So I got me an article from the interwebs by Larry Rosen and Michelle Weil entitled “Computer Availability, Computer Experience and Technophobia Among Public School Teachers”- which is pretty on the nose for my subject of inquiry. I have decided to write this post in real-time as I read the article. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, think of this post as “Gonzo Scholarship.”
First point that needs to be made is the time stamp on this article is from 1995 which, given the progressive march of technology in the subsequent 12 years makes it a bit problematic. It is a bit like using a survey of cavemen’s opinions on fire to extrapolate a modern chefs take in regards to the broil setting of their oven. Still, psychology is psychology and I’m betting that some themes will still carry through.
The sample of this survey was 2066 questionnaires spread across 54 schools in 6 SoCal school districts during the ’88-’89 academic year with an approx. 61-29% split between secondary and elementary level educators.
Having plowed through the Methods section of the work and more than a few math equations and decimal numbers, we come to the first substantive bit of information for my purpose; of those surveyed the best predictors of technophobia were A) prior experience with computers B) length of time teaching (the longer you taught, the more afraid of using computers you were) and C) current use of computers reduced anxiety. Now I am far from an expert in psychology but I feel confident in chalking these findings up to the “no shit” category. The more experience you have with computers the more comfortable you’ll feel around them. Seems pretty cut and dried to me.
Another finding- somewhat intuitive but still important to codify- is that there was a noticeable disparity between levels of anxiety in Caucasian vs. non-Caucasian educators. Do I even need to tell you which was greater?
So the conclusions of this are about what you would expect- a lack of familiarity largely drives technophobia in teachers. It’s kinda obvious… I’m hoping that some of my further research might uncover some actual pedagogical basis for resisting. Still this sets up the underlying premise of my question, that there is INDEED resistance to using technology by teachers. Of course that was in 1989, but still…