Teachers and technology: a transformative journey

Kitchenham, Andrew Douglas (2005) Teachers and technology: a transformative journey. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

Transformative learning is a process by which an adult learner critically questions previously-held beliefs, assumptions, values, and perspectives and thereby acquires a more open and better validated world view. The primary mechanism for this examination is critical reflection which results in a perspective transformation or a revision of a person's previous frame of reference. Due to its constantly-changing nature, educational technology is an ideal area in which to test the rigour of transformative learning by examining how adult learners' frames of reference change as they use, integrate, and teach technology. The aim of this research study was to investigate the educational technology development of elementary school teachers through the lens of transformative learning theory. In particular, the research questions asked to what degree teachers experienced perspective transformations due to their development in educational technology, what external factors promoted or impeded the occurrence of perspective transformations, and whether transformative learning theory was a viable research framework to describe the teachers' development in technology. The thesis employed a mixed-method methodology. The qualitative data were derived from reflective journal entries, a semi-structured interview, and my field notes. The quantitative data were derived from a teacher questionnaire, an administrator questionnaire, and two-tailed t-tests. The 10 teachers did experience perspective transformations, there were distinct factors related to the perspective transformations, and transformative learning theory proved a viable theoretical framework to describe the teachers' development in technology. The four factors that promoted perspective transformations were collaboration on all levels, administrator support, time practising ICT skills and strategies, and funding targeted in consistent ways the teachers saw as important. The three factors that impeded perspective transformations were the presence of a gauleiter (someone who is authoritative, overbearing, and megalomaniacal), an absent or weak infrastructure, and administrator pressure to engage in ICT for reasons other than the promotion of student learning. As well, the data revealed five dominant themes and 24 subthemes related to perspective transformations. The most salient finding for transformative learning and educational technology research was the "working profile" of a transformative learner of technology. A transformative learner of technology is collaborative, open-minded and independent-minded, has a set of priorities for ICT, takes initiative, has teaching experience, is not necessarily equated to age, and possesses a predisposition for change. The study has several implications: elements of transformative learning are suitable descriptors of technology development (theoretical), the complementarity of the data sources provided clear evidence of perspective transformations (methodological), and the professional development model used in my study ensured that teachers became engaged in, and conscious of, their own learning processes (andragogical). The recommendations for further research include using a entire staff of teachers that would represent a cross-sample of technology experience, increasing the number of research studies that investigate not only the presence but also the degree of perspective transformation, examining whether gender is an issue in technology innovation and in technology collaboration, setting more concrete guidelines for attending workshops over a longer period of time—four to six months, revising the teacher questionnaire to clarify or exemplify each transformative learning statement, making changes to the professional development model to ascertain whether specific transformative learning elements can be maximised, and examining the potential for making the study of transformative learning theory an integral part of pre-service teacher education.

Item ID: 1315
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: transformative learning theory, critical reflection, perspective transformation, educational technology development, elementary school teachers, collaboration, administrator support, time practising ICT skills and strategies, targeted funding, presence of a gauleiter, infrastructure, administrator pressure, working profile of a transformative learner of technology, collaborative, open-minded, independent-minded, priorities for ICT, initiative, teaching experience, predisposition for change, professional development model
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2007
FoR Codes: 08 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 0806 Information Systems > 080699 Information Systems not elsewhere classified @ 20%
08 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 0899 Other Information and Computing Sciences > 089999 Information and Computing Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 20%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing @ 60%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies @ 100%
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