Training Teachers to Integrate Technology into the Classroom Curriculum: Online versus Face-to-Face Course Delivery
Jana Willis, University of Houston-Clear Lake, United States ; Lauren Cifuentes, Texas A&M University, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
Jana M. Willis, Ph.D. and Lauren Cifuentes, Ph.D. In response to the challenge for preparing teachers to use technology and teach with it, campus technology teams, colleges, universities, and other organizations are focusing on technology training programs. Traditionally, teachers have been forced to attend courses at a training facility or college campus to receive face-to-face (F2F) technology instruction, thus taking time away from their other duties. Sharp (1996) reported that, "higher education institutions have used distance education to reach a diverse audience that would not be accessible through ordinary traditional classroom instruction" (p. 277). Web-based instruction (WBI) brings courses to individuals and groups who might not otherwise have access to them (Brownell, 1992; Khan, 1997; Reeves & Reeves, 1997; Relan & Gillani, 1997). The effectiveness of training received in a traditional (F2F) classroom setting versus training delivered through distance learning is under constant debate. Advances in information technology, coupled with the changes in society, are creating new paradigms for education. Teachers in these new educational paradigms require rich learning environments supported by well-designed resources (Reigeluth & Khan, 1994). The World Wide Web, as a medium of learning and instruction, has the potential to support the creation of these well-designed resources (Khan). The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent teachers (a) alter their teaching methods and (b) integrate technology into their classroom curriculum during, and after a technology training course designed to prepare teachers to use technologies that support their teaching and student learning. The course under investigation was offered in both OL and F2F formats. Therefore, comparison of the impact of both modes of instruction on teacher professional development within the subject area of technology training and implementation was conducted. Case study methods (Wiersma, 1995) were applied to gain understanding of teachers' experiences as they moved through an online (OL) or face-to-face (F2F) course designed to prepare teachers for integrating technology into the curriculum. The cases illuminated the processes of technology integration for elementary and secondary teachers possessing low and high levels of technology skill and use. Complementary data collection processes (Shulman, 1986) were used in each of the eight cases to provide depth and breadth in identifying and analyzing the barriers and processes affecting the impact of the training course. In this study, the integration of survey, interview, and observational approaches offered the researcher an opportunity to develop a complete analysis of participant behavior from a holistic perspective (Gall, Borg & Gall, 1996). The study suggests that teachers in both groups increase their use of technology in the classroom during and after training in the process of integrating technology into the curriculum. Further, teachers do not alter their existing teaching methods as they integrate technology, but use technology in ways that support their current classroom practices or educational experiences. The study confirmed the existence of intrinsic and extrinsic barriers that interfere with teachers' abilities to integrate technology into the classroom curriculum. When comparing delivery methods groups, this study found that no notable differences in growth of skill levels for the teachers involved in the OL section of the course and those in the F2F section. However, there were differences between the OL section and the F2F section in their identified Stages of Concern. The level of use was a greater among those teachers enrolled in the F2F section of the course than those enrolled in the OL section. The teachers in the F2F section used cooperative groups more frequently than the teachers enrolled in the OL section. The use of demonstrations increased among those enrolled in the OL section. Both groups indicated improvements in classroom management with the use of technology. If teacher educators are to facilitate technology integration for different types of teachers, they need to design and implement learning environments that (a) are learner-centered, (b) encourage collaboration, (c) promote discovery, and (d) provide activities that are engaging and relevant to the individual needs and environments of the learners. Teachers will develop visions of technology integration based on their own educational experiences. Therefore training programs must provide rich extended experiences in technology integration and model effective practices and innovative uses of technology that improve teaching and learning. Through the results of this study, instructors will understand better how to facilitate training in the integration of technology for different types of teachers. In addition, insight will be provided in differential impact of OL training and F2F training.
Willis, J. & Cifuentes, L. (2002). Training Teachers to Integrate Technology into the Classroom Curriculum: Online versus Face-to-Face Course Delivery. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 463-467). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).