Analysis of technology competence of K--12 teachers in a selected school district in Mississippi

Teresa Maddox Burton

Abstract

This study examined the technology competence, usage, and needs of teachers in grades K-12 in a selected school district in Mississippi. One hundred thirty-two teachers were administered the Technology Competence Survey. Scores on the survey were used to compare the technology competence of teachers with master's and bachelor's degrees, teachers of different content areas and teachers of different school levels. Self-reported technology needs and preferred way to learn new technology skills was analyzed separating teachers with high and low technology competence scores. Ten teachers were interviewed to further investigate teachers' technology skills. Results indicate that teachers with advanced technology competence prefer to learn new skills experimenting on their own. Teachers with low technology competence prefer to learn in small group sessions. None of the teachers surveyed preferred to use manual or online tutorials as the primary means of learning new technology skills. Teachers with advanced competence scores report a need for more computers in their classrooms as their greatest need. Teachers with low competence scores report a need for software correlated to their curriculum and training on specific software programs. The internet, email, and word processing are used by all teachers regardless of technology competence. Teachers with high competence scores use a wider variety of technology applications. Teachers identified as using technology effectively in their classroom report that they learned to uses technology through trial and error, experimenting on their own. These teachers had all had technology competence scores that were higher than the average score, but only five of the teachers who use technology effectively had a technology competence score that was one or more standard deviations higher than the mean competence score. Teachers with bachelor's degrees had significantly higher competence scores than teachers with master's degrees. There was no significant difference in technology competence scores for teachers of elementary, middle, or high schools; or teachers of different content areas.