This study investigated the domain and practice of an online community of practice formed by English language teachers (ELTs) on Twitter as a professional learning network (PLN). A “Communities of Practice” framework (Wenger, 1998; Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015) was applied to the qualitative analysis of interviews and publicly accessible social media data of 20 participants. This paper reports on the extent to which members of the PLN use social media for professional purposes and their perceptions of the value of social media in comparison to more traditional means of professional learning: reading ELT textbooks, reading scholarly articles on pedagogy and applied linguistics, and participating in ELT conferences. Findings demonstrate that this PLN functioned as a community of practice that valued social media as a tool in conjunction with the more traditional means of professional learning. Participants said social media had particular advantages, including accessibility, brevity, and low cost. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research and implications for hybrid ELT professional learning practices.
Teachers have perceived technology professional development (tech-PD) as ineffective, particularly when it does not address individual needs. Researchers need to examine how tech-PD experiences are planned, implemented, and evaluated. Typically K-12 technology leaders (e.g., technology coaches) are responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating tech-PD. This study focused on the reported tech-PD design practices of technology leaders who are members of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Based on data from questionnaire responses (n=153), interviews (n = 6), and artifacts (n = 6), three trends emerged: (a) ISTE technology leaders planned tech-PD experiences based on teacher, administrative, school, and district needs, but did not report conducting formal needs assessments; (b) ISTE technology leaders implemented tech-PD via a variety of approaches, but did not report implementing sustained and continuous tech-PD; and (c) ISTE technology leaders evaluated tech-PD using self-reported teacher data, but did not collect more systematic evaluation data.
This exploratory study examined the perceived usefulness of virtual classroom visits in literacy education coursework and teacher preparation programs from the perspectives of elementary teacher candidates (TCs) and teacher educators. Virtual tour technology was used to capture 360-degree views of classrooms. Participants (N = 10) had access to these virtual classrooms via a professional development website. After viewing four of the preK-6 virtual classrooms, participants were invited to a focus group or an interview where they described the potential use of virtual classroom visits in literacy education coursework. An inductive approach to analysis led to preliminary insights into the benefits and challenges of using virtual classrooms in teacher education programs and coursework. Findings suggest that virtual classroom visits have the potential to bridge the gap between what TCs learn in their coursework and their field experiences. Virtual classroom visits can offer TCs an additional window into exemplary classrooms and access to models of highly experienced teachers.
This qualitative case study was framed by an experiential learning approach organized around video resources and linguistically and culturally responsive content teaching. The study explored an overarching research question: How did teacher-learners in a grant project interact with a multimedia learning platform that combined teaching video and VoiceThread presentation, called VT project, designed to enhance their linguistically and culturally responsive content teaching (LCRCT) for English learners (ELs)? Data included participants’ VT projects, online and face-to-face class discussions, survey results, and final reflective papers in two TESOL courses as part of a National Professional Development grant program in a Midwestern University. Analyses demonstrated that the technology-assisted course design generally promoted a critical habit of mind among teacher-learners through opportunities to attentively notice and critically reflect on one’s own and others’ teaching practices. Teacher-learners demonstrated a shared ownership over their teaching processes while establishing a reflective discourse community, where the LCRCT framework guided their learning and practices of LCRCT for ELs. Study implications include ways for the teacher-learners to transfer their learning from this reflective multimedia-supported TESOL program into their classrooms, schools, and districts, as well as the challenges. The research was conducted by the three instructors who designed and implemented the course.
This paper examines adaptation processes a group of Maltese teachers employed to contextualize tablet PC use in formal educational contexts. Research in information systems stipulates that while time may play an important role in technology, timing for accommodation and adaptation still represents a gray area that requires more attention. Nascent data indicates that over a relatively short period of time, intense but voluntary exposure to tablet PCs triggered attitudinal adjustment processes that catered for accommodation and adaptation toward the technology. The sharing of experiences, technology mediations, and recursive and contextualized dialogues between players seem to have been important in accelerating sense-making adaptation processes, consolidating newly formed technological interpretations.
This case study documents the influence of preservice teachers’ experiences in a Video-Enhanced Training Program (VETP) on their teaching. The conceptual framework of this VETP comes from a research program in cultural anthropology based on Wittgenstein’s analytical philosophy. Influence was identified during self-confrontation interviews with preservice teachers (n = 8) in physical education with a video of their teaching. The findings indicated that this VETP program improved their ability to conduct a lesson. More precisely, these results showed the kinds of experiences PTs mobilized from the VETP (and others) when teaching, their number (n = 6), and the ways in which they drew on a variety of experiences. Two main avenues for modifying VETPs are then proposed: First, teaching should be viewed as both an object and a training situation, and second, VETPs should be integrated into a broad teacher-training path, which should be understood as a pool of experiences from which each teachers forge their own initial teaching practice.
Research on social media use in education indicates that network-based connections can enable powerful teacher learning opportunities. Using a connectivist theoretical framework (Siemens, 2005), this study focuses on secondary teacher candidates (TCs) who completed, archived, and reflected upon 1-hour Twitter chats (N = 39) to explore the promise and pitfalls in integrating optional Twitter chats as a professional learning and networking tool in a semester-long teacher education course. While many TCs reported that their Twitter chat experiences allowed them to bridge physical and experiential distance and benefit from educator networks, some TCs experienced miscues that left them feeling on the periphery of these chats, able to gather resources but not to establish a sense of connection. For most participating TCs, their Twitter chat experience changed their perspectives toward Twitter as a professional learning tool, opening the door to future exploration of Twitter as a tool for professional networking. The results of this study indicate the promise of integrating Twitter chats as a professional learning tool, but also demonstrate the importance of anticipating common miscues and explicitly addressing the nature, structure, and purpose of Twitter chats to strengthen opportunities for TCs to establish ongoing professional connections using this medium.
The future for primary and secondary school textbooks is moving to digital ones, and faculties of schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDEs) need to prepare preservice teachers for this change. Already, legislatures in 23 states have mandated that school systems use digital textbooks or digital resources as part of their textbook resources, thus shifting the definition and conceptions of the term textbook. In addition to added functionality (i.e., highlighting and dictionary functions), electronic textbooks allow the teacher to choose, edit, and modify text, becoming a more active consumer of curricular materials. This shift brings challenges as preservice teachers adapt to integrating this new technology into their practice. They need greater opportunities to manage this technology to select and adapt text to better match the curriculum to student need and interest. To better prepare preservice science teachers, the researchers adapted the secondary science teacher education methods class to integrate digital textbooks into coursework. Their purpose was to investigate preservice science teachers’ views about the uses of e-readers and e-text prior to their science methods course and their views of their use of this technology when they are required to incorporate them as a resource in their lesson planning.
Research indicates that preservice teachers’ understandings of how to integrate technology into their classrooms are dependent upon experience in their university methods courses and in their field placements. These findings place a new responsibility on teacher educators for modeling effective integration of technology into methods courses. This study focused on teacher educators’ integration of technology using iPads to enhance teaching and learning in an elementary education teacher preparation program. Four faculty members documented their own technology integration journey through collaborative autoethnography identifying the affordances and challenges of 1:1 iPad integration into their science, social studies and literacy methods courses. The researchers discovered that access to technology alone is not sufficient for faculty members to integrate iPad use in their courses. High quality use of iPads and their applications require time for exploration, experimentation, and practice, as well as professional support and development adding another dimension to the work of teacher educators.
Instructional technology has become a crucial component of public education. Reflected in the college and career-ready standards being implemented across the United States, an emphasis has been placed on preparing students with both the literacy and technology skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce. Though a growing body of research has studied the theory and best practices for developing students’ disciplinary literacy skills in the high school classroom, research that investigates the ways preservice secondary teachers use instructional technology during their student-teaching internship is an emerging area of study. In this paper the researchers explained how they used the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition framework as a guide for analyzing the ways preservice English and social studies teachers used technology while completing their internship and reported those findings. The article concludes with recommendations for developing preservice teachers’ use of instructional technology during their teacher education program.
This paper discusses preservice teachers’ perceptions of an online, in-house diversity simulation in an undergraduate teacher education program conducted over a 3-year period. The diversity simulation was a nontraditional capstone experience for 193 preservice teachers in majors ranging from early childhood to secondary education. The diversity simulation included scenarios at the kindergarten, middle school, and high school levels, allowing participating preservice teachers to assume leadership positions during the simulation. Results of an anonymous survey indicated that the preservice teachers found that the diversity simulation provided realistic scenarios and promoted creative thinking and team building. Preservice teachers were also asked to write a final critique essay of the simulation experience. Qualitative themes emerged from an analysis of the essays that were consistent with previous research on simulations. Such themes included self-efficacy, emerging professional identity, empathy, leadership, knowledge base, collaboration, ethics, and critical thinking.
Although instruction related to learning management systems and other educational applications in teacher education programs has increased, the potential of geospatial technologies has yet to be widely explored and considered in the teacher education literature, despite its ability to function as an engaging pedagogical tool with teacher candidates. This practitioner article discusses uses of geospatial technologies in a social studies teacher education program as a way of demonstrating how other teacher educators might use geospatial technologies to prompt teacher candidates to new ways of thinking about pedagogy and the world at large. An overview is provided of the value and relevance of integrating geospatial technologies within teacher education, followed by three examples of how geospatial technologies have been included in existing teacher education courses. In each example the activity and its connection to geospatial technologies are described, as well as the assessment and experience of teacher candidates. Teacher educators, especially those with limited experience in geospatial technology use, are provided with exemplar ways they might integrate geospatial technologies into the courses they teach—whether it be a course on methods, curriculum, a content area, or beyond.
A curriculum-linked professional development approach designed to support middle level science teachers’ understandings about tectonics and geospatial pedagogical content knowledge was developed. This approach takes into account limited face-to-face professional development time and instead provides pedagogical support within the design of a Web-based curriculum with extensive teacher support materials. This paper illustrates how curriculum design can provide teachers with supports for content (e.g., tectonics) and geospatial instruction with Web GIS. The effectiveness of the approach is presented with a focus on how the curriculum implementation of the Web GIS tectonics investigations and the curriculum support materials provided teachers with the professional growth required for successful curriculum implementation.
This 7-year, cross-sectional study of a 1:1 laptop teacher preparatory program in the United States examined the nature and change in faculty technological modeling. Using survey methods, preservice teachers (n = 932) reported their faculty’s use of technological activities in coursework. Through descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and qualitative analysis, researchers found change in the number of faculty members incorporating presentation, word processing, email, learning management systems, and digital video activities in coursework. Emergent activities with low but increasing use included digital audio, social networking, text messaging, and blog activities. Less widely reported activities included social bookmarking, desktop publishing, webpage creation, and games. Overall results indicated all students did not report similar faculty technological modeling, which also meant that students had divergent technological experiences from which to base their future teaching. The discussion outlines an expansion of educational technology integration across teacher education methods/content courses to increase systematic and contemporary coverage of technological advancements in education through codeveloped curriculum and coteaching by educational technology and teacher education faculty.
This study examined the use of one online social networking tool, NING™, in teacher education, highlighting preservice teachers’ engagement and perceptions of the tool. Data obtained from 91 preservice teachers suggest that they found the multimodal platform useful as a tool to build pedagogic and content knowledge. Responses to surveys and online forums indicated potential benefits of social networking in higher education with preservice teachers indicating that this tool enabled increased control of their learning. Personalization and capacity to control and contribute multimodal responses were seen as effective in developing a learning community in a diverse cohort of higher education students.
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.
Since Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) description of technological pedagogical content knowledge (also known as TPACK), scholars have analyzed the various paths preservice and in-service teachers can take to develop their knowledge in each of the subdomains. However, the model of the overall framework can be confusing to teachers, as Venn diagrams are generally used for categorization. Furthermore, no representation of TPACK to date has presented a means to accurately reflect a teacher’s growth in knowledge over time. This paper proposes a visual and quantitative representation of TPACK that will help teachers better understand the TPACK framework and track their growth in the knowledge domains over time. A pilot study was conducted with 24 preservice science and mathematics teachers. Quantitative evidence indicated that an explanation of TPACK using a radar diagram was at least as effective as an explanation using a Venn diagram in terms of these students’ understanding of TPACK. Furthermore, the qualitative evidence supported the assertion that teachers would benefit from a way to track their growth in the essential knowledge areas encompassed by the framework.
Educators have increasingly turned to Twitter as a means for receiving professional development and building and sustaining professional learning communities. This paper reports the results of a study of 82 undergraduate preservice teachers and their attitudes regarding Twitter as a medium for informal professional development support during their internships. Preservice teachers were invited to follow a faculty-mediated Twitter account and subsequently reported their willingness to continue using Twitter after their internships. Data from the end of the internships, as well as a follow-up of those continuing to follow the Twitter account 2 years after their internships, were analyzed for trends in acceptance of Twitter as an informal means of professional development support. Findings show that most preservice interns who followed the faculty-mediated Twitter account were inclined to using Twitter after their internships to learn about new classroom strategies and new technologies.
Teacher preparation programs have provided blended courses (a combination of online and face-to-face learning) for their students because of their availability and their convenience. Researchers need to understand how teacher educators perceive blended courses when they teach teacher candidates, because teacher preparation programs have different features than other higher education programs have. This qualitative study examined one instructor’s activities and her perceptions of a blended course in a teacher preparation program for one semester. Data included classroom and online observations, weekly interviews after face-to-face classes, and a final interview at the end of the semester. The results indicated that the instructor saw her roles primarily as pedagogical, managerial, social, and technical. The instructor also saw herself taking on additional roles in the blended environment. This study suggests that ongoing support from cohorts and institutions is necessary for instructors who implement new blended approaches.
The debate surrounding teacher quality often fails to differentiate effectively between teacher-preparation providers. This failure also extends to distinguishing between teachers prepared in traditional campus-based accredited programs from those prepared in unaccredited campus-based programs. This paper compares assessment infrastructure and expenditure levels of accredited and unaccredited schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDEs). The College of Education Assessment Infrastructure Survey was administered to 1,011 campus-based programs in 2007 and 2009. Six hundred seven responses—341 (33.7%) from 2009 and 266 (26.3%) from 2007—were analyzed. Results support the notion that accredited SCDEs are significantly more likely than their unaccredited counterparts (a) to implement electronic assessment systems, and (b) to invest at higher levels in assessment infrastructure. Implications include the role of accreditation reporting and other requirements on SCDE assessment policy and allocation of resources to support the growing need for enhanced capacity.
The need for the effective development of digital literacies pervades every aspect of instruction in contemporary classrooms. As a result, teacher candidates must be equipped to draw upon a variety of literacies in order to tap into the complex social worlds of their future pupils. The Write for Your Life Project was designed to strengthen teacher candidates’ skills in both traditional and digital writing literacies through the use of social networks, blogging, texting, online modules and other social media. The project, to a large degree, was structured according to Calkins’ (1994) Writing Workshop Approach. This process encourages teacher candidates to write daily, devise writing minilessons, use peer conferencing, and publish final pieces. This article describes the Write for Your Life Project that was piloted in two courses with 45 teacher candidates, shares findings from the implementation process, and makes recommendations for more effectively integrating writing and technology across the content areas in teacher education courses.
Models of professional development for teachers have been criticized for not being embedded in the context in which teachers are familiar, namely their own classrooms. This paper discusses an adapted-Continuous Practice Improvement model, which qualitative findings indicate was effective in facilitating the transfer of creative and innovative teaching approaches from the expert or Resident Teacher’s school to the novice or Visiting Teachers’ classrooms over the duration of the project. The cultural shift needed to embed and extend the use of online teaching across the school was achieved through the positive support and commitment of the principals in the Visiting Teachers’ schools, combined with the success of the professional development activities offered by the Visiting Teachers to their school-based colleagues.
Although early field experiences are touted as vital for providing a hands-on preview of how teaching unfolds in the classroom, these essential components of teacher preparation programs have consistently fallen short of the desired outcomes. In the spirit of Dewey, candidates need substantive experiences that transform their theoretical learning into pedagogical knowledge. Likewise, Darling-Hammond (2006a) asserted that these experiences are strengthened when a collective team embarks on a mutual commitment, comprised of the candidate, university faculty, and talented teachers from cooperating schools. This article describes a project that sought to create technology-mediated early field experiences that maximized candidate learning in online content methods courses. The Windows into Teaching and Learning (WiTL) project was conceived and actualized by researchers in a large, urban university in the southeastern region of the United States. The initial objective of the project was to explore a means by which technology might facilitate meaningful field experiences for candidates enrolled in distance education classes. Several other potential outcomes arose from the project, allowing researchers to expand the initial scope to encompass potential benefits for all university teacher candidates conducting early field experiences as a part of their path to licensure.
In collaboration with preservice elementary teachers and in-service kindergarten teachers, the authors engaged in small-scale, demand-side production of educational software focused on numeracy skills. That is, the authors built applications designed to address children’s specific learning needs as they surfaced in the classroom and were identified by the teachers. Details about the design and rationale of the software, the collaborative development process, indications about its impact on teachers’ practice, and discussion about the potential of this approach to educational software production are shared.
As the nation’s economy continues its irrevocable shift from manufacturing toward idea-driven, creative industries, our schools — and the teaching and learning enterprise at the heart of our schools — need to undergo a transformation as well. The result of such a transformation needs to be a type of educational experience and expertise that will not only support but also ignite participation in — and leadership for — an idea-driven, creative economy. Equally important as supporting a new economy is educational experience and expertise that supports a global citizenry. This paper argues for the importance of 1:1 laptop environments and related professional development initiatives as the catalysts for a new learning ecology that provide the dynamic educational reform described above.
In this article the authors present Five-Picture Charades, an instructional activity designed to introduce preservice and in-service teachers to the technical and pedagogical uses of digital images in the classroom. Because digital images can be repurposed into several different types of digital media projects, Five-Picture Charades is described as a flexible model for educating teachers about creating and editing digital media. The authors also discuss pedagogical uses of this activity across the content areas, as well as describe ways to relate Five-Picture Charades to lesson planning and curriculum development projects.
Online learning and teaching is rapidly increasing in many countries, including high schools in the USA and teacher education worldwide. Online and blended approaches to professional and organizational development are, therefore, becoming essential to enable effective and equitable education. Authentic project-based learning to support the evolution of best practices in online and blended learning in the professional contexts of the students is the current practice shared in this paper. Through a description of our postgraduate course, its pedagogy and student artifacts, its impacts are illustrated in K-12 schools and teacher education within and beyond New Zealand. Authentic online formative assessment is at the core of the pedagogy described.
The use of portfolios in teacher education has grown in popularity over the last decade. Attempts to harness the potential of portfolios as a means to enhance learning and reflection have sometimes led to a complex or document-driven process that appears several steps removed from the act of teaching. In response this paper describes the development of a portfolio process based upon digital photographs taken to document the first teaching practicum of student teachers. Central to students’ initial experiences of learning portfolios is a process that is based upon team discussion and reflection, which leads to the successful completion of a group-based portfolio product.
Establishing an online community of professional learners was one component of a multiyear professional development project with an overall goal of improving the ability of career and technical educators to use and interpret technical assessment data. Educators from five states and nine different schools participated in a research-based workshop and were mentored for several months as they developed a data-driven action plan. Few of the project participants engaged in substantial exchanges using the website that was established to enhance communications among the educators at a distance from each other. The principal investigators discuss and present design elements of online communities used to revise the website and its facilitation.
Teacher educators are constantly revisiting and revising their teacher education programs. Historically, research, educational policy, and accreditation requirements have been the impetus for renewal in teacher education. For the past 20 years, technology innovation has played an increasingly significant role in rethinking teacher education. This paper discusses recent changes in a social studies teacher education program and the role Web 2.0 tools played in helping to rethink pedagogy.
Four separate approaches to employing digital video editing were examined with preservice and in-service teachers in an attempt to find common themes. Though selected from a variety of teacher preparation content areas (special education, literacy, and science). each approach shared several common attributes. Among them were the purposeful disruption of traditional teaching, the promotion of rigorous participation in analysis of effective teaching strategies, and the building of learning communities through apprenticeship models. Implications for teaching, teacher preparation, and research are discussed.
Preparing preservice teachers to use technology appropriately in mathematics instruction is an important objective of mathematics teacher preparation programs. At Utah State University, this objective is addressed in a combined capstone mathematics and technology course. In this course, preservice teachers learn technology skills as they collaborate with their peers in mathematical investigations, as they learn to use a variety of technological resources and to adapt to new technologies that will foster the understanding of their future students, and as they share their mathematical and technological expertise to enrich the common learning experience.
The integration of technology into preservice teacher education continues to be emphasized as important. The hope is that if future teachers obtain technology skills they will design meaningful technology-mediated learning experiences for their students. However, gaining technology skills alone does not ensure the ability to envision and employ successful technology-mediated learning designs. Consequently, teacher education must model the connection between learning and technology. This paper examines the use of digital stories as a pedagogical tool in two undergraduate educational psychology classes. The study analyzes a constructivist learning design where technology and learning intertwine. Affordances and constraints of learning within this design are explored in relation to student experiences. The analysis includes artifacts such as wikis, storyboards, a questionnaire, and their final digital stories.
Through the use of Web 2.0 technologies the production and distribution of professional digital video content for use in teacher education has become more prevalent. As teachers look to learn from and interact with this video content, they need explicit support to help draw their attention to specific pedagogical strategies and reduce cognitive load. This support can be provided through the use of different design strategies that include providing access to prompts, teacher commentary, reflective tools, and multiple representations of a particular observation. This article provides a review of these design strategies and discusses the ways in which they can be used to produce effective video for teacher education.
Writing personal narratives provides students with additional techniques for making deeper connections to subject matter. Content-related narrative development offers a departure from the traditional methods of teaching and learning and enables students to construe meaning individually and make deeper connections with subject matter content. By purposefully integrating storytelling into the curriculum, teachers promote academic- and self-efficacy, empowerment, and community-building opportunities and advance their own professional development. The Content-Related Digital Storytelling (CoRDS) model provides teachers with a pedagogical tool that works in concert with other subject matter approaches and allows students to access their analytical and creative faculties to demonstrate understanding or reveal gaps in their knowledge. When creative works that result from the CoRDS process are shared, they become authentic, reusable classroom artifacts.
This study examined teacher-learners’ reflections about the use of video production in their K-12 classrooms for evidence of content learning, the factors facilitating teacher use of video production, and the challenges teachers reported. Findings demonstrated positive content learning outcomes as measured by objective tests, rubrics, and anecdotal evidence. Integrating video production facilitated connections to content, student motivation and engagement, the use of alternative assessment, and shifts in teacher identity. Challenges faced by teachers included issues related to equipment, logistics, and time. The study concludes that video production, when understood as an instructional strategy and not as an object of study, has an important role to play in K-12 content learning.
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.
This study examined the relationship between learning style, level of resistance to change, and teacher retention in schools implementing an intensive schoolwide technology and media integration model. Researchers found that teachers with ST (sensing-thinking) and SF (sensing-feeling) learning style preferences, as described by the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, had higher levels of resistance to change. Teachers with the ST learning style were also three times more likely to leave their schools, compared to teachers with other learning style preferences. Implications for policy and practice are discussed. In particular, teachers with the ST learning style preference may require additional support to enable them to adapt to changes within the dynamic environment of a school undergoing an intensive technology reform effort.
A comprehensive approach for integrating technology into a TESOL teacher preparation program is described. Ten specific ways to assure constructivist technology use in teacher education are highlighted. These techniques have been synthesized into a compact model with three pillars: (a) electronic assessment system (e-portfolios for individual assessment and program evaluation), (b) teacher candidates’ technology-based course assignments and performances, and (c) Web-based instruction and communication. The authors claim that within this three-pronged model flexibility of implementation is key to success for preservice and in-service teachers.
New technologies now offer teachers alternative models of collaboration with schools overseas, but how effective are they as professional development opportunities? The experiences of 18 specialist primary and secondary teachers in the Teachers’ International Professional Development Programme who visited schools in the USA were investigated as they set about establishing collaborative projects with their hosts. The focus was on the potential of such collaboration to engender professional development outcomes and to investigate the circumstances enabling or impeding success. Data were collected by means of questionnaires and interviews, both during the visit and for 20 months after return. A surprising result was the small number of teachers who managed to start a collaborative project. One of the more frequently cited reasons for lack of progress was technical problems, and this was with a group of teachers who were information and communications technology specialists. Other inhibitory factors were lack of time and lack of funding. However, additional examination reveals other benefits arising from the exercise (e.g., in terms of professional development of a broader kind), including a range of factors that could maximize the success of future projects.
This paper describes the fit between educational technologies and teacher views and pedagogies in light of two recently completed research projects. These studies focused on observed pedagogies associated with the classroom-based use of two learning technologies: digital video (student-generated), and interactive whiteboards. The paper considers the use of these two technologies from a sociocultural perspective, recognizing that the nature of tools and the nature of societal use of these tools are mutually dependent. Questions are raised about how the inherent nature of different technologies might shape different learning experiences and outcomes and whether certain technologies fit better with some pedagogical approaches than others.
This article explores 21st century skills, nonlinear thinking skills, and the need for student reflection—which, taken together, serve as an essential foundation for digital-age teaching of today’s hypertext learners. The authors discuss why preservice teachers need to use multimedia technologies within the context of students’ familiar, technology-rich living spaces to develop their own teaching skills and the technology skills of their students. Exemplary multimedia samples are offered as demonstrations of ways to develop essential technology-related skills in the next generation of teachers.
Many researchers in the social studies have supported the use of primary sources in history classrooms as a support for historical inquiry. Although primary sources have become accessible via the Internet, simply using digital primary sources, does not automatically translate into historical thinking or technology best practice. Consequently, an evaluation matrix was constructed for one study to gauge the fidelity of primary source use according to three domains, curriculum content, instructional processes, and student products or outcomes. In this article, the researchers provide background information on the development of the evaluation matrix, present the instrument, and evaluate its effectiveness in categorizing both primary source and technology usage.
New learning and communications paradigms of today’s learners are extending the definition of literacy and directly affecting how reading and writing skills are acquired (Leu, 2000). Mirroring an ever-expanding definition of literacy, new college and K-12 curricular programs that redefine digital media are popping up all over the country. Story is at the core of both traditional literacy and these digital media courses and using it as a focus could be appealing to today’s media-centric students. Further, McLuhan’s (1965) and Ong’s (1984) ideas about media and the message can help to reformulate notions about why and how today’s students communicate and how using particular media affects how they learn things. The intent of this article is to share information and provide guidance for preservice and in-service teachers about a mediated alternative instructional strategy that has the ability to reach reluctant and struggling readers. Findings are presented from a pilot study that evaluated a new Web-based tool that links the interests of media-centric students with their natural fondness for story. Digital Booktalk is a Web portal that uses video trailers and associated activities in an attempt to effectively match potential readers. Initial pilot studies tested out these assumptions and determined that these types of mediated interventions can be successful in motivating students to read and complete books and increase personal understanding of the relevance of reading and writing in the lives of those who otherwise demonstrate an aversion to text-based media. Results of the study and implications for in-service and preservice teachers are discussed.
This study documents the transformation of a graduate-level course for teachers that had traditionally been taught in a face-to-face (f2f) model, in multiple sections, at a large university. By designing the course for online delivery and developing various interactive multimedia modules, the university was able to offer the course at a considerable savings while maintaining quality. The faculty worked in close collaboration, strategizing creative solutions to maintain the academic rigor and integrity of the course. Student papers and projects were analyzed and compared from both the f2f and online versions of the course to determine academic quality and learning outcomes.
This article describes the impact on cooperating teachers of a programmatic stage of teacher preparation to use technology. The Teacher as Web Site Developer is an arrangement for linking a university-based instructional technology lab with preservice teacher placements in a pre-K-12 public school classroom. The preservice teachers consider their cooperating teacher as the client for their work in the technology lab. The purpose of the program is to better prepare tomorrow’s teachers to use technology. However, anecdotal evidence suggested that the program also has an impact on the technology expertise of the cooperating teacher. A pilot study found that the program positively influenced those teachers who actively participated but that there were procedural weaknesses in the program. After making changes to address the identified weaknesses, a follow-up study found significantly higher compliance with the program and continued evidence of its contribution to the technology expertise of the participating cooperating teachers. The research suggests that the program is another way in which to improve use of technology in teacher preparation as well as to improve the technology mentoring of participating cooperating teachers. It also identifies obstacles to these improvements.
This article is intended to help teacher educators, classroom teachers, and administrators interested in educational technology acquire a firm theoretical as well as practical foundation upon which to introduce nonlinear digital video into their undergraduate or graduate instruction; discover a time-tested, step-by-step process for introducing creative hands-on videography projects into their respective teacher preparation programs or classrooms; and recognize why it is critically important for preservice and in-service teachers to establish a personal underlying pedagogical philosophy for infusing video technology into classroom instruction.
Within the Master of Teaching Program at the University of Calgary, two teacher educators collaborated in facilitating an inquiry-based project with a group of preservice teachers in examining real-world issues related to English as Second Language students. A learning environment was created and modeled, where preservice teachers were challenged to think about teaching and learning with technology, the relationship between technology and learning, and to become designers of learning with digital media and network technologies. This article describes one teacher educator’s perceptions of the project and presents her insights into planning and facilitating a learning environment that purposefully integrated technology to foster a rich, deep learning experience.
This case study describes the outcomes of 4 years of professional development funded by a PT3 grant. Participants included general education university faculty members, teacher education faculty members, school administrators, and K-12 teachers. All professional development activities were based on the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T). Findings show that all participants modeled Standards 1-5 of NETS-T. Discussion includes the absence of modeling of Standard 6 and levels of cognitive skills required by students to engage in technology integration activities. Based on this study, it is recommended that professional development in the area of technology integration for university faculty members and for K-12 teachers should stress uses of software and hardware for analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of information and concepts. Understanding the stages of adoption and their relationships to cognitive skills may help instructors reflect on personal practice and move through the stages more quickly. Special attention should be paid to NETS-T, Standard 6, to ensure understandings of ways in which specific pieces of software and specific pedagogical practices can empower and disempower groups of diverse learners.
The purpose of this article is to describe the attempts of faculty members in one teacher education program to foster integration of content and skills across courses, prepare teachers for the diverse classrooms they will encounter, and connect course content to real life experiences. This paper describes the design of a cross-curricular video production project for undergraduate elementary teacher education. Four faculty members collectively created a video production project that would count as a major assignment in either three or four courses, depending on the students’ choice of topics. Our intent was to help the students understand the enmeshed nature of the content in the special education, social foundations, ESL methods, and educational technology courses. Students demonstrated the abilities needed to conceptualize, organize, and carry out a digital video production. The video project personalized situations and circumstances once known only abstractly through discussions and texts. Faculty members learned that students are able to think deeply and critically about a topic in a multilayered synthesis of course content, their own experiences, and issues around schooling. A clear understanding of how content can be included in quality student productions will enable faculty members to better scaffold the experience for students.
In this article the reader will be able to download four spreadsheet tools that interactively relate symbolic and graphical representations of four different functions and learn how to create tools for other functions. These tools uniquely display the symbolic functional representation exactly as found in textbooks. Five complete lesson activities based on the tools are included. A design tutorial is also presented. The design tutorial shows readers how to create their own interactive mathematics learning tools conforming to National Council of Teachers of Mathematics philosophies. The techniques require only built-in point-and-click commands found in most spreadsheet programs. No programming is required. Step-by-step instruction and animations lead the reader through creating a tool. The intended audience of this article is mathematics education professors, preservice teachers, and in-service teachers. These techniques are currently taught in the mathematics education methods classes at Longwood University.
This study was conducted to determine how preservice physical educators feel about their level of competence to integrate technology effectively in their professional careers. Billions of dollars have been invested in curriculum and instruction reform and preparing tomorrow’s technology-proficient educators. Few grants or projects, however, have focused on helping physical education teacher education programs and K-12 physical education programs in preparing technology-proficient physical educators. International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) instruments were used for self-assessments on (a) basic computer skill levels and (b) integrating technology into their learning, research, and future teaching. By far, the greatest proportion of each of the three groups of preservice teachers (general preparation, pre-student-teaching/internship, and post-student-teaching/internship) rated their level of competence to be minimal. The findings of the present research demonstrated that preservice physical educators have not been well prepared to be technology proficient in order to teach in this digital age.
The study examined the role student, teacher/classroom, and school characteristics play on the “digital divide” in access and utilization of various technology tools among elementary school students. Survey data was collected from 1,027 fourth- and fifth-grade students in 48 classrooms in northeastern Ohio. A two-level hierarchical linear model (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002) was used to examine the extent to which teacher/classroom, school, and home variables can predict the average classroom usage of specific technology tools. Data analysis in this study by specific type of computer tools showed that, in general, students tend to use technology tools for individual/personal practices rather than for instructional activities. Students’ usage of word processing, interactive, and productivity tools was significantly lower in schools located in urban and rural areas than those in suburban communities. The results also indicated that school location, school technological support, and teachers’ beliefs about technology were significant predictors of the classroom student usage-gap of productivity tools between those who have and those who do not have access to computers at home. Teachers’ level of experience was also found to relate significantly to the students’ usage of computer tools.
Many teacher educators lack the skills necessary to model effective technology use in their university courses. An effective faculty development program is critical in addressing this concern. This project focused on the development and implementation of a professional development program to assist faculty members in the integration of technology into courses taken by teacher education students. The article describes the evolution of this program over a 3-year period. During the first year, seven ways were identified to enhance the professional development experience including depth, hands-on practice, project-based approach, modeling, examples, ongoing assessment, and timesavers. These ideas were implemented in the second and third years. The workshop format was found to be an effective professional development tool. However, some faculty members required support beyond the workshops. The third year placed emphasis on addressing the individual needs of faculty members and providing expanded professional development opportunities such as mentoring and professional sharing. As a result of the professional development program, faculty members designed course syllabi that demonstrated technology use, integrated technology into their courses, and became better prepared to meet the challenge of integrating technology to enhance student learning.
The Teachers Infusing Technology in Urban Schools project (TITUS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago is developing an approach for addressing the shortage of opportunities for teacher candidates to experience technology being used effectively in high-need urban schools in the course of their field experiences. Beyond recruiting mentor teachers who are already adept at teaching with technology, our work has involved developing communities of experienced teachers within urban schools – prospective mentors for preservice candidates – whom we support in learning to teach with technology. In our first year of intensive work with these groups of potential mentors, we have found a number of assumptions and patterns of interaction that can present problems for infusing technology, and we have explored a number of strategies for addressing them. These challenges often involve a tradeoff between different approaches to professional development. Some of these challenges are presented in the paper, followed by examples of how we have addressed them in our project.
Three teacher education programs were studied to explore the process of integrating computer technology into the curriculum. The focus of this study was to define the stages that schools, colleges, and departments of education experienced as faculty and students moved from lower to higher levels of computer technology use and integration. Data were gathered at the participating sites from three sources: teacher education faculty members, key informants, and focus groups. In-depth interviews were conducted with the key informants and with focus groups (administrator, key informant, faculty member(s), computer technology support person, and student). The gathered data were used to answer the research question: What are the defining characteristics of the stages of development that departments of education experience as they infuse computer technology into the teacher education curriculum? The findings of this research resulted in the emergence of a Five-Stage Model for computer technology integration into teacher education programs: pre-integration, transition, development, expansion, and system-wide integration.
This paper is an analysis of the issues encountered in the process of building a community of practice amongst students through engaging in online dialogue using WebCT. The analysis is guided by an educational change framework, proposed by Goodell, Parker, and Kahle (2005), which includes Technical, Political, Cultural, Moral, and Personal dimensions. First, the analysis highlights the reasons for using WebCT. Second, the issues faced in using WebCT effectively are discussed. Finally, suggestions are offered for instructors using WebCT for the first time.
The purpose of this study was to examine the potential of asynchronous discussion forums (ADFs) as a medium to facilitate reflective thinking among preservice teachers. Of particular interest was the extent and manner in which this potential varies with respect to (a) the structure of the ADF, (b) the focus of the ADF, and (c) group dynamics. Quantitative and qualitative research methods revealed findings that support the potential of this medium as a means to facilitate reflective thinking. Importantly, however, the findings presented here bring to light several additional important considerations for both practice (e.g., strategic student placement within groups to facilitate higher levels of learning) and research (e.g., relationships between social dialogue, group membership, and demonstrated levels of learning) involving the use of asynchronous discussion forums.
This article describes how the Problem of the Week Environment at the Math Forum online mathematics resource allows K-8 preservice teachers who are enrolled in mathematics content problem solving-classes to experience the process of reading, evaluating, and replying to young problem solvers’ work with thoughtful comments and effective hints. This online project includes the training of college-student mentors, the assignment of problems, and the approval of replies. This article focuses on the twofold purpose of the mentoring project: first, to give preservice teachers a special type of field experience by guiding K-8 students to write better solutions via questions and helpful suggestions; and second, to allow preservice teachers the opportunity to reflect upon the variety and richness of approaches generated by a rich mathematical problem.
We are teacher educators (in elementary science and mathematics) who are enthusiastic about technology as a teaching tool – though it is as new to us as it is to our university colleagues. We recently led a United States Department of Education Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) grant project entitled TechLinks. In an effort to encourage peer faculty members to connect methods instruction with current technology initiatives (namely the International Society for Technology Education [ISTE], 2000, and the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education [NCATE], 1997), TechLinks provided faculty fellowships – $1,000 for equipment and materials and a technology assistant who provided just-in-time learning for up to six interested faculty members each year. This development money helped to generate a community of teacher educators who not only began to appreciate the power of teaching with technology but recognized new-found confidence in technology knowledge and skills. As members of this group ourselves, we developed a number of ideas for integrating technology into science and mathematics methods courses. We created a number of course assignments that incorporated technology teaching applications – helping future teachers learn about good science and mathematics teaching methods and new technology tools simultaneously. This article is intended to share examples of successful technology applications with others and to propose the usefulness of the Flick and Bell (2000) guidelines.
This case study of current practice describes a virtual cross-cultural collaboration in the development of an undergraduate teacher preparation course in educational technology. In an effort to increase the cross-cultural and technological awareness necessary for 21st-century teachers, the authors collaborated on the design and development of an online course that was delivered to preservice teachers in the US and Namibia. All course content was designed as reusable learning objects, with material and assignments being vetted by authors in both Namibia and the US to minimize cultural bias and to ensure relevance and appropriateness for students in both countries. This paper describes design and ethical issues and related decisions during the course development and the first semester of delivery online. During fall 2004 students from William Paterson University in New Jersey and four colleges of education in Windhoek, Rundu, Ongwediva, and Caprivi in Namibia took the course together.
The Personal Perspectives multimedia project described in this article engages teacher candidates in examining and representing their cultural identity by means of Apple’s iMovie software. This digital storytelling project was developed by the authors, who are instructors in elementary education and instructional technology at a state university whose college of education strongly emphasizes intercultural education. The paper begins with a project overview, then explains how the project is scaffolded in each course—providing downloadable pdf files of task sheets and student work. A discussion follows of the benefits and challenges of a cross-course multimedia project of this type, citing feedback received from students.
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.
This article describes a U.S. Department of Education grant funded project to develop and deliver a distance master’s degree program in blindness and visual impairment to students in the 14 states of the Western Governor’s Region. A small proportion of the students in the program are, themselves, blind or visually impaired. The article shares challenges, insights, and practitioner perspectives from the technological, design, and subject matter experts.