English/Language Arts Education

Teaching the English Language Arts With Technology: A Critical Approach and Pedagogical Framework

by Carl A. Young
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In order to cultivate the kind of technology literacy in our students called for by leaders in the field, it must simultaneously be cultivated in our teachers. While the literature in the field of English education demonstrates the efficacy of computer technology in writing instruction and addresses its impact on the evolving definition of literacy in the 21st century, it does not provide measured directions for how English teachers might develop technology literacy themselves or specific plans for how they might begin to critically assess the potential that technology might hold for them in enhancing instruction. This article presents a pedagogical framework encompassing the necessary critical mindset in which teachers of the English language arts can begin to conceive their own “best practices” with technology—a framework that is based upon their needs, goals, students, and classrooms, rather than the external pressure to fit random and often decontexualized technology applications into an already complex and full curriculum. To maximize technology’s benefits, educators must develop a heightened, critical view of technology to determine its potential for the classroom. The steps for doing this include:

  1. To recognize the complexity of technology integration and its status in the field.
  2. To recognize and understand the evolving and continuous effect computer, information, and Internet technology has on literacy.
  3. To recognize the importance of creating relevant contexts for effective technology integration by
      • Developing a pedagogical framework.
      • Asking the important questions.
      • Establishing working guidelines.
      • Implementing these strategies while integrating technology.
      • Reflecting on the experience and revisiting these strategies regularly.

Included as part of the article are four brief cases of teachers whose practices demonstrate a critical approach to technology integration.

Mathematics Education

Creating a Vision for the Standards Using Online Videos in an Elementary Mathematics Methods Course

by Matt Kellogg & Gladis Kersaint
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This paper outlines the efforts of two mathematics teacher educators in their use of online videos to expose their elementary preservice teachers to examples of reform teaching, as espoused by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The online videos provide an excellent source for reflection, and each author shares their different avenues to encourage both discussion and reflection about the practices seen on the videos. Actual student comments about videos they have viewed reveal the motivating and enlightening nature of this delivery method. While several websites provide access to online videos, this paper highlights PBS Mathline (http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/mathline/lessonplans/search_k-2.shtm).

Science Education

Commentary: Considerations in Pedagogy and Assessment in the Use of Computers to Promote Learning About Scientific Models

by Stephen T. Adams
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Although one role of computers in science education is to help students learn specific science concepts, computers are especially intriguing as a vehicle for fostering the development of epistemological knowledge about the nature of scientific knowledge—what it means to “know” in a scientific sense (diSessa, 1985). In this vein, the article by Cullin & Crawford (2003) investigated using computer modeling activities in the curriculum of a science methods course. Their goals, which transcended improving their students’ understanding of specific models, were aimed at improving their students’ appreciation of the nature of scientific modeling in general. This response to their article discusses their findings in relation to considerations pertaining to instruction and assessment in this area. Improving preservice teachers’ understanding of the nature of modeling in science is important in part because it supports a related goal of improving students’ understanding in this area. To further make the case for the value of an understanding of the nature of models in science, and as a complement to Cullin and Crawford’s discussion of teachers’ understanding of models, this response also discusses examples from a study of high school students’ interpretation of a scientific news report involving computer models.

Social Studies Education

Using Technology to Motivate Students to Learn Social Studies

by Tina Heafner
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Many teachers struggle with motivating students to learn. This is especially prevalent in social studies classrooms in which students perceive social studies as boring (Schug, Todd, & Berry, 1984; Shaughnessy & Haladyana, 1985). This article advocates the use of technology in social studies as a means to motivate students by engaging students in the learning process with the use of a familiar instructional tool that improves students’ self-efficacy and self-worth. The potential that technology has to motivate students is discussed as it relates to expectancy-value model of motivation which focuses three areas of motivational theory (Pintrich & Schunk, 1996): value (students’ beliefs about the importance or value of a task), expectancy (students’ beliefs about their ability or skill to perform the task), and affective (emotional reactions to the task and self-worth evaluation).


A Standards-Based Technology Integration Path at Towson University

by David Wizer & Patricia Ryan
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This article illustrates the path of the College of Education at Towson University to successfully integrate technology within coursework and thereby meet national technology standards. This discussion includes details about specific required instructional technology courses and a faculty development project that supports the ongoing use of technology throughout the teacher education program. A mentor/protégé faculty development model has been employed to assist university and school faculty to gain needed skills and abilities to integrate technology in teaching. A majority of the full-time university faculty has participated in this faculty development with technology process. As an outcome, teacher education students are experiencing widespread use of technology throughout the curriculum, including their internships within partner schools.

Current Practice

Extended Time and Progressive Vision for the Development of Technology-Using Teachers

by Melissa Pierson
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This paper proposes an extended-time, three-course technology integration model that allows preservice teachers adequate time to absorb, reflect about, connect with, and be supported by technology. This course sequence facilitates development of the ability to use technology simultaneously with the development of the skills and knowledge necessary to become an effective teacher. In addition to the cognitive and curricular benefits for extending the amount of time our teacher candidates are exposed to technology for teaching, this paper describes an unexpected advantage in that this course sequence allows us to present educational technology to students through three progressive perspectives, including establishing an initial vision, negotiating a developing vision, and seeking a realistic vision.