Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perception and use of instructional technology: Teacher candidates as adopters of innovation
by Chong, Han Nee, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2012, 147; 3513740
Abstract (Summary)

Education has been slow to catch up on the use of instructional technology. Despite the fact that billions of dollars have been spent in purchasing, equipping and supporting technology, increased access has not translated into significant educational gain (McGrail, 2005; Selfe, 1999). One of the reasons for this is because teachers are not prepared to use/integrate technology in their classrooms and if they are, they are using them to do low-level tasks that are not student-centered (Christensen, 2008; Rosen, 2010).

This research adds to the literature by providing insights into teacher candidates' perceptions on the use of instructional technology, factors as well as barriers for using instructional technology, and whether experiences with innovative technology in teacher preparation program help prepare new teacher candidates to integrate technology into their classrooms. The focus of the study was on graduate students who were training to be teachers in the MAT@USC program, which has won numerous awards for its innovative curriculum, delivered 100% online through the use of cutting edge technology. To study these factors, this study employed a mixed method study, using both surveys and interviews.

Overall, it was found that teacher candidates in the MAT@USC program have positive attitudes towards technology, are highly receptive to the use of technology in education, and have high levels of personal comfort with technology prior to entering the program. Participants were motivated to use technology in classroom, yet they perceived lack of resources as a top organizational barrier to integration of instructional technology. Findings on teacher candidates' preparedness and likelihood to adopt technology learned in their teacher education program are also consistent with Rogers' (1995) studies on the diffusion of innovation, which identified five major attributes which affect adoption: relative advantage, complexity, compatibility, observability, and trialability. Finally, the findings also revealed that while majority of the participants perceived technology used in the MAT@USC program as innovative and highly collaborative, they also voiced concerns over technological issues encountered when using the online platform.

The findings from this study will help teacher educators develop innovative teacher education programs, by keeping in mind key attributes that will affect the adoption of innovation. In addition, teacher educators should also consider the following factors when designing or incorporating technology education into teacher education: ease of access to technology and support, modeling and authentic teaching activities, and collaboration between mentor and peers. The findings also highlighted the digital divide between low SES and middle-class school districts. For administrators and policy makers, this has two implications: one, annual funding on technology needs to be distributed equitably; two, school leaders need to re-examine their budgets and allocation of funds to ensure that urban schools have sufficient access to technology and technical support. Ultimately, it is recommended that future studies on the perceptions and use of instructional technology by teachers and teacher candidates be expanded for eventual generalizability. Future research should also include detailed data on other factors such as technology support, frequency of use, and instructional technology preferences, which were not the focus of the investigation of this study, and were not collected in this study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brewer, Dominic J.
Commitee: Picus, Lawrence O., Sundt, Melora A.
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education(Leadership)
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education, Educational technology
Keywords: Adoption of innovation, Barriers to integration, Innovation, Innovation in education, Instructional technology, Online teacher education, Teacher education
Publication Number: 3513740
ISBN: 9781267442796
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