Socioeconomic conditions, low awareness, reluctant acceptance of digital technology, and poor instructor training are just a few of the barriers that prevent the successful adoption of technology in academic environments. These barriers are particularly high in resource constrained institutions. This study takes a closer look at how beliefs and attitudes about technology shape students’ receptiveness to the use of technology in spaces that lack technological resources.

Researchers in this study surveyed 3,000 students enrolled in two higher education institutions in Uganda. Students responded to a questionnaire designed to assess current digital technology use and acceptance. Responses illustrated that over 55% of the students never went through any training to improve their capacity to use digital technologies, while almost 49% of students felt they did not possess the skills needed to properly utilize different types of technologies. Responses also reflected that students who sometimes communicated with their instructors using technology were more likely to accept and utilize said technologies on an ongoing basis. These results indicate that a lack of digital knowledge is likely the leading cause of students’ lack of acceptance, awareness, and usage habits rather than any preexisting belief or attitudes about the technology itself.

Securing the technology needed to create a fully equipped and well-networked learning environment is challenging for universities already contending with a lack of resources. However, researchers in this study note that small steps can be made toward integrating digital technologies into classroom experiences and actually teaching students how to use them. Cloud-based service tools, for example, are economical options that support personalized, student-centered learning. Mobile phones can be utilized as tools for students to access learning content, providing instructors with ways to teach using tools already familiar to their students. These shifts can improve the perceived usefulness of digital technologies, positively influencing students’ capacity for using technology to improve their learning.

Tulinayo, F. P., Ssentume, P., Najjuma, R. (2018). Digital technologies in resource constrained higher institutions of learning: a study on students’ acceptance and usability. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. 15(36). Image via Wikimedia Commons