PRACTICES AND BARRIERS IN COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY SKILLS: PORTRAYING STUDENT TEACHERS OF OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING
There is strong advocacy to use computer technology to train teachers in open and distance learning. Efforts have been made to maximize the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in Open and Distance learning. Use of computer technology is an emerging trend and being used as a vital tool in open and distance learning institutions. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of computer technology skills by student teachers of B.Ed program studying at Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad. The study aimed at finding out computer skills used by student-teachers of B.Ed studying through open and distance learning mode and exploring barriers that student-teachers faced in the use of computer technology in open and distance learning institutions. The population of the study was all the student-teachers of B.Ed Program of Allama Iqbal Open University Rawalpindi Region. Sample of the study was 150 student-teachers of B.Ed Program selected through random sampling technique. A questionnaire was developed on the use of five computer skills and administered for data collection. Data were analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results showed that the majority of student-teachers in ODL were not capable of using computer skills like Ms Word, Ms Power point, Ms excel and internet for their better professional growth. However, they differed in applying Ms Word, Ms Power point and Ms. Excel. Computer technology may be linked with professional development of student teachers in open and distance learning. This technology shift in ODL may enhance quality, autonomy and accessibility for distance education learners and promotes communication and interaction among them.
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