Technology integration in smart classrooms at the university level: a multiple-case study of lower division graduate student Spanish instructors
The ever-increasing popularity of digital media and connectivity to the World Wide Web permeates every day culture to the extent that the use of modern technologies also influences the teaching of foreign languages. In connection with the desire to implement sound pedagogical practices that align with Standards of teaching foreign languages, teachers are turning to modern technologies to incorporate into their teaching repertoire. Not only do teachers attempt to integrate the four language skills and culture into their teaching, but they are now urged to incorporate technology into their curriculum. The smart classroom offers the greatest potential for instructors to integrate technology into their curriculum, since this resource is already available across college campuses. This qualitative multiple case study explored the conceptualization and reconceptualization four lower division instructors of Spanish made as they attempted to integrate the resources their smart classrooms had to offer. Secondly, this research project also highlighted the challenges instructors faced while integrating technology into their curriculum. Lastly, this study underscored the advantages instructors believed might derive from integrating technology into their classrooms. Data for this study was collected from four main data sources. Five observations were conducted during the fall of 2005. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the participants at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. Email reflections were requested from the instructors every two to three weeks during data collection. The course syllabus, lesson plans, and class activity handouts comprised the documents data base. Findings profiled the changes instructors made over the course of the semester in terms of their conceptualizations and re-conceptualizations of the technology offered by smart classrooms. The challenges instructors faced suggest that instructors need to take advantage of more professional development opportunities, as well as enter into dialogue with their peers and other instructors. The advantages highlighted the depth and breadth of the foreign language learning experience, as well as the affordances the accessibility and availability of information stored on the Internet can hold for instructors. This study concludes with pedagogical implications and recommendations for directions of future research.