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Geography teachers’ integration of technology in the teaching of mapwork calculations in a secondary school in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The performance of learners in geography mapwork calculations is a major concern for both teachers and Departmental officials in South African secondary schools. Many proposals have and are being made concerning the improvement of learner attainment in geography examinations. However, the problem does not lie in tests and examinations but begins with how mapwork calculations are taught in the classroom. With the change of perceptions regarding teaching and learning in the 21st Century, it becomes necessary to view various options to teaching approaches in the classroom. The proliferation of perceptions about the integration of technology in teaching and learning raises concern about the teachers’ praxis in schools and the extent to which they integrate technology in the classroom. This study explores the integration of technology in the teaching of geography mapwork calculations at a secondary school, juxtaposing the perceptions of teachers in the research site with the perceptions of teachers within schools in the wider district. A concurrent triangulation of data generation methods was employed in the study. Qualitative methods were used to solicit data from participants, namely, qualitative questionnaire, focus group interviews, semistructured interviews, observations, and document analysis. Two conceptual frameworks, namely TPACK and UTAUT were used to guide the parameters of exploration in the study. The Social Capital theory was used as an analytical framework to provide an interpretation of the findings after data were analysed. This theory was applicable as it allowed people to work together and to access benefits from social relationships. Although the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic compelled teachers to find alternative ways of continuing their teaching online, despite the adverse conditions that exacerbated their teaching pressures, many geography teachers failed to explore new methods of teaching, using technology. The findings revealed that many teachers were not able to efficiently integrate technology into the teaching of mapwork calculations because of several factors that impacted on the integration in various ways, and many alternative methods employed by geography teachers presented with limitations. School policies, lack of support from internal structures in schools and external structures in the district, and lack of professional development, were found to be limiting factors towards the effective integration of technology to match the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Recommendations were made to ensure that all stakeholders, namely geography teachers in secondary schools, the support structures in schools and the DBE officials, worked cooperatively to improve the performance of geography teachers. Suggestions included the implementation of professional development programmes and the provision of resource infrastructures to assist teachers in their integration of technology in teaching mapwork calculations. However, this research had some methodological limitations pertaining to the sample that was used as a case study. Nonetheless, it provided insight into the way technology integration was carried out in schools and highlighted hindrances towards the efficient implementation of integration programmes. A significant improvement in technology integration was evident at the research site due to support from the school’s personnel and technology infrastructure and the effective management of resources within the school. Mentoring of a newly appointed teacher by an experienced teacher was an effective form of professional development on a small scale. In view of the prevailing conditions at schools regarding technology integration, it is advisable that all stakeholders that partner with the DBE take interest in making schools the centres of powerful knowledge. The contribution from these partnerships will prepare the youth for employment as they complete their schooling career, equipped with knowledge and experiences to meet the demands of the 21st Century. By empowering geography learners with relevant technological skills, on par with the needs of the world of industry, these learners are likely to contribute significantly to the development of science and technology incorporating the geographic expertise that is necessary for future success in the working environment. The use of the Technology-Enhanced Geography Mentoring Model presented in this thesis will most likely facilitate communication among communities of practice and create a strong bond among the various structures in the bureaucracy. Having identified factors that impact on the integration of technology in Geography through the TePaSig Model, all the structures involved should work towards addressing the factors that prohibit the efficient integration of technology in the teaching of geography mapwork calculations. In so doing, geography learners will develop a solid grounding in mathematical geography and achieve the desired results, as they will be able to work independently using technological devices.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.