Training teachers to integrate technology into the classroom curriculum: online versus face-to-face course delivery.
In response to the challenge for preparing teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum, campus technology teams, colleges, and universities are focusing on inservice teacher technology training programs. Typically teachers have been required to attend courses at training facilities or college campuses to receive face-to-face (F2F) technology instruction. Off school campus course delivery creates three problems: (a) it can separate the experiences with technology applications from teachers' classroom settings thus hindering transfer, (b) it disrupts teachers' demanding schedules, and (c) It requires travel to colleges or excludes those who live at a distance from colleges (Sharp, 2002).
Field basing instruction in the schools is addressing these problems. Distance delivery of instruction that incorporates field-based experiences offers alternatives for inservice teacher training that addresses the last two problems. Therefore, many colleges and universities use web-based instruction (WBI) to reach teachers who need technology training. WBI brings courses to individuals and groups of teachers who might not otherwise have access to them (Flowers, 2001; Khan, 1997; Reeves & Reeves, 1997; Relan & Gillani, 1997; Zirkle, 2003).
The effectiveness of training received in a classroom setting versus training delivered through distance learning is under constant debate. Educators have concerns regarding the capacity of WBI to adequately provide authentic and interactive experiences that support learning (Johnson, Aragon, Shaik, & Palma-Rivas, 2000; Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2003).
As with all media, the contexts of online (OL) or face-to-face (F2F) learning environments constrain the experiences of teachers by filtering reality. OL and F2F learning environments are "complex entities with multiple sets of affordances that are predicated on the perceptions of users and the context in which they are used" (Jonassen, Cambell, & Davidson, 1994, p. 38). Transfer occurs when similar relationships and experiences in the learning environment hold across situations and the environment where learning is to be applied (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Greeno & Middle School Mathematics through Applications Project Group, 1998; Halpern & Hakel, 2003; Jonassen, Campbell, & Davidson, 1994).
The affordances of OL and F2F environments provide for different learning experiences, which impact the outcomes of instruction (Jonassen et al., 1994; Sullivan & Czigler, 2002). When teacher technology training is delivered OL, the learner is removed, virtually if not physically from the school classroom context. Virtual interaction can take place by synchronous (two-way, real time, interactive technologies) such as audio teleconferencing, audio graphics conferencing, chats, and videoconferencing making it possible to link geographically separate learners and instructors for real time interaction. In addition, asynchronous computer conferencing allows learners and instructors to participate in course discussions on individualized time schedules. On the other hand, in the F2F teacher-training classroom, learners typically observe live demonstrations, participate in whole-group hands-on activities, receive real-time support, and interact with technology, peers, and the instructor in an environment that resembles the school classroom context.
Due to affordance variation, the OL and F2F environments in which teacher training occurs may differentially impact the teachers' abilities to transfer their learning and integrate technology into their classrooms because "knowledge is situated, being in part a product of the activity, context and culture in which it is developed and used" (Brown et al., 1989, p. 32). Situated cognition that is delivering instruction in an authentic context, gives meaning to learning and promotes the transfer of knowledge to real-world situations. It enriches the learning process by providing practical experiences of real situations. Cognition not only occurs within a context, but also uses elements of that context causing many to wonder how well teacher training can be situated in authentic contexts when taught from universities and OL environments (Brown et al., 1989; Jonassen, et al., 1994; Greeno, et al., 1998; Hendricks, 2001).
We investigated one instructor's technology integration course for inservice teachers, in terms of the outcomes of both modes of delivery and the affordances applied in both modes. Based on our findings we propose strategies for taking full advantage of the affordances of each mode to deliver an effective course. Skill level growth, increased technology use in the classroom, shifting from teacher-centered to learner-centered instructional methods, and positive affected classroom management issues are the critical outcomes of the "Applications of Technology" course under study. The course was offered in both OL and F2F modes, and was designed and delivered by the same instructor to inservice teachers.
Technology skill level among teachers ranges from nonuse to expert (Johnson, 1998a, 1998b). Today both state and national organizations involved in teacher standards recognize that teachers need to be trained in technology skills if they are to develop a foundation upon which to build their understanding of technology integration. Preparing teachers to use technology and how that technology can support learning is an integral skill for all teachers. Low level computer use in schools is often linked to a lack of training (Bosch & Cardinale, 1993; Yildirim, 2000), while studies suggest that teachers who obtain higher levels of technology training are better prepared to integrate technology in their curriculum (Bitter & Pierson, 2002; Milken Exchange on Educational Technology, 1998; National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 1999; Yildirim, 2000).
Levels of technology use are the measurable behaviors that teachers exhibit in relation to technology integration regardless of skill (Hall & Hord, 2001). Teachers may be technologically highly skilled, but not transfer those skills to the classroom in which they teach and vice versa. Technology use does not include attitudinal, motivational, or other affective aspects of the user but targets behaviors of technology use through various levels across the following range: nonuse, orientation, preparation, mechanical use, routine, refinement, integration, and renewal (Hall & Hord, 2001).
Technology integration can facilitate a variety of learner-centered instructional methods. In F2F technology instruction, methods are often limited to variations of presentation techniques such as lectures, discussions, and whole-group laboratory activities. Heinrich, Molenda, Russell, and Smaldino (1999) defined delivery methods as procedures of instruction selected to help learners achieve objectives or to internalize content. Their categories of methods include presentations, demonstration, discussion, drill-and-practice, tutorial, cooperative learning, gaming, simulation, discovery, and problem solving. In the past teachers have relied upon a didactic approach, where they were responsible for the transmission and assessment of knowledge. While teachers did not constantly lecture, they frequently used class time to reinforce and supplement what students were to have learned from textbooks or other content materials (Mehlinger, 1995).
In a previous study, Cifuentes (1997) analyzed the results of administration of an Instructional Methods Survey, which was used to identify, by rank order, the instructional methods currently used by inservice master teachers. The results indicated that master teachers preferred more learner-centered methods over traditional teacher-centered methods. On the other hand, teachers in training envisioned themselves using teacher-centered methods. In other words, novices envision instructional methods that are in contrast to those of master teachers.
The master teacher needs to be knowledgeable and skilled in the application of technologies as tools that support teaching and learning processes (Kontos & Mizell, 1997). Using technology effectively can help teachers modify their instructional practices and move from a teacher-centered lecture approach to a more constructivist approach (Cifuentes, 1997; Jonassen, 2000). In the context of learner-centered learning environments, the role of the teacher in the classroom has shifted from a primary role of information giver to facilitator, guide, and co-learner. A teacher's classroom management approach reflects his or her commitment to teacher-centered or learner-centered teaching (Pierson, 2001). As facilitator, the teacher provides rich environments and learning experiences needed for collaborative study. The teacher acts as a guide, a role that incorporates mediation, modeling, and coaching (Jonassen, 1996; Sharp, 2002). The teacher should interact as a partner in learning with the students. This pedagogical shift from the model of teacher as the exclusive source of information to one of facilitator both threatens and challenges many teachers (Mehlinger, 1995).
Classroom management issues discussed in this article encompass those elements that can be affected by the introduction of technology integration into the classroom. The classroom factors include those strategies related to student engagement, teacher role, classroom logistics, and planning time. The introduction of technology alters the classroom context, which affects changes in classroom management issues. In studies conducted by Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) changes in the physical environment, teaching roles, and student engagement accompanied technology integration. Immediate change in classroom management was necessary if teachers were going to establish order in their new technology-rich teaching environments (Dwyer, Ringstaff, & Sandholtz, 1990).
In this study, the course, Applications of Technology, was examined according to the aforementioned critical outcomes: skill level growth, increased technology use in the classroom, shifting from teacher-centered to learner-centered instructional methods, and affected classroom management issues. The course was offered OL to meet the needs of inservice teachers and other educational professionals who have difficulty finding time in their schedules to participate in F2F classroom instruction and chose to take the course OL. It was also offered F2F by the same professor for those who preferred F2F classroom instruction. Therefore, we were able to compare OL and F2F modes of delivery of the same course. We asked the research question: Does the delivery mode of the technology-training course affect the outcomes of the course? Critical course outcomes were explored in the context of the classrooms where the participants taught and were compared across the OL and F2F delivery modes. Affordances and constraints of each delivery mode were examined according to their impacts on critical outcomes.
We applied qualitative case study methods (Wiersma, 1995) to gain an understanding of the experiences of teachers as they progressed through the OL or F2F course designed to prepare them for integrating technology into the curriculum. Because we were measuring course outcomes, all data were collected during observation sessions conducted in each participant's classroom environment. We used complementary data collection processes (Shulman, 1986) in each of the seven 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 us an opportunity to develop a complete analysis from a holistic perspective of participant performance in the classrooms where they taught (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996).
Applications of Technology, a graduate-level course required for Masters in Education, introduced students to the tools and skills necessary to understand and operate computers, navigate the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW or Web), and create hypermedia products. The course included educational applications of instructional and information technologies to promote the integration of technology into the classroom curriculum. Within both delivery methods, a combination of readings and hands-on lab assignments was offered. Students and faculty worked together to identify learning requirements, learning strategies and assessment criteria based on students' prior skills and areas of interest. Students gained experience in the educational use of such technologies as productivity tools, presentation graphics, multimedia, and telecomputing technologies. As all students were inservice teachers they were required use software applications and tools to create student-centered products related to their grade levels and/or content areas. The created products included: WebQuests, newsletters, data collection activities using spreadsheets/databases, PowerPoint presentations (linear and nonlinear) and web pages.
OL--section. The OL course met for an initial orientation session prior to the start of the semester and all other interaction was conducted online. Participants enrolled in the OL section of the course were trained in the use and classroom implementation of various software applications through textbook materials and online tutorials. The students developed their many projects in their homes, offices, or classroom. Therefore, the instructor determined student competence with the software application skills and knowledge by grading their products.
The online students obtained peer interaction through electronic communications tools. They were required to participate in four scheduled online chats on specific topics designated by the instructor and had weekly bulletin board postings where they were required to discuss the skills and concepts explored in each unit. The instructor responded to all bulletin board postings.
The students e-mailed their products and assignments weekly to the instructor for evaluation and feedback. Students shared their individually created research paper, technical instructions, and PowerPoint presentations with a peer electronically. The students were required to provide the instructor with a copy of their original product, peer comments, and revised product. The students were encouraged to share their projects and assignments with their peers through bulletin board comments and e-mail.
F2F--section. The F2F course met weekly for 15 three-hour sessions. Participants were trained in use and classroom implementation of various software applications through the same textbook materials and online tutorials as the OL participants. The instructor modeled and demonstrated each of the applications and then students worked on their projects in the classroom setting (computer lab).
Students were encouraged each week to share their projects and assignments with their peers. The students submitted their projects and assignments to the instructor each week on either floppy disk, CD-ROM, or as an attachment to an e-mail. Since the F2F section met weekly the students did not use other forms of electronic communication (e.g., online chats, bulletin boards).
The instructor for the graduate level technology integration course had previously taught at the secondary level and had integrated technology in her teaching. She was experienced in the delivery of teacher technology training through OL and F2F modes, having taught the course in both delivery modes the prior semester. The instructor applied her knowledge of technology competencies defined by state and national standards as well as strategies for effective technology integration in the design, development and delivery of the OL and F2F teacher technology-training course.
The PK-12 teachers (who volunteered to participate in the study) made up the pool of 33 teachers, 18 in the OL section and 15 in the F2F section. A random sampling of four teachers, two high skill and two low skill, was selected from each of the delivery modes, resulting in a total of eight teachers for the study. One teacher from the OL section was unable to complete the course leaving a total of seven teachers or cases, three from the OL section and four from the F2F section. The participants were assigned case numbers and identification codes for ease in reporting (Table 1).
Instruments, Data Collection, and Data Analysis
Surveys, questionnaires, audio-taped interviews, observations and field notes were used in this study to allow the researchers to gain an understanding of the experiences of each of the teachers as they moved through the course.
The Computer Skill Survey was administered and collected prior to any classroom instruction and again at the conclusion of the course to assess the skill level changes that occurred during the Technology Applications courses. The survey contained 27 questions and was derived from a composite of three separate self-evaluation rubrics created by Johnson (1998a) to determine the computer skill levels of the teachers: (a) Basic Teacher Computer Skill; (b) Advanced Teacher Computer Skill; and, (c) Teacher Internet Skill. The levels were on a scale ranging from 1 to 4: (a) level 1 -- nonuse, (b) level 2 -- novice, (c) level 3 -- mastery, and, (d) level 4 -- expert (Johnson, 1998a, 1998b). Precourse and postcourse scores were entered into bar charts for identification of skill level changes during the course and for comparison of skill growth between OL and F2F delivery sections.
The Levels of Use Survey (LoU) was administered on four occasions during the course to identify changes in the levels of technology use that were experienced by each of the individuals in the study. The LoU contains interview questions that help researchers classify adopters of innovations by levels. The levels are nonuse, orientation, preparation, mechanical use, routine, refinement, integration, and renewal (Hall & Hord, 2001, p. 81). The LoU branching interview allowed the researchers to gain a broad view of the teachers' level of use using a one-legged interview format. The interview was constructed so that the researchers, through a series of questions, obtained information about teachers' innovation-related behaviors. "The key in the interview is to stimulate the person to describe and provide examples of behaviors that he or she is taking in relation to the innovation" (Hall & Hord, p. 87). The researchers then need only reference the participants' responses at the decision points and LoU definitions to determine the teachers LoU. The stimulated conversation was used to facilitate further details regarding the teachers' levels of use of technology during the current observation as well as during the period of time that had elapsed since the last observation. The constant comparative method of data analysis was used to examine the interview data that was gathered during the LoU open-ended question sessions for each of the four interviews conducted for all seven case studies. This method was selected for "controlling the scope of data collecting and making multiple-site studies theoretically relevant" (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998, p. 68). Once all of the interview data had been disseminated into the selected categories of innovation-related behaviors, the data was examined to identify the current and evolving levels of use for both OL and F2F participants.
Instructional methods used by the participants were identified through both teacher self-report and observation. The Instructional Methods Inventory was administered during the first and final observation sessions to identify the self-reported instructional methods used by the teachers. Instructional Methods Inventory, a self-report survey of instructional methods was created based on Heinrich et al.'s (1999) 10 categories. Each question prompted the teacher to specify the frequency of use for each method used in their teaching practices. The rating scale ranges included never, sometimes, occasionally, frequently, and almost every class period.
In addition, the researchers recorded observed categories of methods using the Methods of Instructional Delivery tool Cifuentes, Sanders and Willis (2000). The researchers used this instrument to identify and establish frequency of the instructional methods observed and to record comments and field notes during each of the observations.
Classroom management issues affected by technology integration were collected through field notes taken during all observations and transcribed audio taped interviews. The final review of the observation and interview data was conducted to determine consistencies or trends that were evident across all observations.
Teachers taking the course by way of each delivery mode were compared to determine similarities or differences in the impact of the two modes on each of the critical outcomes. We report on each critical outcome first for the OL section, then for the F2F section, and then as a comparison of both sections.
Skill level growth of OL participants. The initial skill levels for the OL Delivery Method group indicated that two of the three teachers were at or above the novice level in computer and Internet use. The highest level of initial skills reported was in Basic Computer Use (Part A) with an average skill that measured just below the mastery level. Advanced Computer Use (Part B) average skill was at the novice level. Teacher Internet Computer Use (Part C) average skill was just above the novice level. The teachers in this group had skill averages above the novice level in Basic Computer Use (Part A), Advanced Computer Use (Part B), and Teacher Internet Use (Part C).
The posttest skill levels for the OL Delivery group indicated that all of the teachers experienced skill growth in all three parts of the survey. The highest level of posttest skills reported was in Basic Computer Use (Part A). By the end of the course the average skill level was above the mastery level. The Advanced Computer Use (Part B) average skill level was just below the mastery level. The Teacher Internet Computer Use (Part C) average skill level was below the mastery level.
Skill level growth of F2F participants. The initial skill levels for the F2F Delivery Method group indicated that one of the three teachers was at or above the novice level in computer and Internet use. The highest level of initial skills reported was in Basic Computer Use (Part A) with an average skill that measured just above the novice level. Advanced Computer Use (Part B) average skill was below the novice level. Teacher Internet Computer Use (Part C) average skill level was below the novice level. The teachers in this group had an average of skills above the novice level in Basic Computer Use (Part A). They were below the novice level in Advanced Computer Use (Part B), and Teacher Internet Use (Part C).
The posttest skill levels for the F2F Delivery group indicated that all of the teachers experienced skill growth in all three parts of the survey. The highest level of posttest skills reported was in Basic Computer Use (Part A). The posttest skills indicated an average skill level above the mastery level. The Advanced Computer Use (Part B) average skill level was at the mastery level. The Teacher Internet Computer Use (Part C) average skill level was just below the mastery level.
Comparison between skill level growth of OL and F2F participants. The skill levels for the two groups indicated that the OL group began the course with a higher average skill level in all parts of the survey instrument than the F2F group. The skill level growth in Basic Computer Use (Part A) was the same for the OL and F2F delivery groups. However, the F2F group had higher levels of growth in Advanced Computer Use (Part B) and Teacher Internet Use (Part C) and completed the course with higher skill levels in both those areas (Figure 1). Thus the F2F group experienced more overall skill growth than the OL group.
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Levels of use of OL participants. All of the teachers enrolled in the OL section of the course had previously used technology in their classrooms and had some base knowledge of technology integration (Mechanical Use). Two of the three OL teachers remained at the mechanical use level (Mechanical Use) throughout the semester. One of the OL teachers sought new information regarding the integration of technology into the curriculum and began making impact oriented changes that would allow her to integrate technology into learner-centered activities. She also made efforts to share ideas with her peers (Refinement).
Levels of use of F2F participants. The teachers who were enrolled in the F2F section of the course also had previously used technology in their classrooms and all had some base knowledge of technology integration and were classified at the Mechanical Use level. Two teachers sought information that would help them improve their integration of technology into the curriculum but remained at the Mechanical Use level. One other teacher quickly established a pattern of integrating technology and began preparing a curriculum for the content area that would integrate technology on a regular basis, increasing her use to the Routine level. The other teacher began the course at the Routine level, with a stabilized curriculum that integrated technology. During the semester she moved to the Refinement level as she created an activity that she shared with her colleagues. Together they made improvements and implemented the activity campus wide, advancing the teacher to the level of Integration. (Figure 2).
Comparison between OL and F2F participants' levels of use. One of the three teachers in the OL section moved two levels in their technology use while the others remained at their initial level of use. One F2F teacher moved one level and another moved a total of four levels. The comparison of levels of use across groups indicated six of the seven teachers began the course with some basic knowledge of technology integration, placing them at the Mechanical Use level, while one of the seven had established regular use of technology and began at the higher initial level of Routine. One of the OL teachers advanced to the Routine level as a result of her initiated changes during the semester that allowed her to integrate technology into learner-centered activities. Her efforts to share ideas with her peers moved her again to the Refinement level. One F2F teacher moved from the Mechanical level to the Routine level as she moved to integrate technology on a regular basis. The F2F teacher, who began the course at the higher initial level of Routine, increased her level of use to the Refinement level and through the Renewal Level to the Integration level by sharing information with her campus colleagues and establishing a routine for use of integrated technology in her curriculum.
Instructional methods of OL participants. The instructional methods were evaluated based on frequency ratings of regular or daily use and across all observations of teachers who were enrolled in the OL section of the course (Table 2). On the initial methods inventory, lecture, discussion, drill/practice, tutorial, cooperative group, and discovery were used by all of the teachers in the group on a regular or daily basis. All members of the group ranked drill/practice, tutorial, and problem solving high in frequency of use. Problem solving was the only method that changed from the initial inventory ranking. On the post inventory, frequency of use on eight of the ten methods decreased by one teacher. Cooperative group and problem solving increased by one teacher.
Lecture was the most used method, with teacher-use by each teacher across all observations. In addition to lecture, discussion, demonstration, drill/practice, discovery, gaming, and problem solving were used by more than 50% of the teachers across the observations.
Demonstration declined from use by two teachers to zero teachers. Therefore, use of textbook, discussion, and drill/practice also declined over time. Teaches use of gaming, discovery, and problem solving increased during the course of the semester. Demonstration showed an increase of teacher use during observations that contained a technology. Over the course of the semester, with the integration of technology, instructional methods became less teacher-directed and more student-centered. The observed methods closely matched the post inventory self-report frequency rankings.
Instructional methods of F2F participants. The instructional methods were evaluated based on frequency ratings of regular or daily use and across all observations of teachers who were enrolled in the F2F section of the course (Table 2). Discussion, drill/practice, and discovery were ranked as being used regularly or daily by at least three of the four teachers on the initial inventory. On the post inventory demonstration, drill/practice and tutorial were the methods used by more of the teachers. Although tutorial received a high rate, it was not highly used during the observations. The observed methods closely matched the post inventory self-report frequency rankings.
On the post inventory, frequency of use for three of the thirteen methods decreased by one teacher in ranking of regular or daily use and five of the thirteen increased in use by one teacher. Audio use increased by two teachers. Lecture, cooperative group, gaming, and discovery increased in use over the course of the semester. Textbook and drill/practice decreased in use across the observations.
Comparison between instructional methods of OL and F2F participants. Teacher self-reports and researchers' observations were compared to determine if the instructional methods identified by the participants were similar to the methods noted during observation of classroom instruction. The comparison was based on instructional method use and frequency of use. A comparison of the two groups indicated that all the teachers in both groups ranked discussions on the initial inventory as a method that was used regularly or daily in the classroom. Discovery and drill/practice also ranked high with most of the teachers in the groups. On the post inventory, however, the teachers in both groups ranked drill/practice as high in use. Discussion and tutorial both remained high in use across both groups. However, during the final observation, the technology-integrated lesson was student-centered in six of the seven classrooms.
Lecture, demonstration, discussion, drill/practice, discovery, and problem solving were observed frequently during all observations of both groups. The top two methods observed in both groups were lecture and discussion. Both groups showed a decline in textbook use and drill/practice across the four observations. There was an increase in the use of gaming, problem solving, and discovery in both groups, but only the F2F group saw an increase in the use of cooperative groups. Cooperative groups were frequently used by the F2F teachers but not by the OL teachers. The use of demonstrations increased only in the OL group.
Classroom management issues -- OL participants. Two of the three teachers reported increased engagement when using technology. Two of the three teachers reported that they felt their roles changed from instructional leader to facilitator or guide during the technology-integrated lessons. The classroom setting was altered with the introduction of technology for those enrolled in the OL section of the course. To accomplish the initial technology-integrated lesson all of the teachers in the OL section had to relocate from their classroom to computer labs. Only two teachers moved students to computer labs for the second technology-integrated lesson. Two of the three teachers indicated that it took no longer to prepare a lesson that integrated technology than one that did not use technology.
Classroom management issues -- F2F participants. All of the teachers reported increased student engagement when using technology. Two of the three teachers reported that they felt their roles changed from leader to facilitator or guide during the technology-integrated lessons. Classroom setting for two of the four teachers was impacted as they moved their students to an alternative environment for the technology-integrated lesson. All of the teachers indicated that it took no longer to prepare a lesson that integrated technology than one that did not use technology.
Comparison of classroom management issues -- OL and F2F participants. Identified factors included: (a) student engagement, (b) teacher role, (c) classroom logistics, and (d) planning time. Six of the seven teachers reported increased student engagement when using technology. In both the OL and F2F section two teachers indicated a change in their role in the classroom from sole provider of knowledge and skills to a facilitator or guide as a result of integrated technology. All of the teachers enrolled in the OL section moved their students to a computer lab for the initial technology-integrated lesson, while only two of the four F2F teachers made the move. During the second technology-integrated lesson only two of the teachers in the OL section moved their students to a computer lab. There was no change in the F2F section, two of the four again moved to the computer lab. Only one teacher in the OL course delivery group felt that technology integration was time consuming while all of the teachers in the F2F section indicated it took no longer to prepare a lesson that integrated technology.
During the final integrated technology lesson a WebQuest activity was used by six of the seven participants. The WebQuest activity allowed for a commonality of experiences across the delivery modes. Teachers were able to have similar experiences both in learning about the use of WebQuest and applying the WebQuest in their own classrooms. The WebQuest is learner-centered and removes the teacher from the traditional teaching role to that of facilitator. All six of the teachers indicated a change in their classroom role from instructor to facilitator as well as increased student engagement. In the words of one of the participants after the WebQuest activity, "If I had known that students would be engaged and that classroom discipline would not be an issue, I would have relinquished control sooner."
In summary, at the end of the course skill level growth for the F2F teachers was higher than for the OL teachers in Advanced Computer Use and in Teacher Internet Use, although there were no noted differences in skill level growth in Basic Computer Use. The level of technology use increased more among those teachers enrolled in the F2F section of the course than those enrolled in the OL section. In addition the F2F teachers used cooperative groups and demonstrations more frequently than those enrolled in the OL section. Only one of the teachers reported no increase in student engagement when integrating technology. Shifts in teaching role from information giver to facilitator or guide were reported by four of the seven teachers. Relocation from the classroom to the computer lab, during technology lessons, was made by all OL teachers during the initial technology lesson but by only two during the final lesson. No change was noted in relocation for the F2F teachers during the technology lesson; two teachers moved during both lessons or they had before. Increased planning time was noted by all teachers in the F2F group but only one from the OL section reported any change in preparation time when integrating technology.
The findings of this study will help teacher educators better understand how to facilitate training in the integration of technology, while taking advantage of affordances inherent in OL and F2F delivery modes. Teachers integrate technology in their own classrooms based in part on their educational experiences during teacher technology training. Therefore, OL and F2F technology training programs must ensure technology skill development, provide rich extended experiences in technology integration, model effective practices and innovative uses of technology that improve teaching and learning, and provide for experiential learning that will promote the transfer of training.
The findings of this study indicated that those individuals who self-selected enrollment in the OL course had higher initial skills than those who chose to enroll in a F2F course. However, teachers enrolled in the F2F course were able to increase their skills in Advanced Computer Use and Internet Use to higher levels than those teachers enrolled in the OL course. The F2F teachers had the ability to ask questions and receive real time support during skill training and hands-on activities while those in the OL section relied on asynchronous questions and feedback through e-mail and bulletin board responses.
The teachers in the F2F section had the opportunity to observe the instructor demonstrate technology applications and participate in whole group hands-on and collaborative activities that allowed them to practice technology skills during F2F course sessions. The OL teachers relied on online procedures and tutorials while practicing their technology skills in isolation.
The ability to observe the transfer of acquired skills to application of skills in the classroom offered the instructor immediate confirmation that the teachers understood the concepts to the level of application. In the OL course the instructor was only able to determine if the teachers understood the technology concepts to the level of application through assessment of the submitted products. Evaluation of the final products did not allow for examination of the processes followed during product creation. In order to give feedback on processes, the instructor would have to have been online an inordinate amount of time. To improve the impact of the delivery system on transfer, both OL and F2F instruction must first establish models for the teacher in training and second provide experiences that facilitate the similar process in the teachers' classroom.
Screen capture and desktop recording technologies offer developers a tool for providing the user with an alternative for viewing instructor led technology processes. Text and stand-alone graphic tutorials for technology skill acquisition can now be replaced with audio enhanced, multimedia demonstration, training modules and tutorials. While real time access to an instructor may be an affordance for the F2F delivery mode, just-in-time support can be provided through software application supported help programs, online help, and instructor generated FAQs.
Although the teachers in the OL section were assigned the same hands-on activities, they were not offered the opportunity to participate in activities conducted by the instructor, but received demonstration through online examples and tutorials. In OL delivery, content, examples, tutorials, and support are delivered virtually. The increased use of demonstrations among those enrolled in the OL section could be attributed to the large percentage of content materials received through virtual demonstrations.
Through both OL and F2F modes of delivery, teachers can receive training and hands-on activities that model learner-centered instruction. While both modes offer an opportunity for the teachers to gain new insights into the various products and applications of each of the software applications from various perspectives, the transfer of training from the delivery environment to the teachers' classroom environment requires more than instructional and activity based models.
While often the attributes of the online medium make it harder to model classroom practice, and interaction is often asynchronous with only fixed periods for asynchronous experiences. The complimentary integration of multimedia components afforded by OL course delivery allows developers to incorporate video case study or collaborative exchange of learner-created products that provide teachers with observable classroom models of technology integration.
The affordances of the F2F classroom offered the teachers the ability to see and interact with technology integration in an environment that closely resembled their own classroom settings. This resemblance may have influenced their ability to visualize the transfer of the training activities to their own classrooms. In the training environment the F2F section experienced cooperative group work, demonstrations, and demonstrative examples of learner-centered activities during their training. Creating model classrooms for course delivery provides teachers with an opportunity to practice and observe technology use and transfer these methods to their own classrooms. The self-reported instructional methods, used in the teachers' classroom, were similar across the two groups giving further support to the belief that classroom teachers often follow the traditional teaching practices of how they were taught as students.
The teachers must be able to visualize the application of the instruction in their own classrooms. Instruction must address the importance of experience for the teacher both as students and as the classroom teacher. Modeling that promotes transfer offers teachers the opportunity to experience training as students as well as teachers. Training environments that are similar to teachers' classrooms offer the learner an opportunity to practice their learned skills as the teacher. Instruction situated in an authentic context that resembles that of the classroom teacher enriches their learning process by providing realistic experiences that more easily transfer. Instructors and developers of both OL and F2F delivered teacher technology training courses must seek out and apply new technologies to their courses that not only take full advantage and support the affordances offered by the delivery medium but that help eliminate barriers to transfer created by the medium.
Table 1 Participant Coding Categories Case Course Delivery Skill Level Code B Online Low BOL C Online High COH D Online Low DOL E F2F High EFH F F2F Low FFL G F2F High GFH H F2F Low HFL Participants Levels of Use pre post F2F-E 4 5 F2F-F 3 3 F2F-G 3 3 F2F-H 3 4 OL-B 3 3 OL-C 3 4.5 OL-D 3 3 Figure 2. Level of use (OL/F2F comparison) Note: Table made from bar graph. Table 2 Instructional Methods Ranked/Observed: Comparison of OL/F2F Delivery Modes METHOD RANKED OBSERVED Initial Post Initial Post Observation 1 OL OL F2F F2F OL F2F Presentation: Lecture 100% 66% 50% 25% 100% 50% Presentation: Textbook 0% 0% 25% 25% 66% 50% Presentation: Audio 0% 0% 0% 50% 0% 0% Presentation: Video 0% 0% 0% 25% 0% 0% Demonstration 66% 0% 50% 75% 33% 25% Discussion 100% 66% 100% 75% 100% 75% Drill/Practice 100% 100% 75% 100% 100% 75% Tutorial 100% 100% 50% 75% 33% 25% Coop. Group 100% 66% 50% 50% 33% 25% Gaming 66% 66% 50% 50% 33% 50% Simulation 66% 33% 50% 25% 0% 25% Discovery 100% 66% 75% 50% 66% 25% Problem Solving 66% 100% 50% 50% 33% 25% METHOD OBSERVED Observation 2 Observation 3 Observation 4 w/Technology w/Technology OL F2F OL F2F OL F2F Presentation: Lecture 100% 50% 100% 50% 100% 75% Presentation: Textbook 0% 50% 33% 25% 0% 0% Presentation: Audio 0% 0% 0% 25% 0% 0% Presentation: Video 0% 0% 33% 0% 0% 0% Demonstration 66% 50% 33% 25% 66% 25% Discussion 33% 100% 66% 100% 66% 75% Drill/Practice 33% 25% 66% 25% 33% 50% Tutorial 33% 25% 0% 25% 33% 25% Coop. Group 33% 25% 33% 0% 33% 75% Gaming 33% 0% 33% 25% 100% 50% Simulation 0% 25% 0% 50% 0% 25% Discovery 66% 25% 0% 50% 100% 100% Problem Solving 33% 25% 33% 75% 100% 50% Note: Observations 2 and 4 contained a technology component.
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University of Houston--Clear Lake
Houston, TX USA
Texas A & M University
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|Title Annotation:||comparative analysis of teacher technology training courses|
|Publication:||Journal of Technology and Teacher Education|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2005|
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