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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lit Review 1

Literature Review 1 - Equipping the Next Generation of Teachers: Technology Preparation and Practice

          This article begins with the premise that technology experiences during teacher training can help preservice teachers see connections between current technology applications and their appropriateness in the classroom.  According to a study in 2006, a 100% of all teacher preparation programs in the U.S. incorporate technology integration into their program.  There are a variety of strategies for incorporating technology in the classroom, i.e., courses specifically covering technology integration, blended technology skills and integration worked into courses, the infusion of technology with the entire program and field experiences.  Much of the research has focused on the variety of approaches, but the data does not provide insight into the effectiveness of each approach.  This study provided a survey to teacher educators in 4-year teacher preparation programs.  Then a specific group of teachers were followed up with an open-ended surveys that were interpreted and coded so the data could be standardized and compared.

One of the findings from this study was that 30% of the education technology faculty (“ETF”) surveyed believed that the most important topic addressed in their program was how the technology assisted the curricular.  One respondent replied that “we are not interested in technology for its own sake but … to accomplish content area standards.”   For some, technology is the means to the end to get through the curriculum and its use past that is little to none. A second finding was that the 20% of the ETF indicated that the most important topics in their programs revolved around using technology to facilitate professional growth and teach computer literacy.  This expectation sounds familiar to the course objective for an introduction to computers class circa 1990.  A third finding was that only 5% of those who responded reported that the use of technology was to meet the needs of the diverse learner. With the introduction of No Child Left Behind (“NCLB” and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”) this use of technology was significantly underutilized. 

The study also collected data regarding where the ETF indicated change should be implemented.  Some ETF expressed a desire to have systemic technology integration, particularly in field experiences and methods.  It was believed that the payoff for incorporating technology experiences would facilitate deeper understandings in future teachers.  It was also believed that if the technology experience is positively incorporated it influenced the preservice teachers’ attitudes toward technology.  Positive introduction, along with the ability to practice, would increase the comfort level of preservice teachers with the technology.  Another point the ETF suggested was with the introduction of the technology curriculum and how it should include knowledge and skills used in the field.  Finally, the most urgent concern is the use of assistive technology to support students with special needs.  With the introduction of NCLB and IDEIA, teachers need to be able to utilize these tools to enable their students to succeed in the classroom.

I believe this article addressed a variety of valid points.  It is apparent that technology is still trying to find its place in the school curriculum.  For Digital Immigrant preservice teachers, technology needs to be introduced positively and at a speed in which it could be understood and retained.  One of technology’s best attributes, the rapid speed in which it changes and morphs, has a flip side in that the immigrants are missing the target.  If technology is just being utilized to conquer the outlined curriculum, to enhance your personal productivity or computer literacy or underutilized in assisting special needs students, it is going to fall short of its potential.  The feedback from the ETF overall addresses the concern that technology is here, how do we more efficiently incorporate this tool so we can educate tomorrow’s teachers to be effective technology teachers.  We need to close the education gap between Digital Immigrants teaching Digital Natives. 

 AGronseth, S., Brush, T., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., Strycker, J., Abaci, S., Easterling, W., & ... van Leusen, P. (2010). Equipping the next Generation of Teachers: Technology Preparation and Practice. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(1), 30-36. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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