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Why Don't Teachers Adopt Technology?
A Survey of Teachers' Use of ICT in the Republic of Cyprus

By Charalambos Vrasidas / April 2010

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The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, spends approximately 7 percent of its GDP on education, the third-largest amount of education spending in the European Union (Denmark and Sweden are first and second, respectively).

Cyprus is a small island in the Mediterranean. Following an invasion and occupation of the island by the Turkish Armed Forces in 1974, the jurisdiction of the Republic, including its public education system, is confined to the southern 60 percent of the island, populated by approximately 750,000 Greek-speaking Cypriots, many of whom also speak English.

Public education is compulsory in Cyprus and is under the auspices of the country's Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC). The majority of re-service teacher education is provided by local universities, while in-service public school teacher training is provided by the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and other public and private agencies. The Cyprus secondary school curriculum is developed and supervised by the MOEC, which also makes certain all the Republic's public schools conform to federal standards. The Pedagogical Institute also oversees teacher professional development, including all information and communication technology (ICT)-related professional development.

Technology and Education in Cyprus
Between the 1960s and 1980s, educational technology efforts in Cyprus public schools were limited to the use of traditional audio-visual equipment and a few government-produced educational radio and television programs. Cyprus has invested heavily in the development of its telecommunications infrastructure, and an advanced ICT in the service of education first arrived in Cypriot classrooms in the early 1990s, influenced in part by the island's public and private IT development initiatives. The Republic now has an extremely robust telecommunications infrastructure.

There was no public university in Cyprus until 1992, although there have been several private colleges on the island for decades. After the establishment of the University of Cyprus and the expansion of the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, government spending on research and development increased substantially. In January 1998, the government approved a plan to improve research and development efforts and promote Cyprus as a center for business and education. One of the components of this plan was to improve the quality of higher education provided by both public and private institutions. As a result, today there are several colleges and six universities offering undergraduate and graduate education.

Founded in Nicosia, the capitol of Cyprus, in 2004, CARDET (the Center for the Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology) is a non-profit research and development organization devoted to next-generation education, innovation, and social reform. Over the last three years, CARDET has led three large-scale evaluations of the use of ICT by K-12 (child and young adult education) teachers in Cyprus and the effectiveness of existing professional development programs.

In May 2009, a large-scale survey was conducted to examine how teachers use technology in the classroom and what challenges they face.

The instrument was administered to a sample of 1,051 teachers using stratified sampling procedures — the total population of primary school teachers in Cyprus, during 2008-2009 was 4,150. The response rate of the questionnaire was 50.5 percent (531 out of 1,051). This survey was part of the project OnlinePD (funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, the EU and the Republic of Cyprus). The results of the survey are in alignment with international studies conducted by CARDET and its partners in more than 20 countries.

Many teachers who participated in the survey used ICT on a daily or nearly-daily basis for the following:

  • 72.3% for preparing educational material
  • 67.7% for preparing tests and assignments
  • 44.8% for preparing lesson plans
  • 35.4% used ICT in the classroom

However, few of these teachers prepared activities which specifically required their students to use ICT:

  • 15% for playing educational games
  • 13.9% for working collaboratively on classroom assignments
  • 12.9% for using the Internet to complete school work
  • 12.4% for working individually on the computer in order to complete school work
  • 6.1% for working on word processing tasks in the classroom.

Why Don't Teachers Adopt Technology that They're Given?
Teachers cited the following factors as barriers to using ICT in their classrooms:

  • Extent of the curriculum that needs to be covered during the year (81.4%)
  • Time constraints (71.7%)
  • Time required for preparing ICT-based activities (60.4%)
  • Availability of infrastructure (53.5%)
  • Amount of quality content (50.7 %)
  • Lack of in-classroom teacher support (50.2%)
  • Lack of participation of teachers in decision making (43.4%)
  • Need for professional development (37%).

More than 80 percent of the teachers indicated the extent of the curriculum as one of the most significant barriers in integrating ICT into the classroom. The pressure to cover the required content and the limited timeframe in which to do so were two factors that concerned participating teachers, especially in the final grade of high school. One of the teachers stated during an interview, "It is impossible to be able to cover all the content and curriculum requested by the ministry in a school year."

Furthermore, since current curricula and school manuals do not include ICT integration, there is no supporting material for ICT integration for the required learning units. This means Cyprus public school teachers need to spend an inordinate amount of time outside the classroom searching for supporting activities, materials and tools, some or all of which may require adjustments and revisions to fit the needs of students and satisfy curriculum requirements.

Over the course of the survey, all the teachers cited time constraints as another challenge to implementing ICT in their classrooms. More specifically, 71.7 percent of teachers claimed the amount of lesson time required for integrating ICT in the classroom kept them from doing so, while 60.4 percent cited the time required outside of the classroom for preparing ICT-based activities as an insurmountable barrier.

Planning lessons that integrate ICT is a time-consuming activity according to these teachers, which is one of the key reasons there is so little integration of ICT in Cypriot public schools. As one teacher stated during the qualitative part of the study, "These lessons with the use of technology require too much time… I can't just prepare them like that… I need at least one to two days, and I only have time in the afternoons. I need to find materials, web sites, check them thoroughly… Are they going to work out well with my students or not?"

Many teachers feel the MOEC curricula and the Ministry's evaluation system are designed in such a way that they do not have sufficient time for ICT integration, as they have to fulfill a daunting slate of curriculum requirements by the end of the academic year. This is why so many teachers choose not to experiment with ICT integration and instead engage in reflective activities on the benefits of technology. One teacher claimed that even though she realizes the benefits of using simulations with her students, they take too much time to complete. Although the simulations might be beneficial for her students in that they require the students to experiment with and engage in inquiry-based learning, such activities would leave her with even less time to cover the required content.

Moving Forward in Cypriot Schools
CARDET's findings reveal that public school teachers in Cyprus are willing to integrate technology into their teaching practices; although ICT is available in most schools and classrooms, teachers use it mainly for preparing educational material and planning instruction.

However, even though they realize the benefits of ICT integration, many of these teachers are resistant to integrating technologies and using online learning environments. This is due to several factors, such as lack of time, the ill-structured design of the public school curriculum, and the lack of infrastructure and tools to support teachers and learners more effectively. In order to aid teachers in integrating technologies, more robust professional development programs, as well as appropriate technologies, need to be developed, programs that would provide continuous support to teachers, so they can overcome these challenges and problems.

CARDET hopes the survey results spark the integration of ICT throughout the nation's public schools.


  • Sun, 21 Oct 2012
    Post by Chrys

    Very interesting findings regarding the integration of ICT in Public Primary schools in Cyprus. I wonder if a similar survey was conducted for Public Secondary Schools in Cyprus. New Curricula has been introduced which inlcudes ICT/digital competence.

  • Sat, 20 Nov 2010
    Post by deepa

    tell me aboutb distance learning

  • Thu, 09 Sep 2010
    Post by learn film online

    I love this post, we are currently launching our new online producers course, and love how this system works. Great post thanks.

  • Sat, 29 May 2010
    Post by iTeacher

    "The pressure to cover the required content and the limited timeframe in which to do so were two factors that concerned participating teachers, especially in the final grade of high school. "--

    I am a teacher and working with tech tools for educating and teaching for a long time.

    Since im working with my workspace & personal site ( i dont need to dictate anything to my students which gets me a lot of time to teach.

    I am recommending my students to learn and work with their own personal workspace during their studies in collage.

    Here's the presentation for how i teach and my students learn:

    thanks for the post.

  • Wed, 28 Apr 2010
    Post by CHRISTY

    "Reflective activities on the benefits of technology"-- But how can anyone reflect on something if they haven't been exposed to it and experimented with it? How can children be asked to reflect on the benefits of technology if they are not experimenting (under teacher's guidance)with ICT to discover for themeselves some of the benefits and negatives of technology.