A Multivariate Model of Factors Influencing Technology Use by Preservice Teachers during Practice Teaching

Article excerpt

Introduction

Technology use can improve student learning. Relevant studies concluded that using technology in educational settings benefits students (Gulbahar, 2007; Kim & Hannafin, 2011). Many governments worldwide have invested money in constructing environments that increase technology access in elementary and secondary school classrooms. Taiwan's government has also funded projects that promote innovative teaching with technology. However, many studies that include Taiwanese have indicated that technology integration in the classroom by teachers is insufficient (Chen, 2008; Gorder, 2008; Hermans, Tondeur, van Braak, & Valcke, 2008). This lack of technology integration is reflected in preservice teacher education. The importance of developing the ability of preservice teachers to integrate technology has been widely recognized.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) developed the National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (2008) and Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium standards (2003) as teacher accreditation requirements. These standards require that teachers use technology in their classrooms, and design learning environments and experiences that support teaching, learning, and curricula. These standards have also led teacher education institutes to acknowledge shortcomings in teacher preparation for using technology as an effective instructional tool.

Teacher education institutes are natural places for training teachers in how to integrate technology into daily classroom learning. Although numerous institutes have allocated considerable effort to develop thoughtful technology-based programs, only a few studies have evaluated these programs (Kay, 2006). Additionally, empirical evidence indicates that teacher education programs have not taught new teachers how to use technology effectively (Maddux, & Cummings, 2004); that is, preservice teachers still lack the ability and knowledge needed to teach successfully with technology (Angeli, & Valanides, 2008).

Although teacher education courses related to technology integration were inadequate, a learning opportunity arising from school-based field practice for preservice teachers has been acknowledged. To attain sufficient experience in technology integration, preservice teachers can interact with mentors during a practicum. Nilsson and Driel (2010) indicated that teacher knowledge can be enhanced and developed via the interaction between preservice teachers and mentors during a practicum.

Moreover, teacher pedagogical beliefs are important when exploring technology integration. These beliefs play a critical role in successful technology integration (Ertmer, 2005; Hermans, et al., 2008; Tondeur, van Keer, van Braak, & Valcke, 2008). Beliefs about teaching can be called "preferred ways of teaching" (Teo, Chai, Hung, & Lee, 2008). Technology integration is the implementation of technology during teaching. Therefore, beliefs of preservice teachers about technology integration potentially influence their teaching methods when using technology.

Actual technology use by preservice teachers during a practicum may be related to their training, school-based field experiences with mentors (EWMs), and beliefs about technology integration because preparation courses and participating in field practice foster professional abilities and shape pedagogical beliefs of preservice teachers. Many studies have explored teacher education programs (e.g., Sandholtz & Reilly, 2004), preservice teacher beliefs (e.g., Ertmer, 2005), technology access (e.g., Dexter & Reidel, 2003), and self-efficacy (e.g., Chen, 2010), while few studies documented the combined effects of two major teacher education processes, teacher education courses and school-based field practice courses, which further shape teacher beliefs about integrating technology and teaching, even though these processes are necessary to equip preservice teachers with the required professional skills. …