Academy Students and Pre-service Teachers Perceptions of the Use of Electronic Technology in their Personal Life and School Experiences in a Selected Union Conference
Method: This study used the survey research design method to examine the perceptions towards the use of technology based on the NetDay SpeakUp Day studies. As this study investigated students’ and pre-service teachers’ perceptions of technologies used in and out of the classroom, the survey research design was used to obtain information from students and pre-service teachers. This study gathered information related to the status of technology use by pre-service teachers and by 11th- and 12th-grade students. These research data were collected through surveys of students and pre-service educators. Students were asked to participate through the school principals, and pre-service teachers were asked to participate through their educational training department chairs of their schools of the selected Union of Seventh-day Adventists.
Results: The first research question asked: “What are the perceptions of high school students’ use of technology and their advanced technological abilities?” Almost all (96.4%) of students in Grades 11-12 consider technology as important for their education. A small group (3.6%) seems to have significantly different views on technology and their education. About half of the students (50.8%) claim to get help with their school work using technology at school more than at place of residence. Less than half (46.1%) said they get help from place of residence. The students report showed that almost half of the students (47.5%) use the computer lab at school more than the classroom computers or the library computers. Few of the students (2.6%) seem not to use computers regularly at school. Research question 2 asked: “What are the perceptions of senior pre-service teachers in their technological abilities?” In response to the question, “Teachers’ who consider themselves well prepared by the school program use technology-related tools to enhance teaching,” more than three quarters (84.0%) indicated (Agree or Strongly Agree) they feel they are prepared to use computer productivity tools, whereas almost three-quarters (72.0%) believe they can handle using integrated technology tools in specific curriculum-related work. About two-thirds (68.0%) believe they can handle using integrated technology tools in general curriculum-related work. A little more than half (52.0%) feel they can use instructional technology tools. And less than half (44.0%) believe they can handle using technology instructional tools for management of their classroom or work. Research question 3 asked: “What selected variables contribute to the advanced technological perceptions of students and pre-service teachers?” To answer these questions two linear regressions were run, one for students and one for pre-service teachers. First to determine if a linear regression would be appropriate, a correlation test was run for the students between overall tech-savvy scores and technology variables of the perception of students. Three significant correlations were found as follows: (a) Products used on a regular basis at school, r = .83, (b) products used in all subject areas, r = .58, and (c) experiences in Internet use, r = .84. Based on these strong correlations, I then moved to a linear regression analysis. Conclusion: What do we know about Adventist high-school students through this study? They are active computer users; they use desktop computers and laptop computers more regularly at their place of residence than at school. They may not have a variety of technology at school but seem to have a variety of technology at their place of residence since they use more computers there than at school. They are perceived to be savvy users with the technology available to them, although they did not have a great range of experience using much of the technology referred to in the survey. They seem to have an interest in knowing how to use the technology at school since they said that not knowing how to use the technology was an obstacle to their productivity. Male students appear to be savvier than female students and this was due to the various out-of-school technologies they were using and/or exposed to. The results from this study reaffirm that there is a need for more training and support in the use of technology integration and interaction in Adventist schools. What do we know now about the preparation and use of technology by pre-service teachers because of this study? Pre-service teachers feel that the preparation programs at Adventist colleges are adequately preparing them for use of technology in the classroom but they are still more likely to use computers at their home than at school to do professional preparations. It is important to note that the pre-service teachers in this study did not feel adequately prepared to handle most of the social and security issues in the classroom. Thus teachers’ training programs should include training in computer security issues and how to handle these issues in the computer environment at school. Pre-service teachers desire faster updates of hardware, software, and peripherals. They also want technical support available in their institution. They support a lab that would be open after school and during the weekends for professional practice and preparation for their teaching in the classroom. The pre-service teachers in this study rated their preparation to engage students in learning with technology as relatively weak when compared with other areas. This indicates the need to improve both pre-service and in-service training for technology integration in the learning process.