Learning from Teachers' Conceptions of Technology Integration: What Do Blogs, Instant Messages, and 3D Chat Rooms Have to Do with It?

Aug. 29, 2008

Source: Research in the Teaching of English. Volume 43, Issue 1; p. 74-101. Aug 2008
(Reviewed by The Portal Team)

This study was designed to investigate preservice and practicing teachers' conceptions of the role of new technologies in literacy education.
The study documented how these conceptions, as well as the author's conceptions, evolved over time and impacted the content and curriculum of a university course.

Research Questions

The research questions guiding the study were the following:
What were participants' conceptions about the role of technology in literacy education?
and, in what ways did new insights gained by the author, the course instructor, impact the course content and curriculum?

Methods and Participants

Using a design-based research model, the students' engagement was documented in a semester-long teacher education course titled Literacy and Technology.
A group of 19 graduate students who were enrolled in different education programs at the same university participated in Literacy and Technology. Four male participants
and 15 female participants.

Relying on multiple data sources, including digitally recorded classroom conversations,
one-on-one teacher and student meetings, student surveys, classroom artifacts (e.g., online threaded discussions, written responses to readings, and journal entries), and the author's reflective notes. The author documented classroom conversations, analyzed written assignments, and discovered how participants' conceptions of literacy and technology frequently differed from her own. Throughout the semester, the author developed new conceptions of teaching when she saw that her students responded to course assignments and activities in ways that she had not anticipated.

The study raises questions about the role of the instructor and the purposes and goals of courses like Literacy and Technology. It also points to a number of areas that need to be further explored if teacher educators hope to effectively introduce teachers to the ways in which technology can support literacy learning.

Updated: Nov. 09, 2008