Learning to Use PDAs to Enhance Teaching: The Perspectives of Preservice Physical Educators

Oct. 25, 2008

Source: Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Volume 16, Issue 4, October 2008, p. 433-459.

Researchers have noted that technological innovation and advocacy has far outpaced research on how teachers learn to incorporate technologies into their classrooms, perhaps leading to slower integration of technologies into schools. Therefore, the goal of the study was use cognitive developmental learning theory to explore shifts in preservice teachers' perceptions about using personal digital assistants (PDAs) to enhance instruction in physical education, and to identify factors leading to their shifts in thinking.
The authors used interpretive ethnographic methods to study 7 preservice teachers as they participated in a six-month project aimed at integrating PDAs into their teaching.
The authors describe two main research themes. First, they found substantial shifts in the teachers' thinking about PDAs and teaching. Initially, they described strong skepticism toward PDAs based on their visions of education, views of PDA quality, and technological expertise. However, by the end of the project, they strongly supported and valued PDAs in their teaching. Second, four factors seemed to play key roles leading to their shifts in thinking: (a) time to play, (b) an available and credible instructor, (c) real-world field experiences, and (d) an informal peer learning community. The discussion centers on explaining these findings in light of current technology research and theory, and their implications for teacher education.

Updated: Feb. 11, 2009