Measuring Knowledge of Technology Usage and Stages of Concern about Computing: A Study of Middle School Teachers

By Atkins, Nancy Ellen; Vasu, Ellen Storey | Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

Measuring Knowledge of Technology Usage and Stages of Concern about Computing: A Study of Middle School Teachers


Atkins, Nancy Ellen, Vasu, Ellen Storey, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education


This study examined middle school teachers' concerns, knowledge, and use of technology in teaching, and how these related to their school's level of technology integration. The Computing Concerns Questionnaire (SoCC) (Martin, 1989) and the Teaching with Technology Instrument (TTI) (Atkins, Frink, & Viersen, 1995) were administered to teachers at three schools (N = 155). Results revealed significant ([alpha] = .05) relationships between SoCC and: TTI, computer confidence, and hours of technology training. TTI was significantly ([alpha] = .05) related to: computer confidence, home and school access to computers, hours of technology training, and age. Schools with higher levels of technology integration had significantly higher mean TTI scores. By better assessing the types of technology training that teachers need, instruments like the TTI are useful to schools in planning more effective

technology staff development.

One of the most important reasons that teachers do not use technology is that it is not easy to implement in the regular classroom (Sheingold & Hadley, 1990; Picciano, 1994). Even teachers who take the initiative to upgrade their skills may require as much as five years to master computer-based practices (Sheingold et al., 1990). Since most teachers attended college before computers were used in the classroom, they have no models of effective technology integration in their content areas. Any attempt to retool will be on an enormous scale, due to the fact that there are more than 3 million teachers in the United States.

Effective technological change for school systems must include three phases: planning, installation, and ongoing management (Levinson, 1991). Planning includes specifications for staff development workshops, with ample time for teachers to learn both how to use technology and how to carefully plan for its classroom use (Sheingold et al., 1990). For some teachers, the transition toward using technology in instruction is a stimulating change. For others, however, it produces more anxiety and hostile feelings than educational gain (Bly, 1993).

The intent of this study was to examine middle school teachers' concerns, knowledge, and actual use of technology in their teaching, and how these related to the level of technology available at their school. The measurement instruments used were the Computing Concerns Questionnaire (Martin, 1989) and the Teaching with Technology Instrument (TTI) (Atkins, Frink, & Viersen, 1995). If relationships were found, these instruments could be used to help determine appropriate technology staff development for teachers. For example, if a teacher's scores on the TTI were low, beginning-level, technology staff development courses could be recommended. The TTI consists of 46 questions and can be analyzed through a bubble scanner available in most schools or school districts. Therefore, administration, analysis, and interpretation of the TTI is something within the reach of most principals or central office staff. By producing a profile for all the teachers at a school, staff can examine the level of technology knowledge and usage, and make recommendations as to which technology staff development activities would be most advantageous at that school.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Teachers' Use of Technology in Instruction

Research studies conducted to examine teachers' attitudes toward computers generally include demographic variables such as age, length of teaching experience, gender, and subject taught. No consistent relationships seem to emerge between any of these variables and attitudes toward computer usage (Becker, 1994; Burke, 1986; Chen, 1986; Fary, 1988; Grasty, 1985; Honeyman & White, 1987; Kay, 1989; Kim, 1986; Koohang, 1989; Marshall & Bannon, 1986; Martin & Lundstrom, 1988; Mitchell & Peters, 1988; Miura, 1987; Probst, 1989; White, 1993; Woodrow, 1991). However, knowledge and use of computers positively influences teachers' attitudes toward computers, and their use in the classroom (Burke, 1986; Byrd & Koohang, 1989; Honeyman et. …

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