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Volume 17  Issue 4  

Making and Missing Connections: Exploring Twitter Chats as a Learning Tool in a Preservice Teacher Education Course

by Betina Hsieh
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Research on social media use in education indicates that network-based connections can enable powerful teacher learning opportunities. Using a connectivist theoretical framework (Siemens, 2005), this study focuses on secondary teacher candidates (TCs) who completed, archived, and reflected upon 1-hour Twitter chats (N = 39) to explore the promise and pitfalls in integrating optional Twitter chats as a professional learning and networking tool in a semester-long teacher education course. While many TCs reported that their Twitter chat experiences allowed them to bridge physical and experiential distance and benefit from educator networks, some TCs experienced miscues that left them feeling on the periphery of these chats, able to gather resources but not to establish a sense of connection. For most participating TCs, their Twitter chat experience changed their perspectives toward Twitter as a professional learning tool, opening the door to future exploration of Twitter as a tool for professional networking. The results of this study indicate the promise of integrating Twitter chats as a professional learning tool, but also demonstrate the importance of anticipating common miscues and explicitly addressing the nature, structure, and purpose of Twitter chats to strengthen opportunities for TCs to establish ongoing professional connections using this medium.

Volume 17  Issue 4  

Enhancing Preservice Science Teachers’ Use of Text Through E-Readers

by Brian Zoellner & Terence Cavanaugh
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The future for primary and secondary school textbooks is moving to digital ones, and faculties of schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDEs) need to prepare preservice teachers for this change.  Already, legislatures in 23 states have mandated that school systems use digital textbooks or digital resources as part of their textbook resources, thus shifting the definition and conceptions of the term textbook.  In addition to added functionality (i.e., highlighting and dictionary functions), electronic textbooks allow the teacher to choose, edit, and modify text, becoming a more active consumer of curricular materials.  This shift brings challenges as preservice teachers adapt to integrating this new technology into their practice.  They need greater opportunities to manage this technology to select and adapt text to better match the curriculum to student need and interest.  To better prepare preservice science teachers, the researchers adapted the secondary science teacher education methods class to integrate digital textbooks into coursework.  Their purpose was to investigate preservice science teachers’ views about the uses of e-readers and e-text prior to their science methods course and their views of their use of this technology when they are required to incorporate them as a resource in their lesson planning.

Volume 17  Issue 3  

Access Is Not Enough: A Collaborative Autoethnographic Study of Affordances and Challenges of Teacher Educators’ iPad Integration in Elementary Education Methods Courses

by Sheri Vasinda, Di Ann Ryter, Stephanie Hathcock & Qiuying Wang
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Research indicates that preservice teachers’ understandings of how to integrate technology into their classrooms are dependent upon experience in their university methods courses and in their field placements. These findings place a new responsibility on teacher educators for modeling effective integration of technology into methods courses. This study focused on teacher educators’ integration of technology using iPads to enhance teaching and learning in an elementary education teacher preparation program. Four faculty members documented their own technology integration journey through collaborative autoethnography identifying the affordances and challenges of 1:1 iPad integration into their science, social studies and literacy methods courses. The researchers discovered that access to technology alone is not sufficient for faculty members to integrate iPad use in their courses. High quality use of iPads and their applications require time for exploration, experimentation, and practice, as well as professional support and development adding another dimension to the work of teacher educators.

Volume 17  Issue 2  

Enhancement or Transformation? A Case Study of Preservice Teachers’ Use of Instructional Technology

by Todd Cherner & Kristal Curry
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Instructional technology has become a crucial component of public education. Reflected in the college and career-ready standards being implemented across the United States, an emphasis has been placed on preparing students with both the literacy and technology skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce. Though a growing body of research has studied the theory and best practices for developing students’ disciplinary literacy skills in the high school classroom, research that investigates the ways preservice secondary teachers use instructional technology during their student-teaching internship is an emerging area of study. In this paper the researchers explained how they used the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition framework as a guide for analyzing the ways preservice English and social studies teachers used technology while completing their internship and reported those findings. The article concludes with recommendations for developing preservice teachers’ use of instructional technology during their teacher education program.