Conditions that facilitate teacher Internet use in schools with high Internet connectivity: A national survey

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Donald P. Ely


Technology, Connectivity, Internet, Teacher

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Sociology | Instructional Media Design | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


This dissertation study concerns implementation conditions related to technology use by teachers. The focus is on teachers in leading-edge schools, i.e., schools that have had multiple high-speed LAN-based Internet connections for several years. The conditions studied were those identified by Ely (1976, 1990) as facilitating implementation of educational technology innovations: Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo, Knowledge and Skills, Resources, Time, Rewards and Incentives, Participation, Commitment, and Leadership.

The focus was on the extent of Internet use by teachers who were identified as being among the strongest Internet-using teachers in their school, i.e., teachers who had clearly made efforts to use the Internet, both in their own professional work and as a part of their classes with students. The primary vehicle for data collection was a survey completed by 238 Internet-using teachers in 124 schools that varied in setting, grade level and location throughout the United States.

Measures of the conditions were computed from responses to over one hundred items used as indicators of the eight conditions. Findings concern the relative presence of the different condition indicators, how the conditions covaried, and to what extent the framework being employed could account for differences in the extent of use. Multiple regression analysis addressed which conditions (or combinations of conditions) were most predictive of overall use, including use by teachers on their own, and as a part of their classes by students. Exploratory analysis concerns plausible interaction effects where the utility of one condition may depend on the presence of another condition.

The results support the importance of Ely's (1976, 1990) conditions and suggestions are made to refine their operational definitions. The evidence suggests that it is necessary to focus attention on providing a supportive environment for class-related use with students, as opposed to developing teacher attitudes and skills independent of broader curricular and school-level issues. There seem to be challenges associated with implementation of Internet use with students, even after teachers have developed skills and favorable attitudes toward Internet use. These include curriculum-integration resources and time for teachers to develop and carry out Internet-based activities.


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