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


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? 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,, 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”


SE in a World of Lacking Knowledge

The definition of self-efficacy according to Bandura, simply put, is the belief a person has in their ability to execute behaviors that are necessary to produce certain performance attainments. As I was reading the class information and trying to link it to a current situation or world circumstance, poverty and lack of educational motivation popped into my head.  The material was difficult for me to read.  I am ashamed to admit that fact.  It took me much more time to research the words that I was unfamiliar with only to say to myself after looking them up, “well why didn’t you just say that.”  I am familiar with the concept of self-efficacy.  It is about believing in oneself.  As I read, researched words I was not familiar with, and struggled to find a purpose for the words, I thought to myself of the life of someone living in poverty and their struggle to achieve educationally.

There were many times reading the information that I thought about dropping the course, self-doubting my abilities to complete a master’s degree at this age. I considered the fact that those of you, many of whom are much younger than I, did not seem to struggle with the content.  I contemplated that many of you most likely felt at home using twitter, blogging, creating webpages, etc.  As I struggled, I remembered the children I worked with at my previous place of employment, all of whom were living in poverty and three quarters were struggling in school.  My mind then moved to their parents, who were the children before them.  Generations of families all just trying to stay alive in a concrete jungle of a city and not caring about their “agentic” reality.

Self-efficacy is not necessarily just about an internal control mechanism. A person’s environment, culture, genetics, and experiences all play a role in the successful ability to self-motivate.  Going back to my friends in poverty, let us consider this scenario.  Jake is 15.  He is failing school.  He spends more time in out of school suspension than he does sitting in a classroom.  He is one of six children and lives in a blighted neighborhood that has the second highest crime rate in the City of Erie.  His father is a drug dealer.  Neither his mother nor father graduated from high school.  His older brother is in prison for selling drugs.  His family is well known by the school system and often times he hears references such as “oh you are part of the Smith family.”  Jakes family pressures him to become a part of the family business.  He does not feel that he is smart enough in school.  He does not feel he will succeed.  He eventually quits school and enters the family business.  At 17 he joins his older brother in jail.

Jake felt as if he had a lower level of intelligence than his peers and everyone in his environment actually supported this. Jake actually when tested in prison as part of the educational programming ended up testing as gifted.  If we can learn how to harness the power of teaching self-efficacy, perhaps Jake’s story could be re-written.

Jake’s story reminded me a bit of Josh and his video. I think it would be more interesting to tape the life of real people in their natural environments, not all aspects of it, to see if there is a way we could identify ways to help people like Jake.  I am not sure either situation is something I feel we should be doing.  I am not a fan of reality television.  I actually do not have a television at all.  The best part of Josh’s story, was the beginning and the end to me.  He contributed initially to great advances in technology in the beginning of his careers and in the end, ended up giving back to the people of a nation where he escaped.  I did throughout the movie feel that Josh could have benefited from some therapy and that his life, like Jake, contained some prescriptions from his early experiences, which of course fits in with the social cognitive theories.

Those of you reading this, I do have a challenge for you. These technology lessons will increase my self-efficacy.  I think for those of you who are already familiar with the technologies we are using and discussion should perhaps experience the technology of my generation.  Take a little walk back in time to my first college experience.  I challenge to type a three-page paper on an electric typewriter without a correction tape.  While you do this, I will learn your twitter, blogging and any other form of social media and communication that has occurred since this typing.   Best to all and of course, Peace in your world!

Society vs. Self-Efficacy: The Box Theory

Okay, so the first disclaimer is that I’m not a psychologist, but naming my opinion on how Society limits our view of Self-Efficacy in relation to Social Cognitive Theory “The Box Theory” makes me feel pretty great. This is definitely a thought piece on the relationship between our environment set by pop culture, the US Government, the current political climate, etc. and our ability to recognize our potential and strive for greater heights.


Let’s start with the basics. As an African-American male, I’ve been taught growing up that no matter what happens to me, where I come from, who tries to bring me down, I always have to be better than my environment to improve my environment. As an individual, I observed the actions of my parents: I watched my mom hold my family together and strive towards higher levels of education to increase her ability to provide for her family and in turn herself. I watched my father make many mistakes and completely turn his life around to become reliable and a provider for our family, while following the example of my mother, achieve higher education, and level up in his profession. This was the behavior I observed, imitated, and are currently in the process of executing.


I am not ashamed to be labeled a millennial but I am a huge advocate for labels no being the equivalent to stereotypes. I view the term “millennial” as a classification, not necessarily as a way of life.  I am more apt to technology than most, I text quickly, I use google for everything, but none of these things hinder my growth as  a human being or limit my ability to grow beyond what the media has tried to limit me to. There you have it. I said it. I believe today’s society tries to limit our Self-Efficacy to fit the labels they’ve created. This is my box theory.


As I continue, I understand that this is starting to feel a little conspiracy-theory-ish, but stick with me. Social Cognitive Theory informs us that human behavior is learned and can be changed through cognitive observation, empowered models, beneficial environments, etc. Well in today’s society, our models are starting to evolve into similar people. Our celebrities and politicians, once very separate fields, have merged. Our environment is evolving, and the dreams we are being sold are evolving too. Labels are becoming more relevant than ever and are starting to seriously limit the mind’s scope of what we as individuals can and cannot do. In other words, Self-Efficacy is there but is still limited to our labels. Society is putting us in boxes, and telling us to dream inside of them.


Sticking with my own experiences, representation in popular culture, media, politics, government occupations, etc. is very important to me. As an African American Male, I want to be able to see myself in movies, but also be able to see myself running the country. It was important to have models like Barack Obama flourish and never falter to society’s negativity, while also seeing the likes of Mahershala Ali, Jordan Peele, Drake, etc. take the media by storm, succeeding in their perspective areas. While black people have been fighting the good fight of representation for a very long time, we are still fighting, alongside latinos, asians, the LGBT community, women, and so many others. My issue lies in the fact that I now see a trend that media is limiting the popularization of certain models in certain areas that allow us to dream, but only in a certain direction/lane, thus emphasizing a box we’re to stay in.


I believe an even smaller box is being enforced on younger generations. Even if the representation is there, my generation, and the generations that follow see these things, begin to work for them, and then get stuck in a vicious cycle surrounding money. We see people drop everything to succeed but are faced with the reality that without money, there’s no way you’ll make it. So we work and go after occupations that we have to struggle in before we can rise and make the big bucks, but society sells us the dream big, go big, risk everything, and succeed model. Still confused? Let me break it down for you.


I went to a Creative and Performing Arts middle and high school. They were public schools with arts magnet programs, allowing students to have regular academics coupled with rigorous studies in an art form of their choosing. I studied musical theater in middle school and vocal/voice in high school. I’ve always dreamed of making it big, whether that be on a big stage selling out concerts, or on broadway, selling out shows. The school advocated for self-efficacy. We practiced day and night, went to audition after audition, built repertoires that spanned from german to latin to italian to spanish to hebrew, and we believed in ourselves and each other. When I left my Pittsburgh CAPA, I was told by so many people in “Real-World Jobs” that my dreams just weren’t realistic. My environment shifted and I tried to become a lawyer. That was a failed dream (although now I feel like I’m going after a real world occupations I love.) We as a society have brilliant artists all over the world, but we are limiting our future by forcing younger generations to conform and aim their hardwork and dedication, their self-efficacy in a direction.


After typing this, I thought to myself, “can the box be broken?” The answer is an obvious yes. People do it every day. Ashton Sanders, 21 dropped out of school to film an independent movie and that movie went on to win an Oscar for best picture while his costar, Jharrel Jerome, was only 17 at the beginning of filming. But these instances are becoming more rare, because, also, as a society we are putting way too much emphasis on money. If we continue to go down this road, Money will become the biggest influencer on our cognitive ability to believe we are able to succeed. Many would argue we are already too far gone. I believe that there is still a possibility to end this cycle, and that a generation will stand up for dreams and hard-work coexisting hand in hand.


SCT, Self-Efficacy, and the Reinvention of Myself

First, a consideration for the reader: I am very happy with who I am and am thankful for the opportunities that have lead me to be the person I am today. This connection of SCT and Self-efficacy was not written to induce any reaction other than that of a recollection and attribution of these concepts to my life.

Without going into much detail, who I am today is not who I was ten years ago. This can be said of nearly every person (with a few exceptions) and I am aware that the claim is not a radical one. SCT is often simplified to the concept of Reciprocal Determinism, the relationship and dynamics between an individual’s person, environment, and behavior. In my life, all three of these (in my own self-analysis) were consistently negative. From the angle of the person, I existed as someone with exceedingly low self-esteem (low self-efficacy), which was especially clear on a social level. My environment was one that involved high amounts of stress (not that I was in any physical danger) and underwent several changes in my physical and social environments during my teen years. My behavior fit within the textbook predictions of someone existed within the person and environment that I described, and as I mentioned earlier, the clearest example of this was in my social (lack of social rather) life. Upon reflection of how I saw my reality at the time, it is understandable that my self-efficacy was low and how my self-efficacy really dictated my responses to the stimuli in my life. My behavior accurately depicted my current emotional/mental state and a physical record of this could be found on my first social media accounts (which are now, thank God, deleted and lost in history.) My first posts/tweets were more negative, vague, and mostly held a sense of dissatisfaction. Now this is not to say that I was posting for the sake of recognition or feedback, but with the introduction of these new mediums, it became an opportunity to express the negative view of my reality and be rewarded by a slight release of endorphins. This pattern went on for several years, and really hindered my self-efficacy to grow in a direction that was healthy. It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision to attribute my reality (person, environment, behavior) as an opportunity to grow that I saw a shift in my self-efficacy. I started to read more, enter difficult social situations intentionally, and made a habit to learn about my environment from micro and macro levels. This meant that when I was interacting at all on my social media accounts, I would create a conscious effort to post more positive content. Essentially I was training my person and behavior to become more prepared for the inevitable environmental factors that would have crippled me before. This transformation is an ongoing process that I still work on today. I still will catch myself posting/tweeting content that is not in some way positive to myself, and I still will struggle with certain social situations if they are unfamiliar or uncommon. But I can look back and see a change in how my self-efficacy is now at a more stable and confident level, as well as recognize that I can attribute negative influences in my reality as positive learning opportunities.


In reflection of the film “We Live in Public,” I think that many thoughts that I have had about the online world and especially social media were confirmed and laid out on a physical stage that may never happen again (legally.) Josh Harris’s unique ability to gather talent and personality from all ends of the spectrum for his websites and especially the small “city” he developed really point to how influential and intoxicating online membership can be. I believe that after all of the information was brought out about his projects, people saw the signs of some of the serious repercussions of living in an online-immersive environment. I do not think that today, it is thought of as often, or is rather joked about considering the obvious chokehold that online relevancy has on our American society. On the surface, it would appear that self-efficacy is high among those who interact online, but upon any further research, it is clear that depression, aggression, and defensive tendencies are at the peak of this new generation that has been brought up in both a physical and virtual world. Nearing the end of the filming of Josh Harris’s project, it becomes clear that emotionally, members (rats) of his society were less confident and much more willing to carry out the requests (commands) of those in charge.

“If you walk up to someone and tell them to take off their pants, they won’t do it. But if you walk up with a video camera and ask ‘Take off your pants.’ They’ll do it. The eyeballs that perceive that moment give it power.” This quote from on of the filmmakers accurate describes today’s online world. “Do it for the Vine!” and other pressures make the online world now a place that can almost incite anyone to do anything, simply because others are watching. SCT’s “reinforcements” are evident as soon as you enter any online profile, where now the rewards of the virtual world are now more important (or rather perceived as more important) than that of the physical world. We are creating an environment that is often not mentally healthy, but is also dangerously Orwellian.

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.

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.

Special Education: Teacher’s impact on Self-efficacy with students with disabilities

Believing in yourself is difficult when authority figures do not believe in you, much less want you to succeed. I was born three months prematurely on May 17, 1992, spent two weeks on a ventilator and was diagnosed spastic quadriplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

My family knew after that debilitating diagnosis nothing in my life would come easy.  In most cases, success is tied to one’s self-efficacy. Bandura (1994) sees self-efficacy as “[p]eople’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce effects” (p. 1) that “determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave” (p. 1). If I want to succeed, I need a higher level of self-efficacy than my peers because I am facing a higher difficulty and fighting through adversity to get to success. Bandura 1994) notes how people with high levels of self-efficacy are high in self-assurance of their abilities and capabilities and become engrossed in it to accomplish a complex task.

Bandura (1994) and Pajares (2014) mention how classroom structures and settings as well the teacher’s interpretations of the children’s successes and failures, which reflect their perceptions of a child’s competency of completing a task, affects the child’s intellectual efficacy.

The impact of my teachers’ evaluations of my competencies negatively impacted my self-efficacy. While my peers went onto higher level courses in furthering their education, I was stuck in a loop of remedial learning support classes because none of my teachers believed me or cared to advocate that I should be in such classes.

When I was in seventh grade, I was enrolled in a life skills biology course, a learning support class. I had such a high self-efficacy in the course, that I would routinely become bored with the course material. The usual high investment in activities associated with high levels of self-efficacy had been weathered away because I would routinely finish my work and activities long before my peers.

About a month into that semester, a social worker did something few in the school district willingly did for me —she advocated for me. “What they’re doing to you is wrong, you should be in the honors chemistry class,” I can recall her telling me. Shortly after that conversation, the switch to honors chemistry was made.  Much like Pajares (2014) mentions, the social worker’s positive appraisal my ability raised my self-efficacy, but I became nervous because I did not have the self-efficacy to handle the higher level course. I had never been challenged before that point.

According to Bandura (1994), self-efficacy beliefs produce the powerful effects to “determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave” (p. 1) through four processes: Cognitive, motivational, affective and selection. Cognitive processes have to do with my self- appraisal of my capabilities. I was unsure of my ability to accomplish tasks in the honors chemistry class because I had never been in a class of that level before. Bandura (1994) notes self-efficacy beliefs have the power to self-regulate one’s motivation. I wanted to use my motivation to do in the new honors chemistry class, but could not do so because my affective processes were overpowering them. According to Bandura (1994), “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” (p. 5). The ability to control or cope with feelings of stress and anxiety are affective processes. During the first week in the honors chemistry class, I tried to control my stress and nervousness of being in the class, but as Bandura (1994) found, I magnified events that had little to weigh on my standing in the class. Every little mistake I made the first week felt like a tremendous weight on my shoulders because I was trying to impress my new teacher as well as my peers. Bandura (1994) mentions self-efficacy beliefs can shape the course of one’s life by attending to or selected what activities to engage in. After the first week in the honors chemistry class, I learned which information to select and hold onto in order to succeed in the class. My self-efficacy belief selection processes helped me en route to earn a B for my course grade.

The successes I experienced in the honors chemistry class steadily grew my self-efficacy beliefs. It was the self-efficacy I built in the seventh grade honors chemistry class that propelled me to reach new heights in high school. Do you have similar stories of your self-efficacy in the face of adversity?