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K-12 teachers' use of course websites.

While the benefits of course websites have been established at the university level, a paucity of literature exists regarding K-12 teachers' creation and subsequent use of course websites, how they use these course websites, and the factors that encourage, or barriers that impede their use. In this study, 36 inservice K-12 teachers participated in a technology integration course, and as a component, constructed a course website. Ten weeks after the conclusion of the course, the teachers were given an online survey to determine the rate of use of their website. The results showed that due to a number of contextual barriers such as a lack of access to appropriate software, a perception that parents and students cannot access the Internet at home, and a lack of time, over two-thirds of the teachers did not use their course website on a regular basis. In addition, each of the teachers surveyed found the construction of their course website to be a beneficial experience, and the vast majority intended to use it in the future. These results, their implications, recommendations, and directions for future study are discussed.

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For the better part of the past decade, the Internet has been described by teacher educators as a tool that can have far-reaching benefits for both teachers and students (Bennett & Gelernter, 2001; Soloway, Norris, Blumenfeld, Krajcik, & Fishman, 2000; Bennett & Pye, 1999; Hicks & Ewing, 2003; Singleton & Giese, 1999). Braun and Risinger (1999, p. 7) offered particularly high praise for the Internet, as they referred to it as a "truly revolutionary development" in terms of teaching and learning. However, the Internet can also affect the manner in which an instructor organizes course materials, as syllabi and course handouts, as well as lecture notes, tutorials, and procedures for assignments can be put online (Maddux, 1999; O'Sullivan, 2001; Selim, 2003). This ability of instructors to create course-specific websites has the potential to radically alter the way in which instructors conduct their courses. While the benefits of course websites have been established at the university level and there have been numerous studies that focus on teacher and student use of the Internet in K-12 settings, a paucity of literature exists regarding K-12 teachers' creation and subsequent use of course websites, how they use these course websites, and the factors that encourage, or barriers that impede their use.

Stemming from his 2000 study of topics taught in teacher education instructional technology courses, Betrus deemed that use of the Internet/World Wide Web was present in 95% of the courses in his survey, which was the highest rate of any topic. It is with good reason that preservice and inservice teacher education students are taught to use the Internet, as 99% of public schools had an Internet connection in the fall of 2002 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003a). However, the manner in which the Internet/World Wide Web is taught is not clear, as it could mean anything from searching the Internet for content-specific resources and lesson plans to creating course-specific web sites. In addition, the translation between what is taught in teacher education programs and what occurs in K-12 schools remains a question (Betrus & Molenda, 2002). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to find out how (if at all) K-12 teachers use a course website in their instruction, as well as what connection exists between what is taught in a university technology integration course and actual classroom practice.

METHOD

In this study, 36 inservice teachers from a variety of grade levels and subject areas were participants in a five-week technology integration course as part of a program in Curriculum and Supervision. This course included components on searching the Internet for resources, technical components of how to build a website, as well as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software, and a website's potential instructional and communicative benefits. However, unlike the online professional development course that focused primarily on the construction of websites as described by Essex (2002), the inservice teachers in this course met in person and participated in a more general technology applications course that covered the Microsoft Office suite, online communication tools, and digital image software.

To satisfy the International Society for Technology in Education's National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers, particularly Standards I, II, III, and V, each participant in the course created a minimum of a six-page course website that had certain required criteria (teaching philosophy, course products, and links to useful Internet sites), but also left room for individual modifications based on professional need. For example, one teacher had a classroom calendar page, while another had a page devoted to homework. Perhaps most importantly, the participants in the class were told that they would be able to keep this website and modify it throughout the school year, and were shown how to do this. This was a critical aspect to the teachers' continued use of their websites, because unlike other types of electronic files such as a word processing or spreadsheet document, web pages must be "hosted," or stored on an Internet server in order to be viewed on the World Wide Web (WWW or Web).

Each teacher was given a subdomain on the instructor's personal website as well as an FTP account. On the first day of class, an online survey was taken that asked the inservice teachers' about their experience using various technology applications and their opinions on the use of technology in the classroom. The results of this survey showed that not one teacher had experience with web design. As a result, students were taught web design from a beginning level, and the learning was scaffolded to include more advanced concepts. Due to the software that was available in the teaching lab where the course took place, inservice teachers were at first taught web design and development using Microsoft FrontPage[TM] for a web editor, and WS-FTP[c] as an FTP client. Throughout the course it was emphasized that the course website could be used throughout the upcoming school year, even if the inservice teachers did not have access to Microsoft FrontPage[TM] and WS-FTP[c]. It was thoroughly explained and demonstrated that Microsoft FrontPage[TM] and WS-FTP[c] were not the only web editors and FTP clients on the market, as there was a demonstration of how students could obtain NVu[c] (http://www.nvu.com) as a web editor as well as SmartFTP[c] (http://smartftp.com) as an FTP client. In addition, a question on the final exam alluded to the fact that their course website could be modified using other types of software.

The degree to which K-12 teachers use a course website in their instruction was studied using what Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998, p. 47) referred to as a "parallel/simultaneous mixed method." A mixed method was particularly useful for this study, as the open-ended items "extend[ed] the breadth and range of inquiry" for each individual (Greene, Caracelli, & Graham, 1989, p. 259). Ten weeks after completing the technology integration course (at the end of the first grading quarter of the school year), the 36 inservice teachers were given an anonymous, online survey that focused on their use of their course website. The survey asked questions that pertain to how often they used their website, how they used it, its benefits, drawbacks, the factors that encourage its continued use, barriers that impede it, and any technical issues that they had encountered. Participants were able to answer on a Likerttype scale as well as elaborate through comment boxes. The survey in its entirety is in Appendix A.

Each of the teachers was contacted through e-mail and asked to participate in the study. This e-mail contained a URL that was a consent form, and at the bottom of the consent form was a hyperlink to the survey itself. Of the 36 teachers that were asked to complete the survey, 28 did so, for a completion rate of 78%. After teachers completed the survey, they were assigned a number, and were thereafter referred to as Teacher #1-Teacher #28. Because the gender of the participants is not known, when discussed in the third person, each is referred to as "she."

The quantitative and qualitative results of the survey were displayed on a password protected web page. The researcher used descriptive statistics to summarize the Likert scale items and summarized open-ended questions by developing themes from this qualitative data using grounded theory, as described by Strauss and Corbin (1998). Grounded theory was appropriate for this study, as data were "systematically gathered and analyzed," and from this data, the researcher "allow[ed] the theory to emerge" (Strauss & Corbin, p. 12). Using an "Open Coding" system, the researcher "conceptualized" the open-ended responses to ascertain the reasons behind a certain answer for a Likert-type item (Strauss & Corbin, p. 103).

RESULTS

Although each of the teachers surveyed had the ability as well as the server space to create a website, the majority did not use these skills that they had acquired from course instruction. Over two-thirds of the teachers surveyed (19 out of 28) indicated that they used their websites "Rarely/Never," and less than a quarter of the teachers (6 out of 28) described using their websites at least three times a week. Nonetheless, of the 28 teachers surveyed, 20 (74%) indicated that the amount that they used their course websites was not optimal, and 17 of the 18 teachers that described using their websites "Rarely/Never" indicated that they would like to use their website on a more frequent basis. When asked to fill in a comment box and elaborate on the reasons for their use or nonuse, teachers responded by describing an assortment of real and perceived barriers that caused them to feel as if they were either unable or unwilling to use their course website on a more frequent basis. These barriers can be categorized as an insufficient access to the appropriate software, a perception that both students and parents are not able to access the Internet, and a lack of time. However, among the teachers surveyed, there was an overwhelming feeling that the design of the website was a beneficial experience, and a great enthusiasm was expressed for using their course website in the future. A chart depicting the frequency of teachers' use of course websites can be found in Appendix B.

Access to Software

To modify their site, teachers would need to have access to a web editor as well as an FTP client. However, when asked if they had access to a web editor and FTP software from school or home, only 39% (11 out of 28) responded that they had access to both. Access to software, namely Microsoft FrontPage[TM] and an FTP client, was paramount in terms of teachers' use of course websites. Put simply, teachers that had access to this software were more likely use their course website on a more frequent basis as well as make modifications. Of the 17 teachers that did not have access to both types of software, 14 (82%) stated that this lack of access was a direct influence on why they did not update their website more often. It was apparent that each of the teachers had the technical abilities to modify their website, but without access to the requisite software, were unable to do so. It stands on good reason that teachers without access to software use and modify their course websites to a lesser degree, as it is not possible to make changes without it.

The 11 teachers that had access to both a web editor and an FTP client were much more likely than their peers who did not have access to this software to both use their course website more often as well as update it more frequently. Four of the 11 teachers (36%) used their website at least three times a week, with one teacher who used it everyday, while just two out of the 17 teachers (12%) that did not have access to this software used their site at least three times a week, with neither one using it everyday. Along the same lines, of the 11 teachers that had access to this software, five (45%) had updated their site within the last month, and four of those teachers (80%) had updated it within the last week. Conversely, only one of the 17 (6%) teachers without access to this software had updated their site within the last month.

Several teachers alluded to this inability to obtain software as a hurdle that could not be overcome in terms of website modification. Teacher #5, although she stated that she "could see the benefits" of maintaining a website, declined to do so, as she "cannot make changes quickly and easily." Teacher #3 concurred with this statement, as although she, too, desired to use his course website more often, could not, as she succinctly said that "I need this software to update information." Teacher #14 described how her lack of access to software had a direct correlation with the amount that she uses her course website, as she said that "If I had access to the programs, I would definitely keep making changes and use the website more." Because it is necessary to have both a web editor as well as access to an FTP client, it was not possible for a teacher that had access to only one type of software to be able to update their site. Teacher #6 had access to a web editor but not an FTP client. She was "able to modify my website from home, but cannot get the changes to upload onto my website," and as a result, had not modified her website since school started in August. Of the 28 teachers surveyed, 21 (75%) indicated that the amount that they used their course websites was not optimal. Of these 21 teachers, 15, or 71% did not have access to the requisite software.

Parent and Student Access at Home

Teachers reported a large disparity in the percentage of their students that had Internet access at home, and this rate of access had a profound effect on whether teachers used their course websites. Teachers were asked to rate their site's usefulness in terms of communicating with parents on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being low and 5 being high. The results of this one item showed that the majority of teachers believed that their course website was a useful tool for communication with parents, as the mean for this question was 3.61, with a standard deviation of 1.34. Although 57% (16 out of 28) of the teachers rated this item a four or a five, exactly half of these teachers (8 out of 16) reported that they used their site rarely or not at all. A potential explanation for this disparity is that many teachers believed that the majority of parents would not be able to access this site, thereby mitigating any potential communication benefit that it might hold.

While three teachers reported that 90-99% of their students had access to the Internet at home, eight teachers reported less than 10%, and more than two-thirds (19 out of 28) of the teachers reported that less than 60% of their students had access. There was a direct correlation between high levels of access at home and teachers' use of their websites, as teachers that believed a large percentage of their students had access at home were more likely to use their course website, while those that believed a small percentage had access were less likely to. This determinant could account for the low percentage of teachers in this study that used their course websites, as the majority of teachers in this study reported that most of their students did not have access at home.

This phenomenon is exemplified by Teacher #4, who stated that she believes that her course website is "extremely useful," but reported using it "Rarely/Never." She described informing the parents of her students about the website both in writing and in person. However, not one parent has indicated that they have accessed the website. Therefore, the teacher feels as if "I am the only one looking at it." Perhaps not coincidentally, she reported that "two out of twenty-five" of her students have Internet access at home. Although she "would gladly update [the course website] and post news/pictures/curriculum," the lack of access by parents discourages this practice. This sentiment was echoed by Teacher #12, who reported that "less than 10%" of her students had Internet access at home, as she felt that it would be "a waste of time" to keep her website up to date, because "parents have no access to computers." Conversely, Teacher #7 uses her course website about three times a week, mainly "to showcase [to parents] the activities that the sixth grade has completed." Incidentally, she reported that 90-99% of her students have Internet access at home, and as a result she desires for students to "not only be able to see themselves on the Web, but to direct out of state relatives and friends to this page."

However, this is not to say that the teachers in this study only used their course website if a large percentage of the students had Internet access at home. In fact, Teacher #11, despite the fact that only 10-20% of her students had Internet access, uses her site everyday, as she finds it to be a nonthreatening way to communicate with parents. Teacher #15 felt similarly, as although only 40-60% of her students have Internet access from home, she still finds the site useful, as "most parents have access to computers at work."

This lack of access also affects whether teachers post assignments through their course website. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being low and 5 being high, teachers were asked to describe their course website's usefulness for posting assignments. The mean response to this item was 3.32, and the standard deviation was 1.24. Similar to the effect on using their course website as a tool for communication with parents, Internet access at home (or lack thereof) once again influenced teachers' use of their course website for posting assignments. Although teachers desired to use their course website to post assignments, many, in an effort to be fair to all of their students, felt as if they could not, even in cases where 90-99% of their students had Internet access at home.

For example, Teacher #23, who rated her course website a 5 in terms of usefulness for posting assignments, indicated that even though the vast majority of her students have Internet access at home, "one or two do not." Therefore, she is reluctant to post assignments from her website in an effort to be "uniform." This view is reflected by Teacher #8, who rated her website a 4 for usefulness for posting assignments. Although she expressed that she would use her course website posting assignments "in a more equal society," access issues made her disinclined to do so at the present time. Finally, Teacher #18 teaches high school and expressed that she "would like to use [the course website] to post assignments." However, she does not because of the fact that less than 10% of her students have access to the Internet at home, and as a result, "the site is not effective in reinforcing what I have done in the classroom."

Time

In addition to a lack of Internet access from home and a lack of software, a deficiency of both personal and instructional time served as a third barrier to teachers using their course websites on a more frequent basis. While Teacher #3 volunteered that "Time is a big factor," Teacher #26 stated that there is simply "not enough time during the day" to maintain her website, as she is "always at a meeting." This was echoed by Teacher #8, as she indicated that she "[has] meetings during much of my planning time." Because Teacher #22 is taking graduate courses in addition to teaching, she "[has] not found the time." Finally, one teacher felt as if the "very rigorous schedule" at her school was a deterrent to more frequent website use.

Besides being hindered by taking graduate classes, Teacher #22 did not have access to a web editor or FTP client. As a result, she stated that "the only way to change information is if I come [to campus]," but "right now I don't have the time to do it on a consistent basis." This lack of a web editor and FTP client also afflicted Teacher #25, but she recognized that "I could download the free software that you described to us in class." However, this does not appear to be a possibility for Teacher #25, as she stated that "I just don't have the time to mess around with it at home."

Beneficial Experience

Although the majority of teachers surveyed did not use their course website, when asked whether constructing the website was a beneficial experience, they answered in the affirmative with 100% unanimity. Since every teacher responded that creating their website was a beneficial experience, those that had access to a web editor and FTP client and updated their website in the last week were in agreement with those that had no access to the requisite equipment and had not updated their website since the end of the course. However, teachers that had access to the necessary software perceived the benefit in a different manner than those that did not.

This is exemplified by Teacher #1, who had access to a web editor and FTP, and had updated her site in the past week. This teacher felt that "the information I learned in this class taught me everything I know about creating a website, and now I am the webmaster of three websites." Teacher #19, who reported the same access to equipment and frequency of use as Teacher #1, echoed this statement, as she stated that the course website "makes communication with parents easier." Teacher #27 reported a similar experience. She, too, has the same access to equipment and frequency of use as the preceding two, and reported that "a majority of my parents have stated that they use the website on a daily basis ...they even send relatives from other states." It is clear that the experiences of these three teachers demonstrate that teachers that have access to the proper equipment are able to reap the benefits of a course website, and see its advantages in the here and now.

Teachers that did not use their course website as frequently also believed that their experience was beneficial. However, this benefit was perceived as beneficial more in the abstract, as something that might be able to be used in the future. Teacher #5, (who did not have access to both a web editor and FTP client, and had not updated her site since the end of the course) stated that she "could see the benefits of having my own website for keeping my parents informed," while Teacher #15 saw the potential advantage of her course website in that "any form of communication [with parents] is beneficial in the education field." While all of the teachers in the survey agreed that the process of constructing their website was a beneficial experience, those that were not able to use their newfound skill were more likely to describe the benefit in a less concrete fashion.

Future Use

Of the 19 teachers that reported that they did not use their website on a regular basis, a clear majority (84%) declared that they planned to in the future, after they overcame the various barriers that were afflicting them from doing so presently. This was plainly stated by Teacher #14, who had access to neither a web editor nor FTP software, as she stated that "I would like to use the website if I could only find a way to have frequent access [to software]." This lack of access to software also afflicted Teacher #22, who intends to use her course website in the future "when I figure out a way that I can change the information on a consistent basis." Access to equipment is not the only barrier that needed to be overcome, as two teachers (#23 and #25) slated that a lack of time was paramount in not using their site on a more frequent basis. Teacher #23 stated that she "would use it weekly when I have the time to redesign it," and Teacher #25 declared that she would like to add another page to her site "if I get free time to update it."

Several teachers had specific plans on how they would like to use their site if they could overcome the aforementioned barriers that they face. For example, Teacher #15 (who already has access to an FTP client) is enthusiastically waiting for the arrival of web editing software so that she can use her website as a communication tool as she can "post homework weekly, post 'Student of the Week' weekly, and give details as to the chapters that we are working on." Teacher #20 faces a similar dilemma, although she has access to a web editor, but not an FTP client. However, if she is able to obtain an FTP client, she will use her course website as a tool for "notifying parents of current and upcoming activities, news and information, and as a resource for parents to help students." Teacher #16 was so excited about the possibility of using her course website that as soon as she was able to overcome the barrier of access to equipment, she would "update [it] weekly" and ensure that the potential barrier of a lack of access of the Internet at home would be triumphed by "mak[ing] copies for the parents that do not have access."

DISCUSSION

It was clear that every teacher in this survey, regardless of content area or grade level, possessed the technical skills to construct a course website and found it to be a beneficial experience. However, over two-thirds of teachers (19 out of 28) described using their website "Rarely/Never." The results of this study show an apparent disconnect between teachers' desired use of their course websites and their actual use. The reason for this discrepancy lies in three areas: (a) a lack of access to the requisite software, (b) a lack of access to the Internet at home among parents of students, and (c) a lack of time.

Without a web editor and FTP software, it was not possible for teachers to modify their course website. As a result, this was the single largest determinant of whether or not teachers used their course website on a frequent basis. As previously mentioned, while the course was primarily taught using Microsoft FrontPage[TM] and WS-FTP[c], it was both explained and demonstrated that other web editors and FTP clients, available free of charge, would accomplish the same task in terms of modifying their website. However, it is clear that there was a disconnect between what was taught in this section of the course and actual practice of the teachers, as it could be assumed that every teacher had the capability of downloading this software to overcome the barrier of a lack of equipment, but for one reason or another, perhaps a lack of time or a perception that many of their students would not be able to access their site, declined to do so.

Another reason for this could be that the teachers were unable to transfer the skills they learned on specific software to other software that had the same overall function but operated slightly differently. This suggests that it is possible that some teachers were able to remember certain functions on specific software (such as Microsoft FrontPage[TM] and WS-FTP[c]), but were unable to convey this knowledge to the "big picture" in terms of understanding the functionality of web editors and FTP in general and transferring their skill in one type of software to another. Because both Microsoft FrontPage[TM] and WS-FTP[c] are not necessarily included within a standard software package, it is not likely that a teacher would have this specific software on their machines either in school or at home. Therefore, if they wanted to use this software, they would have to purchase (and subsequently install) it to use their website. Further complicating manners, schools often restrict teachers from installing software on their computers. In retrospect, a method by which this barrier might have been alleviated would have been to teach web design and development by using free software, such as Nvu[c] or Netscape Composer as a web editor and SmartFTP[c] as an FTP client. In so doing, teachers would not only have been more likely to have access to this software either in school or at home, but because they would have had familiarity with the software's intricacies, they might have been more likely to use it in their teaching.

A lack of Internet access at the homes of students served as a major barrier to teachers' use of their course websites. Unlike university courses where it can be taken for granted that every student can have access to the Internet to access course materials, (either at home or in a computer lab) the same assumption cannot be made for K-12 students. This was evidenced in this study, as only three teachers (11%) reported that 90-99% of their students had Internet access at home, and the mode for this question was less than 10%.

This is a reflection of what is known as the "digital divide," as computers and the Internet are used at different rates in American society based on socioeconomic status (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003b, p. iv). Generally speaking, as household income increases, use of the Internet does as well, as "82 percent of adults with an annual family income over $75,000 used the Internet in 2001," compared to "24 percent of adults with an annual family income below $20,000" (National Center for Education Statistics, p. 5). If teachers do not believe that their students and the parents of their students will be able to access their site, its potential as an enrichment and communication tool is mitigated, and results in a decrease in motivation to continue with its construction.

Although it was apparent in this study that the majority of the student's parents did not have access to the Internet, Maddux (2001) argued that a course website is an invaluable communication tool, as it allows parents to check on the happenings of their child's education at their convenience. Ivers and Barron (1999, p. 181) concurred, as they argued that the Internet is "a viable tool for exchanging and displaying information among schools." The use of the Internet as a school-parent communication tool has entered the mainstream, as a recent Newsweek article portrayed both a school and individual teacher website being used as means to communicate with parents, as the piece describes a school district that posts attendance records on the Internet, an elementary school teacher that puts student grades online, (although it does not mention if it is a password protected page) and another school that uses webcams to present to parents what is happening in the school on a minute-to-minute basis (Setoodeh, 2004).

The facilitated communication between schools and parents that websites allow is also beneficial in terms of student success, as Jones (2001, p. 37) averred that "family participation in well-designed student activities" has the "greatest impact on student achievement." Further, Epstein (1995, p. 703) posited that teachers are eager to include parents, but may "not know how to go about building positive and programs." Course websites present a potential alleviation of this concern, as not only do they provide a window by which parents can look into to gain a glimpse into their child's education, but as Maddux (2001) and Teacher #11 pointed out, parents can do so when they please and in a nonthreatening manner.

A third barrier that teachers faced, a lack of time, may have manifested itself in the busy schedule (such as meetings and graduate school) that some teachers described, but also as a result of a lack of equipment. Because the majority of teachers did not have access to a web editor and FTP client, if they wanted to obtain these materials, they would have to download the software from the Internet. However, if teachers were unsure or uncomfortable in doing this, the process and unfamiliarity might be perceived as prohibitively time consuming.

While course websites for instructors have become part of everyday life at the university level, the same cannot be said for K-12 instructors. Although it is difficult to pinpoint a reason for this, there are factors at both levels of education that may influence the reasons for this. On college campuses, faculty access to software is rarely a problem, and if an instructor is unsure of the technical components, there are usually various staff members whose job responsibility revolves around assisting in this endeavor, and this is not the case in K-12 schools. Secondly, because university students have a plethora of opportunities to connect to the Internet, it is doubtful that a lack of access is a major concern for university instructors, whereas the same cannot be said for K-12 teachers. Finally, because there are staff members that can assist faculty in creating course websites, it is likely that this saves valuable instructor time and might make them more likely to use a course website than a K-12 teacher, who does not necessarily have access to this type of assistance.

RECOMMENDATIONS

This study holds implications for teacher educators in terms of helping K-12 teachers continue their use of course websites subsequent to the completion of a technology integration course. The results of this study demonstrated that a lack of access to the requisite equipment was paramount in teachers' nonuse of their course websites. However, if software such as Netscape Composer[c] and SmartFTP[c] had been used as a web editor and FTP client, respectively, it is less likely that this predicament would have occurred. Because this software is available at no charge, teachers would have been able to download it at school and at home.

Along the same lines, this study revealed that teachers had difficulty transferring their skills on one type of software to another. To rectify this, not only can web design and development be taught using freely downloadable software, but there are several avenues that may be explored in terms of tasks that teacher educators may undertake to ensure each teacher's ability to update their website. First off, it should be stressed that updating a website is significantly less time consuming than its creation from scratch. In terms of specifics however, one assignment could be for class participants to modify their website in a location other than the computer lab that is on campus, while another assignment might be to interview the technology coordinator in the school in which teachers work to find out about any firewalls or other obstacles that might be encountered as they update their website. An ideal situation would be to have a class meeting in a school's computer lab (as opposed to the one on campus) so that a real school setting could be simulated as much as possible.

Although this was a study of inservice teachers, course website development can be used as a component of a technology integration course for preservice teachers as well. For inservice teachers, the requirements of a course website should be practical, as there might be some required pages (such as a syllabus or calendar) but other pages should be created at the discretion of each individual teacher and what they feel would be most helpful for them professionally. For preservice teachers, course websites present an opportunity to present their teaching philosophy as well as create an electronic portfolio of their work. An electronic portfolio could not only be used to demonstrate to potential employers students' ability to integrate technology into instruction, but at the same time may be used as a resource that may be both called upon and added to during their induction years.

FUTURE STUDIES

This study is well suited to further scholarship in the future, as its conclusions were more a reflection of the barriers that precluded teachers from using their course websites than a demonstration of how teachers use their websites, as a very small percentage of the teachers surveyed used their websites on a regular basis. While some of the obstacles that were identified could be overcome more easily than others (e.g., it would be easier to provide teachers with the requisite software than it would be to ensure that each student has an Internet connection at home), an effort to overcome even one of these barriers would present an interesting follow-up study. Because a lack of access to software was a determining factor in whether teachers in this study used their course website, if teachers were given the software they need to maintain their website after having taken a technology integration course, a study could be conducted that determined how the K-12 teachers used their course website, since it could be presumed that many technical issues present in this study would be alleviated.

CONCLUSION

In this follow-up study of a technology integration course in which 28 inservice K-12 teachers from a variety of grade levels and subject areas were surveyed to investigate the extent to which they used a course website in their instruction, it was apparent that due to several barriers, the majority of teachers used their website very infrequently, if at all. These reasons for this included a lack of access to software, a lack of access to the Internet at students' homes, and a lack of time. All 28 teachers surveyed described the construction of their website as a beneficial experience, and the vast majority desired to make use of it in the future. As a result, when this course is taught again, it will continue to have a portion devoted to course website design and development. However, to help ensure its future use, it will be taught using software that will be continually available to teachers in their homes and schools.

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Note

This article is based on a poster presentation at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) 2005 annual conference.

APPENDIX A: SURVEY OF PARTICIPANTS

Descriptive Information

What is the grade level you teach?

Content area:

How many computers do you have in your classroom?

Do you have access to a computer lab or portable laptops?

If so, how often do you use them?

Do you have a projector in your classroom?

Do you communicate with the parents of your students via e-mail?

Does your school have a website?

If so, how would you rate it on a scale of 1-5 (1 being low and 5 high)

What are your reason(s) for this?

Web Site Use

How often do you use your website?

Is this the optimum amount of time for you?

If yes, please describe why. Are there any factors at your school or with you personally that encourage your use?

If no, please describe why not. Are there any factors that hold you back from using it more?

What are some way(s) you use your website? (please check all that apply)

Post Homework/Assignments

Class Calendar

Communication with Parents

Class Syllabus

Links to Websites

Links to Files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.)

Use of Images

Other

Please describe how you use your site.

Do you ever assign homework that requires use of your site?

If so, please describe a sample assignment.

What is your best estimate of the percentage of your students who have an Internet connection at home?

Does this have an influence on your use of the site? Please describe:

Please answer the next questions according to the following scale:

5=Strongly Agree, 4=Agree, 3=Neutral, 2= Disagree, 1=Strongly Disagree

This website is a useful tool for communication with parents.

This website is a useful tool for posting assignments.

This website is a useful tool for providing links to other sites.

Overall, this website is a useful tool for instruction.

[* Filter does not support this file format | In-line.EMF *]

Technical Issues

When was the last time you modified your website?

Do you have access to FrontPage or another web editor from home or school?

Do you have access to FTP software from home or school?

Does this access (or lack thereof) influence how often you modify your website?

Please describe:

If you're not using your website on a regular basis now, do you plan to in the future?

Please describe how you intend to use it:

Overall Experience

Was constructing the site a beneficial experience?

Please describe why or why not.

Did creating this website influence how you think of using technology in your instruction?

Please describe why or why not.

Submit Survey

APPENDIX B: FREQUENCY OF TEACHERS' USE OF COURSE WEBSITES
The 11 teachers who had access to both a web editor and FTP client

 Website use Last time updated
 3 X 1 X Rarely/ Last Last Before End of
Teacher Everyday week week Never week month school class

 1 X X
 4 X X
 9 X X
10 X X
11 X X
12 X X
17 X X
18 X X
19 X X
21 X X
27 X X
Totals 1 3 2 5 4 1 1 5

The 17 teachers who did not have access to both a web editor and FTP
client

 Website use Last time updated
 3X 1X Rarely/ Last Last Before End of
Teacher Everyday week week Never week month school class

 2 X X
 3 X X
 5 X X
 6 X X
 7 X X
 8 X X
13 X X
14 X X
15 X X
16 X X
20 X X
22 X no response
23 X no response
24 X X
25 X X
26 X X
28 X X
Totals 0 2 1 14 1 1 3 10

The 11 teachers who had access to both a web editor and FTP client

 Percentage of students
Teacher who have Internet at home

 1 40-60
 4 <10
 9 40-60
10 40-60
11 10-20
12 <10
17 60-80
18 <10
19 60-80
21 10-20
27 60-80
Totals

The 17 teachers who did not have access to both a web editor and FTP
client

 Percentage of students
Teacher who have Internet at home

 2 10-20
 3 20-40
 5 no response
 6 <10
 7 90-99
 8 10-20
13 90-99
14 20-40
15 40-60
16 <10
20 60-80
22 <10
23 90-99
24 60-80
25 <10
26 20-40
28 20-40
Totals


ADAM FRIEDMAN

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Charlotte, NC USA

afriedma@email.uncc.edu
COPYRIGHT 2006 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Author:Friedman, Adam
Publication:Journal of Technology and Teacher Education
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Date:Dec 22, 2006
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