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Running head: LTSP Implementation: A Pilot Study




                           LTSP Implementation: A Pilot Study

                                        Lila Holt

                                 University of Tennessee
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                                           Abstract

The purpose of this pilot study is to review the survey instrument used to probe for barriers to
technology use as found in an Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) implementation. The study
provides the background for barriers found in previous research and then creates the survey
based on those barriers. The survey is then pretested with 14 teachers in an LTSP
implementation. The initial result reveal the survey length is short enough teachers are
responding and is providing needed feedback on barriers found.
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                                LTSP Implementation: A Pilot Study

                                              Introduction

        Although technology and computers have been shown to improve student learning (Bain

& Ross, 2000), and improve motivation and self concept in students (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo,

2000) , there are still barriers to using technology in classrooms of today (Bauer & Kenton,

2005; Murray & Campbell, 2000; Smerdon et al., 2000). Hew and Brush (2007) examined the

barriers of integrating technology in schools by analyzing 48 empirical studies from 1995- 2006.

Included were only those studies that pertained to instructional purposes in K-12 and using the

constant comparative method found were a total of 123 barriers. These barriers were categorized

into six classifications of lack of resources, institution, subject culture, attitudes and beliefs,

knowledge and skill, and assessment.       The lack of resources was mentioned most frequently at

40% of the time, followed by knowledge and skills at 26% of the time (see Figure 1).




                               Figure 1 Relative frequency of barriers
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       There are currently initiatives to overcome this lack of resources in K-12 schools. For

example the Linux Terminal Server Projects creates the needed computing power and Internet

access (Pfaffman, 2007b) and the OpenDisc (Kemp, 2009) project provides software bundles

appropriate for schools. In addition, the K-12 Open Source Community helps provide the

support teachers need ("K-12 Open Source Community," 2009).

       While these projects reduce the resource barrier, what about the remaining barriers and

their effects when these projects are implemented? To be able to consider this question, a look

at specific barriers that have been shown to affect the use of technology in the classroom will be

investigated.

       One way computers are used in schools is with access to the Internet. The Pew Internet

and American Life Project ("Internet use at school," 2008) found 74% of students age 12-17

report using the Internet at schools and that students consider themselves more tech savvy than

their teachers ("Study: Students have Net Edge on Teachers," 2002). In a survey to gain

information about teachers' views of the Internet and its usefulness as an educational tool, 188

secondary school teachers responded favorably to the use of the Internet in the classroom

(Madden, Ford, Miller, & Levy, 2005). However, one obstacle noted was the fact that students

were more knowledgeable about the use of the Internet than the teachers themselves. Other

studies have shown barriers of students being more knowledgeable than teachers (Milman &

Molebash, 2008) as well as students discerning the reliability of the information they find (Bauer

& Kenton, 2005; Wright & Wilson, 2005).

       In addition to the barriers of the use of technology in general and the use of the Internet,

the free open source software (FOSS) that is used with the LTSP implementations has its own
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barriers to use. It has been shown that simple awareness is a factor in using FOSS in the

classroom (Hepburn & Buley, 2006). Along with this lack of awareness would be not knowing

how to select the proper components for their particular needs (Holck, Larsen, & Pedersen,

2004) or concern that the components needed do not exist in FOSS (Goode, 2005). Other

possible barriers include the perception that FOSS is poor quality (Goode, 2005; Holck et al.,

2004) and because of the time, expensive support and retraining it has a high total cost of

ownership (Holck et al., 2004). Companies have also been shown to choose software based on

peers pressure as to what the “company down the street” chose to use (Goode, 2005). Still other

perceptions of barriers are that using commercial software helps avoid viruses and that students

need to learn the standard applications (Pfaffman, 2007a).

       A summary of the barriers to technology, the Internet, and FOSS as presented above is

shown in Table 1. This list of barriers will become the basis for the creation of an instrument to

investigate what barriers can be found once an LTSP implementation is in place.



Table 1 Summary of Barriers

Technology                Internet                           FOSS
Resources                                                    Lack of support/cost of support
                                                             Time to learn/relearn
Knowledge and skills      Students more knowledgeable        Unaware
                                                             What to download/no package
Institution
Attitudes and beliefs     Reliability of information         Poor quality
                          Access to inappropriate            More likely to have a virus
                          material                           Students need to learn “standard”
                                                             applications
                                                             Peer pressure
Assessment
Subject culture
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       Once an LTSP implementation is in place there are several methods available to

investigate the barriers that are still present to the use of the technology. Among them are

observations, interviews, as well as surveys. These tools can be used for triangulation (Bogdan &

Biklen, 2007) in support of each other. Since it is not possible with the LTSP implementations

to be present in the classrooms with teachers at all times, the purpose of this pilot study is to

create and test an instrument based on the above barriers that will be used on a weekly basis in

an LTSP implementation as a part of other investigation methods.        The survey will contain

questions for demographics, use of technology, specific barriers, as well as open ended

questions.   The survey instrument created will then be tested at an LTSP implementation.

                                             The Survey

A major consideration in the development of this survey was the length of time teachers would

spend filling it in on a weekly basis. Therefore it was decided that not all barriers would be

investigated on a weekly basis. The barriers investigated and the specific questions from the

survey that could gather information about those barriers are listed in Table 2

. In addition to the barriers listed, an open ended question of Any comments you would like to

make about what you did with computers in the class this week or problems you encountered?

was included. The other barriers will be investigated by observations and interviews. To

provide feedback on the survey in the perceptions of the teachers, one final question was added:

If you have comments or suggestions for how this survey might be made easier to complete or

things that seem unclear, please include them here. For the full survey see Appendix A.
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Table 2 Barriers and the Survey

Barrier                              Survey Question

Students more knowledgeable          Not tested weekly
Reliability of information           For Research, did you
                                             Give them the website for research
                                             Let them search the web site for research
Access to inappropriate material     Not tested weekly
Lack of support/cost of support      Did you have your students use computers this week? If no,
                                     why?
                                     Did you have any problems with the hardware/software this
                                     week? If yes, please describe.
Time to learn/relearn                Did you have your students use computers this week? If no,
                                     why ?
Unaware of software                  During the week did you wish for anything you didn’t have
                                     technology wise for your class? If so, what was that?
What to download/no package          Did you have any discussions with anyone this week about
                                     how/what to use the computer in your class? If so, tell us
                                     about that conversation briefly?
FOSS is poor quality                 Not tested weekly

More likely to have a virus          Not tested weekly
Students need to learn “standard”    Not tested weekly
applications
Peer pressure                        Did you have any discussions with anyone this week about
                                     how/what to use the computer in your class? If so, tell us
                                     about that conversation briefly?


                                             Method

       While there is debate as to whether pretesting a survey is beneficial to validity (Presser et

al., 2004), because of the less than 8 week survey period and a small number of teachers to be

surveyed, it was decided to pretest the survey. The pretest was done with the teachers of a

current LTSP implantation in a southern private elementary and middle school with over 200

students enrolled. These are the teachers who would also be using the survey weekly for the rest

of the school year for data collection. There were 14 teachers who had consented to participate
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of them 10 female and 4 males.     The survey was sent each Friday of the week to be evaluated

and a reminder sent the following Tuesday.

        Seven of these teachers had already been provided computers in the classroom, while

others only had access to computers in a laboratory setting and were awaiting computers in their

classes. As computers became available there would be more added to the classrooms.

        The computers in the classrooms have Internet access and use FOSS. The computers in

the labs for teachers who did not yet have computers in their rooms have Windows operating

systems and Internet access as well as a mix between FOSS and proprietary software. The

computers are filtered for inappropriate web access by the students.

                                              Results

        With 14 teachers filling in the survey for each of 3 weeks there could be a possible

response of 42 surveys. Of those 42 possible 35 responses were received for an 83.3% response

rate.   Of the 14 teachers, 4 teachers responded all three weeks as shown in Figure 2.




Figure 2 Number of weeks each teacher participated
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       Of the 35 responses received, 12 times teachers reported not using computers for the

week which left 23 times computer were reported used. Of these 23 responses with computers

being used, the number of students, average minutes used, and whether the computers are used

for assignments for the entire class or enrichment for individual students was gathered.

Of the 23 responses reporting computer usage, there were 17 instances of computers being used

in the classroom for class projects as in Figure 3.

. The number of minutes the computers were used ranged from 10 minutes to 37.5 hours by a

total of 75 students for one teacher.




Figure 3 Computer use for class instruction
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       Of the 23 responses there were 12 instances of computers being used for individual

student enrichment as in Figure 4. For example, a student finished a regular class assignment

before the rest of the class and would then be allowed to do extra work on a computer. The

number of minutes a student would spend would be from 10 to 35 minutes.

       In addition to computer usage, the number of times the different packages available was

used is gathered and reported as in Figure 5. The category Other is four different packages not

used on a regular basis but is shown for completeness. These initial results show the Internet is

the most frequently use followed by Open Office Writer and Microsoft Word.




Figure 4 Computer use for individual enrichment
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Figure 5 Software packages used

       As to problems reported with the technology, 8 of the 23 responses expressed computer

problems and of those 8, three teachers reported the problems which is less than 40% of the time

– See Figure 6 and Figure 7.




Figure 6 Problems                                  Figure 7 Told someone about problems
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Only 4 responses reported discussing technology with anyone during the three week window.

       In addition to looking at the 23 responses as a whole, the responses by teacher will need

to be considered. While it is too soon to track individual teachers with only three weeks of data,

it is interesting to note that some teachers are choosing to use only the computers in their

classrooms over the lab computers as highlighted in gray in Table 3.




Table 3 Teachers computer use

                                      Enrichment                      Class Work                  Lab
Teacher       week             # Students    # Minutes         # Students    # Minutes         # Minutes
      1               2             3            10                 4            15                 75
      2               2                                             17           10                 160
                      3              1               20                                             84
       3              3                                              3               20             100
       4              1                                              4               20             30
                      2                                              5               20             35
                      3                                              1               10             30
       5              1              15              30              12              20             0
                      2              4               10              12              15             25
                      3              8               10              6               10             0
       6              3              5               35              5               35             0
       8              1              5               15              5               15             0
                      2              4               15              1               15             0
       9              1                                              75              30             0
       10             1                                                                             50
       11             1                                                                             84
       12             1              10              20              18              35             60
                      3              12              20              12              20             45
       13             2              18              20              36              30             40
                      3              18              30              18              30             0
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         Of the 12 responses where computers were reported not used for the week, the responses

were as follows along with the number of times reported:

   •     No Time - 5

   •     Not part of lesson plan – 4

   •     Technical problems – 2

   •     Doesn’t know what to do with them – 1

         Of the final question asked for suggestions for changing the survey, no suggestions were

given.

                                       Discussion and Conclusion

         The original purpose of this study is a review of the survey instrument and initial data.

There were no unexpected results from the answers in the survey and there were no suggestions

for changes or improvements. In addition, the length of the survey does not appear to be an issue

as a high response rate of 83% is being achieved. The initial overview of the data shows that the

majority of the software being used is captured in the survey. In addition, the teachers had no

questions as to the terminology used. They reported usage for both class time and enrichment.

         In an overview analysis of the data results, barriers of not enough time, and some

computer problems were reported. However, an interesting note was that less than 40% of the

time the teachers actually reported the problems they had. While the survey might be expanded

to address the issue as to why teachers have not reported problems, it would also lengthen the

survey, therefore it was decided to make notes of these for follow up interviews with the

teachers.
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       While the computer discussions and computer software desired have yielded little

comments as to date, they are not marked as unneeded either, and therefore will be allowed to

continue to research there.

       In conclusion, it is important to remember that this survey alone is not the sole basis for

interpretation of the LTSP implementation but rather one tool to use in conjunction with

interviews and observations for triangulation. This survey to test barriers weekly for teachers in

an LTSP implementation does not appear to be too long, has indicated the demographics of

computer usage by teacher in the classroom and labs, and in pretest does show some of the

barriers that might be expected from previous research and thus will be given to teachers for the

remainder of the school year.
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                                           References

Bain, A., & Ross, K. G. (2000). School Reengineering and SAT-I Performance: A Case Study.

       International Journal of Educational Reform, 9(2), 148-154.

Bauer, J., & Kenton, J. (2005). Toward technology integration in the schools: Why it isn't

       happening. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 13(4), 519.

Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2007). Qualitative Research for Education (5th ed.): Pearson

       Education

Goode, S. (2005). Something for nothing: management rejection of open source software in

       Australia’s top firms. Information & Management, 42(5), 669-681.

Hepburn, G., & Buley, J. (2006). Getting Open Source Software into Schools. Journal of Online

       Education, 3(1).

Hew, K. F., & Brush, T. (2007). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: Current

       knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research. Educational Technology

       Research and Development, 55(3), 223-252.

Holck, J., Larsen, M. H., & Pedersen, M. K. (2004). Identifying Business Barriers and Enablers

       for the Adoption of Open Source Software.

Internet use at school. (2008). Pew Internet and American Life Retrieved March 21 2009, from

       http://www.pewInternet.org/Static-Pages/Data-Tools/Explore-Survey-Questions/Roper-

       Center.aspx?t=297

K-12 Open Source Community. (2009). Retrieved March 20, 2009, from

       http://community.k12opensource.com/

Kemp, P. (2009). OpenDisc. Retrieved March 20 2009, from http://www.theopendisc.com/
                                                               LTSP Implementation                   16


Madden, A., Ford, N., Miller, D., & Levy, P. (2005). Using the Internet in teaching: the views of

       practitioners (A survey of the views of secondary school teachers in Sheffield, UK).

       British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 255-280.

Milman, N. B., & Molebash, P. E. (2008). A Longitudinal Assessment of Teacher Education

       Students' Confidence toward Using Technology. Journal of Educational Computing

       Research, 38(2), 183-200.

Murray, D., & Campbell, N. (2000). Barriers to implementing ICT in some New Zealand schools

       Computers in New Zealand Schools.

Pfaffman, J. (2007a). It’s time to consider open source software. TechTrends, 51(3), 38-43.

Pfaffman, J. (2007b). Transforming Instruction without Training: A Case Study of the K 12

       Linux Terminal Server Project. Paper presented at the World Conference on Educational

       Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007, Vancouver, Canada.

Presser, S., Couper, M. P., Lessler, J. T., Martin, E., Martin, J., Rothgeb, J. M., et al. (2004).

       Methods for testing and evaluating survey questions (Vol. 68, pp. 109-130): AAPOR.

Sivin-Kachala, J., & Bialo, E. R. (2000). 2000 Report on the Effectiveness of Technology in

       Schools: Software & Information Industry Assoc.

Smerdon, B., Cronen, S., Lanahan, L., Anderson, J., Iannotti, N., & Angeles, J. (2000). Teachers.

Study: Students have Net Edge on Teachers. (2002). Pew Internet and American Life Project

       Retrieved March 23, 2009, from http://www.pewInternet.org/Media-

       Mentions/2002/Study-Students-have-Net-Edge-on-Teachers.aspx

Wright, V. H., & Wilson, E. K. (2005). From preservice to inservice teaching: A study of

       technology integration. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 22(2), 49.
                                                             LTSP Implementation               17


                                           Appendix A


  Weekly Computer Usage - April 13 - April 17
This survey is intended to give us a snapshot of student use of computers in your classes. If you
       do not have computers in your classroom, you may either skip or use 0s for those
                          questionsabout computers in your classroom.
                                 Weekly Questions
* 1: Did you have your students use computers this week?
                Please choose *only one* of the following:
                      Yes
                      No
[Only answer this question if you answered 'No' to question '1 ']
no: If no, why not?
                 Please write your answer here:




[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
2a: How many students used computers in YOUR ROOM for extra enrichment work this
week?
                 Please write your answer(s) here:
                                Number of students :
                  Average number of minues used. :

[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
2b:

How many students used the computers in YOUR ROOM for class assignments this week?
              Please write your answer(s) here:
                                Number of students :
                  Average number of minutes used :

[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
3:

How many minutes did your class use the computers in the tech lab this week?
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                 Please write your answer here:


[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
4: Of the following software, which did your students use this last week?
                 Please choose *all* that apply:
                      Open Office Writer
                      Open Office Calc
                      Open Office Impress
                      Gimp
                      Tuxpaint
                      Scribus
                      Web research
                      Microsoft Word
                      Microsoft Excel
                      Microsoft Powerpoint
                      Google Earth
                      Google Sketchup
                 Other:
[Only answer this question if you answered 'Web research' to question '4 ']
4a:

For Research, did you -
                Please choose *all* that apply:
                      give them the web site for research
                      let them search for a web site for research
[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
* 5: Did you have any problems with the hardware/software this week?
                 Please choose *only one* of the following:
                      Yes
                      No
[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '5 ']
5a:

Please describe the problems you had and what you did to resolve them.
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                 Please write your answer here:




[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '5 ']
* 5b: Did you tell anyone about the problem?
                 Please choose *only one* of the following:
                      Yes
                      No
[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
* 6: Did you have any discussions with anyone this week about how /what to use the
computers in your class?
                 Please choose *only one* of the following:
                      Yes
                      No
[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '6 ']
6a: Tell us about that conversation briefly? (was it about new software? additonal ways to
use what you have? problems you have? etc)
                 Please write your answer here:




                                     Open comments
[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
7: Any comments you would like to make about what you did with computers in the class
this week or problems you encountered?
                 Please write your answer here:
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[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
8: During the week did you wish for anything you didnt have technology wise for your
class? if so what was that?
                  Please write your answer here:




[Only answer this question if you answered 'Yes' to question '1 ']
9: If you have comments or suggestions for how this survey might be made easier to complete or things that
seem
unclear, please include them here.
                   Please write your answer here:

								
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