CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

An Investigation of the Relationships Between Characteristics of Teachers and Their Attitudes Toward Technology Integration in Their Courses

Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

Technology use is permeating the educational arena and computers and computer-related technologies are rapidly becoming vital instructional tools in many schools. However, for the vast majority of schools, the research shows that technology integration into the curriculum has not yet become a reality. Research has shown that teachers' beliefs and attitudes effect their use of technology in the classroom. Since teachers' negative attitudes toward technology can have a detrimental effect on technology infusion, it is important to collect data about teachers' attitudes and opinions toward technology.

In this study, the goal of the· researcher was to assess teachers' attitudes toward computers and technology integration in the classroom and to analyze the relationships between the independent variables (teachers' personal characteristics: gender, teaching experience, ethnicity, and computer experience). The sample (n=255) was randomly selected from teachers in three secondary, public schools in Chicago. The subjects completed the Computer Attitude Scale (CAS) by C. P. Gressard and B. H. Loyd (1986), to assess attitudes toward computers and a self-report questionnaire, to assess teachers' demographic characteristics. The data were analyzed, using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics (multiple regression). All statistical analyses used the .05 level of significance. An observation of the cumulative frequency of scores revealed that more than 90% of the responding teachers had a total computer attitude score above the neutral score of 100. The results of the study suggested that, as a group, the secondary, public school teachers surveyed have positive attitudes toward computers. The multiple regression statistic, R (.497), was statistically significant at the .05 level of confidence for n = 255 (Schuessler, 1971). This indicated that there is a substantial correlation among the various factors involved in the study.

At 25% common variance, the linear combination of all variables explained a significant amount of the variation in computer attitude. The results of the study suggested that only two of the IVs (independent variables), ethnicity and computer experience contributed significantly to prediction of computer attitudes among the teachers surveyed. Computer experience was the best predictor of attitude, followed by ethnicity. Gender and teaching experience were not significant predictors. The results underscored the need to increase positive experiences with computers for teachers to improve their attitudes toward computers and other technologies.

Replication of the current study, using a similar, larger sample to investigate further the interactions between teachers' personal attributes and their attitudes toward computers, is recommended. Future research can be conducted to assess the relationships between computer attitudes and school-related variables that can influence attitudes toward technology, such as type of school (vocational, general, magnet, etc.), number of teachers, and the amount technology and support available to teachers. In addition, future studies can investigate the computer attitudes of others who play significant roles in technology integration in the school, e.g., the principal, Local School Council, and parents. Also, more research is needed in the area of staff development in technology to investigate further the differences in computer attitudes based on the type, frequency, and location (in-school or other location) of technology training.

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