Instructional computer use in NYS public high schools: A comparison of content areas

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching and Leadership


Joseph Shedd


Computer use, High schools, New York, Public education

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education


This study examines the relationship between the content area of high school teachers and their instructional use of computers. Survey research methods are used to answer three research questions: Question 1. What differences are there between content areas in the teachers' perceived frequency of use for each of the following categories of instructional computer use? (1) supplementing the curriculum; (2) collecting information; (3) communicating via e-mail; (4) organizing/analyzing data; (5) presentation of information; (6) composition of writing assignments; (7) computer labs; (8) computer clusters. Question 2. What differences are there between content areas in the teachers' perceived effectiveness of each of these categories of computer use? Question 3. What is the correlation between teachers' conception of subject matter and their perceived effectiveness for each of these categories of computer use?

Respondents were randomly selected through cluster sampling of eight public high schools in a five county region in upstate New York. There were 94 respondents to the Instructional Computer Use (ICU) Questionnaire out of 330 teachers in the sample. The ICU is a self-report instrument designed for this study with 70 items in eight sections measuring the factors that affect computer use as well as the perceived frequency of use and perceived effectiveness for twenty-one types of use.

Regarding the perceived frequency of use of computers, math teachers stand out as having a lower frequency of use then than the other four content areas for many types of use. For some types of use, math teachers share common ground with science teachers, especially regarding the graphical representation of data. The internet is used more frequently by teachers of English, science, social studies, and foreign language than it is by math teachers. Differences were revealed in this study between teachers perceived effectiveness for few types of computer use. However, there were several correlations identified between how teachers perceive their subject matter and how they perceive the effectiveness of various types of computer use. Most significant of these is a strong negative correlation between teachers who view their subject matter as being static and their inclination to have their students design WebPages.


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