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Editor’s Note: Research wise, it would be of interest to redesign and update the TICKIT program as suggested by the authors. In the decade since TICKIT was designed, changes in access and configuration of teaching technologies for students, rural or not, have been exponential.

Professional Development that Increases Technology Integration by K-12 Teachers:
Influence of the TICKIT Program

John B. Keller, Emily Hixon, Curtis J. Bonk, Lee H. Ehman


This study investigates the impact of a professional development program on the reported technology integration practices of rural Indiana teachers. Teachers who had taken part in the year-long technology integration program, Teacher Institute for Curriculum Knowledge about Integration of Technology (TICKIT), were asked about their technology integration practices. Their responses were compared to those from teachers who had been selected for but had not yet taken part in the program. Practical and statistically significant differences were found between the two groups favoring those who had participated in TICKIT. The findings are considered in the light of current research on effective professional development as well as recent technology trends such as the recent opportunities of the Web 2.0. The impact of the program is discussed relative to other technology integration factors identified by the teachers. The paper concludes with recommendations and implications of the results for various audiences including teachers, administrators, and policy makers.

Keywords: professional development, technology integration, reflective practice, university/K-12 partnerships, action research, rural education.


Computers are an increasingly pervasive component of K-12 learning environments. Gradually, the emphasis of investigations about computers in education has shifted from a focus on student-computer ratios--reported to be 7:1 just a few years ago (U.S. Department of Education, 2002)--to determining if and how computers are being used by teachers and students in school settings.

Research suggests that there is a strong tendency for technology to promote standard and traditional teaching practices (Becker, 2000; Cuban, 1986, 2001). As Cuban (2001) reports in his book Oversold and Underused, access to technology across educational settings has not proven to be instrumental in changing teacher practice. The federal government, in fact, is now funding large scale efforts to explore how the integration of educational technology is taught in teacher training programs (Gammill, 2007; Kleiner, Thomas, & Lewis, 2007).

In the recent shift from access to use, the professional development of teachers is seen as the vital nexus between the presence of classroom computers and instruction that takes advantage of them (Burns, 2002; Mouza, 2003). The importance of high-quality professional development opportunities for teachers in rural and urban areas is especially important in closing the digital divide. Lawless and Pellegrino (2007) note that “the digital divide could actually widen over time with the increased investment of technology in schools unless urban and rural K-12 educational settings attract and maintain a teaching force equipped to use technology effectively in support of student learning” (p. 578). This study reports the teacher-perceived impact of one program focused on helping teachers in rural Indiana settings improve their technology integration practices.

New Visions of Professional Development

While the importance of professional development related to effective technology integration has been demonstrated (e.g., Burns, 2002; Mouza, 2003), not all professional development opportunities are equally effective. Newer approaches to professional development in K-12 education involve a shift from traditional to more progressive views of teaching. In his book, Designs for Learning, Bredeson (2003) notes that these new ideas of professional development require a transformation that will not be easy:

Redesigning professional development into a new architecture for career-long growth and development in schools will not be easy. Everyone is in favor of improvement in professional development; it is changing professional development as they know it that bothers them. Changing the paradigm requires rethinking, restructuring, and reculturing professional development . . . Changing the paradigm of professional development requires a vision of where we want to be and what it should look like (p. 17).

To promote change and guide the design and implementation of effective professional development opportunities, researchers have identified specific principles and features of effective professional development models consistent with progressive views of teaching and learning (Ehman, Bonk & Yamagata-Lynch, 2005; Guskey, 2003). Some of the key strategies are noted below.

Features of Effective Professional Development

In a review of nearly a decade of studies related to effective principles of teacher professional development programs, Guskey (2003) found twenty-one characteristics or traits that were shared among the myriad lists. However, he also found a lack of common agreement related to what “effectiveness” actually means. Such lack of agreement or consensus on effectiveness is, of course, a primary inhibitor for replication and change within teacher professional development.

Despite such variation and limited alignment of effective principles of professional development, Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, and Yoon (2001) present a research-based model that identifies critical factors regarding the design of professional development that changes classroom practice and further suggests how these factors relate to one another. Their research revealed six features that contribute to the effectiveness (i.e., positive change in teacher practice) of professional development. In a model based on a national data sample of math and science related professional development supported by the Eisenhower Professional Development Program, Garet et al. (2001) identified three structural features and three core features that contribute to effective professional development (See Table 1).

Structural features of effective professional development experiences include form, duration, and collective participation. Structural features that establish the context for effective professional development are reform-oriented activities that encourage collective participation and involve significant amounts of time over an extended period.

Core features of effective professional development include a focus on content, active learning opportunities, and coherence. When structural components of professional development are in place, they create a context supportive of the core components of professional development. The core features lead to change in knowledge and skill and ultimately to change of practice. The work of Garet et al. (2001) is certainly not the final word on professional development in K-12 settings but it does provide a model that explains which, among the many features and principles urged in the literature, are necessary for professional development to be effective. As such, the model provides the rationale and guidance for those making research-grounded decisions about the designs of professional development experiences.

Table 1
Key Features of Professional Development (based on Garet et al., 2001)






Reform vs. traditional (study groups or networks vs. workshops or conferences).

Duration of experience

Number of hours and span of time.

Collective participation

Participation by established groups (same school, grade, department vs. educators from various schools).


Content focus

Professional development aimed at increasing disciplinary knowledge.

Active learning

Meaningful analysis of teaching and learning (examining student work, getting feedback on teaching).


Degree of consistency between professional development and teachers’ goals, standards, and opportunities for continued professional communication.

Context for the Study

When examining the effectiveness of professional development programs, Lawless and Pellgrino (2007) emphasize that any such research “must take into account the nature of the professional development program design with respect to features known to make a difference” (p. 582). This section presents a description of the professional development program being examined in this study and a discussion of how its design relates to the principles and features of effective professional development programs.

The Teacher Institute for Curriculum Knowledge about Integration of Technology (TICKIT) Bonk, Ehman, Hixon, & Yamagata-Lynch, 2002; Ehman, Bonk, Keller, & Lynch, 2002, Ehman et al., 2005; Keller et al., 2005; Yamagata-Lynch, 2003) served groups of teachers in rural central and southern Indiana schools, with the goal of helping them design technology infused lessons for use in their classrooms. The overall design of TICKIT included many of the features and principles of effective professional development models discussed earlier. Teacher growth in the use of technology was grounded in the classroom practices of each teacher. Throughout the academic year, TICKIT teachers were helped to connect their learning to their immediate context.

The broad design of the TICKIT program was consistent with the model of effective professional development features outlined by Garet et al. (2001). Because TICKIT was a reform-type activity, extended over an entire year, and was cohort-based, it aligned well with all three key structural features of the Garet et al. model as depicted in Table 1.

Cohorts of four to six teachers from four to six schools (approximately 25 teachers) participated in the Institute each academic year (2 semesters). The cohort approach maintained an emphasis on collaboration and helped ensure ongoing support for participants and their non-TICKIT colleagues even after they completed the program; such components are critical aspects of effective professional development (Hawley & Valli, 1999). Similarly, participating in a cohort encourages intellectual, social, and emotional engagement with ideas, materials, and colleagues (Little, 1993).

In addition to employing cohorts, the TICKIT program also aligned well with two of the three core features of Garet et al.’s (2001) model (Table 1). More specifically, the program was content-based as well as characterized by active learning on the part of each teacher. The action research that each TICKIT teacher conducted was based on his or her design, implementation, and evaluation of a technology integration project in his or her content area.

Participants of the program were enrolled in six hours of graduate study and were required to complete a number of activities including reflection papers, article critiques, various online activities (e.g. debates, chats, and reflections), project reports, presentations at a professional conference, and local reports to colleagues along with give-back projects designed to benefit local schools. These activities were designed to ensure that participants first had a solid theoretical base for the more practical application of their ideas in their classrooms. This focus on theoretical knowledge is one of the principles identified by Hawley and Valli (1999) and it encourages engagement in inquiry and freedom to express “informed dissent” that Little (1993) recognized as valuable components of progressive professional development models.

To maintain a focus on the practical application of these ideas and further support an emphasis on classroom-based inquiry and the evaluation of multiple sources of information, teachers participating in TICKIT had to complete two technology integration projects (one each semester) and report on the results of the projects to their TICKIT peers (Keller, Bonk, & Hew, 2005; Keller, Ehman, & Bonk, 2003). Teachers based their reports on action research that they carried out during their implementation of the technology-supported lesson or unit. Reports included a strong emphasis on teacher reflection and discussion of the student data that they had collected during the use of their technology-supported lesson or unit. As pointed out in a recent report from Lawless and Pellegrino (2007), the “design-based component” of professional development programs where teachers are given “the opportunity to learn how to use specific technologies situated in the context of their curricular needs”( p. 594) has been shown to be a key component in effective professional development programs.

TICKIT emphasized the role of participants in planning the Institute to ensure that its goals, content, and structure met real needs. Teachers came to Indiana University three times for a total of four days of workshops, with the remaining interactions occurring online and during TICKIT staff visits to the respective schools. Although time-consuming for TICKIT staff (since they made multiple visits to multiple schools that could be up to three hours away from the university), the school visits were vital to maintaining a focus on the overall context or classroom situation of each teacher. During these school visits, the TICKIT staff members led workshops addressing the specific content and skills requested by the teachers. Prior to the school visits, TICKIT staff members researched the school environment, focusing specifically on the technology equipment and support available to teachers. Assessing the technological environment ensured that TICKIT staff members were able to provide relevant and accurate information to teachers, but equally important, it forced TICKIT participants to make connections with the appropriate support personnel in their buildings and/or districts.


This study examines the effect TICKIT had on teachers’ perceptions of their ability and decision to integrate technology into their teaching. A survey was administered to assess and compare the levels of perceived technology integration of teachers who had been through the program (TICKIT Completers) and teachers anticipating enrolling in the program (TICKIT Applicants). Comparing these populations controlled for teacher interest in participation in professional development focused on technology integration.


Over the five years of the program, teachers from 18 different school districts participated. There were 25 cohorts of teachers averaging five teachers per cohort. Four school districts had teachers in TICKIT multiple years. The school districts were relatively small and all located in rural central and southern Indiana. The districts’ total student enrollment in all grades ranged from 592 to 3,792, with an average of 1,889 students (note: the median size of an Indiana school district in 2005-2006 school year was 1,722 students). The smallest combined junior/senior high school had an enrollment of 286 students, and the largest high school had 1,179. About half the schools received state technology grants that paid for all or part of the school’s share of teacher costs (about $1,200/teacher) in TICKIT. As a condition of participating, schools had Internet-connected, modern computers for each teacher in their classroom, student computer labs, and e-mail systems and dedicated or ISP leased Web servers for teachers’ work.


Two groups of teachers (n=133) were compared in this study. TICKIT Completers were teachers who had participated in the program (cohorts from 1998-99; 1999-00; 2000-01; 2001-02). TICKIT Applicants were those teachers who were going to participate in the program (the cohort of 2002-2003). Over the course of the TICKIT program, several teachers dropped out for both personal and professional reasons. With the exception of the 2000-2001 cohort when all teachers completed the six credit hour institute, each year’s cohort lost between one and four teachers. Given continual refinement of TICKIT, it was not too surprising that the final three years of TICKIT experienced fewer drop-outs than the first two years.

Participants responded to a survey comprised of two parts. The first section created by the TICKIT staff (see Appendix A) asked questions about demographics, changes in teaching practice, and their TICKIT experiences. Items in this section included forced choice, free response, and Likert-type questions. Examples of questions asked in this section include:

§  From which individual do you seek primary guidance, information, and/or direction relating to the integration of technology into your curriculum?

§  Describe one or two ways that you use or have used technology in your classroom that have the most impact on student learning.

The second section of the survey contained 50 questions from the Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) questionnaire developed by Moersch (1994, 1995, 2001) (see Appendix B for a list of the questions asked). Choices on each question on the LoTi instrument ranged from 0 to 7 on a continuum from “not true of me now” to “very true of me now.” Examples of questions asked in this section included:

§  I use my classroom computer primarily to track grades and/or answer email.

§  My students use the Internet for collaboration with others, publishing, communication, and research to solve authentic problems.

Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) Questionnaire.

The idea behind LoTi is that as people adopt an innovation (e.g., technology in teaching), they progress through various levels of adoption marked by varying concerns. The idea was originally promoted by the work of Hall and Hord (1987) in their concerns-based adoption model (CBAM).

Because one of the most prevalent innovations to impact schools in the past years has been the infusion of computer technology, the notion of stages of adoption with respect to technology has been of some interest to those promoting educational technology use in schools. Prior to the development of the LoTi instrument by Moersch, the work of Dwyer, Ringstaff, and Sandholtz (1990, 2000) suggested that teacher progression through the innovation-adoption cycle follows a sequence of stages. The interest in determining a teacher’s stage of technology adoption comes from the notion that this knowledge can be used to address and overcome teacher concerns particular to that stage.

The LoTi instrument was designed to assess the level of a teacher’s technology use along a continuum of eight levels[1] as well as Personal Computer Use and stance toward Current Instructional Practices. In all, the instrument was reported to contain 10 subscales (eight levels of technology integration, one for Personal Computer Use, and one for Current Instructional Practices) of five items each.

When the questions comprising the eight subscales corresponding to levels of technology integration were analyzed, only three of the eight scales achieved a reliability of 0.6 or higher. Because 0.7 is a generally accepted minimum reliability (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000), the original eight “levels” were abandoned and a factor analysis that yielded three major factors was conducted. These three factors were: (1) technology integration, (2) technology limitations, and (3) technology resistance (see Appendix B for a list of questions contributing to each factor). In creating these factors, we eliminated items that did not load decisively (0.4 or higher) or fit conceptually with a particular factor (Questions 11 and 17 loaded on Factor Three but were eliminated because of their lack of conceptual coherence with the factor). When complete, the reliabilities of the three factors ranged from 0.66 to 0.93 (see Appendix B for the loadings of each question). The scale scores for each respondent on each of the factors were then compiled. These scores were used in comparisons between TICKIT Completers and TICKIT Applicants.

The remaining two subscales of the LoTi instrument, Personal Computer Use and Current Instructional Practices demonstrated acceptable reliabilities. A factor analysis on these particular subscales of the LoTi instrument supported these two constructs and resulted in the elimination of one question that did not load decisively on either factor (see Appendix B). These two subscales were relabeled ‘Computer Proficiency’ and ‘Learner-Centered Instruction’ to better reflect the constructs being represented.

In the end, a total of five factors were identified instead of the original 10. The highest scale scores possible for each of the five factors were 126 (Technology Integration), 28 (Technology Limitations), 56 (Technology Resistance), 35 (Computer Proficiency), and 28 (Learner-Centered Instruction). A summary of the factors and their reliabilities are reported in Table 2.

Table 2
Reliabilities for Five Factors



Technology Integration


Technology Limitations


Technology Resistance


Computer Proficiency


Learner-Centered Instruction



Surveys were mailed to the teachers with follow-up mailings sent to those who did not respond by the return date. The final return rate was 79% (Table 3).

Table 3
Survey Returns by Year


Surveys Sent

Surveys Returned

Return Percentage

















2002-03 Applicants









Computer Access and Demographic Information

The survey began with questions about computer access (Table 4) and teacher demographics. Teachers reported high levels of access to computers at home (93%). Similarly, TICKIT teachers’ reported high access to the Internet; in fact, 100% of TICKIT teachers had access at school and 85% also had access at home. It is important to note, however, that schools accepted by the TICKIT program had to meet some minimum technological requirements due to the nature of the courses, and, therefore, are probably not representative of all small rural Indiana schools.

Table 4
Teacher Access to Technology

Survey Questions

Percentage “Yes”

Functional multimedia computer and printer at home


Functional multimedia computer and printer in classroom


Internet connection in the classroom


Internet connection at home



Demographic data revealed that teachers also entered TICKIT with a range of technology competency. Teachers also varied in their years of teaching experience from two to thirty-six years with an average of 11.5 years.

Levels of Technology Implementation

Significant differences favoring the TICKIT Completers over the TICKIT Applicants were found for each of the five factors assessed by the questions from the LoTi instrument (see Table 5).

Table 5
Comparison of TICKIT Completers and TICKIT Applicants on Five Factors













Effect Sizea

1.  Technology Integration






2.  Technology Limitations






3.  Technology Resistance






4.  Computer Proficiency






5.  Learner-Centered Instruction






**p< .01 ; ***p< .001

 a All effect sizes favor TICKIT Completers

b Lower scores on factors two and three indicate more positive responses

 c The ‘n’ for each comparison varies due to incomplete data. We used list-wise deletion of missing data (Completers n=66-77; Applicants n=18-20)

To give some perspective to Table 5, the highest scale scores possible in each of the five categories were 126, 28, 56, 35, and 28, respectively. For the first factor, “Technology Integration,” teachers could have obtained a score between 0 and 126. TICKIT Completers scored slightly higher than half of the total score, which, on a scale of 0-7 would be 3.5 corresponding to “somewhat true of me now.”

The constructs underlying each of the factors that we have identified are not hard-edged. For example, teachers are unlikely to be entirely lacking or entirely in possession of any one of these factors, thereby making the extreme scale scores highly unlikely. As a result, the practical range of the scale scores of these factors is likely smaller than the theoretical range. Also, there is not an equal interval that communicates discreet differences between teachers who vary on these factors. Nevertheless, the TICKIT Completers consistently report practices and dispositions that are more frequent and favorable to technology integration than the self reports of the TICKIT Applicants.

Influences on Technology Use

To better understand the possible impact of TICKIT on teachers’ attitudes toward technology and reported technology integration, respondents were asked to rank order the three most important influences on their use of technology in the classroom. The list of factors influencing technology use included various professional development opportunities (e.g., conferences, training, TICKIT, professional development other than TICKIT, etc.), personal interests, community and parental expectations, and monetary rewards (e.g., stipends, grant money, etc.) (see Table 6).

The findings revealed that more than 75% of the teachers indicated that personal ambition and interest in computers was a key influence (one of their top three choices) in their use of technology in the classroom. The next most important influence was the professional development opportunities of the TICKIT program, followed by in-school professional development as well as conferences and workshops outside the school system. A modest number of respondents mentioned the importance of peer support, curriculum expectations, and administrative support. Factors receiving surprisingly low importance ratings included undergraduate training, graduate training, and stipends.

Table 6
Self-Reported Influences on Teacher Technology Use (TICKIT Completers n=79)

Source of Influence




% Ranking it in top 3

Personal ambition and interest in technology





TICKIT professional development





In-school professional development other than TICKIT





Conferences, institutes, and other external





Curriculum technology integration expectations





Peer teacher support





Administrative support





Graduate courses outside TICKIT





Parental and community expectations





Grant Money





Undergraduate training















Further help in understanding the relative impact of TICKIT was revealed in the teachers’ responses regarding which individuals they turned to for help with technology integration concerns (Table 7). This table indicates that teachers tend to have a number of individuals from whom they seek technology-related help, but that they perhaps tend to seek help most frequently from those who are quickly and easily available such as other teachers as well as the local technology coordinator.

Table 7
Source of Technology Assistance

Source of Help

% Choosing as one of their choices

Technology Coordinator


Classroom Teacher




University Professor


District Coordinator


Site Principal


Business Partner


Other (Internet, friends, family,
 other school personnel)



When respondents were asked to identify the most important influences on their use of technology in the classroom, two of the top three influences were professional development activities (TICKIT and other in-school professional development opportunities). As discussed above, the design and structure of the TICKIT program incorporates many of the features and principles of effective professional development models, which could explain why it is frequently mentioned as a key influence on teachers’ technology integration practices and attitudes.

The results of the LoTi questionnaire also support the impact of professional development, specifically the TICKIT program, on teachers’ perceived integration and their ability to integrate technology into their teaching. Teachers who had completed the TICKIT program report that they exhibited more practices and dispositions consistent with effective technology integration than TICKIT Applicants. Similarly, the scores of TICKIT Completers indicated that they believe themselves to be more computer proficient and more knowledgeable about learner-centered instruction than TICKIT Applicants. Responses on the LoTi questions also suggested that TICKIT Applicants are more resistant to the use of technology and have more difficulty overcoming barriers related to the use of technology than those who have been through the TICKIT program. Each of these factors will be discussed in more detail below.

Technology Integration

The substance of the survey questions supporting this factor suggest general principles for determining degrees of technology integration including:

§  Frequent/regular student use of computers.

§  Technology is used to support good teaching practices and to foster learning. Effective instructional approaches with technology often take the form of project-based or thematic instruction.

§  Students are given structured opportunities to learn with a computer rather than simply learning about them.

§  A variety of current technology is used for a diverse set of learning tasks, some of which extend the boundaries of the classroom.

TICKIT Completers scored nearly two standard deviations higher than program Applicants on this factor (see Table 5). As discussed later in this article, there are no means to determine what part of the total variance between these groups is attributable to the TICKIT experience, but it is plausible that the year-long professional development experience which focused on technology integration played a direct and important effect in the self-reported differences in the practice of these teachers. This conclusion is supported by respondents’ comments on the open-ended survey questions, such as:

§  “I feel that my confidence has grown with using technology in my classroom and my students have benefited from this.”

§  “I use a wider variety of technologies. I am more effective in teaching students to utilize the Internet.”

§  “The skills I have developed have opened a new aspect of my profession.”

Technology Limitations

The technology limitation factor is primarily one of perceived access to technology. Problems of access range from simply not having enough computers for student use to inability to make old technology satisfy current needs.

TICKIT Completers viewed access to computers as less of a problem than TICKIT Applicants (11.60 vs. 15.79). While the difference was less dramatic than the technology integration factor, the effect size was substantial and statistically significant. Without assuming that participation in TICKIT can explain all of the difference, TICKIT may contribute in a number of ways. The intensive TICKIT experience helped teachers think about using technology. While this may seem obvious, our experience with these teachers suggested that the difference in the two groups on this factor may be explained partially by the increased ability of the TICKIT Completers to conceive of ways to use their limited resources. Furthermore, our experiences suggest that due, in part, to the TICKIT program, TICKIT Completers gained access to technology through grants that they wrote or simply by asking for technology that would better enable them to accomplish what they wanted to do pedagogically. This speculation is supported by a teacher’s comment on an open-ended question: “By participating in TICKIT, I was able to observe how other teachers used the technology. Also by participating, my school system purchased equipment for me.”

Technology Resistance

The factor related to technology resistance included technology use that supports only traditional pedagogy, reticence about computer use based on skill level or time constraints, and lack of perceived pedagogical value of computers and technology. While there was a large difference in such perceptions between the Completers and Applicants on the technology resistance factor, such differences were likely mitigated by the fact that a large percentage of both groups indicated that personal interest in and ambition to learn about computers was an important stimulus affecting their use of computers. Stated another way, the beneficial effects of TICKIT on technology resistance may not be as apparent with those who volunteer for such a program—a point which will be further addressed later. Hence, to see an impact with volunteer groups is notable.

If the TICKIT experience is responsible for some of the differences between the groups on this factor, it is likely that TICKIT lowers resistance by helping teachers broaden their pedagogical repertoire to include instructional methods supported by technology. As recognized by Little (1993) and Garet et al. (2001), collective participation and being part of a cohort may also help to further reduce resistance to technology by allowing participants to see what other teachers are doing and helping them create a vital support network that will be in place even after the program ends. A comment made by a TICKIT Completer reflected this perspective, “TICKIT gave five teachers time together to work on computer and related technology. Most importantly we now seek each other out for help and support.”

The on-site school visits by the TICKIT staff may also have contributed in helping build a local support network for teachers that incorporated key personnel at their school and in their district since those individuals were consulted and included in the training opportunities. Consistent with the principles of effective professional development identified previously, professional development should be school-based and take into account the teachers’ context and experience, thereby encouraging the collective participation identified as a key structural feature of successful professional development models (Garet et al., 2001). As respondents reported, they are most likely to seek assistance from their technology coordinator and other classroom teachers; therefore, building those connections is critical to their continued success.

Computer Proficiency

Computer proficiency is an index of one’s general comfort level and confidence in using computers. Aspects of computer proficiency include mastery of basic skills and some facility with basic computer applications. One’s sense of computer proficiency is also related to the ability to tackle and solve computer problems.

Not surprisingly, dramatic differences between the Completers and Applicants were evident on this factor. Much of the time in the introductory two-day TICKIT workshop and TICKIT school-based workshops conducted during the school year was spent on instruction on particular pieces of software (e.g. PowerPoint, Inspiration, Dreamweaver, etc.). Additionally, course interactions beyond the university and school-based workshops included those via e-mail as well as in chat systems and discussion forums within various course management systems (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT, the Virtual University, Oncourse, etc.). The use of such tools and systems required repeated and regular computer use. It is likely, therefore, that gains in computer proficiency were related to the technology integration factor since it is likely that increased facility with computers increases teacher willingness to use technology as a regular and integrated part of professional practice. A response to an open-ended question provides some insight on this topic, “The more exposure I have to technology, the more comfortable and able I am at pursuing it on my own.”

Learner-Centered Instruction

This factor assesses teacher orientation to learner-centered classroom practice. Learner-centered instruction is characterized by attention to personal needs of students, lessons, and curricula that are in some measure responsive to student interests. It is also related to assessment strategies that are performance oriented American Psychological Association, 1995).

TICKIT Completers demonstrated a much stronger disposition (18.29 vs. 12.40) toward learner-centered instructional practices. Again, it is critical to note that many intervening experiences and influences might explain the differences between the two groups. But the projects that TICKIT teachers designed and implemented in their classrooms tended to have many if not all of the features of learner-centered pedagogy. In the great variety of technology integration lessons (i.e., oral histories, WebQuests, virtual tours, electronic fieldtrips, and online simulations), there were frequently projects that promoted and capitalized on student interest while requiring them to assemble their own understandings and demonstrate those understandings through meaningful projects and presentations. Making no claims of causality, it can be argued that TICKIT supported and encouraged teachers to learn about and use technology to support their teaching. At the same time, they were also experimenting with and gaining experience in learner-centered instructional practices. Comments from two respondents support this argument:

§  “TICKIT is a great incentive because I do not want to fail. I really want to make learning more interesting.

§  “I want to be able to help provide the most challenging, interesting lessons for my students. As a result of this I need to keep current.”

While being cautious in the claims of the TICKIT programs’ role in the substantive differences between the groups found in this study, it can be argued that whatever effect TICKIT did have was largely possible because of the voluntary participation of teachers who were interested and motivated to learn to use computers and to make them part of their professional practice. Professional developers and policy makers looking for a solution to the lack of technology integration among teachers would do well to note that although TICKIT is closely aligned with principles of effective professional development, much of its success is due to the fact that teachers who wanted to know about computers were helped to learn about and integrate computers into their practice. It would be naïve to assume that similarly designed programs could produce the same results in populations of teachers where interest in computers and motivation to learn about and to use them are normally distributed or noticeably lacking.

Limitations of this Study

Inferences drawn in this paper about the impact of the TICKIT program on teachers’ attitudes and actions have several limitations. Generalization of the findings is limited because the sample is relatively small and non-random – the sample is composed of self-selected teachers who were most likely already interested in learning and applying knowledge and skill related to technology integration.  Second, self-report data are used as the sole source. Sustained and systematic observation of teachers, for example, might add confidence in the measures. Third, using intact, non-randomly assigned groups for comparisons eliminates strong causal inferences. Nevertheless, the best available group to compare to those teachers who had completed TICKIT was used in this study; namely, teachers who had been selected for participation, but who had not yet experienced the program. A fourth problem relates to unequal group sizes in the comparisons. Although more conservative t-test involving the unequal variance assumption was used, a statistical weakness remains.

Finally, the most important limitation is the lack of student learning data. Whereas the intent of the TICKIT program was to impact teachers and their instructional practices, the ultimate goal of teacher involvement in the program was to increase student learning. No such learning data with which to examine this phenomenon of student learning and use of technology was available.

Recommendations and Implications

Given the current interest in teacher professional development as well as technology acquisition and use, it is not surprising that there are several implications that arise from this study. The findings here should interest researchers, teachers, administrators, and policy makers.

First of all, future research may wish to confirm the resulting subscales or perhaps extend this instrument in new directions. In fact, with the emergence of the Web 2.0 and associated opportunities for student participatory learning (Alexander, 2006; Downes, 2005), it might be advantageous to develop an entirely new instrument. Today, students are contributing to their own learning through hands-on activities such as digital storytelling, social networking, blogging (Lenhart & Fox, 2006), entering data or information into a wiki (Ferris & Wilder, 2006), playing online games (Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004), producing online radio shows in the form of podcasting (Deal, 2007), exchanging information with international colleagues (Crane, 2006; Lee & Hutton, 2007), and recording and posting YouTube videos (Battelle, 2007). In effect, students are content creators with technology, instead of merely browsers with it and users of it (Lenhart & Madden, 2005). It is imperative now to think about how emerging technologies can help schools and teachers foster the skills needed to not only survive in the twenty-first century, but to flourish (Cassner-Lotto, & Wright Benner, 2006). A revised instrument that addresses these new technologies and their broad instructional applications could be a valuable tool in helping educators adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape.

Research might also determine if the proposed TICKIT model (Ehman et al., 2002; Ehman et al., 2005) can be applied to other forms of teacher training or within less intensive endeavors. While the TICKIT program required teacher participation for a year, could similar results come from one-week training institutes? In terms of technology-based solutions, could online simulations be developed that contain aspects of programs such as TICKIT that might be made available to teachers across the planet, while being respectful of different cultural norms and practices? At the same time, could social networking technologies (e.g., Facebook or MySpace) be employed to create communities of practice for teacher educators using such simulations or other online professional development components? And might still other technology-related activities with podcasts, wikis, and blogs add to or supplement those simulations for students while simultaneously helping to share, replicate, and further refine professional development programs such as TICKIT? Given that the TICKIT program involves face-to-face training as well as online discussions and support, could enough features be effectively replicated in a fully online program? What type of aids, supports, agents, and other scaffolds might be needed?

Since the design of the TICKIT program nearly a decade ago, there have been gigantic leaps in educational technologies available to educators and their students. With each wave of new media, opportunities to be learner-centered with technology are certainly more obvious and rampant. Activities made apparent by the Web 2.0 are just the tip of the iceberg of what will be possible during the coming decades. Consequently, there undoubtedly will be a growing need for comprehensive and contextualized professional development that promotes the effective integration of these new technologies.

As the need for TICKIT-like programs grows, researchers might compare such programs to determine the features that are more valuable or essential for effective teacher technology integration. What components contribute the most positive effects? Are the positive effects in this particular study due to teachers working in cohorts? Is the one-year length of the program a key factor? Is the high success attributable to technology support provided on demand? Or it is due to the focus on learner-centered projects and activities that often involve real-world tasks?

In addition to researchers and curriculum developers, this study should be of interest to K-12 teachers and computer coordinators who have made heavy investments in technology. While it is only one project and one study, the long-term nature of this program and the high practical and statistical significance of the findings related to teacher technology integration and change should assist in teacher and technology coordinator promotion of various technologies and technology integration in their respective schools and school districts. Small school districts, in particular, may want to utilize some of the support factors used in TICKIT such as cross-school pairings of teachers to support collegial interaction as a means of providing an outlet for teachers to discuss their technology integration ideas and activities.

The results should also pique the interest of school administrators and policy makers who have spearheaded campaigns for or against technology expenditures. School administrators will want to know about the success factors of this university-school partnership. How might similar programs be designed in other colleges and universities? They might also want additional research to illuminate how schools and universities can simultaneously benefit from such programs. Both administrators and politicians want more evaluation of the return on investment from programs such as TICKIT. They should find the present evaluation helpful as they designate portions of school technology funding to professional development.

The TICKIT program was not the sole determiner for growth of TICKIT teachers reported here. Findings suggest that certain components and thoughtful structuring of the TICKIT project played a vital role in teacher change and growth observed in this study. Those attempting to develop programs like TICKIT or refine existing ones should keep in mind the importance of a cohort model, collaborative interactions, long-term engagements for teacher training, high impact of blended learning approaches within such training, and adequate technology support for any of it to be worthwhile. At the same time, teachers involved in such professional development efforts must value technology integration possibilities and be motivated to use technology in their teaching. Projects such as TICKIT speak to many audiences: those teaching with technology, those assessing it, and those providing the funding for it. Hopefully, as the importance of technology in K-12 education continues to skyrocket, positive findings of the TICKIT project will be replicated and extended to teacher professional development in other settings and organizations.


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Appendix A

Survey Questions about Demographics and Changes in Teacher Practice
  1. Do you have a functional multimedia computer and printer in your home?

  2. Do you have a functional multimedia computer and printer in your classroom?

  3. Do you have an Internet connection in your classroom?

  4. Is your home computer connected to the Internet?

  5. Do you have an Internet connection at home?

  6. How many years have you been teaching?

  7. How many hours of technology-related professional development have you received over the past two years?

  8. How many hours of curriculum-based professional development (e.g. performance-based assessment, thinking skills strategies, inquiry-based learning) have you received over the past two years?

  9. How many full-days of professional development devoted to technology integration have you participated in during the past two years?

  10. From which individual do you seek primary guidance, information, and/or direction relating to the integration of technology into your curriculum?

  11. Other teachers come to me for help in integrating computers in their teaching.

  12. Have you received hardware, software, or professional development as a result of participation in a technology grant to your district?

  13. In what school do you currently (or did you) teach?

  14. For which of these academic years did you apply to be part of TICKIT?

  15. For how many years have you had your students use computers in your classroom(s) to promote their learning?

  16. From the list below, choose the item that has been the most influential in the way that you use technology in your classroom(s).

  17. Thinking of your answer to the question above, describe how the option you chose has influenced the way that you use technology in your classroom(s).

  18. Describe one or two ways that you use or have used technology in your classroom that have the most impact on student learning.

  19. During the past 5 years, describe the amount of change in your personal beliefs about teaching.

  20. Thinking about your answer to the question above, explain why you chose what you did.

  21. When entering the TICKIT program, how confident and comfortable were you about integrating technology in your classroom? (IF YOU WILL BE IN THE UPCOMING COHORT, ANSWER WITH YOUR CURRENT LEVEL OF COMFORT.)

  22. When you completed the TICKIT program, how confident/comfortable were you about integrating technology in your classroom?

  23. How has your use of technology with students to promote learning change in the past 5 years?

Please explain briefly why the decrease, constant level or increase has happened.


Appendix B

New Categories based on Questions from the LoTi instrument:
Technology Integration; Technology Limitations; Technology Resistance;
Current Instructional Practices; and Computer Proficiency

Factor 1: Technology Integration

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.73          5.     I assign daily or weekly computer-related tasks that support my curriculum (analyzing data from a survey, creating multimedia presentations that showcase students’ understanding of important content researching information via CD’s or the internet).

.78          8.     I provide short-term (daily or weekly) assignments using the classroom computer(s) that emphasize the use of different software applications (spreadsheets, databases, Internet use, multimedia).

.77          10. I alter my instructional use of the classroom computer(s) based upon the newest software applications and research on teaching, learning, and standards-based curriculum.

.66          14. I seek professional development, software applications, and peripherals that maximize the use of the endless array of computers and technology available to my students.

.67          16.  I allocate time for students to practice their computer skills on the classroom computer(s).

.57          19. Using the classroom computer(s) is not a priority for me this school year.

.71          21. I integrate the most current research on teaching and learning when using the classroom computer(s).

.52          22. Students in my classroom participate in on-line interactive projects with other schools to solve relevant problems (not including exchanging email).

.79          28. My students’ authentic problem-solving is supported by continuous access to a vast array of current computer-based tools and technology.

.79          29. My students discover innovative ways to use the endless array of classroom computers to make a difference in their lives and in their community.

.68          33. Students taking action at school or in the community relating to the content learned in class is a vital part of my approach to using the classroom computer(s).

.64          34. It is easy for me to evaluate software applications to determine whether the use of the computer(s) is seamlessly linked to students’ critical thinking skills and authentic problem solving.

.64          35. My students use the Internet for collaboration with others, publishing, communication, and research to solve authentic problems.

.74          36. I have the background to show others how to merge technology with integrated thematic curricula.

.82          37. I seek out activities that promote increased problem-solving and critical thinking using the classroom computer(s).

.62          38. I plan computer-related activities in my classroom that will improve my students’ basic skills (e.g. reading, writing, math computation).

.60          39. In my classroom, students use technology-based computer and Internet resources beyond the school (NASA, other government agencies, private sector) to solve authentic problems.

.74          43. It is easy for me to design student-centered, integrated curriculum units that use the classroom computer(s) in a seamless fashion.

.81          47. Using cutting edge technology and computers, I have stretched the limited instructional computing in my classroom.


Factor II: Technology Limitations

Loading        Questions

.65          25. I need more and/or more current computers in order to begin to use technology with my classroom instruction.

.59          30. Though I currently use integrated, thematic units, it is still difficult for to design these units to take advantage of the limited (one or two) computers in the classroom.

.74          31. Designing integrated, thematic curriculum units that use the limited computers (one or two) in the classroom is my immediate concern this school year.

.77          40. My immediate professional development priority is to learn more ways to use limited (one or two) computers to address student outcomes.

Factor III: Technology Resistance
Loading        Question

.50          4.     I primarily use drill and practice or tutorial software programs in my classroom (excluding fundamental keyboarding programs).

.52          9.  I rely on others (student assistants, parent volunteers, close friends) to do my computer-related tasks for me in my classroom.

.41          12. I do not find computers to be a necessary part of classroom instruction

.56          23I prefer that my students go to a school computer lab for instruction without me.

.58          24. I would like to use the classroom computer(s) but do not have the time.

.60          42. I am not comfortable using a computer.

.48          44.I prefer to use existing curriculum units that integrate the classroom computer(s) with authentic assessment and student relevancy rather than building my own units from scratch.

.42          48. I don’t find the use of computers to be practical for my students.


Factor IV: Computer Proficiency

Loading        Questions

.59          13. I access the Internet quite frequently.

.77          15. I am proficient with basic software applications (word processing, Internet applications, CD ROMs, games).

.76          18.I am proficient with different multimedia authoring tools (HyperStudio, PowerPoint, Impact, etc).

.84          26.I can troubleshoot hardware problems with computers (printers, peripherals).

.68          49.I am able to troubleshoot various software problems (translations, compression/decompression, cross—platform issues, system management).

Factor V: Learner-centered Instruction

Loading        Questions

.69          6. My students are involved in establishing individual goals within the classroom curriculum.

.84          20. In addition to traditional assessments, I consistently provide alternative assessment opportunities that encourage students to “showcase” their content understanding in non-traditional ways.

.81          32. Students’ authentic use of information and inquiry skills guides the type of instructional materials used in my classroom.

.74          41.My instructional approach emphasizes experiential learning, student involvement, and students solving “real-world” issues.

About the Authors

Dr. John B. Keller is the Assistant Director of P-20 Data Systems at the Indiana Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department of Education, John was the Director of Education for the Indiana Humanities Council and led in the development of the smartDESKTOP, a portal-based suite of tools for teachers now provided to Indiana teachers by the Department of Education. Earlier work included teaching 5th and 6th grade in northern Indiana and serving as an adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University and Ball State University. Research interests center on improvement of instruction at the K-12 level.

Contact Information: Indiana Department of Education, 151 W. Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Email:
Phone: 317.234.5703

Dr. Emily Hixon is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Teacher Preparation at Purdue University Calumet. Prior to joining the faculty at Purdue Calumet, Dr. Hixon spent 5 years working in the field of faculty development and enhancement as an instructional designer at university teaching and learning centers. Her research interests involve effective technology integration and professional development and enhancement at both the K-12 and higher education levels.

Contact Information:
Purdue University Calumet, 2200 169th St., School of Education, Hammond, IN 46323.

Dr. Curt Bonk is Professor of Educational Psychology as well as Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. Dr. Bonk is also adjunct in the School of Informatics at IU and recently was a Senior Research Fellow with the DOD’s Advanced Distributed Learning Lab. Dr. Bonk is in high demand as a conference keynote speaker and workshop presenter. He is President of CourseShare and SurveyShare. More information is available at 

Contact information
Indiana University, 201 N. Rose Avenue, Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Bloomington, IN 47401.

Dr. Lee Ehman is Professor Emeritus of Education at Indiana University. He taught 34 years on the Bloomington campus in the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, and in Counseling and Educational Psychology (Inquiry courses). He was part of the computer education program within the teacher preparation program. He co-directed for five years, with Curt Bonk, the TICKIT Institute, involving 25 teachers in a year long program to assist them in thoughtful infusion of technology into their classrooms. His teaching and research interests included technology use in classrooms and systems of support for teachers’ use of technology.

Contact information: Indiana University, 201 N. Rose Avenue, Room 3230, Bloomington, IN 47401

[1] Although the levels of the LoTi range from Level 0 to Level 6, Level 4 was split into Level 4a and Level 4b yielding a total of eight levels.

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