This article examines the role of technology in preservice teacher reflection. Situated in informal reflection (Shoffner, 2008), preservice English teachers’ choice of a specific technology medium for reflective practice is examined for satisfaction with their choice and understanding of that medium’s influence on their reflection. The implications of the preservice English teachers’ views on technology use for reflection are then explored, with attention to the choice of “easy” forms of technology and the elements of journal length, choice of expression, and audience awareness in reflective practice.
English/Language Arts Education
Because technological pedagogical content knowledge is becoming an increasingly important construct in the field of teacher education, there is a need for assessment mechanisms that capture teachers’ development of this portion of the knowledge base for teaching. The paper describes a proposal drawing on qualitative data produced during lesson study cycles to assess teachers’ development of technological pedagogical content knowledge. The specific qualitative data sources include teachers’ written lesson plans, university faculty members’ reviews of lessons, transcripts and videos of implemented lessons, and recordings and transcripts of debriefing sessions about implemented lessons. Using these data sources, inferences about teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge are drawn and validated. An example of the implementation of this lesson study technological pedagogical content knowledge (LS-TPACK) assessment model is provided. The example includes inferences drawn about high school teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge in the context of two lesson study cycles that involved teaching systems of equations with graphing calculators. Reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the LS-TPACK model are included from a qualitative perspective, as well as from a psychometric perspective.
Social Studies Education
In the current state of social studies education, field trips are being cut from many schools’ curriculum. While not a true substitution, today’s technologies provide some opportunities through virtual field trips (VFTs) to simulate these experiences, engage students in knowledge production and disciplined inquiry, and have interactions with the dedicated staff members from these historic sites. Many of the current VFTs, however, fall short of this goal and instead serve as an updated form of a content delivery model, with little interaction or student engagement in historical issues. This article describes research on field trips, hybrid distance learning models, and virtual field trips in the social studies and other areas, as well as a critical case study of one of the most prominent and long lasting virtual field trips, Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip program. A model for future social studies VFTs and ways to integrate these VFTs into authentic social studies instruction are developed. The case study revealed a number of key issues that arise in the development and execution of VFT programs, and the ensuing VFT model should be helpful for teachers and VFT developers.
This study was conducted in response to several recent incidents in which teachers and student teachers were reprimanded for content they placed on the Internet. This study examined the Facebook postings of preservice elementary teachers to determine the extent to which these postings are congruent with expected dispositions. Profiles were analyzed to determine the appropriateness of the content, and when inappropriate, the nature of the behavior depicted on the site. Findings indicated that 32% of elementary education majors in this study had an unrestricted profile on Facebook, and only 22% of those profiles were devoid of inappropriate content. These numbers are likely conservative due to other networking sites that may be in use. The nature of the inappropriate behavior is cause for concern for teacher educators who are expected to teach and assess dispositions and who must decide whether or not a prospective teacher is ready for the ethical responsibility of teaching children.
This paper presents the findings from the third survey administration of a longitudinal study that explores the beliefs, practices, and efficacy of social studies faculty members from across the United States in terms of instructional technology use. The findings of this study demonstrate that familiarity with the National Educational Technology Standards, as well as confidence with technology, are related to the frequency and type of technology that social studies faculty members utilize in their courses. This survey is particularly significant because it reports on the field’s beliefs and practices over time, and results can influence policy, funding, and future research.