This paper reports on one aspect of a large-scale nationwide study that surveyed English teacher educators about English teacher preparation programs throughout the United States. One aspect of the study focused on how technology is integrated within the context of English teacher education programs, asking the question, “As an area of emphasis in the teaching of English, how do teacher educators prepare beginning English teachers to address the teaching of technology and new literacies in the context of the English language arts?” This paper highlights the data and the findings from the self-administered questionnaire portion of the study concerned with technology use in the English language arts methods course.
Studies examining preservice teachers’ (PSTs) experiences with microblogging and activities that buttress and promote their social justice development have largely occurred in isolation from one another. To that end, this study examines in what ways pairing the popular social networking website Twitter with readings from a young adult literature course helped PSTs cultivate their awareness of and positionalities related to the social justice issues discussed in the course—and ones they will confront in their classrooms. Although students noted that engaging in this new dialogic space afforded certain benefits, the data suggest that PSTs encountered a variety of obstructions as they worked to develop and articulate their social-justice-oriented positionalities, including difficulty extending in-class conversations and trouble negotiating the social dimensions of Twitter. In examining the intersection between Twitter and its conduciveness to support PSTs’ social justice positionalities, the findings suggest that, despite its popularity, the forum did not prove to be an organic medium for students to engage social justice issues. Findings imply that teacher educators interested in utilizing microblogging to foster PSTs’ social awareness and growth should utilize Twitter as but one of many pedagogical tools to assist students in developing their social justice positionalities.
English teacher education programs often look for ways to help preservice teachers engage in critical reflection, participate in communities of practice, and write for authentic audiences in order to be able to teach in the 21st century. In this article, the authors describe how they used Twitter to provide opportunities for reflection and collaboration during methods courses in two English education programs. The authors examined the affordances and limitations of using Twitter in methods courses and suggest revisions to help other teacher educators consider ways to use Twitter in their own courses. Specifically, the authors suggest that Twitter is useful for ongoing reflection and provides potential for preservice teachers to engage with larger communities of practice outside of their own institution; however, preservice teachers may need scaffolding and guidance for developing critical reflection skills and maintaining involvement in communities of practice.
Engaging preservice English language arts interns in the analysis of mashups accomplishes two objectives: (a) it brings interns to a deeper understanding of action research and (b) provides a critical media literacy (CML) foundation on which they might build with their own students. In this paper CML is defined and recent literature is synthesized, including a specific focus on mashups and DJ Earworm. The author describes his pedagogical context and procedures for examining research paradigms, exploring qualitative methods, and generating findings while developing a foundation for CML. The paper closes with responses to these procedures and implications for English language arts teacher educators and teachers.