Perceptions and Usage of an Online System in a Gifted and Talented Program
Mary Ellen Fanning, Walden University, United States
Walden University . Awarded
Technology is often mentioned as the solution to educational challenges, and new computer programs are marketed to meet perceived educational needs. However, technology raises questions relating to relevance, value, and usage. The study's purpose was to examine the adoption and implementation of technology in the Renzulli Learning online program in an elementary gifted pullout program. The wide range of abilities, learning styles, interests, and backgrounds of students in gifted programs demands a high degree of differentiation, and technology may be an effective means to meet these needs. The research questions addressed the perceptions of Renzulli Learning by teachers and students and how these were reflected in usage levels. Davis' technology acceptance model provided the study's conceptual basis. This model examines the adoption and use of new technology as a reflection of user perceptions of usefulness and ease of use. A mixed methods approach was used. Survey responses were analyzed for students and teachers using t tests and descriptive data. Qualitative data from focus group interviews of students and teachers were analyzed for common themes of attitudes and usage. Qualitative results indicated that teachers and students shared a positive perception of Renzulli Learning. Quantitative results revealed differences in attitudes and use of the program among teachers and between teachers and students. The study provided data to guide future local program development. Positive social change implications include the effective integration of technology in classrooms to enhance students' learning, teacher preparation, in service training, and strengthening the perceptions of educators, students, and stakeholders regarding the relevance of technology in educational environments.
Fanning, M.E. Perceptions and Usage of an Online System in a Gifted and Talented Program. Ph.D. thesis, Walden University.
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