Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, No.2, 275-280
Published Online April 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 275
The Impact of Integration of Instructional Systems Technology
into Research and Educational Technology
Baharak Makki1, Bahador Makki2
1Department of Engineering, Faculty of Techn ology and Science, University of Agder, Grimstad, Norway
2Faculty of Law, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Email:, b.makki@uni-brem
Received January 23rd, 2012; revised February 28th, 2012; accepted March 5th, 2012
This paper aims at presenting a review about instructional system technology integration in educational
literature. Transitional periods of educational technology are discussed and principles of integration of in-
structional technology in educational technology are reviewed.
Keywords: Instructional Technology; Educational Technology; Technology Integration
Papers concerning instructional technology discuss a lot of
matters besides educational technology (ET). What is “instruc-
tional technology” (IT)? Is it merely a synonym for computers,
or does its meaning transcend hardware and software to include
both physical and intellectual facets in its domain? What prob-
lems define the field of instructional design and technology
(IDT)? These questions are in many instructional technologists’
minds in response to major shifts in delivery media, delivery
infrastructure, design and development software, learning the-
ory, instructional theory, and design theory. How broad is the
scope of questions? How well-expressed are the field’s prob-
lems, and how well directed and founded is the research?
Instructional Technology
There are different concepts of this filed in our minds. The
concept of ET (or IT?) is a general evolution to enter a course
of subjective perceptions to the National Education system. To
become clearer, we will study the concept of ET during the
steps that the concept has been examined. Of course, this proc-
ess is related to the years after 1900. In the years before 1900,
sometimes teachers have brought either some real object to
classroom or students were taken to visit museums. About ways
to work before 1900, Sattler (1968) and Amir Ebrahimi (1987)
provide much information about pioneers in the field of ET.
ET has passed from four stages during the transitional period
and has now entered the fifth stage. Most countries have ex-
perienced this process and each person can bring a sample of
this process in their country. ET consists of five steps as fol-
1) The first step—the tools and equipments
2) The second step—training materials
3) The third step—system courses
4) The fourth step—educational systems
5) The fifth step—social systems
First, we explain each of these steps, and then a survey of ET
is provided.
The first stepthe tools and equipments: In the years 1900
instrument manufacturers began to make different projectors.
At first they did not aim at projectors used in schools, but these
tools were slowly seeping in schools. These tools were able to
display images on the screen, and sometimes, files were pro-
duced simultaneous with the sound. Since then, schools con-
tinued to be equipped with various tools such as projectors, tape
recorders or phonographs and found out that they cannot re-
spond to their needs and problems without these educational
The second steptraining materials: Industries hired other
people to work and start production of materials needed at
schools. After this, educational films were made for schools
and books and maps were published for special children. Some
research done in this period of evolution of educational tech-
nology was about the effect of color, size and image files on
education. But it was soon realized that most of the time, sig-
nificant differences between traditional instructions and educa-
tion through the expensive material does not exist, but other
elements such as teacher and student involvement in teaching
and learning.
The third stepsystems curriculum: In this period, all equip-
ment and materials were used to the service of a larger system
which was an educational system. And experts looked at learn-
ing of the whole school as a system. That is the reason why
professionals in this period designed educational systems. In
this phase, course of regular instruction (training) or techno-
logical education (teaching) was designed. Retraining teachers,
production of new materials, adding educational spaces, en-
hancing library facilities and laboratories all those cases were
related to managers’ attitude education systematic affairs. Ex-
perts admit that the system had a fundamental change in the
course of raising the quality of teaching and learning, but also a
third phase of learning was not enough to know the real needs
of learner.
The fourth stepthe educational system: At this stage, all
written, auditory and visual educational materials are prepared
based on the society needs. In other words, both individuality
(individual’s needs) and the community needs are paid attention.
Facilities are usually provided on-site for learning, but people
are responsible for their own learning. Regular training is not
only like formal school education, but also is done at the com-
munity level.
The fifth stagethe social system: Fifth stage of the concept
of educational technology is more like a governing philosophy
over a total education in a country to achieve development ob-
jectives. At this stage of technology, special training is not for
particular individuals or organizations; however it covers the
domain of individual or organizational activity, who are work-
ing for development in the country.
Education Technology
Let us start with trying to understand the concept of technol-
ogy. Although Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary takes a
sociological perspective in its definition of technology as “…
the totality of the means employed to provide objects necessary
for human sustenance and comfort” and “a technical method of
achieving a practical purpose,” the prevailing public definition
based on current usage is “technology equals machinery.” This
limited focus on machinery at the expense of process ignores
the true sense of technology as “the systematic application of
scientific and other organized knowledge to practical tasks”
(Galbraith, 1967) and thus as a problem-solving process using
human and other resources to seek solutions to human prob-
Within this broader sociological framework of technology,
we find the terms “educational technology” and “instructional
technology”. Often used interchangeably, both share a common
interest in the processes of human learning and teaching, with
some variations in definitions and levels of complexity, de-
pending upon one’s personal viewpoint. For convenience and
consistency, we will most likely blend elements of the two
terms, but use “instructional technology” as our primary focus
in this article. Instructional technology may be best understood
by reviewing several definitions culled from the writings of
several scholars in the field: [Instructional technology] is con-
cerned with improving the effectiveness and efficiency of
learning in educational contexts, regardless of the nature or
substance of that learning… Solutions to instructional problems
might entail social as well as machine technologies (Cassidy,
The systemic and systematic application of strategies and
techniques derived from behavioral and physical sciences con-
cepts and other knowledge to the solution of instructional prob-
lems (Gentry, 1995)… the media born of the communications
revolution which can be used for instructional purposes along-
side the teacher, textbook, and blackboard… [as well as]… a
systematic way of designing, carrying out, and evaluating the
total process of learning and teaching in terms of specific ob-
jectives, based on research in human learning and communica-
tions, and employing a combination of human and non-human
resources to bring about more effective instructions. (Commis-
sion on Instructional Technology, 1970: p. 19) … the applica-
tion of our scientific knowledge about human learning to the
practical tasks of teaching and learning. (Heinich et al., 2002).
As a field, instructional design and technology has generated
an ample number of theories and models (Reigeluth, 1999). But
instructional theorists seldom describe the assumptions and
beliefs that led them to create their theory or model. Slife &
Williams (1995) discuss the dangers of applying models and
modes of practice without first examining the assumptions that
underlie these models and practices: [Instructional designers]
seem to be building content models and testing them empiri-
cally. Unfortunately, however, model testing does not question
the assumptions on which the model was built. Models rarely
expand our most basic understandings of the phenomena being
modeled. Because a discipline is basically a set of ideas—and
the quality of those ideas determines the ultimate value of the
discipline—scholars in instructional design need to examine the
assumptions upon which their models and theories rest. And as
future instructional designers are prepared, we need to make
these assumptions explicit—tying them, as Shulman (1990)
suggests—to specific practices in the profession. To engage in
this type of dialectic, we offer a framework based on Stephen
Pepper’s (1957) book, World Hypotheses, in which he de-
scribes four categories for analyzing assumptions associated
with any theory. Table 1 shows these four categories with the
following column’ headers:
1) Formism; 2) Mechanism; 3) Organicism; and 4) Contex-
tualism. The rows of Table 1 include the three primary types of
practice and inquiry in the field of instructional design: 1) in-
structional development; 2) program evaluation; and 3) educa-
tional research.
Classroom Technology
Let us begin with a comprehensive look at school technology
in a series of articles by Education Week (1997), which shared
several interesting facts about the state of computer technology
in public education:
“The dividends that educators can expect from this… un-
precedented support for school technology… are not yet
clear… There is no guarantee that technology improves
student achievement.” (Trotter, 1997: p. 6).
43% of respondents in a survey felt that the introduction of
computers into public schools was not happening fast enough
(Trotter, 1997: p. 7).
Despite the lack of research evidence, 74% of the public
and 93% of educators agreed that computers had indeed
improved the quality of education, teaching, and learning
(Trotter, 1997: p. 8).
Research on the effects of technology on student achieve-
ment offers mixed results (Viadero, 1997: p. 12).
Table 1.
A Framework for examining philosophical assumptions and implications .
Formism Mechanism Organism Contexualism
Instructiona l Development Learning outcomes taxonomiesOutcome-based, objectivist
learning Systems approach.
Systematic reform Constructivist-learning
Program Evaluation Intelligence & Aptitude te s t i ngRealist evaluation,
quantitative emphasis CIPP model Stakehol der-
ased evaluation,
ethnographic methods
Educational Research Construct De velopment,
Factor analysis Pure experiments, inferential
statistics Eclectic research models,
longitudinal studies Action research, qualitative
studies, narrative research
Copyright © 2012 SciR es .
Placing computers and software in classrooms is not en-
ough. Discovering whether technology “works” is not the
point. The real issue is when and under what circumstances.
Like any other tool, teachers have to come up with a strat-
egy or pedagogy to make it work.
Wise use of technology takes adequate training, time, plan-
ning, support, and teacher ownership (Viadero, 1997: p.
Money spent on school technology is wasted without an
equal effort to help teachers with its use and integration into
the curriculum (Zehr, 1997: p. 24). Is it possible that blas-
phemies are beginning to be heard outside the church of
technology? Bronner (1997) posed this question and, in de-
scribing an “intellectual backlash” and feelings of skepti-
cism about technology use, cited several educatio nal sourc es
to criticize the use of “glitzy toys” and “bogus stuff” in the
middle of an “educational catastrophe” where children can-
not read or write. Such a backlash will be productive if it
makes us re-examine how we use technology in the class-
room (Pool, 1997). Bronner’s comment that “schools may
be overwired and children undertaught” is cause for reflec-
tion for those who feel that “new media tools offer a great
promise for a new model of learning—one based on dis-
covery, participation…, learning partnerships, and learning
cultures” (p. 4).
The promise is indeed real—as illustrated by recent studies
showing that new technologies have indeed transformed class-
rooms for K-12 students and teachers. “Around the nation
teachers are using technology to create exciting and creative
learning environments where students teach and learn from
each other, solve problems, and collaborate on projects that put
learning in a real-world context”. In a metaanalysis of the value
and use of technology in K-12 education (Valdez et al., 2000),
the North Central Regional Laboratory found that “technology
innovations are increasing the demand for reforms in teaching
and learning approaches that, in turn, are having a significant
impact on technology use expectations” (p. 3). The report also
found a very strong connection between appropriate teacher use
of technology and increased student achievement. Technology
offers opportunities for learner-control, increased motivation,
connections to the real world, and data-driven assessments tied
to content standards that, when implemented systematically,
enhance student achievement as measured in a variety of ways,
including but not limited to standardized achievement tests (p.
Model of Communication
In communication sciences, the word “communication” cov-
ers associated concepts such as transfer and dissemination of
diverse knowledge and ideas, creating social cohesion and in-
tellectual sharing and cooperation in general. The model con-
sists of the activities that an environment variable permanently,
and the relationships have been established when the message
sender to the receiver of a message is transmitted. We can then
communicate to the transition process from the message sender
to the recipient that the mental condition of the message sender
is transmitted to the intended recipient, or vice versa. In a
communication position, any educational position is the mes-
sage sender, sometimes designer, sometimes teacher training;
moreover, the student is receiving the message. When we say
communication has been established that mental design or
teacher training or student is the recipient of the message is
transferred to the desired mental, student or teacher. Student’s
performances are measured to realize that it is connected or not.
If we want to position components in a communication in the
classroom to the analysis of this model so we can (according to
Figure 1):
Source of information: resources professionals that text-
books will be prepared based on their books that are spe-
Message: the subjects that are written or an image on the
pages of textbooks is closed as the sender: Bachelor Office
of Research and C ur r i c u l u m Development.
Coder: the sender of the message is encrypted using the
resource books in the form of words, designs and makes
Carrier: Carrier messaging, textbook, teacher, black board,
Receiver: student.
Encoder: The received message is understood based on the
message book and mind.
Message: writings and images printed on a book.
Target: students or messaging recipients.
Working in an appropriately designed technology-rich envi-
ronment has the potential of producing a variety of positive
outcomes (Tiene & Luft, 2001): improved patterns of social
interaction, changes in teaching styles, more effective teaching,
increased student (and perhaps, teacher) motivation, and en-
hanced student learning. Achieving this potential, however, is
quite challenging, and it requires the correct vision of technol-
ogy and its integr at io n.
Technology Integration
Teachers and Technology
Since the ultimate goal of educational technology instruction
is to influence preservice teachers’ ability and willingness to
use technology effectively in their teaching careers, it is wor-
thwhile to first consider factors associated with teachers’ in-
structional use of computers. Evidence suggests that teachers’
intrinsic beliefs about teaching and learning interact with ex-
trinsic factors such as access to computers, software, time,
training, and support to facilitate or limit their technology use
(Becker, 2000). While teacher educators cannot directly influ-
ence external factors that may impact their students’ future
technology use, they can attempt to influence intrinsic factors
such as preservice teachers’ abilities and beliefs regarding
technology integration.
Basic computer competency has been viewed as a necessary
“stepping stone” toward technology integration (Albion, 1999).
Technological competence was among the variables that predi cted
Symbols Symbols
Info r m ation
Destin at ion
Figure 1.
The model of communication.
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 277
preservice teachers’ commitment to use computers, student
teachers’ computer use, and classroom teachers’ computer use.
Several researchers have used pre- and post-course surveys to
investigate changes in education students’ perceptions of their
abilities to perform specific computer tasks or to integrate
technology in classrooms. Improvements in students’ technol-
ogy skills and knowledge were reported during one-semester
educational technology courses as well as in methods courses in
which instructors integrated technology (Halpin, 1999). Not
surprisingly, Anderson and Boarthwick (2002) found that stu-
dents enrolled in a stand-alone technology course improved in
ability more than students taking a methods course in which
technology was integrated. However, Halpin (1999) reported
that students who learned to use spreadsheet software in an
integrated, rather than isolated, manner were more likely to use
it in their first year of teaching.
Several authors have highlighted the important role of beliefs
in determining how teachers use technology in their class-
Self-Efficacy Beliefs
Evidence suggests a strong relationship between self-efficacy
and computer usage patterns (Olivier & Shapiro, 1993). Ban-
dura (1986) defined perceived self-efficacy as a person’s judg-
ment of his or her capabilities to organize and execute courses
of action required to attain certain performances. High levels of
technology use during student teaching occurred when preser-
vice teachers’ confidence in using specific technologies was
high and their cooperating teachers also used those technologies.
Several studies demonstrated improved self-efficacy or confi-
dence in using computers during educational technology courses
(Albion, 2001) and technology-integrated methods courses. In
one study, demonstrations of specific computer integration te-
chniques strengthened students’ confidence in using technology
in their future classrooms. More than 90% of those students
anticipated that they would use spreadsheets and databases in
their future classrooms. Researchers have found relationships
between technology-related self-efficacy and past success with
computers, technology proficiency, perceived value of com-
puters, and use of technology in an integrated project-based
learning environment (Kellenberger, 1996).
Value Beliefs
Teachers are motivated to use technology when they have a
clear understanding of how it will improve their teaching and
students’ learning. Value beliefs involve perceptions of the
importance or relevancy of a task for the accomplishment of
future goals (Keller, 1983). Swain (2006) found that preservice
teachers’ perception of the utility of computers was positive,
but only improved slightly from the beginning to end of an
introductory educational technology course. Preservice teach-
ers’ ratings of the value of computer use were associated with
their perceptions of the likelihood that they would use com-
puters in their future classrooms (Kellenberger, 1997). Tech-
nology-related value beliefs were also correlated with preser-
vice teachers’ use of technology in an integrated project-based
learning environment. Perceived relevance of computers to
teaching and technological self-competence were correlated
with each other and together predicted preservice teachers’
expectations regarding future computer use. Nearly all (97%) of
the students expected to use computers in their teaching. How-
ever when surveyed again at the end of their first year of teach-
ing, only 61% reported using computers in their classrooms.
Their ratings of perceived relevance and self-competence re-
mained high but did not predict actual computer use during the
first year of teaching.
The problem of improving performance of students with di-
verse needs and abilities has concerned teachers throughout the
history of modern education. More than fifty years ago the
behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner designed his first “teach-
ing machine” after observing these challenges in his daughter’s
math class (Skinner, n.d.). Today’s classrooms have similar
challenges and are more demanding as teachers are expected to
reach all subgroups of learners-by ethnicity, socio-economic
status, pupil services, and English language proficiency. With
limited contact time (Bransford et al., 2000), teachers and
schools alone seem to be held accountable for helping all stu-
dents meet established educational standards and perform well
on high-stakes assessments.
American classrooms have not fully succeeded in this effort.
Results from the 2003 Program for International Student As-
sessment (PISA) tests showed that 15-year-old students from
27 countries outperformed the United States in mathematics
literacy and students from 28 countries outperformed the
United States in problem solving (NL, 2005). These results
have reopened the debate about what and how students are
taught in secondary schools in the United States (Balasubrama-
nian, 2004). Michael Cole and Yrjo Engeström pioneered the
basic analysis of an activity in activity theory. Their ideas are
widely used for understanding human-computer interactions,
workgroup processes, and learning communities. Figure 2
represents an activity analysis applied to developing “higher
literacy skills” (see Abilities) in K-12 students (Bellamy, 1996).
Principles of Integration
Instructional technology does, indeed, hold a remarkable
promise for changing the quality of teaching and learning in our
schools. It is the catalyst for transformation—but this does not
mean that we merely need more computers in our classrooms.
Technology also involves process. Too often efforts to improve
education have resulted in unrealistic isolation of technological
processes. Remember my earlier reference to our experiences
with educational television? We expanded our resources on
installing equipment, which soon began to gather dust because
we neglected the process components—learning, teaching prac-
tices, and curricula. Technologies are valuable resources, but
only when used in a systematic process for developing human
competence. Questions about technology integration often cen-
ter around schools and classrooms. Such questions fall short of
the target. It is relatively easy to “place” technology in physical
locations. The real question must focus on integration into
teaching practices, learning experiences, and the curriculum.
Integration (from the Latin integrate, to make whole) includes a
sense of completeness or wholeness and incorporates the need
to overcome artificial separations by bringing together all es-
sential elements in the teaching and learning process—include-
ing technology (as one of the elements, not the sole element).
ccording to Meisalo (2006):
Copyright © 2012 SciR es .
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 279
Figure 2.
Cole and Engeström’s activity theory framework (Bellamy, 1996).
Beginning in the late 1980 s, the use of ICT in education
greatly expanded, spurred by the launch of the microcomputer
and following the lead of top American universities and schools,
as well as interesting projects in United Kingdom, France and
other European countries. Finland, along with many other
developed countries, followed a similar path, though sometimes
with delays and sometimes finding new paths or development.
Finnish experts involved in developing ICT use in education
considered teacher education as a key area for the intended
breakthrough of new technologies.
In spite of its acknowledged importance, computing did not
gain the status of compulsory school subject in Finland. Instead,
computing was integrated in all school subjects. Local schools
got power to decide how to prepare a curriculum that ensures
proper skills in computing for their pupils. That has led to a
situation of irregular integration of Information and Communi-
cation Technology (ICT) at schools and inconsistent outcomes
in student learning. The Finnish National Board of Education
(FNBE), which works under the auspices of the Ministry of
Education and is in charge of development of education in
Finland, has provided massive refresher courses for in-service
teachers, and this process continues. A recent Annual Report
(FNBE, 2005) delineates grants of EUR 2.5 million for estab-
lishing computer networks and purchasing computers for 289
general education providers. This investment led to purchases
made by 1082 comprehensive schools, 179 upper secondary
schools and 15 other educational institutions. The idea is to
ensure an adequate level in infrastructure and know-how among
all educators and education providers.
While investing in educational technology, policymakers are
certainly looking forward to some payback for that investment.
Prior research has documented that technology can support the
learning of an individual student by structuring inquiry activi-
ties, providing tools for recordkeeping, highlighting essential
phases of the process, and guiding metacognitive and reflective
activity (Pea, 1993). There is also evidence indicating that
technological tools can also enhance students’ conceptual un-
derstanding by providing tools for organizing, representing, and
visualizing knowledge. These higher-level knowledge-con-
struction processes are, nevertheless, invoked only if people,
staff and students have skills and willingness to engage in util-
izing the potential of ICT in education.
According to Williams, Coles, Richardson, Wilson & Tyson
(2000), teachers’ ICT development needs can be categorized
into the three major areas:
1) Access to ICT.
2) Appropriate training (in terms of skills, knowledge, rele-
vance to educational goals and priorities; and delivery).
3) Ongoing support to encourage progression beyond initial
teacher education or training.
One of the critical issues in teacher education is how to best
prepare preservice teachers to integrate technology into their
future classrooms. According to one study, novice teachers,
many of whom had grown up using technology, were no more
likely to use technology than were their peers who had been
teaching for over 20 years (Fatemi, 1999).
One possible explanation for this finding is that the teacher
education programs did not adequately prepare the novice
teachers to use technology in their teaching. Teacher educators
must ensure that their students have sufficient technology skills,
understand the advantages of using technology in the classroom,
and can use it to improve the instruction provided to K-12 stu-
dents. Many researchers have argued that integrating technol-
ogy into the teacher preparation curriculum is very important
(Collier, Weinburgh, & Rivera, 2004). However, schools of
education in the United States often require students to take a
stand-alone educational technology course. This type of course
is considered most valuable for building skills that support
technology integration during subsequent semesters. Topper
(2004) raised several relevant questions related to efforts to
prepare preservice teachers to integrate technology in their
How can we tell if our programs are adequately preparing
teachers for technology integration?
What is the relationship between knowledge, skill, and atti-
tudes toward technology?
How do these concepts relate to technology use or integra-
tion in classroom settings?
In (Pelgrum, 2001), in addition to a review of main ICT-in-
dicators for primary and lower secondary education, the main
focus is on practitioners’ views of what are the main obstacles
to the realization of ICT-related goals in schools. The results
are from a worldwide survey among national representative
samples of schools from 26 countries. The article contains a
short summary of the design of this project, a review of main
indicators regarding ICT (Information and Communication Te-
chnologies) in elementary and lower secondary schools, main
obstacles and an exploration of the co-variation between obsta-
cles and contextual factors at the country-level.
In this paper, a review was performed about instructional
technology integration in educational literature. Transitional
periods of educational technology were discussed and princi-
ples of integration of instructional technology in educational
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