Moroccan EFL teachers level of technology integration

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This chapter describes the methodology that was used to investigate Moroccan EFL teachers' level of technology integration within "GENIE" programme, and to study the factors influencing the level of technology integration in the classroom. The chapter is organised as follows : purpose of the study, research variables, research questions, a description of the research design, description of the research site and population, research instruments, data collection procedures and data analysis.

The mixed methods approach allowed the researcher to analyze the survey results quantitatively and the interviews qualitatively. The survey questionnaire included:

a- a demographic survey,

b- Loyd & Gressard's (1985) Computer Attitude Scale (CAS),

c- a modified version of Woolley, Benjamin and Woolley's (2004) Teacher Beliefs Survey (TBS),

d- Albirini's (2006) Cultural Perceptions Survey (CPS),

e- The Technology Integration Survey, and

f- an open-ended question about teachers' perceived barriers to the integration of technology in their classroom.

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The interviews supplemented the data obtained from the survey, and explore further possible factors that could affect the level of technology integration in Moroccan EFL classrooms.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to investigate Moroccan EFL teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom within the framework of "GENIE" programme, and the factors influencing this level of technology integration in the classroom. Specifically, this study attempted to investigate:

1- the relationship between teachers attitudes and their level of technology integration in the classroom,

2- the relationship between teachers' pedagogical beliefs and their level of technology integration in the classroom,

3- the relationship between the demographic variables : age, gender, teaching experience, computer experience, computer training and computer ownership, and teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom,

4- the relationship between teachers' cultural perceptions and their level of technology integration in the classroom, and

5- Moroccan EFL teachers' perceived barriers to the integration of technology in the classroom.

The goal of this study in to shed light on the obstacles that may hinder successful implementation of "GENIE" programme which aims at generalising Information and Communication Technologies in Moroccan Education to achieve quality in Moroccan education.

The central question of this study is whether Moroccan EFL teachers' characteristics, attitudes toward technology in education, pedagogical beliefs and cultural perceptions influence their level of technology integration in their teaching practice. The dependent variable, then, is teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom, as measured by the level of Technology Integration questionnaire. The independent variables are : (a) teachers' characteristics (age, gender, teaching experience, level taught, computer experience, computer ownership, computer training), (b) teachers' attitudes toward computers, as measured by Gressard and Loyd's (1986) Computer Attitude Scale (CAS), and (c) teachers' pedagogical beliefs, which were measured using Woolley, Benjamin and Woolley's (2004) Teacher Beliefs Survey (TBS.

For the purpose of exploring the factors influencing Moroccan EFL teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom, the following research questions were developed:

Q1 : What is Moroccan EFL teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom ?

Q2 : What are Moroccan EFL teachers' attitudes toward technology in the classroom ?

Q3 : Is there a relationship between teachers' attitudes toward technology and their level of technology integration in the classroom ?

Q4 : Is there a relationship between teachers' pedagogical beliefs and their level of technology integration in the classroom ?

Q5 : Is there a relationship between teachers' characteristics (age, gender, teaching experience, level taught, computer experience, computer training and computer ownership) and their level of technology integration in the classroom ?

Q6 : What are Moroccan EFL teachers' perceived barriers to the integration of technology in the classroom ?

This study attempted to provide answers to these questions, which were developed based on the literature discussed in Chapter Two.

Research design

The mixed methods approach was used in this study. Cross-sectional survey design seems to be the most suitable for this study.

Cross-sectional survey design

The cross-sectional design was used in this study to explore the factors which affect EFL teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom. Surveys are mostly used to understand and predict behavior. According to Creswell (2002), this design has the advantage of measuring "Current attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or practices." (p. 398). Similarly Alreck and Settle (2004) claim that the cross-sectional survey design is the most suitable design when we want to study attitudes.

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Mixed methods

Quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis were integrated in this study to answer the research questions.

The mixed methods design "is used when the strengths of each method offset the weaknesses of the other method so that together they provide a more comprehensive and complete set of data." (McMillan, 2004 p. 289). Mixed methods, then, provided greater credibility in the findings, a more complete and a more valid result (Creswell, 2003; McMillan, 2004). According to Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998), "mixed methods are often more efficient in answering research questions than either the qualitative or the quantitative approach alone"

(p. 167)

Another reason for utilizing mixed methods in this study is that the quantitative approach measured the responses of a large sample of teachers to a limited set of questions in the survey questionnaire, whereas the qualitative method provided an important amount of data about a smaller number of teachers (Patton, 1990).

The mixed methods design also helped triangulate the data and provide different types of data collection and analysis (McMillan, 2004), which expanded an understanding from one method to another, and confirm the findings from multiple data sources (Creswell, 2003). Triangulation of data collection involves qualitative cross-validation through different methods of data collection (Wiersma, 1995).

In brief, the data of this study were collected and analysed through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, using a teacher survey questionnaire and teacher interviews. The qualitative data from the interviews was used to : (a) complement the quantitative data from the survey questionnaire, and (b) contextualise the quantitative findings. The quantitative data results provided: (a) criteria for the sampling of the teachers to be interviewed, and (b) criteria for the development of the interview instrument. The use of the mixed methods provided rich numerical and narrative data that allowed for a fuller understanding of the problem under study.

Since the purpose of this study is to explore and understand EFL teachers' level of technology integration in their classroom practice and the factors which affect it, a survey questionnaire seems to be the most appropriate way to collect data at one point in time (Creswell, 2002).

Another reason for using the quantitative method is that the findings of this study are meant to be generalizable. Quantitative research emphasizes the empirical exploration and explanation of the problem, where generalizability from the sample to the population is the goal (Newman & Benz, 1998). One of the strengths of quantitative methods is that they produce quantifiable, reliable data that are usually generalizable to a larger population. Generalizability can be determined through the statistical procedures of the quantitative research (McKay, 2006).

From the practical side, cross-sectional survey provides information about a broad range of topics in a short amount of time (Creswell, 2002). Moreover, reliability and validity evaluations can be done effectively and easily on questionnaires (Areck and Settle, 2004).

Qualitative research method is necessary when we want to focus on meaning in context (Merriam, 1998). The reason for utilizing interviews in this study is to increase and deepen the understanding of the factors which affect EFL teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom, or, as Ridenour & Newman (2008) put it, "by adding the interviews, a more holistic understanding was possible." (p 33)

Population and Sample

The target population of this study are Moroccan teachers of English as a foreign language in public middle and high schools. The population of this study was sampled using purposeful sampling methods (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2003).

Purposeful sampling techniques are used when the researcher wants to select only the cases that might best illuminate and test the hypothesis of the research (Patton, 1990; Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2003), or when lack of time and money make it impossible to conduct a large-scale study (Creswell, 2003).

Due to the difficulty of accessibility to a large sample selected teachers of English from different regions of Morocco, the researcher selected a sample from accessible population (Ary, Jacobs and Razavich, 2002). The easily accessible population for the researcher is teachers practicing in middle and high schools in the city of Meknès, and teachers participating in the MATE (Moroccan Association of Teachers of English) Annual Conference which was held in Beni Mellal from March 22nd to March 25th, 2009.

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Although purposeful sampling was used in this study, it is still possible to generalize the findings since the numbers of participants is large enough for the sample to exhibit similar characteristics to the target population (Creswell, 2002). Moreover, the participants and the population generally share the same characteristics such as standardized curriculum, standardized pre-service training, discipline taught (EFL), standardized pedagogical guidelines…

For the interviews, purposive sampling was used based on three criteria:

a- Teachers' responses to the survey questionnaire. The researcher selected some participants whose responses were not clear enough to elaborate more.

b- Teachers' willingness to be interviewed.

c- Cases that might best illuminate the problem under study, such as teachers who are known to be technology leaders among their colleagues and teachers who are known to be overt opposers to the integration of technology in the classroom. A maximum of 12 teachers were interviewed.

Instruments

The instruments that were used in this study are a survey questionnaire and interviews. The survey results were analysed quantitatively, whereas the interview data were analysed qualitatively. This section will discuss the development of the instruments used in this study.

The survey questionnaire:

The survey which was used for this study includes five parts (see appendix) : (a) a demographics questionnaire, (b) The Computer Attitude Scale (Gressard and Loyd, 1986), (c) Teacher Beliefs Survey (Woolley, Benjamin and Woolley, 2004), and (e) The level of technology integration questionnaire.

Two questions were added to the survey questionnaire: an open-ended question asking respondents to list the most important barriers to the integration of technology, and a yes/no question asking respondents if they are willing to participate in the follow-up interview.

Demographics questionnaire:

The demographics questionnaire (see Appendix, Section 1) asks questions to capture personal and professional characteristics of the participants including age, gender, teaching experience, level taught (middle or high school), computer experience, and computer training.

The Computer Attitude Scale (CAS):

Numerous instruments have been developed to measure attitudes toward technology and computers (Allen, 1986; Bannon, Marshall and Fluegal, 1985; Christensen and Knezek, 2000; Cummings, 1998; Dambrot, Watkins-Malek, Marshall and Garver, 1985; Erickson, 1987; Francis, 1993; Gardner, Discenza and Dukes, 1993; Gressard and Loyd, 1986; Jones and Clarke, 1994; Kay, 1993; Knezek and Miyashita, 1994; Nickell and Pinto, 1986; Pelgrum, Jaussen Reinen and Plomp, 1993; Papovich, Hyde, Zakrajsek and Blumer, 1985; Raub, 1981; Reece and Gable, 1982; Selwyn, 1997). The instrument which was used in this study is Gressard and Loyd's (1986) Computer Attitude Scale (CAS) (see Appendix, section 2).

CAS is a four-point Likert-type instrument devised to measure teachers' positive and negative attitudes toward computers in the school context. It is composed of 4 sub-scales, each sub-scale consisting of 10 items: (a) computer anxiety, (b) computer liking, (c) computer confidence, and (d) computer usefulness.

CAS was selected for this study for the following reasons:

1- Many of the instrument cited above were developed to measure people's attitudes toward computers or technology in different settings, but CAS was developed to be administered in the setting of education to measure teachers' or students' attitudes toward computer integration in the classroom (Nickell and Pinto, 1986; Sadik, 2006).

According to Kay (1993), the content of the attitude object should be as specific as possible if we expect to be able to predict behavior toward that object. We cannot expect a scale which is designed to assess general attitudes toward computers in society to yield accurate predictions of teachers' use of computers in the classroom (Kay, 1993).

2- CAS has been tested repeatedly for reliability and validity (Fancis at al., 2000; Gardner et al., 1993; Gressard and Loyd, 1986; Kluever, Lam, Hoffman, Green and Swearingen, 1994; Loyd and Gressard, 1984; Loyd and Loyd, 1985; Woodrow, 1991). CAS has also proved to be more reliable and superior on other criteria compared to other computer attitude scales (Gardner et al., 1993).

3- CAS was developed based on theoretical justification. In fact, it was developed based on Ajzen and Fishbein's (1980) Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) which suggests that "attitudes toward computer usage affect users' behavioural intentions toward computer use, which affect users' actual usage of computers." (Rainer and Miller, 1995; p. 94).

According to Ajzen and Fishbein (1980), people's behaviour is determined by their attitudes and beliefs toward an object. Attitudes are composed of three components: affective (what individuals feel), cognitive (what individuals believe), and behavioural (what individuals do). We cannot measure attitudes if we do not take into consideration all these components.

4- CAS was administered in several cultural contexts and was translated into many languages. For example, CAS was translated into Hebrew by Francis, Katz and Jones (2000). It was also translated into Turkish by Berbegolu and Calikoglu (1993) and into Malaysian by Abbas (1995). Moon, Kim and Mclean (1994) translated CAS into the Korean language and Sadik (2006) translated it into Arabic.

The original English version of CAS was used in this study because the target population understand English.

The Teacher Beliefs Survey (TBS):

As discussed in Chapter II, teachers' pedagogical beliefs have a strong influence on their teaching (Dexter, et al., 1999; Ertmer, 2005; Richardson, 1996; Zhao and Cziko, 2001). It is therefore necessary to explore and understand teachers' pedagogical beliefs as an important factor which affects teachers' level of technology integration in the classroom.

For the purpose of measuring teachers' pedagogical beliefs in relation to their classroom practice, Woolley, Benjamin and Woolley's (2004) revised version of Teacher Beliefs Survey was used (see Appendix, section 3). TBS is a 6-point Likert-type scale (strongly disagree = 1; strongly agree = 6). It consists of 21 items grouped on three sub-scales: traditional management (4 statements), traditional teaching (7 statements), and constructivist teaching (10 statements).

The first version of TBS was developed by Woolley and Woolley (1999). Since then, TBS was revised several times (Benjamin, et al., 2002; Benjamin, 2003: Woolley and Hosey, 1999; Woolley, Benjamin and Woolley, 2004). Woolley, Benjamin and Woolley (2004) report high reliability scores for the instrument, especially the traditional teaching and the constructivist teaching sub-scales. Muller et al., (2008) reported the Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the constructivist teaching sub-scale as .80.

The Level of Technology Integration Questionnaire (LTIQ):

The dependent variable in this study is EFL teachers' level of technology integration in their teaching practice. To measure the level of technology integration it is not sufficient "to know how often students turn on computers in school, we also need to determine how they are being used." (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, and Peck, 2001, p. 817).

The level of Technology integration Questionnaire (see Appendix, section 5) was developed based on the "Integration" section of Hogarty, Lang, and Kromrey's (2003) Perceptions of Computers and Technology questionnaire. The original section included three sub-sections: types of software used by both students and teachers in the classroom (e.g. word processors, spreadsheets, web publishing programmes…), integration of computers in the classroom (modes and strategies employed by the teachers in the classroom), and teachers' personal use of computers (e.g. for fun, as a communication tool, as a research tool…).

Since the original section of the instrument was designed to measure technology integration of teachers in general, some items which are not applicable for EFL teachers were deleted, for example, "simulations", "programming/authoring tools", and "spreadsheets". A fourth sub-section about teachers' general impressions of "GENIE" programme was added to the modified version of the section. This subsection includes four items designed to measure how much EFL teachers know about "GENIE" programme and their perceived usefulness of this programme. The items were reported on a 5-point Likert-type scale (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree). The other three sub-sections were provided on a 5-point Likert-type frequency scale (not at all, once a month or less, once a week, several times a week, and every day. Figure 3.1. describes the dependent variable and the independent variables

Figure 3.1. Independent and dependent variables

Independent Variables

Independent Variables

Demographic variables

Age

Gender

Teaching experience

Computer experience

Computer training

Computer access

Teachers' attitudes

Computer liking

Computer anxiety

Computer usefulness

Comfort using Computer

Teachers' pedagogical beliefs

Traditional pedagogical beliefs

Constructivist pedagogical beliefs

Teachers level of technology integration

Teachers' Personal use

Teachers' Classroom use

Students' classroom use

Teaching mode using technology

Dependent Variable

Open-ended questions:

Two open-ended questions were used in the instrument. The first question asks about teachers' perceived barriers to the implementation of "GENIE" programme. The second question was designed to recruit volunteers for the follow-up interview.

The interview instrument:

The purpose of using the interviews in this study is to explore aspects which the quantitative data could not address (Creswell, 2003). Interviewing is one of the most common ways of understanding human beings (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, Merriam, 1998).Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect qualitative data. (The questions and issues to be explored will be detailed here later because most of them will be prepared based on teachers responses to the survey questionnaire).

Data Collection

For the purpose of answering the research question, 2 data collection procedures were used: A survey questionnaire and interviews with teachers. The survey questionnaire was handed to teachers of English in Meknès by the end of March. The researcher also handed the questionnaires to teachers participating in the MATE conference between March 29 and April 2, 2009. The completed questionnaires were collected personally from individual teachers so as to maximize the response rate.

Data were also gathered using a survey completed online. Using electronic questionnaires helped to achieve an adequate sample size at a low cost across great geographic distance (Craig & Douglas, 2005). For this purpose, a free online survey website called http://www.kwiksurveys.com/ was used to create and host the online version of the survey questionnaire. The link to the questionnaire was posted in a forum for teachers (dafatir.com) and in an online network for teachers of English (ed-links.ning.com). The survey link was also e-mailed to individual teachers of English. The researcher was notified by mail once a respondent filled the questionnaire and submitted it.

Use of web-based survey was beneficial for the respondents and the researcher. Access to the survey was available to anyone with an internet connection, and the survey could be completed anytime of the day or night. Respondents were not bothered with handing the survey back since the electronic medium provided instant submittal. Participants were also assured that their completed surveys reached their destination because they received instant messages once the surveys had been submitted. Responses that were incomplete, inconsistent, or missing were determined instantly by the computer program, so that the respondent could self-correct the errors (Anderson & Kanuka, 2003). Any incomplete or inconsistent information on a form prevented the form from being submitted. The participant was asked to complete the missing information or correct the inconsistencies before proceeding. At the bottom of each survey page a "Next" button had to be clicked, whereas in the last page of the survey, respondents had to click a "Submit" button. The survey instrument was developed to work with minimal computer skills and to work on any web browser; therefore, anyone with access to the internet could complete the survey.

The second procedure of data collection is interviews with 10 to 12 selected teachers by the end of May 2009. The interviews were tape-recorded after teachers' consent, and then transcribed for analysis.

Data analysis

To analyze the data from the survey questionnaire, the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 16 was used. The open-ended response items in section 6 were analyzed through categorization. First a reliability test of the survey was performed to measure the inter-correlation of the different parts of the survey. Then the questionnaire responses were analyzed to investigate the research questions. Chi-square tests were calculated to find the significance of the distribution of answers to the Likert-scale items. Other types of statistical analysis were also calculated (T-tests, ANOVAs).

The interview responses were analyzed through categorization. Cross-sectional and non-cross sectional analysis of the responses revealed common patterns among the different transcriptions, as well as individual patterns.

Summary

This chapter presented the research procedures used to answer the research questions. The chapter included a discussion of the rationale for using the mixed methods design as the most appropriate one that fits to the questions and purpose of this study. It also included a description of the population selection procedures, the instruments used to measure the variables, data collection procedures and the data analysis strategies. The following chapter will discuss in detail the findings and conclusions derived from the data.