Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Technology Proficiencies and Motivation to Integrate Technology in School Curricula

Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Technology Proficiencies and Motivation to Integrate Technology in School Curricula

Laura Karl (Walden University, Minneapolis, MN, USA), Judith Orth (Walden University, Minneapolis, MN, USA), Kathleen Hargiss (Walden University, Baltimore, MD, USA) and Caroline Howard (Walden University, Minneapolis, MN, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSITA.2015100101
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Abstract

Despite the availability of technological resources, the number of teachers integrating and using technology innovatively in the classroom is unknown. This investigation explored teachers' perceptions of proficiency in the use of computer technology in the classroom. Self-determination theory assisted the examination of motivation as decisions are made to integrate technology into the classroom curriculum. A qualitative, multiple case study design was used to explore the views of 10 technology-using elementary teachers in the use of technology in the classroom. Using the constant comparative method, the results showed that teachers were found to be efficacious when incorporating technology into the curriculum and believed their actions could produce the desired results despite their technological skill level. Teachers were found to be self-determined and motivated to integrate technology; however, innovative practice was not evident while existing practice conformed to the instructional norms of the school. Recommendations for teacher professional development are included in this study.
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Background

In this study, examining the motivation of Texas elementary teachers to integrate technology innovation into their classroom curriculi was central to understanding the choices they make during the planning and preparing process of teaching. During this process, decisions to integrate technology might have been affected by teachers’ overall technology proficiencies.

Since the publication of A Nation at Risk, public officials, state legislatures, corporate executives, school administrators, and teachers embraced technology as a way to reexamine the traditional views of schooling. Similar to moving from teacher-directed instruction and didactic teaching (Means et al., 1993) to more innovative approaches to teaching and learning such as student-centered teaching, multidisciplinary work, and constructivist practices (Cuban, 2001; Means et al., 1993). The reform movement in education recognized that “the primary motivation for using technologies in education was the belief that they would support superior forms of learning” (Cuban, 2001; Means et al., 1993).

Seeking to find superior forms of learning or innovative approaches, cognitive psychologists used the work of cognitive theorists, such as Jerome Bruner, to better understand intellectual performance as well as to design effective learning environments. Bruner (1960, 1966) proposed the belief that students should construct their own understanding and become more self-directed in their learning, hence the idea that constructivism could work hand-in-hand in varied learning situations using technology tools to support the construction of ideas and the building of social constructs to support knowledge sharing (Cuban, 2001). Thus, the notion that constructivist teaching and technology integration was labeled within the concept of educational reform (Judson, 2006).

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