Time to change: Gendered perceptions on use of educational technology for teaching in Makerere University
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Educational technologies (ETs) have globally facilitated teaching in institutions of higher learning for centuries. Makerere University with support from development partners has over the years invested in the integration of ETs in teaching through purchase of ETs and building capacity for their use. However, despite these efforts little is known about the gendered perceptions of staff on access to and the use of these ETs. In order to examine whether gender influences the way male and female staff perceive and use technologies for teaching, a study employing a cross sectional research design with qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection was conducted. Data for the survey was elicited from a sample of 218 staff (65% male and 35% female). In addition, key informant interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted. Findings indicate that: male and female staff are aware of the benefits of ET use; gender does not affect awareness about usefulness of ETs but it influences staff strategies and options available for one to access and use ETs; female teaching staff are no less favourably disposed to the use of ETs than are their male counterparts. As educators females use ETs differently to their male counterparts, largely because of their different perceptions and experiences of access to ETs. And finally the experience of accessing and using influences perceptions on future use. Consequently, the use ETs has transformed learning more than the traditional methods of teaching in Makerere University. Implying that for teaching to equally benefit from use of ETs university management should provide the following: increased access to ETs in lecture halls so that both male and female staff can access and use ETs with ease, a policy on maintenance of available ETs, continuous “skilling’ of staff particularly female staff to influence their perceptions and experiences on the use of technology, gender specific staff motivation and appraisal, and technical staff to support teaching staff particularly for female staff as well as to context specific uptake of ETs.