Source: Action in Teacher Education, v. 30 no. 4, p. 45-55. (Winter 2009)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
Teacher education programs must continue to find greater parallels between the experiences provided to teacher candidates and what is occurring in classrooms. In this article, the authors explore the relationship between technology use in school classrooms and a teacher preparation program. The authors describe how teacher candidates learn how to use technology as a pedagogical tool to enhance teaching and learning . They describe technology use in schools, their courses, and their students' field experiences.
In August of 2007, 29 elementary teacher candidates applied for and were accepted into a pilot one-to-one laptop initiative within the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education at a large public university in Southern California.
For the first semester of the two-semester program, the students agreed to bring their laptops to all classes. All classrooms of the university contain ceiling-mounted projection devices connected to a PC computer, with equipment for connecting laptops, as well as with wireless Internet access for all students and faculty. For the second semester of the program, students in the pilot cohort were issued a MacBook laptop computer. The research extends to one-to-one classrooms in the local district, as well as to those in teacher education.
Technology-Rich Classrooms and Teachers
The school district with which the authors work is in its 4th year of a one-to-one laptop program. The Laptops for Learning Initiative began in 2004 in 3 of the district's 22 schools: 1 elementary school, 1 junior high school (Grades 7-8), and 1 K-8 school. The program has since expanded to include two additional junior high schools and one additional elementary school. The K-8 school opened as a technology school, and in 2008 all students in second through eighth grade have laptop computers. Between the two elementary schools, one has a program in the gifted and talented education classrooms, and the other has a program in the sixth grade. The junior high schools have the programs in both seventh and eighth grade. All teachers in the school district have laptop computers and are provided training on their use. Teachers in the one-to-one program receive additional support through summer institutes and required training before the program.
By modeling technology integration in their course work (based on what they observed in schools) and by collaborating with technology-rich classrooms and teachers, the authors found that teacher candidates became natural users of technology in their student teaching. The authors also found a need to continue seeking support and resources to provide adequate access to technology, as well as the opportunity to apply what is learned.
As teacher educators, the authors must continue to consider the role that technology plays as they strive to best prepare teachers for 21st-century learning environments.