Technology Integration Expertise in Middle School Social Studies Teachers: A Study of Multiplicity in Thinking and Practice

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Title: Technology Integration Expertise in Middle School Social Studies Teachers: A Study of Multiplicity in Thinking and Practice
Author: Lambert, Judy Lanier
Advisors: Dr. Ellen Storey Vasu, Committee Chair
Abstract: In an attempt to find more effective methods of training teachers in using technology for instructional purposes, this three-phase correlational and descriptive research study examined the knowledge organization of teachers considered experts in technology integration and in middle grades social studies. Knowledge acquisition methods were used to elicit the conceptual knowledge of three teacher experts and data were statistically analyzed with Pathfinder network scaling techniques. Through a concept mapping exercise, 94 teacher participants organized the 49 gold standard concepts and these data were measured for similarity to the experts. From the highest and lowest thirds of similarity scores, two extreme case samples of 31 participants were established as expert and novice groups. Demographic data and self-reported measures of technology integration skills were collected and through multiple regression, several factors thought to influence the cognitive development of expertise were analyzed. Finally, three teachers in the expert group were observed during a classroom lesson to qualitatively analyze the characterization of expertise in their instructional design practice. Findings revealed that experts had moved beyond thinking about the procedural skills of using technology to a more global view of what technology could offer in the social studies curriculum. Statistically, classroom teachers were not shown to be highly similar to experts but MANOVA indicated significant differences in knowledge between experts and novices. Hours of training were shown to slightly affect conceptual knowledge but they only accounted for a very slight proportion of the variance in this development. Qualitative data confirmed that classroom experts were not highly similar to the gold standard. Only one of three teachers observed demonstrated exemplary evidence of adhering to principles of an instructional design model while integrating technology. These findings suggest that a structured and systematic model of instructional design is needed specifically for instruction that integrates technology. This could offer teachers a global knowledge more similar to experts and provide evaluators with adequate criteria when assessing instruction that integrates technology.
Date: 2004-03-24
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Curriculum and Instruction

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