Strategies to Increase Technology Acceptance

Strategies to Increase Technology Acceptance

Gary Lee Ackerman (Rivendell Academy, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0965-3.ch001
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Despite efforts by school leaders, teachers, technologists, and researchers; much teaching is unchanged since the arrival of information and computer technology (ICT). The same devices that are deeply embedded in everyday life are still marginalized in many classrooms. Technology acceptance is a framework that has contributed to the development of ICT and ICT-based practices in many fields other than education. Three strategies for supporting ICT in schools that focus on increasing technology acceptance are described from the participants' perspective. The experiences are discussed from several perspectives to both understand technology acceptance as a framework for planning in education and to identify some unanswered questions about technology acceptance that are relevant to education populations.
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Within two decades of the invention of the first electronic digital computer, information and computer technology (ICT) arrived in schools. Its arrival marked a structural deepening (Arthur, 2009) of schools as it added to the existing systems for teaching and learning. Since the late 1970’s computers, software, and network devices have been installed in schools only to be replaced with more sophisticated devices within a few years. In the 21st century, schools in the United States have low student to computer ratios, the computers access the Internet via broadband connections, and wireless networks are available so mobile devices owned by the school and owned by individuals are connected as well (Snyder & Dillow, 2013).

Early in the history of electronic educational technology, it was established that availability is not sufficient for it to be an effective tool for curriculum and instruction (Cuban, 1986). Teachers’ competence using the systems, their understanding of its role in the classroom, and their confidence in the reliability of the systems are all factors that influence the degree to which they include it in their teaching plans (Sandholtz, Ringstaff, & Dwyer, 1997; Schofield, 1995). Professional organizations have responded by developing expectations for students (NETS Project & Brooks-Young, 2007) and educators (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008), and educational technology continues to focus much research (Hsu, Ho, Tsai, Hwang, Chu, Wang, & Chen, 2012; Hwang, Chu, Yin, & Ogata, 2015; Lee, Waxman, Wu, Michko, & Lin, 2013). Political and educational leaders, including those who are responsible for implementing Common Core State Standards (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010), recognize the role of ICT in teaching and school as well (Watters, 2014).

In the environment of rapidly evolving infrastructure and similarly evolving need to support professional learning, school leaders have implemented multi-dimensional systems to support technology in schools. Technicians and system administrators ensure ICT is secure, updated, and remains functional; training is offered to ensure faculty and staff can operate new devices and software, and teachers are provided with professional development opportunities to help them integrate ICT into curriculum and instruction. In many jurisdictions, school leaders are required to create long-term technology plans, and educators must demonstrate competence with ICT to obtain and maintain teaching licenses. All of these factors necessitate comprehensive technology support systems in all schools.

Despite the efforts of local leaders to provide reliable ICT systems and the efforts of professional organizations and education researchers to inform technology decision makers in schools, there is evidence that much teaching resembles that which occurred prior to the arrival of the ICT (Hew & Brush, 2007; Ladbrook & Parr, 2015; Lee et. al., 2013). The slow progress in modifying curriculum and instruction to reflect the emerging ICT-rich world has been a theme in the educators’ professional literature for decades. In 1994, Papert suggested a teacher from 100 years earlier would find classrooms familiar. A decade after the World Wide Web was invented; Pflaum (2005) and Seiter (2005) found the Internet was available in schools, but it was largely distracting students. Pearson and Somekh (2006) suggested most ICT-based teaching was designed to increase the efficiency of direct instruction rather than to engage students in alternative learning activities. Lee et. al. (2013) concluded that the greatest effect of ICT on cognitive outcomes occurred when learners are engaged in creative and collaborative activities rather direct instruction, but direct instruction is still the dominant ICT-based pedagogy. In the same decades that ICT changed how we conduct our economic, political, and social lives (Benkler, 2006), schooling appears to be little changed because of it.

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