A Longitudinal Comparative Study Examining Frequency and Types of Technology Usage Between Practicing Classroom Teachers and Pre-Service Education Majors
Type of DegreeDissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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The state of Georgia has allocated significant sources to train teachers and prepare them to use high-end technological devices, programs, and instruments in their classes. The purpose of these financial disbursements was to create students who are prepared for a highly technological society and who were adept in the procedures necessary to use the equipment in sophisticated and applicable ways (Raudonis, 2004). Current research reflects that most schools are well equipped to accomplish this goal in regard to equipment, supplies, and materials. Nevertheless, school system technology assistants and trainers frequently point out that much of this equipment goes unused during the typical school year. The problem then points to lack of use on the part of the classroom teachers. Multiple training programs, courses, staff development, incentives, and other training methods have been created with the intention of demonstrating first-hand how the available technology can be implemented within in the classroom in more appropriate and meaningful ways. Studies have found no significant impact of such programs on the general teaching population in regard to their classroom usage, attitudes, and comfort levels, involving technology (Laffey, 2004). This study examined two groups of educators and the frequency, as well as type of technology use maintained within their classrooms over a six-month period of time. A group of twenty practicing teachers in the Bibb County School system (Macon, Georgia) participated in a technology training course (InTech) taught by the researcher in spring of 2004. A second group of twelve pre-service education majors at Wesleyan College (Macon, Georgia) participated in the same course. Both groups were contacted again six months after completing the course. Their technology usage was examined and compared statistically. The goal was to determine which group adopted and maintained the most significant changes in personal and professional technology usage. The purpose of this study was to contribute to the body of research currently being conducted in order to determine the most effective and appropriate point at which such training should be provided during a teacher’s preparation program. It was discovered that while the practicing teachers increased their usage of technology across all areas, the level of increase was not maintained 6-months after the completion of the InTech course. The group of pre-service college students showed steady and continued growth across all areas and at all three collection intervals. This indicated that the earlier technological training can be introduced in educators’ preparatory programs and training, the more likely practitioners will be to facilitate its use when presented with opportunities that may allow them to do so.