Research Proposal & Annotated Bibliography: Effects of Professional Development on Teachers Integrating Technology in K-12 Classrooms

Posted: February 1, 2007 in Education, Educational Technology, Instructional Technology

Research Proposal

The research question being addressed in this study is: What effect does professional development have on teachers integrating technology in K-12 classrooms? Schools throughout the United States have invested billions of dollars in newer technologies such as computers, software, and hardware to enable access to the internet (Foltos, 2002; and Hokanson, & Hooper, 2004), but research shows varied results in the effects of these technologies on academic achievement (Roschelle, Pea, Hoadley, Gordin, & Means, 2002). A common theme that is found in the research on technology use in the classroom is the effect of teacher professional development on the integration and use of technology in schools (Ehman, & Bonk, 2002; Ehrmann, 1995; Flowers, Mertens, & Mulhall, 2002; Foltos, 2002; Hokanson, & Hooper, 2004; Holland, 2001; Hunter, 2001; Ireh, & Bell, 2002; Kimble, 1999; Kleiman, 2000; Kleiman, 2004; Nisan-Nelson, 2001; Roschelle, et al., 2000; Schmitt, 2004; and Thompson, Gregg, & Niska, 2004). Granted, the effectiveness of integrating technology in the classroom is dependent on certain variables such access to hardware, software, and the internet; nevertheless, the effective use of these tools in the classroom is influenced by an educator’s ability to integrate these technologies into instruction in a meaningful way (Ireh, & Bell, 2002). Basic principles of human resource development support the influence of individual and career development in the effectiveness of performance management and organizational development (Gilley, Eggland, & Gilley, 2002). Professional development serves as a foundation for integrating technology in K-12 classrooms. This study will focus on implementing a research-based model of professional development to assist teachers in integrating technology in K-12 classrooms.

Research shows that teachers are at various stages of development or use when it comes to technology, and these stages include such levels as familiarization, utilization, integration, reorientation, and evolution or non-readiness, survival, mastery, impact, and innovation (Hokanson, & Hooper, 2004; Holland, 2001; and Nisan-Nelson, 2001). An oft referenced study, Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT), offers suggestions for professional development programs to guide educators through the various stages of technology use and recommends the following development principles: staff development activities should be in classrooms to enable observation, interaction, and practice; participants should work in teams of 2 or 4 members from the same school; a constructivist approach should be used and trainers should model activities and provide hands-on instruction; conversation and reflection should be an integral part of staff development; participants should create lessons that integrate technology and implement it into classrooms immediately; and follow-up support should be provided (Ehman, & Bonk, 2002). Ehman and Bonk (2002) also suggest the need for “systematic reflection on practice as a means for building knowledge.” In order for such development to take place schools and districts must focus on establishing desirable conditions for continuous professional development, integrating strategies into school improvement plans, respect for those opposed to innovations, fostering a culture of learning via telecommunications, and supporting teachers’ development as action researchers (Hunter, 2001). Furthermore, “All technology instruction must be about teaching with technology and not about technology” (Ireh, & Bell, 2002).

Method

The study, considered quasi-experimental in nature, will involve the implementation of a systematic professional development program that incorporates the ACOT recommendations and tracks the “levels of use” of technology in classrooms by teachers over the course of a school year.

The sampling will consist of volunteer teams of 2 or 4 teachers from various K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12 grade level buildings that will serve as subjects for the study. Teachers who volunteer for the program will be provided systematic professional development training that utilizes a project-based approach that requires collaboration, reflection, and classroom integration. Specific in-service training will be offered 2 times per quarter during the school year. Teacher teams will communicate with team members and share and reflect on their technology integration with all program participating teachers during training sessions and throughout the study via online threaded discussions. Participating teachers will also be given time and opportunities to visit each other’s classrooms at least once every two weeks to observe technology integration.

Data collection will include a baseline “levels of use” measurement chart (Hall, Loucks, Rutherford, and Newlove, 2001) completed in August, by all teachers in the district. This measurement will identify where teachers see themselves in their stage of development when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. “Levels of use” measurements will be taken quarterly from all teachers throughout the district (October, January, March, and May) to identify changes in “levels of use” concerning integration of technology by teachers in their respective classrooms.

The expectation is that teachers in the systematic professional development program will increase their “levels of use” in integrating technology in K-12 classrooms at higher levels than those who do not participate. The study will also review factors that influence increased “levels of use” of technology by teachers who do not participate in the professional development program to identify other variables that influence teacher technology use, and all results will be used to further develop and incorporate a technology professional development plan into a district-wide school improvement plan that can be utilized by all teachers.

References

Ehman, L., & Bonk, C. J. (2002). A Model of Teacher Professional Development To Support Technology Integration. New Orleans, LA: Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED467093)

Ehrmann, S. C. (1995). Asking the Right Question: What Does Research Tell Us About Technology and Higher Learning? Retrieved November 8, 2005, from http://lis.newport.ac.uk/cld/13_June_2005/Ehrmann_1995_(WP).pdf

Flowers, N., Mertens, S. B., & Mulhall, P. F. (2002). Four Important Lessons About Teacher Professional Development. Retrieved June 13, 2005, from http://www.nmsa.org/research/articles/res_articles_may2002c.htm

Foltos, L. (2002). Technology and Academic Achievement. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/technology/foltos.htm

Gilley, J., Eggland, S., & Gilley, A. (2002). Principles of Human Resource Development. New York: Basic Books.

Hall, G. E., Loucks, S. F., Rutherford, W. L., & Newlove, B. W. (2001). Levels of Use of the Innovation: A Framework for Analyzing Innovation Adoption. In D. P. Ely & T. Plomp (Eds.), Classic Writing on Instructional Technology: Vol. 2 (pp. 139-153). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.

Hokanson, B., & Hooper, S. (2004). Integrating Technology in Classrooms: We have met the enemy and he is us. Chicago, IL: Association for Education Communications and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED485143)

Holland, P. E. (2001). Professional Development in Technology: Catalyst for School Reform. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.aace.org/dl/files/JTATE/jtate9-02-245.pdf

Hunter, B. (2001). Against the Odds: Professional Development and Innovation Under Less-Than-Ideal Conditions. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.aace.org/dl/files/JTATE/JTATE94473.pdf

Ireh, M., & Bell, E. (2002). Implementing Faculty Professional Development: The Product-Based Model. Washington, D.C.: Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology Grantee Conference. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED469001)

Kimble, C. (1999). The Impact of Technology on Learning: Making Sense of the Research. Retrieved November 8, 2005, from http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/PolicyBriefs/5983PI_PBImpactTechnology.pdf

Kleiman, G. M. (2000). Myths and Realities about Technology in K-12 Schools. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.edletter.org/dc/kleiman.htm

Kleiman, G. M. (2004). Myths and Realities about Technology in K-12 Schools: Five Years Later. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.citejournal.org/articles/v4i2seminal2.pdf

Nisan-Nelson, P. D. (2001). Technology Integration: A Case of Professional Development. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.aace.org/dl/files/JTATE/JTATE-09-01-83.pdf

Roschelle, J. M., Pea, R. D., Hoadley, C. M., Gordin, D. N., & Means, B. M. (2000). Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies. Retrieved November 8, 2005, from http://www.futureofchildren.org/usr_doc/vol10no2Art4.pdf

Schmitt, V. L. (2004). The Relationship Between Middle Level Grade Span Configuration, Professional Development, and Student Achievement. Retrieved June 13, 2005, from http://www.nmsa.org/research/rmle/spring04/article_1.htm

Thompson, S. C., Gregg, L., & Niska, J. M. (2004). Professional Learning
Communities, Leadership, and Student Learning. Retrieved June 13, 2005, from http://www.nmsa.org/research/rmle/summer04/article2.htm

Annotated Bibliography

Clark, R. E. (2001). Reconsidering Research on Learning from Media. In D. P. Ely & T. Plomp (Eds.), Classic Writing on Instructional Technology: Vol. 2 (pp. 139-153). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.

This article is considered a classic in the field of instructional technology. The author summarizes that there are no benefits gained from employing any particular media, including computers, in instruction. Clark states, “Most of the methods carried by newer media can also be carried or performed by teachers.” The article identifies other variables that the author feels influence student achievement such as curricular reform and student perceptions and persistence. Clark recommends, “researchers refrain from producing additional studies exploring the relationship between media and learning unless a novel theory is suggested.”

Ehman, L., & Bonk, C. J. (2002). A Model of Teacher Professional Development To Support Technology Integration. New Orleans, LA: Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. ((Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED467093)

This article relays the findings of an in-service teacher education program promoted by Indiana University’s School of Education (Bloomington) that was designed to foster a “thoughtful infusion of educational technology into the K-12 curricula of teachers in rural school systems within southern Indiana.” The program and model are identified as created “through our own experience,” but the authors note the influence of the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) study and its findings that influence teacher professional development programs today. AOCT staff development principles include: staff development activities should be in classrooms to enable observation, interaction, and practice; participants should work in teams of 2 or 4 members from the same school; a constructivist approach should be used and trainers should model activities and provide hands-on instruction; conversation and reflection should be an integral part of staff development; participants should create lessons that integrate technology and implement it into classrooms immediately; and follow-up support should be provided. The authors of the article also add the need for “systematic reflection on practice as a means for building teaching knowledge.” The program found that successful infusion of educational technology is supported by providing a structure for teachers to set goals and carry out projects, presenting an array of possible integration ideas and technology tools, teaching a systematic approach to evaluation, self-reflection, and revision of practice, providing audiences and venues that allow teachers to report and reflect on their projects, providing electronic and face-to-face collaboration between colleagues and training personnel, and by ultimately providing a structure for trained teachers than can assist others in integrating technology across the curriculum.

Ehrmann, S. C. (1995). Asking the Right Question: What Does Research Tell Us About Technology and Higher Learning? Retrieved November 8, 2005, from http://lis.newport.ac.uk/cld/13_June_2005/Ehrmann_1995_(WP).pdf

This article focuses on research concerning technology and higher education. The author addresses the problems with questions that are often asked about technology and how they seem to view education as a machine. These questions often imply that technology performs better than traditional methods and therefore technology should replace such methods. Ehrmann points out that colleges and universities are complex institutions that are varied and diverse and technology doesn’t necessarily have an easy fit into any program. The author also identifies the misconception that “if you are headed in the wrong direction, technology won’t help you get to the right place.” A review of the curriculum and grading procedures are necessary to better understand the goals of an institution. Outcomes, accessibility, and costs are presented as a “Triple Challenge” for higher education institutions, and Ehrmann recognizes that technology will be necessary to meet these challenges.
The author evaluates Richard Clark’s and Robert Kozma’s views on technology and suggests both of their agendas can be useful for research: “To study which teaching learning strategies are best (especially those that would not even be feasible without the newer technologies), and to study which technologies are best for supporting those strategies.” Ehrmann also identifies the challenges of developing and sustaining curricular software, and the benefits of “Worldware” or software that can be used for purposes or in ways that are beneficial to learning but are not necessarily for what they were originally intended (i.e. word processing programs, e-mail, computer conferencing, etc.). In sum, the author suggests that it is time for educators to look for strategies that can use technology to “influence the student’s total course of study.” It is not what technology is used but how it is used, how it influences students over time, and how technology can assist particular degree programs and students. Educational strategies that are enhanced by technology include: project-based learning, collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, and feedback.

Flowers, N., Mertens, S. B., & Mulhall, P. F. (2002). Four Important Lessons About Teacher Professional Development. Retrieved June 13, 2005, from http://www.nmsa.org/research/articles/res_articles_may2002c.htm

This study identified the discrepancy between administrative and teacher opinion on expectations about what their professional development should be focusing on. In this study by the Center for Prevention Research and Development (CPRD) at the University of Illinois they found: “The highest ranked topics that teachers want…include using computers as part of instruction, strategies for teaching a broad range of ability levels, and working with at-risk students. Administrators, on the other hand, recognize the classroom needs but also identify broader issues as a high need…such as peer coaching, teacher-led advisory, and data-based decision making.” In this case the “teacher’s focus is primarily on the teaching and learning process, the administrator’s focus is often from a larger school improvement perspective,” and it is necessary for both parties to elicit dialogue and have input in designing professional development.

Foltos, L. (2002). Technology and Academic Achievement. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/technology/foltos.htm

Foltos identifies the large amount of money that is spent on classroom technology annually ($5 billion), and points out the limited return on this investment. The author also notes there is little research and evidence that technology influences academic research. New research is presented that shows positive benefits of technology use but identifies the importance of teacher training and professional development as variables that influence successful use of technology to improve academic achievement. Foltos also identifies project-based instruction and inquiry-based learning as methods that are enhanced via technology use. The author recommends schools and districts adopt new models of professional development that focus on technology’s role in learning, that teachers need opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, that professional development needs to be sustained and ongoing, and this development needs to be linked “to the work teachers are doing in their class each day, and must model effective classroom instruction.” The author also recommends more research on the impact of technology in the classroom despite the difficulty in isolating technology as a variable in good instruction.

Gilley, J., Eggland, S., & Gilley, A. (2002). Principles of Human Resource Development. New York: Basic Books.

This book outlines basic principles of human resource development and specifically identifies the roles of human resource development professionals’ in assisting employees to reach their full potential. Four main components of human resource development include individual development, career development, performance management, and organizational development.
Individual development encompasses many aspects of a person’s life. In human resource development, individual development is a key component to the success of any organization. “Individual development refers to the development of new knowledge, skills, and improved behaviors that result in performance enhancement or improvement related to one’s current job (training).” Gilley, et al. further state, “individual development focuses on the importance of personal growth and development through formal and informal learning activities.” These learning activities are generally designed by human resource development professionals to influence and make a difference in an organization.

Individual development is closely tied to career development. Career development is defined as: “an organized, planned effort comprised of structural activities or processes that result in a mutual career plotting effort between employees and the organization.” Individuals or employees who work toward improving their lives and their careers are beneficial to any organization. In the end, as individual and career development are cultivated they lead to effective performance management and improved organizational development.

Hokanson, B., & Hooper, S. (2004). Integrating Technology in Classrooms: We have met the enemy and he is us. Chicago, IL: Association for Education Communications and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED485143)

The authors of this article investigate why computers are not integrated into the mainstream of school curriculums like “simpler technologies such as books or overhead projectors.” Billions of dollars have been invested in bringing computer and internet access into schools. The authors feel computers have been used more as transmission devices rather than learning devices and suggest a shift in thought of how computers should be used in schools. A spectrum of use is identified in the utilization of technology: familiarization, utilization, integration, reorientation, and evolution. Ultimately, as one reaches the evolution level “it is the recognition of the specific advantages (of various technologies) that drives improvement in instructional method.” Technology integration can be forced by mandate, but the results are often minimal. Computers can also be placed in every classroom as tokens of “integrating” technology, or computer labs can be set up far from other learning activities, but without true integration into a curriculum the edict falls short, limited change occurs, and access is controlled and limited.

The authors identify Ertmer’s obstacles to technology integration that must be overcome: the first order obstacles are hardware, access, and technical support, and the second order obstacles are items “such as changes in pedagogy, or personal preferences that influence an individual’s acceptance of new ideas.” The authors recommend that educators identify that computers offer new instructional practices in education and a transfer of existing practices or methods through computer use may not be effective. Teachers must also be given the opportunity, training, and support to explore computer use and to develop skills beyond the simplistic use of applications. “The future of technology is not to make education easier, but rather to make learning more effective.” Pre-service and in-service training is of the utmost importance in integrating technology in classrooms. “Technologies are not the panacea for all the ills of education,” and the entire education system may be in need of change; however, computers can serve as tools that enhance the learning process if integrated in a more appropriate fashion.

Holland, P. E. (2001). Professional Development in Technology: Catalyst for School Reform. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.aace.org/dl/files/JTATE/jtate9-02-245.pdf

This article provides the results of a case study conducted at a middle school concerning teachers’ professional development in instructional technology. Three assumptions were explored: “teachers are at various levels in their knowledge and use of technology, and that these levels are developmental;” staff development for instructional technology needs to be based on what are currently construed as best practices for teachers’ professional development;” and “teachers’ professional development in technology may well serve to further larger goals of school reform.”

The developmental levels of knowledge and use of technology identified at the school and used in the study ranged from non-readiness, survival, mastery, impact, and innovation. It was found that most teachers fit somewhere in the continuum but only two teachers, who had been hired specifically as technology specialists, could be considered at the innovation level. Variables that influenced increased knowledge and use of technology included an infrastructure that encouraged collaboration, inquiry, and innovations as teachers moved to higher levels in their use of technology. District and school support structures included the incentive of a laptop computer for classroom use after 30 hours of training, the two full-time technology specialists on staff at the school, and a supportive principal. Challenges included resource allocation being heavy on hardware and light on professional development and assistance, a focus of resources on statewide curriculum revision rather than time to integrate technology, and centralized technology decisions that often leave teachers out of the loop.

Hunter, B. (2001). Against the Odds: Professional Development and Innovation Under Less-Than-Ideal Conditions. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.aace.org/dl/files/JTATE/JTATE94473.pdf

This article serves as a report of findings from a research project that showed the effects of teachers working together to incorporate innovative practices, particularly technology use, in their schools and classrooms. The project focused on a United States Department of Defense school at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Teachers became involved in the Vanguard for Learning project and had the opportunity to organize themselves into groups and work on Team Action Projects (TAP). The groups then collaborated to find ways to help students succeed with the idea of technology being a tool in the process. In essence, the focus was on the students and not the technology, but as teachers and students worked to meet their goals technology was integrated to assist in the learning process. Teachers learning from each other proved to be an important formula for success in using technology effectively in the classroom.

Challenges to the process included time to carry out the collaboration effort and integration of innovations that were created. Important factors that contributed to productive use of technologies included: the program tapped into the strengths of the teachers, collegial support was reinforced, strategies were tied to the local school community goals, and centralized control decreased when it came to some of the resources available. Suggestions for applying the strategies mentioned in the article included: establishing desirable conditions for continuous professional development, integrating strategies into school improvement plans, respect for those opposed to innovations, fostering a culture of learning via telecommunications, and supporting teachers’ development as action researchers.

Ireh, M., & Bell, E. (2002). Implementing Faculty Professional Development: The Product-Based Model. Washington, D.C.: Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology Grantee Conference. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED469001)

The authors of this paper provide results and findings of a technology infusion project at Winston-Salem State University. The project was based on the needs of pre-service teachers that enabled them to use technology for higher order thinking activities in the classroom. The authors note that simply providing more technology tools was not the answer, but integration across the teacher education curriculum provided the most meaningful impact. University staff began the process of modeling technology use in their own classrooms after product-based training. The product-based model was used to allow university faculty and also pre-service teachers to create actual technology based lessons, modules, and projects that could be used and integrated in programs immediately. Other findings included that “student teachers need more opportunities to apply instructional technology during field experiences under qualified supervision.” The article also points out the recommendation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education that “focusing on professional development and the reward promotion system” can encourage technology integration. In sum the authors state, “All technology instruction must be about teaching with technology and not about technology.”

Kimble, C. (1999). The Impact of Technology on Learning: Making Sense of the Research. Retrieved November 8, 2005, from http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/PolicyBriefs/5983PI_PBImpactTechnology.pdf

The author of this article offers suggestions and provides advice when it comes to understanding research on the impact of technology on learning. Kimble points out that technology is here to stay and that there is research that supports and criticizes technology use in education. Most research identifies the need for intensive, quality, and sustained professional development that prepares current and pre-service teachers in ways that they can integrate technology in their classrooms. As the author identifies, “most critics don’t refute positive research results but instead criticize the way technology is used in classrooms, the technical expertise and preparedness of teachers, and the relative costs of acquiring technology.” The author promotes the best use of technology rather than a focus on the technology itself and offers guidelines for professional development: set realistic goals, include all stakeholders, link professional development with actual lessons teachers are using, model best practices, empower teachers and students through learning by doing, and provide resources, incentives, and support for professional development activities that respect teachers’ time. In sum, “Technology is most effective when educators: decide what is the best way to use it within a particular context and content, and pursue teacher training specifically related to the intended use.”

Kleiman, G. M. (2000). Myths and Realities about Technology in K-12 Schools. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.edletter.org/dc/kleiman.htm

The author of this article describes five myths concerning technology in K-12 schools: 1. “Putting computers into schools will directly improve learning; more computers will result in greater improvements;” 2. “There are agreed-upon goals and best practices that define how computers should be used in K-12 classrooms;” 3. “Once teachers learn the basics of using a computer, they are ready to put the technology to effective use;” 4. “The typical district technology plan is sufficient for putting technology to effective use;” and 5. “Equity can be achieved by ensuring that schools in poor communities have the same student-to-computer ratios as schools in wealthier communities.” Myth one is debunked with the knowledge that teachers have not received adequate training and support, don’t have software that supports curriculum goals, lack technical support, need new approaches to classroom management, and developed curriculum materials generally only serve as supplemental materials. Myth two is difficult in that a variety of views exist when it comes to the use of computers in schools. Myth three is muddied when evidence shows that teachers go through various stages or levels of use when it comes to using computers, and training and support often fails to guide teachers as they move through these levels. Myth four finds problems in that technology plans are often created separately and not in harmony with full scale school improvement plans. Finally Myth five is exposed as inner-city and rural schools often lack the resources to provide adequate training and support for technology integration.

Kleiman, G. M. (2004). Myths and Realities about Technology in K-12 Schools: Five Years Later. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.citejournal.org/articles/v4i2seminal2.pdf

This article is a follow-up, five years later, to a previous article on myths and realities about technology in K-12 schools. The author reflects on the challenges that faced educators when the first article was written and points out successes. Technology innovations have taken hold with virtual courses being offered, teachers and students are being offered computers, and nationwide internet access has essentially been achieved, but the myths persist and progress is limited. The author calls for central rather than peripheral use of computer technologies in the future. The author also identifies the No Child Left Behind Act as a slowing factor in the uses of educational technology as educators focus more time on how computers can be used to increase test scores rather than on how computers can improve children’s lives in the 21st century. Technology plans also continue to not be an integral part of the overall school improvement plans, curriculum reform, professional development, and special education plans in school districts. Students today find it natural to participate in online communities, are interested in the world around them and view it as a much smaller place than generations that preceded them, and are optimistic about their futures. The author advises that in order to meet the needs of a new generation of students that have grown up in a technology rich environment it is important for educators to build upon this natural propensity to embrace technology and accept an ever increasing global view.

Kozma, R. B. (2001). Learning with Media. In D. P. Ely & T. Plomp (Eds.), Classic Writing on Instructional Technology: Vol. 2 (pp. 155-188). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.

In this article Kozma presents how various media influence learning. Books, pictures, television, computers, and hypermedia all serve as delivery tools that enhance and support the learning process by providing cognitive engagement, processing opportunities, real world connections, mental models, and ultimately assist students in constructing knowledge. Kozma argues, in response to Richard E. Clark’s claims of the non-effect of media, that medium and method have an “integral relationship” and hold a “shared variance.” The author points out that many methods of instruction are impossible without the use of media, but such media or technologies success is dependent on the creativity of the designers and the “ability to exploit the capabilities of the media” plus understanding media’s relationship with learning.

Nisan-Nelson, P. D. (2001). Technology Integration: A Case of Professional Development. Retrieved November 9, 2005, from http://www.aace.org/dl/files/JTATE/JTATE-09-01-83.pdf

This article focused on a small case study of three teachers and their integration of technology in the classroom. Although the sample of the study was small it offered insights into three variables that may influence technology integration: a teacher’s level of confidence, the level of a teacher’s perceived control, and the relationship between a teacher’s learning style and Problem Solving Inventory (PSI) score. The researcher identified Rieber and Welliver’s hierarchy as the evolutionary process teachers move through in the process of integrating technology. The stages include familiarization, utilization, integration, reorientation, and evolution. The teachers in the study were at varying levels of integration and some evidence supported the hypothesis that confidence, level of control, and learning style influenced technology use in the classroom. It was surmised, based on other research, that in order for teachers to integrate technology with instruction they must be able to integrate technology in their personal lives; however, the study did not provide evidence from the study to support this claim.

Rogers, E. V. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations. New York: Free Press.

The author of this text presents the processes that innovations go through in their various stages of development and identifies the roles that humans play in the diffusion process. Stages include knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. The author outlines the rate of adoption of innovations based on their relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability. As an innovation passes through the various stages of change it is influenced by various adopters and networks which affects the acceptance or rejection of the innovation. Opinion leaders and change agents also have an important impact on the acceptance of innovations. The author outlines the stages of the innovation in organizations: agenda setting, matching, redefining/restructuring, clarifying, and routinizing. Rogers concludes with a look at the consequences of innovations and the impact, positive or negative, an innovation can have on people, organizations, and society. The author alludes to the need for ethical considerations when it comes to the diffusion of innovations.

Roschelle, J. M., Pea, R. D., Hoadley, C. M., Gordin, D. N., & Means, B. M. (2000). Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies. Retrieved November 8, 2005, from http://www.futureofchildren.org/usr_doc/vol10no2Art4.pdf

The authors of this article highlight the benefits of computer-based technologies in schools: development of “higher-order skills of critical thinking, analysis, and scientific inquiry.” The first section of the article focuses on computer-based technology applications that have been effective in improving learning. Each application was effective in a number of areas by enhancing active engagement, encouraging participation in groups, providing frequent interaction and feedback, and allowing connections to real world contexts. The second section of the article identifies the challenges of implementing technology use and offers suggestions in integrating technology. Key factors associated with effective technology use include access and support, a rationale vision of technology use, “critical mass of teachers in technology activities,” collaboration, strong leaders, and support for time to plan, collaborate, and report technology use. Other factors that have been found to effect technology use are: “location and number of computers, teacher computer expertise, teacher philosophy and objectives, and school culture.” The authors recommend that future research should consider four factors: cognitive learning, curricular reforms, coordinated interventions, and capacity for change when it comes to choosing programs that use technology in schools and classrooms. For maximum effectiveness the authors recommend “education policy-makers must incorporate technology selectively into educational reform as part of an overall program for improvement and continue to study its progress and results to improve efforts over time.”

Schmitt, V. L. (2004). The Relationship Between Middle Level Grade Span Configuration, Professional Development, and Student Achievement. Retrieved June 13, 2005, from http://www.nmsa.org/research/rmle/spring04/article_1.htm

This article points out that research in the relationship between professional development and student achievement, particularly in middle schools, is difficult because of all the variables that influence student learning and remains inconclusive and requires additional study in the relationship of the two variables. “However, some reports from the National Staff Development Council have claimed that evidence does exist to suggest a relationship between teacher professional development and student achievement,” and sustained professional development can result in improved teacher practices.
Furthermore, “successful professional development strategies are: experiential, grounded in participants’ questions, collaborative among educators, connected to and derived from work with students, sustained and intensive, and linked to other school aspects,” suggesting the importance of a learning organization.

Senge, P. M., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R. B., & Smith, B. J. (1994). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. New York: Currency Doubleday.

This text serves as a resource of strategies and tools to build a learning organization. The main idea behind the fieldbook is that everything is connected within systems and ultimately a change in one part of the system will influence another part. The authors suggest the idea of systems thinking and developing a view that looks at the big picture when implementing change. The five disciplines include personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning, and systems thinking.

Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional Design (Rev. ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

The authors of this text point out that the technology available today makes experienced centered learning much more feasible. However, “education and training in other settings such as business and military environments have seen greater influence from technology than in American public education.” The authors present the question: “What accounts for the low level of widespread implementation of technology in schools?” They suggest a restructuring of public education that decreases autonomy to increase the scale of costly development. Furthermore, when it comes to considering curriculum design as a macro strategy while integrating types of learning, and all things being equal, the authors’ state, “technology can facilitate development of very high-quality instruction more inexpensively than local, small-audience, duplication-of-effort development.”

Thompson, S. C., Gregg, L., & Niska, J. M. (2004). Professional Learning Communities, Leadership, and Student Learning. Retrieved June 13, 2005, from http://www.nmsa.org/research/rmle/summer04/article2.htm

The authors of this article “believe that a school must understand and practice the five disciplines of a learning organization to be a true professional learning community and that leadership plays a significant role in the ability of a school to become a professional learning community that enhances student learning.”

The authors identify Peter Senge’s five disciplines as: personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning, and systems thinking. All of the components of the five disciplines are associated with professional development, but Senge “believes that systems thinking is the cornerstone of a learning organization because it integrates the disciplines.” The authors of this article suggest that systems thinking requires a team approach and the five disciplines support the characteristics and provisions of successful schools.

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