Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 8, no. 51 (November 15, 2000).
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c November 15, 2000
Findings from the teaching, learning, and computing survey : is Larry Cuban right? / Henry Jay Becker.
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1 of 31 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 8 Number 51November 15, 2000ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2000, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education Findings from the Teaching, Learning, and Computing Survey: Is Larry Cuban Right? Henry Jay Becker University of California, IrvineAbstract Cuban (1986; 2000) has argued that computers are la rgely incompatible with the requirements of teaching, and that, for th e most part, teachers will continue to reject their use as instruments of student work during class. Using data from a nationally representative survey of 4th through 12th grade teachers, this paper demonstrates that a lthough Cuban correctly characterizes frequent use of computers i n academic subject classes as a teaching practice of a small and disti nct minority, certain conditions make a big difference in the likelihood of a teacher having her students use computers frequently during class time In particular, academic subject-matter teachers who have at least five computers present in their classroom, who have at least avera ge levels of technical expertise in their use, and who are in the top quar tile on a reliable and extensive measure of constructivist teaching philos ophy are very likely to have students make regular use of computers duri ng class. More than 3/4 of such teachers have students use word process ing programs regularly during class and a majority are regular u sers of at least one


2 of 31other type of software besides skill-based games. I n addition, other factors-such as an orientation towards depth rather than breadth in their teaching(perhaps caused by limited pressures to cov er large amounts of content) and block scheduling structures that provi de for long class periods-are also associated with greater use of com puters by students during class. Finally, the paper provides evidence that certain approaches to using computers result in students taking greate r initiative in using computers outside of class time-approaches consiste nt with a constructivist teaching philosophy, rather than a s tandardsbased, accountability-oriented approach to teaching. Thus, despite their clear minority status as a primary resource in academic s ubject classroom teaching, computers are playing a major role in at least one major direction of current instructional reform efforts. Introduction For about 15 years, Larry Cuban has argue d that computers, as a medium of instruction and as a tool for student learning, are largely incompatible with the requirements of teaching. Cuban points out that tea chers have so many students to teach (or, in the elementary grades, so many different su bjects to cover) that, along with the increasing accountability demanded of them, it is s imply too hard for most teachers to incorporate student computer use as a regular part of their instructional practice. Moreover, computers are hard to master, hard to use and often break down; therefore, investing effort into having students use them freq uently is hardly worthwhile, and we should not expect many teachers to make this effort Finally, all too often, district or school administrators have placed computers in teac hers' rooms with the expectation that computers will become part of the teacher's instruc tional repertoire, even though the teachers did not ask for them and did not have spec ific plans for using them (Cuban, 1986; Cuban, 2000). (Note 1) Yet, although Cuban's argument may have a pplied in the mid-1980's, is it correct today? The capabilities and functionality of what w e call personal computers have changed by orders of magnitude since Cuban first wr ote about desktop microcomputer technology. What passed for classroom computers fif teen years ago seem like primitive toys today. Because the early "8-bit" computers tha t dominated schools' installed base in 1985 stored, processed, and displayed information a t a tiny fraction of the capacity and speed of today's computers, they required much more patience and personal interest in the technology itself than current technology deman ds. For example, in the mid-1980's, a serious computer-using teacher would have had to ke ep track of programs and student files on dozens of different floppy disks, but toda y the widespread use of hard disks and local area networks has eliminated much of that shu ffle of materials. Software applications that in earlier years were frustrating ly slow or markedly limited in their functionality have matured a great deal, providing much more in the way of on-line user help, even as they have come to provide more functi onality. Moreover, the instructional possibilities that computers provided to teachers w ere much narrower then than now. New applications have evolved that hardly existed t en or fifteen years ago—electronic mail, the World Wide Web, software for presenting d igital slide shows, student-created multimedia authoring environments, and digital vide o-editing, just to name some.


3 of 31Today, advocates for teachers using computers regar d these new applications, embedded in current computer and communications technology i nfrastructures, as learning resources of a totally different sort from what pio neering teachers bravely attempted to use a decade and a half ago. So, have computers become more compatible with the conditions of teaching? Have their richer capabilities made them more relev ant to teaching objectives? Do they now constitute resources with potential for signifi cantly changing and improving the nature of school learning? Have teachers themselves become more skilled and knowledgeable about using computer software and har dware with their students? Or is Cuban right even today: Are computers really a mism atch with the requirements and conditions of teaching?The Teaching, Learning, and Computing Survey Data from the 1998 national survey of tea chers, Teaching, Learning, and Computing (TLC), suggests that Cuban's argument tha t teachers' "intractable workplace conditions" do still limit widespread classroom use of computers. However, under the right conditions—where teachers are personally comf ortable and at least moderately skilled in using computers themselves, where the sc hool's daily class schedule permits allocating time for students to use computers as pa rt of class assignments, where enough equipment is available and convenient to permit com puter activities to flow seamlessly alongside other learning tasks, and where teachers' personal philosophies support a student-centered, constructivist pedagogy that inco rporates collaborative projects defined partly by student interest—computers are cl early becoming a valuable and well-functioning instructional tool. In the TLC survey, more than 4,000 teache rs in over 1,100 schools across the U.S. described their educational philosophies and charac teristic teaching practices, their uses of computers in teaching, and various aspects of th eir school's environment. The survey included a nationally representative sample of 2,25 1 4th through 12th grade teachers as well as more than 1,800 other teachers from two tar geted samples of schools—schools with the greatest presence of computer technology a nd schools that participate in one of more than 50 identified national or regional educat ional reform programs. Roughly 75% of the schools sampled for the study participated a nd nearly 70% of the teachers sampled within those schools completed 20-page survey quest ionnaires. (Note 2) In this article, I discuss some of the fi ndings of this survey as they relate to the questions raised by Cuban's critique: Are teachers using computers with their students? Which teachers are doing so? What are their teachin g objectives for students' computer use? How are those objectives met by using computer s? Do certain approaches to using computers have an impact on students and on their t eaching in general? What types of teachers are making these changes, and what conditi ons permit this to happen?The Most Common Frequent Uses of Computers Are in Computer Classes and Business Classes Although computers in schools by now numb er over 10 million, frequent student experiences with school computers occur primarily i n four contexts--separate courses in computer education, pre-occupational preparation in business and vocational education,


4 of 31various exploratory uses in elementary school class es, and the use of word processing software for students to present work to their teac hers. The one area where one might imagine learning to be most impacted by technology— students acquiring information, analyzing ideas, and demonstrating and communicatin g content understanding in secondary school science, social studies, mathemati cs, and other academic work—involves computers significantly in only a sma ll minority of secondary school academic classes. Figure 1 shows the proportion of teachers by subject, who reported that a typical student in one of their classes used computers on m ore than 20 occasions during class over roughly a 30-week period. (Note 3) Apart from computer education teachers, a majority of only one other group—business education teachers—reported computer use occurred that frequently in their classes. About tw o-fifths of vocational education teachers and elementary teachers of self-contained classes also reported frequent (i.e., roughly weekly) use. Among secondary academic subje ct teachers, the highest rate of frequent use was reported by English teachers (24%) Only one out of six science teachers, one out of eight social studies teachers, and one out of nine math teachers said students used computers that often during their cla ss. Given the distribution of course-taking patterns in high school, it turns out that a majority of students' intensive computer experiences occur outside of academic work as part of computer education or occupational preparation. Figure 1. Frequent Student Use of Computers by Subj ect (i.e., Typical Student Used Computers in Class More Than 20 Times Over Most of School Year) [Sample: National probability sample. Three groups of teachers omitted: secondary foreign language teachers (N less than 50), secondary teach ers of mixed academic subjects (no subject taught for a majority of the school week), and seco ndary teachers of other applied subjects.] Why is this the case? From the survey's f indings, there appear to be at least five elements to an explanation. One problem is scheduling. Most secondary students have a continuous block of less than one hour's duration to do work in any one class. That time limit constrains the variety of learning modalities their teachers can o rchestrate. As a result, fewer teachers plan computer activities on a regular basis. In the TLC survey, secondary academic teachers who work in schools with schedules involvi ng longer blocks of time (e.g.,


5 of 3190-120 minute classes) were somewhat more likely to report frequent (i.e., roughly weekly) student use during class (19% vs. 15%), eve n though they met those classes on perhaps half the number of days as teachers who tau ght in traditional 50-minute periods. A second issue is the pressure of curricu lum coverage. Teachers of academic subjects are strong believers in transmitting a lar ge amount of information or skills during the course of a year. Our data show that sec ondary mathematics and social studies teachers and high school science teachers believe m ore strongly than other teachers of the importance of broad content coverage of their c urriculum. In addition, many teachers feel pressured by administrator expectations for co ntent coverage, particularly content to be covered on high-stakes tests. Those pressures ar e strongest among elementary teachers, math teachers, middle school social studi es teachers, and high school English teachers. Computer use is often seen as inhibiting the coverage of topics. In fact, the relatively few academic teachers whose pedagogy inv olves "a small number [of topics] covered in great depth" (only one out of every thir teen academic secondary teachers in the study) are twice as likely as those who report covering a large number of topics to assign computer activities to their students on a f requent basis (29% vs. 14%). A third issue has to do with convenient a ccess to computers. This factor is so important, it deserves special consideration. Classroom Access to Clusters of Computers:More Frequent Use Than Labs Produce Across the various subjects taught in sch ool, there is a strong relationship between how frequently students use computers during class time and whether their classroom has a substantial number of computers present. Thos e school subjects where teachers are more likely to have a 1:4 ratio of computers to stu dents (that is, one computer for every four students) are the same subjects where frequent use of computers is more likely. Figure 2 shows this quite clearly: the subjects whe re frequent student use is common (the long bars coming from the left edge to the 100 % bar in the middle) are the subjects where clusters of classroom computers are also more common (the long bars coming from the right edge to the middle). The only real d iscrepancy in the pattern is that elementary teachers of self-contained classes have students use computers more frequently than one would predict solely based on h ow many computers they have in their classroom. The obvious explanation is that el ementary teachers have their students for most of a school day rather than 50 minutes at a time. Thus, they have a greater opportunity to provide frequent computer experience s for each student. However, at the secondary level, where 50-minute instructional peri ods are the norm, the pattern is very strong: in math, social studies, and foreign langua ges, the subjects where students use computers the least often, very few teachers have m ore than one or two computers in their classroom.


6 of 31 Figure 2. Frequent Use and Classroom Access by Subj ect [Sample: For statistics on computer to student rati os of 1:4, 50% random subsample of teachers in the national probability sample. For statistics on frequent use of computers, see Figure 1 for additional details.] Of course, most teachers have the option of using computers in shared spaces such as computer labs or media centers, where large numb ers of computers may be present. (The typical computer lab has 21 computers.) Howeve r, despite such settings having so many more computers than in most classrooms (the ty pical number of computers in classrooms that have any at all is still only 2), t eachers with a reasonable number of computers available in their own class are much mor e likely to provide frequent opportunities for students to use computers than wh en they have to make use of a computer lab. Specifically, we found that secondary academic subject teachers who have 5 to 8 computers in their classroom are twice as li kely to give students frequent computer experience during class than teachers of t he same subjects whose classes use computers in a shared space with a minimum of 15 co mputers present. (See Figure 3.) This may seem counter-intuitive since being in a la b with three times as many computers as these classrooms have would seem to be preferabl e. However, the scheduling of whole classes of students to use computers, at wide intervals determined well in advance of need (i.e., weekly or every-other-week use sched uled weeks in advance) makes it almost impossible for computers to be integrated as research, analytic, and communicative tools in the context of the central a cademic work of an academic class.


7 of 31 Figure 3. Frequent Computer Use by Location and Num ber of Computers Available (Selected Combinations), For Secondary Ac ademic Teachers[Sample: 50% random subsample of teachers who used computers with their selected class in both probability and purposive samples. A fourth access category is not shown—teachers with 0-4 computers in classroom and under 15 in a lab or oth er outside location, if available.] This analysis does not take into account the economies that centralized placement of computers involve. In other words, if a school's 12 science teachers, for example, each had five computers in their classrooms, this would require twice as many computers than if they all shared one computer lab with 30 compute rs in it. Instead, what we are examining is the relative likelihood that students will receive a substantial computer experience during instructional time. If the 12 sci ence teachers each taught five classes of students, the 60 classes would have at most only one opportunity to use computers in the lab every two weeks. On the other hand, if the computers were constantly present in every student's science classroom, one would expect them to have more opportunities to use computers for doing scientific work, particular ly if their teachers' instructional practice enabled different students to be using dif ferent resources at the same time. (Note 4) If centralized placement of computers does not r esult in students getting a substantial experience with using computers in doing academic w ork, the apparent economies of scale are not likely to be cost-effective in the en d.Teacher Expertise and Comfort in Using Computers Pr ofessionally Besides inconvenient access to clusters o f computers, besides problems of overly-scheduled secondary schools, and besides pro blems related to having a large amount of curriculum to "cover," another element that prevent s more teachers from using computers frequently with their students is their own limited skill and expertise in using computers themselves. Many teachers have learned information te chnology skills and put them to use over the past five to ten years. A majority of the teachers in the nationally representative TLC sample said they know how to use a World Wide Web search e ngine, more than a third said they would be able to create a new database and establis h fields and screen layouts, and onefourth said they could prepare a slide show using presenta tion software. Nearly one-third report using either camcorders, digital cameras, or scanners at least occasionally, and many teachers have


8 of 31even posted ideas, lesson plans, or student work on the World Wide Web. (Note 5) On the other hand, the most widespread professional uses o f software by teachers are fairly routine—preparing handouts, writing lesson plans, a nd recording and calculating grades. And although most teachers do report using the Web to get information to use in their lessons, most do so on a relatively infrequent basis. At least th at was the case in 1998, when the survey was conducted. But do the teachers who have those skills and who regularly use computers for their own purposes use computers more frequently with student s or do so in a different way than less computer-knowledgeable teachers? Cuban (2000) argue s that insufficient technical skills is not holding back teachers' classroom use of computers. However, our data suggests that they are. Teachers who have an aboveaverage amount of techn ical skill and who use computers for their own professional needs use computers in broad er and more sophisticated ways with students than teachers who have limited technical s kills and no personal investment in using computers themselves. (Note 6) To conduct this analysis, we divided teac hers into equalsized groups based on an index measuring the variety of their self-reported comput er skills, the different ways they used computers professionally, and how extensive their e xperience was on different computer platforms. (Note 7) The teachers in the top 25% on that Computer Knowledge index, on average, had students use three times the number of types of software as did teachers in the bottom 25%. (Note 8) Figure 4 shows that the patter n is even stronger for teachers of individual secondary academic subjects. The biggest difference is between teachers in the upper 25% and the rest of the teachers; that is, th e math, science, English, and social studies teachers who are most skilled and involved in using computers themselves account for most of the situations where students use a variety of soft ware to do work for their academic classes. Figure 4. Breadth of Student Software Use (Number o f types of software used by students in 3 or more lessons) by Teacher's Compute r Knowledge by Subject Taught[Sample: All teachers in probability sample. Vertic al axis indicates the mean number of different type s of software (out of 10) which the teacher reported hav ing students in her selected class use in at least 10 lessons during the school year.]


9 of 31 Several types of software were much more likely to be used in classes taught by the more computer-knowledgeable teachers: (1) presentat ion software such as Powerpoint, (2) World Wide Web browsers, (3) electronic mail, (4) s preadsheets and database software, and, (5) in English, social studies and elementary class es, multimedia authoring software. The one type of software that was clearly NOT used by stude nts of these computer-knowledgeable teachers more than by students of other teachers is skills-practice software, i.e., traditional computer-assisted-instruction. (The more knowledgea ble teachers didn't have students use skills practice software less than other teachers; they just used other types of software much more.) Table 1 shows, subject by subject, the corre lation coefficients between the Computer Knowledge index and how extensively teachers in tha t subject used different types of software with their students. (Note 9)Table 1 Correlations Between Teacher Computer Knowledge-Pro fessional Use and Extent of Instructional Use of Different Types of S oftware, By Subject Taught English Social Studies ScienceMath Other Secondary Elementary Skill Games 0.14-0.010.02-0.08-0.010.08 Simulation/Exploratory CD-ROM Reference Word Processing 0.32 0.220.29 Presentation Software0.380.320.34 0.25 0.36 0.27 Graphics Oriented Spreadsheet/Database 0.320.31 0.19 Multimedia Authoring 0.25 0.31 0.160.16 0.340.32 WWW Browser0.300.45 0.15 0.36 0.27 0.31 E-Mail 0.25 0.31[Sample: All teachers in probability and purposive samples. Boldface numbers indicate correlations of .30 or above.] One might ask, however, why the differenc es in Figure 4 and Table 1 are not even greater than they are. Our evidence suggests that a powerful limitation on broadening teachers' use of computers with students derives from teacher s' personal philosophical beliefs about the basic nature of student learning and what type of i nstruction is optimal given their own implicit theory of learning. Teaching Philosophy and Objectives for Computer Use


10 of 31 Traditionally, teaching practice has been characterized by an emphasis on skill and knowledge transmission from teacher to students. Th is usually involves the use of an externally prescribed curriculum of d iscrete skills and factual knowledge; 1. direct presentation and explanation to students of that procedural and factual knowledge; 2. frequent assignment of written exercises to student s aimed at their remembering factual knowledge and accurately performing skills; and the n 3. evaluation of students' mastery of skills and knowl edge by giving them written tests that prompt students to recognize factual statements and to apply learned algorithms and other skills to produce correct answers. 4. Transmission pedagogy derives from a conv entional theory of learning in which understanding arises from carefully planned direct instruction on a narrowly defined skill or content topic and guided practice on questions rela ted to that topic. Such a pedagogy is similar to conventional (i.e., culturally normative) belief s about learning, and is therefore part of most teachers' own schooling experiences. Moreover, asse ssment of factual knowledge and specific skills can be accomplished with a fair degree of re liability and validity, both through teacher-constructed tests and in the kinds of large -scale external assessments on which teachers are increasingly judged. Using such tests as measures of academic accomplishment, transmission pedagogy has been supported by a good deal of evidence from studies of reading, language, and arithmetic instruction, particularly in the elementary grades. However, transmission pedagogy and the te sts which certify its accomplishment are primarily oriented towards only a narrow range of a cademic competencies, those emphasizing isolated mental processing on tasks with only a sur face resemblance to deep understanding of a domain. Even the most recently constructed large-sc ale assessments of student achievement may have a built-in bias towards a transmission mod el of instruction and fail to capture a range of important competencies. Take, for example, the c hallenge of extracting from a large, messy collection of information and ideas a subset of evi dence that is most relevant to constructing a good argument about a controversial issue; developi ng an argument that addresses the issue in consultation with other classmates, outside resourc es, and using analytic tools available; and then making the most cogent presentation possible t o an audience that personally cares about this issue. Most "standards-based" assessments woul d not even attempt to judge students' abilities to give such a "performance of understand ing" (Perkins, 1998), in part because the "standardized" nature of such an assessment would n ot permit students to employ any analytic tools or information resources that they happened t o have experience with, such as computer software, that might be relevant to accomplishing t he task. At any event, our data suggests that acad emic subject-matter teachers who use computers most productively in grades 4-12 are not very comfortable with a transmission-oriented pedagogy, even though that is the approach which may satisfy policy-makers and large portions of the public thro ugh its assumed ability to result in higher standardized test scores. The most computer-engaged teachers, instead, appear to endorse an alternative philosophy of teaching, which might be explained as including two pedagogical emphases: attending to the "meaningfulness" of instructional content for each student—for example, by developing examples connected to studen ts' own personal experience or by providing opportunities for students to present det ailed explanations of their reasoning; and 1. developing students' capacities to understand a sub ject deeply enough, and see the interrelationships of different ideas and issues, s o they are able to know how and when 2.


11 of 31to apply their knowledge to particular contexts and communicate their understandings to others. Both of those emphases require substantial amounts of time and teaching expertise to put into practice, and both usually conflict with the object ive of covering large amounts of curriculum. These two emphases are associated with th e theory of learning called "constructivism." Constructivist theory claims that understanding com es from a person's effortful activity to integrate newly communicated claims and ideas with his own prior beliefs and understandings. In that view, understanding cannot be transmitted, nor does skills-practice result in understanding which can be automatically applied as needed. Instead, effective teaching involves creating environments in which students ta ke mindful effort towards developing their understanding and have opportunities to learn how to apply their knowledge and when to do so. Instruction is particularly valued that gets st udents to articulate their understandings and defend them against contrary points of view. Many w ays of using computers lend themselves to instruction based on a constructivist model of l earning—for example, presentations to a critical audience, integrating different perspectiv es in a report or multimedia document, or examining contrary assumptions using a spreadsheet model. The way that a teacher uses computers giv es an indication of her underlying pedagogical philosophy. Of course, any computer application could be used in a transmissionoriented pedagogy. That is, a teachers could focus students' use of multimedia, word processing or spreadsheet software by teaching them a set of tech nical skills primarily so they can master the software itself. However, apart from school subject s where such skills are expected to be taught—computer education courses or business educa tion courses—teachers would generally not have students use complex software unless they found that it facilitated learning in the subject they teach. Thus, in academic subjects, we would predict that teachers who believe in a more traditional transmission-oriented approach wil l find most applications of computer technology incompatible with their instructional go als, and will therefore use a more limited range of computer applications. To examine this argument empirically, the TLC survey asked teachers a relatively extensive set of questions designed to measure thei r philosophical preference between transmissionoriented teaching and constructivistcompatible teaching. We found clear relationships between teaching philosophy and (a) whether a teacher used computers with students; (b) the particular objectives for compute r use the teacher had; and (c) the types of software used frequently with students. Moreover, c onstructivist-compatible teaching objectives for computer use (i.e., those most assoc iated with constructivist teaching philosophies) were also found to be associated with a greater amount of school-related computer activity by students, beforeor after-sch ool or at home—that is, on the students' own time. Finally, teachers who used computers in a con structivist way reported making more general changes to their characteristic pedagogy th an did teachers who used computers in a more limited way or not at all. The remaining set o f figures and tables illustrate those findings. Teachers' Philosophical Positions Survey questions about teachers' philosop hy were of several types. In one type, teachers were given two alternative statements of t eaching philosophy—for example, a statement that argued for structured presentation a nd explanation of information versus a statement that argued for the teacher being a provi der of resources for students "to construct concepts for themselves." In another set of questions, two teachers' contrasting practices of conducting recitations were described. One teacher asked a rapid series of direct questions, designed to keep students attenti ve and on-task. The other teacher encouraged questions from students, and used these as springboards for suggesting student-initiated research activities.


12 of 31 Overall, teachers' responses reflected qu ite varying philosophies. For example, about 40% of teachers felt that the teacher acting as facilitator was preferable to giving structured explanations, while 30% felt the reverse was true and 30% gave the middle or ambivalent response. (Note 10) Slightly more teache rs felt that rapid-fire directquestioning teaching resulted in students gaining m ore knowledge than the opposite approach, but a majority of teachers felt that "ski lls" would be learned more in the class where teachers led students towards their own inves tigations into their own questions. (Note 11) Other survey questions suggesting a trans mission-oriented philosophy dealt with the value of a quiet classroom for learning, the im portance of background knowledge and basic reading and math skills for "meaningful" subjectmatter learning, having the teacher be the sole determinant of classroom activi ties, and building instruction around problems with clear, easily found, single correct a nswers. Questions (and responses) suggesting a constructivist philosophy argued for t he value of "sense-making" over curriculum-coverage, the utility of organizing a cl ass with multiple activities occurring simultaneously, the value of student interest and e ffort in academic work over the particular content covered in subject textbooks, an d having students play a role in establishing criteria for evaluating student work. To analyze these competing philosophical viewpoints about teaching, we created an index combining answers to these 13 different pr ompts (alpha = .83). We divided teachers into four equal-sized groups, from the qua rtile who most valued a transmission approach to the quartile who most valued a construc tivist approach. Not surprisingly, elementary teachers turn out to be more constructiv ist than secondary teachers, with 32% of the elementary teachers in the "high constructiv ist" quartile compared to 21% of secondary (middle and high-school) teachers. (Middl e school academic subject teachers are about half-way between the high school and elem entary group.) Computer-using teachers—that is, teachers who have their students do any computer work during class at all—are distinctly mo re constructivist than non-using teachers. Among elementary teachers, relatively inf requent users are no less constructivist than teachers who have students use computers a lot. However, among secondary academic subject teachers, the teachers w ho assign computer work frequently are much more constructivist than those who make co mputers are less central part of their pedagogy. (See Figure 5, lower panel.)


13 of 31Figure 5. Frequency of Computer Use by Teacher Phil osophy By General Teaching Responsibility [Sample: All teachers in probability sample.] Computer-Using Teachers' Objectives for Student Com puter Use There is a strong relationship between te achers' general philosophical viewpoint about what constitutes good teaching and the partic ular objectives they view as most central to their use of computers with students. Th e survey asked teachers to select three objectives from a list of ten that were their most important objectives for student computer use. The objectives most commonly supporte d by computerusing teachers were "getting information or ideas" and "expressing themselves in writing." Mastering skills, both academic skills and computer skills, w ere less often cited, but "skills" as objectives were much more often cited than such obj ectives as "presenting information to an audience" or "communicating electronically wi th other people." (See Figure 6.) Figure 6. Teachers' Primary Objectives For Computer Use (Percent of teachers who report the objective as being among their 3 mos t important ones). [Sample: Probability sample; teachers who used comp uters with their selected class.] The relationship between objectives and t eaching philosophy is shown in Figure 7, where objectives for computer use are ordered accor ding to how "constructivist" teachers were in terms of their survey answers to q uestions about teaching philosophy. (Note 12) Figure 7 shows that the relatively small minority of computer-using teachers who selected having students "communicate electroni cally with other people" (only 9% of all computer-using teachers) had, overall, the m ost constructivist philosophies. The next-most philosophically constructivist teachers w ere those who chose "presenting information to an audience" and "learning to work c ollaboratively" as their main objectives for student computer use. Teachers who s elected "getting information or


14 of 31ideas" or "expressing themselves in writing" were a lso more constructivist than most teachers overall, but about average when just consi dering teachers who used computers with students. Figure 7. Objectives For Computer Use Are Also Link ed To Teaching Philosophy (mean z-score on Teaching Philosophy Index) [Sample: Probability sample; teachers who used comp uters with their selected class.] In contrast to those teachers, the 36% of computer-using teachers who selected skills reinforcement as one of their top three obje ctives ("mastering skills just taught") reported much more transmission-oriented philosophi es than teachers who chose other objectives. However, even the skills-reinforcementvaluing teachers were somewhat more constructivist (i.e., less transmissionorien ted) than the teachers who didn't have students use computers at all. Types of Software Used by TeachersWho Assign Computer Work Frequently The rapid progress of computer technology over the past decades has meant an increasing variety of software has become available for teachers to use with students. During the 1980's, teachers could have students pro gram in BASIC or LOGO, use drill-and-practice software, simple word processing programs, or some inventive problem-solving puzzles and simulations, but not mu ch else. The range of possibilities has grown enormously since then. Our survey asked t eachers to name the software that has been most valuable in their teaching—the best c omputer programs their students have used. Table 2 shows that general office tool s oftware clearly dominates the list of the programs most commonly named as "most valuable.


15 of 31 Table 2 Specific Software Reported As "Best" or "Most Valua ble" For Students by Computer-Assigning Teachers, by Subject & Level of Teacher Percent of All Computer-Assigning Teachers (naming at least one program as "best')* 20%+15-19% 10-14% 5-9% Elementary Self-contained ClarisWorks Hyperstudio Accelerated Reader** Encarta, Groliers, M. Word,Netscape, Oregon Trail Writing-Pub. Center Elementary Other ClarisWorks Accelerated Reader Hyperstudio Groliers, M. Works, Netscape,Writing-Pub. Center English ClarisWorks, M.Works M. Word, Netscape Accelerated Reader Powerpoint Science ClarisWorks, Netscape Hyperstudio M.Office, M.Word,M.Works Math Geometer's Sketchpad ClarisWorks Excel, Math Blaster M.Word, Netscape Social Studies ClarisWorks, Netscape Hyperstudio Encarta, Groliers, I.E., M.Word, M.Works,Powerpoint Foreign Language ClarisWorks, M.Word M.Publisher Netscape M.Works, Powerpoint Misc. Academic Secondary ClarisWorks Encarta, M.Word, Netscape Groliers, M.Office Computers M.Office, Netscape ClarisWorks, M.Word, M.Works, Excel, Hyperstudio Powerpoint


16 of 31Constructivist Philosophy and Teachers' Frequent Us e of Computers with Students But what of the minority of teachers who do make substantial use of different types of softwar e as part of the way they orchestrate student activity during their class time? Do users of only some types of software stand out as being constructivist, or are most types of software use associated with having a con structivist philosophy? (Note 14) And how different in philosop hy, overall, do these teachers look from the "avera ge" teacher who might have her students use software on ly occasionally? Our data suggest that teachers of academi c subjects, both elementary and secondary, who use most types of software on a frequent basis have consiste ntly more constructivist philosophies than the aver age teacher. Electronic mail assigning-teachers (that i s, the 3% of academic subject teachers who have stu dents use electronic mail on a regular basis) and the alm ost as small percentage of teachers whose students often use presentation software like Powerpoint (4%) have the most constructivist philosophies of all, with roughly half of them being in the "high constructiv ist" quartile of teachers, as shown in Figure 8. (N ote 15) But, in fact, frequent users of most types of software are more constructivist in philo sophy than more typical teachers are. All categories of frequent software-u sers are except those who use only skill games frequently. Even skill games users are more constructivist than average if the games are part of a practice that u ses other types of software frequently as well. The teachers 3rd-ranked in terms of constructivist philosophy (t he 5% who are frequent users of multimedia authoring soft ware) and the 9th-ranked category (the 13% who assi gn students to do Web work frequently) are closer in p hilosophy to one another than either is to the larg er number of teachers who only occasionally have stude nts use computers. Again, Cuban appears to be corre ct that technology integration has been accomplished b y a relatively small group of academic subject-matt er teachers who are significantly different than their peers in terms of teaching philosophy. Figure 8. Frequent Use of Software (In 10+ Lessons) by Teaching Philosophy [Sample: Probability sample; academic secondary and elementary teachers only.] When Favorable Conditions are in Place: Compatible Philosophy, Access, and Expertise If the teachers whose students use softwa re frequently have substantially more constructivis t philosophies than most teachers, does it follow tha t most constructivist teachers are computer users? Our


17 of 31 data show that, by itself, a constructivist philoso phy raises the chance that an academic subject-matt er teacher will use many types of software frequently with students, but rarely is a compatible philosoph y itself sufficient to boost a majority of teachers into ass igning a certain type of computer work frequently. For example, consider middle and high school science te achers. Of all science teachers, only 5% reported having students use simulations or exploratory environments in at least 10 lessons during the year (shown previously in Table 3). Among the most constructivi st quartile of teachers, proportionally twice as ma ny did, but that is still only 10% of the science teachers in that group (see Table 4). In addition, overall, 24% of science teachers had students use word processing frequently, but 39% of the high-constructivist sci ence teachers did—nearly two out of every five, but stil l not a majority. To take another example, in socia l studies, no type of software was used frequently by at least onefourth of all social studies teacher s (shown in Table 3). For the high-constructivist social stu dies teachers, though, three types of software had that level of penetration—word processing, CD-ROM reference ma terials, and World Wide Web browsers. Nevertheless, the boost was modest, at best; none o f those types of software involved even one-third o f the high-constructivist social studies teachers on a fr equent basis. The only type of software to be used frequently by a majority of highconstructivist te achers was word processing, by elementary grade tea chers (55%; see Table 4). In sum, having a compatible tea ching philosophy makes frequent use of computers mo re likely, but by itself is insufficient to make frequ ent computer use a modal teaching practice.Table 4 Percent of High Constructivist Teachers (Academic Subjects Only) Reporting Frequent Compute r Use Word Proc. CD-ROMWWW Skill practice games Simulations/ Exploratory Environments Graphics Spread-sheets/ Database Presentation Multimedia Email English 49% 15%22%6%2%13%3%14%5%7% Science 39 23247107121038 Math 11469834223 SocialStudies 28 28 25 811698311 Elem. 55 35 1431 14123695 All Teachers of Academic Subjects 42 211913101181066 [Sample: All academic teachers in probability and p urposive samples. "Frequent Use" defined as student s in any of the teacher's classes having used that type of software on 10 or more occasions.] However, when we add in two other facilit ating conditions—convenient access to a cluster of computers and the teacher having at least average l evels of computer knowledge—the story changes. For this analysis, we have to combine teachers of the variou s academic secondary and elementary subjects togeth er because otherwise the number of survey respondents to be analyzed becomes too small. We present data regarding the use of two categories of software: (1 ) word processing, because it so clearly dominates frequent computer use; and (2) any other type of so ftware besides skill games, the latter being exclud ed because of the clearly distinct pedagogical approac h it reflects. Figure 9 shows the percentage of tea chers reporting frequent use of these two categories of s oftware according to progressively more enabling conditions. Overall, 29% of all academic secondary and elementary teachers reported using word process ing


18 of 31frequently and 28% reported using at least one othe r type of software frequently. When we restrict our selves to the high constructivist quartile of teachers fro m the same subjects, the percentages rise somewhat, to 44% and 37% respectively. (Note 16) However, when we sp ecify the other two important facilitating conditions—that the teacher has a cluster of five o r more computers available in her own classroom and also has at least average computer skill and breadth of professional computer use—the percentages climb to well over a majority. More than three-fourths of such te achers (76%) had students use word processing in at least 10 lessons during the year, and 56% had them use so me other type of software that often. (Note 17) Figure 9. Frequent Use of Software by Facilitating Condition [Sample: All academic teachers in probability and p urposive samples.] Figure 10 shows that for this group of ac ademic subject matter teachers—that is, those with a highly constructivist philosophy who also have a cluster o f computers in their classroom and at least average computer competencies and professional use themselv es—not only did three-fourths have students use wor d processing frequently, but about one-third had stud ents use presentation software frequently, one-thir d had students use the Web in 10 different lessons, a maj ority had students use CD-ROM reference materials o n at least 3 occasions during the year, and similarly a majority had students use exploratory or simulation software at least that often. For this group, skill -based software is used less often than any of those applications, but it is still more common than spre adsheet work, student e-mail, or student authoring of multimedia documents.


19 of 31 Figure 10. Software Use Among Teachers With Favorab le Facilitating Conditions[ Sample: Probability and purposive samples. Teache rs from the most constructivist quartile of seconda ry academic and elementary teachers, who have at least five compute rs in their classroom, and average or better comput er knowledge.] The statistics in the previous paragraph are critical They demonstrate that under the right conditions, teachers of academic subjects will make substantial use of a wide range of computer software, going we ll beyond routine drill-and-practice. Nevertheless, no t every computer application has yet found its nich e in the practice of academic subject teachers, even when ma ny of the facilitating conditions are in place.Outcomes of Constructivist Uses of Computers: Effects on Student Out-of-Class Effort Demonstrating that under propitious condi tions, a large fraction of teachers of academic sub jects are having their students use a variety of computer app lications does not necessarily prove that students are better off for this as a result. Our Teaching, Lear ning, and Computing survey did focus more on the "teaching" and "computing" aspects of computer use in schools than on the "learning" part, but we do h ave some modest empirical evidence on one interesting s tudent outcome—students' use of computers for doing class work on their own time. Why should simply measuring student out-o f-class-time use of computers for schoolwork be considered an important outcome? For one thing, although public evaluation of schools tends to focu s on the substantive facts and skills that students are bein g taught, a widely acknowledged goal of schooling i s to foster in students a disposition to undertake learn ing activities on their own initiative, over the lo ng-term. If students take initiative in doing academic work out side of the time they are being directly supervised in class, the strategies that teachers use to increase the likelihood of that happening may be as importa nt as what they do to help students learn more during cla ss time. Although we have a very weak measure of th e out-of-class computer-use outcome—teachers' own est imates of the proportion of their students who use computers for class work at other times during the school day and the proportion that do so while at home—we can report some interesting findings relate d to teachers' different patterns of computer use. We found that computer-using teachers who prioritize certain objectives for their students' computer use are much more likely than those emphasizing oth er objectives to report that their students use com puters


20 of 31for class assignments during other times of the day and week. Figure 11 shows the general result and highlights four outcomes associated with greater th an average out-of-class-time work and three outcome s associated with below-average levels. (Note 18) The teachers who report by far the highest proportion of students doing computer work outside of class were those whose primary objectives were having students present information to an audience Asking students to prepare an oral talk before an audience seems to generate a strong motivation for students to be dee ply engaged in their schoolwork—enough to keep them working after school or even at lunch. The other th ree objectives whose advocates reported more than average out-of-class computer work being done were these: (a) having students communicate electronical ly with other people, (b) having them obtain informati on or ideas from computer sources, and (c) having t hem express themselves in writing. When we distinguishe d the extra time spent by students while they were still at school from their efforts at home, it was clearl y the time at-home which was being affected by teac hers emphasizing the objectives of communications (i.e., through e-mail), information acquisition (Web), an d writing (word processing). Not surprisingly, e-mail Web browsers, and word processing programs, along with games, are the most common software applicatio ns available to students on their home computers. I n contrast, where students followed their teachers' a spirations for them to prepare presentations to an audience by spending extra effort, disproportionately they d id so while at school. This may be due to many assignments like this requiring collaboration among classmates, and the convenience of being able to g et together as a group while at school. Figure 11. Which Teachers Report Student Use Comput ers for Class Work Outside of Class Time? (Effect Sizes)[Sample: 50% random subsample of national probabili ty sample; teachers who used computers with student s in their selected class.] The fact that at-home differences in stud ents' out-of-class efforts (i.e., for teachers with different objectives) were generally greater than at-school d ifferences is a reminder of the important role that private access to computing facilities plays in some of the types of computer work which may be most beneficia l for students. We did not have information on the presen ce of home computers among the students of each teacher, but we did analyze the effects of teacher objectives on out-of-class effort after taking into account the socio-economic-status (SES) of the school's stu dents and the student ability levels reported by te achers,


21 of 31 two factors that are closely associated with home c omputer access. (Note 19) Table 5 shows that althou gh class ability and school socio-economic-status are each strongly associated with student out-of-class computer work (and more strongly with at-home effor t than at-school effort), teacher objectives still have effects that are independent of student characteris tics. Thus, teachers whose objectives for student c omputer work were skillsrelated or "learning to work inde pendently" (i.e., not bothering other students) rep orted less out-of-class computer work than teachers having oth er objectives, even after controlling statistically for school SES and class ability level. This was partic ularly true for students' doing computer work for c lass while at home. Similarly, at the positive end, the same objectives shown in Figure 11 remain important In particular, teachers with presentation objectives f or their students' computer work have more students doing computer work on their own time at school, and teac hers with writing, information gathering, and elect ronic communications objectives have students who do more computer for class while at home, even after socio economic and scholastic achievement factors are con sidered. (Note 20)Table 5 Teachers' Objectives For Student Computer Use Related To Fraction of Students Reported To Use Com puters For Classwork Outside of Class Time Use in school, outside of class Use outside of school All non-class time useCorrelation of non-class time use withÂ…Average Ability of Students in Class (teacher estimate)+.21+.34+.32School Socio-Economic Status+.14+.38+.30Multiple correlation coefficient (controlvariables only; includes school level also).22.44.38 Standardized regression coefficients controlling on class ability, SES, & school level (elem., MS, HS). (each objective in separate equation)Present Information to an Audience+.22+.14+.21Express Oneself in Writing+.10+.20+.17Get Information and Ideas+.06+.21+.16Communicate Electronically-.03+.17+.08Learn to Work Collaboratively+.02-.01+.00Improve Computer Skills-.01-.03-.02Analyze Information-.03-.08-.04Remediate Skills-.09-.16-.15Learn to Work Independently-.05-.21-.15Master Skills Taught (reinforcement)-.16-.20-.22[Sample: Probability sample only; teachers who used computers with their selected class.]


22 of 31Effects of Computer Use on Teachers:Changing Towards a Constructivist Practice Although most discussion of the outcomes of teachers' use of computers in instruction focuses on student outcomes, it is important to consider how teachers experiences with using computers might be changing their teaching practice as a whole. In particular, examination of our survey data showe d us that teachers are much more constructivist in philosophy than they typically ar e in actual practice—no doubt the result of the many difficulties involved in doing construc tivist sorts of things; e.g., having students' interests affect the topics of their clas swork, orchestrating classes so that multiple activities can occur simultaneously, or ha ving students do serious group work including engaging one another in authentic exchang es of ideas and opinions (Ravitz, Becker, and Wong, 2000). In previous research, Becker and Ravitz ( 1999) proposed that when circumstances were favorable, sustained and thoughtful use of com puters as learning resources could actually help teachers implement a teaching practic e that was as constructivist as their teaching philosophy would permit. In a study of 441 teachers at 152 schools of the National School Network, we found that teachers at these schools who used computers with students regularly over a three year period we re roughly twice as likely to report having made a number of constructivist-oriented cha nges in their teaching practice as were teachers who did not use computers with their students. In particular, more than 70% reported they were now more willing "to be taug ht by students" than three years previously, compared to fewer than 30% among non-co mputer-assigning teachers. Similarly, they were much more likely to report inc reased skill in conducting multiple parallel activities during class time, engaging stu dents in long projects, and giving students choices in the tasks they undertook. (See Figure 12.) In addition, supporting the argument made earlier, teachers were twice as likel y to report seeing students take more initiative outside of class time. It is important t o note that the schools of the National School Network were not "typical" schools. First, t hey had significantly more technology per-capita than average. Second, they were schools where leadership had developed strong associations with outside organizations supp orting educational reform through the use of computer technology, organizations such as m useums, university research projects, and private businesses. And third, the schools prov ided a climate supportive of curricular and instructional change.


23 of 31 Figure 12. Changes In Their Teaching Practice Over 3 Years Reported by Computer-Using Teachers and Non-Users In the Nation al School Network, Spring, 1997 In the Teaching, Learning, and Computing survey, we have explored similar relationships between teachers' computer use and ch anges in instructional practices towards a more constructivist approach to teaching. We have found, for example, that across all schools (as opposed to the relatively ho mogeneous schools of the National School Network) teachers who were the least knowledgeable about computers were also less likely than other teachers to report having be come more constructivist over the previous three years. (However, no differences have been found between teachers who were "average" and those who were "high" on our ind ex of computer knowledge.) On the other hand, constructivist change seems to have occ urred more often than typically among teachers who used a large variety of software in their teaching practice, those who used the World Wide Web a great deal in their teach ing, and those whose primary objectives for computer use were having students le arn to work collaboratively or to write better. (Note 21) Those are results that generalize to all schools. However, the theory proposed in the National School Network study was that the schoolwi de environment with respect to technology and instructional reform is a conditioni ng variable (i.e., either facilitates or impedes) the effects of computer use on pedagogical practice more generally found. That hypothesis is supported by our initial analysis of the several different independently drawn samples in the Teaching, Learning, and Comput ing survey. In addition to the national probability s ample of schools, the TLC survey included several different "purposive" samples—schools selec ted either individually or sampled from larger sets of schools specifically because of either having a large presence of leading-edge computer technology or being closely i nvolved with programs of instructional reform, including 50 of the major nat ional and regional reform programs (e.g., Coalition of Essential Schools, Accelerated Schools, two NSF systemic reform programs). We are finding that teachers in three gr oups of schools seem to have made more changes towards a constructivist teaching prac tice than teachers in the national


24 of 31probability sample: (a) teachers in the leadinged ge schools with high levels of technology per capita, (b) teachers in schools with both a schoolwide emphasis on instructional reform and an emphasis on using computer technology in those reforms, and (c) participating teachers (and only participating teachers) in schools where one or tw o such teachers are involved in an externally organiz ed program of technology-based instructional reform. Significantly, one group of s chools does not show greater movement towards constructivist practices by their teachers— schoolwide reform programs that do not emphasize computer technology. Teachers in those s chools reported, at best, the same pattern of pedagogical change as did the national p robability sample of teachers. (See Figure 13.) Figure 13. Constructivist Change in Teaching Compar ed to the TLC National Sample (Effect Sizes) [Sample: All teachers in probability and purposive samples. Preliminary findings.] These findings suggest that both teacher-level characteristics (i.e., how much they use certain computer applications and their objecti ves for that use) and school-level characteristics, such as the central role of comput ers in the school's character, help teachers move towards a constructivist pedagogy.Conclusion In response to Cuban's projection that co mputers are likely to continue to play a minor role in student learning of academic subjects in elementary and secondary schools, this article has presented an examination of relate d evidence. On the issue of whether computers are gen erally a central vehicle of instructional activities in classrooms, the data suggest that Cub an remains correct up to the present time. Although a substantial fraction of teachers a re having students do word processing during class time, most in-class use of computers o ccurs as part of separate skills-based instruction about computers, in occupationally-orie nted courses such as business and vocational education, and as one of many exploratio ns of different learning modalities that occur in the 6-hour-long days of self-containe d elementary classes. We have also found that the teachers who have students use non-skills-oriented


25 of 31computer software in academic classes have fairly d istinctive teaching philosophies, being disproportionately supportive of constructivi st pedagogies such as developing student responsibility for selecting and carrying o ut learning tasks, emphasizing group work involving discourse, and the use of projects, products, and performances for outside audiences. However, this data also suggests that whe n constructivistoriented teachers have sufficient resources in their classroom (i.e., clus ters of 5 or more computers in a typical sized class) and have come to have a reasonable lev el of experience and skill in using computers themselves, a majority of such teachers will have their students make act ive and regular use of computers during their class per iod. That use will be principally word processing but will typically involve at least one other type of software as well, most often either CD-ROM or Internet-based information r etrieval or exploratory simulation software. Other facilitating factors, such as exten ding the secondary classroom period from 50 minutes to significantly longer blocks of t ime and not only removing curriculum coverage mandates from teachers but encouraging the m to teach fewer subjects in depth also can increase the number of teachers who make f requent use of computers in their plans for student class work. Furthermore, we found that when teachers emphasize communication and information-oriented objectives for their students' software use (i.e., publishing for an audience, communicating electronically, writing, an d finding information), they expand students' academic effort from class time to free t ime, suggesting that a non-skill, tool-application focus to using computers in class results in greater student engagement in their academic assignments. Finally, our data suggest that certain ap proaches to using computer technology (i.e., broad use of different types of software, an emphas is on student writing and on exploiting Web-based sources of information) as well as a scho olwide emphasis on technology, particularly in the context of supporting instructi onal reform, are forces that help teachers realize significant changes in their pedagogy more generally, enabling them to put into practice a pedagogy that is more constructivist and more attuned with their teaching philosophy. Thus, in a certain sense Cuban is correct —computers have not transformed the teaching practices of a majority of teachers, parti cularly teachers of secondary academic subjects. However, under the right conditions—where teachers are personally comfortable and at least moderately skilled in usin g computers themselves, where the school's daily class schedule permits allocating ti me for students to use computers as part of class assignments, where enough equipment is ava ilable and convenient to permit computer activities to flow seamlessly alongside ot her learning tasks, and where teachers' personal philosophies support a student-centered, c onstructivist pedagogy that incorporates collaborative projects defined partly by student interest—computers are clearly becoming a valuable and well-functioning in structional tool. Moreover, where implemented in a responsi ble way, that tool is having an impact, not only on students' performance in class, but on their academic effort outside of class as well. In addition, many teachers, emphasizing the u se of computers for student outcomes such as improved writing and research competencies, along with other teachers who are lucky enough to work in school environments where c omputer technology and instructional reform are cultural values, are being helped by technology to accomplish the goals of most current instructional reform efforts. They are creating classrooms where both they and their students are engaged in authent ic efforts at increasing academic understanding rather than going through the more su perficial traditional practice of schooling: surface coverage of a massive and extern ally mandated curriculum, even when


26 of 31anointed under a label of "standards-based reform. NotesRevision of a paper written for the January, 2000 S chool Technology Leadership Conference of the Council of Chief State School Off icers, Washington, D.C. The author wishes to thank four anonymous reviewers for their critiques and suggestions. Cuban recognizes that most teachers use computers p rofessionally, for example, to prepare their lessons or to provide materials for s tudent work, and that a small minority do have their students use computers regul arly during class. However, he continues to maintain that "deeply embedded factors …will continue to retard widespread classroom use of technology" (Cuban, for thcoming; undated manuscript p. 281). 1. Except where indicated by text or footnotes, statis tical results are based solely on the weighted nationally representative sample of te achers and schools. The survey was fielded in the Spring of 1998, with most teache r questionnaires being returned in April or May of that year. For more details on t he sampling and study methodology, see Becker, Ravitz, and Wong (1999), A ppendix B. Online at tml/startpage.htm 2. The survey question read "On how many days since Se ptember has a typical student in this particular class used a computer wh ile you were teaching their class?" The fourth and fifth choices in the list we re "21-40 times (weekly)" and "41+ times (twice/week)." The class selected for qu estioning was the class selected by the teacher as the one where the teacher was "mo st satisfied with your teaching—where you accomplish your teaching goals m ost often." Subject-coding of teachers was based on the subject area in which the teacher taught for a majority of his or her classes. 3. Just a few computers in a classroom would not seem to make much sense. However, numbers like 5, 6, or 8 can be used quite efficiently for many kinds of classroom activity plans. 4. Although 18% of the survey respondents reported pub lishing on the World Wide Web, that estimate does seem inordinately high, giv en other data reported in the survey. Some frequency of misunderstanding of the s urvey question is probably responsible. 5. Means (2000) provides examples of how professional computer knowledge does not always translate into effective pedagogy with the same so ftware. 6. Three sub-indices contributed equally to this index of computer knowledge (by standardizing the variance of each one). One measur ed the number of technical computing skills a teacher reported having (out of seven skills; for example, copying files from one disk to another, preparing a slide show using presentation software, using a Web search engine). The second me asured the number of ways the teacher reported using computers for profession al functions (out of eight, including corresponding with parents, exchanging co mputer files with other teachers, and making handouts for students). The th ird reported the teachers' selfassessments of the level of their experience with e ach of the two major computer platforms—Macintosh and Windows/DOS. The correlatio ns among the three subindices ranged from r=.43 (professional uses wit h platform experience) to r=.60 (technical computing skills with platform experienc e). 7. Teachers were asked to estimate in how many lessons did they have students use 8.


27 of 31each of ten types of software in their selected cla ss. The "types" of software included "games for practicing skills," "simulation s or other exploratory environments," "encyclopedias and other references on CD-ROM," "word processing," "software for making presentations," graphics-oriented printing (e.g., Print Shop)," "spreadsheets or database programs (c reating files or adding data)," "Hyperstudio, Hypercard, or other multimedia author ing environment," "World Wide Web browser," and "electronic mail." The numbe r of types of software used was the mean number reportedly used in at least thr ee lessons during the year. In this survey measurement context, correlations ab ove .20 generally indicate differences worth paying attention to; correlations above .30 are "substantial"; and those above .40 would be considered very large. The table excludes teachers who don't use computers with their classes at all, but includes teachers from the special samples of schools in reform programs or with highend technology presence in addition to the nationally representative sample. 9. These were five-point scales, with the extreme and moderate positions combined in the percentages provided in the text. The wording o f the two choices were as follows: (A) "I mainly see my role as a facilitator I try to provide opportunities and resources for my students to discover or construct concepts for themselves." (B) "That's all nice, but students really won't learn t he subject unless you go over the material in a structured way. It's my job to explai n, to show students how to do the work and to assign specific practice." 10. The validity of teachers' philosophical statements is somewhat problematic. Like reports of their actual practice, they may be subje ct to "social desirability" effects—i.e., wanting to give an answer perceived a s desirable by others. However, prior to this national survey, we validated a set o f statements about teaching philosophy through extensive interviews with 72 tea chers in 24 schools in three parts of the U.S. The items selected (or modified) for this study were the items that correlated most strongly with the interviewers' jud gments about the teachers' actual teaching philosophies. See Becker and Anderson (199 8). Moreover, the primary use of the philosophy items in this study, however, is not to determine on an absolute scale how constructivist teachers are but whether those who are relatively more constructivist in philosophy than others respo nd more strongly to the option of using computers in their teaching. 11. Figure 7 uses a continuous measure of teaching phil osophy, from most transmission-oriented to most constructivist, rathe r than the quartiles shown in Figure 5. 12. The CD-ROM item was described as CD-ROM Reference software but probably many teachers interpreted the survey question to in clude skills-games and exploratory software on CD-ROMs. 13. Chris Dede, in a recent paper (Dede, 2000), discuss es how a wide range of software provides opportunities for students to engage in kn owledge construction activities. 14. The analysis in this paragraph concerns teachers of secondary academic subjects and elementary teachers. It omits teachers of appli ed secondary subjects like computer education, business education, vocational education and fine arts. 15. Comparison based on probability plus purposive samp le data. These two groups differ very little on gross measures; however, the purposive sample is needed in these comparisons because the restriction to high c onstructivist philosophy teachers limits the number of teachers available by subject. 16. Teacher reports of frequent computer use by their s tudents in class may be subject to upward bias due to the same social desirability factor noted in an earlier footnote 17.


28 of 31with respect to reports of constructivist teaching philosophies. However, the data show huge differences in frequent student computer use between all teachers and teachers whose conditions are favorable (i.e., phil osophy, computer knowledge, etc.). If social desirability was inflating teacher reports of frequent computer use substantially, we would not see such low percentage s for all teachers combined with such high percentages for teachers with facili tating conditions. Moreover, random error in the measurement of the facilitating conditions (e.g., "adequate computer knowledge" is measured by a simple index o f self-reports) tends to diminish the size of differences found. This would suggest that the true percentage of frequent users in the "all facilitating conditio ns present" category is even higher than reported.The measure used in Figure 11 is the effect size be tween teachers who selected a given objective as primary versus those who did not The effect size is the difference in the mean responses by the two groups of teachers divided by the standard deviation of teacher responses on the meas ure. The two items averaged in the measure (computer use at other times of the day while at school; and computer use at home) were each scored on a scale from 1 to 5 representing the poles of "none or few" students doing this on at least sever al occasions to "all students" doing this. 18. See Becker (2000) for evidence on the relationship between student SES and basic home computer access as well as the level of functi onality of home computers owned by families of students of different economic and educational circumstances. 19. It is also possible that weak measurement of contro l variables—class SES was measured by school-level SES indicators and student ability was estimated by teachers, and home presence of computers was not me asured directly—might leave us to ascribe some variation to teacher objectives that ought to be ascribed to student background factors. However, the SES and sc hool level controls reduced the associations for objectives only to a small deg ree. Further discussion of the findings concerning student out-of-class computer u se can be found in Becker (in press a). 20. The findings regarding changes in pedagogy over the previous three years are presented here only as preliminary. They will be th e subject of a future TLC report. 21.ReferencesBecker, H. J. (2000). Pedagogical Motivations for S tudent Computer Use That Lead to Student Engagement. Educational Technology. 40:5 (Sept.-Oct.), 5-17. Becker, H. J. (in press). Who's Wired and Who's Not The Future of Children Center for the Future of Children, The David and Lucille Packa rd Foundation. 10:2 (Fall). Becker, H. J. & Anderson, R. E. (1998). Validating Self-Report Measures of the 'Constructivism' of Teachers' Beliefs and Practices Paper presented at the 1998 meetings of the American Educational Research Association.Becker, H. J. & Ravitz, J. L. (1999). The Influence of Computer and Internet Use on Teachers' Pedagogical Practices and Perceptions. Journal of Research on Computing in Education. 31:4 (Summer), 356-384.


29 of 31Becker, H. J., Ravitz, J. L., & Wong, Y-T (1999). Teacher and Teacher-Directed Student Use of Computers and Software. Teaching, Learning, and Computing: 1998 National Survey, Report 3. Center for Research on Informatio n Technology and Organizations, University of California, Irvine (November).Cuban, L. (1986). Teachers and Machines: The Classroom Use of Technol ogy Since 1920 New York: Teachers College Press. Cuban, L. (2000). So Much High-Tech Money Invested, So Little Use And Change In Practice: How Come? Paper prepared for the Council of Chief State School Officers' annual Technology Leadership Conference. Washington D.C. (January). Cuban, L. (forthcoming). Oversold and Underused: Reforming Schools Through Technology, 1980-2000. Manuscript in review. Dede, C. (2000). Implications of Emerging Informati on Technologies for States' Education Policies. In 2000 State Educational Technology Conference Papers Washington, D.C.: State Leadership Center, Council of Chief State School Officers. (May).Means, B. (2000). Accountability in Preparing Teach ers to Use Technology. In 2000 State Educational Technology Conference Papers Washington, D.C.: State Leadership Center, Council of Chief State School Officers. (Ma y). Perkins, D. (1998). What is Understanding. In Wiske Martha Stone, ed., Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Ravitz, J. L., Becker, H. J., & Wong, Y-T (2000). Constructivist-Compatible Beliefs and Practices Among U.S. Teachers. Teaching, Learning, and Computing: 1998 National Survey, Report 4. Center for Research on Informatio n Technology and Organizations, University of California, Irvine (July).About the AuthorHenry Jay Becker University of California, Irvine Email: Henry Jay (Hank) Becker is a Professor of Education University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on instructional and organizat ional reforms associated with the use of computer technologies. He is now analyzing data from Teaching, Learning, and Computing: 1998, the fourth in a series of national surveys of teachers and schools and their instructional use of computers, a series that stretches back to 1983. This survey focuses on teachers' pedagogical beliefs and practi ces and their relationship to teachers' use of technology. Besides these national surveys, he has conducted studies of the National School Network, a collaboration of curricu lum reform projects at the leading edge of Internet use, and studies of Integrated Lea rning Systems. In the 1980s, he conducted a national field experiment on the effect iveness of typical practices of technology use in 50 pairs of classrooms across 13 states. Professor Becker holds a Ph.D.


30 of 31 in Sociology from the Johns Hopkins University wher e he also worked as a Research Scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools between 1977 and 1992.Copyright 2000 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-0211. (602-965-9644). The Commentary Editor is Casey D. C obb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers Ann Leavenworth Centerfor Accelerated Learning Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin


31 of 31 Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young UniversityEPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativa-DIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)Fundao Instituto Brasileiro e Geografiae Estatstica Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los


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