The Net Generation as Preservice Teachers: Transferring Familiarity with New Technologies to Educational Environments

Summer, 2011

Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Vol. 27 No. 4, p. 144-153. Summer, 2011.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This research explored the ways that preservice teachers today
(a) use Web 2.0 and other new technologies in their daily lives and in their learning experiences and
(b) create online content informally and formally while learning to use new technologies in their teaching and producing teaching materials for students using new technologies.

The authors addressed to the following questions:
1. How do preservice teachers use Web 2.0 technologies for non-educational and educational purposes?
2. What kinds of online content do preservice teachers create for informal and educational purposes?

The respondents in this research were 54 preservice teachers who will need to create and integrate online content into their curriculum and instruction in the future.
The participants were 8 male and 46 female.


The data revealed that preservice teachers reported high use of social networking tools and online videos; some familiarity with wikis, blogs, and podcasts; and little to no knowledge of social bookmarking tools and multi-user virtual environments.

Preservice teachers in this research were highly aware of new technologies and not only adopted them for personal use, but also adapted them in certain educational contexts for group projects or communication.

However, this group of preservice teachers applied their knowledge of digital technologies for assignment and group work but not for classroom activities and assignments that were instructor directed.
This finding indicated that the preservice teachers transfer their technical skills from informal to formal settings but continue to use technology in familiar ways.

Implications for Teacher Education

The results of this study contradict the claim that students who have grown up with digital technologies will automatically transfer their skills in using new technologies to their future teaching practice.

The findings indicate that teacher educators should prepare preservice teachers to use technology in the classroom, to help them identify the added value of integrating educational technology in the classroom, and to be facile with teaching strategies and appropriate tools to fulfill learner needs.

Teacher educators also have to find ways to leverage preservice teachers’ skills with new technologies in informal environments in activities and projects in teacher education coursework.
They must provide more exposure to new technologies and design more educational projects that require preservice teachers to create content using digital technologies.

Furthermore, it is also necessary that teacher educators are media literate, that they are able to produce teaching materials using different types of media, and that they are versatile in communicating the use of different types of media.

Updated: May. 13, 2013