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NATALIE_DAVIS FINAL .pdf 9-1-2015

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NATALIE_DAVIS FINAL .pdf 9-1-2015

  1. 1. AN EXAMINATION OF TEACHERS’ CONTEXT BELIEFS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY UTILIZATION IN GEORGIA MIDDLE-GRADE CLASSROOMS Doctoral Dissertation Research Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Argosy University, Atlanta College of Education In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education Educational Leadership By Natalie Holts Davis May 2015
  2. 2. ii AN EXAMINATION OF TEACHERS’ CONTEXT BELIEFS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY UTILIZATION IN GEORGIA MIDDLE-GRADE CLASSROOMS Copyright ©2015 Natalie Holts Davis All rights reserved
  3. 3. iv ABSTRACT Research identifies teacher beliefs as a barrier to technology integration. This quantitative study examined the context beliefs of Georgia middle-grade teachers. The Belief about Teaching with Technology survey created by Lumpe and Chambers was employed to examine the environmental support factors that might have an impact on classroom technology integration. This study helped establish the degree to which the respondents believed certain support factors affect the integration of technology in Georgia middle- grade classrooms. Convenience sampled (N = 202) middle-grade teachers completed the survey instrument. Positive beliefs were held with varying degrees. Enabling factors yield higher degrees than likelihood factors, suggesting that positive beliefs do not necessarily equate to likelihood occurrence of technology in Georgia middle school classrooms. Years of teaching experience, academic specialty, and gender had no significant bearing on teacher contexts beliefs. The researcher recommends that more studies be conducted in the area of environmental and personal factors affecting teaching with technology.
  4. 4. v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. —Psalm 34:1 Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I simply want to say, thank you, Lord! I give you all the glory and all the praise! I certainly could not have done any of this without you. You strategically navigated this course, calmed the raging seas, and continued to hold me in your loving arms throughout this process! You did not let me give up. You reminded me that the winds and the rains must obey your command. You convinced me that no good thing would you withhold from me in your time (not mine). You promised that I would reap if I fainted not. I am confident in this one thing; Lord, you are certainly a rewarder of those who diligently serve you! You have showered me with your favor, and I am forever grateful! I will continue to serve you in humble adoration and gratitude all the days of my life. Lord God, You are worthy to be praised! I am thankful to so many people for helping me get through this process. I have had a host of encouraging friends and supporting family members, colleagues, and professors who have been by my side every step of the way. I could not possibly name them all, but I am truly thankful! I acknowledge my dedicated chair, Dr. Victoria Landu, and faithful committee member, Dr. Deloris Banks. Both have guided me with loving kindness, candor, and firm direction. To the Academic Resource Center, specifically Nisha Johnson and Dr. Donald Gregg, and to my editor Wordsharp.net, know that I am forever grateful for your invaluable support. I am truly indebted to my loving parents, Rev. and Mrs. Nathaniel (Tonya) Holts, who often reminded me of my childhood dreams and who continued to speak this accomplishment into existence long before the reality of
  5. 5. vi it. Most of all, I am thankful to God for my amazing sons, Cameron and Caleb, and my phenomenal husband, Demetrius. Shuga, you have been my rock! The meaning of “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” has been tested beyond limits through this process. I love you forever and always! I thank God for letting you find and secure your “good thing” (Proverbs 18:22). Hang on family. The best is yet to come!!!
  6. 6. vii DEDICATION It is with tear-filled eyes and loving thoughts and memories that I dedicate this research to my maternal grandmother, Ruth Taliaferro Williams, who celebrates my accomplishments from heaven. Departing this life on February 17, 2014, she did not get to physically see me achieve this milestone, but her prayers and encouragement fueled my energy to keep on keepin’ on. She was my dearest friend and truest confidant. She never shied from sharing the hard truths of life with me, but she also never passed up an opportunity to encourage, reassure, and inspire me. I miss her more than words can express, but I know she is smiling down from heaven and saying well done, Dr. Davis!
  7. 7. viii TABLE OF CONTENTS Page LIST OF TABLES...............................................................................................................x LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................... xi LIST OF APPENDICES................................................................................................... xii CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM ....................................................................................1 Problem Background .......................................................................................................... 5 Purpose of the Study........................................................................................................... 7 Research Questions............................................................................................................. 7 Theoretical Framework....................................................................................................... 7 Limitations and Delimitations........................................................................................... 12 Limitations............................................................................................................ 13 Delimitations......................................................................................................... 14 Definition of Terms........................................................................................................... 15 Significance of the Study.................................................................................................. 16 Overview........................................................................................................................... 17 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.....................................................19 Technology and Society.................................................................................................... 19 Technology and the Workplace ........................................................................................ 19 Technology in the Home................................................................................................... 20 Technology in Education .................................................................................................. 21 National Scope.......................................................................................................... 27 Global Scope............................................................................................................. 29 Personal Agency Beliefs: Capability Beliefs and Context Beliefs ................................... 31 Empiracal Studies on Teacher Beliefs about Technology Utilization.............................. 34 Technology Integration..................................................................................................... 38 Barriers to Integration....................................................................................................... 42 Adequacy of Technology.................................................................................................. 43 Accessabilty of Technology.............................................................................................. 43 Availability of Technology Support ................................................................................. 45 Staff Development Classes ............................................................................................... 46 School Administrative Attitude on Technology ............................................................... 47 Overview........................................................................................................................... 48 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY ..........................................................................49 Introduction....................................................................................................................... 49 Research Questions and Hypotheses ................................................................................ 49 Research Questions................................................................................................... 49 Null Hypotheses........................................................................................................ 49 Alternative Hypotheses............................................................................................. 50
  8. 8. ix Research Design................................................................................................................ 50 Description of the Setting ................................................................................................. 51 Selection of Participants ................................................................................................... 51 Instrumentation ................................................................................................................. 51 Reliability and Validity..................................................................................................... 52 Methodological Assumptions and Limitations................................................................. 53 Procedures......................................................................................................................... 53 Data Processing and Analysis........................................................................................... 54 Overview........................................................................................................................... 55 CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS ..........................................................................................56 Restatement of the Purpose............................................................................................... 56 Organization and Presentation of Results......................................................................... 56 Description of Sample............................................................................................... 56 Results....................................................................................................................... 57 Research Question One..................................................................................... 59 Research Question Two.................................................................................... 65 Summary........................................................................................................................... 67 CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...69 Summary of Study ............................................................................................................ 69 Discussion......................................................................................................................... 71 Research Question One......................................................................................... 72 Research Question Two ........................................................................................ 75 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 76 Implications for Practice................................................................................................... 77 Recommendations for Research ....................................................................................... 79 Summary........................................................................................................................... 80 REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................81 APPENDICES ...................................................................................................................89.
  9. 9. x LIST OF TABLES Page Table 1. Leading PC Usage and Computer Usage by Country in 2011 ...........................31 Table 2. Adequacy of Technology....................................................................................43 Table 3. Demographic Data for Teacher Respondents .....................................................57 Table 4. Demographic Data for Teacher Respondents (Grades Taught)..........................58 Table 5. Demographic Data for Teacher Respondents (Subject Taught) .........................59 Table 6. Demographic Data for Teacher Respondents (Years of Experience).................60 Table 7. Means and Standard Deviations for Enabling and Likelihood Factors ..............61 Table 8. Frequency Analysis of Survey Results—Question Six for Enabling Factors ....62 Table 9. Paired Samples t-test Statistics ...........................................................................64 Table 10. RQ2 t-test and ANOVA Results.......................................................................66
  10. 10. xi LIST OF FIGURES Page Figure 1. Beliefs, Knowledge, and Practice Relationships.................................................9 Figure 2. Formula for Motivation and Achievement........................................................10 Figure 3. Capability and Context Belief Relationships ....................................................33 Figure 4. Scatterplot of the Likelihood and Enabling Ratings..........................................63 Figure 5. Mean Summated Scores for Ratings of Likelihood and Enabling Technology ........................................................................................................................65
  11. 11. xii LIST OF APPENDICES Page Appendix A. Permission to Use the Beliefs About Teaching with Technology Survey ................................................................................................................................93 Appendix B. Permission to Conduct Research Using SurveyMonkey.............................95 Appendix C. Letter of Approval for Academics...............................................................97 Appendix D. Beliefs about Teaching with Technology Survey .......................................99
  12. 12. 1 CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM With technology at its epicenter, the face of education has truly evolved over the years. Today’s major educational thrust is technology integration into the curriculum with the intent to improve student achievement (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). In 1996, President Clinton launched this thrust by establishing four national goals for technological literacy. These four goals challenged the nation to provide: (a) adequate technology training and support, (b) current, up-to-date equipment, (c) Internet connection in every classroom, and (d) software and online learning resources (Bitter & Pierson, 1999; Riley, 2005). Clinton’s vision was to have five computers in every classroom by 2006 and to ensure technological literacy for all children without regard to socioeconomic status (Riley, 2005). President Bush pursued these four goals further through House Bill 1187 and the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This act was the catalyst for both teacher and student accountability. Focusing on adequate yearly progress of schools and achievement gaps, this legislation is considered one of the most comprehensive reform initiatives introduced in the United States over the last four decades (Dee & Jacob, 2010). In addition to significantly transforming education at the state, system, and local school levels, the 2005 revision of NCLB included the National Education Technology Plan (U.S. Department of Education, 2004). Among other things, this plan has as its goal that all students will be technologically literate by eighth grade. Furthermore, the plan calls for increased training for teachers in the effective implementation of a technology- rich curriculum. The aforementioned legislation repeatedly suggests that technology is
  13. 13. 2 an integral support for education and cross-curricular learning (Culp, Honey, Mandinach, & Bailey, 2003). In an effort to regain status as an international superpower and render students “college and career ready,” President Obama’s education reform efforts must be an integral part of the conversation. The Race to the Top challenge sparked K-12 school reform by providing federal funds to schools across the nation (U.S. Department of Education, 2009). This funding, supplied through the 2009 American Recovery and Investment Act, is earmarked for schools that establish and meet criteria for excellence in education (U.S. Department of Education, 2009). Through the National Education Technology Plan (2010), President Obama set out to transform American education through “Learning Powered by Technology.” This legislation presents five goals that offer specific suggestions for all stakeholders. The fundamental components include learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity (National Education Technology Plan, 2010). States join in the Race to the Top initiative with the implementation of Common Core Standards (Roscorla, 2010). This initiative seeks to institute uniformity of expectations of both knowledge and skill level for students in grades K-12 (Porter, McMaken, Hwang, & Yang, 2011). The rigor of these standards is designed to promote accelerated learning through the embrace of instructional best practices and data-driven instruction (Porter, McMaken, Hwang, & Yang, 2011). These Common Core Standards are not only used to address student access to technology; they also promote basic skill acquisition by students such as keyboarding (Roscorla, 2010). Furthermore, the implementation of these standards is expected to yield students prepared for the
  14. 14. 3 technology-driven, global marketplace in which we currently live (Roscorla, 2010). Thus, seeking to satisfy President Obama’s goal to “have the highest portion of college graduates in the world” by 2020 (Congressional Address, 2009, p. 10). In this digital age, the question arises “Can old dogs (and new dogs) learn new tricks?” With smart classrooms and new technology advances, are educators prepared to integrate technology into daily instruction? Further, is there significant motivation to shift from the traditional teacher-centered Industrial Age approach to a 21st-century technology-driven education model? Last, are there environmental support factors that influence educators’ decisions to integrate technology into the current curriculum? In an article titled “Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration,” Ertmer (2005) suggested that conditions for optimal technology infusion exist in today’s education arenas. These conditions were defined as “ready access to technology, increased training for teachers, and a favorable policy environment” (Ertmer, 2005, p. 25). Various statistical findings echo Ertmer’s (2005) sentiments by citing revelatory figures (CDW-G, 2006). Findings from The Digest of Educational Statistics (2011) indicated that as of 2008, 98% of all public schools had access to the Internet. This report further boasted an increase in the number of computers available for instructional purposes in these same public schools at a 1:3 computer/student ratio (Digest of Educational Statistics, 2011; Market Data Retrieval, 2010). However, despite this optimal state of existence, technology is not being utilized in today’s classrooms with fidelity and effectiveness (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010; Project RED, 2010; Voogt, 2008; Williams & Kingham, 2003).
  15. 15. 4 U.S. school districts have spent $7.87 billion on technology equipment in recent years to bring schools across the nation up to 21st-century standards (Quality Education Data, 2004). Spurred by President Obama’s 2010 National Education Technology Plan, schools across the country use federal dollars to become equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Through an Education Financing Study Commission, Georgia lawmakers proposed $20 million to expand technology infrastructure and $52 million for technology classroom instruction starting in the 2013-2014 school year (Barrow, 2012). Despite the extensive research on teacher beliefs with regard to technology integration, a gap is evident at the middle school level. Many studies exist that explore the K-12 environment holistically (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010; Hew & Brush, 2007; Inan, 2007; Judson, 2006; Palak & Walls, 2009; Schrum & Glassett, 2006; Williams, 2006; Zhao & Frank, 2003), with a few even targeting specific core area subjects (Cavas, Cavas, Karaoglan & Kisla, 2009; Gibbone, Rukavina, & Silverman, 2010; Zhao, 2007). Research has also done well in examining beliefs about integration on both the university (Abdelraheem, 2004; Ferguson, 2004; Foley & Ojeda, 2007; Georgina & Olson, 2008; Oniya & Oniya, 2011) and pre-service teacher levels (Chen, 2009; Park & Ertmer, 2008; Teo, Chai, Hung, & Lee, 2008; Wang, 2002). High school studies (Chen, 2008; Holloway, 2012) and elementary school studies (Beeson, 2011; Liu, 2010; Miranda, 2007; Tweed, 2013) that research teacher beliefs are also available. However, a specific target for middle school teachers’ beliefs has been somewhat underserved. This study will focus on this underserved gap and add to existing research concerning teacher beliefs about integrating technology in middle school classrooms across the United States.
  16. 16. 5 Problem Background Limited, ineffective use of technology is a major concern in today’s classrooms across the United States (Friedman, 2005; Meadows, 2012). Ultimately, money is being spent on technology, but the presence of computers in the classroom does not equal integration (Starr, 2011). The greatest importance lies in what teachers and students do with the computers (Adu, 2003; Johnson, 2004; Starr, 2011; Williams & Kingham, 2003). The integration of technology into both the classroom and into the public school curriculum will constitute a fundamental shift in the way today’s teachers deliver instruction and ultimately educate students (Starr, 2011). Computers, software, and cutting-edge technology will no doubt be revolutionary components of education, providing a shift from the conventional teacher-centered classroom to a more hands-on, interactive, student-centered model (Zhao & Frank, 2003). However, simply having technology-rich schools and classrooms is not enough (Starr, 2011). Research supports that though conditions are favorable, training models and protocols are in place, and professional development is readily available, many teachers will remain stagnant, set in traditional, teacher-centered instructional approaches that fail to incorporate new technology or employ higher order thinking (Hughes, 2005; ISTE, 2008; Park & Ertmer, 2008). Moreover, researchers that boast the instructional benefits of student-centered classroom models attend that aside from isolated cases, these instructional practices have been scarcely utilized (Gahala 2001; Peck, Cuban, & Kirkpatrick, 2002; Swanson, 2006). Now that conditions that support technology are reaching optimal levels in today’s schools (Aldridge, 2004; Swanson, 2006; Zucker, 2004), the prevailing focus of
  17. 17. 6 educators has shifted from whether to use technology to how best to integrate technology into the current curriculum (Wells & Lewis, 2006). Barnett (2001) stated, “Over the last 20 years, k-12 schools have spent millions of dollars equipping their schools with the latest technologies, but without a thoughtful plan of how their use would impact learning and teaching” (p. 1). Barnett (2001) further suggested the need for a vision or comprehensive plan (Wells & Lewis, 2006) to address how students and teachers will incorporate technology into everyday practice. He contended that the vision should ensure “students are using technology in ways that deepen their understanding of academic content and advance their knowledge of the world around them” (Barnett, 2001, p. _). Shifts in thinking toward greater technology integration in the K-12 classroom bring into play the barriers that exist with regard to technology integration (Ertmer, 2005). Ertmer and Ottenbreit-Leftwich (2010) maintained that beliefs shape decisions with regard to teaching practices. Therefore, a shift from a teacher-centered approach to one that promotes student discovery and utilizes the teacher as a facilitator of learning requires changes in beliefs (Palak & Walls, 2009). These changes in beliefs, in turn, will yield different behaviors and teacher instructional practices, and, thus, give credence to this study (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010). Barriers to technology integration exist regardless of the user’s level of expertise (Becker, 2000; Hew & Brush, 2007). Ertmer (2005) examined these barriers and categorized them into two types, first-order and second-order. Ertmer (2005) described first-order barriers as external. These barriers include lack of access to both equipment and software, lack of administrative and technical support, and insufficient planning for
  18. 18. 7 curriculum integration. Second-order barriers, described as internal, include teacher beliefs and classroom practices (p. 54). This study examined the first-order barriers that exist in today’s middle-grade classrooms, and determined to what extent teacher beliefs affected technology integration. Purpose of the Study Levin and Wadmany (2006) expressed “without teachers’ skilled pedagogical application of education technology, technology in and of itself cannot provide innovative school practice and educational change” (p. 158). With this as a prevailing thought, the purpose of this quantitative study was to describe the relationships that exist between teachers’ beliefs and their decisions to utilize technology in middle school classrooms. Specifically, this study explored factors affecting teacher’s beliefs about available resources, professional development, and their attitudes toward beliefs about technology and its use in middle school classrooms. Research Questions This study sought to answer the following research questions and provide insight into possible areas for improvement in Georgia middle school classrooms. 1. Is there a correlation between enabling factors and likelihood factors to the utilization of technology in the classroom based on the environmental support factors provided? 2. Do beliefs about factors enabling the use of technology vary according to faculty members’ (a) teaching experience, (b) specialization, or (c) gender? Theoretical Framework Pajares (1992) made the following assumptions concerning the functions of
  19. 19. 8 educational beliefs: 1. Knowledge and beliefs are inextricably intertwined, but the potent affective, evaluative, and episodic nature of beliefs makes them a filter through which new phenomena are interpreted. 2. Epistemological beliefs play a key role in knowledge interpretations and cognitive monitoring. 3. Belief substructures, such as educational beliefs, must be understood in terms of their connections not only to each other but also to other, perhaps more central, beliefs in the system. Psychologists usually refer to these substructures as attitudes and values. 4. Individuals’ beliefs strongly affect their behavior. 5. Beliefs must be inferred, and this inference must take into account the congruence among individuals’ belief statements, the intentionality to behave in a predisposed manner, and the behavior related to the belief in question (pp. 7-8). Pajares (1992) suggested that knowledge gained through efforts to achieve technology proficiency would filter through the educator’s beliefs systems. Further implications suggest that instructional practices and behaviors would be a consequence of this filtering process. Because beliefs and belief systems are as varied as is the number of educators, the technology integration knowledge may filter through various belief systems resulting in behaviors that could affect teacher implementation of technology integration practices. Figure 1 displays a pictorial representation of the relationship that exists between educator beliefs, knowledge, and practices.
  20. 20. 9 Figure 1. Beliefs, knowledge, and practice relationships. The role of beliefs has been studied by theorist seeking understanding about how and why people behave the way they do (Ajzen & Madden, 1986; Bandura, 1977; Pajares, 1992). Once one has accepted that a relationship exists between beliefs, knowledge, and practice, one can assess how beliefs cause action. A scholarly definition of motivation is “an inner drive” (Locke & Baum, 2006, p. 97) that causes behavior (Fejes, 2008). Seeking to combine differing theories about why people are motivated to behave and/or act in a particular way, Ford’s (1992) motivation systems theory (MST) explores the notion that competence is a synthesis of motivation, skill, and environment. In other words, how a person behaves (in this case integrates technology) is largely dependent on their beliefs about the skills they possess and the environmental factors that surround them. Coupling Pajares (1992) theory about beliefs with the inner drive that causes behavior, Ford’s model provided the framework for this study and according to creators, Lumpe and Chambers (2001), MST is the theoretical basis of the Beliefs About Teaching with Technology (BATT) instrument used in this research (Julius, 2004). MST categorizes motivation into three areas, direction, energization, and regulation of goal-focused behaviors. Ford explained these terms as identifiers of “where people are heading and what they are trying to do,” how people are “turned on or off,” and “how people decide to try something, stick with it or give up” (Ford, 1992, p. 3). Educator Professional Development/ Training Knowledge/ Competence Beliefs about Professional Development Availability of Resources Technical Support Administrative Support School culture/vision Existing beliefs about teaching with technology Behaviors /Integration Practices
  21. 21. 10 Personal goals, emotions, and personal agency beliefs (which include context beliefs and capability beliefs) are the elements Ford (1992) described as working together to produce behavior. Thus, a heuristic (non-mathematical) equation for MST is: Motivation = Goals x Emotions x Personal Agency Beliefs Ford (1992) did not rank these variables in order of importance but suggested that the variables were interdependent. In other words, if any variable is absent from this triumvirate process, motivation will not occur and achievement/competence will not be realized (Ford, 1992). Ford (1992) conceptualized motivation and achievement through this simplistic figure that shows how the components of MST connect. Figure 2: Formula for motivation and achievement (Ford, 1992). According to Colbeck (2002): MST is grounded in the premise that motivation provides the psychological basis for individuals’ development of competence . . . and a desired consequence of motivation is achievement, the attainment of a personally or socially valued goal within a specific context. (p. 2) Ford (1992) defined personal goals as “thoughts about desired (or undesired) states or outcomes that one would like to achieve (or avoid)” (p. 248). MST deems goals to be a critical component in that they represent the outcome one is trying to accomplish, and they are directly related to the process one uses to yield that desired outcome. In other words, goals are direct motivational patterns and are indicators of how they are pursued. Ford (1992) asserted, however, that in order for goals to have this guiding
  22. 22. 11 capacity, they must push past the wishful thinking mode and be a well-defined priority. According to Ford (1992), emotional arousal processes involves affective, physiological, and transactional attributes. Serving both regulatory and energizing purposes, emotions can provide a meaningful look at how a person responds to his or her environment and to what extent he or she believes goals are achievable (Colbeck, Cabrera & Marine, 2002; Einarson, 2001; Ford 1992). Emotions can be described as ephemeral, and often lack the ability to change behavior if they are not directly connected to current goals (Ford, 1992). Emotions impact a person’s ability to make decisions, solve problems, and acquire knowledge. Categorically, emotions can provide different functions. For example, the ability to cope with difficult situations might be served through instrumental emotions (such as fear or anger), while social emotions (such as guilt or embarrassment) may give way to more conforming behaviors (Ford, 1992). Ford (1992) defined personal agency beliefs as “evaluative thoughts involving a comparison between a desired consequence (a goal) and an anticipated consequence (expectations about what will happen if the goal is pursued)” (p. 251). Personal agency beliefs are further defined in two distinct categories: capability beliefs and context beliefs. Capability beliefs denote a person’s own subjective evaluation of whether he or she possesses the ability, skill, or aptitude to realize a particular goal. Context beliefs refer to a person’s subjective appraisal of whether he or she is in a “responsive environment” conducive to the achievement of an articulated goal through the provision of sufficient resources and support structures (Ford, 1992, p. ). Further validating Ford’s (1992) model as a framework for empirical research, recent studies embrace the tenants of MST. In a study published in the Journal of
  23. 23. 12 Education Media and Library Science, Lee (2000) explored student motivation in the online learning environment. Campbell (2007) researched MST through the exploration of the academic performance of college students in pursuit of a degree in business. In 2009, Richardson employed MST to examine the factors that influence the teaching practices of an undergraduate social work faculty at an accredited secondary institution. MST was again used in 2013 to study the correlation between motivation and reading achievement (Miller, 2013). These studies suggest that Ford’s (1992) composite MST has merit in the realm of empirical research. Ford’s MST can be useful for understanding factors that influence teacher beliefs about technology utilization in middle school classrooms. Richardson (2009) summarized the strength of this theory as addressing “the problems of conceptual narrowness, lack of cohesion and consensus, and lack of practical utility common to many other theories of motivation (p. 34). Empirically tested in numerous research studies, MST boasts an adequate level of internal cogency and is easily replicated (Colbeck, Cabrera and Marine, 2002; Lumpe & Chambers, 2001; Richardson, 2009). Further, it provides the theoretical framework of the BATT instrument used for exploration by this researcher (Lumpe & Chambers, 2001). Limitations and Delimitation Creswell (2003) reminded researchers to be mindful of limitations and delimitations as they institute boundaries critical for investigative inquiry. By his definition, limitations expose potential weaknesses of research (p. 142). Alternatively, delimitations aid the researcher in narrowing the scope of the intended study (p. 142). This section will address the limits and delimits as seen by the researcher and supported
  24. 24. 13 through peer-reviewed literature. Limitations Four significant limitations potentially impact the outcome of this research, Subjective responses to survey questions, inability for survey respondents to vary their responses beyond the given choices, the singular quantitative method employed by this research, and the length of time associated with this study. Glasow (2005) suggested that while surveys are useful for obtaining information from large samples of a given population, the subjective nature of responses may potentially yield some biases, prejudices, and flawed responses. Glasow (2005) further implied that Likert-scaled surveys limit respondents to the given parameters of the scale and do not allow for elaboration. Instead of the researcher conducting actual observations, survey respondents are left to describe their own beliefs, behaviors, and surroundings with respect to technology integration. This researcher assumes that respondents will answer questions about their beliefs and current resource availability, honestly. Additionally, the BATT instrument will not be modified to include open-ended questions that could provide respondents with greater flexibility in further clarifying current beliefs. Next, the length of time associated with this study and the singular quantitative method used imposes limitations. Creswell (2003) argued that mixed methods approaches that use both quantitative and qualitative assessments provide the researcher with a more encompassing view of what is being studied. As presented, this study can only provide a quantitative snapshot of technology integration at the time of the study and does not take into account that technology and technology integration processes are ever-
  25. 25. 14 changing (Roblyer, 2003). In recommendations for further research, creators of the BATT instrument, Lumpe and Chambers (2001), suggested researchers use longitudinal studies to explore beliefs and technology integration. Creswell (2003) agreed that longitudinal studies provide information that would otherwise not be obtained by shorter, less lengthy studies. This researcher is embracing a shorter study that mirrors the initial efforts of Lumpe and Chambers (2001) but uses a different target population. In the future, a longitudinal study that employs a mixed-methods approach could possibly offer a more comprehensive view by identifying relevant changes over time (Trochim, 2006). Delimitations The likelihood that home and/or personal use of various technologies may affect teachers’ context beliefs about technology integration is great (Huang & Liaw, 2005). The feasibility for the researcher to effectively assess the impact of this likelihood does not exist. The conscious decision by this researcher to exclude any assessment of prior home and/or personal use qualifies this delimitation and, therefore, must be identified (Simon & Goes, 2013). Additionally, the population for this study is delimited to middle school teachers across the United States who opted to complete surveys for a prevalent online database. Generalizing the findings of this or any study is unrealistic due to the vast differences that occur in differing situations, namely, middle schools across the U.S. (Creswell, 2003). The findings of this study should be considered indicative of the populations and settings examined, and not definitive for all situations (Creswell, 2003).
  26. 26. 15 Definition of Terms  Capability beliefs: Those beliefs that individuals hold about their own capacities and abilities to act in a way to bring about change and development (Ford, 1992; Lumpe & Chambers, 2001).  Context beliefs: Those beliefs about the ability of external factors or people to enable a person to reach a goal plus the belief that a factor is likely to occur (Ford, 1992; Lumpe & Chambers, 2001).  Enabling factors: Factors that make it possible (or easier) for individuals or populations to change their behavior or their environment (Ford, 1992; Lumpe & Chambers, 2001).  Instructional technology: The application of technology concepts and terminology to the instructional, curricular, and management demands of a school district. For this study, educational and instructional technologies are used interchangeably (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).  Likelihood factors: Factors related to the possibility of something occurring (Ford, 1992; Lumpe & Chambers, 2001).  Motivation: “An inner drive” (Locke & Baum, 2006, p. 97) that causes behavior (Fejes, 2008).  Personal agency beliefs: Beliefs and expectations about whether one has the capabilities needed to attain the goal, and beliefs about whether the person’s context will support his or her efforts (Ford, 1992).  Subject/specialty: The primary subject taught by teachers (Moersch, 2009)  Technology: A tool that is well-matched to specific content areas and learning
  27. 27. 16 goals that assist teachers in the daily instruction of students (McMillan, Honey, Mandinach, & Bailey, 2003)  Technology integration: The ability to use computer information and technology in a way that supports and enhances the achievement of specific teaching and learning goals (Yepes-Baraya, 2002). For the purposes of this study, technology integration and technology utilization will be used interchangeably. Significance of the Study Research supports that teacher beliefs are a significant factor in the push toward effective technology integration (Beeson, 2011; Ertmer, 2005; Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Palak & Walls, 2009; Williams, 2006). Pajares (1992) maintained, “attention to beliefs of current and preservice teachers can inform educational practice in ways that prevailing research agendas have not and cannot” (p. 329). To this end, learning about the beliefs of teachers, how to influence those beliefs and, therefore, influence behaviors and integration practices, not only helps the meeting of current national and statewide technology goals, but also is in educational research’s best interest (Ertmer, 2005). This investigation seeks to add to the existing body of research on context beliefs. It may possibly provide a snapshot of the external technology resources available in the sample population. Knowledge gained could possibly be used to design and execute both district and statewide instructional technology plans. Moreover, by augmenting current information available to school leaders and local boards of education about beliefs and technology utilization, this study may provide strategies for increased student achievement. Last, this study will address implications for school leaders, provide information for persons who construct educational building designs, and provide
  28. 28. 17 information to educators for the day-to-day operations of middle school classrooms. Overview Current research asserts that positive attitudes about technology tend to be a precursor to effective technology integration across curriculum (Beaudrie & Boschmans, 2004; Broussard, 2009; Gray & Madson, 2007; Martineau, 2009; Vannatta & Fordham, 2004; Williams, 2006). Large amounts of funding through the United States Department of Education have been provided for school districts to improve the face of technology in their respective locales. With current funding provisions coupled with the researched implications of technology as an instructional tool that can significantly enhance education, it is imperative that obstacles preventing educators from properly utilizing technology are identified. Further, it is in the best interest of research to help teachers redirect negative beliefs that may stifle the infusion of technology into the current curriculum, therefore, hindering the enhancement of academic performance. This study is an attempt to ascertain what factors are believed by teachers to have the greatest impact on technology integration in U.S. middle school classrooms. This will be explored using the BATT. Additionally, a picture of the technological richness of Georgia middle schools will be described. In line with current practices for empirical research, this study will be systematized into five distinct chapters, respectively: (a) Chapter One defines the study by identifying the problem and its context, highlighting the theoretical framework used, and pinpointing why the research that is significant today; (b) Chapter Two summarizes current literature on technology integration and beliefs, further connecting theory to current technology trends, and identifying potential obstacles regarding technology
  29. 29. 18 integration; (c) Chapter Three covers methodology, including procedures and research designs used to conduct this study; (d) Chapter Four addresses findings and summarizes survey results; (e) Chapter Five concludes by recapitulating the research and providing suggestions for further exploration.
  30. 30. 19 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Technology and Society Technology has, and continues to have, a profound impact on society in an overall grand schema. This impact impels the areas of work, home, government, and ultimately education. This review of literature briefly examines the societal influences of technology, and determines the implications of these societal influences on education. It further describes both the national and global scope of technology integration and expounds on funding sources. Next, it focuses on educational technology integration and teaching practices, explain the existing barriers to technology integration, and looks at research concerning educators’ beliefs about teaching with technology. Technology and the Workplace Technological advances have revolutionized the business world and have changed the face of the typical workplace setting (Burg, 2013). From the invention of telegraphy in the 1850s, to telephones, fax machines, and photocopiers of the 1900s, to the more recent developments of wireless communication and video conferencing, offices around the world are quickly evolving (Digipro, 2007). With this evolution comes the need for employee skill sets to meet the increasing technical needs of today’s employer and highly technical workplace (National Education Technology Plan, 2010). Today’s employer expects new employees to come to the table with technical skill sets that increase productivity. Hansen and Hansen (2007) list computer and technical literacy as one of the 10 most sought after skill sets employers seek when selecting new hires. In a study conducted by Stella, Krider, and Ash (1997), employee qualifications did not meet employer needs in the area of communication and technical skills. This
  31. 31. 20 study further assumed that this trend would likely hold true in future studies. Furthermore, The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), developed by the U.S. Department of Labor and Education, conducted a study that researched the competencies required for success of new employees in today’s workforce. This study concluded that technological perceptiveness is a competency for prospective employees in today’s job market. This competence included not only working with various technologies and technical applications, but also maintaining and troubleshooting equipment (U.S. Department of Labor, 1991). These studies and many others like them, solidify the notion that today’s student must exit the K-12 setting (and even K-16 setting) with the technical knowledge to be successful in the 21st century workplace (National Education Technology Plan, 2010). Technology in the Home Technology in the home allows many freedoms. Noted researcher of technology advances, Schement (1996), said, “Whether rich or poor, the home will become the information processing center of the 21st century as Americans intensify the domestic functionalities of refuge, window, marketplace, and workshop” (p. 35). Today, people are able to work from home, watch high-definition television, access hundreds of channels, play video games with 3D and 4D graphical representations, download music and talk on telephones that do all of the aforementioned and more (Burg, 2013). Kitchens are equipped with microwaves and self-cleaning ovens, computerized dishwashers, and talking refrigerators (Home Depot, 2007). Cable and satellite TV stream in hundreds of channels, providing viewers with digital, “on demand” (Comcast, 2007) capabilities and the vivid clarity of plasma screens and high-definition, surround
  32. 32. 21 sound. From home, computer users are afforded the luxury of direct deposit, online banking, and bill payment options. Even the newest home computer user is transformed into a freelance photographer with just a click of a digital camera. Homes are guarded with intricate alarms systems that provide two-way voice capabilities, making law enforcement, medical assistance, and fire protection just a button-push away (Comcast, 2007). Pizza deliveries, movie rentals, grocery shopping, medical, and legal advice, and so much more are just a click away and require basic technical preparedness. This profound effect that technology advancements have made on society as a whole, and personal computing specifically, makes technology integration in education a must (U.S. Department of Education, 2001, 2009, 2011). Technology in Education The last two decades have placed technology at the forefront of education (Simkins, Vodicka, & Gonzales, 2009). In 1983, an informational report entitled “A Nation at Risk” was birthed through the U.S. Department of Education’s National Commission on Excellence in Education. This report echoed the sentiments of federal educational leaders, warning that the foundation of the existing education system is being “eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and as a people” (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). This report suggested that schools across the nation are failing to challenge students academically, particularly in the areas of mathematics and science. This report further suggested that technology and basic computer skills were severely deficient (Goodlad, 1984). This gave way to the extension of literacy to include five new basics—English, mathematics, science, social studies, and computer science (Goodlad, 1984). With the inclusion of computer science,
  33. 33. 22 the report expressed the expectation that students graduating from high school, should emerge understanding “the computer as an information, computation, and communication device; [be able to] use the computer in the study of the other basic and for personal and work-related purposes; and understand the world of computers, electronics, and related technologies” (National Commission on Excellence in Education, p. 1). This report sparked the insurgence of a nationwide computer revolution and exposed the need for education reform (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). Fearing that students were neither qualified to enter college or the world of work, the U.S. Department of Education initiated this reform to improve education in five areas (U.S. Department of Education, 2004, 2008): (a) academic achievement, particularly in the areas of math and science; (b) remediation and enrichment—meeting the needs of all students, providing challenging enrichment for gifted students and providing remediation for students needing additional reinforcement; (c) classroom management—decreasing class sizes and providing tutorial support as needed; (d) challenge and encouragement—engaging students through rigorous standards and encouraging interest in computers and technology; (e) preparation and training— teachers are encouraged to promote continuing education to include college and pursuing advanced degrees, particularly in science and math. Additionally, this report propelled education to the forefront of political agendas across the United States since then (Danielson, 2002). In summary, this report warned that if change did not occur in a strategic manner, our nation would not be able to compete in the increasingly global arena in which we live (Barlow & Robertson, 1994, Bracey 2003). In 1991, a report titled “What Work requires of Schools: SCANS Report for
  34. 34. 23 America 2000” revealed skills necessary for high workplace proficiency. This report, released by the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Commission on Achieving the Necessary Skills, defined three essentials for the 21st-century learner. The three necessary skills reported were “a solid foundation in the basic literacy and computational skills, thinking skills necessary to put knowledge to work, and personal qualities that make workers dedicated and trustworthy” (U.S. Department of Labor, 1991, p. 3). In 1994, President Clinton’s administration sparked the technology momentum on a national level. Goals 2000: Educate America Act was established with the expressed goal to “improve student learning through a long-term, broad-based effort to promote coherent and coordinated improvements in the system of education throughout all levels of education” (Goals 1996, p. 1, 2000). This law set the stage for later legislation such as No Child Left behind (NCLB) that shared the same fundamental principle of improving educational technology efforts across the United States (Goals, 1998, 2000). In 1996, the U.S. Department of Education issued the Technology Literacy Challenge program aimed at rendering technology literate students for the 21st century. Through a report titled “Getting America’s Students Ready for the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge,” four goals were emphasized. These goals centered on improving technology skills, increasing training and support for teachers, acquiring multimedia computers in classrooms, and ensuring Internet connection coupled with supporting software in every classroom. Describing the reform as the cornerstone of his administration, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law on January 8, 2002. Citing disappointment in the nation’s public school system, he expressed his belief that despite
  35. 35. 24 the federal spending of nearly $200 billion dollars resulting from the 1965 passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), “too many of our neediest children are being left behind.” The president solicited bipartisan support intended to provide more accountability, choice, and flexibility within federal education programs (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, p. 2). This legislation echoed the emergent consensus that computer literacy is of paramount importance for 21st-century learners. President Bush set out to “assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technology literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade” through “the effective integration of technology resources and systems with teacher training and curriculum development to establish research-based instructional methods that can be widely implemented as best practices by state educational agencies” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). The NCLB, part D of Title II outlines the technology standard for schools across the United States. This section challenges schools to increase student academic achievement using technology. Further, it demands full integration of technology, requiring schools to effectively utilize technology to improve curriculum and instruction. NCLB Title II part D stated: Section 2401 Title: Enhancing Education through Technology Act of 2001 Section 2402: Purposes and Goals: 1. To provide assistance to State and localities for the implementation and support of a comprehensive system that effectively uses technology in elementary schools and secondary schools to improve student academic achievement. 2. To encourage the establishment or expansion of initiatives, including initiatives involving public-private partnerships, designed to increase access to technology, particularly in schools served by high-need local educational agencies 3. To assist States and localities in the acquisition, development, interconnection, implementation, improvement, and maintenance of an effective educational
  36. 36. 25 technology infrastructure in a manner that expands access to technology for students (particularly for disadvantaged students) and teachers. 4. To promote initiatives that provide schoolteachers, principals, and administrators with the capacity to integrate technology effectively into curricula and instruction achievement standards, through such means as high- quality professional development programs. 5. To enhance ongoing professional development of teachers, principals, and administrators by providing constant access to training and updated research in teaching through electronic means. 6. To support the development and utilization of electronic networks and other innovative methods, such as distance learning of delivering specialized or rigorous academic courses and curricula for students in areas that would not otherwise have access to such courses and curricula, particularly in geographically isolated regions. 7. To support the rigorous evaluation of programs funded under this part, particularly regarding the impact of such programs on student academic achievement, and ensure that timely information on the results of such evaluations is widely accessible through electronic means. 8. To support local efforts using technology to promote parent and family involvement in education and communication among students, parents, teachers, principals, and administrators. (NCLB, 2007) In summary, the NCLB, Title II D allows for strategic, data-driven planning on the national, state, and local levels that embed fundamental success components such as hands-on, intensive, high-quality, professional development (Givens, 2006). In 2003, over six billion taxpayer dollars were spent on educational technology (Anderson & Dexter, 2005). This investment alone confirms the important role that technology plays in education. Taxpayer dollars equate to state and local leaders having an obligation to ensure that technological resources are used wisely to ensure student success, and further speaks to the important role technology plays in education at large. In 2010, through the U.S. Department of Education, President Barak Obama introduced the latest national technology plan called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology.” As its name implies, this plan specifies how educational leaders will transform learning during the 21st century by implementing strategies intended to create a more individualized instructional model and provide
  37. 37. 26 increase connectivity across the United States (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan envisioned a “state of the art, cradle to college” school system that offers a more engaged, custom-made experience for today’s learner (National School Board Association [NSBA], 2010, p. 1). NSBA’s Director of Education Technology, Ann Flynn, expressed her opinion that technology was an essential rather than an “optional add-on” to learning and productivity (NSBA, 2010, p. 1). She further expresses that districts should refrain from the notion that technology is a costly investment, and rather, focus on how to do things in such a way that maximizes the impact of technology resources (NSBA, 2010, p. 1). Both Duncan and Flynn embraced the five main goals of the national education technology plan, realizing that the plan’s articulated goals provide a vision for technology in K-12 education. The five main goals of this plan examine: 1. Learning—making this process more engaging and fitted to individual learner needs 2. Assessment—using technology to measure outcomes effectively 3. Teaching—providing resources to teachers that connect them with their peers and other experts, providing them with up-to-date resources to better impart knowledge to the 21st-century learner 4. Infrastructure—building frameworks for increased access to technology in and out of the classroom 5. Creativity—increasing the productivity of school districts coupled with increasing student achievement through the innovative measures allowed by educational technology. (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, p. 6) In reference to these goals, Duncan expressed, “if we accomplish all of these goals, we’ll have realized the advance potential for technology to prepare students for success in the internationally competitive, knowledge-based economy.” He further expressed that nothing replaces great teachers, but believes that technology has the potential to fundamentally improve the way students learn (NSBA, 2010, p. 1) Dissecting technology in education a bit further, the next two sections will
  38. 38. 27 examine both the national and global scopes of technology in education. Additionally, these sections will highlight the depth of importance that technology utilization in education holds across national and international arenas, thus, providing a bigger backdrop on which to compare how technology impacts education across the globe. National Scope The western part of the United States boasts technology plans that include improved professional development opportunities and increased technical support (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). California’s plan is a prime example, with professional development earmarked for increasing the ability of teachers to integrate technology and embedded administrative support structures that also offer increased classroom technology integration. The state of Washington spent in excess of $3.5 million dollars on professional development, instructional computers (hardware and software), online courses, and other teacher support resources (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). While the Wyoming plan brags on the lowering of student/computer ratios to a four to one minimum, offering teacher support mentors for increased technology integration, and offering access to web-based instruction on the incorporation of technology into the curriculum (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). The central region of the United States includes state technology plans that seek to increase the effective and efficient use of technology (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Plans such as Nebraska’s Digital Education Initiative seek to increase technology integration through the backing of statewide telecommunications (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Other plans, such as Illinois’ plan, focus on ensuring ready access to technology for students and making certain that teachers and educators have the
  39. 39. 28 knowledge necessary to engage students in meaningful pedagogy that promotes the ability to solve problems (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Illinois invested approximately 25 million dollars to drive home the serious need for increased technological literacy and higher order thinking strategies for the 21st-century learner (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Similarly, the state of Wisconsin highlights the importance of technology by sinking millions into the use of common media, software, and other equipment to encourage effective technology integration in schools and address standards set forth in the state’s technology plan (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Looking at the northeastern region, state technology plans support the importance of technology integration in 21st-century education. In Massachusetts, 85% of teachers reportedly use technology daily with their students (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). That same percentage apparently report daily use of technology outside of teaching (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). The U.S. Department of Education (2010) further suggested that these teachers participate in 45 hours of high-quality professional development comprised of coaching, online support, modeling, mentoring, and various study groups. In comparison, the state of Vermont’s plan boasts continuous technology access for both teachers and students. Data collection and assessment methods for students are included in this plan (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). This plan also outlines the creation of technology-friendly learning environments that utilize the development of community partnerships that foster enhanced integration (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). States in the southeast region of the United States utilize resources afforded them through the Enhancing Teaching Through Technology (ETTT) and the NCLB acts (U.S.
  40. 40. 29 Department of Education, 2010). Through its state technology plan, Florida seeks to increase learning opportunities for its students and teachers by outlining proficiency and literacy standards related to educational technology (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Mississippi provides opportunities for its teachers to become proficient in technology integration through local, in-building support and ongoing professional development. Additionally, administrators are trained not only to integrate technology into the curriculum but also increase parental and community support with regard to technology integration. The state of Georgia plan is comprised of seven major goals intended to increase technology integration. These goals include increasing community support, cultivating teacher integration ability, improving administrators’ use of computers, investing in quality district supports, and providing adequate access to all stakeholders (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Global Scope In 1997, England and Hong Kong provided global points of comparison with regard to technology integration (Wang, 2002). In an effort to increase resources and training for teachers, England’s Labor Party spent billions on information communication technology (ICT; Wang, 2002). With similar goals, Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region (SAR) funded technology reforms, including efforts to train ICT coordinators and other significant personnel at a lower expense, in the millions (Wang, 2002). However, more financial support in England failed to equate to better integration success. England’s teachers report difficulty adjusting to the increased workload, feeling overwhelmed and ill prepared to integrate technology effectively (Wang, 2002). Even with significantly more financial support, England teachers referred to the lack of
  41. 41. 30 resources, skills, meaningful direction, and administrative support needed to integrate technology successfully (Wang, 2002). In direct contrast, teachers in Hong Kong achieved greater reform success that yielded schools connected to the Internet and teachers properly trained in the successful integration of educational technology (Wang, 2002). In Taiwan, engaging students with creative strategies that employ the use of technology is highly encouraged (ChanLin et al., 2006). Student interests in learning are inspired through the strategic implementation of innovative technology that makes learning fun (ChanLin et al., 2006). Technology also affects the time frame needed to acquire more information, providing students with the opportunity to learn more, faster (Almekhani & Almeqdadi, 2010). Effective technology integration is a result of teachers being properly trained and having the skill set to use technology meaningfully (ChanLin et al., 2006; U.S. Department of Education, 2010). In 2002, the Sultanate of Oman, located in Southwest Asia, was home to a university study on technology integration. Abdelraheem (2004) sought to study the context beliefs of Sultan Qaboos University faculty in relation to their decision to utilize technology in daily instruction. Using the BATT instrument created by Lumpe and Chambers (2001), the researcher explored the enabling factors and likelihood factors surrounding technology utilization decisions. This study was a direct result of the increased attention given to beliefs as an indicator of teacher behavioral change in the last thirty years, and serves as a model for the investigation conducted through this research (Abdelraheem, 2004). Many countries are mandating classroom technology utilization during
  42. 42. 31 instructional delivery. Increased resource availability and knowledge expansion opportunities are a direct result to being connected through technology (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). According to the Computer Industry Almanac, the United States is the world leader in computer usage. If expected growth rates are maintained, this same source predicts that by 2015, the number of personal computers will surpass the number of people in the U.S. (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). The following table outlines the personal computer and computer use of countries considered. Table 1 Leading PC Usage and Computer Usage by Country in 2011 Countries PCs in Use (#M) Computers in Use U.S. 310.6 321.4 China 195.1 200.4 Japan 98.1 101.9 UK 54.5 56.7 Source: Computer Industry Almanac, Inc. U.S. Department of Education, 2012 Personal Agency Beliefs: Capability Beliefs and Context Beliefs Personal agency beliefs are defined as “evaluative thoughts involving a comparison between a desired consequence (a goal) and an anticipated consequence (expectations about what will happen if the goal is pursued)” (Ford, 1992, p. 251). Ford (1992) further described personal agency beliefs by dividing them into two distinct categories, capability and context. His view of capability beliefs mirrors the commonly studied views of Bandura’s (1977) self-efficacy, a person’s beliefs about his or her ability (p. 3). Ford’s (1992) notion of context beliefs examines external factors (both resources and people) that may affect a person’s achievement of a particular goal. Ford (1992) proposed that these two distinct types of beliefs came together to form patterns that cause behaviors or motivates a person to act. This section will delineate the two personal
  43. 43. 32 agency belief types, discuss personal agency belief patterns, and describe the importance of context beliefs to this research. First, Bandura’s (1977) self-efficacy (i.e., capability beliefs) is a common research paradigm of human motivation and goal realization. Defined as “beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments,” Bandura’s (1977) self-efficacy theory looks at a person’s beliefs about whether he or she can succeed in a given situation (p. 3). He postulated that these capability beliefs are factors in how people think, feel, and behave. Further, he offered four sources of these beliefs: a) mastery experiences—a person’s successful execution of a specific task; b) social modeling—a person’s witnessing of the successful execution of a task by others; c) social persuasion—the idea that a person can be persuaded that he or she possesses the skills and abilities to success; and d) psychological responses—the idea that a person’s own reactions and emotional responses impact his or her beliefs about his or her own abilities. Thus, it can be hypothesized that capability (self-efficacy) beliefs are a key determinant in motivating a person to action. Next, in an effort to expand Bandura’s (1977) theory to include a broader examination of belief types, Ford (1992) introduced the construct of context beliefs. He explained these beliefs to include those about the external factors or human resources that enable one to reach a goal, coupled with beliefs about the likelihood of occurrence of those external factors in their environment. Context beliefs take into account a person’s personal assessment of the accessibility of resources, the availability of support, and/or any obstacles that may exist in their environment. Ford (1992) believed that a person’s context beliefs provide an important element in the acquisition of “challenging but
  44. 44. 33 attainable goals” (p. 125). Characterizing the relationships that exist between capability and context beliefs, Ford (1992) organized a chart that classifies personal belief patterns. These patterns range from the most sought after robust pattern indicating a synthesis of strong capability beliefs with positive context beliefs, to the least desired hopeless pattern that links weak capability beliefs with negative context beliefs. Figure 3 indicates this arrangement. ContextBeliefs Negative Fragile (Intact but easily broken) Modest (moderate estimate of ability) Robust (strong/firm in purpose) Neutral or Variable Self-Doubting (lack of faith in chance for success) Vulnerable (fascinating, but at risk under stress) Tenacious (strength in dealing with challenge) Positive Hopeless (no hope or confidence) Discouraged (maintains some hope) Accepting or Antagonistic (endures or expresses hostility Weak Modest or Variable Capability Beliefs Strong Figure 3: Capability and context beliefs relationships. So how are technology integration and teacher context beliefs a relevant topic of research? Well, technology utilization in school classrooms adequately fit Ford’s (1992) description of a goal that is both “challenging” and “attainable” (p. 124). This gives credence to an examination of teacher beliefs that cause the behavior of technology integration. The next section will highlight empirical studies that explore the relationship between teacher beliefs and technology utilization in an educational context. Empirical Studies on Beliefs about Technology Utilization In 2001, Lumpe and Chambers conducted research that resulted in the creation of the BATT instrument (Appendix A). This instrument assesses teacher’s context beliefs
  45. 45. 34 about using technology in the classroom. With the expressed goal of effective technology utilization, this study examined teacher attitudes and behaviors that influence technology integration in an engaged environment. Survey content development was based on Ford’s (1992) motivational systems theory (MST) coupled with Bandura’s (1977) research on self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a generalized expectancy of a teacher, given the teacher’s beliefs about their own ability to perform certain professional tasks and influence students (Bandura, 1977). The study concluded that exploring teacher context beliefs could serve as an effective program evaluation tool. Wang (2002) introduced research pertaining to how those seeking to enter the teaching profession think about the integration of computers in education. The study polled 78 preservice teachers’ as they entered student teaching for a public university bordering the Pacific Rim of the United States. Wang’s basis for this study is rooted in the theory that preservice teacher’s beliefs and perceptions offer significant insight into future behaviors related to computer integration (Williams, 2006). Noting the naivety of preservice teachers, Wang (2002) suggested that simply having the ability to use computers and/or technology does not equate to their incorporation into daily instruction. The study implied that preservice teachers are more likely to take a teacher-centered approach, using computers and other technology as tools to support the implementation of the lesson rather than as a student-centered tool to fully engage students in the learning process. Wang (2002) attributed this finding to the likelihood that the preservice teachers had yet to experience learning environments where they themselves were engaged using a student-centered approach. The study concluded that beliefs about teaching and learning tend to be products of prior personal experience (Wang, 2002).
  46. 46. 35 Another 2002 study of preservice teachers yielded a definition of beliefs as “dispositions to act” (Leatham, 2002, p. 6). This exploration of secondary mathematics teacher candidates sought to examine the relationship between their beliefs about teaching math with technology and beliefs about teaching and learning in general. This qualitative study monitored four preservice teachers using observations, emails, interviews, and data collection methods aimed at ascertaining how their beliefs would impact their technology integration practices. The study identified technology availability, the intended instructional purpose for technology use, and the teacher’s knowledge of technology as factors attributing to their beliefs about technology integration in the classroom (Leatham, 2002). A multi-case, qualitative study conducted by Loague (2003) failed to reveal a definitive indication that technology influenced the instructional decisions of a university faculty. In an attempt to assess how technology influenced instructional practices of a higher educational faculty, Loague (2003) collected data on various elements/factors needed for technology integration. Institutional vision, access to technology, available technical support, and administrative leadership were examined as factors attributing to successful technology integration (Loague, 2003). The study surmised that technology had not made a significant impact on participants’ beliefs about teaching and learning. Additionally, there was no marked change in the teaching styles of participants (Loague, 2003). In 2004, Ferguson examined the relationship that exists between the pedagogical beliefs of experienced university professors and their teaching styles. More specifically, this qualitative research study conducted on a small liberal arts campus in the southern
  47. 47. 36 region of the United States sought to determine how beliefs about teaching practices correspond to how technology is utilized in the classroom. The study established that a professor’s teaching philosophy plays a significant role in how integration is realized in the classroom setting (Ferguson, 2004). In 2004, Zhao targeted 17 social studies teachers in grades 7-12 to study their perceptions of technology integration as an effective tool for instructional purposes. This study also looked at the impact technology training had on their decision to integrate technology into daily classroom practices. Participants had an average of 11 years of teaching experience, ranging from 23 to 62 years in age. Data were extracted from interviews and various documents related to their teaching, concluding that technology integration training had a positive impact on their daily instructional practices. Furthermore, mandated professional developments and personal commitment were cited as the major factors influencing their attitudes and positive instructional changes. A 2005 National Teacher Survey conducted by CDW-G revealed disturbing statistics. The study reported that 80% of K-12 teachers’ primary use for computers is administrative in nature (National Teacher Survey, 2005). The study went on to report that slightly over 50% of the teachers even attempt to incorporate computers in everyday, routine instruction (National Teacher Survey, 2005). To compound the problem, the study informs that 33% of the population studied reported very little training or no training devoted to the incorporation of computers into daily lessons and/or training on how to utilize instructional software (National Teacher Survey, 2005). In 2007, Inan and Lowther conducted a survey in Tennessee on the direct and indirect effects of technology integration. With 1,382 public school teachers surveyed,
  48. 48. 37 this study identified a lack of readiness as the number one reason for minimum classroom computer usage. The study further identified lack of competency, lack of computer support, and varying beliefs about technology and the curriculum as major barriers to effective integration (Inan, 2007). A longitudinal study conducted in 2009 by Glassett and Schrum (2009) sought to achieve three primary goals: (a) technology intensive classrooms, (b) a collegial environment for educators conducive to sharing and learning, and (c) an intense, “pedagogy first” training program for teachers in high poverty schools in Illinois. The researchers sought to understand not only how teachers were incorporating technology and professional development strategies into their everyday instruction, but also compared student achievement in classrooms receiving the intervention and those without it for a two-year timeframe. The pedagogical beliefs and practices that evolved from participating were identified, and study conclusions indicated a slight increment increase in student achievement. A positive pedagogical shift in how educators viewed technology integration was also realized. As access and support barriers seem to diminish, a 2010 study conducted by Ertmer and Ottenbriet-Leftwich revisited the notion that pedagogical beliefs and technology integration practices are aligned. This multiple case-study research involved the interviewing of 12 classroom teachers, who were selected based on their award- winning technology practices. This study overwhelming supported that a teacher’s own beliefs and attitudes about the relevance technology plays in student learning affected their integration practices more than any other factor. This study further purposed that internal factors coupled with the appropriate use of information and information
  49. 49. 38 technology resources facilitate student learning in meaningful and successful ways. In 2013, Tweed conducted a quantitative study intended to identify the combination of factors that support the effective implementation of new technologies in the classroom. Specifically, age, gender, teaching experience, professional development, and teacher self-efficacy, as defined by Bandura (1977), were explored to discover how these factors related to new technology implementation in the classroom (Tweed, 2013). The findings did not report a noteworthy finding with regard to the aforementioned factors. However, it did conclude that self-efficacy had a significant, positive correlation to classroom technology use by teachers (Tweed, 2013). Technology Integration What should successful technology integration in today’s 21st-century classroom look like? Through its technology plan, the Department of Education suggested that technology integration encompasses the use of available tools to meet the needs of teachers, students, parents, and administrators (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). According to Royer (2002), improvements in student achievement result when teachers effectively use computer-based instructional programs. With teachers being the catalyst of education for students in school, it is important that trainings occur that render them knowledgeable about effectively embedding technology into the current curriculum. In other words, a copious blueprint that includes plans for adopting new hardware and funding sources for both hardware and software must be in place. Gorder (2008) explained a five-stage development process that describes how individuals learn to use technology. Stage one consists of teachers who are aware of existing technologies, but choose not to use it. Dissonance is a common characteristic for
  50. 50. 39 these educators. Students at this same stage tend to be very aware of technology and make use of it readily for non-educational purposes. At level two, teachers are rethinking their position on technology integration. This is usually spurred by relevant training and/or persuasion from their peers. During this stage, students are presented with the idea of educational technology use. The decision to accept or reject technology is made by educators at level three. Accepting technology gives way to using it in an effort to heighten instruction. Experimentation occurs, and strategies learned are slowly incorporated into daily instruction. By level four, teachers begin to actively use technology for instructional purposes, incorporating technology that they deem relevant to enhance the subject matter being taught. Stage five culminates the technology integration process by undertaking full integration initiatives that enhance instruction and promote student achievement (Gorder, 2008). By this stage, teachers assign tasks that require students to use technology in meaningful ways. This effort results in teachers beginning to master skills that not only help them connect technology to a specific assignment but, engage students in a way that evokes positive learning opportunities. Blankenship (2010) warned that, at this stage, teachers must be taught how to use technology well enough not to overwhelm them to the point of discouragement and discontinued use. Reaching the final stage in learning to integrate technology enables teachers to utilize resources available, incorporate those resources into the classroom, and provide students with rich experiences that enhance learning opportunities (Gorder, 2008). Both Blankenship (2010) and Gorder (2008) agreed that the ultimate goal of technology integration is to improve teaching and learning significantly. Therefore, introducing
  51. 51. 40 interactive technologies into the classroom can excite student users, encourage the employment of problem-solving methods, and provide multiple measures for representing course materials. With this, lessons become more student-focused versus teacher- focused, and allow students to embrace responsibility for their own learning (Brewer, 2003). According to Gorder (2008), teacher beliefs and knowledge about how technology can support instruction are the keys to student success. Research confirms that teachers who choose not to integrate technology usually do so because of having insufficient skills to properly integrate technology (Gorder, 2008). Rakes and Casey (2002) raised fundamental concerns of many teachers with regard to why they choose not to integrate technology more in the classroom. Many are uncertain if technology use will actually raise student achievement. Teachers also cite concerns about resource availability for classroom use. Rakes and Casey (2002) further cited classroom management concerns with regard to technology integration, and the looming concern of the impact technology will have on the teaching profession. These and other concerns can swiftly become hindrances to classroom computer use and render themselves as barriers to effective technology integration (Gorder, 2008; Rakes & Casey, 2002; Roblyer, 2003). Recent research exposes factors such as teacher attitudes and beliefs, lack of or insufficient access to, computers (hardware, software, and other resources), and available technology supports as hindrances to teacher willingness with regard to technology integration (Inan & Lowther, 2010). Inan and Lowther (2010) offered three categories for technology utilization by teachers. Category one is lesson preparation—using word processing software, spreadsheets, and presentation software to facilitate this need.
  52. 52. 41 Category two is lesson delivery—using interactive whiteboards, projectors, and other software to facilitate this need. Category three involves using technology as a learning tool—student response systems and other creative software and/or hardware that engages the student and provides in-time progress monitoring through immediate feedback (Demiski, 2010; Edens, 2006; Ferritter, 2009; Granberg & Witte, 2005; Inan & Lowther, 2010; Koenig, 2010; Manzo, 2009; Mula & Kavanagh, 2009; Penuel, Boscardin, Masyn & Crawford, 2007; Salend, 2009; Strasser, 2010; Tarasiuk, 2010; Zucker & King, 2009). Kopecha (2010) outlined a four-stage model for technology integration. Each stage involves a mentor proficient in technology integration designed to support a peer teacher. Stage one examines the initial setup for using technology, troubleshooting and addressing issues through supported guidance. Stage two deals with teacher preparation in integration techniques. Stage three is the learning stage, addressing the “how” aspect of technology integration. Stage four gives the mentee the opportunity to practice learned behaviors from stage three. Kopecha (2010) concluded from this study that technology integration occurs effectively when teachers are provided a mentor to “negotiate the interplay of multiple barriers (time, beliefs, access, professional development, culture).” As quoted by Senge (2000), Brown said, “To be a teacher you must be a prophet—because you are trying to prepare people for a world thirty to fifty years into the future” (p. 51). In other words, continuing a teacher-focused, textbook, paper, and pencil approach will prepare students for a past existence rather than for a future reality (Senge, 2000). Some intransigent educators will make the choice not to integrate technology into their daily teaching routines. This clearly puts students at risk. Fulton (1998) stated, “educators must agree on the most appropriate ways to assess both
  53. 53. 42 student’s knowledge and their information-age skills” (p. 62). Mckenzie (2001) classified teachers as either traditional or constructivists. Its Mckenzie’s thought that traditional teachers are less likely to use novel technologies even though they may have access to it in their classrooms, whereas, constructivists are more likely to incorporate new technology strategies. Kaplan and Rogers (1996) quoted Richard White who proposed that in order to move forward, “Teachers will have to get as comfortable with computers as blackboards, or it all will be a waste of money” (p. 61). In other words, to produce technology proficient children, educators must be the common link that bridges the digital divide. Barriers to Integration Managing potential technology integration barriers is a complex process at best. As is the nature of any paradigm, barriers are inevitable, and Becker (2000) argued that impeding barriers occur all too often in today’s education settings. Ertmer (2005) categorized technology integration barriers as first order (i.e., extrinsic—external factors that impede teachers), or second order (i.e., intrinsic—beliefs or internal feelings that have the potential to impede teacher. This section more closely defines the first order, external barriers of adequacy, accessibility, availability, professional development opportunities, and administrative and technical support. Adequacy of Technology Technology cannot be a meaningful support to teachers if equipment is obsolete. Lemke and Coughlin (1999) identified five things needed in order to provide the adequate technology that educators need to improve instruction (see Table 2).
  54. 54. 43 Table 2 Adequacy of Technology Adequacy of Technology Installed base Schools have an installed base of modern technology equipment to support the learning, communication, and administrative goals of the education system. Connectivity The connectivity in the school/district is adequate to support current and rapidly growing demands created by the learning, communication, and administrative requirements of the education system. Technical support There is adequate technical support to provide timely, expert troubleshooting, technical assistance, ongoing maintenance, operation, and upgrades. Client orientation The client’s technical needs are being met with a high degree of customer satisfaction. Facilities The facilities within the system are “technology-ready.” Source: Lemke & Coughlin. (1999). Technology in American Schools: Seven dimensions for gauging progress. A policymaker’s guide, p. 28. In some cases, it is not what the educator knows, but rather the inadequate, out-of- date equipment and/or technology resources available in a school or district. Brush, Glazewski, and Hew (2008) proposed that teachers are unable to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum if the available technology is inadequate. Money invested in educational technology reaches into the billions of dollars (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). However, in some instances, technology is increasing faster than the available money to update it. After being in service for only a few months or if lucky, a couple of school years, hardware and software can potentially become obsolete (Scott, 2014). This can pose a substantial barrier for educators with regard to integrating technology. Accessibility to Technology New technology has significantly changed the world and, thus, has had a substantial impact on education both in thought and in practice. The decrease in size and expense of computers and various technologies has made accessibility an easier feat. Although technology varies tremendously from school to school, from district to district,
  55. 55. 44 and from state to state, “the expansion of educational technologies has provided a wider access to educational opportunities such as enhanced staff development capabilities and an increase in the ability of school leaders to manage change” (Jones, 1997). However, access to technology goes beyond merely the availability of technology in a school; it encompasses the provision of both the proper amount and the right types of technology in locations where teachers and students are privy to them (Brush, Glazewski, & Hew, 2008; Fabry & Higgs, 1997; Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon, & Byers, 2002). Technology that is convenient and easily accessible is of the most benefit to both teachers and students alike (Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon, & Byers, 2002). Computers are typically arranged for student use in one of three ways: (a) grouped in a computer lab or centralized locale, (b) set up in individual instructional classroom settings, or (c) a combination of the first two ways described (Garfield & Burrill, 1997). Unfortunately, even in situations where technology is plentiful, there is still little guarantee that teachers have easy and/or frequent access to those resources (Hew & Brush, 2007). Selwyn (1999), for example, documented that many technology resources in K-12 education tend to be dominated by technology classes (e.g., computer studies). In other words, a hierarchy is established, and little priority is given to teachers of non-technological subjects (e.g., art, humanities), placing them at a disadvantage. Vast data (Hardwood & Asal, 2007; Lowther et al., 2003; Sandholtz et al., 1997; Sandholtz & Reilly, 2004; Tearle, 2004) support Mann and Shakeshaft’s (2003) findings, “the computers inside classrooms were more effective than centralized computer labs in producing basic skill gains in students and promoting the confidence and technological competence of teachers” (p. 3).
  56. 56. 45 Availability of Technology Support Not having technical support onsite is a significant obstacle to teacher use of, or integration of, technology (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). Once a teacher has made a commitment to incorporate technology into the curriculum, support is paramount in the sustained use of technology (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). Teachers want to know that if problems arise, there is sufficient technical help available. This adds to the security and confidence of teachers in their decision to incorporate technology into the curriculum (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). Soloman and Weiderhorn (2000) reported that the average technical issue takes 53.6 hours to repair if support must be garnered from out of the building. During this time, teachers usually revert to non-technology driven methods of doing things (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). This is perceived to be a more expedient effort than waiting for external technical support. The thought is that education must continue and waits for nothing (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). In the 1999 Education World article “Laptop Computers for Every Student!”, Grignano, a technology coordinator/systems engineer, is quoted as saying, “it is a waste of money for a school to buy computers for every classroom unless there is a full-time technology coordinator in the school (Cromwell, p. 3). His rationale seems to conclude that at schools where technical support is available onsite, teachers are more apt to incorporate technology into the curriculum without fear of running into problems with equipment and/or software. In a paper entitled “Challenges and Strategies in Using Technology to Promote Education Reform,” the US Department of Education lists five kinds of support necessary
  57. 57. 46 with regard to technology. These five kinds of support include helping and planning for technology uses and acquisitions, providing training in how to use new hardware and software, providing on-demand help when software problems and hardware failures arise, and last, performing low-level maintenance on the system. The kinds of support needed in a building vary according to the confidence and ability levels of the teachers in the building (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). However, with the advent of new, improved technology, and with the aging of the equipment, technology maintenance, and ongoing support certainly are needed (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001). Staff Development Classes Knowing how to use computers and various technologies and knowing how to integrate that knowledge into the curriculum are two separate issues altogether. For technology to be effective, teachers must feel confident in their ability to utilize technology to enrich the learning process (Kurt, 2010; Palak & Walls, 2009). Molenda and Sullivan (2002) implied that while many thousands of teachers and educators know how to use the computer for word processing and Internet research, they are not educated in how to integrate this knowledge into the daily curriculum. The responsibility then falls on the school districts to utilize effective staff development strategies to teach teachers how to use already acquired skills in their everyday lesson planning (Yildirim, 2000). The traditional focus of technology staff development has been to show teachers how to use technology equipment properly (McCannon & Crews, 2000). Perhaps a better use of the staff development time would be to not only show them how to operate the equipment, but also show teachers how to integrate the new technology into the current curriculum (Palak & Walls, 2009). Goldman, Cole, and Syer (1999), suggested that

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