Technology as an invitation to change: A study of a veteran teacher's passage
Peggy S. Buffington, Purdue University, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, Purdue University . Awarded
This purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences of one first grade teacher engaged in using technology to enhance opportunities for student learning. Field notes, interview data, artifacts, and knowledge gleaned from the various perspectives offered by the participant in this study were triangulated to generate a description of the nature of the technology integration in a first grade classroom.
The teacher used technology to take her students as far as they could go through an individualized approach. In this environment, students actively interacted with motivating, challenging materials, often working collaboratively with peers, while the teacher varied her actions to meet students' strengths and weaknesses. The teacher observed systematic evidence that the kinds of learning that occurred using technology (i.e., the focus on reading and writing, problem solving, and inquiry- and discovery based learning) resulted in the desired kinds of benefits in student competencies.
The interpretation revealed that the teacher's technology integration patterns and change were defined by a combination of factors that were present at the same time and over time. Those factors included: the occasion to use technology, supportive leadership, rich technology resources, the provision of professional growth opportunities, and instructional vision to integrate technology.
The crucial factor that became apparent was self-confrontation. This confrontation triggered a rethinking of curricular and instructional efforts in order to promote quality and equality for all students. This was the cornerstone of change and restructuring; it implied a systematic questioning of current instructional practices and a willingness to modify—even, in some cases, to eliminate—basic tenets about what learning is and how it can be promoted for all students.
This teacher saw the potential the computer offered as an agent of change to (a) equalize power among all classroom participants; (b) place the responsibility for learning more clearly on the learners' shoulders; (c) open doors to new resources available through software and the Internet, and (d) redefine what it means to learn.
Buffington, P.S. Technology as an invitation to change: A study of a veteran teacher's passage. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Purdue University.
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