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ERIC Number: ED532085
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 189
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-1715-9
Michigan State University Extension Educators' Perceptions of the Use of Digital Technology in Their Work
Wells, Elizabeth Chase
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
This research study examined Michigan State University Extension educators' perceptions of the use of digital technology in their work. It used a mixed method of research which included a mailed survey and interviews of selected respondents. A census survey using Dillman's Total Design method was sent to 290 field staff of Michigan State University Extension. Of these, 272 completed and returned the survey instrument for a 94% rate of return. Semi structured interviews were conducted with 15 of the respondents to provide in-depth qualitative data to enrich the understanding of the issues for the researcher. The mailed survey instrument was examined for validity by a panel of experts and pilot tested on scale items to assess reliability. The mailed survey included questions on access to technology both at work and at home, preparation for the use of technology, actual use of technology, usefulness and ease of use, confidence and comfort in use and general and technical support for the use of technology. Low, medium and high total use respondent were compared and analyzed. Results show that although Extension Educators consider themselves to be well prepared to use technology and said it was highly useful to them in their work, most use of technology was limited to e-mail, word processing, file attachments and cell phones. Only a small minority use web technology, wikis or had published educational materials on a website or the MSUE portal. Staff sometimes furnished their own digital technology tools if they thought they were highly useful. Barriers to use of newer technologies were sited as lack of access, lack of support, lack of time to learn new technologies. Low users sometimes said they would only use technology if it was required and they preferred one-on-one tutoring to learn how to use technology. Low users recognized that they were themselves a barrier to the use of technology. Medium users said clientele preferred face-to-face education and would not use technology. They often viewed technology as "somebody else's problem." High users were the only group to use web based digital technology and they were able to integrate the three spheres of Mishra and Koehler's TPACK model of technology use; expertise in technology, pedagogy and content. High users were more apt to be self taught, client oriented and to have a grasp of the affordances of various technology applications. They preferred advanced classes on web page design, as well as photo and video editing and production. Recommendations were to provide local and regional training which includes practical ways to use technology to enhance programming, identify regional sources of support, integrate technology use into the MSUC culture and encourage the use of technology by highlighting creative solutions to use and providing opportunities for playful use. Better access must be provided and technology support should be easily accessible. Further research recommendations include case studies of individual counties, case studies of high users, research on difference by programming area and the development of documented technology solution to programming needs which could be accessed by educators looking for ideas. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan