Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Vol. 28 No. 1, p. 39-47. Fall, 2011.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aimed to identify and analyze the preservice technology training experiences of novice teachers.
Furthermore, the author examined novice teachers’ perceptions of how well their teacher preparation program equipped them with the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS•T).
The final goal of this study was to develop themes regarding what constitutes relevant and useful technology training experiences for preservice teachers.
The following two research questions guided this study:
1. What were the preservice technology training experiences and the meanings of those experiences for novice teachers who had graduated from a post-baccalaureate, fifth-year teacher preparation program at a Research University/Very High (RU/VH) in the southeastern United States?
2. What were novice teachers’ beliefs about how well their technology training experiences equipped them with the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the NETS•T?
The author designed this study as an instrumental case study utilizing semi-structured interviews, document reviews, and reflective field notes.
The author conducted the study at a post-baccalaureate, fifth-year teacher preparation program in the college of education at a large RU/VH university in the southeastern United States.
The participants were 20 novice teachers who had graduated from the teacher preparation program during the 2005–07 school years and had been out in the field managing their own classrooms for 1–3 years.
Three major themes regarding the Essential Conditions became evident:
The participants perceived a disconnect between their technology training and other aspects of their professional education.
Over and over again, the participants remarked that the program had made a big push for them to incorporate technology into their classroom presentations, lesson plans, and internship experiences.
However, paradoxically the participants perceived a lack of emphasis on technology training outside the one required technology course.
Another key theme that emerged from this study concerned perceived “relevance.”
The participants expressed the belief that isolating the technology training in a single course did not allow them to retain and transfer the information gained from this course to their present classroom teaching.
3. Retention and Transfer
The participants believed that the concentration of all of their technology training into a single course made the learning process too intense, even overwhelming.
In their view, the time constraints of the course made it difficult for them to retain and transfer the knowledge and skills necessary into their present classroom teaching.
The teachers also expressed a desire for more time to process information regarding the NETS.
This study has several implications for the university administrators, faculty, and staff charged with making decisions about the direction of technology integration training for the future.
1. The faculty who instruct preservice teachers must be qualified to demonstrate and model the vision of technology integration that they promote.
2. Future preservice teachers need to be provided with authentic learning experiences so they can connect the theory to the practice in relation to technology integration.
Furthermore, they need more hands-on experiences in creating student-centered, technology-rich lessons throughout their teacher preparation program.
3. Access to technology is not sufficient.
Curriculum and learning experiences need to be structured so that preservice teachers and their faculty are motivated to employ the resources available to them.
4. For university faculty to develop effective, student-centered, hands-on learning activities for the preservice teachers in their classes, they must themselves be skilled in using the technologies.
5. Technology integration needs to be more highly valued and rewarded within the university to encourage faculty across the curriculum to make the necessary investment of time and effort to enhance their skills.
6. Teachers need time, both during and after their preservice training, to observe, plan, practice, and reflect on student-centered, technology-rich lessons so that they can retain and transfer the knowledge and skills they have gained in regard to technology integration.
The overall conclusion of this study is that, to be authentic, relevant, and retained, technology training needs to be infused throughout the education of preservice teachers.
It should be addressed as an aspect of all the educational topics and standards covered in their classes, modeled in all of the instruction that they receive, and utilized in all of their practical experiences.
It is essential that our preservice teachers receive continuous instruction in technology integration across the curriculum and have many opportunities to observe, practice, and reflect on student-centered, technology-enriched lessons.
Integrating technology and the NETS•T throughout the teacher education program will require administration and faculty to not only think differently about technology, but also to adjust their own behavior.