Social studies teachers' perspectives of technology integration
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Using a qualitative interview research design, this study investigated social studies teachers’ perceptions of technology integration, their use of technology in the classroom (grades 7-12) as well as the impact of technology integration training on their instructional practice. Data were collected through initial and follow-up interviews with 17 social studies teachers who have completed technology integration training and examination of a variety of documents. Participants ranged in age from 23 to 62, and had an average of 11 years of teaching experience. They worked in eight schools with different technology environments. Social studies teachers reported a variety of visions of technology use in the classroom. Some use technology for its efficiency, some embrace it for the enhancement of their instructional practice and student learning, still others use it for relaxation, and most use it for a combination of purposes. Majority of the participants have integrated technology into their classrooms in many ways, which can be considered as a continuum. Four major methods were described and discussed: teacher-centered, teacher/technology guided, teacher-student negotiated, and student-centered methods. While the student-centered method was believed most desirable, participants believed that it should be done only when and where it fits. Use of technology affects how teachers teach and how students learn, but it does not produce a radical shift in teachers’ teaching styles. Technology integration training positively affected most of the participants in their instructional practices with technology. However, participants differed in their perceptions of the training as well as the impact their participation had on their instructional practices. There was a new dimension of barriers and participants were facing some new challenges. Despite these, many participants have developed into enthusiastic technology users. They attributed their attitudes and instructional changes as well as their present level of technology use to several factors: InTech training, personal commitment, early success, and learning from different resources. The study suggests that all these factors were working concurrently to help these teachers change and grow into enthusiastic technology users.