Factors Influencing Teachers’ Uses of New Technologies: Mindsets and Professional Identities as Crucial Variables
Keywords:digital technologies, teacher professional identity, teacher digital mindsets, innovation in teaching, uses of technology
The improvement of the use of digital technologies (DTs) by teachers still needs to delve deeper into how some difficulties are related to a more general view that teachers have of the teaching profession and themselves as teachers. The goal of this article is to go further in this knowledge identifying different types of DTs use and relating them with conceptions and beliefs of teachers about teaching and themselves as teachers. A literature review and a mixed methods empirical research study were conducted. The research study combined interviews and a questionnaire, the former aiming to produce biographical narratives of participant teachers, and the latter revealing how participant teachers are currently using digital technologies. Findings indicate that teachers want to use new technologies to improve teaching, but they still feel a lack of knowledge regarding its pedagogical potential and its rules of use in the classroom. Two main types of use were identified - a restrictive and an expansive type. These types of use relate to a number of teachers’ beliefs and conceptions - about innovation in their professional work, students, colleagues, leaderships, school projects, educational policies and job satisfaction – allowing to argue that different types of use correspond to different mindsets and professional identities. Being an issue of identity, promoting teacher adherence to digital technologies, requires a kind of training able to transform the individual teacher as a professional and therefore needs to be accompanied by means of close incitement and support.