Confidence in technology use: the development and validation of a technological, pedagogical, and content self-efficacy scale for teachers
AbstractThis thesis is positioned at the intersection of education, technology, and motivation research fields, specifically in the context of K-12 teaching. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between teachers’ self- efficacy and their technology use, and design and validate a self-efficacy measure to assess teachers’ beliefs about technology use in their profession. This measure is based on the Technological, Pedagogical and Content knowledge (TPACK) framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) and on the standards put forth by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). In today’s so-called “Information Society,” technology is pervading every aspect of our life, and the education sector is no exception. On the one hand, the increased presence of technology demands teachers to be proficient in its use. On the other, a high level of technological knowledge and skills does not necessarily mean that a teacher is effective at implementing those skills in his or her classroom (or life). As Pajares pointed out, “what we know, the skills we possess, or what we have previously accomplished are not always good predictors of subsequent attainments because the beliefs we hold about our capabilities powerfully influence the ways we behave” (Madewell & Shaughnessy, 2003, p. 381). Consequently, behavior can be often better predicted by the beliefs people have about their capabilities to accomplish a particular task than by their actual capabilities (Bandura, 1977). This thesis contributes to the literature on teacher development and motivation in using technology. Firstly, it presents a psychometrically sound instrument to assess teachers’ efficacy perceptions about working with and using technology in their profession. The scale, named Self-efficacy for TPACK scale, is composed of 20 items, organized in three subscales: Technological Pedagogical Self-Efficacy (11 items), Technological Content Self-Efficacy (6 items), and Technological Pedagogical Content Self-Efficacy (3 items). Secondly, this study illuminates the role played by years of teaching experience, professional development with technology, age, gender, ethnicity, and school level in the development of teacher self-efficacy for TPACK. On one hand, experienced teachers reported to have less confidence in technology use. On the other hand, teachers who received extensive/moderate professional development with technology reported higher levels of self-efficacy for TPACK. The role of teacher training in technology use emerged to be essential in increasing their self-efficacy for TPACK. No significant differences were detected in self-efficacy for TPACK as function of gender, ethnicity, and school level. Finally, this research confirms the role of self-efficacy in predicting teachers’ use of technology. Results indicate that self- efficacy for TPACK positively predicts teachers’ technology use. These findings shed more light on the role played by teachers’ self-efficacy in the technology integration process, as one of the significant indicators of teachers’ technology use.