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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Technology as a Catalyst for Constructivist Practices in the Classroom: A Case Study
by Menard, Lynne Brown, Ed.D., University of South Florida, 2010, 182; 3432817
Abstract (Summary)

This research described and analyzed teachers’ perceptions of technology as a catalyst for stimulating classroom constructivist practices. The teachers were located at multiple schools in one Florida county. The teachers were selected based on participation in the Education through Dynamic Global Experiences (EDGE) program. This One-to-One program provides one laptop for every classroom teacher and student.

The most frequent ideas in the literature fell into three sections. First is the need to integrate technology as part of the curricula and use constructivism as a theoretical framework for technology integration. The second relates to the best practices of incorporating classroom technology driven by constructivist theory and Self-Regulated Learning (SRL). The third describes one county’s EDGE program and related literature.

Two focus groups gathered information from teachers with various levels of classroom and EDGE experience regarding perceptions of a One-to-One classroom. Teachers were surveyed regarding perceptions of processes of using technology as a catalyst for constructivist practices, changing teaching and learning, teaching style, and curriculum content delivery.

Conclusion. Data collected from teacher surveys and focus groups support the premise that “Elementary teacher’s perceptions of technology as a catalyst for constructivist practices in the classroom” is valid. This conclusion was demonstrated by evaluating teacher perceptions, patterns of experiences, and the emergence of constructivist instructional practices when technology is infused in the curriculum. The major recurring themes supported a constructivist culture that was: collaborative and independent, receptive to individuals and valued their relationships, replete with opportunities for distributed leadership, interconnected with integrated technology, populated with highly engaged and motivated individuals, self-sustaining, safe and nonjudgmental, vision driven, built on authentic assessment and curriculum, and evolving at the speed of technology.

Implications follow. (1) Technology can be used as a catalyst for classroom constructivist practices (2) Teachers believe that technology supports increasing standardized test scores. (3) Training in constructivism promotes use of technology by teachers and speeds changing teaching pedagogy into constructivist practices. (4) Teachers’ perceptions are important in changing pedagogy toward constructivism. (5) School administration must support classroom technology and constructivist teaching (6) Students and teachers can collaborate in designing, developing, and implementing their learning experiences and students can actually take control of their learning experiences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Permuth, Steven
Commitee: Ferron, John, Johnston, Howard, Shapiro, Arthur
School: University of South Florida
Department: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Elementary education, Educational technology
Keywords: Constructivism, Leadership, One-to-one laptops, Self-regulated learning, Technology in education, Technology integration
Publication Number: 3432817
ISBN: 978-1-124-37871-8
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