Tuesday, September 13, 2011

69_Teachers Use of Technology

Student Teacher Use of Technology to Facilitate Teaching and Learning
Rebecca Ruth Stobaugh, Michael McDonald, and Janet Lynne Tassell
Maddux, C.D., Gibson, D. & Dodge, B. 2010. Research Highlights in Technology and Teacher Education 2010. SITE. (page 43-51)

OK: this short article is more focused on student teacher rather than experienced teachers, but the interesting finding is important to reflect upon. To this date we are still seeing a dissociation between the   professional expectations of teachers with regards to their preparation in using technology to its fullest potential, and how it actually works in universities to prepare future teachers for these tasks.

While teachers are expected (according to US national standards) to 
  • use available technologies to design and plan instruction, 
  • implement instruction that facilitates learning, integrates students' uses of technology into instruction 
  • use technology to assess and communicate with students about their learning
  • are aware and make ethical use of technology parameters with content and sharing of content online, 
student teachers leave their university programs with a different set of skills. The study worked with about forty student teachers from four different institutions and realized that the key focus and skill area of these individuals with use of technology for teaching was mainly to support and deliver instruction. And even in that case the uses remained marginal as far as multimedia abilities to diversify content delivery.
"Primarily, student teachers use word processing technology to create documents such as handouts and tests." (page 49)
While several usual barriers were listed to the integration of technology at the school level, ranging from access to technology and support, to time to learn the skills and tools and planning effectively, the use of technology to support and enhance collaboration amongst students remain very low. This seems to indicate that there is still a misunderstanding of the potential of the use of the technology, on one hand, and maybe to the fact that the so called "paradigm shift" in pedagogical approaches to teaching has yet to reach the pre-service realm. And if this has yet to enter that preparation field, we can imagine the difficulty of implementing it in the professional world, where teachers were trained on a completely different battle ground to begin with. Interesting, no?

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