Factors influencing teachers' use of information technology in their classrooms

Date of Completion

January 2001


Education, Administration|Education, Elementary|Education, Teacher Training




The Information Age has brought many changes to the modern world. These changes are altering the way people live and work as well as the way they acquire and use information. These societal changes are mirrored by changes in educational institutions such as public schools. Many new technologies are in the schools and many teachers and students are using them. Concurrent with this increasing presence and use of technology is a growing movement of change in teaching practice. The problem that public educators face is how to support and promote change in teaching roles and practice that use new technologies most effectively. As a first stage in addressing this complicated question, this study examined the ways in which individual and environmental factors influenced teachers' use of information technology (IT) in their classrooms. ^ The volunteer sample consisted of 6 female elementary teachers working in an urban school district. Data were collected from several sources: direct observations of participants; conversations with participants, supervisors, and key informants; participants' reflective journals; organizational artifacts; and, group dialogues with participants. Field notes were written to support observations. ^ Data were analyzed and coded using QSR NUD*IST® (NVivo), a multi-functional software system. Data analysis yielded three major conclusions. First, 35% of the responses indicated individual factors such as innovativeness, prior teaching practice, previous experience with technology, pedagogy, personal goals, technological self-competence, and perception regarding the role of technology had some impact on these teachers' use of IT. Second, 65% of the responses indicated environmental factors such as state standards, communications, staff evaluation process, curriculum development, collaborative culture, staff development, and technology plan implementation had an impact on these teachers' use of IT. Third, the influence of individual and/or environmental factors had a range of facilitating and/or inhibiting influences on these teachers' use of IT. Environmental factors had an overall inhibiting influence on these teachers' use of IT. Findings from this study offer practical implications for school districts working toward supporting and promoting change in teaching roles and practice that use new technologies. ^