Faculty of Education
Integrating Computer Technology in Elementary and Secondary Schools: Variables that Impact Teachers
Research by Julie Mueller
Given the prevalence of computers in education today, it is critical to understand teachersí perspectives regarding computer integration in their classrooms. Research identifying stages of implementation, and literature identifying barriers and supports, fall short of explaining what variables impact an educatorís ultimate decision to integrate technology in their instruction. This research project surveys a heterogeneous sample of 185 elementary and 204 secondary teachers in order to provide a comprehensive summary of teacher characteristics and variables that differentiate between teachers who integrate technology and those who do not. Some of those characteristics are positive experiences with computers; the teacherís comfort with computers; specific beliefs about computer technology as an instructional tool; training; challenge; support; and teaching efficacy.
Qualitative analysis of open-ended survey questions yielded the following categories: personal characteristics of teachers (learning style and willingness to accept challenge); and, support (both technical and human resources). From these findings, Mueller was able to suggest a model of successful technology integration that includes integration of content, pedagogical and technological knowledge. Identification of discriminating individual characteristics has implications for professional development and policies regarding support and integration.