Monday, May 31, 2010

What changes occur to teachers’ pedagogy when a one-to-one laptop program is introduced in their classroom?

Much of the literature so far considered, suggests that while teachers' pedagogy varies along a continuum from direct instruction through to construction, exemplary technology integration is found at the constructivist end of the continuum (Ertner 2001). A more apt question may then be: “Do teachers move from direct instruction to constructivist pedagogy when a one-to-one laptop program is introduced in their classrooms?”.
Before considering a response to this question, it is necessary to consider factors that influence teachers' pedagogy. Ertner (1999) argues that the more teachers integrate the use of technology, the more their pedagogy will change. The underlying assumption being that once sufficient technology is provided in classrooms, integration will follow (Ertner 1999; Becker 2000) and that teachers will employ more constructivist pedagogy.  There are however, barriers to this integration. Ertner (1999, p.48) describes factors that limit the integration of technology in the classroom in terms of first order barriers such as lack of computers and teachers' perceived lack of time for planning for technology integration.  Curriculum constraints,  lack of good technology role models amongst peers and lack of support by school leaders may also be added as external factors worth consideration. For example, Ertner (1990) states that teachers have very little experience with integrating technology in classrooms and they typically have few role models on which to build their own visions of an integrated classroom. Second order barriers to integration include teachers beliefs about both education and technology. These beliefs may be influenced by traditional instructional practices including teachers' own childhood schooling experience, teachers' previous experiences with technology in the past, lack of personal technology use, age and gender ( Etherington 2008, p.43 ). Teachers' views about themselves as agents of change, willingness to particpate in self-reflection, staff power relationships and cultural background may also be barriers to integration.
In answer to the question,  “Do teachers move from direct instruction to constructivist pedagogy when a one-to-one laptop program is introduced in their classrooms?”,  Handal (2004) and Judson (2006) state that it is not external factors, such as the introduction of one-to-one computing that changes teachers' pedagogy but internal factors such as teachers' beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning that are the strongest determinant in the degree of change that occurs. Therefore the introduction of a one-to-one laptop program that aims to increase the prevalence of constructivist pedagogy needs to include:
“Reformulating basic school culture notions regarding what constitutes content and content coverage, what comprises learning and engaged time, and even, what behaviours define teaching" (Ertner 1999, p.48).

References

Becker, H.J., The "Exemplary Teacher" Paper— How It Arose and How It Changed Its Author's Research Program. Available at: http://www.citejournal.org/vol1/iss2/seminal/article2.htm [Accessed May 24, 2010].

Ertmer, P.A., Gopalakrishnan, S. & Ross, E.M., 2001. Technology-using Teachers Comparing Perceptions of Exemplary Technology Use to Best Practice. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33(5).

Ertmer, P.A., 1999. Addressing first- and second-order barriers to change: Strategies for technology integration. Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(4), 47-61.

Etherington, M., 2008. E-Learning Pedagogy in the Primary School Classroom: the McDonaldization of Education. Education Papers and Journal Articles, 6.

Handal, B, 2004. TEACHERS’ INSTRUCTIONAL BELIEFS ABOUT INTEGRATING EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY. Available at: http://www.usq.edu.au/electpub/e-jist/docs/Vol7_No1/Commentary/Teachers_ins_beliefs.htm [Accessed May 31, 2010].

Judson, E., 2006. How teachers integrate technology and their beliefs about learning: is there a connection? - Free Online Library. Available at: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/How+teachers+integrate+technology+and+their+beliefs+about+learning:...-a0147205384 [Accessed May 31, 2010].

Peggy A. Ertmer, Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan, and Eva M. Ross, 1999. Technology-Using Teachers Comparing Perceptions of Exemplary Technology Use to Best Practice. Available at: http://radicalpedagogy.icaap.org/content/issue1_1/stensaas.html [Accessed May 24, 2010].

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