Speed Bump vs. Road Kill on the Fiber-Optic Highway: Teacher Self-Perception in the Information Age

Speed Bump vs. Road Kill on the Fiber-Optic Highway: Teacher Self-Perception in the Information Age

Margaret E. Bérci (College of Staten Island/CUNY, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4797-8.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter examines the early research on self-efficacy and beliefs of educators as it relates to the professional identity they must adopt in the information age. The overarching goal here is to challenge the wisdom associated with the super speeds at which teachers often adopt the use of multimodal media. The discussion does not debate the effectiveness of infusing technology into the classroom to guide students in the construction of knowledge; rather, it takes a position that there needs to be greater caution regulating the speed at which teachers are required to travel the Information Highway. The discussion also challenges the generalization that students are ahead of their teachers in the effective use of digital technologies, a condition that places teachers in the role of digital immigrants in the land of technology.
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Background

Several issues need exploration within the context of this dichotomy, if we decide to accept it. One issue is whether the super speed at which education is embracing media as a premier example of multimodality has slowed down enough to acknowledge that many educators feel that they have become the displaced persons (Panich, 1988) of the Knowledge Economy, and are going through what Vygotsky (1978) called perezhivane (lived experience). In theory, teachers could either reject or accept the influx of media technology into their world; however, since it is evident that it is here to stay, they need to be acculturated into the practices of this phenomenon to allow their skills to flourish. How do they learn to cope in their Zone of Proximal Development and to re-assert their self-efficacy as educators?

Since beliefs guide the decisions educators make and the actions they take in the classroom (Cuban, 2002; Fullan, 2001, 2003), any inquiry into teachers’ understanding of their efficacy, beliefs, and identity in the classroom should involve a concurrent investigation into the meaning of the educator’s self-efficacy, belief systems, and identity in the information age. The exploration of this issue adopted Bandura’s (1977, 1982, 1986, 1997, 2006) theory of self-efficacy as a foundation for a discussion of what represents computer self-efficacy. Since researchers have found that self-efficacy is correlated to computer use (Compeau & Higgins, 1995; Compeau, Higgins, & Huff, 1999; Hasan, 2003; Marakas, Yi & Johnson, 1998; Potosky, 2002), there is a benefit to examining educators’ self-perceptions and behavior as they engage in the implementation of digital technologies. Closely aligned with this issue is an overview of several studies related to how educators prefer to study the use of computers. Such investigations add to the field of the Philosophy of Information by redefining what it means to be a student and an educator in the Information Age; they provide, from a unique context, a definition of information, intelligence, and understanding that have become somewhat confused as multimodal media becomes part of the curriculum and pedagogy at all levels of education.

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