The abilities, attitudes, and perspectives of foreign language teachers toward instructional technology: an explanatory sequential mixed methods inquiry




Sullivan, Nilsa Becho


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Instructional technology is not going away any time soon and neither are the demands and expectations for teachers to incorporate it and for students to learn using it. Instructional technology is the hardware or software that teachers use to deliver content to their students. The primary purpose of the study was to address the abilities, attitudes, and perspectives of foreign language teachers toward instructional technology. The study was guided by the theory of Fluency with Information Technology, focusing on continuously learning and adapting to apply technology in one’s personal or professional undertakings.
The mixed methods explanatory sequential study was conducted to explore and interpret the attitudes and abilities of a non-probability sample of foreign language teachers in Texas regarding the classroom use of instructional technology. Quantitative data were collected from 37 participants via an online survey that collected demographic data as well as responses to attitudinal statements to measures the variables of interest. A focus group was conducted to collect the qualitative data from five foreign language teachers. The study’s external validity was limited to the participants. Due to non-experimental nature of the study, no causal inferences were drawn. The quantitative results showed that foreign language teachers across the state were using instructional technology for a variety of reasons, but their experience and purpose of use varied greatly. Most of the respondents felt that they were confident enough to incorporate instructional technology in their classes, having learned how to use it for themselves. The focus group participants noted that the availability of instructional technology was still not on pace with core classes or with the government’s recommended standards for high speed Internet access. Their overarching concern was the possibility of being negatively evaluated by their administrators for not using instructional technology, despite not having it readily available to them. The survey respondents and the focus group participants did agree that their teacher education programs did not sufficiently prepare them for incorporating instructional technology in the classroom.
The results of the study have implications for teacher education programs, school districts, and foreign language teachers. It is important to note that school administrators take a vital role in the selection and integration of instructional technologies, not only for foreign language teachers, but also for all other teachers. There must be equality in the distribution of the new technologies so that all teachers may have adequate access to them. Administrators must pay attention to the needs of foreign language teachers and realize the importance of adequate professional development opportunities for teachers that must include the technicalities of the integration of new technologies and the related pedagogical concerns.





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