CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

An Assessment of the Portfolio-based Technology Requirement for Preservice Teachers in North Carolina

Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

Computer technology is gaining a foothold in education in the United States. The federal government, state education agencies, and local school systems have invested millions of dollars in wiring schools for the Internet as well as placing computer technology in the classroom. However, recent research indicates that teachers are not being prepared to use computer technology in the classroom.

The goal of this dissertation was to evaluate the effectiveness of a portfolio-based technology requirement issued by the North Carolina Board of Education for initial licensure for preservice teachers who have graduated from the state's Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) beginning in 1999. Two questions guided the research: The first was "What is the perception of teachers now in the classroom as to how effective the portfolio requirement was in preparing them in regard to the Advanced Competencies?" The second was "If teachers do not believe that the portfolio requirement prepared them in regard to the Advanced Competencies, why not?" The research was comprised of a study conducted by surveying teachers in the North Carolina public school system regarding their perception as to how well the portfolio requirement prepared them to use technology in the classroom. Interviews were conducted to confirm and expand the findings of the survey.

Notification of the survey was sent to each of the principals in the 2,350 public schools in the state of North Carolina. The principal in each school was asked to invite any teacher in that school who graduated from a North Carolina IHE from 1999 through 2002 to participate in the study by filling out the survey. There were 260 qualified responses that met the criteria for the study. The data from the qualified surveys were placed in a spreadsheet to facilitate analysis. In order to facilitate the analysis of the data, the "very satisfied" and the "satisfied" responses were gathered together into a "satisfied group", and the "dissatisfied" and "very dissatisfied" responses were gathered together into a "dissatisfied group." These two groups were then expressed as a percentage of the whole. It was hypothesized that a majority of the teachers who graduated since 1999 from North Carolina IHEs would respond that they were at least satisfied with how well the portfolio requirement prepared them in each of the 24 North Carolina Advanced Technology Competencies for Educators. The hypotheses were supported for 21 of the competencies. Results were inconclusive with two competencies: one stated that the teacher was to know the "the NC Computer Skills Assessment" and the other stated that the teacher was to know the "resources available including satellite, cable, wireless, and lTFS (Instructional Television Fixed Service)." The hypothesis was not supported for one competency that stated the teachers be prepared to "use media and technology to support learning for children whose primary language is not English." It was also hypothesized that a majority of the teachers would respond that they were at least satisfied with how well the portfolio requirement prepared them in each of the five divisions of the North Carolina Advanced Technology Competencies for Educators. The hypotheses were supported for all divisions.

It was hypothesized that a majority of the teachers would respond that they were at least satisfied with how well the portfolio requirement prepared them in the North Carolina Advanced Technology Competencies for Educators as a whole. The hypothesis was supported for the Advanced Competencies as a whole. Finally, it was hypothesized that if a majority of the teachers who responded that they were less than satisfied with how well the portfolio requirement prepared them in the North Carolina Advanced Technology Competencies, the cause stated would be a combination of a lack of training in the classroom and opportunity in the student teacher experience. Interviews revealed that the reasons given for the lack of preparation for only applicable competency mentioned above centered on the lack of funding, personnel, and attention given to the needs of English as a Second Language (ESL) students during the teacher's college classes. Also, the lack of opportunities to work with ESL students during the student teaching experience seemed to exacerbate the problem. Therefore, this hypothesis was supported.

The findings of this study will contribute to the effectiveness of initiatives that have been implemented across the country in order to properly prepare teachers to use computers in instruction. The portfolio requirement of the North Carolina School Board is one such initiative. A great deal of time and effort is being placed in the development and assessment of the technology portfolios that were the concentration of this study. Therefore, the data will serve as a baseline for future studies regarding the effectiveness of the portfolio requirement, and will aid in giving insight as to the future direction of the portfolio process.

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