Teacher Centered Technology Integration in K12 Instruction: The Missing Link in K-12’s Evolving Digital Learner?
Successful technology integration is not so much a question of “Sage on the Stage” or “Guide on the Side” rather… it’s a question of prioritized preparation and implementation. This post explores how to best facilitate effective technology integration with educators to foster the growth of effective digital learners. “Technology integration” is the transparent use of technology mediums to support class instruction. “Digital learners” refers to students in the 21st century who are being prepared for a future workforce where technology integration has and will become ubiquitous. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has identified “Information, Media, and Technology Skills” as a key element in the strengthening of American education (www.21stcenturyskills.org).
Examination of Relevant Literature
The literature reviewed explores three central areas; technology integration, the motivation theory known as Self-Efficacy and Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation model. These areas are used to identify trends in teacher development programs and technology integration.
There are many articles exploring the issue of technology integration in K-12 education. Don Ely’s work with technological innovations is most notable. Ely points out that “Implementation” of technology requires special knowledge to do the job efficiently and thoroughly (Ely, 1990, p.298). Ely’s research directs researchers to variables that can be used as an assessment tool when studying teacher centered technology integration. Ely states “Technology is the answer! But what is the problem?” his comment promotes further research into efficient use of technology in instructional settings. Discussed within Ely’s eight variables to consider when facilitating the adoption, implementation, and institutionalization of educational technology innovations are:
- Dissatisfaction with the status quo: may come from teachers who are not motivated to consider change in their teaching procedures.
- Knowledge and Skills Exist: a teacher must possess the competencies to teach students the use of these tools
- Resources are available: tools and relevant materials are accessible to assist learners to acquire learning objectives.
- Time is available: Paid time. Teachers need time for in-service training; they need time to revise existing teaching plans; they need time to practice with new materials; they need time to try out and evaluate new teaching procedures.
- Rewards or Incentives Exist for Participants: Why should anyone change? If current practice is going reasonably well, why risk new techniques? Whatever the reward, intrinsic or extrinsic, it should be there in some form.
- Participation is Expected and Encouraged: Shared decision making, individuals should be involved in the decisions that will affect them. Participation may occur at many levels: during problem identification. During consideration of alternative solutions, and during decision making when new programs or approaches are adopted.
- Commitment by Those Who are Involved: Administrators should provide clear and visible support that endorses implementation.
- Leadership is Evident: Leaders should insure that the necessary training is given and the materials to do the job are easily available; they are available for consultation when discouragement or failure occur; and they continually communicate their enthusiasm for the work at hand.
Self-Efficacy is one’s perceived ability and how it relates to success. Related to preparing teachers to be effective and efficient facilitators of technology integration is the aspect of the teacher’s self-efficacy (or the perception of their ability to succeed). Self-efficacy plays a major role in motivation. There have been a number of studies highlighting self-efficacy’s role in teaching and teacher preparations, as well as in teacher professional development (see “PD & the NEED for sharing”).
Among the focuses of these studies are: the relationship between perceptions of teaching concerns and teacher efficacy. “Efficacy expectations determine how much effort people will expend and how long they will persist in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences” (Bandura, 1977)
“Efficacy” can be defined as “the conviction that one can successfully execute the behavior required to produce the outcomes” (Bandura, 1977). Bandura goes on to explain that this differs from actually accomplishing the goal, or outcome. Rather, it is the belief that it is possible to achieve the behavior that will lead to the outcome. Figure 1. explains this concept:
Figure 1. Diagrammatic representation of the difference between efficacy expectations and outcome expectations. (Bandura, 1977).
Bandura states, “The strength of people’s convictions in their own effectiveness is likely to affect whether they will even try to cope with given situations” (Bandura, 1977).
Bandura’s exploration of Self-Efficacy provides a framework for researchers to explore the theory’s impact on preparing teachers to use technology in instructional settings.
Self-Efficacy: current research in the context of teacher preparation
The relationship between perceptions of teaching concerns, teacher efficacy, and selected teacher characteristics are explored by Ghaith and Shaaban in their study “The relationship between perceptions of teaching concerns, teacher efficacy, and selected teacher characteristics” (1999). They examined the relationship between gender, grade level taught, experience, personal and general teaching efficacy and the perception of teaching concerns. They found that“…teachers who believe in their personal ability to provide effective teaching that would bring about student learning are less concerned about their self-survival as teachers and about the demands of the teaching task than their less efficacious counterparts.” (Ghaith and Shaaban, 1999).
Finally, they concluded “… intervention programs for increasing teachers’ sense of efficacy in order to alleviate professional concerns could be more relevant in the case of student-teachers and beginning teachers, as highly experienced teachers may have less concerns about their professional practice than beginning teachers” (Ghaith and Shaaban, 1999).
Ghaith and Shaaban’s findings coincide with Bandura’s original explanation “the conviction that one can successfully execute the behavior required to produce the outcomes” (Bandura, 1977). The belief a teacher has in their ability directly affects their performance and effectiveness. The self-perception of the ability to achieve success should begin to be established in pre-service teachers during their preparation programs.
Teacher preparation and professional development programs need to ensure that teachers in the profession have an understanding of effective classroom instruction strategies for technology integration. The literature on the topic of Self-Efficacy in the context of teacher preparation and professional development programs clearly shows the importance of the teachers’s perception of themselves. When a teacher feels they are able to be effective, when they receive feedback, coaching, and observation opportunities, they are able to become more effective instructors.
Integration of the Self-Efficacy theories and research into teacher preparation and professional development programs will help to foster teacher growth at many levels including the areas of technology integration addresses in this research.
Diffusion of Innovation
Everett M. Rogers work with the Diffusion of Innovation can be used as a framework for understanding technology integration (the innovation) and its use by teachers in instructional settings (rate of adoption). Rogers’ work “Individuals’ perception of these characteristics predict the rate of adoption of innovations” (Rogers 2003).
Innovation: something perceived as new
Rate of Adoption: relative speed of adoption of an innovation
Figure 2 “Figure 6-1. Variables Determining the Rate of Adoption of Innovations” (Rogers 2003)
More on the findings of Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation can be found at http://www.conceptlab.com/notes/rogers-2003-diffusion-of-innovations.html
Moore and Benbasat’s (1991) worked with perceived attributes (of innovation) and the rate of adoption in the context of personal work stations will be useful in suggesting techniques for the themes being developed in this post. Moore and Benbasat’s research on personal work stations (PWS) added 3 additional attributes to Rogers:
i. Voluntariness: the degree to which use of PWS is perceived as being an optional innovation-decision
ii. Image: the degree to which use of a PWS enhanced an individual’s status in the organization
iii. Result Demonstrability: the degree to which use of a PWS is easy to communicate to others (similar to the concept of observability)
Moore & Benbasat’s scale items and the sophisticated and careful methodology they utilize to develop their measures of the perceived attributes of innovation, may suggest other techniques to future investigators. See the link in references for the full Moore & Benbasat article and instrument.
Perception of individual adopter (teacher) success is shown to be key in the success of the integration of new innovation like K-12 technology integration. School districts and consultants in the field of professional development and technology integration must consider the necessity of fostering each teacher’s belief in the increased possibility of success (student learning) when they integrate technology transparently into their curriculum areas. This research recognizes to put the technology first and to develop curriculum around it creates superficial connections between features of the specific technology and principles of learning as identified in past studies (Gerber & Scott 2006). A professional development plan that targets these concerns will help to ensure more efficient, effective technology integrations within K-12 education.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change.
Psychological Review, 84(2), 191.
Ely, D. P. (1990). Conditions that facilitate the implementation of educational technology
innovations. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 23(2), 298.
Gerber, S., & Scott, L. (2006) Designing a learning curriculum and technology’s role in it.
Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(1), 461-478.
Ghaith, G. and Shaaban, K. (1999). The relationship between perceptions of teaching
concerns, teacher efficacy, and selected teacher characteristic. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15, 487.
Moore, Gary C. and Benbasat, Izak. (1991). Development of an instrument to measure the
perceptions of adopting an information technology innovation. Information Systems Research, 2(3), 192. pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~boyd/699/mitchell/Moore%20and%20Benbasat.pdf
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.
Shippee, Micah (9.28.11) “PD & the NEED for sharing”
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2007, November 29) Framework for 21st Century
Learning. Framework, from http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=120