The influence of professional development in technology integration on teacher pedagogy and student engagement in fourth and fifth grade elementary classrooms in an urban elementary school in the Northeast

Jennifer Booth, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

Technology entered the education world in the 1980's, promising to be the new solution to improving student achievement, to change, not only the way we teach and learn, but also how we communicate and conduct our lives. The challenge faced by educators is the difficulty in keeping pace with the constant improvements in technology. While specific studies have been conducted to measure the impact of technology in the classroom on teaching, as well as learning, there has been conflicting evidence supporting the role of technology in the classroom (Schacter, 1999).^ This study examined teacher perceptions of technology and explored changes in pedagogy after professional development in technology integration. Student engagement was also examined. The perception is that students have become more interested in any information when it is presented through technology (Gregoire, Beacewell, & Lafarriere, 1996). However, it may not be just the technology but how it is integrated by the teacher that increases student engagement (Chee, 2002; Mellon, 1999). It is necessary to gather information to investigate the best uses of technology in order to better plan for technology's place in schools (Bailey, 2004).^ This study used a sequential, mixed method, quasi-experimental design. The study investigated grades 4 and 5 in two demographically similar K-5 elementary schools in the Northeast. A total of N = 11 teachers and N = 116 students participated in the study. Teachers and student were given a pre and post questionnaire to measure attitudes toward technology and student engagement. Teachers at one school were given an intensive, three-week professional development intervention for integrating technology into their curriculum. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-test, and a one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Additional data were gathered through qualitative focus groups with teachers and students to help identify some of the successes and challenges that were faced in integrating technology.^ Analysis of the data concluded, while there was no change in teacher attitudes (F = .07, p = .80) or student engagement after the intervention of professional development (t = -.51, p = .61), there was a significant difference in teacher confidence (F = 8.15, p = .02). Teachers at the treatment school had greater confidence teaching with technology than those who did not receive the professional development.^ The information gathered may help inform decisions about technology purchases and professional development. With limited funds available to districts, it is important to spend wisely in both areas. This change in practice will help prepare students to compete in the ever-changing world of global technology. ^

Subject Area

Education, Elementary|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Technology of

Recommended Citation

Jennifer Booth, "The influence of professional development in technology integration on teacher pedagogy and student engagement in fourth and fifth grade elementary classrooms in an urban elementary school in the Northeast" (January 1, 2008). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3315153.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3315153

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