Digital Divide in Higher Education: Turkish EFL Instructors’ Access to ICT

Kurt Tiftik G.

IV. International Conference Research in Applied Linguistics ICRAL2020, Bursa, Türkiye, 24 - 26 Ekim 2020, ss.29

  • Basıldığı Şehir: Bursa
  • Basıldığı Ülke: Türkiye
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.29


Information and communication technologies (ICT) are immensely intertwined with educational, economic and social activities and continue to promise tremendous innovation and development opportunities, provided that enabling conditions are available (European Commission, 2013). In this context, the existence of digital inequalities poses a major threat to the fulfilment of ICT potential. The term “digital divide” has traditionally referred to inequalities in physical access to computers and the Internet. van Dijk (2005) has reconceptualised the theory of digital divide to better refer to its multifaceted construct and suggested four successive levels of access to ICT as motivational, physical (or material), skills and usage. He has posited that problems regarding the ICT access progressively shift from motivational and physical access to skills and usage access and digital divide might occur at any levels of access to digital technologies. Studies on digital divide have majorly focused on students’ physical access to digital technologies. However, research on teachers’ and specifically higher education instructors’ access to technology is scarce. The present study reports on preliminary research forming part of a larger scale study and aims to address higher education instructors’ access to digital technologies at four levels. The participants were 44 EFL instructors from three private universities in Istanbul, Turkey. Analysis of the data coming from the Faculty’s Information and Communication Technology Access (FICTA) scale (Soomro, Kale, Curtis, Akcaoglu, & Bernstein, 2018) revealed the following findings: (1) The participating instructors had high motivation to adopt digital technologies- more endogenously than exogenously; (2) majority of them had a physical access to technologies such as laptop computers, Internet and printers both at home and/or on-campus; (3) the instructors’ perceived abilities in three types of skills (operational, informational and strategic) appeared to be quite high; and (4) the instructors had a relatively high level of general usage and instructional usage access to ICT. The findings gained from the present study would provide valuable insight for the planning and implementation of professional development experiences for university level EFL instructors.