Technology Integration in a Southern Inner-City School

Technology Integration in a Southern Inner-City School

Molly Y. Zhou (Dalton State College, USA) and William F. Lawless (Paine College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch254
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Background

Inner-city school Y in our research study is located in X County, GA,1 one of the lower ranking counties for K-12 education and with a diverse population. The County enrolled more than 32,000 students and ranked 156th of the State’s 164 school districts. Over 45% of the residents in the county are minorities. African Americans in the county population are over 30%, 2.5 times the national average (US Census Bureau, 2012).

School Y, in the same County, is a K-5 elementary school with an enrollment of 500 students, 90% being African Americans, 8% European Americans, and 2% Hispanics. The school employed about 35 teachers and 20 staff workers. A majority of the teachers were African Americans.

Of those teachers who participated, four were in-service (veteran) teachers and female, two European Americans and two African Americans. There were four pre-service teachers, all of whom were African Americans, one male and three females.2

We used semi-structured interviews, a qualitative approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Interviews were conducted in the Fall 2011 term on school Y’s site. Each interview lasted fifteen to twenty minutes. In addition, other data included observations. The interview data were coded to protect the identity of the participants.3 The constant comparative method was used to code emerging themes and patterns (Patton, 2002). Interview transcriptions were reviewed and approved by interviewees.

Our qualitative study used constructivism in building knowledge as its theoretical framework. Constructivism is a theoretical view of teaching and learning (EBC, 2004). It emphasizes the active participation of the learner to construct an understanding of concepts. In addition, from a theory of cognitive dissonance in learning, ownership of new ideas and concepts is necessary to overcome the reluctance to reject incorrect or inferior ideas (Lawless et al., 2011).

The traditional approach is one-size fits all. Its success has been uneven with inner-city students for several reasons. The traditional learning approach has not been able to engage students adequately due to its low cultural relevancy, poor retention rates of knowledge, and passive engagement of students. Inner-city children come from non-traditional backgrounds with needs that call for constructive methods and strategies of teaching and learning that more actively engage students.

Constructivism has been able to teach students the skills for success in the 21st Century, including with the technology essential to compete for jobs in a global market. Educators (Banks, 2008; Bennet, 2011; Kauchak & Eggen, 2011) believe that to teach inner-city students effectively, teachers need to use instruction based on student strengths. Furthermore, the integration of technology into instruction enhances learning, motivation, and more parental involvement (Intel, 2010; Johnson, 2008; Jansen, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS): Standards that guide the instructional practices of K-12 schools in the state of Georgia.

Inner City Schools: Schools in the central area of a city. In-service Teachers: Veteran teachers who have graduated from teacher education programs and are currently teaching in K-12 settings.

Georgia Performance Standards (GPS): A set of standards to guide the instructional practices of k-12 schools in the state of Georgia prior to the adoption and implementation of Common Core Georgia Performance standards (CCGPS).

Common Core Standards: A set of standards adopted and implemented by most states in the US with the intent to award excellence in K-12 education and to set higher educational standards of college-ready and career-ready for high school graduates.

Technology Integration: To include technology use in classrooms. Integration ranges from 0% in traditional classrooms to 100% in online classrooms.

Constructivism: A perspective on learning that emphasizes learners’ active engagement and adaptation to construct new knowledge through educational learning experiences.

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