Date of Award

5-21-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Olga S. Jarrett, PhD - Chair

Second Advisor

Julie Rainer Dangel, PhD

Third Advisor

Yali Zhao, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Mary Shoffner, PhD

Abstract

Lack of teacher technology integration is a documented concern within education. Effective staff development practices, the need for on-going support, and the presence of elements of diffusion are all recognized as factors that lead to higher rates of technology integration. These elements are not currently studied as a whole in research on technology education. This study sought to examine all three of these factors within a southern metropolitan school district’s technology teacher development initiative. The following questions guided the research: 1. How do teachers experience the five elements of diffusion (complexity, triability, observability, relative advantage, and compatibility) in the area of technology integration in elementary schools? 2. How do teachers experience instructional technology support and the impact of support on their technology integration instruction? 3. How do teachers experience technology staff development and the impact of staff development on their classroom technology integration? Data were collected from 81 online survey participants, 16 oral interview and web log analysis participants, and an interview with the project director at the completion of the first year of a two-year initiative. Participants received updated technology tools within their classroom and were required to take technology related courses, keep web logs, and complete technology projects. Research was conducted within a mixed methods triangulation design using a pragmatic paradigm with descriptive statistics and correlations as forms of quantitative analysis and a phenomenological approach applied in qualitative analysis. Findings showed the presence of elements of diffusion and support across all data sources. Teachers’ experiences with the program were positive and led to frequent and varied technology integration. Correlations indicated high levels of interrelatedness among the variables of support, elements of diffusion, and impact on instruction. Teachers reported enhanced engagement in learning among themselves and their students. The fact that teachers chose to be in the staff development program and had choices within the program to fulfill the requirements appeared to engage and motivate them. Even though teachers self-reported they were early adopters of technology, the program support structure was highly valued. The program could be used as a model for effective technology staff development.

Share

COinS