CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Integrating Computers into The Classroom: Combining Workshops, Online Learning, and Mentorship to Train Teachers

Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

Computer technology is rapidly becoming a necessary component of school curricula as a result of societal dependence upon computers. Unfortunately, classroom application is disturbingly lacking. An extremely low percentage of schoolteachers feel comfortable using computers as an instructional classroom tool. Thus, school systems are faced with the daunting task of training teachers to use computers for instruction. Unfortunately, conventional training methods, which require teachers to sit in workshops and magically transform the experience into classroom practice, have proven unsuccessful. More effective results can be obtained with ongoing professional development through the use of online delivery of content supported by peer mentors.

In order to effectively improve computer technology integration it the classroom, a program was developed that supported teachers in such a way as to foster practical application. Peer mentorship, workshops, and Web-based training have individually proven somewhat effective with improving computer use in the classroom. However, each solution has several deficiencies that can be compensated by the others. A combination of mentors, workshops, and online training examined during this study appeared to significantly improve the quality and instance of technology integration in the classroom. The development of such a training program was accomplished through a process of criteria development and validation that included representatives of all stakeholders in the process. In order to codify a combined mentor, workshop, and online technology-training program, a procedural manual was developed. A pilot study was then conducted that tested the outlined program.

The procedures outlined in the manual for a combined program consisting of Web-based training, workshops, and mentorship appeared to enhance both the instance and quality of technology integration in the classroom as a result of the pilot study. To determine the success of such procedures, the Kirkpatrick model of program evaluation was applied. A comparison was made between scores on both a pre and post technology skills assessment of all teachers, which illustrated a statistically significant increase in teachers' self-perception of their computer skills. Participatory and achievement data was also examined with the use of the online training system, further underscoring the success of the program as 139 out of 149 K-8 teachers (93.29%) successfully completed the entire program by producing a technology related product that was integrated into the classroom. Finally, a formative questionnaire of mentors and a summative survey of all teachers elicited positive teacher satisfaction with the program and also illustrated the improved extent to which technology was actually implemented and improved.

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