Students' Attitudes toward Teacher Use of Technology in Classrooms

By Hoffmann, Malia M.; Ramirez, A. Y. "Fred" | Multicultural Education, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

Students' Attitudes toward Teacher Use of Technology in Classrooms


Hoffmann, Malia M., Ramirez, A. Y. "Fred", Multicultural Education


Introduction

Given the ubiquity of use the of technological devices by students today, we infer that most students do not perceive a distinction of device usage between their personal lives and school. According to a Pew Research Center study in 2012, 78% of teens owned a cell phone, 38% a smartphone, 80% a desktop or a laptop computer, and these numbers have been consistently climbing since 2007 (Wordmald, 2015).

With teens' constant connection to others through technology, it is natural that students would expect the same constant connections in school. However, that may not always be the case. Teachers are the main factor in deciding what and how technology is integrated within classrooms (Rehmat & Bailey, 2014). The age span of current teachers is far wider than that of the current iGen students who have grown up with such devices, resulting in vast differences among teachers in comfortability with the amount of technology that is integrated into classrooms (LeDuc, & Twenge, 2018).

Literature Review

Common reasons for teachers' reluctance toward integrating technology into the classroom are lack of confidence in the tools and discomfort or fear of their usage. Teachers often have fear that they will waste time or look incompetent in front of their students (Ackermann, 2001). However, one study showed that self-efficacy improved for preservice teachers when they were trained in the technological content within a science methods course (Rehmat & Bailey, 2014).

Additionally, teacher training technology as it relates to content areas can be supported by Mishra's and Koehler's (2006) Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, thus helping build confidence within teachers for using technology in their classes. Introducing TPACK as a means to foster greater technological connections and applications to curricular content would strengthen teacher methodology courses.

Along with TPACK, Mustafina (2016) suggests that although teachers have enjoyed integrating information and communications technology (ICT) within classrooms, it is still rare that such technology is actually implemented. Mustafina's research found that teachers had a positive outlook on the use of technology, yet provided limited access to technology for students. This was even true when students showed a high level of motivation to use technology within the classroom (p. 330).

Student motivation is a reason why technology integration is encouraged in schools. Computer technology used in English as a Foreign Language classes has resulted in a high percentage of students showing more motivation (Izadpanah & Alavi, 2016). And again, in English Language Arts courses, it has been shown there is a need for teacher professional development in student-focused technology use since the learning of English increases greatly with the integration of technology in academic classes (Davidson, Richardson, & Jones, 2014).

Student-centered technologies have not only increased student motivation and academic performance, but interactive technologies can lead to differentiated instruction through which students have again shown higher motivation. Interactive technology is changing the philosophy of technological and pedagogical instruction by allowing teachers to adapt their lessons to the differing needs of students (Levin & Wadmany, 2006).

Due to this development of student-centered technologies, pre-service teacher education is able to adapt to meet the needs of 21st century students and teachers (Mulholland, 2006; Janssen & Lozaonder, 2015). Along with technology training, research is needed to analyze whether teachers are integrating the technology that they they are learning in their professional development sessions or other technology trainings in their classrooms (Rehmat, & Bailey, 2014).

However, it has been found that the number of technology trainings held and attended by teachers is not an accurate indicator of actual application within teachers' classrooms. …

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