Self Efficacy and Education: Technology Explored

Collective Blog By: Rosmari Graham, Bradley Hill, Ashley Spencer, Abigail Franc, Joshua Kaufer,  Amy Lamenzo, Jaclyn Seymour, and Dennie Williams

Abstract

In this collection of essays, students of Edinboro University’s Technology of Communication course explore components of their readings of Albert Bandura, focusing on the topic of self-efficacy. This topic is discussed with a focus on how self-efficacy relates to education and technology, especially on its effect on students. Each section of this essay approaches these topics with slight variation, applying various other relative facets that apply to self-efficacy.

 

Technology and Education

Technology has always been foreign territory for those who were not raised around it. Jobs were just hands-on activities with minimal technological efforts, communication was mainly done face to face while the internet was still blooming, and yes, there was no app for that. Most 18-25 year-olds could probably recall a multitude of instances where members of older generations cast technology away as complex, confusing, and even demonic. The point being made is that in today’s society, the tides are turning. Adults are increasing their self-efficacy in technology and it’s starting with the classroom.

Educational Technology is the term used to describe the new traditional classroom. Teachers who are used to transparent projector paper and dry erase markers are being given high tech smart-boards and Elmo projectors that hook up directly to a monitor and are touch screen. Teachers who are classic notebook and pencil people have mobile computer lab’s in the form of tablets stationed in their classrooms while their kids are answering their questions on word documents and google is the go to research tool before a book. Every subject is being translated to a digital platform and it’s requiring our teachers to go through trainings and professional developments, forcing teachers (especially those more towards the older generation) to become comfortable with technology they’d never own in their own personal lives. This method of technological integration into traditional teacher pedagogy is improving self-efficacy in technology for teachers across the country and evolving the classroom environment. In addition, a teacher that is confident in their ability to use technology will find themselves able to relate to student’s better, and also encourage students in their ability to utilize the technology in an educational sense, thus increase student self-efficacy in educational technology.

Educational Technology is a concept still being unwrapped out of it’s packaging here in America, but across the globe, Educational Technology has made it’s footprint on society. A group of researchers out of the University of Bingol, in Turkey, studied 158 teachers in the Turkey Area in 2012. In 2012, educational technology was becoming relevant and meaningful to society. The study was given to elementary, middle, and high school teachers. The study was titled “Teachers’ Computer Self-Efficacy and Their Use of Educational Technology” and it focused on “their computer self-efficacy perceptions,  frequency of computer use for certain purposes, and  computer level in certain programs in terms of different independent variables.” When the teacher’s self-efficacy was evaluated. It was identified that the majority of teachers have universal positive feelings towards utilizing technology in their everyday classroom and are extremely confident in their ability to do so. The information also communicates an increased understanding in basic computer apps (i.e. microsoft office.) The data also tells us that the only other source rivaling the Internet for teacher prep are “conventional books” which tells us that the Internet is now as common, traditional, and easy to use for our teachers as books are.

Where are we today with Educational Technology? Teachercertification.org which is run by QuinStreet, Inc., a popular marketing company, wrote an article about the effectiveness of technology in the classroom. The article divulges that the concerns of technology harming a student’s ability to interact face to face and inhibiting their learning capabilities in the classroom by making technology a crutch, are a thing of the past. We have moved on from technology being a distraction and technology has now become a tool/an asset in the classroom for engaging, student friendly work. “Technology in the classroom can help in many ways – it can make a lesson more fun and interactive, and it can prove to students that what they are learning is applicable in the real world.” the article states.

Being able to use your technological experience from class in the evolving tech savvy real world is an important component to educational technology. If we are to prep our students for the new job market that doesn’t look at hard-labor as a factory job anymore but has taken difficult high paying jobs to a screen and a keyboard, we must prepare them starting in their primary education days. This also requires us to support and train our teachers. Increased self-efficacy in educational technology amongst teachers will reflect in self-efficacy of our students with their respective subjects.

With this being said, It’s important to look at the work of teachers, especially teacher’s who still take old-school traditional approaches to education. Some practices are becoming obsolete while other, time-effective, technologically apt techniques are being applied. This can even be applied to the collegiate level. Do we continue to look at technology as a shortcut, or do we empower our students with technological tools to help them in today’s society? Education is evolving, and educators need to be confident in their technology use in order to prepare our students for this change.

 

Teachers and New Technology

Technology is a great tool to use in the classroom, but what good is technology if teachers are incompetent in using it themselves?  Without the application of a tech savvy educator mediums such as ipads, laptops, and computer labs go unused and vacant.  Tools such as these are only as useful as the teacher who is utilizing them in her classroom.  

Research shows that much of the lack of incorporating technology into lessons goes back to the teachers’ self-efficacy in technology.  Teachers who do not have the confidence in using technology often times will not use it in their classrooms.  This could result in students not being exposed to technology regularly therefore having a lower self-efficacy themselves.

Amy Farah wrote Factors Influencing Teachers‘ Technology Self-Efficacy: A Case Study (2011),  focus groups and personal interviews were conducted that resulted in several factors that influence technology self-efficacy levels in the classroom.  Focusing on teachers’ self-efficacy in regards to technology can be beneficial. If teachers are adequately taught how to use technology and see the value in it then their self-efficacy will increase leading to a greater amount of technology used.  “If specific factors affecting teachers‘ levels of technology self-efficacy can be identified, then that information can inform educational stakeholders of aspects that have the ability to move teachers further along the technology integration continuum” (Farah, 2011, p 4-5).  

The first factor is the teacher’s perception of the support between co-workers, technology specialists, and administration for instructional technology and making it a school initiative.  A second factor is simply knowing what technology tools are available.  If educators are not aware of the various mediums of technology then they are not able to utilize the various methods.  Another factor relates to the content area being taught by teachers and their ability to see how technology can reach students in their specific subject areas.  The amount of time spent using technology in the classroom goes hand in hand as another factor that helps determine the self-efficacy level of teachers.  Lastly, is the opportunity to learn about the instructional technology, or at least the perceived availability of trainings.  Lack of time in the school day and insufficient professional development training can deter teachers from learning how to use and manage technology in their classrooms ( Farah, 2011).

In addition to the work related factors Farah (2011) discovered four personal factors that were found to play a part in the level of self-efficacy that teachers have when working with technology.  Personality traits of educators influence the way they deal with technology.  Traits such as persistence, risk- taking, and inventiveness allows teachers to be creative and problem solve when something goes wrong.  Access to various means of technology at home along with the time to learn about them can help determine self-efficacy levels.  The value that teachers place on the importance of technology as an instructional tool for learning also influences the level of self-efficacy they have.  If technology is not seen as important in the development of life-long learners than a great deal of emphasis will not be placed on using it in the classroom.  Fear can also lead to low self-efficacy and the refusal to use technology in lessons.  Some teachers fear that technology may not work properly and they are unsure of how to fix it. Another fear is that students will misuse technology and not use it in the way that it is intended (Farah, 2011).

Developing self-efficacy in teachers’ ability to utilize technology is important because when people have high self-efficacy in something they are more likely to embrace it.  The case study done by Farah (2011) identified several implications that can be done to help raise teacher’s self-efficacy in technology.  The first finding was that males tend to have a higher self-efficacy in technology than women do.  Knowing this females should be focused on to help raise their self-efficacy and the perceptions that they have of themselves.  Second is that professional development on the topic of educating teachers on technology needs to be utilized by the school district.  Third is based on the lack of time that teachers have.  Planned time should be scheduled for teachers to learn about technology that can be employed in their classrooms.  Fourth is to alleviate hurdles in the way of teachers’ ability to use technology such as blocks or restrictions on the computers and to possibly involve teachers on how some of the budget could be spent in the technology department (Farah, 2011).  

We live in a world where technology is the future.  Teaching students with the aid of technology is imperative.  In order to reach the students this way teachers must have a high technology self-efficacy level.  If they do not then minimum, if any, technology with be utilized in the classroom.  Teachers need to be focused on in order to raise their self-efficacy that will result in students self-efficacy in technology also increasing.

 

Technology in the Classroom: Performance and Attitude

The use of technology in a classroom is now inevitable. However, it’s still a controversial topic on just how effective learning through a screen can be.

There’s been research conducted on both the positives and negatives of using technology in an educational setting. Technology in the classroom is not a new concept. However, it is growing everyday and is now making textbooks, papers and pencils obsolete. Research has also been done on the effects of the attitude of the teachers toward technology and how that affects student’s performance.

Kumar Sumita and Rani Mamata, both professors in the department of Business Studies at Mount Carmel College, published “Attitude of Teachers towards the Use of Technology and Innovation in the Classroom.” We know attitude affects self-efficacy. Self-efficacy also affects performance, all adding to the never-ending circle.

“For better or worse, your attitude affects your performance. Your attitude has a profound impact on the way you lead people… the person with the best attitude will win,” (Sumita and Mamata, 2016). The journal article evaluated how technology can be utilized to ensure the effectiveness teaching methods by surveying more than 200 respondents from 10 colleges across Bengaluru.

The survey first evaluated the respondents attitude directly by using a Likert Scale.

Majority of the teachers responded by saying attitude is a way of behavior – 34 percent. Some said attitude is complete mental state of belief and feelings – 26 percent. Twenty-four percent said it’s a neutral state of readiness, while the remaining 17 percent said it’s designed class stimuli (Sumita and Mamata, 2016).

Out of the 200 respondents, 79 said they use technology in the classroom, 34 said no. However, 46 teachers say they sometimes use technology, while 41 said they never use technology in the classroom (Sumita and Mamata, 2016). The teachers were also asked about the future of classroom teaching. Forty percent of respondents said technology enriched classrooms are the future, 38 percent said online learning is what is ahead, and 22 percent said real time interaction while stay aface (Sumita and Mamata, 2016).

Interestingly enough, majority of the teachers surveyed said the age of the facilitator does not play an important role in the use of technology in the classroom (Sumita and Mamata, 2016), which seems to contradict the way the younger generation seems to adapt technology easier and more quickly.

The study found that, although technology is important to make teaching effective and is the future of learning, those surveyed said technology will not serve as a substitute for teaching (Sumita and Mamata, 2016). Those who embrace the technology will likely be more efficient in teaching students. This study closely correlates to what is discussed in “Self-Efficacy,” by Albert Bandura.

“People’s beliefs in their coping capabilities affect how much stress and depression they experience in threatening or difficult situations, as well as their level of motivation (Bandura, 1994). The teachers who embrace technology in the classroom will increase their self-efficacy, increasing their motivation to learn the mediums and therefore increase their overall ability to educate young minds. “There is a growing body of evidence that human accomplishments and positive well-being require an optimistic sense of personal efficacy,” (Bandura, 1994).

“The quality of learning is derived by the quality of teachers and by the way teachers engage the learners in their classroom. So class room teaching demands more innovation and improvisation in the new millennium,” (Sumita and Mamata, 2016).

However, the never-ending cycle continues. As Bandura explained, school is a place where children develop self-efficacy and competencies to acquire knowledge and problem-solving skills to effectively participate in society (Bandura, 1994).

The more self-efficacy and embracing teachers are, the more self-efficacy they can instill on their students.

 

Art, Education, and Self-Efficacy

We human beings are born with senses that help us navigate this World and find our place via connections and extensions from the self, we educate ourselves through modeling. This field of awareness/consciousness allows us to find patterns and connections using our senses, by seeing and engaging with others through our use of language be it verbal, visual or modeled. As we gain more input we develop a series of patterns that in turn build up and make up the knowledge we utilize to navigate ourselves within the World. From the series of patterns we acquire, we then obtain a perceived self efficacy, how we believe we perform, how we feel, how we are motivated and how we think about ourselves determine how we behave cognitively, affectively and motivationally which are all dependent on our pattern of experiences and those modeled. As McLuhan stated, “technology is an extension of us (McLuhan,1964),” we find connections and patterns to those similar to our own via the internet, technology has just sped up the process, distance and extended our potential power to developing those connections/extensions.

The pattern of life is a growth process. Technology has only induced more area that an individual can be exposed to and navigate. So we must use technology wisely, as with driving a car super fast we must use extra caution maneuvering our vehicle, we in turn must use self regulation when using technology, as it allows us to expand our knowledge base at incredible distances and speeds. “ Most images of reality on which we base our actions are really based on vicarious experience (Bandura,1995).” For the most part knowledge is gained through vicarious experience and that is where and when we develop self-efficacy through imagery, seeing the model.

Art is a language. Art is quality. Art defines as a quality of communication. Art is subjective. Art is created with intention. Since Art is subjective many times the intention is unknown to the viewer. How is it an artwork still speaks to a viewer after centuries? Art has been in existence since the beginning of Human Life and visually dialogues with the viewer even over generations and always communicates to that individual/viewer subjectively information that connects to an individual’s’ or a society’s’ life patterns. Panofsky has stated, “We actually read what we see according to the manner in which objects and events were expressed by forms under varying historical conditions.”

The relationship? McLuhan defines ‘art’ as both a ‘storehouse of achieved values’ and the ‘antennae of new awareness and discovery’ enabling ‘a unified and an inclusive consciousness in which there is an easy commerce between old and new’(MB 87). So is it that Seeing the Pattern 4 Art has become Technology evolved is my question I leave for you to ponder? Has the internet become the patron for the Arts? Would you agree? Results Art in the environment is a means of Universal communication as is Technology. This communication that takes place between the viewer, the art form, and the technological extension is of a transcendental sort, it is as if the creator of the art form/technological extension is able to communicate a need which is then received by the viewer. This need is many times unconscious but understood, this is language. Incorporating art forms, technological extensions into our public spaces (reality and virtual) is an important interactive means of maintaining our Art Culture {as McLuhan(CIOB) said, “feedforward”} which maintains an interaction where human beings thrive. As Art stems from interactions and exchange as does technology (science of craft​ from Greek -techne​, art, skill, -logia ​cunning of hand).

 

Blended Education Models:  Positive Impact on Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is vital to an individual’s success in education, their career, and life-long learning.  As stated by Bandura (1986), “persons who feel confident and competent attribute more value to their learning process than those who have more negative self-efficacy beliefs about their learning.”  In this research essay, I will discuss how educators and students are utilizing technology and media to increase the opportunity to develop self-efficacy.

Discussions often focus on on-line learning versus traditional face to face teaching methods.  However, more recently, educators have placed an emphasis on developing blended learning methods.  As explained by Motteram (2006), blended learning models consist of a mix of the traditional physical classroom with elements of virtual online learning.  Research is indicating that these methods are producing positive results that lead to self-efficacy for teachers and students.  According to a study conducted by Abdelraheem, (2014),Abdelraheem, (2014), students who were exposed to a blended strategy and enrichment program performed better academically than students who were not.    

  According to Baker (Huffington Post; 3/28/13) and top educators around the U.S., “the traditional educational model born in the industrial age with a one-size-fits-all approach, was not meeting the needs of our knowledge economy.”  He believed that the teaching of reading, writing, and basic math were not meeting the needs of individuals preparing to enter the global workforce.  Memorization and recall continue to be measures of a student’s ability, and tests consist of multiple-choice and true and false questions.  Standardized testing continues to be a major form of assessment that is considered outdated.

  As stated by Baker (2013), educators shifted focus to developing human talent and improving how to use it to meet the growing needs of organizations/employers and global workforce.  Therefore, the focus of educational institutions places more emphasis on developing individuals who are versatile life-long learners.  Problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, collaborative skills, and creativity are necessary for individuals to function effectively in today’s workforce and to remain employable.  Blending educational methods enhances opportunities to experience interactions that enable individuals to develop these skills.  Individuals must be able to meet organizational needs and reinvent themselves for the ever-changing global workforce.  

   As stated by Tassaneenart, Kanthawongs, Kanthawongs, and Suwandee (2016), “social and human interactions are vital to teaching and learning.”  The internet and technology have evolved into tools that enable these interactions between individuals across the entire globe.  Educational institutions have integrated these various technologies into their learning models.  Students are capable of interacting with classmates, instructors, and/or other individuals to engage in the learning process.  The internet, computers and tablets, and mobile devices have enabled the classroom to expand so that learning takes place both inside and outside of the classroom.  

Educational institutions that traditionally utilized and preferred formalized technologies have followed the lead of students to repurpose informal technologies and networks.  Students world-wide have recognized the value of social networking regarding connectivity, instant responses, and efficiency in organizing and facilitating collaborations.  Most educators and students have access to mobile devices and are competent in using them, so educators often utilize social media to supplement face to face courses.  They are free, they create a sense of academic community, and most students are familiar and comfortable with using them.

In a study conducted in South Africa by Peeters (2016), first year students participated

in a peer collaborative project in which a closed Facebook group was created for support and development of self-efficacy beliefs regarding academic writing skills.  The results indicated that the students in the Facebook group considered themselves significantly better prepared to complete their task in comparison to members of the control group.

        In Thailand, Tassaneenart, et. al (2016), conducted a study to explore the impact of motivational goals for using social networking sites and computer self-efficacy towards e-learning effectiveness.  And like Facebook, instructors used LINE, because it was free.        Although Facebook was the most popular network for social use, Thai instructors and students utilized the LINE chat app more frequently, because of its social and academic capabilities.  Students and teachers shared and discussed ideas with each other more efficiently and at any time.  The result was better grade point averages and faster prompt responses from instructors.

        The results of the study indicated that “LINE chat can motivate students and improve self-efficacy through increasing critical thinking by building knowledge through ‘social constructivism’ by giving students prompt responses from instructors and other students” (Van de Bogart and Wichadee, 2015).  Also, researchers reported that LINE chat provided a psychological component that enabled students to communicate their feelings through various modes such as emoticons, picture, or video without feeling threatened as they might in a face to face situation.  Furthermore, the research indicates that LINE chat enables Thai students, who often preferred to only listen to their instructors rather than speak to them, now communicate with them in virtual worlds instead of face to face (Tassaneenart, et.al, 2016).

        Overall, the majority of research indicates that the use of blended educational models entailing social media networks and technology promotes self-efficacy by enabling students to have an accessible platform to engage and learn at their own pace, through peer review and feedback, collaboration, increased access to instructors, and opportunities for academic acculturation.

 

Social Media, School Districts, and Self-Efficacy

While we have confirmed that the use of social media in the classroom can benefit both students and teachers alike globally, what about right here in the United States?  The power of social media communication has lead to online bullying, harassment, and crime.  However, this source has also brought freedom and comfortability amongst peers and educators, opening a more accessible door for secured online communication.  It seems that as our world becomes more and more engrossed in the world of social media, more guidelines are starting to be formed in terms of the education.  We’ve all experienced that instant sensation of being liked and noticed simply by receiving a friend request or a like on our photo from a peer or ‘higher up’ (teacher, public figure, or celebrity perhaps) on Facebook. While some can simply take this as a moment of confidence, others can take it to the next level.  In a teacher-student situation, an educator could become ‘overly involved’ with a student, or a student could borderline stock a teacher that they have friended on Facebook.  This brings me to the main discussion of this section: Is it appropriate for students and educators to have a relationship on Facebook? Furthermore, do these relationships (or lack thereof) positively or negatively affect a person’s sense of self-efficacy?

In a recent survey, two different parents of teenagers involved in the public school system were asked if it was appropriate for students and teachers to have the freedom to connect and chat on social media. Alexandra Fleming asked parents: “Should teachers and students be friends of the Facebook variety? Should they text, tweet, snap or ‘gram each other?” (Today, 2014). One parent sided with the idea that is it most certainly appropriate for students to have a texting relationship with students if it is strictly about school work or extracurricular meeting times. “I’m OK with texting one-on-one,” she says. “I believe in writing because it serves as documentation. And social media is a way for teachers to be leaders and role models with their students. It takes a village.” (Today, 2014).  However, the other parent believed that their could never be a valid enough reason for a teacher to text a student when there are many other ways of communicating necessary information to them.  The study went on to state that while social media is the communication of choice when it comes to teenagers, it is best that every school have a strict policy that students and educators must adhere to in regards to social media. Hans Mundahl, a former school administrator, called social media communication amongst teachers and students a “gray area.” He provided his top four recommendations to educators and school districts to keep things under control. Number one being that every school should have a strict policy in terms of social media. Faculty should not friend, follow, or engage with students directly through social media. Texting with students is OK if it’s within school specified boundaries and has some sort of ‘office hours’ policy. Lastly, every school should have a policy about being photographed without permission (Today, 2014).  The study was based on the idea that the younger generation does not understand the boundaries that can be broken with social media and the dangers that they could potentially face if interacting inappropriately with the wrong person.

This information is most certainly still valid in the classroom today and can be related to many school districts and after-school programs.  Without the proper policies set in place, a business or school district can go under quite quickly.  It is important to recognize ‘shifts’ in today’s society in terms of education and communication. Without this recognition, more problems can arise in the future.  In terms of self-efficacy and students, it is understandable that some students may feel hurt by not being able to ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ a specific teacher they admire on social media.  However, this is part of the lesson they must begin to learn, according to Mundahl. Students now have to be aware of the dangers that social media can bring about when dealt with inappropriately.  Like anything in life, it is best to have some sort of boundaries.

 

Self-Efficacy: Advertising and Media Messaging

“There was an enormous body of masculine opinion to the effect that nothing could be expected of women intellectually.  Even if her father did not read out loud these opinions, any girl could read them for herself, and the reading, even in the nineteenth century, must have lowered her vitality, and told profoundly upon her work.  There would always have been that assertion – you cannot do this, you are incapable of doing that – to protest against, to overcome.”  Virginia Woolfe,  A room of one’s own

Before children even get to school, implicit bias appears in their world both in their environments and through media messaging.  Although teachers play a large role in the ability of forming young minds,  the ability of children to create self-efficacy in a classroom setting is not just related to the variables within the classroom, but also numerous external factors including parental attitudes, physical environment, religion and the exposure to information through mass media.  

Mass messaging from advertising to television programming have played a part in creating ideals behind gender roles which ultimately can cause an effect on self-efficacy from pre-school through career choices.   Creating interest in a product is the primary role of advertising, however, advertising, has also played a role in creating implicit gender bias throughout the years.  Looking back through the past 50 years, the hypothesis of this preview of a much larger project, one can see a correlation between the implicit bias in advertising and the self-efficacy of school-aged children related to their role identification.  Walking back through the advertising looking glass of the early 1960’s one can see the stereotypical roles being displayed in both print advertising and television programming and commercials.  The general theme of advertising and programming in the 1960’s includes the stereotypical view of the female being the “stay at home mom” and the man of the household going to work and being the “breadwinner.”  This advertising also mirrors the statistics of educational attainment, low numbers of women working, and the earning differences of those women who were working compared to their male counterparts.  

In recent years, research has concentrated on identifying the reasons for the lack of women in STEM fields as a result of gender bias related to these fields.  Social psychology has surveyed the content of stereotypes and their effect on social perception, behavior and the motivational biases of prejudice (Katz & Braly, 1933; Brewer, 1979; Rokeach & Mezei, 1966).  Research indicates that one faces judgments based on stereotypes about one’s group which carriers over on the ability of someone to gain self-efficacy related to that stereotype, particularly in an education setting.  Looking at the stereotype related to girls and poor achievement in math demonstrates that performance is linked to gender stereotyped roles that suggests gender-based inability (Spencer, et. al., 1999) .  

Although there is a plethora of literature related to implicit bias and educational self-efficacy related to females and race, there is little evidence that this same research has been carried over to boys.  This may be based on data that suggests that males students show an equal efficacy for traditional male dominated fields as well as female dominated fields when comparing factors in a college setting.  There is much research on role of occupational efficacy in career choice and development in young adults but little literature on how children develop their sense of occupational efficacy related to career paths (Bandura, 2001).   

Here you will find two sets of information on occupations. The first part presents data for traditional (female-dominated) occupations, which were selected based on women as a percent of total employed (includes full-time, part-time and self-employed). Traditional or female-dominated occupations are those in which women represent 75 percent or more of total employed. The second part presents data for nontraditional (male-dominated) occupations, which were selected based on women as a percent of total employed (includes full-time, part-time and self-employed). Women represent 25 percent or less of nontraditional occupations. Occupations where base was less than 50,000 employees don’t meet publication standards and are not included. Additional notes found at the end of each table. This page is updated annually; sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new or updated content is available.

Traditional (female-dominated) occupations, 2014 annual averages (PDF)

Nontraditional (male-dominated) occupations, 2014 annual averages (PDF)

You can see when reviewing the female dominated occupations referenced to above that both men and women are influenced by gender role identification and feelings of self-efficacy towards career choices based on gender role stereotypes.  How early does this begin to happen?  Has it changed for both women and men over time?  Studies indicate that children begin to establish stereotyping by the age of 4 and that children “categorize stimuli as they attempt to structure knowledge and reduce cognitive complexity” (Mervis & Rosch, 1981).  If children begin the process of interpreting information at this young age, it is possible that advertising and programming they are exposed to permeate their subconscious very early and begin to form gender roles based on content in a similar fashion to the experiences of other environmental factors such as parental views and opinions. Over time, advertising and programming has evolved and barriers of role stereotypes and subsequent educational self-efficacy have decreased.  

Educators do play a role in self-efficacy and potentially have the power to change the dynamics embedded into the subconscious minds of children.   One way to help accomplish this is by introducing technology into the classroom.  By creating environments that are rich in activities, children are motivated to work on activities that produce new skills (Meece, 1997).  Children are intimately tied to their technology for social gratification.  Rather than looking forward to recess, they look forward to sending a text message, checking out facebook and interacting with other students through twitter.  Although technology has advanced, education has essentially stayed the same or lagged behind the technological era particularly in elementary education.  Teachers are often times reluctant to adopt technology innovation in the classroom due to the constantly changing knowledge needed to maintain relevance, lack of self-efficacy and existing beliefs (Straub, 2009; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007).    Again, teachers are faced with the same implicit bias that children are.   In order to prepare teachers to incorporate innovative technologies in the classroom to change the dynamics of self-efficacy related to gender bias and other factors, we must first help them to expand and elaborate their own knowledge systems (Borko & Putnam, 1995).

One of the most effective ways to break down the barriers to effective use of technology is to address these self-efficacy issues at a college level to produce the next generation of teachers that will gladly incorporate technology into their classrooms.  A theoretical framework to address knowledge integration in technology instruction is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK).  Developers of TPACK ascertain that in addition to the content specific knowledge teachers need to gain knowledge of how to integrate technology into their overall instruction through learning experiences that support and intersect technological pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge and technological knowledge (Thompson & Mishra, 2007).  

In order for universities to support teacher candidates to integrate technology use with their students, teacher candidates should progress through education programs that are strategic and have ongoing exposure to technology-rich activities just like their students. They need exposure to high level technology practices to increase their self efficacy and be required to consider both the benefits and constraints of the technology, how the technology use can impact their learning and how they would use the technology in their own classroom (Rock, 2016).   Continue reading “Self Efficacy and Education: Technology Explored”

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The power of Twitter in the 2016 election

I will start this week’s blog post with a little disclaimer ** yes, I am a journalist, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything other journalists do or how some things are done in the industry.
Even though Twitter was used in previous elections, I think one of the most popular topics discussed this election was President Donald Trump’s use of the social media site throughout his campaign and in his first several months as president.
In “Did Twitter Kill the Boys on the Bus? Searching for a better way to cover a campaign,” from the start noticed a connection to the 2016 presidential election – a hatred for media. Maybe it’s because I was in college during the 2012 election and wasn’t the most involved then, but I didn’t realize in the Romney election, his chief strategist Stuart Stevens hated the media just like now President Donald Trump (#fakenews), and he also used Twitter as his medium of release.
“Stevens’ missives were often more whimsical or esoteric than mean, but it was clear he harbored some deep resentments about the press and its treatment of his candidate.”
The use of Twitter was talked about in 2013 when the article was published, but what would it say now about the recent election? “Candidates and politicians are increasingly trying to present their messages on their own terms, either through politically friendly news outlets or their own social media channels.” I think this is proven even more true this election with President Trump’s excessive use of his Twitter account, and certainly his freedom of speech mentality.
Reading the section “Boys on the Bus,” made me realize – as a journalist – how I would love to report on a presidential campaign. However, I noticed with the 2016 election (and maybe it’s been done before, but again I never paid much attention the way I do now) is there was actually news stories done on television about the journalists who road on the buses, planes and gave up their lives for the year to report solely on the election and candidates. Good Morning America I know sat down with three journalists and spoke with them about their experiences, which I thought was nice because it allowed the viewers to learn more about the people behind the keyboard. I think this helped to give them more credibility.
I also felt with this election, more eyes were on it following the candidates every moves largely because of the media. I agree in the “Did Twitter Kill the Boys on the Bus?” article, “Every one of their moves is obsessively documented and breathlessly promoted, either on websites or on Twitter, by reporters hungry for even the tiniest crumb of unique information.” However, my argument to that would be … if people didn’t tune in or read what the reporters put out there, they wouldn’t do it. There’s a reason reporters do the things they do. Believe me, it’s not because we always love it, but because that’s what some people feed in to. I’m not saying it’s always right.
The 2016 presidential election, I think, really highlighted the use of two-way media discussed in “Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet: Networks, Economics and Culture.” Obviously we all know the internet reaches more people quickly. But, once again with our “unique” new president, Trump used Twitter more of a two-way media than I think most other candidates did. Between the Twitter wars with Trump and democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, to Trump and Rosie O’Donnell battling it out in 140 characters each. “The growth of two-way media, however, shows that the audience pattern re-establishes itself in one way or another…” But I think this might have made the candidates more “human” to voters. It made more people tune in to see what’s next and engaged the voter to be able to side one way or another.
Twitter also allowed the candidates to spread to more voters by not being limited to geography (“The internet era on the other hand has created a world in which a person may speak to another on the other side of the planet with a just a few millisecond delay, effectively removing the geographic barrier,” said in the article “Mapping the global Twitter heartbeat: The geography of Twitter.”). Twitter also allowing voters to know where they’re tweeting from. Mentioned in “Mapping the global Twitter heartbeat: The geography of Twitter,” “since 2009, Twitter has allowed tweets to include geographic metadata indicating the location where the tweet was authored.” Voters were able to follow candidates closer on the campaign trail through Twitter. I think this was highlighted particularly toward the end of the campaign season for the candidates when they were still holding rallies up until the last second possible, including last-minute rallies in Pennsylvania.
I think Twitter was a defining factor in the 2016 election between the use of the medium from the candidates themselves, to the journalists who followed their every tweet and putting more information out to the voter through Twitter. But Twitter seems to be becoming less popular with the younger generation. Do you think it will eventually become like Myspace and go away? Or do you think we will see it used just as much in the next election?

McLuhan: My new hero … sort of:)

For starters, I think we can all agree on one thing … we could go on and on about Marshall McLuhan. Summing this up in 500-750 words, I think, is near impossible. So forgive me if this blog post seems to jump around.
Through reading “Understanding Media. The Extension of Man,” and the two videos for this week, I thought Marshall McLuhan was negative or pessimistic to the consequences of technology. I agree to a certain extent – and don’t get me wrong I think the man is a genius – but I don’t think all technology or moving toward an electronic society is all a bad thing.
When McLuhan would say things like “Environment is a technological thing,” and “man fears new environments, but doesn’t mean all environments are dangerous,” it really hit me how everything is technology. How everything spirals from one medium into a new medium. “The new is made up of the old,” said by McLuhan. I guess I never really stopped to think about that. I also don’t know how McLuhan had a metaphor for LITERALLY everything, but I’m thoroughly impressed.
McLuhan used terms like “roughing up” in a sense that new mediums “rough up” the old. However, I think some new mediums make the old mediums better. For instance, AM and FM radio. AM radio still exists – and I think always will. But FM is improved quality. That spiraled into the visual mediums.
In the video “This is Marshall McLuhan: The Medium is the Message,” I loved when he said everyone has their own set of goggles. Each generation has a different set, but everyone thinks they’re looking at the same thing and you’re not. That hit me hard, because I think that’s exactly what is still happening today, especially when it comes to the “virtual” world of social media.
“Are you living in today’s world?” That question asked I think goes back to everyone looking in their own set of goggles. What is truly today’s world when we all perceive it differently and see it differently.
“Any extension of ourselves — results from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.”
He then goes on to say that new patterns of human association tend to eliminate jobs. This can be said about the way McDonald’s is even going with the machines where you go up and order, just like the ones at GetGo and Sheets. Human interaction isn’t necessary anymore. He says this is a negative impact of modern technology. I think job loss is not a good thing, but I think with the ongoing protests for wages of $15 an hour, it shows how everyone should be careful what they ask for, because clearly we can all be replaced – going back to the fearful environment.
Again, I could quote McLuhan forever … but “privacy doesn’t have the same meaning anymore.”
If that quote was true then, what would he say now with social media and the way the internet is used? Or what would he say if he saw the documentary we watched last week “Living in Public.”
I’m not going to lie, his use of “cold” and “hot” media was a bit confusing to me. I sat in Starbucks for far too long rereading those pages, trying to wrap my head around what would be a “hot” media and a “cold” media today. So please, if anyone can help me out on this topic, I would really appreciate it.
McLuhan discussed even how technology alters people physically. “Man in the normal use of technology (or his variously extended body) is perpetually modified by it and in turn finds ever new ways of modifying his technology.” As body shaming continues to take social media by storm, I think this is an example today how McLuhan said technology changes how we view our bodies and alters the image we have of ourselves. Everyone tries so hard to look like the models that are plastered everywhere on the internet. The constant seeking public approval through social media affects how we view ourselves. For instance, a picture posted on Instagram – if that person doesn’t get a certain amount of likes, they take it down and might have lower self-efficacy (wow, something from last week stuck – ha).
“It’s a persistent theme of this book that all technologies are extensions of our physical and nervous systems to increase power and speed.” McLuhan said how communication has an extensive connection with transportation, like the wheel, boats, the railroad. But I even think the use of “speed” relates to the instantaneous world we live in. Everyone wants information, and they want it NOW. I see this everyday in my job. It’s digital first. Facebook live as soon as you get to a scene so people can tune in as it’s happening in real-time. Post information to the website and send it as a push notification so people get it instantly on their phone. Communication is hyper speed now. Not sure if we can get my faster, or we might all become physics and predict what’s going to happen before it does. However, McLuhan also says the speed has made everything more understanding. The use of Google and search engines has made information available at our finger tips, making us all able to take in more information quicker.
That same thing can be said about numbers. The use of social media has allowed people to spread their message from the comfort of their home around the world. When going Facebook live for work, we will get people who comment “Hi from Hawaii,” and so on. Our goal is to go “viral,” and McLuhan alluded to that same concept when he said, “The pleasure of being among the masses is the sense of the joy in the multiplication of numbers, which has long been suspect among the literate members of Western Society.” However, I felt McLuhan focused on the negative of the power of spreading information that quickly and to mass amounts of people when he talked about the first televised war, the weapons, the crime, etc. Yes, I think there are negative effects on the death and destruction kids can see on TV and the internet now, but there’s also positives to being able to learn with those mediums. One thing that really stuck with me was when he said the education level outside the school room is now higher than inside the school room. But now schools are starting to incorporate that inside the classroom, bringing iPads, tablets and online homework into the curriculum and classroom.
In the nearly completely digital world we live in today, I think what McLuhan said about print will always be true. “It is usually forgotten that without prints and blueprints, without maps and geometry, the world of modern sciences and technologies would hardly exist.” But even more so, if it was forgotten then, I really think it’s forgotten now in the world of GPS, Siri, printed newspapers down to one, maybe two days a week. If it wasn’t for anything that came before the internet, paper maps made by voyagers, etc., we wouldn’t have the luxuries we have today. I call them luxuries, I think McLuhan might disagree with me on that and call them dangerous. The printed world is an “art” form that I think should be preserved for as long as possible. Hopefully it never goes away.
McLuhan says we live in a world where everything changes so rapidly. Yes, that’s true. But I think some concepts, metaphors and instances that he wrote about and studied his entire life will never change no matter what medium or message it may become in the future. New mediums are going to continue to form out of the “old” (the ones we have now, soon to be old), that’s inevitable based on McLuhan’s views on technology. Everyone always says, “If I would’ve thought (x) amount of years ago I would see the things I do today, I would’ve thought I was crazy.” In fact, my grandmother said that this past weekend about if she would’ve known years ago that she would take pictures with the same device she can talk on and search the internet at the same time, she would’ve laughed. Well, I cant wait to see what’s next.
But all-in-all … the biggest thing I learned this week from McLuhan (kidding)… if you’re ever in trouble or need help, yell “fire,” not “help.” That I won’t forget!

Facebook killer leads to increased self-efficacy. But how? … just trust me

“High speed car chase with a white Ford Fusion. Self inflicted gun shot wound.”
That sentence is what started the day that I connected social cognitive theory to the most – both personally and professionally.

April 18, 2017 began as any normal day at JET 24. However, it quickly changed when a high speed chase with a white Ford Fusion, which ended with a self-inflicted gun shot wound, came across the police scanner. However, we all remained calmed, adrenaline pumping – absolutely – but as calm as we could be. A reporter headed to the scene. The rest of us began posting on social media. TV news is dying in the sense that people don’t watch it on TV anymore. Everyone watches on their phones now. Facebook Live was our go-to for everything that day. The irony in that story was unbelievable – a case that started on Facebook, ended on Facebook. However, that day all of us reporters used a large amount of cognitive control to develop our new course of action, reassessed the day, and then prioritized the stories for the order of the show based on what we thought people would be most interested in first.

http://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/mcdonalds-employees-lead-police-to-alleged-murder/693832446?searchType=ALL&compId=693873175

Steve Stephens was not a good man, but he was good in the sense that he helped to increase my self-efficacy by adding to my confidence in my career. I feel more confident in handling big breaking news, chasing down the story, talking to hundreds of people and pulling myself together to go on air at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. This is just like the first source of self-efficacy discussed in the reading “Self-Efficacy.” “The most effective way of creating a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences.”

Also, along with social cognitive theory, the day Steve Stephens killed himself on Buffalo Road in Erie, PA helps to motivate me to get up and go to work everyday, like motivation process discussed in, “Self-Efficacy.” Days like that day are the reason reporters enter into the career field. Not because everyday is that exciting. Not because we wish people would commit murder or die. It’s because those are the days everyone flips on their TV, turns on their cell phones and relies on you to provided the latest, up-to-date, accurate information. Those are the days self worth and self reflection, also discussed in this week’s readings, are established. I laid in bed for the next several nights, even to this day, reflecting on that story. Not just the positives (helping my self-efficacy), but the questions, “How could I have made it better? How could I have do the story differently?” run through my head. Motivating me to make the next story, the next breaking news scenario even better.

“Perceived self-efficacy occupies a pivotal role in the social cognitive theory because it affects action not only directly, but through its impact on other classes of determinants as well.” stated in “Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective,” reading. That’s probably the quote that resonated the most with me throughout this week’s readings.

I think the less self-efficacy a person has, the more observational learning, also discussed in “Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective,” and “Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication,” people will do. The less people believe in themselves or what they’re doing, the more they’re going to turn to other people to watch, listen and mimic.

In fact, I think life begins with observational learning. From peek-a-boo with our parents, to having older siblings copying what they wear, how they talk, etc.

I think most careers begin with observational learning, also. I know mine – a reporter – does. Studies, surveys and focus groups have been done in the world of broadcast television to see how people react to certain stories and their attention spans to see how long stories should be. Therefore, that has set a standard in television news that “if it bleeds it leads,” and no story should be any longer than one minute, 15 seconds. However, there’s a million and one ways to create a story. Everyone asks different questions, writes in a different style and edits the video to the story in a different way. That’s where young reporters, like myself, watch the professionals on World News Tonight, Good Morning America, CNN, etc. We watch other professional’s styles and we incorporate those to create our own. Reporters appear to not only have a high level of self-efficacy, but actually need one. This is because everyday they put themselves in front of thousands of people and could possibly make a fool of themselves, but also because of their ability to stay calm when situations go awry or news breaks.

Everyday, reporters walk into work with no idea what is going on that day (not all the time, but most days), or any idea what could pop up. The word reaction would be our buzz word if we had one. Everyday we are forced to react to situations, whether it be breaking news, the people/person we need to interview for our story is unavailable, the weather doesn’t corporate and an event gets cancelled, etc., etc., etc. This concept discussed in “Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective,” much like the Steve Stephens day.

So how do I related social cognitive theory and self-efficacy in my personal life? The best example I can give is a topic that has recently become a big part of my life.

 

Self-efficacy is also a major role in the fitness world. Many people walk into a gym and are intimidated,. They do not know how to work machines, they do not know what certain things are or how to use them. So maybe they just go to the treadmill because they’ve used those before or at least seen people use them (observational learning). I feel that’s how everyone starts out. However, through watching others use machines or weights, people may pick up on a few new exercises to try or tips and then start to feel more comfortable at the gym.

This was me when I first became interested in changing my lifestyle. However, I hired a personal trainer to teach me new things. Then I hired a coach to map out all my workouts for me. I took what I was taught and ran (no pun intended) with it.

Also, the use of technology has helped me tremendously when it comes to working out. YouTube makes it like everyone has a personal trainer in their pocket. Now I’m much more comfortable in the gym. I have a good idea about what I’m doing, alternatives if something goes wrong and an overall good sense of knowledge and self-efficacy.

However, this sense of comfortably takes a long time to get to and a lot of hard work. I started at one of the end of the spectrum and am no where near the other end, just inching toward it slowly. This motivates me to go to the gym more. When people are intimidated or do not feel like they know what they’re doing (low self-efficacy), they less willing or excited to go and do something. It’s a domino affect in this scenario. The more you know what you’re doing at the gym … the more motivation you have to go to the gym, … the more you actually go to the gym … the more results you see. This in turn motivates you even more to continue to workout because it appears it’s working – again, resulting in higher self-efficacy. The motivation effects, discussed in the “Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication” and “Self-Efficacy,” readings, in the social cognitive theory are the driving force behind making big life changes, especially physically. This also resembles the cognitive process also mentioned in “Self-Efficacy.” “The stronger the perceived self-efficacy, the higher the goal challenges people set for themselves and the firmer is their commitment to them.”

Josh’s experiment in the documentary of the pods I think is exactly what the internet is now. One of the women in the video said, “There was a real sense of freedom even though you’re also chained by the concept of being watch.” I think people feel they are free to say and do whatever they want on social media, hiding behind the keyboard. I do think the concerns of the internet have been realized, but I do not think people will change or care. However, I think most people almost consider it like a virtual reality, not real life. That’s the way people in the pods started to feel – “detached” from themselves. I think the people who loved being watched in the experiment are like people today who love to have thousands of followers and post obsessively on social media sites. “Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame,” quoted in the documentary. I think that’s true when it comes to the internet. However, I do not find this to be true when it comes to my job. I always joke the camera attracts the crazies or is like the black plague – more often like the plague and clears out a room quickly.

The fact this was the first “reality” TV show makes me feel differently about reality tv shows. I never thought about reality TV shows in the way it’s put in the title “living in public.” I think the “Real World” emulated this concept. However, I also think when Josh put the cameras in his home, it was almost like Facebook Live now – being able to watch something in real time and interact directly with those in front of the lens.

Josh I think is the social cognitive theory in real-life form. He literally put people in one room and observed their social interactions and experiences. Outside of that, he created an opportunity for the outside world to observe this group of people’s social interactions and behaviors. Josh’s self-efficacy was at an all-time high, I think, throughout the experiment in the bunker and when his relationship was going well in his own “Living In Public” world. But once the cops raided the bunker, and the relationship went south, Josh went through a depression. His self-efficacy crashed, hitting a low and not knowing what to do with himself. So what do most normal people do? Go to Ethiopia. Okay, maybe not. But Josh did. I think most people when they hit that low self-efficacy have a motivational process and try and find something or somewhere else to go to get their life back on track.

However, I will never look at Gilligan’s Island, or clowns (not that I liked them before) the same.