Issues in Integrating Information Technology in Learning and Teaching EFL: the Saudi Experience

Yousef Hamad Al-Maini

Abstract

The Saudi education system is facing a climate of change characterized by an interest in integrating new technology and educational approaches to improve teaching and learning. In this climate, the present paper explores the issues in integrating information technology in learning and teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in government intermediate schools in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The background to information technology use in Saudi education is introduced, with specific reference to the Watani project for integrating computer and internet use into educational administration and teaching. Taking an interpretive approach, the author offers insights into the current status and use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) facilities in the two intermediate schools. A discrepancy is found between intention and practice. Issues are highlighted that contribute to the failure to exploit fully the potential of ICT: teacher resistance, lack of training and budgetary or resource constraints. The author concludes that the wider exploitation of information technology in learning English, supported by appropriate training, could benefit both students and teachers and offers recommendations for its implementation.

The Saudi education system is facing a climate of change characterized by an interest in integrating new technology and educational approaches to improve teaching and learning. In this climate, the present paper explores the issues in integrating information technology in learning and teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in government intermediate schools in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The background to information technology use in Saudi education is introduced, with specific reference to the Watani project for integrating computer and internet use into educational administration and teaching. Taking an interpretive approach, the author offers insights into the current status and use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) facilities in the two intermediate schools. A discrepancy is found between intention and practice. Issues are highlighted that contribute to the failure to exploit fully the potential of ICT: teacher resistance, lack of training and budgetary or resource constraints. The author concludes that the wider exploitation of information technology in learning English, supported by appropriate training, could benefit both students and teachers and offers recommendations for its implementation.


Keywords

English as a foreign language; ICT integration; Saudi Arabia

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References

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Universitat Politècnica de València

e-ISSN: 1695-2618    http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/eurocall