Sunday, October 5, 2014

Article Review #3-Teachers' Use of Technology: Lessons Learned from the Teacher Education Program to the Classroom

Wright, V.H., & Wilson, E.K. (2011). Teachers’ Use of Technology: Lessons Learned from the Teacher Education Program to the Classroom. SRATE Journal, 20(2), 48-60.

Hooper, S., & Rieber, L.P. (1999). Teaching, instruction, and technology. In A.C. Ornstein & L.S. Behar-Horenstein (Eds.), Contemporary issues in curriculum (pp.252-264). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Article #3 Review
                The purpose of the study, done by Wilson and Wright (2011), was to “examine teacher use of technology over a period of time following initial certification and completion of teacher education programs” (p. 49).  A previous study done by Hooper and Rieber (1999) described the five phases of teachers’ use of technology: familiarization, utilization, integration, reorientation, and evolution. “The five stages are defined as: 1) Familiarization, learning the “how-tos” of using technology, 2) Utilization, trying the technology, but will not miss it if taken away, 3) Integration, using technology for certain tasks; designated uses, 4) Reorientation, using technology for more than delivery of content; focus is more on student learning and, 5) Evolution, continuing to evolve, adapting and integrating technology” (Wilson and Wright, 49).  Wilson and Wright (2011) argued that most teachers do not progress past the utilization stage, where they can begin to use technology seamlessly in their classroom.
                This study looked at ten teachers, 8 male and 2 female, who were mostly in their fifth year of teaching.  The ten teachers were teaching at the middle and high school level in the southeastern portion of the United States (Wilson & Wright 2011).  Of the 10 teachers, 5 were teaching at schools with 40% or more of the students classified as low socio-economic status.             
These teachers were purposely chosen for this study because the researchers had been monitoring them for many years prior to the start of this study.  During the student teaching time frame, all participants were required to develop and implement technology in their classrooms.  All participants had taken a teacher education program, “in which technology was seen as a foundation” (p. 50). The teachers had many opportunities to see and learn from technology best practices.  Wilson and Wright (2011) had covered all of their bases when it came to professional development for the technology tools available to each teacher. 
                Based on interviews and observations done by the researchers, and surveys and reflections competed by the participants, it was found that all ten teachers were at the utilization phase of technology (Wilson and Wright 2011).  The researchers did not find enough data to support technology integration.  However, as a follow up, the researchers caught up with all ten teachers 5 years after the study was completed.  Five of the ten teachers reported being in the integration phase, three in the reorientation phase, and one in the evolution phase of technology (Wilson and Wright 2011).

                I have to admit I was surprised by the results of this study.  I never thought that all ten teachers would be in the utilization phase after all of the course work they had to complete regarding technology.  I took a closer look at the reasons each participant gave for their level of technology in their classrooms.  One of the teachers, Steve, explained that he was limited in his social studies class because of tests.  He also stated that he felt pressured to meet the requirements of the end-of-year tests and therefore found it harder to incorporate technology.  I feel like both of these reasons are why so many teachers are hesitant to jump into using technology.  Sometimes it’s not that teachers are intimidated by the technology tools, but rather just don’t have the time to add another item to their list of “must-dos.”  I myself already feel the pressure of PARCC and our 8th grade placement tests, so how am I supposed to make room for learning and incorporating new technology into my classroom.  But in the end, it comes down to that important key idea, that technology should not incorporated just to use it but rather just to drive the learning skills already in place.