Technology Use of Hispanic Bilingual Teachers: A Function of Their Beliefs, Attitudes and Perceptions on Peer Technology Use in the Classroom

Article excerpt

This study describes survey responses of 103 bilingual elementary school teachers along the southmost borderlands of Texas and Mexico. The teachers responded to items regarding their (1) beliefs about and utilization of technology when incorporating cultural components, (2) general attitudes toward technology and self-efficacy towards utilizing technology, and (3) perceptions about their peers' utilization of technology. A stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was employed to measure teacher technology use. The total variance explained was 50.6 percent (adjusted [R.sup.2]=.506, R=.738,p< .05). Means, standard deviations and standard errors of means statistics are presented. Results indicate that the use of technology is a function of the bilingual teachers' beliefs, attitudes, and the extent to which their colleagues use technology in the classroom.

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Bilingual teachers in south Texas, like many other teachers in diverse settings, have to gain knowledge about cultures in order to provide a supportive educational environment for their students. A common scenario in the region is that many students live in poverty, are surrounded by adults who have had limited educational opportunities, are language deficient in English, or are first or second generation immigrants, thus, bringing with them cultural aspects that are different from where they now live. To develop lessons containing multicultural or even bicultural experiences requires extra work by the teachers. Added to this effort are state mandated technology requirements that demand that teachers have developed knowledge and skills to master technologies. Therefore, the goal of some educators is to incorporate these skills and knowledge of technology while addressing and incorporating culture in their classroom activities.

Studies have been conducted to describe teacher technology use (e.g., Sydow and Kirkpatrick, 1992), attitudes (e.g., Christensen, 2002), and self-efficacy (e.g., Ropp, 1999; Sexton et al., 1999) without including a multicultural component in their framework. Studies on bilingual teachers and technology practices regarding incorporating cultural aspects in the curricula using technology are scarce. Therefore, for this study, bilingual teachers, along the southmost borderlands of Texas and Mexico, were surveyed in an attempt to describe what their beliefs regarding and utilization of technology are in addressing cultural aspects in the curriculum, and, to describe how the bilingual teachers' general attitudes toward technology and their self-efficacy towards utilizing technology in general are associated with their technology use.

Review of the Literature

Research on multicultural education, technology implementation and bilingual teachers, in combination, is limited. The available research focuses predominantly on preservice teachers. However, each respective component has been investigated intensively, and pair-wise. For instance, multicultural education has been recognized as a useful approach to increase interactions between minority and non-minority students. And, using technology has provided for culturally sensitive and intellectually stimulating learning environments through, for instance, cultural pluralism (Branch, 1997), global learning networks (Cummins and Sayers, 1996), multicultural awareness (D'Andrea, 1995), and supplement multicultural education in terms of historical and religious education (Hammer and Kellner, 2000). In yet another study cultural differences of the students were considered when implementing technology (DeVoogd, 1998).

Student performance at various educational levels has been reported as well as an impact of integrating technology in the classroom. Scrase (1997) studied children with reading problems using scanners connected to computers with speech synthesizers and found it benefits those with overall reading delays whereas children with specific reading difficulties had much limited benefits. …

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