Examining integral factors influencing teaching with technology

Date of Completion

January 2003


Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Technology of




While educational technology has been recognized as a necessary tool, integration within classrooms remains a challenge. Given that teachers are critical to the success of efforts to reform school through the integration of technology, the purpose of this case study was to investigate the integral factors that led an experienced professional teacher leader at a technology-rich middle level magnet school in New England towards more seamless integration. Rather than describing individual and environmental factors in isolation, this approach integrated agent-environment factors using perception-action dynamics, the uniqueness of individual perceptual history, and emphasized the primacy of personal and professional goals as being key to technology implementation. ^ Research questions included: How does technology help students learn? When should technology be used so that it is most effective? What cues or events does an experienced technology-integrating teacher attend to in the environment to make decisions about planning for or while teaching with technology? How is the development of the learning technology-integrating teacher supported? How is the development of the learning technology-integrating teacher impeded? and When does the use of technology not make sense in terms of student learning? ^ Outcomes have general implications for the future direction of teacher technology training. In this case, self-reported measures did not give a complete picture of a teacher's technology competency, and thus should not be the sole measure on which professional development planning unfolds. Second, those in charge of technology development can play an essential role in supporting the development of teachers. Finally, we need to consider that this research has chronicled an emergent situation. It is not about the static level of pedagogical or content knowledge or a teacher's momentary technological competency. Instead, giving due consideration to an individual's hierarchy of goals and intentions focuses attention on the dynamics that unfold during technology integration and provides a much richer explanation and opportunities for guidance and intervention than examining teacher-side or environmental factors in isolation. The unique perceptual history of each individual and the primacy of their goals hierarchy appear critical to an understanding of how teachers implement and integrate technology in their classrooms. ^