This study examined how technology integration beliefs and practices of first and second grade teachers impacted their respective teaching practices. Technology is becoming more deeply integrated into US public school curricula, and it is therefore helpful to understand how teacher beliefs might affect how technology gets used within teaching practices, especially in the early primary grades. While belief systems are of critical importance to a teacher’s technology integration efforts and can pose a barrier to technology integration (Ertmer, Ottenbreit-Lefwich, Sadik, Sendurer, & Sendurer 2012; Funkhouser & Mouza, 2013; Lin, 2012; Liu, 2012), the impact of those belief systems is not well understood. Furthermore, P-12 educational research literature may be underrepresenting grades 1-3, and so this research strives to also be pragmatically useful for teachers and district administrators. An exploratory case study (Stake, 1995; Merriam, 1998) was conducted with three current teachers in grades 1-3 to obtain new insights on how these beliefs manifest in current classrooms to address three research questions: (1) What are the experiences of grades 1-3 teachers trying to integrate technology? (2) What beliefs do grades 1-3 teachers have, connected to technology integration? (3) What other factors affect how a grades 1-3 teacher integrates technology? With a case being defined as each individual teacher, this qualitative case study collected data through initial interviews, naturalistic observations, and follow up interviews. Analysis consisted of values coding and theming the data (Saldana, 2016) to identify six themes: (1) Pedagogy and focus on students wherein teachers’ consistent primary focus was on meeting students’ needs and engaging them in learning experiences, both with and without technology; (2) Technology knowledge that facilitated the use or avoidance of technology; (3) Technology as a barrier when design failures created problems for students; (4) School as ecosystem, as students have needs seemingly disconnected from formal classroom learning but that impact their learning experiences; (5) Teachers’ needs that, when left unmet created barriers to technology integration; and (6) Change management, especially in regards to stakeholders’ apprenticeship of observation (Lortie, 1975), made innovative uses of technology and pedagogy more difficult to implement. Insights gained from this research were used to make recommendations for addressing issues in each of the six themes to be used by teachers, district administrations, and education research as foundations in their own contexts. Future directions for this research include laying the foundations for a new model of technology integration for teachers.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2018. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Aaron Doering. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 156 pages.
Examining Technology Integration Practices and Beliefs of Grades 1-3 Teachers: A Case Study.
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