The collision between a growing, inexperienced teaching force and students’ algebra struggles should be one of great concern. A collaboration of four public and private universities in Oregon restructured mathematics methods courses for preservice teacher candidates by using the affordances of technology to counteract this loss of experience. Over time, veteran mathematics teachers develop extensive knowledge of how students engage with concepts. Preservice teachers, on the other hand, do not have the same experience that they can rely upon to anticipate important moments in the learning of their students. To address preservice teachers’ lack of experience with student thinking the Algebraic Thinking Project synthesized 859 articles of research into multiple technology-based resources: (a) Encyclopedia of Algebraic Thinking, (b) Student Thinking Video Database, (c) Formative Assessment Database and Class Response System, and (d) Virtual Manipulatives. The technology is used in coursework to influence preservice teachers’ dispositions toward and understanding of students’ algebraic thinking.
The authors present examples of analysis of online discourse and interactions among prospective middle-grades and secondary mathematics teachers in a technology methods course. The online group met synchronously using Elluminate Live! to study data analysis and probability with dynamic technology tools. Analysis of class sessions included broad lesson maps, which captured instructional decisions, big ideas related to content, use of technology, and general discourse. Critical episodes, where prospective teachers seemed to address common misconceptions and develop their own understandings about data analysis and probability, were identified and analyzed further. Trends related to design and management and discourse in the synchronous, online environment are reported, along with implications for further work with online technology methods courses.
Using a mixed-methods approach the authors compared the associated practices of senior physics teachers (n = 7) and students (n = 53) in a 1:1 laptop environment with those of senior biology teachers (n = 10) and students (n = 125) also in a 1:1 laptop environment, in seven high schools in Sydney, NSW, Australia. They found that the physics teachers and students reported more use of their laptops than did their biology counterparts, particularly in regard to higher order, engaging activities such as simulations. This disparity is consistent with the differences between the prescribed NSW physics and biology curriculum documents. The physics curriculum specifies that students should engage with various technologies (especially simulations) frequently within the course content, while the biology curriculum makes only generic statements within the course outline. Due to the curriculum mandate, physics teachers seemed to be capitalizing on the opportunities afforded by the 1:1 laptop environment, whereas the biology teachers had less of a mandate and, consequently, incorporated less technology in their teaching.
This paper presents a case study of a technology professional development initiative and illustrates how a workshop approach based on technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) was adapted for professional learning at a school site. The case further documents how three middle school science teacher participants developed knowledge about how to teach with technology as they planned and implemented a blog activity in science over a 4-week period. The design of the professional development was informed by the underlying assumptions of the TPACK framework and characteristics for effective professional development for science and technology-enhanced teaching. To obtain insights into the particular experiences of teachers as they participated in the onsite professional development, a naturalistic case study design was used. Data collection procedures included researcher field notes during workshop sessions and lessons, videotaped classroom observations, audiotaped interviews, and teacher and student lesson artifacts. Data on teachers’ planning and lesson implementation of the blog activity to Grade 8 students were analyzed using content analysis. Overall, the results indicate that TPACK is developed through a combination of workshop experiences and immediate application of knowledge gained in the workshop into practice in the real-life teaching context.
Social Studies Education
In Hicks, Lee, Berson, Bolick, and Diem (2014), the authors revisited and revised a series of principles focusing on the preparation of social studies teachers for using digital technologies in the classroom, originally presented in the inaugural issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (Mason et al., 2000). This commentary aims to extend dialog associated with the updated guidelines, through an enhanced discussion of each of the four revisioned principles within the context of time, technology, and teacher education. The authors’ efforts to more effectively guide the preparation of social studies educators in the utilization of technological applications in more useful, efficient, and appropriate ways is readily apparent and appreciated.
Twitter has demonstrated potential to facilitate learning at the university level, and K-12 educators’ use of the microblogging service Twitter to facilitate professional development appears to be on the rise. Research on microblogging as a part of teacher education is, however, limited. This paper investigates the use of Twitter by preservice teachers (N = 20) in a face-to-face undergraduate teacher education course taught by the author. The participants completed student teaching the subsequent semester, after which a survey was conducted to explore whether they had continued to use Twitter for professional purposes and why or why not. In reflections upon the fall semester’s experience, preservice teachers noted several benefits to the use of Twitter in the course, including support of resource sharing, communication, and connection with educators both inside and outside of the class. During the spring semester, the majority of participants stopped professional Twitter activity, with many citing a lack of time. Those who continued use in the spring most commonly did so to gather teaching resources. The majority of participants maintained a positive opinion of Twitter’s educational potential and indicated intentions to utilize it for professional purposes, including classroom applications, in the future.
Both preservice and in-service PK-12 teachers in the United States are expected to create a classroom environment that fosters the creation of digital citizens. However, it is unclear whether or not teacher education programs build this direct instruction, or any other method of introducing students to the International Society for Technology in Education’s Standards for Teachers (ISTE Standards-T; previously known as the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers), into the curriculum. The data from a mixed-method study was analyzed in order to determine the relationship between the preservice teachers, the ISTE Standards-T, and the role technology plays in the curriculum of the teacher preparation program. Results of the analysis indicate that preservice teachers have a minimum ISTE Standards-T awareness at the Literacy level, indicating that they can use technology skills when prompted and explore technology independently.