Using activity theory for the sociocultural case analyses of a teacher professional development program involving technology integration
Lisa Catalina Yamagata-Lynch, Indiana University, United States
Indiana University . Awarded
Through a multiple case study this research examined the direct and indirect influences of a professional development program for integrating technology into K–12 curricula. The program reviewed was the Teacher Institute for Curriculum Knowledge about Integration of Technology (TICKIT), which is a one-year program for rural Indiana schoolteachers. By participating in TICKIT, teachers develop lesson plans that incorporate technology and obtain six graduate credit hours.
The theoretical framework derives from the university-school partnership literature and sociocultural theory. From this standpoint, the research focused on examining whether artifacts introduced, through a professional development program, to a selected group of teachers in a school system have any potential evolving into cultural tools shared among local teachers. Activity theory was used as an analytical lens to identify the above interactions and the university-school partnership literature was used as a guide to understand the social, cultural, and political aspects of teachers' work life.
The multiple case study took place at two school districts enrolled in TICKIT consecutively during 1998–1999 and 1999–2000 school years. From each school district, there were a minimum of three primary research participants (i.e., TICKIT teachers) and three secondary participants (i.e., non-TICKIT teachers, technology coordinators, and technology support staff). Data collection methods included document analysis, classroom observations, and interviews. Research analysis was conducted using grounded theory development, followed by sociocultural case analyses using activity theory as an analytical tool.
The findings indicated that TICKIT teachers experienced the following during their participation: (a) shared ideas with other teachers; (b) faced new pressures that encouraged them to complete their projects; (c) gained new skills, confidence, and connections; and (d) completed a successful technology curriculum integration project. These experiences prepared them to take local leadership roles for technology implementation in their school districts. One year after TICKIT, teachers were eager to use technology in their classrooms and were involved in ongoing activities for school-wide technology integration such as grant writing, purchasing equipment, and designing and conducting inservice technology professional development sessions for local teachers. However, teachers faced difficulties in juggling their daily responsibilities in their work life in addition to acting as technology leaders.
Yamagata-Lynch, L.C. Using activity theory for the sociocultural case analyses of a teacher professional development program involving technology integration. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University.
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