Source: Action in Teacher Education, 33(1):63-80, (Spring, 2011).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aimed to explore the ways in which teacher-education programs help teachers to embrace and critique technology, and literacies they engender, in teaching reading at the middle-school level.
This study investigates this area of interest through these questions:
1. What technology is being used in reading instruction in middle-grades teacher-education programs?
2. How is technology being used in reading instruction in middle-grades teacher-education programs?
3. What theory/thinking informs these uses—the why question?
The participants in this study were program directors of teacher preparation programs, program contacts and faculty teaching selected courses from higher education institutions of five types (research, state, regional, public, or private) in a large southern state in the United States.
These institutions had an approved middle-grades education program by the Professional Standards Commission (the certifying body in the state).
The findings reveal that that the middle-grades teacher-education programs encouraged the use of a range of technology tools, from traditional through information/communication to multimedia applications.
Traditional technology was viewed and used frequently for the purpose of teacher and student productivity (e.g., to record, display, or deliver information).
However, information/communication as well as multimedia applications were viewed more often as sources of multimodal and interactive texts and as tools for meaning representation.
In addition, many of the multimodal texts and media that preservice teachers were exposed to or explored for classroom use in teacher-education programs were older-generation applications such as PowerPoint presentations, magazines, or environmental signs and symbols.
The authors argue that the reading software which they propose in this work would have enabled frequent modeling of interactive, multimodal, and multimedia-rich reading instruction, the pedagogy that these faculty recognized, valued, and wished for their preservice teachers to embrace.
Furthermore, it was found that the teacher-education programs in the study provided preservice teachers with opportunities to learn about multiple literacies and the reading skills such literacies engender.
The sources used to forward this goal were most often the professional literature, guest-speaker presentations, classroom observations, and participation in technologically based environments (e.g., webquests).
Therefore, it seems that preservice teachers have fewer opportunities to create multiple literacy texts for themselves with newer technologies (e.g., podcasts of a read aloud, a multigenre video-based reflection on a reading practice).
The authors propose that teacher-education programs should infuse into their curricula more of such firsthand experiences of learning about multiple literacy texts, especially the texts generated by the second generation of web tools such as blogs, podcasts, or streamlined video.