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Elementary Pedagogy and Instructional Technology: Action Research on Instructional Practices with Technology Integration in the Elementary Classroom

Thornton, Marc (2017) Elementary Pedagogy and Instructional Technology: Action Research on Instructional Practices with Technology Integration in the Elementary Classroom. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Technology advancements have played a major role in twenty-first century teaching and learning, and equipping teachers and students with technological devices has been a topic of debate in our schools. On the one hand, some educators believed technology integration has been necessary for instruction because we have prepared children for a digital society that has been continuously developing (ISTE, 2007). Conversely, there have been other educators who viewed technology as a distraction that has decreased social interactions among children (Courville, 2011).

With these differences of opinion, this study focused on the positives of technology integration and its impact on pedagogical experimentation in the elementary classroom. Teachers in this study varied from high to middle-level users of technology as indicated by the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) model popularized by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura (Puentedura, 2013). These teachers were selected because they were either viewed as a teacher leader with technology or an individual who expressed a desire to learn more about technology integration.

Participants took a self-assessment to determine their level on the SAMR model, which determined how each teacher perceived their current use of technology in the classroom. Additionally, a needs assessment was administered to establish each teacher’s customized professional learning needs. The results of the needs assessment were used to determine the types of technology professional learning activities that were offered for the middle-level users.

Using a SAMR rubric, I conducted observations of technology practices in each of the participants’ classrooms prior to the customized learning. These observations were used as a baseline to compare the level of use in a follow-up lesson after the customized professional learning was delivered.

This inquiry supported the idea that teachers have benefited from customized learning experiences with technology integration through a “community of practice” (Wenger, 2004). By abandoning prefabricated professional development practices, a community of practice allowed for a more personalized approach to professional learning that benefited teachers’ proficiency with technology. The middle-level users demonstrated an increase in technology proficiency and advanced on the SAMR model, as their follow-up lessons included activities that were inconceivable without the use of technology.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thornton, Marcmet94@pitt.edumet94
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTananis, Cynthiatananis@pitt.edutananis
Committee MemberRussell, Jenniferjrussel@pitt.edujrussel
Committee MemberCurran,
Date: 1 August 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 May 2017
Approval Date: 1 August 2017
Submission Date: 27 July 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 71
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: community of practice technology technology integration SAMR customized learning professional learning
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2017 16:32
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2017 16:32


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