The purpose of this research was to investigate the level of technology integration in the Afrikaans Home Language classroom of schools in the Western Cape. In the 21st century the use of technology became an important part of the learning process inside and outside the language classroom and therefore it was necessary to explore the way in which the language teacher integrates technology. Marek (2014:2) found that more research is needed on how technology is used in language classrooms. In South Africa research has been done on the integration of technology in the classroom, but the majority of research is applicable to Higher Education (Bozalek, Ng’ambi and Gachago 2013:2).
The problem with the language teacher struggling in the classroom is not whether technology should be used, but whether it can be seamlessly integrated with teaching. Therefore, in this research we tried to answer the following research question: How is technology used in the Afrikaans Home Language classroom of schools in the Western Cape? In order to answer the research question, the following objectives were identified: to determine the level of technology integration; to determine the level of use of digital devices; to determine the frequency of technology use; to determine the impact of teaching approach and literacy on technology integration; to determine the barriers to seamless technology integration.
This research deals with the level at which technology is integrated into the traditional Afrikaans Home Language class. From Livingstone’s (2012:11) research it is clear that information, communication and technology can support basic literacy and therefore it is important to try to determine this research gap on how technology is integrated into the school classroom by examining the integration of technology in the Afrikaans Home Language class. In this respect the research of both Maürtin-Cairncross (2014:564) and Richardson, Nash and Flora (2014:63) is informative, as it has shown that the majority of students and learners have access to social media and the internet and use it regularly. These results point to the importance of incorporating technology into teaching and learning opportunities so that the learner or student can reconcile their lived world of technology with the traditional classroom and the classroom walls can be extended to a virtual classroom.
Hutchison’s (2015:2) research has shown that one of the reasons for poor integration of technology is the uncertainty of teachers concerning the implementation starting point of technology and therefore they cannot integrate technology into literacy education. This further causes them to struggle to integrate technology moving beyond the SAMR model substitution level (Puentedura 2006). The SAMR model was included in this research as it served as a guideline for measuring the level of technology integration in the Afrikaans Home Language classroom.
The academic importance of the research is supported within the theoretical framework of interpretivism, because the subjective meaning of social actions has been investigated and we were the “vehicle” that unveiled and described the actions within the social reality of the classroom. The ontological basis of this study is constructivism, because the creation of knowledge within the Afrikaans Home Language classroom context is done mostly through constructivism. We also believe that this study can make a valuable contribution to the awareness of the importance of technology integration in the Afrikaans Home Language classroom in order to ensure effective teaching and learning. This opinion is supported by the research of Wastiau, Blamire, Kearney, Quittre, Van de Gaer and Monseur (2013:24) and Blundell, Lee and Nykvist (2016:535) which shows that the integration of digital technology is a way of actualising the curriculum expectations for e-learning in school education.
The methodology in this research article is a case study. The research approach of this case study was a quantitative approach because the tool used to compile the data was a questionnaire, and furthermore, critical reflection was used to draw relationships and define findings within the study framework set. The questions included in the questionnaire were compiled from the literature study of the case study and dealt with the integration of technology in the Afrikaans Home Language classroom and also the combination of technology with face-to-face learning, the theoretical framework of the study and the results of the first case study (Taylor and Van der Merwe 2019) and the use of blended learning in the Afrikaans Home Language classroom.
The main finding of this research shows that 79% of Afrikaans Home Language teachers in this sample do integrate technology in the classroom. However, the level of integration varies from a low to a high level of use of technology. The teachers in this sample use technology at various levels and also use different devices as well as different teaching approaches.
However, the implication for Afrikaans Home Language is that there are certain obstacles in the way of seamless integration of technology in the classroom. Technology integration cannot be effective or seamless before issues such as the lack of learning material for technological integration, access to technology and the link between the curriculum and technology integration in the field are not addressed. Our knowledge contribution with this study is that we have determined that while Afrikaans Home Language teachers do use technology in the classroom, they are limited by certain factors. We also created an awareness of the use of the SAMR model as a guideline for the use of technology in Afrikaans Home Language.
Keywords: Afrikaans; curriculum; home language; language teaching; SAMR model; school context; teachers; technology integration