Teacher professional learning for technology integration in mathematics classrooms through online learning communities : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
The new school curricula in Indonesia emphasise the integration of technology
into instructional practices. The infusion of technology in mathematics education
requires teachers to align their teaching practices with ongoing technological
innovations. Integrating technology into mathematics classrooms requires teachers
to have a good knowledge of mathematics content, technology and pedagogy.
Teachers also need to consider their school environments. Existing teacher
professional development programmes are seen to be failing to meet teacher needs
regarding content delivery that sometimes does not match the existing school
The premise underlying this research is that the use of an online learning
community (OLC) may present a possible solution to the current challenges.
Thus, the intention of this study was to investigate the potential of OLCs to help
develop teachers’ learning to fulfil their professional needs in integrating
technology with the teaching of mathematics.
An ethnographic approach was used to investigate the phenomenon of teacher
learning within an OLC and the implementation of the new knowledge acquired in
their mathematics teaching practices. Empirical data from five case studies were
used to examine how participation in the OLC affected teaching practices for five
teachers. The results revealed that teacher participation in an OLC offered
opportunities and challenges. Teachers de-privatized their practices as they
actively engaged in social learning interactions to share knowledge and help each
other with the appropriate use of technology in teaching mathematics. Teachers
also faced some challenges, which impeded them. These challenges included
differences in school policies, such as restrictions on using social media and
limited technical infrastructure, which hindered teachers from fully leveraging the
OLC. Teachers with less experience in teaching with technology and with low
levels of technology skills tended to be passive in the OLC. Cultural contexts
revealed that lack of experience and caution about expressing opinions made
teachers feel ewuh pakewuh, a shyness in openly expressing their thoughts.
Despite these barriers, the study provided evidence that teachers improvised and
dealt with situations as they rose.
The findings of this study provided evidence that participation in the OLC had
significant impacts on teachers’ professional learning. Teachers altered their mode
of using technology either as a partner or as an extension of self as they gained
more confidence in their own learning. The teachers gradually transformed their
participation from peripheral to full participation in promoting the use of
technology for teaching mathematics. The research provides new insights into
ways teachers can be helped to develop their professional learning in the use of
technology for teaching mathematics through participation in OLCs. Particularly
for Indonesia, the findings of this research provide an OLC-based model that
could be implemented in other contexts that share similar technology landscapes
and sociocultural heritages.