ETL 411 – Topic 3 – The Integration of Technology in the 21st Century Classroom: Teachers’ Attitudes and Pedagogical Beliefs Toward Emerging Technologies By Chien Yu

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This article was a result of a study based on technology integration in school. Chien Yu an associate professor at Mississippi State University lead the research. She wanted to find out ‘what really limits teachers to use technology?’ A total of 12 teachers from the state of Mississippi were interviewed. Three of the teachers were male and 9 were female, who were teaching in elementary and secondary schools in different districts. This study was to ask two questions: 1. What are the teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward emerging technology? 2. What are the major difficulties or barriers that teachers face in using technology in the classroom?
‘Literature reveals that teachers’ attitude and pedagogical beliefs toward technology represent one of the most critical issues (Ertmer, et al., 2012; Richardson, 1996)’. Many people would argue that one of the reasons why teachers lack technology integration in their classroom is because of their own ‘personal experience. Experience with schooling and instruction, and experience with formal knowledge. A teacher’s own beliefs in the way that he or she copes with instructional problems could be related to the degree to which a teacher integrates technologies’ (Nelson, 2001).
The teacher’s interviewed have also identified various issues: the availability of computers, software problems, lack of time, technical support and resources and ignorance in the technological arena. This I agree with. In my experiences I have witnessed these issues first-hand. In my current school, while each stage has their own class set of laptops; it is still difficult to effectively use them in a classroom. By the time you set up the laptops, log in and get started, it’s time to pack up again and give them to the next class. This issue also lends itself to the lack of time. Our technical support teacher is only here one day a week which makes it frustrating when something goes wrong with the smartboard or computers. However, with this being said, our school is looking into a ‘bring your own’ policy. One class is said to start trialling it next year where parents can rent to buy a laptop for their child.
Teachers’ willingness to change is a key variable in successful technology integration. However, research indicates that ‘school use of technology is limited to learning games, drill and practice, and/or occasional word processing with almost no integration of technology, and further points out that schools have not done an adequate job in integrating technology for the purpose of enhancing student achievement’ (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2006).
Therefore as a result of this study, there have been many issues identified. These issues will slowly be resolved if teachers are willing. Technology has become an integral part of life; it continually evolves so it is hard to keep updated. However, as teachers we are committed to be life-long learners and the ‘old way’ simply won’t do anymore. Teachers need to realise that technology is not separate from the curriculum; it is a part of it. It is another tool that teachers can use to enhance students learning outcomes. “The classroom must mirror the real world; technology is everywhere and we accept it as part of our daily lives. Shouldn’t it be a normal and integral part of the instructional process?” (Yu, C, 2013 p.10).

References

Cunningham, W.G., & Cordeiro, P. A. (2006). Educational leadership: A problem-based approach (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education

Ertmer, P. A., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T., Sadik, Ol, Sendurur, E., & Sendurur, P. (2012). Teacher beliefs and technology integration practices: A critical relationship. Computers & Education,59(2), 423-435.

Richardson, V. (1996). The role of attitudes and beliefs in learning to teach. In J. Sikula (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 102-119). New York: Macmillan.

Nisan-Nelson, P. D. (2001). Technology integration: a case of professional development. Journal of
Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 83-103.

Yu, Chien, (2013). The Integration of Technology in the 21st Century Classroom: Teachers’ Attitudes and Pedagogical Beliefs Toward Emerging Technologies. Journal of Technology Integration in the Classroom. 5(1), pp.5-11. Available at:

http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f9bbe433-3177-4e89-b8ee-c86ed42433b5%40sessionmgr4003&vid=10&hid=4212

[Accessed 1 Sep. 2014].

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