Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Case Study of Enabling Factors in the Technology Integration Change Process

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Case Study of Enabling Factors in the Technology Integration Change Process

Article excerpt

Introduction

The influence of technology integration on broader educational change efforts is an important area of concern for the future progress of the field (Holloway, 1996; Surry & Ely, 2006). In light of the potential of technologies in helping students' understanding of new concepts, initial efforts focusing on technology integration in teacher education programs have been undertaken nationwide. From 1999, the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to use Technology (PT3) initiative has funded numerous teacher education programs in the United States. Technology integration into these field-based preservice teacher education programs have shown preliminary successes in modeling preservice teachers' use of technology, fostering their collaboration by use of technology, and increasing their confidence and enthusiasm in using technology (Brush, Glazewski, & Rutowski, 2003; Seels, Campbell, & Talsma, 2003).

However, the complexities of technology integration make it difficult to facilitate and sustain the change process. Although these reports shared successful aspects of the ongoing projects, they also indicated numerous barriers to integrate technology in teacher education programs. For example, faculty leaders encountered and overcame numerous difficulties, which included incompatible software purchases, limited access to computers, preservice teachers' and in-service teachers' initial resistance, and the lack of time (Brush, Glazewski, & Rutowski, 2003; Seels, Campbell, & Talsma, 2003). Furthermore, these reports did not address subject specific technology and were conducted in too wide of a context (program, general type of technology such as video production, HyperStudio, web sites) to provide knowledge about what strategies that faculty leaders could adopt to facilitate and sustain the process.

Thus, the purpose of this study was to analyze enabling factors in the technology integration change process in a multi-section elementary science methods course, SCIED 408 (pseudonym), from 1997 to 2003, the time this study was conducted, from the perspective of change agents. Havelock and Zlotolow (1995) defined change agents as "solution giver," "process helper," and "resource linker" (pp. 9-10). In this study, change agents are the faculty members and course instructors who initiated and led the technology integration change process.

We selected SCIED 408 for two reasons. First, in the last two decades, science education has embarked on a major reform, recognizing that technology integration in science education could enhance science teaching and learning (National Research Council, 2001). Research has addressed three major types of technology tools, referred to as inquiry empowering technologies or science specific tools (Linn, 2003; Windschitl, 2000; Zembal-Saul, Munford, & Friedrichsen, 2002) that are commonly used to assist elementary students in inquiring scientific understanding, carrying out investigation, communicating, and developing products. Three types of technologies include data collection tools, simulations and modeling tools, and online collaborative tools. Data collection tools enable students to collect data efficiently and allow them to perform multiple analyses of the data set in a brief period of time. Simulations and modeling tools enable students to focus on exploration and representation of scientific processes and conceptions. Online collaborative tools are intended to create a learning community that students can share resources and explore scientific phenomena with communities beyond the confine of their own classrooms. Although these tools have shown potential to support students' development of science inquiry skills, they are rarely used or seen in college level science methods courses (Linn, 2003; Windschitl, 2000; Zembal-Saul, Munford, & Friedrichsen, 2002). SCIED 408 would be an exemplary case to study because the faculty members and course instructors made endeavors to integrate science specific technology tools into SCIED 408 from 1997 to 2003. …

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