Dissertation Defense – Erin Davis

April 15, 2014 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
College of Education, room 630
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303

Teacher Planning Problem Space of Expert Technology Integrating Teachers
by Erin Davis

Although expert technology integrating teachers exist, designing meaningful technology integrated learning remains a challenge. To address this problem, the purpose of this single case study was to examine how experts plan for technology integration. The conceptual framework of this study drew from information processing theory and combined two existing constructs: the notion of a problem space (Simon and Newell, 1971) with a process model of teacher planning (Yinger, 1980). The resulting combination was a new construct called the teacher planning problem space. The significance of this study was a focus on thoughts, decisions, and judgments of teachers during the planning process for technology integration rather than during implementation. Participants included a purposeful sample of six technology-integrating experts designated as such by their distinction as the winners of an innovation award sponsored by the Public Broadcasting Service and The Henry Ford. Winning the award bounded the case and the unit of analysis was how each teacher negotiated the teacher planning problem space. Data collection included a survey, interviews, audiovisual materials, and documents. Qualitative content analysis methods where used for interpreting the data, with these interpretations presented as a single case. The results indicated expert technology-integrating teachers continuously sought to improve instruction for their students and technology served to facilitate this goal. Learning from experience including mistakes as well as knowledge of technology’s affordances were the major contributors to these teachers’ flexibility, troubleshooting, and fearlessness when implementing innovative practices with technology. The teacher planning problem space model resulting from this study provides theoretical implications for examining teacher planning. Practical implications include suggestions for administrative policies regarding lesson plan requirements and planning strategies for integrate technology.