THE USAGE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN THE 21ST CENTURY CLASSROOM: A QUESTION OF TEACHERS' PERSONALITY?
The rapid development and the widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have an enormous influence on the way of living, working, and learning. Expecting ICT to help students to meet the challenges of this fast-changing world, ICT has entered the educational field in a pervasive way. In order to realize the potential of new technologies, several schooling initiatives but also international support programs exist aiming at consolidating and promoting their implementation in educational systems. Nevertheless, the current level of ICT-implementation remains rather restricted. Research shows that the success of educational technology use in the educational setting largely depends on the attitude of educators, who eventually determine how to use technologies in the classroom. The aspect of user acceptance of technologies, in generally, has been intensively researched and a variety of different models have been developed for modeling and understanding the underlying processes and influencing factors. The most prominent model explaining computer usage behavior is the Technology Acceptance Model that postulates that two particular forces, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, are crucial for computer acceptance behavior. More recently, dedicated research work has been accomplished on personality factors (i.e., extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience) that affect the acceptance and intention to use new technologies.
However, especially in the field of education, the effects of personality traits have seldom been examined. Given the importance of teachers’ capabilities in and willingness to use information and communication technology in the classroom, the study presented in this paper investigates the impact of and relationship between teacher personality traits, their educational beliefs and their acceptance and use of educational technologies. This investigation was carried out with 110 Austrian teachers in the context of the project Next-Tell (www.next-tell.eu), an EU-funded project addressing the challenges of the 21st century education. The major aim of Next-Tell is to support teachers in using modern technologies in the classroom, to link various technologies with each other, and to benefit from synergies. All participants filled out an online survey including questions concerning level of ICT use, attitudes towards the use of ICT, as well as personal characteristics. The findings suggest that teachers have positive attitudes toward ICT in education. Most of them consider ICT as an important educational tool having the potential to bring about different improvement to their teaching practice. Correlations between personality traits and computer acceptance behavior could be identified. In a next step, a closer look was given at different personality profiles their relation to teachers’ acceptance behavior. This personality profiles were derived from the interplay and combination of personality traits. Differences in teachers’ acceptance behavior towards ICT use in the classroom in dependence of these profiles have been examined. Possible effects of these results on technology-enhanced teaching and learning are discussed in more detail.