By Kat Geuea
Teacher Beliefs and Technology Integration
ChanMin Kim, Min Kyu Kim, Chiajung Lee, J. Michael Spector, Karen DeMeester
The article I did this week is enormously interesting to me, but also enormous in scope. It will be hard to break it down and analyze it. It will also be hard to critique, because it seems to answer ALL of the questions.
The researchers listed above tried to improve the use of technology in poorly performing schools in rural southeastern schools, because, according to Mishra & Koehler (2006), “knowledge pertinent to pedagogy and content are required to realize the full potential of teaching technologies to improve learning and instruction.” To do this, they sought to answer some questions about the beliefs of teachers about teaching and technology. There are many interesting reviews within this document, but I also thought this quote was great (as a counterpoint to the quote above).
Nonetheless, the acquisition of technology and knowledge does not always lead to effective technology integration.Polly, Mims, Shepard, & Inan, 2010
This was a Department of Education research project. It targeted 42 (later reduced to 22, which hardly seems like enough) teachers in K-8 schools over a 4-year period of time in various schools across 4 southern states. The research questions were:
To what extent teachers’ (a) beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning, (b) beliefs about effective ways of teaching, and (c) technology integration practices were related to each other.
How do teacher beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning as well as effective ways of teaching relate to their teaching practices?ChanMin Kim et al., 2013
In the report, there is some discussion about first and second order barriers to technology – the one being environmental readiness or access to computers, the other being the knowledge needed by teachers to operate effectively within the boundaries of technology. The study sought to eliminate both sets of barriers, so they provided the schools with “laptops, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras and recorders and other technologies.” Then, they spent 4-years conducting week-long summer workshops, and workshops on demand during the school year. I could not find any description of exactly when the interviewing/survey-taking/observing happened. During the 4-years? After? It makes sense that they first spent 4-years equipping and training the teachers, only after which could they then assess the progress. However, they did not specify.
The researchers breakdown the teachers by the grades they taught: for example, 5- 4th grade teachers. However, I wondered if they ever considered different variables before they selected those 22. How long had they been teaching? What was their previous experience with technology? What were their teacher evaluations like? To find out what teachers believe about teaching, don’t we need to know what kind of a teacher they are? Were they “good” teachers before technology? I think I discovered later that this last question is answered by the nature of the survey questions themselves.
Four different tools were used to gather data regarding the quoted research questions listed above: Schommer’s Epistemological Belief Questionnaire (EBQ); the Teaching, Learning, and Computing (TLC) survey, the Classroom Lesson Observation (CLO) survey, and a semi-structured interview protocol based on the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) .
The charts and graphs are very interesting! I wish I could share it all here. The results showed that there was indeed a correlation between teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning and their technology integration. For example, teachers who had a more sophisticated epistemology were more likely to have student-centered classrooms and utilize technology more seamlessly than teachers who were more teacher-centered. I find great value in this conclusion and am curious to know more. The researchers even suggested that maybe the solution to the technology integration issue is not more technology or technology training, but interventions for changing teachers’ beliefs about effective ways of teaching instead.
Kim, C., Kim, M. K., Lee, C., Spector, J. M., & Demeester, K. (2013). Teacher beliefs and technology integration. Teaching and Teacher Education, 29, 76–85. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2012.08.005
Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). 60-70.
Polly, D., Mims, C., Shepard, C. E., & Inan, F. (2010). Evidence of Impact: transforming teacher education with preparing tomorrow’s teacher to teach with technology. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 863-870.
Another good article! Nice choice.
I’m glad that you picked out that they ended up with only 22 teachers. That is a small sample. Just knowing Fairbanks schools, if you picked 22 teachers within our district at random, you might get very different results. Particularly between schools. You raise some great questions about their design. “How long had they been teaching? What was their previous experience with technology? What were their teacher evaluations like?” Further, socio-economic levels of schools, teachers, students. … and on and on.
What kind of sample size might we need? How might you design a study to look at these same questions in an idealized world (resources aside)? Or, what one thing about their study would you change? Are there even better, more interesting questions?
One thing I have learned in working with hundreds of university faculty along the journey to becoming an online teacher is that attitude is nearly everything. If someone believes it won’t work, isn’t open to new ideas, it is nearly 100% likely that the course won’t be great. It might work at some low level, but it won’t work at all on the level of a course where the faculty member engages with the opportunity.