Pedagogical Ethnotechnography: A Study of the impact of Information Technology as a pedagogical tool on the attitudes of Preservice Social Studies Middle School Teachers
Prince Hycy Bull, North Carolina State University, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
In February 2000, the United States Department of Education realizing that there was a critical need to integrate technology in teacher education programs and teaching, issued this challenge to all higher educational institutions to integrate technology as a pedagogical tool. Purpose of study The purpose of this research is to study the impact of information technology as a pedagogical tool: · On the attitudes, self-efficacy and practices of preservice middle school social studies teachers toward technology information; · To analyze how effectively information technology is integrated and modeled in the course; · To identify factors that enhanced their practices in using information technology. Theoretical framework Two theoretical frameworks guide this study: social cognitive theory and constructivist learning theory. The social cognitive theory states that behavior, cognition and environment co-exist in a reciprocal relationship and thereby influence each other. Self-efficacy is a central theme of social cognitive theory. It states that a person's belief in performing a behavior or a task can lead to the successful completion of the task (Bandura, 1986). The second theoretical framework guiding this research is constructivism. Constructivist theory states that students' experiences, collaboration and self-construction of knowledge is relevant to instruction. According to the National Council for Education Statistics (NCES, 2000), report on teachers' use of technology, for each classroom instructional activity, teachers who reported feeling well prepared or very well prepared were more likely than teachers who reported feeling unprepared to assign students to use various technologies. Teacher Education Programs and Information Technology According to Gunter, Gunter and Wiens (1998), instructors need to strive to light a fire and motivate preservice teachers to understand the influence educational technology can have in their lives and classrooms. In a 1998 survey of 416 Colleges of Education, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 1999) concluded that teacher-preparation programs were not giving preservice teachers the needed training to integrate technology into their teaching. Green (1999) reiterated the view that there was enough evidence to suggest that one of the greatest challenges for college and university faculty was integrating technology into their instruction. Social Studies and Information Technology The teaching of social studies is no exception to the limited use of information technology in instruction. It was this limited use of information technology in social studies that led Martorella (1997) to assert that, " technology is a sleeping giant in the social studies curriculum" (p.511). If technology is a "sleeping giant," then, who is going to wake the sleeping giant and how effective will the giant be upon waking? This researcher argues that part of the answer to the first question can be found in the curriculum of teacher education programs and the answer to the second half of the question depends on how effectively technology-trained preservice teachers integrate technology on becoming In-service teachers. According to White (1999), the integration of technology in social studies provides opportunities to empower students and teachers and facilitates a constructivist approach. The traditional approach to social studies has been teacher centered with lecturing, reading texts, and taking tests. The transformative constructivist approach, as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (1994), stressed the importance of technology integration at all levels of social studies education by focusing on teacher education programs as a starting point. Preservice Social Studies Teachers and Information Technology According to the research on effective social studies teaching, White (1999) stated that effective teaching and learning takes place when preservice social studies methods courses use the transformative approach. According to White, the transformative approach reflected the constructivist approach to teaching and learning, which included modeling and applying, reflecting, collaboration (Vannatta and Beyerbach, 2000), and developing an interactive community of learners (White, 1999; NCSS, 1994). The goal of every teacher education program and every methods course in social studies in integrating technology is to integrate technology within the curriculum rather than teach it in isolation (Mason et al. 2001). According to Halpin (1999), the integration of technology across the teacher education curriculum provides preservice teachers with an explanatory and discovery oriented environment enhancing their abilities to use different computer applications for instructional purpose. Halpin states that the use of technology facilitates a problem-solving environment, a tenet of constructivist theory, with the goal to motivate students to seek information and solve problems. Keiper, Harwood and Larson (2000) state that integration of technology-enabled teaching and learning enhances social studies instruction in K-12 classrooms and makes lessons exciting for the teacher and the students. According to Partee (1996), the integration of electronic communication in teacher education programs not only provided an alternate environment but also extended the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Electronic communication through email (Hall, 1993) and Newsgroups (Lempert, 1995) provided alternate communication for classroom participation and peer support during student teaching. Research Questions Research questions and hypotheses will be used to understand the impact of technology information as a pedagogical tool on the attitudes, self-efficacy and practices of preservice middle school social studies teachers. 1. How effectively is technology integrated in the middle school social studies methods course? · What is the effect of using electronic forum as a pedagogical tool on the attitudes of preservice teachers towards information technology? · What is the effect of using synchronous e-chat as a pedagogical tool on the attitudes of preservice teachers towards information technology? · What is the effect of using asynchronous email/listserv as a pedagogical tool on the attitudes of preservice teachers towards information technology? · What is the effect of using the Internet as a pedagogical tool on the attitudes of preservice teachers towards information technology? 2. What are the pretest and posttest attitudes of preservice middle school social studies teachers toward technology information (Electronic mail, WWW, Multimedia, Teacher productivity and student productivity) in the social studies methods course? Methodology Participants 1. Participants are 10 middle school social studies preservice teachers currently enrolled in a social studies methods course at a large research based southeastern university. Participants were purposefully selected for this study. WebCT is used in this research as the web-based pedagogical medium guiding information technology integration in the course. Web CT is a web-based flexible, integrated pedagogical tool designed to foster inquiry, encourage discourse and inspire collaboration between instructor and students, and students and students. Pedagogical ethnotechnography This research employs the use of a "pedagogical ethnotechnography" method of research developed by this researcher. This researcher defines a "pedagogical ethnotechnography" method as a study of technology as a pedagogical tool as experienced by stakeholders- students, teachers, or school administrators - within an educational realm with an empirical analytic paradigm, within a defined boundary set by the empirical analytic paradigm. Pedagogical ethnotechnography utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative Analysis of Data 1. The qualitative data is collected through forum, email, and e-chat databases, classroom observations and group interviews. The qualitative data will be coded and analyzed using Glaser's (1978) constant comparative methods. Although the constant comparative method is presented as a series of steps, the process when practically applied is non-linear, goes on all at once and the analysis keeps doubling back to more data collection and coding, (Brogdan and Bilken, 1998). Quantitative Analysis of Data The Independent variable is the use of information technology through WebCT to positively influence student's attitude towards information technology as a pedagogical tool. The dependent variable is students' attitude scores of Teachers' attitudes Towards information-Technology Scale (TAT). A t-test of independent samples will be conducted for the five part index - Electronic mail, WWW, Multimedia, Teacher productivity and student productivity - means (pre and post test) at the alpha level equal to .05 to test for a significant attitude towards information technology as a pedagogical tool. According to Knezek and Christensen (1998), the internal consistency reliability estimates for the five scales on the TAT - Electronic mail, WWW, Multimedia, Teacher productivity and student productivity - range from .93 to .96. Preliminary findings Initial review of data show that there is some positive attitude by preservice teachers toward information technology as a pedagogical tool, especially in the teaching of middle school social studies: · Overall, students feel that technology can enhance lessons but there are inherent dangers in using technology in instruction, such as supervision of students. · Students also recognized that use of technology as a pedagogical tool is a collaborative effort in which teachers and students learn from each other. · Students are also concerned about the effects of the "digital divide" on student's learning outcome outside of the school. The initial findings from the qualitative analysis seem to be leading to positive preservice teachers attitudes toward technology information as a pedagogical tool.
Bull, P.H. (2002). Pedagogical Ethnotechnography: A Study of the impact of Information Technology as a pedagogical tool on the attitudes of Preservice Social Studies Middle School Teachers. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2172-2173). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).