But there are a few dozen universities like UT-Austin for
which research is a mission of equal importance to teaching. I'm
not just talking about scientific or engineering research_a
research university is a place where you have people producing
new ideas about the sonnets of Shakespeare or the Constitution
of the United States or how businesses are organized. No
one gets on the faculty at a research university just to teach.
The research and teaching missions don't conflict; they
reinforce each other.
- Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate
The words of Dr. Weinberg resonate with particular clarity when
thinking of the challenges facing teacher educators at research universities at the
start of a new century. With calls for a "research based" approach to
education (Lyon, 1997; No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) and a reexamination of
the merits of scientific research in education and the social sciences
(Flyvbjerg, 2001; Jacob & White, 2002; National Research Council [NRC],
2002; Strauss, 2001), this is certainly an exciting time to be involved in
the education of this country's next generation of secondary mathematics
and science teachers. The challenges facing a research university are
especially unique in such a climate, since answers to the many questions and
criticisms of how educators learn and teach most effectively come from just such
an institution. Faculty members at universities like The University of Texas
at Austin, therefore, have two charges: to teach the next generation of
teachers with the latest understanding from the science of learning and
instruction and to conduct and to provide to the academic community their
own research on how people best learn.
This article presents a description of how one research university,
The University of Texas at Austin, has approached secondary mathematics
and science teacher education. Through a unique and joint effort between
the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Education, as well as
an integrated plan for the incorporation of content, pedagogy, equity,
and technology, The University of Texas at Austin's UTeach Natural
Sciences program is fast becoming a national model of cooperation between
colleges at a university, as well as a model for effective technology integration
and research in teacher preparation.
First, the unique circumstances which collaborated to create the
UTeach Natural Sciences program will be described. New legislation by the State
of Texas; new initiatives from the deans of the College of Natural
Sciences and the College of Education; and interested, committed faculty and
master teachers all converged. Next, some aspects of the UTeach Natural
Science student population and characteristics will be described. This will
be followed by a description of the UTeach curriculum and course
sequence, with a special emphasis on multiple entry points for university
undergraduates interested in the teaching profession. With the background set, we
will then examine what each college has done to facilitate and to
support technology integration in UTeach courses. Finally, three courses will
be introduced, by which we intend to show how meaningful content
in mathematics and science education is woven with technology
integration and faculty research expertise to create a unique opportunity for
Shortages of qualified teachers have been a central concern in the
United States for some time (Ingersoll, 1999). Reacting to warnings about
the decaying state of secondary education in A Nation at
Risk and other widely circulated reports, the Texas Senate tried to remove primary
responsibility for secondary education from Colleges of Education. Senate Bill 994
in 1987 was an especially aggressive response. Since the passage of
Senate Bill 994, secondary teachers must obtain their degrees in the specific
subject they want to teach (e.g., mathematics, chemistry, biology,
English). Prospective teachers, by law, are not required to take more than 18 hours
of courses from the College of Education, including 6 hours of student teaching.
Beginning in 1997, in partial response to Senate Bill 994, The University
of Texas at Austin began an effort to initiate continual and systematic
change in the manner in which mathematics and science majors were
being prepared for careers as secondary school teachers. To help facilitate
this process, The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural
Sciences brought together a group of experienced secondary school teachers
and administrators to design an innovative teacher preparation program.
Entitled UTeach Natural Sciences, the program was based on national
standards, educational research, and the program designers' years of experience in
the K-12 setting. As a hallmark of this approach, the College of
Natural Sciences continues to employ several of the most exceptional high
school mathematics and science teachers in the state of Texas to lead the
introductory courses (STEP 1 and STEP 2) and to coordinate a range of
ongoing field-based experiences. In order to reinforce the value of such a
career choice for students, the College of Natural Sciences made a
commitment that it has kept to this day to pay the tuition for these introductory
Concurrently, The University of Texas at Austin's College of
Education was independently in the process of a major commitment to rebuild and
to strengthen the college's program in secondary mathematics and
science education. The faculty, with the full support and encouragement of
the College of Education's administration, decided to completely revise
the professional development courses. New faculty lines were created
specifically for recruitment and design of these courses, as well as to
commit faculty energies to this evolving program. Because the program is
restricted by state law to 18 professional development hours, careful
consideration was given to the content, field experiences, and technology competencies
of each course in the certification sequence. A three-course sequence
(Knowing and Learning, Classroom Interactions, and Project-Based
Instruction) was developed that builds on research on student learning, the
examination of standards-based curricula, the study of effective classroom
interactions, and the development of models of teaching. A unique aspect of this
sequence is that issues of technology use and effective approaches to
equitable participation are embedded in all aspects of the sequence (as well as
the entire UTeach program of study), rather than being addressed in
stand-alone courses. Most importantly, the mathematics and science education
faculty prioritized placing students in urban schools, where students would
learn firsthand of the needs, challenges and opportunities involved in
Coordination of Efforts Between Colleges of Education
and Natural Sciences
In a short time it was decided that the College of Natural Sciences and
the College of Education should coordinate their activities, and the initial
seeds of the unique collaboration known as the UTeach Natural Sciences
program were sown. Faculty members of both colleges continue to work
closely. One fruit of this collaboration is the generation of a new set of
domain courses for the UTeach Natural Science program. Domain courses
) integrate mastery of subject matter with inquiry-based methods and the use
of modern technology for scientific discovery. These courses (Functions
and Modeling, Geometry and Visualization, and Molecular Biology)
are specifically designed for mathematics and science teachers and are
required for those students in the UTeach Natural Sciences program. They
provide an opportunity for students to explore the mathematical content behind
the secondary curriculum in considerable depth. The courses model
exemplary classroom practices and focus on not only what is being taught but also
why and how it is being taught (as recommended in Schulman, 1987).
Another example of collaboration between the colleges has been
the development and implementation of International Society for Technology
in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for
Teachers (NETS*T) technology benchmarks (ISTE,
2000) that have been integrated throughout the UTeach Natural Sciences program. A potential
disadvantage of integrating technology into courses is that it is easy for competencies
to fall by the wayside. To alleviate this possibility, UTeach has undergone
an iterative curriculum-mapping process and has collected data from
faculty and students on technology usage in their classes and in the field.
As early as the fall 1999 semester, faculty members examined
UTeach curricula and developed an initial set of UTeach technology
benchmarks. We soon found the ISTE NETS*T benchmarks to be a superior model to
the proposed in-house benchmarks. The two colleges then surveyed
UTeach professors about their course technology goals and ultimately generated
a preliminary curriculum map that correlated the NETS*T with the
stated course goals. This initial map was revised in spring 2000 and again after
the release of the third version of NETS*T during fall 2000. Both the
UTeach program evaluation team and the UTeach faculty have continued to
revise UTeach curricula to better reflect the NETS*T. This is, and will continue
be, an ongoing iterative process of program evaluation and revision
UTeach Natural Sciences students are chosen from a large pool of
talented and academically successful applicants from the College of Natural
Sciences. These students are selected based upon their academic performance
and an expressed desire to pursue a career path in mathematics or
science education. UTeach Natural Sciences students have high SAT scores
and consistently earn higher than average grades (3.05) in comparison to
their College of Natural Science undergraduate peer group (2.90) or the
average student at the university (3.00). Furthermore, UTeach students
represent each of the major teaching areas, including chemistry, biology,
physics, geological sciences and computer science. Nearly one half of the
program participants are mathematics majors. Approximately one third of
the UTeach students are traditionally underrepresented minoritiestwice
as many as in the overall University of Texas at Austin undergraduate
population. For much more information on UTeach Natural Sciences
student characteristics, see www.uteach.utexas.edu/uteach/pdf/studcharacrpt.pdf
In accord with national guidelines for teacher preparation (e.g.,
Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, 2001), UTeach Natural
Sciences students begin supervised classroom teaching in Austin public
school classrooms during their first semester in the program. Working with
mentor teachers, UTeach students are encouraged and supported to discover
as early as their freshman year whether they are truly interested in teaching as
a career and vocation. With little exception, these classroom experiences
are uniformly exciting and positive and raise the level of a students'
commitment to the teaching profession. Field-based experiences take place
primarily in urban schools with high-minority, low-socioeconomic high
school student populations. These experiences introduce the UTeach students to
the rewards and challenges of teaching in an underserved setting and to
witness firsthand the real differences that well-educated, properly trained
motivated teachers can make in the lives of high school students on a
As students transition into their professional education sequence
of courses (see Appendix A), they learn the pedagogical significance
of understanding the cognitive, affective, and social dimensions of
teaching and learning mathematical and scientific ideas. In the course Knowing
and Learning, they conduct interviews and reflect on and analyze
video-based excerpts from real classes. In Classroom Interaction, they engage in
model teaching both as direct instruction (see Schwartz & Bransford, 1998) and
in small groups. Their experience culminates in preparation and design of
an innovative technology-enhanced, project-based unit (see Krajcik,
Czerniak, & Berger, 2002) and an intensive student-teaching experience.
Multiple Entry Points
A distinctive feature of the UTeach Natural Sciences program is its ability
to attract students at different stages in their academic careers and to
provide them with an accessible means of deciding whether or not they wish
to pursue a career in education. The UTeach Natural Sciences program
of study is designed to be flexible to accommodate diverse student
schedules. Normally, students need at least three semesters to complete the
entire program. A cohort model is utilized. For instance, students who enter
STEP 1 (the introductory, one-credit, field-based course) together tend to form
a cohort group that is sustained throughout their time at The University
of Texas at Austin, leading to the conscious formation and development
of meaningful collegial and professional relationships (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. UTeach Natural Sciences' numerous flexible entry points.
The first cohort of 28 UTeach Natural Science students were selected in
the fall of 1997. By the spring of 2003, UTeach enrollment had grown to
more than 360 students. Retention rates for UTeach students have surpassed
the retention rates of their undergraduate College of Natural Sciences
peer group (see Appendix B). This success is attributable to a number of
including a cohort approach that fosters close, interdependent
relationships among participating students; pervasive field experiences; and
guidance from nationally recognized faculty and master teachers. UTeach
Natural Sciences is expected to grow to approximately 400 students and to
graduate 60 to 80 new secondary mathematics and science teachers each
year. According to available numbers, the UTeach Natural Sciences program
at The University of Texas at Austin is already the largest program
for secondary science and mathematics certification at any major
research university in the United States. In fact, only around 1,000 math and
science majors from all the U.S. research universities put together have
been obtaining secondary certification each year. UTeach will be adding 10%
to the national total (Marder & Confrey, 2000).
Facilitation of Technology
College Supported: College of Natural Sciences
To facilitate technology integration into UTeach courses, the College
of Natural Sciences has purchased hardware and software for UTeach
classrooms, in addition to laptops and peripherals for student use in the
field. Additionally, space has been renovated for a UTeach student
workroom funded by the Southwestern Bell corporation. This workroom has
multimedia editing capabilities, a training area with Internet ports for laptop
access, PDA Ethernet synching and recharging cradles, and printing and
projection systems. To ensure that field experiences match our expectations
for technology integration, e-mail accounts for cooperating teachers
are provided free of charge. We regularly utilize a portable networked cart
with 30 laptops and probes for use at one of our field sites. Grants also
provided 10 laptops for the science and math teachers and four laptops for
preservice teacher use, as well as training for our master and cooperating teachers.
The College of Natural Sciences' commitment to preparing
excellent mathematics and science teachers also extends into their content
courses. Future mathematics and science teachers must experience effective
teaching that emphasizes the NETS*T in their undergraduate mathematics
and science classes if they are to implement these strategies effectively at
the secondary level. The college has renovated lecture halls with
multimedia capabilities and class talk systems. The college has showcased effective
use of instructional technology through teacher assistant training
faculty luncheon demonstrations, and an annual teaching strategy
conference. Currently, UTeach students are serving as a pilot group for a
new series of courses that emphasizes effective use of technology. The first
of these courses, an inquiry molecular biology lab, is planned for spring 2003.
The College of Natural Sciences' commitment to UTeach is best indicated
by the considerable resources being expended to make it a success. The
college has provided office and classroom space for personnel involved
with UTeach and full-time administrative support. The UTeach co-director
and assistant director have been provided with teaching relief to permit them
to oversee the growth of UTeach. The college has employed five
full-time master teachers, a full-time student advisor, and a program evaluator.
Tuition refunds are made to students for their first two UTeach courses, STEP I
and STEP II. Beginning with a multimillion dollar donation, we have
established an endowment for UTeach to ensure its future funding. Currently,
our college is working with donors to provide induction support for our alumni.
College Supported: College of Education
In order to facilitate technology integration into the UTeach experience,
the College of Education has received outside funding for professional
training and hardware and software purchases for the UTeach program. For
instance, through Project INSITE (Inventing New Strategies for Integrating
Technology into Education), a Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers for
Technology (PT3) grant from the Department of Education, the College of Education
has received over $800,000 for the training of mentor teachers from the
Austin Independent School District to help facilitate effective utilization of
technology into secondary mathematics and science classrooms throughout
Austin. In this way, Project INSITE is building capacity for classrooms
using technology effectively and consistent with the college's
pedagogical courses, for a meaningful teaching experience for our UTeach
students. Since 2001, 45 Austin-area teachers have been provided with
laptop computers, a Palm personal digital assistant (PDA), and a
projection system, along with 6 days of professional training. The College of
Education is expecting an additional cohort this coming academic year with
the same resources.
To help students gain competency in employing technology in their
content instruction and to support faculty research on effective technology usage,
fully equipped technology classroom and learning laboratory has
been dedicated specifically to the UTeach program. This classroom was
made possible primarily by a grant from the Intel Foundation, as well as
through Project INSITE support.
In addition, since they contribute to student activity fees for the College
of Education via tuition, UTeach students have full use of the College
of Education's Learning Technology Center (LTC). The LTC provides
timely and effective computing and media services to the faculty and students
of the College of Education, assists the faculty and students of the College
of Education in the production and use of instructional materials using a
wide variety of media and technologies, and provides support and
development for research programs in the use of technology in educational settings.
The LTC has been especially helpful in the Project-Based Instruction
and Knowing and Learning classes in the UTeach program.
The College of Education has recently received a grant from the
National Science Foundation to establish a close collaboration between
participants in the Austin Independent School District, UTeach, and the
National Science Foundation (NSF) VaNTH Engineering Research Center (ERC)
of Bioengineering Educational Technologies (VaNTH is an ERC
involving Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, The University of Texas
at Austin, and the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
Program). The goals of this grant are to enlist mathematics and science teachers
to help design and evaluate instructional materials that use science content
as anchors and challenges (Cognition and Technology Group at
Vanderbilt [CTGV], 1992) for the teaching of science and mathematics
fundamentals at various levels in K-12 education. The UTeach students involved
in Knowing and Learning will be especially involved in this new initiative.
To further emphasize the commitment to effective integration of
technology in teacher education, the College of Education has recently completed
the final details for implementation of a new laptop initiative. Beginning in
the fall 2002 semester, UT Austin students engaged in the final phase of
teacher preparation professional certification programs are required to have a
laptop computer conforming to prescribed hardware and software
specifications. Laptop computers will be required for use in most professional
development courses and field experiences, will facilitate innovative
instructional technology integration in public school teaching, and will equip
graduates for teaching in Texas classrooms for the future.
Putting It All Together: The Reciprocal Nature of
Faculty Research and Teaching Meaningful Content with Technology
In this section three cases will be described in which faculty research
is coupled with teaching in the content areas with technology. In each
example, the course was designed by full-time faculty members whose
research interests lie in the intersection of meaningful learning within the content
area of mathematics and science education utilizing technology.
An excellent example of the reciprocal nature of research and teaching
can be found in the Classroom Interactions section of Dr. Jill Marshall.
Dr. Marshall is a recent hire to the College of Education, and her academic
line was funded by a provost's initiative specifically designed to bring
national-caliber faculty who have a commitment to both research and teaching to
the UTeach Natural Sciences program. The curriculum of the
Classroom Interactions section that she teaches is not only informed by research in
the learning and teaching of science; the class itself serves as an active
research site, particularly for investigations in preservice teachers' conceptions
in physical science (Marshall, 2001). The evolution of student
understanding is characterized not only by the instructor as a researcher, but also by
the students themselves in self-reflection, as they re-engage in science
activities at a deeper conceptual level (Marshall, 2002a). In one study, for
example, Interactive Physics was employed to investigate student understanding
of conservation of momentum and the effect of technology (simulations) on
the learning process (Marshall, 2002b).
Knowing and Learning
In Knowing and Learning, students are introduced to the foundations
of how people learn and how this impacts instruction. Recent
National Academy of Sciences publications are used as primary source books
(NRC, 1999, 2001) and a novice-to-expert paradigm is emphasized
(Goldman, Petrosino, & CTGV, 1999). As in other classes, technology is fully
integrated in the forms of simulations, modeling, concept mapping, and the use
of PDAs (Petrosino, Slaughter, Vath, & Tothero, 2003; see Figure 2).
In addition, UTeach students are shown effective ways to incorporate
hands-on instruction and data gathering into their teaching (Petrosino, 1998),
well as meaningful ways for secondary students to analyze data once it
is collected (Petrosino, Lehrer, & Schauble, 2003).
Figure 2. Students beaming data to each other in their Knowing
and Learning course.
Students are also exposed to new research on how the learning sciences
are being utilized in the area of postsecondary education (see Figure 3).
While this may not seem like a perfect fit upon initial reading, one must realize
that most of the work conducted in the area of project-based, case-based,
and problem-based instruction incorporating technology was initiated in
middle and secondary schools. The importance of such research emerges
quickly. UTeach students see firsthand how the very instructional pedagogies
they are learning in their sequence of courses is being used across
prestigious universities like Vanderbilt, Northwestern University, Harvard/MIT
School of Health Sciences and The University of Texas at Austin, as part of
the NSF-funded VaNTH ERC project (see
http://www.vanth.org/; also Petrosino & Pandy, 2001).
Figure 3. Integration of technology with meaningful learning
principles using the VaNTH Legacy Cycle
In project-based instruction (PBI), students use a wide variety of software
to develop project-based curricular units that are infused with
technology. Software includes Web-authoring, video-editing, concept-map, and
modeling applications. Units produced by students are posted to the Web
and pressed onto a class CD so that students have access to a library of
projects (see http://www.uteach.utexas.edu/technology/corecourses.html
). Project-based instruction students are also required to spend 24 hours in the
field working with secondary students in a project-based environment. Most
PBI students satisfy this requirement through a 4-day field trip to the Gulf
coast of Texas. Our students plan and implement the 4-day trip with local
high school students. Where appropriate, PBI students incorporate technology
in their lessons.
A major hurdle in creating project-based curricula is that the
process requires simultaneous changes in curriculum, instruction, and
assessment practiceschanges that are often foreign to the students as well as to
the teachers. In Uteach, PBI students develop an approach to
implementing, and evaluating project-based curricula that has emerged
from collaboration with teachers and researchers. Previous work has
identified four design principles that appear to be especially important: (a)
defining learning appropriate goals that lead to deep understanding; (b)
providing scaffolds such as beginning with problem-based learning activities
before completing projects; using "embedded teaching," "teaching tools," and
sets of "contrasting cases"; (c) including multiple opportunities for
formative self assessment; and (d) developing social structures that promote
participation and revision (Barron et al., 1998). While all four goals are
important, the development of a quality anchor video best satisfies the first
design principle and also paves the way for the other three design
principles. Although this course has many innovative aspects, the most salient for
the immediate issue at hand is the design, development, and incorporation
of student-created video anchors for the project-based units the students create.
Over the past 3 years, technology-rich, project-based units have
been developed in such diverse areas as energy expenditure of muscles
during exercise, oil spills, habitats of Austin-area bats, chemical bonding,
virus transmission, and mathematical modeling (see
). In all cases, a set of design principles for creating a motivating question has been incorporated.
These design principles have been informed by the work of Krajcik as well as
the CTGV. Criteria for a quality "driving" question (Krajcik et al.,
2002) include issues of whether the question is worthwhile (i.e., promotes
higher order thinking), feasible (i.e., students can design and perform
investigations to answer the question), contextualized (i.e., related to real
world problems), meaningingful (i.e., relevant to learners' lives), and open
ended (i.e., complex problem with multiple solution paths). Design principles
for the creation of the anchor video include a narrative or first-person
structure to the story, a generative design of the story, some embedded data,
a complex problem involving multiple steps to mimic real-world
problem solving, and the use of digital video to make the complexity
manageable (Goldman et al., 1999).
Summary and Conclusion
The UTeach Natural Sciences preservice teacher education
program represents a unique joint effort between the College of Education,
the College of Natural Sciences, and the Austin Independent School District
to recruit, prepare, and provide professional support for the next generation
secondary mathematics and science teachers for the State of Texas, as
well as providing a model for other such partnerships across the nation.
This innovative and collaborative approach to teacher preparation
has shown great promise in attracting students to careers in mathematics
and science education. UTeach successfully unites practical experience in
the classroom and scholarly investigation with early and continuous
field experiences that capture the excitement and passion of preservice
teachers, while providing a foundation for their more advanced pedagogical courses
Some unique aspects of the UTeach Natural Sciences program include
Proactive recruitment and support of College of Natural
Sciences undergraduates who are interested in careers in secondary
mathematics and science education. Support includes but is not limited to
tuition reimbursement, paid internships, small cohorts of students, and
guidance by master teachers.
Emphasis on preparing teachers who will have irrefutable
content expertise within their discipline, extensive instruction on
employing their content expertise with sound pedagogical practices
(Schulman, 1987), and practice in employing new and emerging technologies
to enhance student learning.
- A concise and research-based professional education sequence
drawing from foundations on student learning (NRC, 1999),
standards-based curricula, multiple forms of assessment (NRC, 2000), and
proven strategies for achieving equity and integrating technology into
mathematics and science education (Bruer, 1995; Polman, 2000).
In 1997 the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and
Technology concluded the following:
The probability that elementary and secondary education
will prove to be the one information-based industry in
which computer technology does not have a natural role would at
this point be appear to be so low as to render
unconscionably wasteful any research that might be designed to answer
this question alone. (pp. 93-94)
Teachers want and need concrete skills in using and producing
technology resources and cognitive tools. At the same time these very teachers must
be truly skilled in integrating rapidly changing technologies only if they
are also adept at instructional systems design and applying learning
theories, instructional strategies, and pedagogical and curricular knowledge
to technology integration and the use of these cognitive tools. Teachers
must be prepared to use cognitive tools and must gain strategies for
staying abreast of evolving technologies. Concurrently, the faculty who are
instructing this next generation of teachers at research universities need to
be actively involved in taking seriously the call of the President's Committee
of Advisors on Science and Technology, and to adhere to the words of
Dr. Weinberg in the opening quotation of this article as they pursue their
own research goals in the learning sciences. When these factors merge, as
they do at The University of Texas at Austin in the UTeach Natural
Sciences program, the beneficiaries include not only the next generation of
teachers here at the university but, we hope, the next generation of
secondary mathematics and science teachers from around the county.
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We would like to thank all the teachers, students, administration,
faculty and staff whose collective effort has allowed the UTeach Natural
Sciences program to become a reality. A list of the many generous benefactors
and granting agencies for UTeach Natural Sciences can be found
UTeach Natural Science Course Sequence
UTeach Natural Science Enrollment and Graduation History
Anthony J. Petrosino
College of Education
The University of Texas at Austin
College of Natural Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin