Title page for ETD etd-0129103-155734

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Matt, Nancy
URN etd-0129103-155734
Title Making the Internet Transition: Assessing the Needs of Secondary Public School Teachers
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wesley M. Shrum, Jr. Committee Chair
Mike Grimes Committee Member
Sung Joon Jang Committee Member
  • social construction of technology
  • public high school teachers
  • internet training
Date of Defense 2002-11-01
Availability unrestricted
Since the introduction of Internet technology in public schools, teachers who are enthusiastic about computer and Internet training have responded to school districts’ offers of off-site training and take part in grant-based programs to promote the use of technology. The first phase of promotion by attraction has been completed. The remaining teachers are not as enthusiastic and look to the school district to provide them with the type of training they require in order to incorporate Internet technology.

Access to the Internet is just one of many elements involved in the overall problems that public high school teachers face using Internet technology in the classroom. Differences in the definition of access between teachers, schools, and districts, as well as teachers’ perception of students, of school district support, and of self-ability can create barriers to actual use even with Internet access. Using the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) theory to guide this qualitative research, forty-six interviews allow the perceptions of English teachers to be categorized under a descriptive framework that permits the identification of three different groups of Internet users, or relevant social groups: Refusers, Trained Non-users, and Internet Users.

Several key findings emerge from this study: (1) Virtually all teachers feel it is the school districts’ responsibility to teach them to use Internet and computer technology; (2) Teachers do not consider it appropriate to bother on-campus support staff with questions about implementing the Internet into classroom activities; (3) The presence of a printer in the classroom provides an important link to Internet use; (4) Teachers who report frequent use in the classroom are less impressed with the Internet as a research tool than teachers who have received training, but do not use the Internet; and (5) More experienced teachers are not as apt to claim expertise even though their use of the Internet would indicate this to be so, a fact that implies probable underreporting of expertise on previous surveys.

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