Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Volume 29, No. 2, p. 59-65. 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examines the use of the Wayfind Teacher Assessment as a tool for determining the proficiencies of teacher candidates in their final year of preparation in relationship to the National Educational Technology (Standards for Teachers NETS•T).
The study addresses the following questions:
What level of NETS•T proficiency, indicated by the WTA, did the teacher candidates possess?
How did teacher candidates view the WTA instrument? Did they find it a reasonable indicator of their actual mastery of the NETS•T standards?
The Wayfind Teacher Assessment (Learning.com, 2012) is an online, validated instrument
measuring technology literacy in relation to proficiency levels of the NETS•T.
The participants were 194 teacher candidates, who enrolled in the final semester of their teacher education programs at Bowling Green State University (BGSU).
They participated in this first iteration of the WTA.
The WTA was taken during the first weeks of classes, and no specific preparations were provided.
Once completed, individual student reports were distributed to each teacher candidate, and they were then asked to write reflections related to their results.
The findings reveal that the WTA seemed to support students’ self-reflection and professional development by providing relevant quantification of their abilities to meet the NETS•T.
Teacher candidates, for the most part, scored at a proficient level, indicating that they were prepared to enter the teaching force with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions identified in the NETS•T.
The participants had the opportunity to develop their own individualized professional development plans to increase their proficiencies, and course instructors were able to integrate these activities throughout the semester.
First, collaborative groups of students analyzed examples of teaching and learning scenarios, that demonstrated a powerful combination of authentic learning activities and appropriate digital technology integration.
They noted details regarding real-world issues or authentic problems addressed, collaborative practices used to promote student engagement and retention, and evidence of collaborative knowledge construction.
Then, they worked to strengthen their abilities in the area of designing and developing digital age learning experiences by crafting specific artifacts focused on their targeted age group and content area for K–12 instruction.
The participants working to improve their abilities in modeling digital age work and learning crafted digital collections of exemplars demonstrating their expertise in incorporating digital tools to perform tasks related to the professional work of teaching.
They created video vignettes, and a digital portfolio highlighting self-created resources.
They focused on improving their abilities to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility interacted with each other and those around the world in a professional social networking environment.
Within this structure, teacher candidates dialogued with teaching professionals from around the world about issues of fair use, digital equity, copyright, and intellectual property.
Finally, teacher candidates noting a need for growth in the area of engaging in professional growth and leadership constructed a professional development plan for their individual professional growth extending 2 years past their graduation date.
These candidates explored options for professional development, including membership in professional organizations, webinars, online tutorials, teacher professional networking sites, and local school resources.
The article concludes that the implementation of the WTA has provided valuable evidence related to candidate accomplishment in the area of the NETS•T.
Results from the WTA have encouraged teacher candidates to reflect critically on their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the field of classroom technologies.
The detailed student reports from the WTA demonstrate the value of the WTA as a part of 21st century teacher candidate evaluation and development.