An Exploratory Study of the Levels of Technology Implementation in the Teaching of Writing to Students in Diverse, Low-income High Schools in Texas
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As access to technology increases, educators must continue to study how to best integrate these resources to help close the writing achievement gap and prepare students for college and careers. This survey explores the levels of technology use in English classrooms at diverse, low-income high schools in Texas where 70 percent or more students are identified as economically disadvantaged. This study examines how teachers' levels of implementation relate to teachers' age, years of teaching experience, highest degree earned, and the type of school. Teachers completed an online survey indicating their curriculum and instructional practices, their personal computer use, and their implementation of writing in the classroom. Based on these results, follow-up interviews were conducted with teachers who volunteered to be interviewed. Quantitative statistical analysis of the research evidence using chi square tests indicates a relationship between teachers' level of technology implementation and their age and years of experience teaching. However, the type of school where teachers teach (suburban, urban, or rural) and the highest degree earned by the teacher does not relate to teachers' implementation level, according to the statistical analysis. Thus, this dissertation is about high school English teachers' perspectives on levels of technology implementation in schools serving diverse learners. Using qualitative analysis, the study also found that technology is used on a limited basis by the teachers who provided comments in the survey and those who were interviewed due to lack of access to computers in classrooms. Most teachers indicated they use the teacher computer in their classrooms for clerical tasks and/or presentations to students. Student use of computers was limited to scheduling time in labs that must be shared among the other teachers and students on campus. In addition, the teachers commented that additional professional development is needed to help them implement available technology resources for teaching and learning. To address these challenges, administrators need to study what technology resources best support the teaching of writing, particularly in ways that help close the achievement gap and prepare students for college and careers. Administrators should provide for teachers and students more accessibility to technology resources beyond the school-wide computer lab. Finally, administrators need to offer their teachers varied, ongoing, and collaborative professional development focused on both writing instruction and technology resources to improve teachers' proficiencies and confidence in these areas.
Wellmann, Courtney Faith Haggard (2012). An Exploratory Study of the Levels of Technology Implementation in the Teaching of Writing to Students in Diverse, Low-income High Schools in Texas. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from