International Forum of Educational Technology & Society
Educational Technology and Society vol:13 issue:4 pages:227-239
Given the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and computer as synonyms in ICTintegration research on the one hand, and the potential problems in doing so on the other, this contribution tries to gain insight in the understanding of the words computer and ICT in different settings. In five different countries (Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ghana and South-Africa) participants engaged in a word-association study. Each study addressed the following research question “Can the notion ‘computer’ be used as a proxy for the notion ‘information and communication technology’? A word-association task with ‘computer’ and
‘information and communication technology’ as stimuli words was used in the different studies. Data gathering methods followed the same basic principles but were adopted to diverse contexts of study. In order to analyse the data a shared classification scheme was developed. A chi square test was used to check the similarities and dissimilarities of the categories. In the results, while similar associations are generated by the two stimulus words, it is also clear that computer has a more technical connotation and ICT a broader, more communicationoriented connotation. Different findings in the different cultural settings constitute a warning for naïve use of culture-specific research instruments.