An Analysis of the Influence of Technology Training on Teacher Stages of Concern Regarding the Use of Instructional Technology in Schools
Holly B. Casey
University of Louisiana at Monroe

Introduction
Expenditures for teacher technology training have been small by comparison to those for hardware and software. The training offered has been on the whole for basic hardware and software use with little training offered on curriculum/technology integration. (CEO Forum, 1999).

Rationale / Practical Application
Current research does not suggest the specific kinds and amounts of training that most positively influence teachers' concerns toward using technology. Teacher stages of concern were examined with regard to the amount and types of technology training teachers have received, technical sophistication, and demographics. Attention was given to determine if correlations exist among various demographic data and stages of concern reported. This information helps provide a research base for developing successful models for technology staff development.

Definitions

  1. Concerns: Composite representation of feelings, preoccupation, thought, and consideration given to a particular issue (Hall & Hord, 1987).
  2. Stages of Concern: Sequential stages through which one progresses when faced with change (Hall, 1978).

Assumptions

  1. Participants understood the survey.
  2. Participants responded honestly.
  3. The Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) and the Professional Development Survey (PDS) were appropriate instruments.
  4. Respondents were representative of technology-using teachers in the United States.

Limitations

  1. The examination of teachers' concerns was limited to concerns toward instructional technology.
  2. This study was designed to discover relationships among variables, not cause/effect relationships among variables.
  3. Respondents' answers were dependent upon their ability to recall past technology training activities and use.
  4. Only P-12 teachers with Internet access were surveyed.

Literature Review Summary
Numerous researchers have used Fuller's (1969) explanation in studies of teachers' attitudes toward the incorporation of technology into teaching. That body of literature identified nine factors relating to teachers' concerns: gender, age, locus of control, grade, subject area, environment, teaching experience, knowledge of computers, and prior experience with computers. Four additional factors relating to teachers' acceptance of technology revealed by the research included methodology, computer literacy, time, and training (Atkins, 1997).

Problem Statement
Although expenditures of millions of dollars have placed computers and software in the hands of the P-12 teachers, there has been considerably less attention paid to helping teachers make the transition into a technology-rich learning environment (National Center for Education Statistics, 1999). As a result, a significant number of teachers either use technology inappropriately or not at all.

Design
This study used quantitative components with descriptive and correlational research designs. Correlation was examined using two dependent variables -- scores from the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (Hall, George, & Rutherford, 1998) and the Professional Development Survey (STaR Chart Self-Diagnostic Tool, 1997) -- with the independent variables -- age; grade level; subject; experience; school description; access to technology; and amount, type, method, site, and content of technology training within the last year. The descriptive element (description of scores on single variables) involved examination of the samples of respondents on the SoCQ and PDS (mean, median; standard deviation indicating the average score and variability of scores for the samples; frequencies for categorical data).

This study used correlational statistics to discover and clarify relationships among two or more variables and bivariate correlational methods to describe the relationship between two variables. Multivariate analysis of variance was employed to determine if there were significant differences between sample means. One open-ended question was analyzed using content analysis.

Data Collection
Teachers currently using technology in some form were surveyed. The survey was posted on the World Wide Web by the researcher. All transactions were electronic, using the Internet and email to deliver the instrument and transmit responses to a server. All responses were anonymous. Multiple submissions from a single address were denied. The sample was purposively selected from teachers who subscribe to four email lists. Others were invited to participate through announcements of the survey through technology-related Internet sites and online newsgroups. Six hundred fifty-nine complete surveys were returned, including at least two respondents from each state.

Question 1
What are the relationships among specific teacher variables and teachers' levels of concern as indicated by their score on the SoCQ?

Cannonical correlation revealed strong correlation between Management, Consequence, and Refocusing, and technology training focused on curriculum integration.

No other aspect of technology training showed a relationship to teacher concerns. This echoes the observation of the National Center for Education Statistics (1999) that a significant number of teachers either use instructional technology inappropriately or not at all because little attention is paid to helping teachers make the transition into applying technology.

Question 2
What are the relationships among teacher demographic variables and teachers' levels of concern as indicated by their score on the SoCQ?

Canonical correlation indicated a correlation between subject taught and length of technology use with the Management, Consequence, and Collaboration Stages of Concern subscores.The longer teachers work with technology, the more comfortable they appear to be with technology and, therefore, are more likely to use it effectively. This finding reinforces those of Atkins (1997) and others.

Results showed that the subject taught has a strong relationship to teachers' concerns. This reinforces the work of others (Becker, 1994; Fary, 1988; Mitchell & Peters, 1988) and warrants further analysis. Determination of characteristics of teachers in particular subject areas who view technology more positively could provide information that might be applied to improve technology training across subjects.

Question 3
Is there a correlation among stages of concern derived from the SoCQ and the total score on the Professional Development Survey?

Data were analyzed using multiple regression. Results indicated that the Collaboration and Informational stages were most potently predicted by the PDS score. Findings indicated that the more technology expertise teachers have, the higher their levels of concern; teachers with the least technology expertise were at the lowest levels of concern. This provides evidence of the positive value of providing time for technology training if technology is to add substantial value to classrooms.

Question 4
Is there a difference between teacher scores on the SoCQ based on the level of professional development as indicated by the score on the Professional Development Survey?

Data were analyzed using one-way multivariate analysis of variance with staff development (i.e., High, Medium, Low on PDS) serving as independent variable and scores from the SoCQ serving as dependent variables.

The significant multivariate test indicated that specific univariate interpretation was appropriate. Univariate findings indicated that PDS scores significantly impact the Awareness, Consequence, Collaboration, and Refocusing scores on the SoCQ. Teachers receiving more technology training were most accepting of technology.

Question 5
What specific aspects of technology training do teachers suggest have the greatest positive impact on their teaching?

Comments grouped into reports of (a) increased student interest; (b) lack of time, training opportunities, technical support, and equipment; (c) personal and professional empowerment, and (d) roles as technology leaders and peer trainers.

Future Research
Research should determine if technology knowledge and experience levels of school administrators correlate with their concerns regarding the implementation of technology in their schools. A similar study could be conducted with a smaller sample using observation of teachers along with the survey to determine if results confirm teachers' self-reported data.

Conclusions
Results indicate training in technology integration is the most crucial factor when developing technology-related staff development models. The more training and experience teachers have integrating technology into the curriculum, the sooner they accept and optimally use technology.

This study provides one indication that educators have been putting the "cart before the horse" -- that without some framework in which to place technology skills often taught in isolation, much time and effort is wasted in terms of impacting teacher acceptance and effective use of technology.

Bibliography
Atkins, N. E. (1997). Using teacher stages of concern and an assessment of middle school teachers' use of technology in the classroom: A model for technology staff development. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Becker, J.J. (1994). How exemplary computer-using teachers differ from other teachers: Implications for realizing the potential of computers in schools. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 26. 291-321.

CEO Forum (1999). Retrieved March 1, 2000 from the World Wide Web: http//ceoforum.org/home.cfm

Fary, B. A. (1988). Teacher attitudes toward and concerns about microcomputers in education. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Fuller, F.F. (1969). Concerns of teachers: A developmental conceptualization. American Educational Research Journal, 6, 207-226.

Hall, G.E. (1978). The study of teachers' concerns and consequent implications for staff development. Austin: Research and Development Center for Teacher Education, The University of Texas.

Hall, G., & Hord, S. (1987). Change in schools: Facilitating the process. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Hall, G., George, A., & Rutherford, W. (1998). Measuring stages of concern about the innovation: A manual for use of the SoC Questionnaire. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.

Mitchell, D., & Peters, M. (1988). A stronger profession through appropriate teacher incentives, Educational Leadership, 46(3), 74-78.

National Center for Education Statistics (1999). Toward better teaching: Professional development in 1993-94. United States Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

STaR Chart Self-Diagnostic Tool (1997). Retrieved March 1, 2000 from the World Wide Web: http//www.coeforum.org

 

PDK Home | Site Map
Educational Research


Last updated 30 January 2001
URL: http://www.pdkintl.org/edres/ddwind7.htm
Copyright 2001 Phi Delta Kappa International