Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Evaluating the Use of ICT in Education: Psychometric Properties of the Survey of Factors Affecting Teachers Teaching with Technology (SFA-[T.Sup.3])

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Evaluating the Use of ICT in Education: Psychometric Properties of the Survey of Factors Affecting Teachers Teaching with Technology (SFA-[T.Sup.3])

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

There are a number of measurement instruments in the field of education whose aims are to measure various aspects of educational technology. However, the psychometric properties of such instruments are not always determined, and their use is not always appropriate. The aim of this study was to determine the psychometric properties of the survey of factors affecting teachers teaching with technology (SFA-[T.sup.3]) when used with a sample of Greek Cypriot teachers. The results of this study show that the reliability evidence obtained from the responses to the questionnaire was satisfactory. The construct validity evidence was also determined based on a factor analysis that created ten easily interpretable factors. Some gender differences have also appeared in the teachers' responses on the various factors, which is in accordance with similar literature that exists in other countries as well.

Keywords

Assessment of ICT, SFA-[T.sup.3] instrument, Psychometric properties

Introduction

Countries all over the world have identified the significant role of information and communication technology (ICT) in improving education (Kozma & Anderson, 2002; Pelgrum, 2001; Hennessy, Ruthven, & Brindley, 2005; Goodison, 2003; Kangro & Kangro, 2004), and have invested heavily in increasing the number of computers in schools and in the networking of classrooms (Pelgrum, 2001). Furthermore, many researchers have predicted that the importance of educational technology in the classroom will continue to increase (Becker & Ravitz, 2001). However, the integration of technology in the school curriculum continues to be a complex and challenging process (Cooper, 1998), and the seamless integration of computers in teaching and learning has yet to be achieved (Kozma & Anderson, 2002).

The teacher's role in the integration of computers in schools is obviously very important, and every educational reform effort should take into consideration teachers' knowledge, skills, beliefs, and attitudes (Cuban, 2000). Shahan (1976) argues that one important concept of school reform is the human element, which embraces emotions, feelings, needs, beliefs, and pedagogical assumptions. Similarly, Fullan's (1982, 1991, 2000) theory of school change also emphasizes that the alteration of mindsets, such as pedagogical assumptions, values, and beliefs, is a key factor to any educational change effort. Watt (1980) states that beliefs and attitudes play a fundamental role in the way that teachers deal with ICT in the classroom. In other words, dealing effectively with ICT relates not only to knowledge of the capability, limitations, applications, and implications of ICT, but also to individuals' attitudes and perceptions regarding ICT tools. Veen (1993) stated that the effective implementation of ICT depends upon users' having a positive attitude towards it. He showed that schools can go only so far to encourage ICT use, and that actual take-up depends largely on teachers' personal feelings, skills, and attitudes towards ICT. This implies that teachers who have positive attitudes toward ICT and perceive it to be useful in promoting learning will evidently integrate ICT in their classroom more easily than others (Becker & Riel, 2000; Cox, Preston, & Cox, 1999; Pedretti, Smith-Mayer, & Woodrow, 1999; Sandholtz, Ringstaff, & Dwyer, 1997).

Unfortunately, research evidence (Cuban, 2000; Becker & Ravitz, 1999; Bosch & Cardinale, 1993; Brush, 1998; Darling-Hammond, 1990; Ely, 1995; Hunt & Bohlin, 1995) indicates that technology reform efforts have failed because teachers' beliefs, skills, and attitudes were never taken into consideration. Teacher behavior, though, is not only a function of their abilities, skills, and attitudes, but also a function of their surrounding work environment.

Social informatics is an area of research that systematically examines the design, uses, and consequences of technology by taking into consideration the context of the organization, the people who work within the organization, and the interactions between people and technology (Denning, 2001; Friedman, 1998; Kling, 2000). …

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