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Toward a Typology of Technology-Using Teachers in the “New Digital Divide”: A Latent Class Analysis (LCA) of the NCES Fast Response Survey System Teachers’ Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools, 2009 (FRSS 95)


by Kenneth E. Graves & Alex J. Bowers — 2018

Background: Recently, policy makers and school leaders have heavily invested in the promise that educational technology could catalyze systemic school change. Yet some critics note that the conversation surrounding technology in schools is a red herring that has not produced clear, definitive, and equitable results across different school settings. In order to address this concern, prior research has mainly focused on understanding how and why teachers use technology. Still, we argue that an understudied third perspective—examining what types of technology-using teachers exist—could provide innovative and impactful insights to shape research, policy, and practice in instructional technology.

Purpose of the Study: We investigate the extent to which there is a typology of teachers who use technology, as well as to what extent school- and teacher-level variables predict membership in the different subgroups in the typology, by analyzing a nationally generalizable sample (2,764 teachers) from the Teachers' Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools, 2009 Fast Response Survey System dataset, collected by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Research Design: We used a three-step, one-level latent class analysis (LCA) with nationally generalizable data that identify significantly different types of technology-using teachers, as well as what covariates predict membership in the identified subgroups.

Findings: We find that there are four statistically significant subgroups of technology-using teachers: Dexterous (24.4%), Evaders (22.2%), Assessors (28.4%), and Presenters (24.8%). We also find that several covariates, such as student socioeconomic status, school type, enrollment, years of teacher experience, and total number of school computers, predicted teachers' membership in these four subgroups of technology-using teachers.

Conclusions: Our findings reiterate the notion that technology-using teachers are not a monolithic group or are randomly distributed across school settings, finding that low-income schools are more likely to have teachers who use technology in less meaningful ways. As a quantitative phenomenology, this study provides one of the first empirically based, nationally generalizable depictions of technology use in schools, which could inform school leaders and policy makers as they evaluate new digital tools, design professional learning for teachers, and tackle inequalities in technology access, teacher knowledge, and technology-mediated learning experiences and outcomes for students.

Keywords: Educational Technology, Teachers, Social Justice, Digital Divide, Technology Leadership, Latent Class Analysis, Mixture Modeling, Survey Research, NCES



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 120 Number 8, 2018, p. 1-42
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22277, Date Accessed: 11/19/2018 10:51:36 AM

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About the Author
  • Kenneth Graves
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    KENNETH E. GRAVES is a doctoral student of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research interests include school technology leadership for social justice, content-specific leadership, technology leadership preparation programs, computer science education, as well as ethical, legal, and social issues of leadership in the digital age.
  • Alex Bowers
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    ALEX J. BOWERS is an associate professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research interests include organizational behavior, school and district leadership, data-driven decision making, high school dropouts and completion, educational assessment and accountability, education technology, and school facilities financing.
 
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