CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Laurie P Dringus

Committee Member

Steven Terrell

Committee Member

Martha M Snyder

Abstract

The study surveyed a sample of K-12 teachers who had used assistive technology (AT) in the classroom to determine answers to five research questions. These were, (1) why the teachers adopted AT, (2) their attitudes and perceptions about its value, (3) challenges they have experienced in adopting AT, (4) whether they have discontinued or decreased use of AT, and, if so, (5) the factors that led to this result.

The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods. For the quantitative aspect, an online survey instrument was developed to answer five research questions. Participants were teachers who had used AT in the classroom and came from 19 Georgia school districts whose superintendents granted permission for them to participate and whose assistant technology coordinators agreed to inform teachers in their districts' schools of the study. A total of 174 teachers completed the online survey. Of these, 52 agreed to be interviewed by telephone by the researcher, and 10 of those were randomly selected to be interviewed. Telephone interviews were audio recorded with the interviewee's permission, then transcribed by the researcher.

Analysis of quantitative results included factor analysis of replies to Likert-scaled items, compilation of frequency of responses, and determination of means for Likert items. For interview responses, qualitative methods were used to determine any themes in participants' replies.

It was found that (1) the most prevalent reason teachers initially used AT is that they perceived that the technology has value for their students, (2) the teachers had a mostly positive attitude toward the value of AT, (3) most of the teachers reported needing more training in AT, (4) almost half felt that time constraints affected their use of AT, (5) about one-third of online responders and 9 of 10 interviewees agreed that technical problems affected their use of AT, and (6) less than half of online participants perceived that they had adequate AT support. It was also found that most of the teachers had neither decreased nor discontinued use of AT during the 2008-2009 school year. Reasons cited by those who had decreased or discontinued use included time constraints, technical problems, lack of training, and lack of support.

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