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TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY:

A CASE STUDY OF TEACHERS'


PERCEPTIONS OF IMPLEMENTING
COMPUTERS INTO THE CLASSROOM
by

Susan M. Gay

A DISSERTATION

Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In


Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Major: Administration, Curriculum & Instruction

Under the Supervision of Professor Charles J. Ansorge

Lincoln, Nebraska

August, 1997

Abstract
Schools are acquiring computers and Internet access at rapid rates. Teachers need to
learn how to operate the computers and integrate them effectively into their
instruction. Understanding the process that teachers go through to infuse technology
into their instruction is essential to help facilitate the successful integration of
computers into classrooms.
This is a descriptive case study of five teachers' perceptions of the process of
implementing technology into their teaching. The teachers' thoughts were collected
through a variety of data collection methods including interviews, observations of
both class periods and planning sessions, and e-mail correspondence. Profiles of the
context in which each of the teachers were working are described along with their
perceptions of the process they have experienced in integrating technology into their
instruction.

Time and access issues are the overarching issues which computer integration is
dependent upon. The time and access issues apply both to school and home settings
for teachers. Integrating computers into their teaching takes so much time that
teachers often feel like a first-year teacher rethinking, redesigning, and creating
curriculum activities which utilize computer technology effectively within the
classroom setting. Time and support need to be provided to teachers at the planning
stage of the lesson. The time teachers have to practice and plan technology lessons is a
critical factor in determining if computers will be used effectively to achieve
instructional objectives.

Teachers tend to learn by default rather than by design. They learn software
applications and machine operating systems as they encounter tasks and glitches
rather than through planned or guided instruction. Teachers perceive glitches as just a
part of the process of using technology and perpetual in nature. However, teachers
have varying amounts of control over solving glitches and can be held up anywhere
from five minutes to five months depending on the situation. The computer is a
complex teaching tool, however, teachers remain optimistic about its potential positive
impact for students in the classroom.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank the numerous people who contributed to the completion of this
journey. It is not something that could have ever been completed in isolation. I
appreciate the many contributions of my committee: Dr. Charles Ansorge, who
accepted me as a doctoral student as an unknown quantity and provided guidance and
direction through this process. Dr. David Brooks, who is most excellent at challenging
me to a higher level and intimidates me just enough to make me work harder than I
might have wanted to (Clark, 1982). Dr. David Fowler, who convinced me to think
about how I think, provided an environment to work in where I had the support and
freedom to arrive at my own answers, and encouraged me constantly. Dr. James
Walter, who provided me the opportunity to teach at UNL, and Dr. Robert Stoddard,
who has provided instruction, opportunities and encouragement to help me become a
better geography student and teacher.

I am deeply indebted to the teachers who participated in the study for their trust, time,
and cooperation in sharing their thoughts and feelings on this subject. I would like to
thank my friends: Dr. Bill Strong for his realistic assessment of graduate work, his
encouragement to undertake the task, and the constant counsel since to finish it.
Howard Tracy and Mary Claire May who have listened, discussed, counseled,
encouraged, and offered suggestions helping me survive this experience.

Finally, I would like to thank my family. My parents, Paul and Betty Lou Obermiller,
who have always been interested in what I do and are supportive of my love of
learning. They have both provided everything from meals to childcare making it
possible for me to work and study. It is my mother's insistence on the importance of
education that is ingrained in my psyche. It is the work ethic I learned or inherited
from both of them that has helped me accomplish the goals I've set. My boys, Adam
and Andy, who I hope will understand one day what this was all about, and Brian,
who patiently maintained a supportive and loving home throughout the journey, and
believed it was not only possible, but probable. Thank you all. :)

Contents

I. Introduction 1

Context 1

Rationale 5

Purpose Statement and Research Questions 7

II. Procedure, Assumptions, and Characteristics

of Qualitative Research 8

Case Study Research Design 10

Data Collection Procedures 11

Data Analysis Procedures 13

Verification Strategies 14
Ethical Considerations 17

Use of Theory and Literature 17

Summary of the Chapters 18

III. Teacher Profiles 20

Lynne and Amy 20

Claire and Pat 25

Eddie 28

IV. Time, Access, and Acquiring Skills 31

School Access 31

Home Access 38

Acquiring Skills 41

V. The First-Year Teacher Syndrome 56

Planning Technology Lessons 56

Using Technology in the Classroom 64

The Process of Change 76

VI. Overcoming the Glitches 82

Acquiring Troubleshooting Skills 82

Beyond Their Control 89

VII. Summary and Discussion 99

Summary 100

Discussion 100

Access Issues 102


Time Issues 103

Learning By Default 107

The First-year Teacher Syndrome 112

Conclusion 117

Bibliography 118

Appendix A

Interview and Observation Protocols 123

Appendix B

External Audit Attestation

by Dana L. Miller, Ph.D. 128

Appendix C

Informed Consent Form 135

I. Introduction
Context
Schools are investing in computers and connecting buildings and classrooms to the
Internet at a rapid rate. Agencies from local school districts to state legislatures have
designated funding for schools to acquire technology for information access to benefit
teaching and learning. As a result of the infusion of technology into schools, many
inservice teachers are being asked to rethink and redesign their instructional methods
to utilize these new tools. Some teachers have been excited and motivated by the
challenge of infusing technology into their classroom lessons, but the majority of
teachers seem to need encouragement, modeling, and technical training to infuse
technology into their daily teaching strategies.

Getting American's Students Ready for the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology
Literacy Challenge (United States Department of Education, 1996), issued in June of
1996, is a report to the nation on technology and education. The Technology Literacy
Challenge outlined four concrete goals, the first of which focused on teacher training.

Goal 1: All teachers in the nation will have the training and support they need to
help students learn using computers and the information superhighway.

Professional development is key to effective technology integration and to increased


student learning (US Department of Education, 1996, p.27).

The US Department of Education (1996) report acknowledges the need for ongoing
technology training and support as teachers learn how to integrate technology tools
into their classroom teaching strategies. The report also states that, "if there is a single
overarching lesson that can be culled from research about teacher professional
development and technology, it is that it takes more time and effort than many
anticipate" (p. 28). While some progress in teacher training is being made, the
majority of teachers are still lacking effective training opportunities and time to
develop new teaching strategies which incorporate technology into classroom lessons.
Finally, the report encourages schools to spend up to 30 percent of the Technology
Literacy Challenge funds for teacher training and on-going support to use technology
effectively. This money and teachers' time needs to be well spent on effectively
designed inservice training to achieve the objectives of creating a profession of
technology literate teachers and students.

As Internet and computer access for teachers becomes more available both at home
and at school, technology training inservice is becoming more important. Teacher
certification and recertification requirements that include technology training will
provide the catalyst for increased amounts of teacher training in technology. A great
deal of time and money will be spent training inservice teachers and modifying
preservice training programs. More information about what is meaningful to the
teachers going through the process is needed to make the training as valuable as
possible. "Most teachers have not had suitable training to prepare them to use
technology in their teaching. A majority of teachers report feeling inadequately trained
to use technology resources, particularly computer-based technologies" (United States
Congress, 1995, p.129). As school districts across the nation gear up to provide
numerous technology inservice trainings, it is essential to gather more information
about teachers' perceptions of incorporating technology into their classrooms to aid in
the design of the inservice and to address issues where teachers need continued
support.

The different aspects of using technology to teach are also critical in planning and
conducting inservice training for classroom teachers. Learning to use the hardware
and master the software tools will not necessarily mean that the teacher is using the
technology effectively for instruction. Actually utilizing the technology to achieve
instructional objectives is a much more complex and lengthy process (US Congress,
1995). The process is not hardware and software dependent, but is combined with the
art of teaching which adds to the complexity of the task. Traditional teaching
strategies sometimes referred to as "chalk and talk" will evolve and change to
incorporate the new technology tools that school districts are investing in.

This evolution will depend upon the typical classroom teacher's use of technology for
instruction. The teacher's success will be directly related to the effectiveness of the
training provided to them, and their own perceptions of the value returned for the time
investment they are making to learn new technology skills. "If the goal of using
technology is to change how teachers teach and how children learn (for example,
adopting more cooperative learning or more student projects), then teachers will need
support and training to learn new pedagogical methods as well" (US Congress, 1995,
p. 161). It is essential to understand how teachers perceive this process of integrating
technology into their everyday classroom lessons. Their perceptions are of great value
to other teachers, inservice coordinators, school administrators, and educational
software designers. Introducing technology as a useful tool in instruction takes time
and "hand-holding," and should be an on-going process, not a static event (Harvey &
Purnell, 1995).

A description of teachers' perceptions of the process they experienced in learning how


to incorporate technology into their classrooms would aid school districts and
inservice coordinators in designing effective training strategies that accomplish their
objectives. Many teachers encounter technical and logistical problems that they
cannot solve themselves and often lack the training and support necessary to resolve
the problems (United States Congress, 1995). Understanding how teachers hone their
technology skills past the point of being "stuck" and advance themselves as
technology-using teachers is important to successfully completing this task of
retraining inservice teachers.

Rationale
This qualitative study describes the process by which classroom teachers incorporate
technology into their lessons, and their perceptions of this process. The teacher's
perception of the process determines whether he or she will take the actions necessary
to learn how to use technology, relate the technology to their content, design lessons
that effectively use the technology, and then actually teach with technology. This
study describes several teachers' experiences of incorporating technology into their
teaching. It is my hope that it would provide insights on how to support and facilitate
this process for other classroom teachers.
Existing research in instructional technology has been under constant criticism. The
criticism may have, in fact, resulted in a decrease in the number of research studies
being conducted in instructional technology. Much of the literature is based on
opinions and discussion. Often the research reports on a pilot software program,
curriculum, or setting which may not be generalized to average classrooms. Bjork
(1991) contends that most of the research methods used to evaluate educational
technology are ineffective. He recommended several alternative formats, one of which
is close observations extended over time. The use of a qualitative case study design is
an alternative to the deficiencies of the existing literature.

Research on the use of instructional technology most often focuses on the type of the
technology and not the process of implementation or the teaching strategies employed
to use the technology in the classroom setting. Studies examine the types of software
and their effectiveness, but do not identify the teaching methods that were used when
the effectiveness was measured. Does the same software work as well for all teachers?
Are some teaching strategies more effective for one teacher than another? The same
software or technology used with different instructional methods may yield a different
result. There is also the issue that the type of medium used to teach students
information does not make a difference in student achievement (Clark, 1983).
Therefore, if the medium does not make a difference, do the new teaching strategies
used with the technology make the difference? The use of technology in the classroom
is changing the teaching strategies teachers use to achieve instructional objectives.
Knowing which teaching strategies that involve technology are perceived to be
effective or ineffective could be valuable to other classroom teachers.

Purpose Statement and Research Questions


The purpose of this qualitative case study is to understand how five K-12 inservice
teachers perceive the process of implementing technology into their classroom
lessons. The research questions for this study are outlined in the form of a grand tour
question followed by sub-questions (Miles & Huberman, 1984).

Grand Tour question:


How do the teachers perceive the process of designing lessons and using technology
in their classrooms to achieve instructional objectives?

Sub-questions:
1. What types of limitations or constraints do teachers perceive in their attempts to
incorporate technology into classroom lessons?
2. What types of teaching strategies or instructional methods are used when
teachers perceive a lesson using instructional technology to be effective?

3. What forms of support do teachers perceive as being necessary to aid them in


incorporating technology into their teaching?

II. Procedure, Assumptions, and


Characteristics of Qualitative Research
The assumptions and characteristics of qualitative research define the nature of the
research process I used to learn more about how teachers perceive the process of
implementing technology into their classroom lessons and the instructional strategies
they use in this process. A qualitative research design assumes a worldview in which
"there are multiple realities - that the world is not an objective thing out there but a
function of personal interaction and perception" (Merriam, 1988, p.17). These realities
are dynamic and change over time. This view is important to research that is
attempting to bring understanding to a process or event as perceived by the
participants in that event. In the education field, classrooms are of a dynamic nature,
unique and constantly in flux. A qualitative design is an effective research design to
use in educational settings.

Qualitative research has five major characteristics as outlined by Bogdan and Biklen
(1992). The design provides the researcher with an avenue to step inside of the context
of what is being researched. "Qualitative research has the natural setting as the direct
source of data and the researcher is the key instrument" (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992). The
nature of the research is descriptive and the researcher is concerned with process
rather than simply with outcomes or products (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992). The
description of a process or event is valuable when quantitative research designs do not
provide the insight necessary to understand the participants' role in the process, and
their perceptions of the experience. Qualitative researchers analyze their data
inductively (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992). The research is like a funnel in which all the
possible information is collected and then organized into themes and patterns
revealing the meanings from the participants' perspectives. "Meaning" is the primary
concern to the qualitative approach (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992).

The researcher is involved in and not removed from the research process in a
qualitative design. I bring my biases as a classroom teacher to the research study. I
found that I had to develop my own theory of how to use technology effectively in my
classroom. I developed my theories through trial and error and evaluation of student
participation and achievement. As an inservice trainer, I still do not understand why
teachers are often reluctant to learn and implement teaching strategies that incorporate
technology into their classrooms. This study is helping me to understand inservice
teachers' perceptions of the process of implementing technology into their classrooms.

The data collection for this study was conducted in a field setting. Observations,
interviews, documents, and surveys were all used in the data collection process
(Creswell, 1994). The information from the study is presented as a description of the
process the teachers experienced in infusing technology into their classrooms. The
study was an inductive study which attempts to identify patterns or trends in the
process of implementing technology in the classroom.

Educational research in the classroom is prone to numerous confounding variables


and if a research design controlled for all of those variables, the research setting
would not resemble a classroom. The rapport and setting in a specific classroom can
not be replicated and therefore, it is important to understand the interactions and
process of a particular classroom without trying to make generalizations to all
classrooms.

Case Study Research Design


The case study is an examination of a specific phenomenon, in this case a specific
process that teachers are experiencing. The case study seeks holistic description and
explanation (Merriam, 1988). The case study design is particularly well suited to
situations where it is impossible to separate the phenomenon's variables from their
context (Yin, 1984). It is the goal of the case study design to accurately describe and
give voice to the informants being studied. The emphasis is on filtering meaning from
a variety of data collection methods.

Data Collection Procedures


The participants in this study were five of the sixteen teachers who attended the
GEON Instructional Technology Institute (GITI) during the summer of 1996. Teachers
applied to participate in the institute by completing an application and submitting a
letter from their principal or superintendent supporting their participation in the
institute activities through the 1996-97 school year. Due to the nature of the research,
the teachers volunteered to participate in the study and signed an appropriate IRB
informed consent form. Informants were purposefully selected to include informants
who will best answer the research questions (Miles & Huberman, 1984; Creswell,
1994). The participants in this study consisted of teachers at one elementary and two
middle schools in three different communities in a midwestern state.
The data collection period was from July, 1996, to May, 1997. Audio-taped interviews
were conducted with the teachers on two occasions. The first interview asked the
teachers to describe their experiences of acquiring technology skills, their frustrations
with technology, and the changes that technology was making in their teaching. A
second interview during the spring semester of 1997 explored time issues, how they
see their technology use evolving, and their best hopes and worst fears. The interviews
were semi-structured allowing the participants to describe their perceptions of the
process they were experiencing (see Appendix A).

Building principals were contacted to gain permission to observe teachers teaching a


technology lesson in their classroom and their planning periods. Field notes were
taken and one class period was videotaped focusing on the teachers instructional
methods and activities during the class period. The videotape insured more accurate
transcriptions of the events that occurred during each classroom lesson. Observations
of the planning periods allowed the teachers to talk through the implementation
process of how they would actually teach with the technology.

Observations of the participants teaching a technology lesson were valuable for


several reasons. The data illustrated the teaching strategies and methods used to
incorporate the technology into the lesson. They also describe the settings in which
the teachers were working. Information about the teacher's access to technology and
building support is also an important factor in their perception of using technology in
the classroom. I observed each teacher's building and setting to determine the
accuracy of the self-reporting about the environment the teacher is working in. In
addition, I also observed the teacher's computer set-ups in their homes.

The teachers were encouraged to keep an e-mail dialogue with me throughout the
school year. This correspondence served as a journal of the teachers' questions,
feelings and perceptions as they worked through the school year using technology to
varying degrees. Telephone calls were made occasionally to follow up on e-mail that
wasn't answered, to schedule observations and interviews, and to keep in contact with
the teachers during the school year. Finally, collecting the lesson plans and projects
that the participating teachers developed was helpful in seeing how they envisioned
classroom lessons working out. These projects provide clues and text on the design
and how the teacher planned to use the technology. The lesson plans identified the
teaching strategies and instructional methods the teacher intended to use when
teaching a lesson with a technology component.

Data Analysis Procedures


The process of data analysis in the qualitative design involves taking the data apart
and then reconstructing it to identify what is to be learned and the patterns that might
reside within the data. In case study research, Yin (1989) discusses searching the data
for "patterns" in the case which may explain or identify causal links in the data base.
The analysis of the data is a concurrent process with the collection (Tesch, 1990).
Data collection and analysis inform or drive each other. The result of the analysis is
some type of higher-level synthesis of the information (Tesch, 1990). Beginning codes
were generated from the research questions, and evaluated for fit as the data were
analyzed.

The data coding was organized to define patterns or themes in the transcriptions of the
interviews, observations, and e-mail responses. This process involved reading
transcriptions to get a sense of the whole, identifying descriptors or codes, clustering
or grouping categories of data together according to the codes, and recoding data if
necessary. Codes should relate to one another in coherent, study-important ways and
provide a governing structure for the analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994).
Specifically, I looked for descriptors of the teachers' perceptions about the process
they experienced while infusing technology into their teaching. Coding categories
included teacher time issues, planning, lesson design, access, classroom management,
acquiring skills, troubleshooting, confidence level, and support issues. The coded data
were incorporated into a visual representation in the form of a matrix.

Verification Strategies
Several different techniques were employed as verification strategies for this
qualitative case study. Internal validity and reliability issues were addressed in the
research study design and process. External validity or the ability to generalize is
more problematic in qualitative research, the conclusions are based on the analysis of
the case studied and not on a population. Maxwell (1996) identifies threats to the
validity of three types of understanding - description, interpretation, and theory - in a
qualitative research study.

Transcribing description from audio and video tape reduce the threat to valid
description. Researcher bias is the main threat to valid interpretation. My biases as the
researcher will be self-identified. Member checks (Stake, 1995) provide verification
for the accuracy of the information transcribed and interpreted in the research study
attempting to control for researcher bias. Informants were given the opportunity to
review and edit the information representing their perspectives to verify its accuracy.

The variety of sources for data collection provide triangulation in the data (Merriam,
1988; Miles & Huberman, 1994). I obtained data through a variety of methods that
each offered a different avenue for the teachers to express their perceptions of
integrating technology into their instruction. E-mail correspondence with the
informants was collected and coded. The teachers' thoughts were gathered through an
interview process, classroom instruction was observed and videotaped, teacher
planning sessions were observed and taped for transcription purposes, and the
teacher's home computer work environment was also observed. Reactivity to the
researcher is a threat to the validity. Semi-structured, open-ended interview questions
would help reduce the amount of reactivity in an interview setting where what the
informant says is always a function of the interviewer and the interview situation
(Maxwell, 1996). Follow-up questions or probes were occasionally e-mailed to the
informants following an interview to clarify meaning or explore a new question as a
result of the transcription process.

It is not the goal of a qualitative case study to be able to make generalizations from
the case, but rather to offer understanding or insights about the case. A rich, thick
description of the case allows readers to make decisions regarding transferability of
the research (Merriam, 1988). This places the decision of transferability on the reader
and not the researcher. The participating teachers provided member checks, by
reviewing quoted information and making sure it accurately represented their views.

An external audit will examine both the process and the product of the case study
(Merriam, 1988). The responsibility of the auditor will be to examine whether the
findings, interpretations and conclusions are supported by the data collected. Dr. Dana
Miller, Assistant Professor (Adjunct), Department of Educational Psychology of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has conducted an external audit of this research study
(see Appendix B). The auditor traces the "audit trail" of the research and reviews the
information reported in light of the data the researcher has collected (Merriam, 1988).

Issues of reliability are addressed through using five subjects or cases in this study and
looking for replication in the descriptions of the informants. The use of the interview
and observation protocols provide consistency in the same procedures being used for
each case (Yin, 1993). Comparisons with existing literature will also provide a check
for consistency or replication of the findings.

Ethical Considerations
The researcher secured all necessary Internal Review Board (IRB) approval of the
research study. Participants volunteered to participate and had the right to withdraw
from the study at any time. The identity of all participants is protected and
pseudonyms are used in this report to protect confidentiality. Teachers signed an
appropriate informed consent form to participate in the study (see Appendix C).
Principals from each teacher's building provided permission and a letter to the IRB
giving the researcher access to observations in the school settings. At the conclusion
of the study, each participant received a copy of the final summary of the research
project.

Use of Theory and Literature


The existing literature in instructional technology helps to identify the need for a
qualitative study design to explore this topic in greater depth. In an inductive research
design, the study is not guided by the literature, but the conclusions might be
discussed in relation to the existing body of literature on this topic. Existing literature
has been integrated into the reporting and discussion of this research study.
Methodological literature in qualitative case study design was used to frame the
research and guide the analysis of the data collected. This literature identifies the
process and procedures used in qualitative case study research.

The qualitative case study is not designed to test theory, but rather might be used to
construct theory (Merriam, 1988). These theories are restricted to particular settings,
groups, times, populations, or problems (Merriam, 1988). The theory or themes
presented in this report are from the practical experience of the participants and the
reader must determine whether it is appropriate to transfer the findings of this research
to similar situations and settings.

Summary of the Chapters


This case study research is presented as a realist tale. The study is presented in a
narrative form and chronicles the perceptions and experiences of teachers going
through the process of implementing technology into their classroom lessons. It is
presented to give voice to the teachers' perceptions of this process. It is the
researcher's responsibility to assist readers in arriving at high-quality understandings
(Stake, 1995). The chapters are arranged to provide an accurate account of the
teacher's perceptions of this process and the issues that they identified. Chapter three
provides the profiles of each teacher and a description of the context that they work in.
Chapter four describes the teachers' perceptions of their access to technology and
acquiring technology skills. Chapter five outlines the teachers' experiences planning
and developing the technology lessons for their classrooms. Chapter six describes how
the teachers deal with the glitches and problems they encounter when using
technology. Finally, chapter seven is a summary and discussion of the research study.

III. Teacher Profiles


Five teachers from three different schools in three different communities in a
midwestern state participated in this research study. All of the teachers in this study
participated in a summer instructional technology training institute and volunteered to
be a part of the research. The following is a description of the context in which each
of the participants were teaching while participating in this research study. The
profiles of the teachers are also represented in a matrix form (See Figure 1).

Lynne and Amy


Lynne is a third grade teacher who has been teaching at the elementary level for 23
years. She started learning about computers by attending workshops offered by her
school district on computer managed instruction. She also enrolled in college courses
to gain more computer knowledge. Lynne participated in three different college
courses giving her a background on how to use the computer and different software
applications. She started using the Apple IIe machines in her school and has been
using computers for about 10 years. During this time, Lynne had a computer at home,
but it was an older model without much memory or capabilities which she described
as, "nothing more than a glorified typewriter." Lynne upgraded her machine at home
to a Power Macintosh in December of 1996 and now feels that she has computer
access that allows her to do school work at home. She uses telecommunications,
teacher productivity, and student multimedia authoring software on a regular basis.

Lynne teaches in the room next to Amy, the other third grade teacher in the school.
They work cooperatively on lesson planning, experiences for the third graders, and
integrating technology into their teaching. Amy has been teaching at the elementary
level for 25 years and has been using computers for about 12 years. Amy also started
by using the Apple IIe machines at her school, and took computer workshops offered
by the school district and college courses to learn more about computers.

While taking a college computer class, Amy purchased a used computer for home and
felt that was an important step in her computer use.

We ended up buying a used computer during that class, and that's when I had a turn
around for myself because I sat at that computer every evening and went over the
information that was given, and by actually using the computer myself and having
some ownership in that computer, I learned how to use that particular computer that I
bought....and felt really good at the end of the class. I made a lot of huge strides
during that time.

Amy bought a Macintosh computer about a year after buying that first used computer
and has had home computer access for about 10 years.
Amy views herself as an early adopter and confident computer user.

I feel very confident, but I'm also always learning new things.

She feels that she acquired most of her computer knowledge through practice on the
machine.

I think most of my knowledge has been picked up from college classes and then going
home and just messing with things and playing. Spending a lot of time on the
computer has been important.

In addition, she has helped instruct school district workshops on ClarisWorks for other
teachers. Amy has worked with a variety of software programs including student
multimedia authoring, teacher productivity and telecommunications.

Lynne feels confident enough using computers that she can help other teachers in her
building troubleshoot or solve problems they encounter when using computers, but
still experiences frustrations with new problems that sometimes require her to find
help. She has been using computers for instruction in her classroom for about the last
four or five years. Lynne recognizes that she is an early adopter among the elementary
teachers in her district.

I feel that I'm in the upper segment of teachers that have already integrated technology
into the classroom. Many more are just now realizing how the curriculum can be
enhanced with technology, while several of us have been trying new things for several
years. Sometimes I forget how comfortable I am using the computer in the classroom
until I'm around a group of teachers that are just now getting excited about some of
the programs Amy and I have already been using.

The classrooms in the school where Amy and Lynne teach were not wired to the
Internet at the time of the research study, however, the classrooms are to be connected
by the start of the next school year. The teachers do have access to the Internet from
the media center where a direct connection is in place. In their rooms, there are two
Macintosh machines (1-LC580 and 1-5260) on carts with one color printer for both
machines. The school provided one of the computers and the other was obtained
through a grant that Amy and Lynne wrote. They do not have projection devices in
their rooms, but would be able to check out a device to project the computer screen
onto a television monitor from the media center when needed. The complications of
setting the equipment up and getting it to work correctly each time discourages the
teachers from using it very often.
Amy and Lynne also use a computer lab in the school which contains 14 Apple IIGS
machines, one LCII Macintosh, three Apple IIe machines, one Apple IIc machine and
shared Imagewriter printers. Since there are not enough computers for all the children
to be in the lab at one time and the teachers cannot be in the classroom and the lab at
the same time, they recruited volunteer help from third grade parents to come in one
morning a week and supervise the students working in the lab. This allows half of the
classes to be in the computer lab supervised by parents and half remain in the
classroom working on various projects, including multimedia projects, with the
teachers. The third graders work on keyboarding skills, word process creative writing
stories, and work with software programs in the lab that will run on the older
machines.

The media specialist at the school is the designated building technology coordinator
who is responsible for the machines. She is one support person whom Amy and Lynne
could request help from, however, they also ask the band teacher who is good with
computers when they need help with a problem they can't solve. Amy and Lynne feel
that they work as partners and have mutually benefited from being able to work
together to integrate technology.

Claire and Pat


Claire and Pat are both 7th grade teachers who teach on the same team at a middle
school in a midwestern state. They were in the first year at a brand new building and
have experienced some strife in adjusting to a new teaching environment. The
building wiring for Internet access was not completed at the classroom level by the
beginning of the school year when the building opened, but the computer lab and
media center were wired on direct connects. Each of their classrooms has one
computer, but they were still in the process of acquiring the software resources which
had been available to them at their old school. They do not have a projection device in
the classroom, but would be able to check one out from the media center or the district
technology office which is housed in the building if needed. Claire and Pat have
access to a computer lab with 28 Power Macintosh 5260s. The computer lab is also
used for the computer courses at the school, so the availability for use depends on the
cycle of courses being taught and enrollment.

Claire has 15 years teaching experience and has been using computers for about five
years. She feels that she is getting better at using computers and developing her
computer skills.

Well, it's getting better, now I like it. I've seen its benefits and so now I'm seeking the
workshops, does that make sense? Going out there and trying to participate in summer
workshops, because during the school year it's just too crazy trying to keep up on the
regular day to day things. So if I want to pick up something new technology-wise to
use in the classroom, it's usually in the summertime.

She is working at integrating technology into her teaching. Claire and Pat have
worked at designing new technology lessons for their students to make use of the
technology facilities in their new building.

In the last year I have used more technology than ever (after our summer class). I'm
probably ahead of most--which is really scary because I have a longgggggg way to go.

In December of 1996, Claire upgraded her home computer from an Apple IIe to a
Power Macintosh. She now feels that she has the resources at home which will allow
her to do more computer work. Claire uses telecommunications, teacher productivity,
multimedia authoring, and desktop publishing software. She is in charge of the
yearbook for the middle school and works with the publishing software for the
production of the yearbook.

Pat has been teaching 7th grade for 5 years. She has participated in college classes and
workshops to learn more about computers. She has had a home computer for three
years, but refers to it as "that yucky IBM brand." Pat recently upgraded her home
machine in December of 1996 after a platform debate with her husband who uses a
Windows machine for his work. Pat's new home computer is a PC Windows machine,
however, she feels much more comfortable working on the Macintosh operating
system. She feels confident in troubleshooting and solving problems on the Macintosh
machine she uses at school, but doesn't have the same confidence level with the
Windows operating system. She is using her home computer to preview and evaluate
the few cross-platform programs that are available. Pat does feel that she can solve
most problems given enough time, and her husband also helps her with configuring
and using their Windows machine at home. She uses a variety of software including
teacher productivity, telecommunications, and multimedia authoring programs.

Eddie
Eddie is a 7th grade middle school teacher and has been teaching for four years in a
midwestern state. He is in the first year of a new middle school building which just
opened this fall. His classroom is wired with ethernet data drops and power outlets
around the perimeter of the room. He has a Power Macintosh 7200 with a laser
printer, flatbed scanner, and page scanner on a mobile cart in his classroom. Eddie
could check out a projection device for his classroom although he does not have one
in his room on a regular basis. In addition to three Macintosh computer labs that are
available in the building, Eddie also has access to a mobile lab of Macintosh
powerbooks that he can use in his classroom. The school has one mobile powerbook
lab for each of the three grades in the school. Eddie feels like he doesn't have to
compete with too many other teachers for machine access at this point because there
are not a lot of other teachers using technology in their classrooms on a regular basis.

Even though Eddie has only been using computers in teaching for the last four years,
he did have experience in beginning computer programming when he was in high
school. He was not required to take any computer classes as a part of his teacher
training program and did not take any computer classes while in college. He has taken
workshops and classes offered by his school district to learn about technology. He
reads computer magazines and occasionally videotape records a computer program
which runs from 11:30 p.m. to 1 am to watch at a more convenient time. He picks up
little tips and tricks as well as other information about the Macintosh machines he
uses from these sources.

Eddie recognizes himself as an early adopter in both his building and the school
district. He feels like he has been able to incorporate more technology into his
teaching because of the new school he is teaching in. The access to machines at his
old school would not have allowed him to use as much technology in his classroom as
he has this year. He bought his first home computer a couple months after he started
teaching in 1993, and upgraded his home machine in February of 1996 because he
wanted more RAM and a faster processor for Internet work.

Eddie is confident using computers and teaches Internet workshops for other teachers
in his school district. Eddie is the designated "webmaster" for the school web site and
does have access to some funds and support because of his responsibility of
maintaining the school's web site. He uses a variety of software including
telecommunications, HTML editors, teacher productivity, and the ANAT system
administrator software which allows him to manage all the machines in a lab or on the
network without having to work on each machine individually.

IV. Time, Access and Acquiring Skills


Time and access are the two major factors which will determine whether a teacher
will plan for and use technology in their classroom lessons. These two issues are
directly related to the funding that any school district is willing to invest in technology
equipment and training time for the teachers. Regardless of the amount of financial
resources that a school district spends on technology, the planning for time and access
issues will determine the level of integration of technology into the classroom. Time is
an issue which underlies every theme identified in this research and is included in the
examples and discussion of each theme. Teachers need to have reliable access and a
personal comfort level with the machine before they will start planning content
lessons which utilize technology resources. Reliable access is defined as a machine in
their classroom and does not include only access to a shared computer lab. The time
and access issues identified by the teachers in this study extend beyond the school
building to their homes as well. In examining these issues, I have addressed home
access and time and school access and time issues (See Figure 2).

School Access

Teachers report that time spent in training sessions was of little value to them until
they had reliable access to machines. Amy recalled the first training experience when
computers were first introduced in her school.

They gave us some background and then we were to sign up for an hour block of time
to have it in our classroom to use it with our students. Most of us were afraid of the
computer, and an hour is not enough time to really use the computer or to give the
children enough time to use the computer, and what eventually happened was nobody
was signing up for the computers.

Eventually, Amy enrolled in a college computer course which she found very difficult.
In order to better understand the course, she purchased a used computer to do the
assignments at home. This seemed to be a turning point for Amy. She described
making "huge strides" in her knowledge of computers as a result of having ownership
and access to a machine. Reliable access to a machine in her classroom was a
prerequisite before Amy started planning on using technology in her classroom.

Once I had a computer stationed in my classroom and I knew it was there to stay, I
started really using it a lot with the students. I knew that nobody was going to be
pulling it out and nothing would be lost, unless a student did something to it. Having a
machine in my room made me more of a problem solver, and I felt ownership in what
I was doing.

The other teachers echoed similar views about having technology easily accessible at
school. I asked all of the teachers to identify the most important factor or factors
which would determine whether they would continue to plan for and use technology
in their instruction. Lynne identified access and ease of use as being most important to
her.

Availability of hardware and software is for me the utmost. I need to have it close at
hand. It needs to be easily accessible. I don't want to have to wait till next week to do
something if I have an idea this week that works really well. A lot of things that
happen are real spontaneous and I want it to be there and ready and easy to use.
Available and easy to use is important.

Lynne also referred to the time element of not wanting to have to use technology
outside of the scope and sequence of her curriculum. Having to wait a week to teach a
technology lesson is often the reality for teachers who only have access to machines in
a shared lab setting. Amy feels that access in the classroom, as opposed to being
required to check out equipment, is vital.

If the things I need are readily available to me then I will use them. If I have to go to
the library and check it out, I'm not real sure I would leave the class and run out of the
room to get something.

Eddie emphasized the importance of having at least one computer available to him.

As long as I have a computer available to me, even just one computer, that's probably
the biggest factor in using technology in my classroom.

Pat identified access as the most important factor in deciding whether she would use
technology as well.

Of course, having the software or hardware is a big factor in determing whether I use
technology in my classroom.

The knowledge that equipment would be available without having to schedule it or


check it out seemed to be a prerequisite before the teachers would even think about
planning classroom lessons for their students using technology.

Claire stated the importance of access for her students.

If everybody can't sit at their own computer and I can't provide that experience to
everybody in my room, I won't use it as much.

Reliable classroom access, not shared access, is a critical factor in determining


whether teachers will plan for and use technology in their instruction. Pat noted the
complexity of adjusting schedules to try to make use of a computer lab when it was
available during the school day.

The computer lab may not be available when you need it, so you have to shuffle your
classes around which takes time because it affects the other teachers on your team.
Using a shared computer lab not only involves flexibility from the teacher who wants
to use the lab, but also from the other teachers who may have to switch their daily
schedule to allow the teacher to schedule her class when the lab is available. Working
out schedules in shared situations can be frustrating for teachers. Claire's frustrations
include scheduling computer access to correspond with the sequence of her lesson
plans.

The lab is so popular and everybody wants to get in. It's hard to fit in the technology
at the time most appropriate in your lesson plans, so you really have to be flexible that
way. If you want to teach, for example, a different country at one time, and the science
teacher has booked the lab for 2 weeks, you're going to have to change in order to do
what you want to do.

Sometimes the labs sit empty and the following day or week, three or four teachers
would all like to be using the machines with their students. Amy expressed frustration
at having to take extra time to try and work out the scheduling just to get access to the
machines.

Scheduling has been a problem in the past. This happened when we were trying to
share computers and other equipment. Sometimes it felt like it wasn't worth the time
spent trying to use the computer with the students.

Classroom access is not only important for computers, but for any technology the
teacher is going to use for instruction. Even though Amy now has classroom
computers for her students, she has started trying to integrate resources from the
Internet into her classroom and is discovering the same issues for shared Internet
access as she did with shared computer access.

It is also hard to use the Internet when it is located in the library and not in the
classroom. My experience has been to troop my whole class to the library to view
some sites that go with a lesson and then not be able to get through to the site. We can
only use the library when the media specialist is not having classes or during times not
affected by checkout times. This sometimes involves scheduling at strange times.

The importance of access to Lynne was revealed in her best hope for technology in the
classroom to empower both teachers and students.

That access to computers would become district wide where all teachers could really
understand how it could help the kids, and that children throughout the district were
getting the same benefits from technology. That it was easily accessible to all students
and teachers. If a child wanted to do a report and chose to do it on a computer, the
computer was there for him to do it on at any given time.
Home Access
Home access is also important to teachers who are working to integrate technology
into their classrooms. This group of teachers had not only invested in one personal
home computer, but all had upgraded their home machines at least once. Amy recently
upgraded to her third home machine. The access to a computer at home is important
enough to these teachers that they made not one, but two personal investments in
machines for home use. All five teachers purchased a machine upgrade during 1996.
The teachers cited speed, memory and Internet access as being reasons for upgrading
their home machines.

Eddie describes the role his home computer has had in determining his use at school.

The biggest advantage or role has been allowing me time to practice, play, create
outside of the school atmosphere. Something about working on school work at home
doesn't seem the same as coming to school and working on the computer. I don't get
"burnout" as fast, but the distractions are greater, of course.

An underlying premise of home access is that the teacher would be spending personal
time going back to school after school hours or during the summer to use a computer.
There was not time during the school day for the computer use they were doing.
Lynne's excitement was evident in her e-mail message at the prospect of upgrading
her home machine.

As of December 6, 1996 I have a computer at home!!! Yahoo!!! Maybe not so many


weekends at school!!!

Claire feels that home access is important because she finds quiet time to work later in
the evenings. She feels that school time is just too hectic to try and do much work
with technology.

Yes, I have a computer at home. My best work is probably done at home when
everyone has gone to bed or is outside. As long as I'm teaching and with fewer
resources available for us and time being taken up with parent meetings, parole
officers, etc., this leaves less time to plan for your curriculum and, yes, less time to
incorporate technology. Without the resources at home, it would be very tough for me
to get anything done. I wouldn't go back to school to work at 9:00 p.m., but I do go
down and work in our study with the computer.

Amy credits her acquisition of technology skills to having a home computer to


practice on.
I seldom have time at school to just sit down and play with the computer. At home I
do my learning about the capabilities of programs and my computer. I also do a lot of
problem solving on my home computer when I have problems with something not
working. I don't think that I would even be close to where I am now in the area of
technology if I hadn't had my home computer.

In addition to creating materials and doing her grades, Amy uses her home computer
to evaluate and work on student multimedia projects.

Pat hasn't used her home computer as much because of the platform incompatibility.
She does use her home computer for telecommunications, teacher productivity, and
reviewing instructional materials that are cross platform.

I really haven't used the home computer much to help out with school stuff. I have
looked up things on the Internet, Groliers, Encarta, etc., to help me learn more about a
subject. I also used it last year to record grades. I sometimes make up tests and
worksheets on it as well.

She does still go to school on weekends or during the summer to find time to work on
new technology projects for her classroom. Even though her home computer doesn't
provide her the practice time, Pat feels confident in working with the Macintosh
machines at school and troubleshooting if she just has enough time to work on the
problem.

Having access to a home machine is important to these teachers. Home access creates
more opportunities for them to work on technology projects, learn new technology
skills, or do teacher productivity chores at their convenience. It does mean that the
teachers work on school projects at home and it extends their teaching day into their
personal time. Whether the work involves a computer or not, it is very common for
teachers to spend time on school work beyond the school day. The teachers cited
benefits of being able to work at their convenience at home as a reason for investing
in a home computer. Home access appears to be important to these five teachers since
they all made a personal financial commitment by upgrading their home machines
during 1996.

Acquiring Skills
The teachers' descriptions of how they have acquired their technology knowledge and
skills contain similar components. All have participated in at least one district
inservice workshop or college class. Most avoid reading manuals and learn by
working through programs until they encounter a problem which forces them into the
documentation or to outside help. All have worked with a partner to learn new
programs or skills. The teachers work in short blocks of time. Finally, all report their
technology learning involves time outside of the regular school day.

Pat advocates learning by doing. She is confident in her abilities to figure things out
given enough time.

I learn best by doing. If I can just sit down and start in on a project or a program, I
usually can figure it out and get a lot done. Finding the time to do it is the problem. I
need a little uninterrupted time (1-2 hours to really absorb everything). I also learn by
having other people show me how they work. I am usually a quick learner.

Amy uses the tutorials provided to learn the features of a new program, and then
experiments with the programs.

My process involves reading the guide that comes with the software and trial and
error. There is usually a tutorial to practice and I go through those. Time spent varies
on how much I will use it and how complicated the software is.

Even though Amy has taken college classes that were helpful, she still feels that she
has acquired her knowledge by "spending a lot of time on the computer." Eddie is
similar to Amy in that he has participated in courses and inservices offered by his
school district.

The district offers workshops free of charge to teachers if they choose to take it and
with those kinds of opportunities, I don't know how a person could not take advantage
of something like that. I've probably read some stuff on my own, done some searches
on the Internet, and just kind of been a nerd that way for my own benefit.

Eddie picks up tips and tricks from public television programs, trade magazines, and
working with others. He describes his interest in computers as being a "nerd." It seems
that his level of seeking out computer information from a variety of sources is not
normal practice for most teachers.

Lynne is another learn-by-doing person. She feels that she has experience with enough
different programs that she can figure out new programs fairly quickly by
experimenting with them. She does recognize that she needs time to devote to learning
the program before feeling comfortable with it.

My learning process with the computer is to just dig in and try. I do work better if I'm
trying and there's someone around that can help me if needed. I am definitely a hands-
on type of person. With software, I tend to start before reading directions and then
read the directions when I get into trouble. My time at school is limited, but if I have
about an hour I can usually get fairly comfortable with some basic software. However,
I'm still working on the Learner Profile Software, I just need that hour or two to
devote just to Learner Profile.

Claire likes to have someone show her how to use the program and then have time to
experiment with the program.

I like to learn with someone there to show me the basics and then I just need the time
to play with the program and to try things out. I learn a lot through others. I've learned
some because I had to (the yearbook, Pagemaker). I don't have a lot of extra time to
learn the programs. I'm lucky to have a support staff.

She also identifies the critical issue of learning out of necessity when describing her
learning process. She had to learn the yearbook program not because she wanted to,
but because the yearbook company forced the change by requiring the layouts to be
done on the computer.

Pat's view of acquiring technology skills places importance on taking risks and
experimenting until she and Claire had figured things out.

That's basically how we've acquired our computer knowledge. Just messing around
doing it. Sitting down and trying things, and not being afraid to blow up the machine.
That's probably the foremost important thing we've learned.

Learning by experimenting can be frustrating because of the trial and error involved.
However, all of the teachers expressed this was important in their own learning
process.

All of the teachers reported having to learn new technology skills or programs in short
blocks of time. This is typical of a teacher's day which is scheduled into small blocks
of time for classes and activities. For some of the teachers, these blocks of time were
outside of the regular school day. Amy's time to learn new things "takes place at home
on my own computer or after the student's leave." Eddie works in short blocks of time
due to the numerous distractions he encounters during the day.

I work in shorter blocks of time. About 30-45 minutes a couple of times a day. Mainly
because it is hard to find longer periods of time to concentrate on a lesson without
some distractions, whether the distractions are personal or technological.

Claire reports finding some time during her team planning time. However, there are
often frequent interruptions in the time at school and the only long extended periods
of time to work are outside of the school setting.
We are fortunate to have our team time, so in theory we have short blocks of time over
a long time period. At school it has to be that way because there are so many
interruptions. The only time I have to work for long extended periods of time of
uninterrupted work is to work at home late in the evenings or the occasional release
time given by the school district (1/2 day and 1 day this year---both using technology).
It was really wonderful. Also, summer workshops are great for developing technology
ideas for school. The workshop time really helped Pat and I.

Pat echoed Claire's view of working within the short blocks of time even though she
would prefer long uninterrupted blocks of time.

The blocks of time I work in are very short and difficult to get things done. I would
prefer to have long uninterrupted breaks, but to do this, I must come on the weekend
or work during the summer.

Lynne reported that she liked to work in short blocks of time because it was easier for
her to absorb new information if she had time to practice it before learning more.

My school time is very limited. I use a lot of after-school time so Amy and I can help
each other out if we get in a bind. The district has been providing two full days of tech
in-service for the last two years. These have been wonderful. When I'm learning new
software, I like to use short blocks over several weeks so I can practice in-between
and absorb the new things presented.

Lynne also describes the value of working with a partner to help solve problems as
she is learning new technology information. All of the teachers reported working with
a partner as they learn and work with technology in their classrooms.

The teachers all described benefits from working with a partner to integrate
technology into their teaching. They identified the importance of having a partner to
talk to about technology, to learn new skills, to plan, and to troubleshoot problems.
Amy and Lynne teach third grade together in the same building and work closely as a
team. Pat and Claire teach on the same middle school team and work together on most
of the technology projects. Claire is the yearbook advisor and works with that
technology which Pat doesn't, but they still work together on their 7th grade
curriculum. Eddie doesn't have a teacher that he works closely with in his building,
but he works with another 7th grade teacher in his district. They have worked together
during the summer writing a new 7th grade geography curriculum and putting it on-
line for the other teachers in the district to access. Eddie views his partner as a support
person as well as someone to create and design new lessons with.
I go to Jon. He seems to be the man. He is one of those people that if you show
interest, he will help you out a lot.

Claire feels that working with a partner has also helped her with the amount of time
that she has had to spend to incorporate technology into her teaching.

There is just too much to know in technology and not enough time for a typical
classroom teacher to learn it. Having a partner to share in learning the process or to
share in all the preparation makes it possible to use technology. I also lack a lot of
computer knowledge so I need that person to help back me up and to lead the way.

Pat affirmed Claire's perspective on working with a partner.

It is very helpful to have someone to work with. No one has the time or the energy to
devote to a project by themselves. You need moral support for when the computer
crashes. You need someone to laugh with when things fail.

Amy and Lynne feel that they have been able to make more progress than other
teachers because they have someone to work with.

Lynne and I learned and created what we have done so far together. It was a process of
teaching each other what we know along with trial and error.

Lynne also feels a partner is valuable to review or assess the effectiveness of the
technology lessons that they create.

Having a partner helps me tremendously because I have someone to share ideas with,
to say, "Let's do it this way." It is helpful to have someone to do the planning with and
review, "Did this work? Is this something we feel really met the curriculum needs as
well as technology needs?" Someone to sit back and say, "Are we doing this just for
the technology or are we doing it to enhance curriculum?" And, I don't know if we
have a unique situation, but Amy and I just work well together. It's wonderful having
someone to bounce ideas off of and to get feedback.

The teachers felt having a partner was important for teachers who were incorporating
technology into their instruction. When asked for their recommendations, the teachers
all suggested that other teachers should find someone else to work with. Pat summed
up the teachers' recommendations.

Find a partner. Work with someone else, otherwise it's quite frustrating. Or have
someone that you can troubleshoot with or go to. Someone that you can go to so you
don't get frustrated and just completely quit. I think that's important. Just have some
support there.

These teachers identified common components from their experiences of acquiring


technology knowledge and skills. They also feel that because of time schedules and
access issues, teachers learn only what they need or are able to use on a regular basis.
In many instances the teachers will learn a new program or skill when they are
actually ready to use it with their students. Amy recalled the early inservice
technology trainings that she attended.

It wasn't until I had the computer in my classroom and I knew I could use it that I
really started listening and learning from the training that was given. You learn it
when you need it. When the learning becomes something that you see as a benefit for
you to use. If you don't see it as a benefit, I don't think you're going to retain what
you've learned anyway, even if you sat down and read it all, if you're not going to be
using it, you won't remember it.

Lynne identified the importance of meaningful learning in acquiring technology skills.


Teachers must have a need to know before the new information sticks or is
meaningful to them.

From my personal experience, when it's relevant to you and you see a use for it, that's
when it becomes meaningful. And you have a reason to want to learn how to do it. A
lot of times those things are presented in a workshop, but they don't stick until you
come across it, and the real learning happens when you need it. It's so true when you
teach someone else to do it or when you have to really think about how to do it, that's
when the learning takes place. When you've really learned it and it's not just a, "Oh,
that's neat." But when you can apply it somewhere, then you know it.

Claire reported that her learning is often more of a "hit and miss," ongoing process of
acquiring technology knowledge.

We don't have the luxury of the time to sit down and have someone teach us
everything there is to know about the computers because we're all working and we
don't have that time to do it. So we hit and miss and we learn here and there. We learn
a lot from each other.

Teachers learn technology skills in the small blocks of time that they have available in
their school day and in their personal time in the evenings or weekends. They learn
what they need to know to teach a project or use a technology application in the
classroom versus learning the entire program at once. Eddie explained that teachers
learn as they go because of time constraints.
The day is just so full. I don't know anyone who has the opportunity to go out and
investigate things further. Like maybe next year, I want to try doing this....and then
actually following through with it. Lots of people say, "Oh next year I want to do this,
this, and this." And then when next year rolls around they're still in the same paths
because they just don't have time to develop new skills. Things come up, issues come
up, and you run out of time. So I definitely agree that teachers operate with
technology as it comes about and not necessarily people being proactive. Even if they
know that next year this and this and this is going to be available, they can say, "I'm
going to start thinking about that and incorporating those things so that next year I can
utilize that new technology," but they don't actually do it. Most teachers just don't
have the time to deal with things like that, so they deal with issues as they happen, on
a just in time basis.

Eddie views this limited learning as "a coping skill" for teachers given all of the
different responsibilities and constraints on their time during the school day. They
learn new things by working through them or experiential learning.

In some instances, teachers felt that some technology skills were acquired as they
worked through the program with students. Claire described using a multimedia
authoring tool with her students, and although she had used the program before,
enough time had passed since she had used it that she had to relearn some of the
features of the program.

Our first day was OK. (There's a lot more to this program than I remembered.) We are
learning together.

Teachers need experience using technology with their students. This is essential and
the only way to acquire this practical kind of knowledge is by trying the lesson in the
classroom. The experiences add to the teachers' knowledge base. Even though there
will be problems to conquer, the only way the teacher will learn how to work around
these issues is to test the technology lesson with students in the classroom. Eddie feels
that experience has given him more control when using technology in his classroom.

And I think that scares some people because I don't know if a person would think of
all of the issues. If you hadn't taken enough classes, if you haven't had enough
experience, you wouldn't know that the server could be down. "I thought that was just
something that always existed and worked." And see that just goes back to what it is
that you want to learn and what you want to know and how much control you want to
have.

Eddie feels that experience is required to acquire the necessary skills to use
technology effectively in the classroom. The more experience and technology skills
the teacher has, the more control they will gain over the variables that a computer
introduces in the classroom.

In conclusion, the teachers recognize the complexity of integrating technology into


their teaching. Finding time to learn technology skills and acquiring access to
hardware and software to teach with is a complex process. Eddie described the
realistic rate of change for teachers who want to integrate technology into their
teaching.

I don't expect any teacher to all of a sudden one year be a book classroom teacher and
the next year come back as a technology teacher. It's taken me three and a half years to
get where I am and I think that is a pretty quick transition.

Claire acknowledges that using technology in teaching is something that takes time
and requires practice.

It isn't something you begin doing well. I'm not sure I will ever do it well, but the
rewards of incorporating technology are worthwhile.

The teachers view the time to learn technology skills as an investment, and something
that is important. Lynne explained her view of the time required to learn technology
skills.

Today I feel fine about the time investment. At the time, sometimes it's real
frustrating, but it's all been worth it. I feel that it hasn't been wasted time at all. It has
taken a lot of time if I look back on the hours that I've spent doing things one way and
then later on finding out an easier way and thinking, "Oh why didn't I do that earlier?"
But for me the hands-on time investment is really important. That's how it sticks. And
it's been worth it. Overall, some of the time that I've spent has also saved me a lot of
time as far as for the personal use, teacher use, and notes that go home. I go in the
next year and plug in a new date. So it's worth it. In the long run, I know it will save
me time.

Amy feels that learning more about technology and how she can use it in her
classroom is a benefit to her as well as her students.

It's kind of like it's for me too. The more I use it with the kids, the more I know about.
And I think as a teacher, it's important for me to stay up on technology. It's important
to know what's new and what to do with it, and what kinds of things can be done in
the classroom with the computers.
Pat feels that it is important enough to use in her teaching, that she find the time to
work on it.

I wish it wouldn't take so much time, (laugh) but I feel that it's important enough to
designate as much time as needed to incorporate technology into my lessons. I wish I
could do it more, but hopefully during the summer, we can create another unit or just
maybe polish the units we've done. So I think the time is very well spent.

The time, access and skills are all necessary for teachers to begin planning how to use
technology effectively in their classrooms. Creating lesson plans and developing
projects that integrate technology into the curriculum is another part of this complex
process.

V. The First-year Teacher Syndrome


Planning Technology Lessons
Once the teacher has access, has acquired some skills, and is ready to start teaching
with technology, the difficult process of planning new technology lessons and
developing classroom projects begins. This chapter provides a description of how the
teachers plan for and use technology in their classrooms and the changes they see as a
result. As the teachers described their time concerns in using technology in the
classroom, it became evident that how and what they planned was an essential part of
understanding this process. All teachers create and write lesson plans. It is when the
lesson planning involves something new that it appears to take more time and be more
stressful due to the inexperience with the content or the materials. Planning new
lessons with technology is not an exception. The teachers compared it to using a new
reading program, new curriculum or the first year teaching a new course.

Planning technology lessons is time consuming for teachers because they are
inexperienced in using computers in the classroom. There are new classroom
management issues to think through, web searches for sites and information to be
done, projects to be developed, software to be loaded on machines, and problems to
be solved in preparation for the lesson. All of these things require more planning time
and skills of the teacher than if they were using a traditional classroom lesson which
they are more experienced in planning and teaching. Eddie used the analogy of being
a first-year teacher to describe how he feels about planning and developing
technology lessons for his classroom. I asked him if it took longer to plan a
technology unit based on the World Wide Web than if he would have planned it using
traditional teaching materials.
I think so, because I didn't know what to expect. This is the first time I've ever done
something like this and so I don't know. And it seems like this whole year has been
this way. Before at Middle School where I was teaching, I had access to a computer,
but I had to borrow it from the science teacher. We didn't have a computer lab that was
wired at all. So this year it's, basically, I feel like a first-year teacher. Everything that I
do is done for the first time.

The other teachers agreed with Eddie's descriptive analogy. Amy compared it to
starting a new reading series, but didn't seem to be put off by the extra work.

I agree! It is also like starting a new reading series. A lot of trial and error and figuring
out what works for you and what you like and don't like. It is really quite exciting.

Pat acknowledged the frustrations of being inexperienced in planning technology


lessons, but also thought that creating new lessons made her teaching more
interesting.

Yes, definitely! I feel a lot like a first-year teacher. I never know if we have the things
on hand that I need. If so, I don't know where they are or how to get them. I have to
create new ideas that I probably haven't thought about before. This is not however, all
bad. It is great to be forced to come up with new ideas and ways of teaching a
concept. It makes teaching a lot more interesting too!

Claire agreed with the description of being a first-year teacher as well.

Yes, because you don't know how much time it is going to take and the problems that
may arise as you present the lesson and the students begin getting involved. I'm
hoping next year I will be a better planner and will have a better idea what to expect.
It's a learning experience.

Lynne didn't feel like a first-year teacher since she didn't have to learn everything
about teaching itself, but agreed that the process of planning new technology lessons
can be overwhelming.

I'm not learning everything about teaching when I try to do the technology, I'm just
learning a new curriculum method, subject area or it's like when we get our new
reading curriculum. It is overwhelming at the beginning. Well, when you try to do
something new with technology, it can seem overwhelming at the beginning.

Planning a classroom lesson is a complex process that gets easier with experience.
Planning a classroom lesson with technology components is new and the teachers are
learning more about what works for their site and situation. Claire explained that
planning technology lessons could be frustrating and time consuming because of her
lack of experience.

And it seems like no matter what it is we do, there are things we haven't planned for,
no matter how carefully we thought we've planned because it's so new to all of us. I
don't think our administrators have a clue how much time we've spent, our team's
spent on technology this year.

Through their descriptions of the planning process, the teachers identified factors
which were new and took more time in planning technology lessons.

Claire identified the frustration of even finding the time to plan with her middle
school team when considering implementing a technology lesson. During an
observation of their planning time, Pat and Claire were trying to find a time when they
could experiment and teach a software application to the other teacher on their team.
Claire expressed an assertive attitude contrary to her normal disposition in order to
find planning time.

Okay, next week we say, "Go away parents, we don't want to talk to you. We have
something planned." We need to get into the lab and play with Digital Chisel again so
we know what we're doing. During this week, we are just going to have to say, "No
parent meetings." And we are going to go in during team time for the whole week and
play with Digital Chisel. I'm putting up a sticky note that says, "No parent meetings."

At this statement, the group all laughed because they knew there was no way that they
would get away with scheduling their planning time this way. Even though they would
like to think that they had control over their planning time to implement a new project,
they laughed because they knew it would probably never really materialize. As the
three teachers tried to coordinate their schedules, the likelihood of finding even a
small block of time to plan the technology lesson seemed almost impossible.

The teachers experience a variety of frustrations in planning technology lessons


because of new variables involved when using technology in the classroom. Eddie
discussed several components that needed to be addressed when planning a
technology lesson.

With so many things to think about that are not considerations in the classroom, i.e.:
computers working, enough computers for class, is the lesson a valid idea to the topic,
can you handle a technical issue that arises? It does take more planning. When using
the Internet, a teacher must do searches, locate sites, create a flowing lesson, and
question at the right level. Agreed that all these things are considerations of a regular
classroom lesson. However, with the interest level that kids show and the amount of
"stuff" available, it is difficult to locate information that will be valid for your learning
objectives.

Eddie feels that thorough planning is the key to using technology successfully in the
classroom. He views planning time as a "painfully fun process." Eddie likes working
with the technology, but the time consuming process of planning for it to work well is
the painful part.

I think not only because kids say, "Yes, I can do technology," but they really can't do a
lot of technology, so not only do you have to plan a lesson, you have to plan a way to
teach the process to do the lesson. But you get into a technology lesson, now you have
to deal with things like, "How do I move a mouse? Where do I save? Is my disk going
to crash? I don't have enough room, What if I run out of time?" Those sorts of things
make you break lessons down into a lot smaller chunks than you would a standard
quote unquote 'classroom lesson' would have to be done in, and so that is why it
requires more time.

Lynne feels that planning a technology lesson takes more time because she must
consider a lot of variables before she is sure the lesson will be effective.

Planning a lesson including technology takes more time for me because I need to plan
on how to present it so that there is as little wait time as possible for my students.
Third graders tend to get restless. I also want the technology to enhance the
curriculum and don't want to throw in the technology just because I think I should be
doing it. When I'm doing a class project using technology I need to have a plan for
how to best carry out the assignment, making sure that all children have the
opportunity to use the technology.

Claire also explained her planning includes time for all of the "unknowns" that she has
to be prepared for.

I think our problem is we really need about an hour or two of uninterrupted time on
the computer to work out the bugs. Also, there are a lot of unknowns out there. How
will scanning the pictures work? Can the kids successfully download pictures they
would like to use onto the program? What about other sound effects from other
programs? You know someone is going to want to try it, and Pat and I never got ours
to work.

Pat's view of the "unknowns" is that it forces her to be very organized. There are
things that can go wrong in a technology lesson that would not be an issue in a
traditional teaching setting.
I think I'm more organized probably. You have to be prepared for anything, the
computer might shut down, what are you going to do, you don't usually have that
happen in the classroom. So you have to be very organized. Organization, I guess is
the biggest one.

Pat's perception of why planning a technology lesson takes more time includes
working through factors which are beyond her control.

I think it takes more time because we can never find enough copies of the programs
we need. Or, we don't have a site license for the program we want to use. You also
usually have to rely on someone else to help get things ready, like a media specialist
or computer teacher.

Thinking through all of the variables which go into making a successful classroom
lesson is a process which requires practice. When a new variable, such as technology
is introduced, the teachers have to experiment through trial and error to discover
which instructional methods will work best for their classroom.

Using Technology in the Classroom


The teachers felt that technology lessons take more time to plan for other reasons than
just their inexperience in planning the lessons. Organizing a classroom lesson involves
making decisions about which instructional strategy would be most effective for the
lesson and the students. The teachers have tried and continue to experiment with
different teaching strategies to determine which are the most effective for students in
their classrooms. Effective lesson design also involves understanding the technology
application well enough to understand how it will best be used in the classroom.
Finally, the teachers also have to prepare the machines, sometimes check out
equipment, or load software before the lesson is ready for use with students.

The teachers must understand how to use the technology resources effectively with
students when they design the classroom lesson. Eddie feels that some teachers don't
spend enough time with a technology resource to fully understand it before they use it
in their classroom.

I would like other teachers to understand the amount of time "playing" with computers
before a lesson can be used. The worst thing that a teacher could do with a technology
lesson is think that they will just "send kids to the lab" to do a lesson and have the
computer teach for them. So often a kid is sent to get on the Internet and search for a
topic, with the teacher thinking that they are dealing with a very sophisticated
encyclopedia. This is so far from the truth.
The level of understanding the teacher has about the technology resource itself is one
factor in determining how well the teacher will be able to integrate it successfully into
his or her teaching.

One issue for teachers is the time involved in creating new instructional projects
versus using commercial software programs that can be purchased. Pat described the
difference in planning a lesson using a commercial software program or creating
custom technology projects for the classroom.

"Time" is a critical factor for me because I don't have "time" to create quality
technology lessons to use in the classroom. "Time" isn't a problem when
using International Inspirer or Decisions, Decisionsbecause they have been created
already. It is when you have to create something specific to the curriculum area you
are on that takes so much time.

Amy feels that once she has invested time in developing a technology project for the
classroom, she will plan to use it for more than just the current school year.

Hours can be spent preparing a multimedia presentation to use for sharing information
with a class. I'm sure that I have ten or more hours in preparation time (in a project).
Now that it is made, I use it every year which saves time.

All of the teachers who were developing their own technology projects looked for
time-saving features when creating new instructional materials. Building templates for
the students to work from is one time-saving strategy that the teachers used. Amy
planned to build a template of a project in the earliest planning stages knowing that it
would save her time later on.

I would actually like to have on disk, skeletons made, so that we don't always have to
recreate these skeletons and we can just get them ready, photo ready, and we could
copy them onto the computer and have it kind of ready to go for the year.

Once the technology projects are developed, the teachers face the next challenge of
implementing them successfully in the classroom.

There are a large number of variables in a classroom that the teacher is responsible
for. In some instances, these variables are beyond the control of the teacher.
Classroom management includes dealing with almost an infinite number and
combination of things that can happen in a classroom. Adding a computer as another
variable can reduce the amount of control that the teacher has in the classroom setting.
Eddie explained why establishing effective teaching strategies with technology is
important.
With another stimulant in the classroom like a computer to compete with the teacher
for attention, teachers need to have all the training and practice they can to handle
stuff whenever.

Events or variables that would not be an issue in a traditional lesson can require new
planning and strategies when using technology in the classroom.

I observed the teachers using a variety of instructional strategies when incorporating


technology into their classrooms. However, all of the instructional strategies I
observed the teachers using had one thing in common. All of the teachers used
strategies where the students were actively involved in using the computers to achieve
an instructional objective. It seemed the type of access and available machines in the
building usually dictated the type teaching strategy used to incorporate the technology
into the lesson. In all of the classroom observations, the students were working with a
partner to do the assigned activity. The students sometimes chose to work
independently when doing searches on the Internet. In Eddie's classes, he had them
assigned in groups to do their research and projects.

Amy and Lynne incorporate technology into their classroom primarily as a student
productivity tool. The students rotate through the two computer stations during the
class period or when they have completed assignments and have free time. Amy
described why she feels using technology for student projects is effective for her
students.

I guess that we've always done projects, but in other ways. This just seems to keep the
student's interest and they're more willing to find the research so they can get on the
computer because we require them to have all their research done and have it all
drawn out in a booklet form before they can even touch the computer. So they're busy
with that stuff, with getting their information, and using the library to find what they
want.

Amy has tried other teaching strategies, but doesn't feel that they are as effective for
her students. The teaching strategy has to be designed around the available equipment
and although she would like to use resource CD-ROMs for instruction, she does not
have the projection equipment to make the screen easy for everyone in the room to
see.

At the beginning of the year, I tried to use Small Blue Planet and, some of the
software, or some of the disks that I had, and I'd have to bring them up close, close
enough to see, and there were children who couldn't see and then they would start
playing because they lost interest.
Showing or demonstrating might also fail as an instructional strategy because of the
age and attention span of Amy's third grade students. Lynne also feels that her
students are more motivated when the students are actively involved in using the
technology.

Most of the time I do use student-made products. That's where they're excited about it.
For me, that's what works. Having the kids work, and not have it as a presentation tool
for me, but to use the computer as a way the kids can gather more information and
extend it that way.

Pat and Claire designed a classroom lesson which required the students to find
information on their own computers and work together to complete the assignment.

Pat explained why she felt the lesson design was effective for her students.

I like the way we did it today where we had one person running one machine and one
the other. We weren't going to do that originally. We were going to have them jump
out of the program into Digital Chiselon the same computer, and I was glad we didn't
do it that way because I don't think it would have been as successful. It would have
been a lot slower, and they would have been waiting more. So, I think having every
child on a computer so that they were all responsible for a job helped a lot.

Pat and Claire were able to design and plan the technology lesson effectively because
they had spent a lot of time thinking through all of the options for using the lesson
given the access to equipment available to them.

Eddie described a lesson design in which he was incorporating traditional materials


and technology resources together for the students to work with.

I figured what we would do is, I would come up with a way using the Internet that the
kids could investigate all five cultures. I'm going to get them into groups of probably
two to do their computer investigation and then, using some questions, they'll have to
go back and do some investigation out of the book and see what background
information the book gives them. Then I have tried to find some sites out on the
Internet that are real valuable, that at least I thought were valuable, and then have the
kids read through some of that, and then answer some questions based on what they
read out of the web page itself.

Even though Eddie was planning the technology lesson very carefully, he
acknowledged some concern because the lesson design would create a different
teacher role for him in the classroom. Since he was experimenting with a new lesson
design, Eddie was unsure of how successful the lesson would be.
I've never tried anything like this before, where they do part investigation. It's always
been, "Here let's take three days to do this or let's make this." I've never done the half
and half. It's really going to be tough for me because I'm going to turn the kids loose
to be their own learners, and I'm really not going to be the instruction facilitator this
time. I'm going to let the computer and the books and the kids do it themselves. I'm
just going to kind of help them where they have problems. So, we'll see how it goes.

The teachers acknowledged that their technology lesson designs created change in
their role in the classroom during the lesson.

The teachers saw changes in their teaching role in the classroom when they designed
technology lessons where the students were actively involved. Lynne explained that
teaching with technology allowed her to teach more as a facilitator.

I guess it's something that I've always believed in, but technology has allowed me to
do it. Computers have allowed me to do that more so. And what I see happening now
with the computer is the interest level is so much higher that they are willing do more
research and seek out new information. So yes, it's changed on my part. I don't have to
do as much prodding at all, they do it on their own. They even come to me with ideas,
"Can I do this?"

The teachers described designing similar teaching roles when developing technology
lessons. After providing instructions and information about the process necessary to
use the technology, the teachers worked more as a facilitator than primary instructor.
Amy doesn't see this teaching role as much of a change from the way she does most of
her teaching.

My role is to assist them after they've gotten started and also to give them the tools
they need to start in the first place.

Pat describes her role during a technology lesson in much the same way.

The first day I would say I'm more of the teacher role because you need to show the
kids exactly what they're going to be doing if it's something brand new to them. From
then on, I hope to be more of a facilitator, troubleshooter, someone there in case they
need me.

While she doesn't feel technology forces her to change much, Pat noted that she
probably taught more in a "teacher role" than a "facilitator role" when not using a
technology lesson.
Claire described how her role as a teacher in the classroom has changed as a result of
using technology.

The more I experiment with different programs and the more chances I take working
with the computer with my students, the better I get at using the computer and solving
its endless problems. I have gotten over the feeling that I have to know everything
about the computer or program in order to use it in the classroom. If I didn't, I would
never use the computer. I have gotten used to the fact that I am not always the teacher
in the classroom; many times using the computer the students have taught me things I
didn't know and sometimes I teach them and even sometimes we discover something
together.

Designing technology lessons where the students are actively involved not only
changes the teacher role, but also seems to impact classroom management issues for
the teachers.

Most of the teachers felt that if the technology lessons were well designed and
planned, the classroom management while using the technology lesson was usually
easier than on a traditional teaching day. The work and time consuming components
were planning well enough ahead of time to eliminate as many potential management
issues for the students as possible. Still, the teachers felt that some problems can not
be anticipated and have to be worked through. During the technology lessons I
observed, the teachers were usually on the move answering student questions, but the
students were focused and "on task" and there didn't seem to be any unusual problems
relative to the inclusion of the technology. Using the technology can create new
management problems as well as being a solution to others.

Claire had her students working on a technology project in class and described
management issues she encountered during the experience.

I guess it is going OK. Some of them are moving right along and others are struggling.
I think Cindy (another teacher on Claire's middle school team) is probably ready to
shoot me for coming up with the idea because the lab room is full of impatient kids
who would rather be told rather than to figure out what to do. I'm in charge of the
scanning; so far it is going OK, but is taking too much time.

A second report from Claire during the same project contains the same types of
classroom management frustrations.

I really think Cindy probably wants to kill me with the D.C. project....some of the kids
are doing a great job and they are really enjoying it. Others are a bit frustrating...they
act like they are scared to try it and experiment. Bill (the computer teacher) has to
leave the lab so they don't mob him with questions. I'm at the scanner swearing at it
sometimes. It has a mind of its own. Overall, we are surviving.

Claire's final report on the experience during an interview helped explain the entire
scenario of incorporating this particular technology project into her classroom.

And there was a moment there, I'm sure Cindy thought, why in the (whispering) hell
are you doing this project? Are other teachers saying the same thing? (I nodded yes to
Claire) Good. But in the end it's been worthwhile. Oh, the projects are beautiful.

The quality of the students' final projects along with the skills she feels they acquired
convinced Claire that the management hassles of incorporating the technology lesson
were worth the extra effort required. Eddie offered a concise summary of the role
planning plays when incorporating technology into the classroom.

I want teachers to understand how much time, learning, and creation goes into a
lesson that may only take a single class period. Like anything else, what you put into a
lesson is what you will get back. With a computer lesson if you put nothing into it as
far as time and preparation, nothing is what you will get back coated with a good dose
of frustration on the part of the students and management issues to be handled by
teachers.

Changing classroom lessons to include technology components takes planning time


and energy. Most teachers need motivation to change their teaching strategies.

The Process of Change


In an attempt to understand the teachers' perceptions of infusing instruction into their
teaching, I asked them to describe various types of changes that they experienced.

The teachers described the pace at which they integrated technology lessons into their
classrooms in percentages. Four of the five teachers reported they incorporated
technology into about 15 to 20% of the new lessons that they developed. Eddie
reported approximately 20-30% of his new lessons were technology lessons. Claire
had the highest estimation at about 40% of new lessons involving technology during
the school year. At this rate of change, it would take several years before the teachers
were teaching with technology lessons on a regular basis.

Eddie explained that he felt before teachers could incorporate technology into the
classroom, they had to be ready to make a change. Training workshops or college
classes alone would not be enough to get teachers started using technology.
I don't know if college courses can get a teacher prepared for using technology in the
classroom, I really think it's got to be something that the teacher is intrinsically willing
to do because the college perception of what real school is so much different from
what real school is that I don't think that more college courses in technology is going
to be a problem solver. I think there's plenty of opportunities, I just think that a teacher
has to be intrinsically ready to use technology in the classroom. If they are not ready,
it's not going to happen. There's no sense forcing the fit.

Pat feels that personalities are a factor in which teachers are willing to try new
teaching strategies using technology. She feels teachers need to be willing to stretch
outside of their comfort zone when incorporating technology into their classrooms.

We'll try anything. Claire and I are...we're risk takers I think. If it bombs, oh well kids,
we'll try it again tomorrow or, (pause) I think it has a lot to do with personalities. We
know we're not perfect and a lot of people, I think teachers especially, are
perfectionists. You kind of have to be to be in this job, but you have to fly by the seat
of your pants a lot of times too, and that's out of some people's comfort zone. And
technology is still kind of new. There's so many new things out there and they're
always changing and they're afraid that they'll do something and it'll be outdated next
week. I see that as being a problem, so you're always taking a risk.

Despite all of the hurdles encountered when using technology in their teaching, these
five teachers all felt that it was important to learn and use technology in their
classrooms. The teachers provided several explanations why they felt it was important
to make the changes necessary to incorporate technology into their teaching. Claire
feels that changing to incorporate technology into her teaching is important for her
students.

I think because of technology and all the knowledge out there, I'm not doing so much
of the memorizing facts, because there's no way that they'll ever be able to memorize
everything they know, it's more skill oriented, how do you find it, and that's changed a
lot because I know ten years ago when I was teaching, first teaching, it was more
memorizing. You've got to remember this and put it in the old memory bank, and
that's just not the way the world is going to be anymore, now it's you need to know
how to find it, rather than memorize this for life and technology is a great way to do
that. I mean you can find so many things out there on the Internet so much faster than
going to the book...and time's important.

Eddie views changing to use technology lessons is a way to keep the students
interested in learning the content material.
I think that right now, technology is the key to keeping kids interested. You know
there's only so much creativity that a teacher can get out of kids, but all of a sudden, if
you put something else in front of them, it just seems like opening up a whole other
door. I choose to use technology because I think it's fun, first of all. Yes it is
frustrating, yes it does take a lot of time, yes it does create a whole new range of
issues that teaching out of the textbook won't have to deal with, but on the other hand
it is a creative way to teach. It's a way that really helps incorporate higher learning,
thinking skills. Kids talk about it.

Lynne explained that she felt a responsibility to provide her students with experiences
that would be helpful to them in the future.

I guess it's the kids' future. I feel it's important that they have hands-on technology
access because that's what we're here for, to prepare them for their future and they
need to know about it hands on. I use it in instruction because it has things to offer as
far as for practice on geography type skills, using Swamp Gas as a game type
motivational activity for them to get to know their states. They're highly motivated by
technology and they love it.

Pat feels that technology helps her teach to the different learning styles of students in
her classes.

I think I use it because the kids love it. And I try to focus on different ways of
teaching to bring in all of the tools, to help kids learn. Kids learn by different modes
and they seem to be so much more excited about sitting down at a computer than
maybe sitting down with a paper and pencil to learn something new or maybe just for
a review.

Amy included her feeling that deciding when technology was the best teaching tool to
use was also important in her decision of when to integrate technology into her
teaching.

If it has the children's attention and they're learning. There have been times when I've
created something on the computer for instruction and I think my time could have
been used in better ways because they, the class, could have learned the same things if
I had just told them, or just maybe taught it without the technology. There are other
times when I think the technology is the better tool to use.

Amy's view of using technology appropriately and not just to use it for all
instructional objectives is an important consideration that teachers must make when
deciding whether to use technology as part of an instructional strategy.
In discussing change, change in the technology tools themselves was included. Claire
had experienced some problems when she was required to upgrade software and was
not looking forward to dealing with more upgrades. However, the remaining teachers
viewed dealing with upgrades as a step in the process of getting better teaching tools.
Most of the teachers felt that they were constantly dealing with change anyway. Amy
pointed out that the newer software and hardware was usually so much better that she
really didn't mind having to make the change. These teachers felt that they probably
didn't teach with the same materials any longer than the life expectancy of the
hardware and software in their rooms and that they would be constantly developing
new lessons anyway. All of the teachers pointed out that the expense of frequent
upgrades would prohibit the schools from replacing the computers and software that
they had to work with very often. The rapid changes in the technology itself did not
seem to influence the teachers regarding what they would design or develop for their
classroom teaching materials.

Even though all of the teachers in this study have been teaching for several years, the
change and newness of integrating technology into their teaching often created an
overwhelming feeling. The time required to plan and develop new technology lessons
made teachers feel as if they were first-year teachers working through new material or
curriculum. The changes the teachers experience while integrating technology into
their classroom vary greatly from the teachers' perspectives. They all do see value in
the time and effort they are spending to incorporate technology into their instruction.

VI. Overcoming the Glitches


Glitches are common when using technology. Glitches are defined for this research as
problems that keep a teacher from using technology for instruction. A glitch may be
something as simple as not having the right cable to connect a peripheral device or
much more serious such as a complex system conflict which keeps crashing an
application the students are trying to use in a lesson. Glitches take time to solve and
can hold up a teacher anywhere from five minutes to five months. Glitches might
require outside assistance to solve and are sometimes beyond the control of the
teacher because of knowledge, authority or budget. The good news is that glitches are
perpetual and are issues that teachers must deal with on a continual basis when using
technology in instruction.

Acquiring Troubleshooting Skills


Teachers who use technology in the classroom need to have some problem solving
skills in order to survive. There are an infinite number of technology problems, some
small, some large, that can appear without notice at any given time. This makes using
computers in the classroom a risky undertaking and sometimes stressful for teachers.
Teachers' descriptions of troubleshooting problems are the war stories of using
technology in the classroom. All teachers who have used a computer in the classroom
have a story to tell and no two stories are exactly the same.

While listening to the troubleshooting and glitches stories these teachers told, some
similar patterns began to emerge. Teachers need to have a personal comfort level
using computers before they are likely to use them in the classroom. Most important,
perhaps, is the fact that the teachers develop their own strategies for how to work
through the problems they encounter. Amy described her problem solving strategy as
a series of levels or stages she goes through to solve the problem.

Usually if I play with the computer long enough, I can figure out problems with
software. If that fails I get out the guide and read. If I still have a problem, I call Gary
Smith, the band teacher in our building, because he can figure out anything. I would
rather figure it out myself though.

Pat acknowledged things can go wrong when using technology and uses the support
staff in her building to overcome the problems she encounters.

It always seems like things go wrong when using technology, probably a reflection
upon the usee! We are very fortunate to have a computer literate media specialist who
helps a lot and also, the district computer technology coordinator is housed in our
building just down the hall. We use them a great deal.

Lynne relies on working together with Amy to solve the problems they encounter.

My co-worker and I troubleshoot a lot during the day with each other. I just tried this,
I can't get it to work, what can I do? We rely on each other a lot to get things going
during the day.

Claire feels that she has learned to deal with the problems and has learned who to go
to for help in her building.

I flow with the disasters much better now. I feel I'm better at trying to problem-solve
on the computer, or I know who to call or talk to when I can't figure it out.

Eddie is very confident in his ability to solve problems. He is more adept at solving
the glitches that might hold up other teachers.
Something that I can't fix? I look at the kids and I go "It won...the computer won."
And then I go back later on and figure out why it did. I have yet to have a problem
that hasn't been able to be solved by the next class period.

Eddie feels that he can reduce the number of potential problems by thorough planning
for a technology lesson.

There's a reason that I haven't had a problem, that's because of the


preparation...making sure that I've tried stuff before the kids get there. So I really play
with things first. I really run through them first to make sure I can foresee a problem
before a problem actually happens. I try to get rid of as many teacher mistakes before
I do kid mistakes.

Pat also cited preparation as her first line of defense against the technology problems
that occur.

I think they're to be expected and you try to anticipate as many of them as possible
before actually starting the lesson. You can't always do that, but hopefully, if you're
prepared enough, you can alleviate some of those problems. I always try to come in
early the morning of the technology lesson just to make sure everything will work
okay. Prevention is the key for me!

Thorough preparation takes time and energy to make sure that all of the equipment is
ready to go and has been tested when the students walk into class. Even the best
planning, however, will not insure elimination of all glitches. Claire explained how
they encountered glitches that they did not anticipate during the planning stages of
their technology projects.

It's a big time investment. I mean just like with the Digital Chisel project we're doing
now. It seems like every step you take there's another road block that you hadn't
thought about. Like how do we get all these presentations into the computer in the
presentation room so the kids can present them to each other? And it's another hour or
two figuring out how we're going to do that.

The time to solve the glitches is always limited and available in short blocks of time
for teachers.

Another problem-solving strategy that Claire described using was letting the students
problem-solve using the manual and helping each other first before asking the teacher
to solve the problem for them. She thought it was as important for the students to
develop problem-solving strategies as it was for the teachers.
We've let the kids figure out the problems and we've watched them help each other
and really that's probably the way it should be. They've been very frustrated and when
their frustration level gets too high we step in and help, but because there's been so
many of them, they've had to figure out their own problems, and we'll direct them to
the manual. Why don't you look up in the manual and see what it says or why don't
you ask Mr. Lang in computer class what he thinks would work?

Pat offered the "800# solution" to solving problems she and Claire were having with a
program that provided tech support to licensed users.

We had just little glitches, not anything specific, just things with the program. We
haven't used it enough to know all of the quirks with the programs, Digital Chisel in
particular, just because it's something brand new, we haven't used it before, but that's
where the 800 number to the Digital Chisel company has helped so much.

Pat and Claire aren't hesitant about asking for help to solve a problem faster to get
their technology lessons up and running again.

Sometimes it is difficult for teachers to get outside help due to time schedules.
Teachers need access to a phone to call for tech support. The time that the tech support
is available needs to correspond with the teacher's planning time or their personal time
when they have time to work on the problem. The teacher might need help from a
media specialist or a building level computer support person and the time for help has
to be scheduled when both are available without students, parent meetings, or other
duties that fall within the school day. A simple problem might hold up a teacher for
several days because of the complexity of scheduling time to get help.

Claire described the complexity of coordinating schedules to get help with technology
problems.

And it takes a lot of working with other people and trying to coordinate schedules,
like we have to find a time that Steve has free to help us figure out how we're going to
do some things in the media center. We have to find time when Bill's free, the
computer teacher, so he can help us learn, show us what he's taught the kids
using Color It which we decided we needed to use for this presentation. And then we
also have to schedule time with Betty and her assistant because sometimes there's
problems with the file server and what we're allowed and not allowed to do. Working
with all the materials that the district has so I mean it just is hunting down people and
problem solving all the time and that takes time.

Scheduling time to get help is further complicated by the location of the support staff
for the teachers. Pat and Claire worked in the building which houses the computer
coordinator for the school district. Amy and Lynne felt that the media specialist who
was responsible for technology support at the building level had limited knowledge
and usually asked the band teacher instead. To get help from the district technology
coordinator, they would have to wait until she had time to come over to their building
if it was something that couldn't be answered over the phone. Their district is
implementing a network management application that will let tech support people
troubleshoot machines and systems from a remote location once everything is on the
network. This might be a source of support for Amy and Lynne sometime during the
next school year. Eddie has a technology coordinator in his building, but he has
acquired troubleshooting knowledge and provides tech support to other teachers in his
building and seems to only be held up by the glitches that require a budget to fix.

Glitches are not anticipated and so it is very difficult to learn the necessary
information prior to the glitch's appearance. The teachers view these as learning
experiences and try to remember the solutions acquiring their own remedies, tips and
tricks in order to use technology in the classroom. In some instances, the glitches are
created by outsiders and the teachers are left to work through them until they learn or
figure out a workable solution to the problem they didn't create.

Beyond Their Control


Amy described an ongoing battle with glitches she was experiencing during the school
year. In preparation to network the district's computers at the building levels, the
school district placed AtEase, a file management application, and networked versions
of software on her machine which would not be on a network until the next school
year.

This took a lot of memory for a computer that isn't networked yet, but the real
problems came when we tried to use the computers with the students. We were denied
access to our files, to the projects the kids were working on and she installed the
Hyperstudio Player on my computer instead of Hyperstudio. Of course it wouldn't
work, but when I tried to tell the media specialist that she had the wrong thing on my
computer she didn't believe me and said it should still work. (Just doesn't know
enough about what she is doing yet.) We have been without working computers for
almost the whole month of October. The problem has been solved by giving a few of
us open access to the computers.

Later in the school year, Amy sent an e-mail message, complete with an emoticon,
expressing continued frustration with the file management program that had been
installed on her machine months earlier.
We didn't get very far because At-Ease had us locked out of all graphics except those
on HyperStudio. TOO bad because there was a neat calendar on Claris that would be
nice to use. I think we will create this at home. WE HATE AT EASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

At the end of the school year, the file management software was still a source of
frustration for Amy. The file management software forced students to save to floppy
disks or a student folder. Amy and Lynne had discussed how best to work around the
new software to have their students use the computers for technology projects like
they had in past years. Amy and Lynne described losing student projects on the floppy
disks during a planning session I was observing.

Amy: This is the worst year we've ever had trouble...and this is the first year we've
ever really had to work off disks.

Lynne: Yes, because we've always worked off the hard drive before.

Amy: And she doesn't want us working off the hard drive this year...so, but it's really
been frustrating...for the kids because they get something all done and they're ready
and then they want to add one more thing and it's like it's just too much for that disk.

The lost projects were very stressful to Amy. She did not have much confidence in the
stability of the projects that had survived and did not want to have the students present
the projects to their parents like they had done in previous years. Before leaving the
planning observation, I looked at the file management program on their machines
while they explained their understanding of it to me. I had never worked with the
program before, but was able to show them how to create folders to organize their
files inside the program and some strategies for moving files to and from those
folders. In a very short time, it was obvious to me that they hadn't had much training
in how to use the file management software and they were learning it as they worked
with it and encountered problems.

I observed another glitch episode during Claire's planning time which she was using
to learn how to run the scanner in the media center. The computer teacher and media
specialist were showing Claire how to scan images, compress the files, and save them
to the right file format for the application she wanted to use them in. The steps in this
process were complicated by the fact that there was not a large amount of memory on
the computer connected to the scanner and involved quitting the scanning application
to use the image processing application. After watching the confusion of all the steps
and the amount of time it was requiring waiting for each application to start up, I
offered a suggestion which would have made the process easier, and then I
encountered a glitch I hadn't anticipated.
The glitch was a function of the software and the scenario of solving it provided
insight to the teachers' troubleshooting experiences. I was familiar with the software
application that was purchased bundled with the scanner, but assuming that it would
work normally with the scanner was the problem. There was no documentation with
the bundled software, which is typical. The "Read Me" and help files didn't address
the problem we were having. After an extra hour of troubleshooting, and attempts
from the building tech coordinator to solve the problem, I felt responsible to solve the
problem for the teachers. I sent e-mail to the help mail at the software company's web
site. After several days without a response, I went back to the web site again and
found the company's tech support number and called to try and get help with the
problem.

The software was an edition that had limited functions in it even though it was
bundled with the scanner. The function of using it with the scanner, which was the
suggestion I made to the teachers to save them time and headaches, was one of the
functions that was disabled in this limited version. I called the teachers with the
information and they were back to using two applications and waiting for each to shut
down and start up every time they were using the scanner. The last twist to this glitch
story occurred three weeks later. I finally received an e-mail from the tech support
mail and that response was totally different from the one I had received from the tech
support person on the phone from the same company. I observed first hand the
complexity of and the time it takes to problem-solve glitches teachers encounter. A
final consideration is that I had more time to pursue and work on the problem than the
teachers who must be ready for students when the next bell rings. It still took me
about seven days to get an answer to the problem and I was unable to actually solve it
regardless of the technical knowledge I had because of factors that were beyond my
control.

After participating in one of the teacher's glitch battles first hand, I wanted to know
how the teachers felt about the glitches they battle and what role they have for
teachers. Lynne explained she feels glitches are learning experiences.

I guess I look on it as a glitch. It's something that happens and a lot of times it's maybe
not even the technology itself, it's the person behind it trying to do it and I guess I do
get frustrated at the moment. Once I figure it out, I feel like I've accomplished
something and I feel good about it. There are times if it's a real frustrating problem
that I can't get solved very quickly, that I tend to say, "Is this really worth doing this?"
And almost feel like giving up because I just don't have the time to deal with it. I think
they've made it a lot easier not to make those errors, and I think the glitches will
become less frequent. I think there will always be what we call glitches, but yet
they're just learning opportunities for us.
Lynne also said that the glitches might also determine how often she would try to do a
particular activity that she encountered the problem with.

If it's something that is easily worked out, then I just...I go on. If it's something that
has taken me hours and it's not something I do real often, I'm probably less likely to
even try it again unless it's really laid out and I find the answer and I think, "Oh, one
of those ah ha's, this was so easy, it shouldn't have taken me forever." Then I'll use it
again if I know a short quick easy way out of the problem.

Amy described her experience of dealing with a glitch and how she thought other
teachers might be affected by glitches.

First of all I spent what seemed like days trying to figure out what was happening and
I couldn't figure it out. We kind of quit using the computer for a couple months
because...and it was because of my frustration not because the students didn't want to
work on it, but I didn't know why it was happening or what to do to solve it.

Amy noted that other teachers might stop using technology when they encountered a
glitch that they were not able to solve.

It probably could have made someone give up on technology. I mean, I did for a short
time because I was so frustrated. I did go back to it, to that particular problem area we
were working on. I did go back because I thought it was important for the kids to
finish what they'd started, but I don't think I'd give up on technology completely. I
mean, I don't think I would say, "I just won't use it anymore," but I bet some people
might. They might say, "Well this happened, forget it."

Claire agreed with Amy that glitches might stop some teachers from using technology
in their classroom.

I think that they could probably discourage enough teachers to stop using it. I know
that there are some teachers after they've been in the lab a day with us would say it's
not worth the headaches.

Claire feels that although the problems are frustrating, she has made progress in being
able to deal with some of the glitches that come up in the classroom.

It's frustrating. And there's a problem everyday or we can't get the scanner to work the
way we want it to or every time you turn around there's a problem, but then it's a
wonderful way for kids to become problem-solvers. I have some control because I've
gotten a little bit better at problem-solving myself and I finally have realized that
those manuals do kind of help you figure out the basics.
Pat viewed glitches as "Just one more headache." She thought the positive aspect of
problem-solving through the glitches was learning the software more thoroughly. The
teachers seem to take the glitches in stride even though they can be a frustrating part
of using technology in the classroom.

Finally, I asked the teachers if they thought that technology glitches would ever be
eliminated to make using technology in the classroom easier for teachers. The teachers
thought glitches would be something they would always deal with when using
technology. Amy offered her view.

You'll always have that problem, no matter what you're using, whether you're on the
Internet or you have conflicts between the software you've loaded. It seems like I'm
always trying to find why something isn't working right. I think the glitches will
always be with us.

Pat feels that there are always glitches in any activity that is creative beyond
traditional lecture methods and that she will get better at solving the problems she
encounters.

The glitches are always going to be there. That's going to be there in anything, I think,
that you do if you're creative and just don't lecture all the time. Usually I can figure
them out if I have enough time. A lot of times we have to rely on someone else, so
you're pretty out of control a lot of the times. It just depends on the situation. I think
with more practice, I'll get a lot better and maybe I'll have a lot more control than I
have now.

Lynne agrees that the glitches will always be there, but she sees things improving in
the future.

I do see the software coming out which will give you more messages on screen,
guiding you through that so that you don't make those mistakes and get yourself into
as many holes as you used to. But so initially, I said, yes, I see them, but I do see them
less frequently.

Eddie summarized the role that unexpected glitches have for teachers using
technology in the classroom.

It would be the same as if all of a sudden you didn't have copies for the day or
somebody all of a sudden came across a textbook that didn't have a page printed in it.
You just deal with it. It's just part of the game. You decide to use technology; well you
also decide to deal with the problems at the same time. It is just trial and error, trial
and error. Process of teaching? It is just part of the game. You mess with the bull, you
get the horn sometimes. You just stay away from the horns as much as you can.

While technology glitches and troubleshooting can be frustrating to teachers in the


classroom, the problems haven't discouraged these teachers from using technology for
instruction. Overall, they remain confident and optimistic about conquering or at least
dealing with the technology problems that do arise.

VII. Summary and Discussion


The research presented here was conducted to better understand teachers' perceptions
of the process they go through to integrate technology into their teaching. It is
important to understand the issues of this integration process that teachers face as they
begin using technology in their classrooms. The study examined one grand tour
question and three sub-questions.

Grand tour question:

How do the teachers perceive the process of designing lessons and using technology
in their classrooms to achieve instructional objectives?

Sub-questions:

What types of limitations or constraints do teachers perceive in their attempts to


incorporate technology into classroom lessons?

What types of teaching strategies or instructional methods are used when


teachers perceive a lesson using instructional technology to be effective?

What forms of support do teachers perceive as being necessary to aid them in


incorporating technology into their teaching?

The research study was designed as a qualitative descriptive case study. The
discussion and observations identified here are relative to the case described in the
research study.

Summary
A description of each teacher as a computer user was provided to establish the context
for the teachers' computer experience and their access to machines. Descriptions of
their access at home and school were included to explain the settings in which the
teachers formed their perceptions. The teachers were also asked to describe how they
acquired their technology skills and how they learn new technology skills. While
asking teachers to explain how they actually use technology in their classrooms, the
planning process, and the time needed to plan became additional issues to investigate.
And finally, I explored how teachers deal with the glitches and problem-solving that is
involved with using computers in the classroom. The data were collected through a
variety of qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews, e-mail, and
observations of the settings the teacher worked in.

Discussion
Time and access issues seemed to dominate the teachers' descriptions and responses
throughout this research. The majority of responses, descriptions, and information
collected usually had a reference to either time or access or both. These findings are
consistent with findings from existing research which identifies time and access as
critical factors in determining whether teachers use technology in their instruction or
not (Chin & Hortin, 1993; Denk, Martin & Sarangarm, 1993; Schrum, 1995; Wang &
Chan, 1995). It seemed important to me to break these issues down farther to try and
understand why these issues dominated the responses from the teachers.

There are many different tasks which require time to do or master before a teacher can
use technology in the classroom. The types of time might include time to plan lessons,
time to learn how to use the equipment or application, and time to solve the problems
encountered. It is my perspective that just saying there was "not enough time" was not
a satisfactory explanation to understand the case. During the data collection, I decided
to observe the planning periods of the teachers because this was the limited school
time that they had to learn or develop technology lessons for the classroom.

The observations of planning periods turned into a very valuable source of data from
the teachers. People who want to understand or learn how to produce a play could not
possibly understand the entire process by only attending the performances. While the
classroom observations were an important piece of the puzzle, going behind the
scenes to observe the planning time was much more important to understanding what
the teachers were experiencing. The following themes appear to be most essential in
understanding how teachers perceive the process of integrating technology into their
teaching.

Access Issues
The access issues are related to both home and school. Access at school that is limited
is not enough to convince teachers to invest time and energy in learning how to teach
with technology because it is not a reliable access for them. Shared equipment and
labs rarely provide motivation for the teachers to learn new skills and plan technology
lessons. Teachers will rarely spend the additional time to plan a technology lesson if
they are not assured that they will have access to a machine or machines on the day
and time when they need them. These teachers reported having little interest in
learning about technology and planning lessons until they actually had a machine in
their classroom. The barriers of working with someone else's equipment or
environment has been discussed in existing literature (Denk, Martin & Sarangarm,
1993).

The teachers were more inclined to plan a teaching strategy that adapted to a limited
number of computers that were always available as opposed to a more desirable
strategy that was dependent on the availability of scheduling a lab or shared
equipment. In the settings that Eddie, Pat, and Claire teach in, the complexity of
matching schedules of lessons and labs has not been a problem very often because
they are early adopters and other teachers are not competing with them for time in the
labs.

Home access was identified as very important to the teachers as part of the process of
integrating technology into their teaching. It allowed them to learn new skills,
troubleshoot, review materials, do their grades, and teacher productivity tasks at their
convenience. Home access to a computer was important because the teachers did not
usually have time during the school day to work on new projects. Even though time at
home to work is also limited, it provided them with additional opportunities to spend
time on the computer. The teachers also felt they were more inclined to work at home
on the machine in the evenings and on weekends than return to school during those
times to work on a machine there. Home access was important enough to these
teachers that they had invested in not one, but at least two home computers, with one
teacher upgrading to her third machine. All five of these teachers upgraded their
personal home machines during 1996, citing processor speed, memory, and Internet
access as the primary reasons to upgrade.

Time Issues
The issue of time in the process of integrating technology into teaching is very
complex. There are a number of issues that the teachers explained that all seem to boil
down to time. Time can be used as an excuse for not starting or doing a task, however,
these teachers were all incorporating and working on advancing their use of
technology in the classroom as opposed to not starting at all. Even though they
identified time as a constraint or limitation, they had all found enough time
somewhere to get started using technology in their classrooms. They would all have
liked more time to work on developing new lessons and technology skills, but the
complexity of finding time had not stopped them from progressing in the process.
From this perspective, it seemed to be necessary to break down the time issue to
investigate why it was so prevalent in the teachers' responses.

Computers can be effective teaching tools in the classroom, however, they are
complex machines and require knowledge and skills to operate them. Knowing how to
operate them and integrate them effectively into a teaching strategy or method
requires an even higher skill level. These skills take time to acquire. The learning
curve is much steeper for a computer than previous educational technology tools. The
overhead projector has an on/off switch and a focus knob with newer models adding a
second bright/brighter switch. Televisions have more switches and settings, however,
once set up, they turn on and off fairly easily without much adjustment required on
start up, not to mention the fact that most people have about 20 years of experience
using TVs when they start using them in the classroom. The VCR has replaced the
16mm film projector in most classroom settings, and even though both of these items
are complex to operate in their own way, they still do not compare with the
complexity of the computer as a teaching tool.

Computers have an on/off switch and from there the complexity grows exponentially.
The computer has an operating system, which might be updated and changed, that the
teacher should have some knowledge about in order to use the machine effectively
and problem-solve small glitches. There are individual applications, each requiring
different knowledge and skills, running under the operating system. Increasingly, it is
common for computers in a school to be connected to a network or LAN which
requires another level of knowledge and skills to use effectively. Hooking up
peripheral equipment such as a display device or a SCSI device such as a scanner or
external drive creates the need for an additional set of skills. All of these numerous
computer skills have exceeded the on/off switch complexity of the overhead projector.
The difficulties in using computers has been cited as a concern for teachers and
workers in existing literature (Croft, 1994; Schofield, 1995; Yeaman, 1993). Given
that some basic computer skills are a prerequisite, the time and experience necessary
to learn the skills becomes an issue.

"Not enough time" is a universal constraint for all types of tasks. And while it is
identified as a constraint in using technology by these teachers, I think it might be
better defined as an issue of "scheduled time" versus simply saying there is "not
enough time." The teaching day is broken into many small blocks of time. In the case
of secondary teachers, one block of time is usually set aside for planning time which
the teacher might be able to use to work on integrating technology. Of course, there
are numerous other things which must be completed during this same time slot in the
teacher's day. Elementary teachers rarely have any planning time in their day at all.
The only school time available is after school duty time which again is taken up with
meetings and the other duties necessary to survive the following day with students.
The teachers have to create and implement the new lessons within the reality of being
prepared for the other classes they must teach when the next school day starts. The
other duties they are required to perform do not stop because the teacher would like to
learn and design an innovative lesson in their classroom.

"Scheduled time" adds complexity to the process of using and learning technology
because teachers have to match their schedules to plan and develop new lessons, as
well as get troubleshooting help when they are stuck. The teacher is ruled by the
schedule during the day and has very little control over his or her time during the
school day. In such a scheduled environment with many things to be done, sitting on
hold, waiting for tech support to solve a problem, is usually not an option. The
teachers may wait several days to get help with a technology problem or question,
even if the tech support people have the same time available in the schedule as the
teacher, due to the numerous impromptu duties that must be performed during the
school day.

It seems that "scheduled time" is a contributing factor in forcing teachers to work at


home or on personal time to integrate technology. The scheduled time issue is not
unique to the school setting. The time teachers have at home is also scheduled around
families and household duties as well. Personal time during the summer was identified
as being valuable (and maybe the teacher's only "unscheduled time") for learning and
designing classroom technology lessons.

The time constraint for teachers using computers is a consistent theme in existing
literature (Cuban, 1993; Marcinkiewicz, 1995). Gallo and Horton (1994) identified the
necessity for uninterrupted time for teachers to become comfortable with using the
Internet. Knupfer (1993) asserts meaningful implementation of computer technology
requires more time; time that is additional beyond the normal teaching day. All of the
teachers in this study put in time after school, on weekends, and during the summer to
acquire, practice and use their technology skills.

Learning By Default
There did not seem to be much "scheduled time" for learning new technology skills.
Amy and Lynne mentioned that their school did provide two days during the year in
which they attended technology inservices and had time to work on developing
technology lessons for the classroom. Pat and Claire said that they had a day and a
half of inservice time to work on technology. Without planned time for learning new
skills and teaching strategies with technology, the teachers are forced to work in their
small blocks of time. This limited amount of time creates a situation where teachers
are often learning technology skills by default rather than by design. Learning by
default occurs on a need-to-know basis. The teacher learns new technology
knowledge and or skills when it is necessary to do so. Claire's example of learning the
desktop publishing program because she had to is an example. She learned the
program as she worked through it and not by design. In addition to learning the
desktop publishing application, Claire also had to learn by problem- solving any
operating system bugs or conflicts that she might have encountered when using the
program on her computer.

The teachers really don't have time to learn a computer operating system or software
application thoroughly prior to using it in the classroom, but rather they learn it as
they work with it or encounter problems. This type of learning is usually slow and
seems to involve various levels of frustration as the teachers work through the glitches
accompanying this type of learning. The rate at which they can work through
problems while learning can be impeded by the "scheduled time" they have to work in
and access to tech support people in their building or district.

Learning by design would be described as taking a course or some sort of guided


instruction to learn. While the teachers have participated in workshops and college
courses, the majority of their learning experiences seem to occur by default as they
work through the process of using the machine. Some of the skills or knowledge they
would be required to learn to use technology in the classroom would not be able to be
anticipated, and therefore, would have to occur as they encountered it.

Another interesting aspect of this issue is the fact that the teachers felt this type of
learning was necessary even though it was not desirable. They felt that they learned
more about technology as they encountered and worked through the problems. They
felt that the "hands-on" time of working with and problem solving was required to
learn how to use the technology. This is interesting in light of considering how best to
design a training or inservice workshop to help teachers who are starting to implement
technology into their teaching. Evans-Andris (1996) addresses the issue of the
necessity of "trial and error" experimentation in the learning process, but feels it
should be directed experimentation versus haphazard experimentation. The teachers in
this study did not have directed experimentation learning, but rather the haphazard
experiences. Perhaps being able to learn by default rather than by design is a
prerequisite for working with technology.

This type of learning is accompanied by a certain amount of frustration, and those


frustrations might be enough to deter some teachers from moving through the process
of integrating technology into their classroom. From the teachers' descriptions, they
were constantly encountering new challenges even when using software applications
they had used previously. Solving glitches can also be complicated by the fact that
teachers rarely have control over a budget or funds if the glitch requires money to
solve. Control software imposed on teachers' machines may create hurdles the
teachers must plan around and work through. The file management software that Amy
battled with all year is an example of this. The teachers might have to work on a
system in which they are not the system administrator and may or may not have
access to control level functions on their machines or even the passwords to get there.
While necessary for security and maintenance, these systems can limit the teacher's
ability to solve their own problems. Sometimes the problems are introduced by factors
outside the classroom and beyond the teachers' control.

The issue of surviving glitches when using technology in the classroom is also related
to the time and learning by default issues. Glitches are not anticipated and so the
teachers have to work through them as they occur. All of the glitches take teacher time
and energy to combat. In some cases, the glitch is solved and the teacher moves on; in
other cases the teacher may be unable to solve the problem and might be held up for a
variable amount of time or even stopped from using technology in the classroom. As
teachers gain experience and skills in using technology for instruction, they begin to
anticipate some of the problems or glitches that might arise when actually using it in
the classroom. However, even the more experienced technology-using teachers in this
study felt that even with the best preparation, there would always be occasional
glitches to solve.

Solving glitches during a technology lesson in the classroom requires teachers to be


able to "think on their feet" and come up with alternatives if the lesson does not go as
planned. Teachers learn this skill through experience and some teachers are better at it
than others. For teachers who like to have everything planned out and know that they
have control over what will happen next, the unanticipated glitches that go along with
using technology in the classroom would be very stressful to them. Schofield (1995)
identifies a relationship between computer competence and authority in the classroom
as a possible barrier to computer use in the classroom. Teachers who associate
knowledge or competence with control would also be less likely to use the
unpredictable machines for instruction.

Somewhat to my surprise, the teachers in this study were generally not put off by the
occurrences of glitches. They felt like they were to be expected. Even though they felt
the glitches could be frustrating, they associated the solving of glitches with learning
more about technology. The teachers also felt there would always be glitches when
using technology and more experience would give them more control over solving
them without help. The teachers also expressed a desire for access to tech support to
eliminate any wasted time in solving the glitches. They wanted to be able to get help
quickly and not waste time trying to solve problems if there was someone else who
could solve it for them faster.

The need for technical support for teachers on-site has been consistently identified as
important to the success of integrating technology into instruction (Becker, 1994;
Knupfer, 1993; Strudler, 1991). On-site support would mean added cost for schools,
however it appears to be an important component in the process of integrating
computers into classrooms (Evans-Andris, 1996).

The First-year Teacher Syndrome


Another aspect of time for implementing technology into the classroom is the
planning time required. Eddie used the analogy to being a first-year teacher because
he was creating new lessons without prior experience of how all of the variables in the
classroom lesson would work out. The other teachers agreed with this analogy from
the aspect of being inexperienced in planning the lessons and the time that the
planning took. They also expressed they often did not know how long a technology
lesson would take to complete in the classroom. This is due to inexperience in
teaching technology lessons.

The new lessons also took time to develop or create any projects that would be used.
The teachers viewed this as a time investment in a project they would be able to use
over again in following years. Considering that schools probably wouldn't be able to
afford to upgrade equipment or software very often, this is probably a realistic
viewpoint for the teachers.

The rate at which these teachers were integrating technology into their curriculum
seemed to be fairly consistent. The pace seemed to be evolutionary in nature and the
teachers would add technology pieces in small amounts. They pointed out that they
also had to survive all of the other time-consuming duties while planning and creating
the new technology lessons. The teachers felt that integrating technology was a
process of years, not months. Their perceptions are consistent with findings in existing
research. Marcinkiewicz (1994) asserts that computer skills are acquired through a
developmental process. The process of acquiring computer skills occurs over a period
of time and is evolutionary in nature (Becker, 1994; Cuban, 1993).

The teachers also stated that having someone to work with helped them in process of
learning and using technology. All of the teachers identified a "partner" that they
worked with to learn skills, troubleshoot, or plan technology lessons. Becker (1994)
found that exemplary computer-using teachers were more likely to be found where
there was collegiality among the teachers using computers.
Using computers in the classroom introduces a lot of variables which might be
unfamiliar to the teacher. I believe that all of the teachers in this study were willing to
take the risks of trying something new. They were very open in describing lesson
plans that hadn't worked exactly the way they had thought they would. Teachers do
not plan or design classroom lessons that they do not think will work. The teachers
spent enough time planning the lesson until they were fairly confident that it would
work with their students. This requires experience and an understanding of the
functionality and limitations of the technology or applications they are going to use in
the classroom.

Understanding the nature of the computer as a teaching tool and the potential impact it
can have is important before teachers are able to envision creative ways to integrate
computers into instruction. Croft (1994) discusses the importance of making sure the
tool user understands the tool well enough to devise innovative uses for it.

The teachers in this research study primarily used computers for student activities.
The students were using the computers to find information, word process, create and
draw, or complete an inquiry assignment. None of the teachers used the computers as
a presentation tool or management tool for lecture information. Amy and Lynne
especially created activities that were based on student productivity projects. The
remaining teachers used computers with students doing a variety of tasks, but the
students were engaged with the activity and not passive. The teachers described
computer lessons as being more student centered and less teacher centered. Existing
literature confirms the shift of instruction from teacher directed to more
individualized, student directed learning when students are using computers in the
classroom (Knupfer, 1993; Ragsdale, 1988; Swan & Mitrani, 1993; Taylor, 1996).

As the teachers learn to control the variables that a computer lesson involves, they
must also be ready to deal with the fact that the computer itself can be unpredictable.
The unpredictability of a computer can be disastrous in a classroom of 30 students.
The teachers usually double plan by having some idea of a back up plan if the
machines go down for this very reason. I believe having control during a technology
lesson can be a critical factor in determining whether teachers will integrate
technology into their classrooms. Gaining some degree of mastery and confidence
over the technology helps teachers use computers effectively in the classroom (Scott,
Cole & Engel, 1992).

It takes time and experience for a teacher to gain enough computer skills to be able to
control all of the potential problems that could occur during a classroom technology
lesson. Teachers are conditioned to be in control of the classroom which consists of a
large number of variables, and when a computer is introduced in the setting it can
reduce the amount of control that the teacher has over the classroom depending on
their technology skill level.

Traditionally, teachers are trained not to relinquish control of the classroom and they
may not feel comfortable using computers with students until they feel they have a
high level of control over the computer as well. While most teachers are good at
thinking on their feet and solving the management problems that come up, this
becomes an even more important skill when using technology in the classroom.
Control comes with experience and proactive problem solving. Eddie and Pat both
expressed confidence in using technology because of the preventative problem solving
they did prior to the lesson.

Conclusion
It is my hope that this descriptive case study will help teachers, administrators, and
professionals working to integrate technology into instructional settings to understand
the issues which accompany this process. As technology tools become more
affordable and educational resources continue to be placed in digital formats, teachers
will need to have command of technology tools as a part of their professional skills
they bring to their classrooms. A better understanding of the process that teachers go
through to incorporate technology into their teaching will benefit not only other
teachers, but also the students who will be learning in those classrooms.

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Appendix A

Interview and Observation Protocols

First Interview Protocol

Teacher: Location:

Grade/Subject: Date/Time:

1. Could you describe your experiences in acquiring technology knowledge and skills.

2. What types of frustrations or limitations do you experience in trying to use


technology in your teaching?

What types of problems or barriers do you experience in integrating technology into


your curriculum?

3. How do you try to overcome these frustrations or limitations?


4. Which types of teaching strategies appear to be most successful when you are using
technology?

How does the instructional design of your lessons change when you are using
technology?

How does classroom management change when you are using technology?

5. How long do you think it will take you to infuse technology into your teaching in
the way you envision it?

6. How is technology changing the way you teach?

7. Describe the ways in which the training at the summer institute helped you in
implementing technology into your teaching?

8. What types of support would help you continue your progress in using technology
in your classroom?

Observation Protocol

Teacher: Location:

Grade/Subject: Date/Time:

Lesson Taught: Number of Students:

Description/diagram of the physical setting:

Description of the classroom lesson: Observer Comments:

Role of students in the


lesson?

Do teachers allow
students to help problem
solve?

Is the teacher working


collaboratively with the
students?

Final Interview Protocol

Teacher: Location:

Grade/Subject: Date/Time:

1. Using technology in your teaching can take additional preparation time and
sometimes be frustrating, so why do you use technology tools in your teaching?

2. How do you feel about the time investment you are making to learn and incorporate
technology into your teaching?

3. What advice would you give to a teacher who has a desire to begin the process of
including technology in their instruction?

4. In what ways might you be different from the teachers who aren't integrating
technology into their instruction at this point?

5. Explain how you decide whether an instructional strategy using technology was
effective or not.

6. Describe your role in the classroom when teaching with technology? Change? Is
that a change for you?

7. It seems that teachers learn about technology as it happens or just in time learning
rather than thorough instructed learning. Why do you agree or disagree with this
statement?

8. How do you think future upgrades of software and hardware will affect your lesson
planning and teaching?

9. Identify the most important factor or factors that will determine whether you
continue to plan for and use technology in your classroom lessons.

10. Please describe an example of a technology problem that you experienced in the
classroom.

How long did it take you to solve it?


Did you need anyone to help you solve it?

11. Technology glitches can be everything from machine problems to just not having
the right cable to connect something. How do you feel about the technology glitches
that you encounter in teaching with technology?

What role do these glitches have in the process of teaching with technology for
teachers?

12. What are your worst fears about this process of incorporating technology into your
teaching?

13. What are your best hopes for this process of incorporating technology into your
teaching?

Appendix B

External Audit Attestation

by

Dana L. Miller, Ph.D.

Appendix C

Informed Consent Form


http://dwb5.unl.edu/Diss/SGay/SGayDiss.html