Comparison of pre-service and in-service teachers' attitudes and perceived abilities toward integrating digital technologies into the classroom
Gomez, Jeannette R.
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It is important for both the current and future teachers to understand the best practices and strategies to integrate digital technologies in the classroom. Since our society is driven by technology, both current and future teachers need essential technological skills and enhanced abilities to facilitate learning. The explanatory sequential mixed methods study was conducted to explore pre-service and in-service teachers’ attitudes and perceived abilities toward integrating digital technologies into the classroom. The Digital Technology and Classroom Survey (DTCS) was used to measure attitudes and perceived abilities of both pre-service and in-service teachers. The study took place in South Texas. The sample consisted of 25 pre-service teachers enrolled in educational courses at a university and 25 elementary and secondary in-service teachers in a large urban school district. External validity was limited to study participants and no causal inferences were drawn due to the non-experimental nature of the study. Analysis of the data showed that with respect to attitudes toward integrating digital technologies into the classrooms, it was concluded that there were no statistically significant differences between pre-service and in-service teachers. With respect to the perceived abilities of pre-service and in-service teachers regarding integration of digital technologies into their classroom, the difference on the basis of the school or district network was statistically significant, favoring the in-service teachers. The qualitative data resulted in three themes, namely, Affirmation of Technology, Barriers, and Educational Technology. Based on the quantitative results, it was concluded that both pre-service and in-service teachers had the skills to integrate technology in an instructional setting. Based on the qualitative results, which complemented the quantitative results, it was concluded that pre-service teachers needed more practice and experience with technology and in-service teachers reported insufficient access and a need for better training and ongoing staff resources. The results of this study can provide the classroom teachers with an awareness of the available technology available and be useful in identifying professional development topics for the integration of technology in the classroom. Some recommendations for future research include: a follow-up focus group with the pre-service participants once they have completed their first year of teaching, expanding the survey to include administrators in order to better understand their role in district and campus digital technology integration, and an examination of student skills and perspectives related to integrating technology in their instruction.