Computer use among high school educators: Relating teachers' ability, beliefs, and classroom use

Mitchell Alonzo Combs, Fordham University


Billions of dollars in computer infrastructures, extensive in-service programs, and comprehensive technology plans have created all-time low student to computer ratios in America's schools. Yet, while society has streamed toward a Digital Age, the professional activities of teachers have seemingly changed very little. Numerous researchers find that despite increased access in schools and classrooms, the integration of computers into the work lives of teachers has not kept pace. The purpose of this study is to discover variables that motivate teachers to use computers in their work. A careful review of the literature in philosophy of technology, policy implementation, social theory, and the field of educational computer use contributed to the study's research design. This study uses statistical models to predict the type of use, frequency of use, and complexity of use of computers by high school teachers in four educational domains of their work. Independent and intervening variables in the study include school environment, teacher personal background, stages of computer ability, and personal attitudes and beliefs about computers. The data from the study include descriptive statistics, analyses of variance, multiple correlation analyses, and regression models. These statistical models show that frequent home and school access to computers, proficient stages of computer ability, belief in the value of computers, comfort using computers, adaptability and self-efficacy using computers, high quality technical support received, perceived principal support for computer use, a substantivist philosophical disposition, and a constructivist pedagogical orientation were significant independent and intervening variables in determining teacher computer use. The study produced practical data that instructional leaders can use to assess teacher attitudes about computer use, improve teacher training, and build communities of teacher computer users. With a greater understanding of how and why teachers use computers, educational leaders can better make the most effective decisions and manipulate variables that may influence the use and integration of computers by educators.

Subject Area

Educational software|Curricula|Teaching|School administration

Recommended Citation

Combs, Mitchell Alonzo, "Computer use among high school educators: Relating teachers' ability, beliefs, and classroom use" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3101154.