The interview section of the data analysis follows. We’ll post final pieces as they are ready for feedback:
Interview questions were used to validate data collected from the OPTIC observations and the survey results from the Arctic Gateway and North Slope Borough school districts. All-in-all the interviews confirmed the need for a tool which would help teachers become more comfortable with the integration of technology in their classrooms.
A majority of teachers in the survey claimed they use technology in their classrooms on a regular basis. The majority of interviewed teachers elaborated that their technology use centers on the display of clarifying media or enriching media in all subject areas. Some teachers described student technology use as blogging or using online sites where students had to read and react to the reading. If we look at the interview answers from the perspective of creating digitally literate students, both sets of interview answers indicate that these teachers are still in the “adoption phase” of technology integration, according to the Technology Integration Matrix.
Since we are anticipating creating a tool which will help teachers at all levels of technology mastery with the new Alaska standards, we asked the teachers how familiar they are with the new standards. In all cases, teachers were aware that there are new standards. One example answer sums up the general response to this question – “I know they’re there… I looked them up on line once!” These responses were a surprise, since the standards are the foundation of what the state expects students to learn. The lack of technology integration in spite of the requirement specifically addressed in the standards indicates a need for more teacher awareness.
When teachers were asked about specific technology familiarity, the responses were all over the spectrum. Where some teachers used blogs, interactive websites and podcasting, for example, there were an equal number of returns that admitted they never used these technologies. There were also responses in the middle, some awareness and little use of different available technologies. The responses to the kind of technology teachers would like to learn about mirrored the above familiarity question. These two questions and their responses again indicated the need for a tool which brings the standards and the technology expectations together in one place with resources and links for implementation of the expected teaching and learning activities.
There are obviously obstacles for teachers in integrating technology in their classrooms. Teachers generally felt unsupported, citing the need for more training and more time and practice. Reading between the lines, teachers feel like it is not a requirement to integrate technology and are opting out if using technology is unreliable or if they have to spend too much time on their own learning about it.
Teachers reacted positively to a potential tool that would help them quickly find resources to help them integrate technology while supporting the new Alaska standards. A helpful site would have links, lesson plans, helpful tips on an easy to navigate website with each standard and associated technology use broken down by standard.