Computers make much benefit
for people and play an important role in this information age. They impact
in many areas, of course, including the educational system. Because of
their huge impact for our daily life, the educational function and advantage
of computer gradually attract educators' attention. Some educational documents
like NCTM (1989), for example, encourage teachers to use this informational
technology in their daily working as a productive tool to enrich their
teaching, enhance students' learning, and change their instruction in order
to benefit students. Students should be able to use computers as a learning
tool in classrooms to promote their learning. "Technology is an essential
tool for learning and teaching. It can enhance students' learning"
(NCTM, 2000). Simultaneously, the society also expects teachers to integrate
technology into their classrooms and suggests some things educators can
do in order to accelerate the progress and reform of the educational system
(Johnson, 1997). People including teachers, parents, and policy makers
have an identical consensus that computers have great and important influence
for education (OTA, 1988, 1995, Sheingold & Hadley, 1990). This is
an impressive record of growth and shows a widespread willingness on the
part of school districts, schools, teachers, and parents to explore the
possibilities of new learning technologies (OTA, 1988). Hence, the operational
use of computer-assisted instruction also raises a number of important
relevant issues by using computers in education, including individualization
of instruction, standardization of instruction, complexity of instruction,
and freedom of education (Suppes, 1992).
However, the findings of Computers in Education (Comped) in the first stage (1989) of the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) international survey about computer use found that schools and teachers did not use computers well as effective tools (Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991). This finding was consistent with a number of other relevant studies (OTA, 1988, 1995; Becker, 1991a, 1991b, 1994; Chiero, 1997;Jaber & Moore, 1999;Hadely & Sheingold, 1993; Winnas, & Brown, 1992; Pruett, Morrison, Dietrich, & Smith, 1993; Owens & Waxman, 1995-96). Therefore, The following two questions will be discussed in this paper:
Hardware and Software
Because of this expectation and educational tendency to implement computers well, the number of computers was increasing in many countries past two decades (Pelgrum & Plomp 1991; Becker, 1991b; OTA, 1988,1995). The number of computers was increasing from 1980s' to the early 1990s'’iin America. Until 1995, schools in the United States had 5.8 million computers for use in instruction, about one for every nine students. The ratio of students to computers improved from 112 to 9 students per computer (OTA 1988, 1995). NCTM (1989) suggested that every student should have opportunities to use computers for individual and group work, and there should be, at least, one computers in each classroom for demonstration purpose.
Although the number of computers was increasing continually and significantly and computers were widely distributed, many researchers still reported that the lack of computers was a still serious problem in many schools and countries (Becker, 1991a; 1991b; OTA, 1988, 1995; Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a; Winnas & Brown 1992). Most teachers at the elementary school level reported that they had students use computers in their classrooms, but there were only one or two computers in those teachers' classrooms (Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a). Because of this problem, students did not seem to generate good learning experience with computers, especially for individualizing learning. In addition, the problem would reduce the teachers’ willingness toward using computers and change the type of learning activities (e.g. whole class vs. group) (Becker, 1991b; Becker, 1994).
In addition to lacking computers, studies also reported that the shortage of software is also a major problem for the implementation of computers in schools (Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a; Becker, 1994). Studies also pointed out that the lack of software would keep teachers from integrating computers into their curriculum (Dupaggne & Krendl, 1992; Pruett et al., 1993). The reason for the shortage of software might be that schools lacked the budget or there was not enough appropriate software to buy.
In identifying barriers to increased use of technology, almost two- thirds of the states surveyed by OTA (1988) cited lack of funds as a major problem. Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a) also showed that the financial constraint was mentioned by a number of participating countries. The reason for the financial constraint might be that the expenditure of buying computers is too high. Government, local districts, and/or schools can not allocate enough money in a short time to buy enough computers and software for teachers and students.
Although the shortage of hardware and software limited the development of using computers in schools, this factor only partly explained why the integration of computers into curriculum in schools is not expected. Although Hadley and Sheingold (1993) found that sufficient technology for regular access was critical for teachers to use computers, there was a study showed that almost 50% teachers would not use computers to teach even when they were available (Marcinkiewicz, 1994). Owens and Waxman's (1995) study also showed that computers were not used often in classrooms even when they were available. Clearly, there are some other factors that influence so low using of computers in schools. I will discuss the factors in the next section.
Percentage of Computer Using Teachers
Although the number of computers was increased, the percentage of teachers using them in instructional purpose was still very low. In 1989, “only one teacher in six among secondary school math, science, and English teachers used computers in a substantial way”according to Becker’s(1991a) study. Pruett et al. (1993) pointed out that 42% of participating teachers in their study reported that there are computers in their classrooms. While there are computers in their classrooms, only 33% of them used the computer more than once a week. The rate of intensive using computers in mathematics class seems to be very low (42% *33%=13%) in this study. Reinen and Plomp (1993b) and P and P (1993) also estimated there are not more than 15% of teachers using computers well in their classrooms in the cross-national survey about computer use in schools. In Jaber and Moore’s(1999) study, only 30% of the teachers responding to this survey had computers; 67% of them used computers in their instruction. The percentage of using computers also was low (30%*67%=20.1%). Becker (1991b) concluded that, in the U. S., math and science teachers using computers in their classrooms is twice in 1989 than in 1985, but the frequency of using computers is still lower than computer educational courses. More, Becker (1994) estimated that actual proportion of computer using teachers in the U.S. who would meet the criterion was only about 5%. If including those teachers who did not use computers in their classrooms, the proportion of teachers using computers effectively and successfully in classrooms was only 1% of all teachers. Maybe he was over-worried. However, the above figures revealed a fact that most teachers did not use computers for their instruction.
Not only did teachers not use computers, but also few students can use learn with computers. In another study that surveyed 15000 mathematics teachers, Owens and Waxman (1993) found that about 52% of teachers reported that less than 10% of their students were using computers in mathematics class. In addition, the time of students learning with computers also was little. In an observational study of 220 mathematics classrooms by Huang and Waxman (1996), the researchers reported that computers were used in classrooms only 1% of the class time. Although Winnas and Brown (1992) reported that 64% of teachers in their survey believed that it is necessary for teachers to use computers in their classrooms at least 30 minutes per week.
The IEA Comped survey in 1989 indicated that at least 70% of element teachers used computers in their instruction among the participating countries, the percentage of using was "minima". The definition of "minimal using" is at least several times during the year. Palmer (1993) also reported, based on the IEA data, that 53% of mathematics teachers, on average, 48% of science teachers, and 44% of English teachers in the U. S. used computers in their classrooms, they also were asked if they used computers at least several times during a year. However, the frequency of using computers of "several times" in a school year seems to be not enough to infuse the sprints of using computers for teaching and generate more successful learning with computers for students in schools (Jaber, & Moore 1999). Similarly, the little time of using computers to teach or learn could not product effective results.
Goal and Purpose
Most teachers knew that the integrating of computers into teaching and learning as thinking and exploration tools were very important. Teachers used technology for many reasons, but ultimately, getting and keeping students engaged in learning was the strongest motivation (OTA, 1995). Winnas and Brown (1992) surveyed 70 fourth and fifth teachers and reported most of them seemed to understand the importance of using computers in schools. When asked what is the most important reason for using computers in schools, 70% of them reported that "to provided preparation (or experience) for the future". In addition, 56% said that they thought computers are very important in today's society (Winnas & Brown 1992). Becker (1994) surveying computer using teachers reported that their major goal was to help students master basic skills and facts.
However, the goals of teachers might be different according to the quantity of computers. According Becker’s(1991a) survey, mathematics and science teachers had two main purposes to use computers to "motivate students' learning" and to "help students be proficient in basic facts/skills". If there were only few computers available, teachers' goals would be changed as "the rewarding students for having completed other work" and "the remediating individual students' eficiencies". If enough, "learning to apply mathematics" was the most important function that computers were in class.
Drill and practice exercises with computers were most often mentioned in studies although the situation of software use is somewhat different among schools (Becker, 1991a, 1991b; Jaber, & Moore, 1999; Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a; OTA, 1988, 1995). According the results of IEA survey, Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a,1993) reported that more than 80% of elementary schools used drill and practice as their major purpose of using of computers. In addition, they also widely used programming languages (e.g. LOGO). In addition, most of them used these software on the subjects of mathematics and native language. The purpose of using computers was drill and practice to enhance students' basic skills. In secondary school level, courses in computer science/ programming and in computer use in specific subjects were more available. In lower secondary schools, the software of word processing, spreadsheets, and databases was widely available in most participating countries. In upper secondary schools, most used programming language and word processing. The students of secondary school level had more experience of self-exploration using computers than did those of elementary school level. It seems to indicate that teachers teaching lower grade students dominated more using of computers.
Were computers used as expected? The data showed that the majority of schools and teachers know that the using of computers play an important role in their instructional practice. However, the report of OTA in 1988 mentioned that “most software does not yet sufficiently exploit yet capacity of the computer to enhance teaching and learning "Drill and practice software continues to dominate all subject areas". Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a) concluded that few teachers used computers as an instructional tool (not a training machine) in their classrooms. There was an evidence that the computers used in schools were not extensive except drill and practice. Most software used in school with computers was related to drill and practice. This situation seemed to mean that there was no other appropriate software and computer curriculum to develop students’ higher order thinking skills. However, one of the most important goal of using computers in instruction for students was to help them enrich a learning environment where they could explore knowledge, foster problem solving ability, and learn cooperatively. Clearly, this goal seemed not to be achieved because the most activities of computer using were still for the purpose of drill and practice and mastering their basic skills and facts. Pelgrum and Plomp (1993) called situation as "low-level-adoption". Although teachers and students gradually used computers to teach and learn, computers were used less than often for higher-order conceptual learning and applications than for the practice of basic skills they did not have radical change of using computers seen as a productive tool. For example, teachers can design some activities and instruction and have students use computers to collect data, analyze, share and discuss the information they get. Such as constructivist activities with computers will help students explore and express their ideas in the world of knowledge. It is more effective than the routines of drill and practice to promote students’ learning by using technology.
Although drill and practice programs were prevalent in classrooms, one of the most significant impacts of using computers in schools had influence the type of teaching and learning. Teachers could function as facilitators of student learning, rather than in their traditional role as presenters of ready-made information. For example, cooperative learning in computer-based instruction could be carried out if teachers use computers in their classrooms (OTA 1988). Integrating the computer into instructions had turned a teacher-centered classroom into a student-centered one (Sheingold & Hadley, 1990). In addition, computers can make learning and teaching more individualized."Students will be subject to less regimentation and locksteeping, because computer systems will be able to offer highly individualized instruction" Suppes (1992) said. The data from Pelgrum and Plomp's(1991a) study showed that time spending on small group activities was more than on whole class activities when teachers used computers. Teachers also expressed that they could meet the needs of individual students better if using computers in their classrooms.
The Subject of Using Computers Most
Although the percentages of schools of using computers were different schools, it was a notice that there was a tendency that mathematics teachers use computers often more than other teachers for their instruction (Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a; Becker, 1991a, 1994, Manouchechri, 1993-94).
Pruett's et al. (1993) study showed that 84% of mathematics teachers (smple=128) had used computers to teach math. The result seems to be consistent with the other research that mathematics teachers use computers most frequently. In addition, the software of using with computers was mostly like database and spreadsheet related to mathematics in that study. Teachers who taught math and science tended to use computers in their subjects. The reason might be that their educational background seemed to be related to computers use. Consequently, among those teachers who used computers in classrooms, mathematics teachers had the most experience of using computers (Pelgrum & Plomp 1991a). Hence, Becker (1994) pointed out that only mathematics teachers were likely to become exemplary computer using teachers (i.e. teachers using computer very well).
To learn with/about computers in mathematics classes might partly explain that phenomena. Pelgrum and Plomp’s(1991 b) survey found that part lessons of mathematics were arranged to learn about computers in many countries. Consequently, schools usually added a course of learning about computers rather than integrating computers into their regular mathematics and science curriculum (Becker, 1991a). Maybe computers were seen as a computing tool, not a learning tool. There might be some other reason to explain it. For example, whether there are so many kinds of software about mathematics like algebra or statistics (and easy to be brought?) that mathematics teachers use computers most frequently. There is a need to study in future.
The function of computers in education seemed to be limited because the subjects using computers frequently were few. Becker (1991b) reported that although twice as many the U. S. teachers used computers in their instruction in 1989 survey as four years earlier, the using of computers was still limited on math, science, and language subjects. Palmer (1993) also indicated that few teachers teaching music, art, or foreign languages used computers in their teaching. In sum, this situation might reveal that other teachers did not yet use computers widely and deeply.
The problems of implementing
computers in schools still existed. Schools still lacked enough computers
and software. The percentage of teachers using computers was still low.
The activities using computers were still were limited on the purpose of
drill and practice. The main goal is to help students master basic skills
and facts. The above messages showed that the level of integration of computers
in classrooms was still too low and some would be disappointed. To carry
out the profits of computers for education, teachers need to actually use
and integrate computers into their curriculum; it is necessary for teachers
to understand the importance of computers in their teaching and for students'
learning influence and know how to use them in their classrooms. Hence,
the following section will discuss what factors will influence teachers
to use computers in classrooms.
Although the more computers
are available than before, this situation does not represent that more
teachers will intensively use computers in their instruction. Research
result showed that teachers were expected to integrate computers into curriculum
and instruction, but they did not use computers as much as expected. Almost
half of teachers in Marcinkiewicz (1993-94) survey did not use computers
in their teaching. It showed that teachers were largely underutilizing
computers even though computers were available in their schools. Chiero
(1997) and Marcinkiewicz (1993-94) studies showed that organizational factors
such as time, training, support of technology, access to computer, and
collaboration, and individual factors, including gender, age, experience,
and source of computer learning, will influence the frequency of using
Whether teachers are knowledgeable for computers is very important to use them. Winnas and Brown (1992) reported that the lack of knowledge for computers limited teachers’implementation of computers. Even if there were enough hardware and software, teachers cold not teach well with computers because they did not have enough knowledge and skills of the implementation of computers in classrooms. The more knowledge and skills teachers have for using computers, the more confident and comfortable they feel to use computers in classrooms. Among low, medium and high integrators for using computers in schools, high integrators showed that they knew more than other two subgroups. In addition, they also though themselves as having more knowledge and skills of computers than others (Reinen, & Plomp 1993b). Consequently, teacher not having enough knowledge about how to use computers well would result in the lack of self-confidence and then limit the integration of using computers into curriculum. Teachers might feel uncomfortable to use computer and then be reluctant to use them in their daily teaching.
However, most of teachers did not think they were knowledgeable for the using of computers. In a study, 77% of teachers indicated that they had at, least in part, taught themselves to use computers. When asked how they would rate their computer expertise, only 2.9% of teachers saw themselves as computer experts; 23.5% expressed that they almost have no computer literate (Chiero, 1997). In addition, teachers using computers apparently considered they did not have enough knowledge and training. The reason might be that teachers using computers knew more what they need and what they need to improve because they have practical experience of using computers in their instruction and classrooms.
In addition, teachers less thought that this factor, the lack of knowledge about using computers was a serious problem of using computers than did principals computer coordinators (Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a, 1991b). Hence, more principals than teachers considered that training should be important. The cognitive discrepancy among them revealed that teachers might be able to and want to use computers if there was enough equipment, support and training for them. They also might teach themselves if they were interested in using computers in their instruction. In Chiero's (1997) study, 77% of teachers indicated that they had at least in part, taught themselves to use computers. It confirmed that teachers did not see the lack of knowledge of using computers as a main barrier although it was a problem of implementing computers for them. If teachers did not have adequate knowledge about how to use and integrate computers into curriculum, they need more training of using computers.
Helping teachers use technology effectively may be the most important method to assure that current investments in technology were carried out in the future. In addition, helping teachers know how to use computers in their classrooms and appropriately integrate them into curriculum may be the most important step to help students' learning (OTA, 1995). Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a) reported some teachers believed that training programs about computer use should be compulsory. They also indicated that computer using and non-using teachers needed training. Teachers seemed to have high interest to receive training programs no matter they use computers well or not. Goals 2000 (Cookson, 1995) also reported that, "All teachers will have continuing opportunities to acquire additional knowledge and skills needed to teach challenging subject matter and to use emerging methods, forms of assessment, and technology".
However, teachers reported they felt inadequate training to use technology, particularly computer-based technologies. It is another main factor often mentioned as a main problem of using computers in curriculum (Chiero, 1997, Becker, 1994, Hadley & Sheingold 1993, Pelgrum & Plomp 1991a, 1991b). The results of studies also showed that the lack of sufficient training was a significant barrier for teachers to integrate computers into curriculum. Becker (1994) found that exemplary computer using teachers (teachers using computers intensively) had more opportunities to be trained form staff development and training programs than other computer using teachers.
Most teachers did not have adequate professional training and support to prepare them to use technology effectively in teaching. Currently, data on expenditures for educational technology indicated that more resources had been allocated to hardware and software than to teachers' training and technical support (OTA, 1995). Hence, technology educators advocated larger allocations for training and support. OTA (1988) pointed out that investments in technology could not be fully effective unless teachers receive training and support. On average, districts devoted no more than 15 percent of technology budgets to teacher training. Some states had suggested this figure should be more like 30 percents (OTA, 1995).
In Jaber and Moore's (1999) study, the largest percentage (86%) of teachers was trained by their peers to use computers into their instructions. In addition, at least 30% teachers who did not have experience to teach with computers said that they wanted to have training programs for them if they were available in the future. Teachers in this study indicated they desired a continuous training program in order to know how to integrate computers into their instructions for students. If teachers did not have enough opportunities of training to increase the relevant knowledge about using computers, the result should be that teachers feel unknowledgeable for themselves. Therefore, to provide enough training/in-service programs of knowing how to use computers for teachers' teaching was a very important and immediate issue.
However, simply having teachers take training programs may not generate the useful effect for teachers’beliefs and implementation for using computers. It was found that especially pedagogical and instructional aspects in training programs shifted teachers' attitude and activities most for the using and integration of computers in their own instruction (Pelgrum & Plomp 1991a). Owens and Waxman (1997) suggested that more teacher training programs should be offered in order to let teachers understand the advantages for teaching and learning and have related computer using knowledge to integrate effectively and use often in their teaching subjects.
The survey of Comped of IEA showed that the lack of knowledge of teachers and the inadequate training programs were two major problems inhibiting the intensive integration of using computers in teachers’instruction. The correlation between training of attending and knowledge and skills of acquiring in teachers was about 0.6 from and Plomp's (1993b) study. It means that teachers acquire computer knowledge and skills from training programs. In addition, the study also showed that the content of training programs influence the level of integrating. Therefore, training programs was important for teachers’ development of using computers. They played a key role to facilitate the application of computers into curriculum and improve the function between teachers and computers. Teachers should be provided more advanced teaching information using computers in curriculum to help them to use computers in curriculum. It could be imaged that if teachers had practical experience in training programs and workshops, this experience would help and encourage them to use computers.
The lack of time was a very important factor often mentioned as a main problem of using computers in curriculum. Studies showed that time was a main factor to influence and decided if teachers would use computers in classrooms (Becker1994; Chiero, 1997; Dupaggne & Krendl 1992; Hadley & Sheingold, 1993; Jaber & Moore, 1999; OTA 1988, 1995; Pelgrum & Plomp 1991a, 1991b; Sheingold & Hadley, 1990). Teachers in these studies reported that they did not have enough time to design and carry out the computer-based lessons in classrooms. That is, they need more time to prepare lessons to teach by using computers. Chiero's (1997) study showed that "not enough time to learn to use new software" was rated the biggest obstacle to use computers. While, Sheingold and Hadley (1990) reported that the highest rated current barrier to using computers in the classrooms was "the teacher lack of time to develop lessons the use computers". Maybe if there were appropriate software for teaching, teachers would spend less time to design lesson plans and learn how to use. In a word, teachers need more time when they decided to use computers in classrooms.
To invest time is an important to promote teachers' computers literacy. Studies showed that exemplary teachers (teachers using computers intensively) reported that they invested more time than other computer using teachers (Becker, 1994). It makes sense that if teachers spend more time to try to use computers and do more exercise, they get more self-competence and computer literacy and then understand more how to integrate computers into their curriculum in order to optimize the benefits for students' learning. Sheingold and Hadley's (1990) survey investigating teachers who had integrated computers into their teaching also indicated that most of whom expended their own extra time and effort to learn how to use computers in their teaching.
It is clear that time is an important factor, which affects if teachers use computers for teaching. In addition, teachers are not being provided enough time for planning if asked for integrating computers into curriculum. They needed more to time supporting them to receive training, learn new software, or design their curriculum projects using computers. If there was no more time, teachers seemed to be difficult to carry out computer-based curriculum.
However, if teachers did not have enough time, access to computers and software, and knowledge about using computers, how can teachers were interested and motivated to use computers in their classrooms? Pelgrum and Plomp, (1993) provided a hypothesis that teachers might observe the significant educational outcomes of students when they integrated computers into their instructions. Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a) indicated that teachers not using computers also had interest to learn about computers. If teachers lack a deep interest and belief in using computers in their curriculum, they may not develop effective and successful teaching with computers.
Attitude toward Using Computers
The most important reason might change teachers’attitudes for using computers. They might change their attitude toward using computers when they observed the increasing of students' academic performance, the interest of students' learning toward computers, etc. Pelgrum and Plomp (1993) cited a teacher's word: "It costs so much time, if students were not so enthusiastic we would already have given up". Based on the IEA survey in 1989, results pointed out that teachers who using computers were gradually positive attitude for the influence of computer use in schools. The more often teachers use computers, the better outcomes from students they observed. OTA (1995) reported that teachers found that using technology could encourage students to take more responsibility for their learning, learn to work cooperatively and gain experience in acquiring, evaluating, and use information in various forms. Becker (1991b) also pointed out that motivating interest in academic subjects was the most important goal of using computers for teachers. Moreover, Jaber and Moore (1999) indicated that teachers reported changes in their teaching practice, including presenting more complex material to students, giving students more individual attention allowing students to work more independently, and more becoming a coach and facilitator in the classroom.
According the results of studies, most teachers' attitude for using computers was positive (Dupaggne & Krendl, 1992; Pelgrum, 1993). Pelgrum (1993) indicated that teachers with positive attitude for using computers were more likely to use computers frequently and intensively in their teaching subjects. The attitude of teachers for using computers was also an important factor. Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a) pointed out that attitude was the key of success for the implementation of computers in instructional purposes. It is from perceived educational and social impact, results of training, and self-confidence.
Summarizing the literature about teachers' attitude for computers, Winnas and Brown (1992) concluded that teachers’ attitude for computers is positive. In addition to students' positive outcomes, computer experience, support, and training programs are helpful to foster the positive attitude and perception for computer use in schools and contribute to the integration of computers in their teaching.
Years of Experience of Using Computers and Gender
There were other two factors, related to individuals, discussed in the research of using computers. The issues are years of experience of teaching by using computers and gender.
The more experience teachers have for using computers, the more positive attitude they have toward computers used in instructions, and the easier they integrate computers into their instruction. Reinen and Plomp (1993b) showed that the years of experience of using computer were an important factor of whether teachers would intensively integrate computers into their teaching. As these teachers gained more experience, they use more applications. So, Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a, 1993) found that when teachers used computers longer for instructional purpose, they showed they integrated more computers into their instruction. Pelgrum and Plomp (1991b) reported that most teachers have the first experience with computers when they were in universities. In addition, the higher educational levels teachers had, the earlier/longer they used computers.
However, to want to use computers well in instructional purposes does not be carried out in a short time. Sheingold & Hadley (1990) pointed out that it is necessary for teachers who want to develop computer master skills in their instruction to take at least five years or more of computer using experience. This was a long-term process that builds on the teachers’ increasing expertise and willingness to use the technology in new ways, and on what they learn from their students in the classroom as they use computers.
Clearly, the integration of computers with curriculum was a little difficulty and this goal did not achieve in a short time. Teachers needed more time to experience with using computers in order to use better in their classrooms. But, successful experience of using computer would motivate teachers to use computers in future teaching activities and invest more to develop more computer literacy in order to maximize the positive effects of computers in classrooms.
Gender influences the performance of using computers and as a predictor according some studies (Becker, 1994, Chiero, 1997, Hadley & Sheingold, 1993). Generally, male teachers used computers frequently and female teachers who used computers felt less confidence than their male colleagues. Based on data from IEA cross-national survey, Reinen and Plomp (1993a) analyzed all participating countries and found that computer use in most schools was dominated by male teachers. Female considered their knowledge about computers is less than their male colleagues. It also showed that male teachers have better self-confidence of using computers than female teachers as Pelgrum and Plomp (1991a) analyzed.
The amount time teachers spent with computers was different between male and female teachers. The male teachers used school computers for about twice as many hours per week as the female teachers did in Becker's (1994) study. In addition, the male teachers had, on average, more advanced degree and credits. He concluded that the gender of a teacher was a strong predictor for whether teachers used computers.
Individual characteristics of teachers will influence their using of computer. Hence, gender factor as a significant predictor might be important especially when most of teachers in a school were females (Chiero, 1997). Marcinkiewicz (1993-94) concluded that age, gender, computer experience, and self-competence were the factors that could be used to predicate teachers' level of using computers in their classrooms.
According to the results of studies, there are several other factors easy to influence the teachers' attitude of using computers in curriculum from school level such as the principals' attitude toward computers, the difference between urban and suburban, the location of computer labs, and school/district policy.
Attitude of Principals
Studies showed that principals played an important role for promoting computers use in schools and classrooms. Their attitude and support were highly related with if schools would have the climate and environment where teachers wanted to use computers in their classrooms (Dupaggne & Krendl,1992; Pelgrum, 1993; Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a; Pruett et al., 1993). Although the using of computers was limited in many countries, based on IEA survey in 1989, schools principals usually had positive attitude toward to use computers and favor teachers to use them in schools (Wolf, 1993). The result would not only influence teachers' attitude for using computers but also offered support to teachers to use computers. Pelgrum (1993) confirmed that the correlation of the attitude for using computers in schools between teachers and principals is positive. The study also reveled that there was a positive correlation between the attitude of principals and the integration of using computers in schools. Akker and Pelgrum (1993) concluded that school principals having positive attitude for computers reported a higher frequency of stimulation of computer use by school authorities than those who have less positive attitude.
Principals with more positive attitude for using computers tended to emphasize the impact, purposes, and integration of computers in schools and encourage teachers to use computers more. Pruett et al. also (1993) found that teachers whose principals or supervisors encouraged them to use computers were more possible to use them in their instruction. They also, hence, provided more opportunities of inservice programs for teachers. The tendency to use computers was formed positively. Support and training of personnel were helpful for teachers' use of computers and motivated them to use more and deeply (Becker, 1994). Support from principals and administrators are very important because of offering adequate training, hardware and software, and time to plan in order to promote and motivate teachers to integrate computers into curriculum.
These findings are clearly confirmed that principals' attitude toward computers will decide if teachers use computers and the using level. Support for technology using from principal and administrators, from parents and the community, and from colleagues will helpfully create an environment encouraging teachers to effectively use computer in their instruction (OTA, 1995).
The Location of Computers
Most locations of using computers in schools were on the computer labs (Pelgrum & Plomp, 1991a; Pruett et al.1993). Although computers in classrooms was more likely to be integrated by teachers and used students, those teachers who used computers substantially as were likely to use computers in lab setting as other teachers, according to Becker's (1994) study. One possible reason might be that there are a number of computers in computers lab would be better for students' learning than each classroom with only one or two computers because of the limited budget. If each of students had a computer in their own classrooms, it would hugely increase the cost of equipment.
However, when asked if they used computer labs, only 54% of respondents reported they used them although 72% of computer using teachers said they had a computer lab. Pruett et al. (1993) suspected that the requirement of advance appointment, the problem of scheduling adequate computer time for different teachers’classes, and the need of moving to labs might result in so low level of using computers with their instruction.
The different location of using computers (classrooms vs. computer labs) may affect the results of using. Intensive use of computers occurs more frequently in lab setting where there are more computers. Once a class has developed the routine of using computers, having enough computers students could use is more important than the convenience of their location (Becker, 1991a).
One study (Owens & Maxman, 1997) found that the location of schools was related to the level of using computers. The results indicated that there were several significant differences on technology use by type of school setting. Teachers from suburban schools were more likely to report using calculators than teachers from urban and rural schools Teachers from rural schools reported that they were less likely to use computers and calculators than teachers from suburban and urban schools. Teachers from rural and suburban schools were more likely to reported that their students used computers for enrichment purposes, while teachers from urban were likely to use computers for remediation in their schools.
Computer Using Teachers vs. Non-using Teachers
When comparing exemplary computer using teachers with nonusers, Becker (1994) found that support for staff development was a significant factor contributing to use computers effectively and successfully. The support of a social environment of computer using teachers at the same schools is an important factor (Becker, 1994, Hadley & Sheingold, 1993). If teachers teach where many other teachers use computers, this working environment of using computers will promote these teachers to like teach with computers (Becker, 1994). In addition, Winnas and Brown's (1992) report suggested that teachers need on-site support; it would be better helpful for teachers to use computers if there was a trained peer in each lab or building, helping them use computers or solve their problems about using computers.
Studies showed that the progress
of using computers in educational system was still little. Few teachers
actually and successfully use computers to integrate their instruction
because of some barriers such as the lack of hardware and software, the
lack of knowledge for using computers, the lack of time to plan lessons,
etc. The factors decide and influence whether teachers will use computers
in schools. Form the various study results, there is still a long way to
go to really achieve the goal we want and expect that computers are used
well in education.
Using computers in school
for instructional purposes is inevitable. How to integrate computers well
into school curriculum is a very important issue now because the problems
mentioned above impede the progress of using computers in schools. Studies
indicated that although the access to computers has changed during past
several years but the integration of computers into curriculum is still
not as expected as we want. There are inadequate hardware and software
in schools. The purposes of using computers in classrooms are still limited
on drill and practice-low level learning activities. In addition, there
are many other factors affect teachers to use computers in classrooms.
There is not enough time to develop computer-based lessons, inadequate
training programs to increase teachers' knowledge about computer use, etc.
Therefore, nations, schools/districts, and teachers need to work together
to develop effective policies and methods in order to integrate well computers
into curriculum and instruction of schools be sure that the implementation
of computers will be students' daily learning. The good integration will
only take place until teachers, students' parents, administers, and students
begin to think differently about the teaching and learning process with
computers. Although the goal of is not so easy to achieve because these
problems can not be solved in a short time, we still need to do our best.
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