February 17, 2001
Harris, J.B., Grandgenett, N. (1999). Correlates with use of telecomputing tools: K-12 teachers' beliefs and demographics. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, Volume 31, No. 4, 327-340.
Principle: This case study tests the possibility of correlations between the use of telecomputing technologies with creating teachers who are more learner-centered, social constructivist, and innovative no matter their previous beliefs about themselves.
Design: A survey was sent to educators who had previously indicated that they would be willing to participate in research. Out of approximately 60,000 educators with TENET accounts, a random selection of 1,000 was drawn. Out of those drawn, 299 educators took the survey online, while another 259 filled out a paper version of the survey. The total number of respondents for the survey was 558. The authors used a combination of survey responses and TENET records for the respondents that included the amount of total online time and the total number of network logins over a 12-month period.
Independent Variables: Age, sex, years of teaching experience, type of school, job responsibilities, certification(s), number of years of computer experience, number of years of telecomputing experience, highest degree awarded, the Teacher Attitude Inventory (Whitmore, 1974), the Scale for the Measurement of Innovativeness (Hurt, Joseph, & Cook, 1977), and the Attitudes About Reality Scale (Unger, Draper, and Pendergrass, 1986) were used in the compilation of data.
Dependent Variables: The dependent variables would be the number of times the participants logged in and the total amount of time spent online (with TENET),
Procedures: Participants responded to this survey once.
Results: The scores on the belief instruments did not show a significant correlation between beliefs and total number or network logins or amount of online time with either the paper-based response group or the Web-based response group. There were significant correlations among the three belief instruments, but they were also shown to be relatively independent variables. The one strong relationship found was between the network usage variables (online time and number of logins).
Comments: This was an interesting study of who uses TENET and how often is it being used, but as far as finding a correlation between educators using telecomputing and educators changing their belief systems and teaching styles because of that use, I do not believe this was an adequate study. Educators should have been chosen randomly rather than from a group that was already actively involved in telecomputing.