Teachers and Computer Use

For the past few years I have been teaching an Introduction to Educational Technology course for undergraduates in a teacher education program. With some regularity my students, upon returning from field experiences, reported that teachers either were not using the computers available in their classrooms or were using them for administrative rather than instructional tasks. Students went even so far as to indicate that some teachers observed had a “hands-off” policy, not allowing students to use the computer at all.

In an effort to determine if what the students were telling me was accurate, I asked them to survey an average of five teachers each, using an interview sheet I provided. During September, 2005 my students interviewed 127 Miami Dade County Public School (MDCPS) teachers (68 Elementary, 12 Middle School and 47 High School) about their computer use habits. Additionally they asked the teachers if and how their students used the computers in the classroom, the Media Center and/or Computer Lab. While these interviews preceded the CDW-G sponsored Teachers Talk Technology 2005 report, some of the questions sought the same answers, thus allowing me, where possible, to compare and contrast our results with those of the national study.

Public school teachers in Florida’s Miami Dade County have at least one computer in their classroom; many have more than one. Most of these computers are wired to a Local Area Network and many are wired to a Wide Area Network. In the national study, 74% of teachers responding report that they have only a few computers in the classroom on which students take turns using (Teachers Talk Technology 2005).

The specific objectives of the MDCPS interviews were to determine:

  • if and how the teachers use their computers
  • if teachers integrate computers in their daily lessons
  • if and how students use the computers
  • where the students used computers (classroom, Media center, Lab)
  • where teachers were trained in computer use
  • how comfortable they were using computers
  • Teachers Talk Tech 2005
  • Robert Vos (September, 2005) Unpublished data from 127 teacher interviews, Miami Dade County Public Schools.

Email:Robert Vos