometimes accosted by students or other people and
have their laptops stolen. Asha stated:
…when you give the laptops to students it became a
security issue for children, personal safety because we
have report of children’s laptops stolen on the roads. I felt
it is exposing children to unnecessary risks.
Barriers to Effective Learning
There are barriers to the eCAL program to be effectively
and efficiently used by the students to improve their
learning. All the seven participants indicated that the
program has some limitations that are jeopardizing its
enhancement for learning.
Management and Maintenance Issues
The management of the program according to the
teachers is seriously affecting the effectiveness of the
program for learning improvement; the government did
not equip schools with the adequate infrastructures to
support the program. Anne expressed:
The accessibility of the internet in the classroom at the
school is a problem…when students who do not have
internet access at home, try to do their school work using
the technology in the class, it comes with problems that
are out of control. Our Wi Fi system, the broad band is
too narrow. There is limited amount of internet service
that they could use in the class.
A lot of the laptops are damaged and no repairs are done
as a result, many students cannot use them anymore.
The use of the laptops started to diminish in that most of
our students come with damaged laptops and the
ministry was not able to maintain it in terms of repairs and
so on. So when half of the class does not have the
technology, you can’t use it any more in the way it was
There is still room for improvement for the eCAL
program. The teachers stated that if all these limitations
explained above are checked, that the program will go a
long way in improving learning at school. They offered
suggestions such as constant supervision by parents and
teachers, students’ activities should be monitored to
check what they do with the technology. According to Ali:
There should be measures put in place to ensure that
students stay on task. Parents should be involved in the
care of their children’s laptops; and parents, teachers
inclusive are supervising the students’ activities on their
laptops. Government should devise means of monitoring
what students do with the laptops.
Also, some teachers stated that strict penalties should be
given to students who violent the rules of using the
program. Tony said:
Students who misuse the laptops should be sternly
The teachers also suggested that the program should be
given to students in higher forms who will be able to cater
for the laptops and have value for it. Ali stated:
Onuoha et al 015
The laptops should be given at later form where the
students are matured and are able to manage the
In conclusion, three participants indicated that integrating
the program enhances learning; five participants were of
the view that the program does not enhance students’
learning and some of them indicated that there have not
been any improvements on students’ marks since the
program started. According to the teachers, the program
was enhancing learning initially, but now it is not because
of a lot of challenges like damaged laptops and
distractions. Five participants indicated that the program
has negative effects on students’ learning because there
are a lot of distractions that come with the program even
though all the participants opined that students use the
program for individual and group assignments. All the
participants are of the opinion that the program can be
improved to enhance learning; hence they made some
suggestions for its improvement. See Appendix E for
consistency of responses by the participants for research
DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
There were findings from this study which concurred with
previous researches. The findings will be discussed
under each research question.
Research question one
Clarity and uses of the program: The theme clarity and
uses of the program was arrived at in this study, one
participant explained that the program is under used by
teachers because there has not been a formal
introduction of the concept and benefits of the program.
This result is similar to what Roble et.al (2013) opined at
the first stage of the TIP model framework that when
teachers see the benefits of any innovation and its
relative advantage over their old method of teaching then
it can aid teachers to successfully integrate the
Level of use and integration: Result from the study
under the theme level of use and integration shows that
there is limited integration of the program because many
students do not have their laptops due to damaged
issues, this is in line with the result from a study done by
Dunleavy et.al, which shows that there is slow integration
of ICT as result of hardware issues such as non-workable
and damaged laptops. Also, the result from this study
shows that there is limited integration of the eCAL
program at higher forms; some teachers indicated that
they integrate the program lesser in higher classes of
form three and four because integration of ICT into
016 J. Educ. Res. Behav. Sci
teaching comes with more work load and also the form
three and four are being prepared for external
examination. This result is in contrast with the result from
a study done by Gorder (2008), which showed that
teachers integrate ICT more in higher grade levels 9-12
than in lower grades of 5-8. In addition, from the findings,
it appears that there is limited integration of the eCAL
program as a result of inadequate trainings on how to use
the different components of the program. The teachers
expressed that there were not properly trained on how to
implement the program.
Effects of the program on teaching: Results from this
study indicated that the eCAL program has some positive
effects on teaching. Some of the participants articulated
that with the integration of technology, they teach faster
and make their teaching practices more creative and
interesting; this finding is similar to the results from
studies done by Almekhafi et al. (2010), Hennessy et al.
(2005), Murphy (2007) and Norton et al. (2001). In
contrast, some participants said that the program has no
positive effects on their teachings and this is similar to the
result from a study done by Amshad (2012) in which
some teachers said that the eCAL program has no
impact on their teaching.
Hindrances to effective use and integration: There are
studies done that have indicated hindrances to effective
integration of ICT such as the one done by
Dunleavy(2007) which indicated that when students have
damaged laptops, it negatively affects ICT integration by
teachers. These hindrances pose challenges to teachers
as Clarke (2007) stated that teachers are faced with
problems while integrating technology in the classroom.
Likewise, result from this study shows nonfunctional
laptops at the school hinder the program’s proper
Research Question two
Uses of the program: There are findings from the study
that show the eCAL program being used in different ways
for enhancement of learning at the school. Students use
their laptops to access the internet, engage in private
study, do individual and group assignment; in like manner
with findings of Hertizler (2013).
Usefulness of the program: The eCAL program was
found to be a motivational tool for learning, specifically
this study found it to be a motivational tool for boys. In
addition, some teachers opined that the eCAL program is
useful and improves students’ learning and helps them to
acquire the 21st Century Skills. Students are able to
collaborate as they work together as a group to do group
projects; they become creative, innovative and critical
thinkers as they design animations and do other things
using their laptops. The eCAL program also enables
students acquire problem-solving and decision-making
skills, as well taking ownership of their works. The
classroom activities are now shifting from teacher-
centered to student-centered because according to the
participants, they now engage students, making them
participant actively in most of the classroom activities.
These findings are in line with some of the goals stated in
the policy document of the program. Likewise, the
findings are the same with findings from studies done by
Almadour (2010), Clarke (2007), Drenoyianni (2004),
Gundy et al. (2010) and Maloy et al. (2011); in their
studies they found with ICT integration, students’ learning
is shifting from teacher-centered lessons to more open-
ended and student-centered. Students are motivated to
learn and acquire basic skills and concepts with ICT
Negative effects: Although, it can be said that the eCAL
program at the school is enhancing learning to an extent
from the findings. Although, most teachers at the school
explained that the eCAL program is negatively affecting
students’ learning and there are yet no mark
improvement. Findings from this study show that the
program has negative impact on students’ learning
because of the many distractions that come with it, like
students’ playing games and engaging in non-educational
activities with their laptops. The form one and two
students due to their ages are not matured enough to use
their laptops effectively. Likewise, Hall (2011) stated that
ICT integration comes with a lot of distraction that hinders
learning. Leacock (2012) opined that the form ones are
easily distracted from learning because they play games
with their eCAL laptops Also, Amshad (2012), Allaham
(2011), Kwaku et al. (2010), Chong (2011), Dunleavy et
al. Leacock (2012), Maloy (2001), Oppenheimer (2003),
Maloy et al. (2001) stated that with 1:1 laptop ICT
integration students’ learning are negatively affected,
some students view inappropriate materials such
pornography and play games at such times they are
supposed to engage in meaningful study.
Barriers to effective learning: Dunleavy et al. in a study
found that there are Management and Hardware issues
such as inadequate technology resources, non-proper
care for laptops and damaged laptops that are posing
barriers to effective integration of ICT for improvement of
students’ learning. In like manner, some of the
participants indicated that inadequate infrastructures like
internet, storage facilities are negatively affecting proper
integration of the eCAL program for the enhancement of
teaching and learning.
This study explored teachers’ perceptions of the eCAL
program for enhancement of teaching and learning at a
selected Boys’ Secondary School from St. George East
School District in Trinidad and Tobago. The researcher
interviewed seven teachers and observed some teaching
sessions and artifacts at school.
The participants answered the interview questions
based on their prior knowledge, experiences and
information about the program at the school, as
discussed in the theories of perceptions at chapter two of
the study. At the end, some of the participants indicated
that the eCAL program is enhancing teaching and
learning while some have contrary views. Findings from
this study also show that there are factors that are
militating against the successful integration of the
program for teaching and learning enhancement. The
investigator recommend that teachers be properly trained
for the use of the eCAL programme, proper supervision
of the students while with their laptops, and deployment
of IT technicians to schools to assist with any issues that
the teachers and the students may have pertaining to the
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