By Kat Geuea
Perceptions of Public Educators Regarding Accessibility to Technology and the Importance of Integrating Technology Across the Curriculum
Geana W. Mitchell, Elisha C. Wohlreb, Leane B. Skinner
This article is another one of those I am studying for insight into my own research project. The descriptive research conducted for this study occurred in a county in the southeast United States. The purpose was twofold: to see if demographic factors affect teachers’ attitudes towards and availability of technology; and, if there was a relationship between availability and the use of technology in the classroom (I think that one is a big “duh”).
The introduction to this project includes a quote by J. Gayton that fits right in with our group discussions over the past few days. He claims that, “when technology is used in teaching, student-teacher interactions increase and students are more engaged in the learning process.” This goes beyond how an educator uses technology and asserts that just increasing the amount of student-teacher interaction builds a more authentic learning environment. So for that reason, these researchers set out to investigate teacher attitudes towards technology. That is what I am interested in too!
It is common sense to look at teachers attitudes towards “(a) the utilization of technology, (b) the availability of resources and equipment to educators, and (c) the amount of technology training the educators had received” (Mitchell, Wohlreb, Skinner, 2016). This is every objection I hear from teachers with problems integrating technology, minus one; that objection being the fear of investing time in tools that will be replaced arbitrarily by the school district. Because of the obvious nature of the research in question, it’s validity and/or importance is in question. Especially the second part, “if a relationship exists between the educators access to technology and their use of technology in instruction.” As I suggested above, duh. What may have been more interesting to know might have been is this: Is there a correlation between the number of years the educator has been teaching, their attitudes about their own teaching expertise, and the amount of technology they integrate?
The participants were 199 teachers in an undisclosed state somewhere in the South; apparently this was ALL of the teachers in a given county, so I am assuming K-12, with a variety of ages/technology expertise. However, we might assume that the culture of all of the teachers is all the same, since they are all living in the South. The sample size might have been a little more interesting if the researchers had included a county in the North as well. The tool was the Technology Integration Survey which was reviewed by a panel of experts (again, no details). The findings in this report are all the gobbledy-gook that IS statistics, but I will sum up what I could understand. I was not surprised to see that “educators’ attitudes toward the utilization of technology and the number of years the educator had been teaching were statistically significant” ( Mitchell, Wohlreb, Skinner, 2016). What was a little more surprising was, that the subject the teachers taught and their own perceived ability was also significant.
- teachers who have taught 20 years or more (27%)
- elementary school teachers (54%)
- math teachers (18%)
- 82% classified their own ability as average
The findings show that not only are there are relationships between how much training teachers have had and how confident they feel about using technology, but also between teachers attitudes about technology and whether they have access to it. The researchers recommend that school districts apply for grants so they can provide more technology to teachers and they also recommend that seasoned teachers get more training. I’m trying to be a little professional and not write hahahahahahaha or LOL, but it is really hard. They should have included some inquiry into whether teachers even found value in integrating technology. Many seasoned teachers believe that technology cannot teach as well as they can. While that may be true in many cases, they will never know unless they open their minds to the possibilities. Maybe they should have asked the question, “How can we change perceptions of seasoned teachers towards technology?” It was a little interesting to see how the perceived confidence with technology broke down by subjects, but besides the literature reviews and the bibliography, I can find little value in this research.
Gayton, J. (2011, December). Integrating classroom instruction through technology based games. Business Education Forum, 66(2), 44-48.
Mitchell, G. W., Wohlreb, E. C., & Skinner, L. B. (2016). Perceptions of Public Educators regarding Accessibility to Technology and the Importance of Integrating Technology across the Curriculum. The Journal of Research in Business Education, 57(2). Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-4311456951/perceptions-of-public-educators-regarding-accessibility