Technology in Ohio's School Music Programs: An Exploratory Study of Teacher Use and Integration

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to examine the status of technology use and integration in music programs throughout the state of Ohio. Factors under investigation were: (a) the types of technology used in music teaching and learning; (b) levels of teacher comfort with technology; (c) teacher training and preparation in the use of technology for teaching; and (d) teachers' views of obstacles toward integration. An anonymous, online questionnaire was completed by 552 K-12 music teachers in Ohio. Results indicated that teacher technology use is more frequent than student technology use, and certain technologies such as CD burning and the use of notation software were the most common. There was a moderate positive correlation between comfort with general technology and comfort with music technology [r = .49, p < .01]. The disproportion between teacher use and student use of technology supports assertions of previous research, and suggestions are offered as to how teacher training may address this disparity.

Technology in education is a topic receiving great attention (Johnson, 2006; Levin & Wadmany, 2006-2007; Smith, 2006). This is also the case in music education, as evidenced by the work of organizations such as the Technology Institute for Music Educators and the Association for Technology in Music Instruction. Yet only a few researchers have examined how music teachers are using technology, and little is known about the types of technology music teachers use, the training they have in the uses of technology, and the obstacles integration faces. In addition, the unique environments of schools and geographic regions, along with the quickly evolving nature of technology, means that questions like these should be examined with some regularity and in a variety of teaching contexts.

In two studies conducted in the state of Illinois, researchers found that over a four year period there was a substantial increase in the integration of technology into school music programs (Reese, 2003; Reese & Rimington, 2000). School districts in Illinois are diverse, comprised of urban, suburban and rural settings, but there exist infinite differences between Illinois and other states. It may be possible to generalize the findings of these studies to other states, but there is little research that compares the status of music technology integration across state lines. An additional study was conducted regarding technology integration in Kentucky's school music programs (Sehmann & Hayes, 1997), but a comparative analysis is not truly possible until data are collected from additional states or regions.

In addition to the lack of research into the uses of music technology throughout the country, many of the factors that aid or hinder that integration remain uninvestigated. In the general education literature, teacher dispositions toward technology have been shown to influence curricular and pedagogical choices as they relate to inclusion or exclusion of technology (Levin & Wadmany, 20062007; Vannatta & Fordham, 2004). Variables such as school setting, administrative support, teacher attitude, opportunity for professional development, and lack of technical support, among many others, may influence the extent to which technology is integrated into classrooms (Littrell, Zagumny, & Zagumny, 2005; Rakes, Fields, & Cox, 2006; Russell, Bebell, O'Dwyer, & O'Connor, 2003; Staples, Pugach, & Himes, 2005; Strickland, Salzman, & Harris, 2000). From the music education literature, Reese & Rimington (2000) discussed the disparity between teacher use of technology and engagement of students in direct technology use.

Several large studies, again from the general education field, have been conducted that have examined technological integration; many of these investigations have focused on the alignment of technology-based practice with published sets of standards in various curricular areas (Barron, Kemker, Harmes, & Kalaydjian, 2003). …