Technology integration in the context of collaboration in early childhood settings

Open Access
Author:
Jin, Meong-hee
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
June 12, 2014
Committee Members:
  • James Ewald Johnson, Dissertation Advisor
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Member
  • Jamie Myers, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Collaboration
  • Technology knowledge
  • Technology pedagogy
  • Technology integration
Abstract:
As the concern about technology in education shifts from teachers’ technological skills to how technology can be used in appropriate ways for children’s learning and development, the challenge of technology use lies in determining how to integrate technologies into teaching practice. Due to the constantly changing nature of technological applications in teaching and learning, technology-mediated teaching practice deserves support within a social context in order to create a community of practice that encourages teachers’ professional development in a range of relevant educational technologies. The purpose of this study was to identify how teachers integrate technology in their teaching practices in relation to the curriculum and children’s learning in a collaborative context. This study aimed to identify how collaborative teaching mediates teachers’ inquiry to technology integration in the classroom. This study also focused on the content of collaborative inquiry for technology integration in different classroom contexts. Multiple case study was conducted over a four-month period in order to explore teachers’ teaching practice and the ways in which they collaborated on achieving technology integration goals. Seven teachers from three sites participated in the study, and three cases were analyzed on the basis of data drawn from interviews, observations, questionnaires, and field notes. Four themes were elicited from the teaching practices focused on technology integration in the context of collaboration demonstrated by the three case study: (1) teacher’s inquiry into children’s learning and play (2) teacher’s knowledge about technology (3) collaboration among the teachers, and (4) the context for technology environment. The teaching practices and collaborative work focused on technology integration varied according to the nature of the inquiry into the children’s learning, the teachers’ knowledge of technology, and the extent of the support offered by their organizations. First, this study found that the teachers’ inquiry focused on developing and integrating technology activities for both the curriculum and the children’s play and learning. In addition, the teachers’ knowledge of technology and pedagogy was closely related to the ways in which and the extent to which they integrated technology into their teaching practice. According to the findings of study, the teachers also engaged in various modes of collaboration in technology integration by drawing on mutual support, shared responsibility, and joint work, and as well as working in isolation. In the process of collaborating on technology integration, the teachers in the present study drew on their differing knowledge bases, skills, and experience in an effort to support each other. The technology environment and organizational support constituted defining features in the teachers’ collaborative teaching practice in regard to technology integration. Based on the present study, teachers’ inquiry, knowledge, and pedagogy as well as the contextual element of organizational support are deemed to be factors that determine and differentiate teaching practice for technology integration. Therefore, a support system for professional development in technology integration should be provided for teachers at both the personal and the social level.