Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology & Teacher Education, 16(4), 373-387, 2016.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The influence of technology in contemporary lives has moved English instructors to consider new literacies. These literacies encompass reading print texts as well as digital texts.
The present article describes one element of a large-scale nationwide study that surveyed English teacher educators about English teacher preparation programs throughout the United States. This element focused on how technology is integrated within the context of English teacher education programs. Specifically, this article focuses on how English teacher educators viewed recent changes in English teacher preparation and how these changes affected their work.
The purpose of the nationwide study was to provide an holistic understanding of how teacher educators prepare beginning English teachers to address the teaching of technology in the context of the English language arts (ELA). This article specifically addresses the data on technology use in the ELA methods course, since this course was viewed as a context in which teachers learn to understand their subject matter through a disciplinary perspective.
Findings and Discussion
The study on technology and the teaching and learning of the ELA is of significant interest to the field, since it demonstrates the ways technology is integrated into teaching practices, as well as the ways it has changed communication practices.
The Findings from the survey reveal that English educators find technology integration and the understanding of multiple or new literacies as the most essential “other” content that should be taught in the subject-specific methods class.
Furthermore, teacher educators indicated that technology was integrated across their programs and coursework.
The respondents also mentioned that both collaborative (open) technologies and discrete technologies (closed) were used by teacher candidates to learn the content of the methods course. However, the frequency of technology use dropped when teacher candidates were asked to incorporate it into their own lessons or for their field placements.
Additionally, the results reveal that a number of different factors may have affected the decrease in the ways technology was employed for teaching and learning in ELA programs. It was found that teacher educators vary in their conceptions of the teaching of English.
Moreover, it was found that teacher educators used different standards to integrate technology into preservice teacher learning. About two third of the respondents said that they use the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 58% of the respondents chose using state standards. However, 35% of the respondents indicated that they followed no standards when asking teacher candidates to integrate technology into their instructional practices.
The authors conclude that technology is already changing the understanding of content in the ELA classroom. Hence, the teaching and learning of technology is regarded as essential other content in English. The authors argue that the availability of technology in higher education, as well as in school districts, continues to be problematic and dependent upon a community’s commitment to it.