Where to Find Courses and Instruction to Prepare Teachers to Teach Elementary School Technology Education (ESTE). (Article)

Article excerpt

Many elementary education teachers would like to be able to teach technological concepts and activities in their classrooms. Where can elementary teachers and elementary education majors find instruction that will help them to teach and correlate technology concepts with elementary subjects? There are a number of colleges and universities where elementary school technological concept courses are available.

When future elementary teachers take educational methods courses and, later, student-teach, they rarely experience how to include technological concepts and activities into the classroom. I have identified some colleges and universities that have technological concepts courses.

A technological concepts course prepares students to use, understand, apply, and correlate technological concepts and skills in future teaching assignments. Being able to correlate technological activities with elementary subjects creates a classroom where students are learning about technological systems, the design process, problem solving, and the positive and negative impacts of technology. All of these things are important for creating a technologically literate class of elementary students.

There are different ways classroom teachers and future elementary teachers can learn how to teach and do technology. There are in-service activities and workshops that universities and local educational organizations sponsor. Some institutions have technology camps for children and teachers. A good one is at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Len Litowitz, who designed the camp, stated that the new 2002 technology camp website will be posted shortly. The current one can be viewed at: http://muweb.millersville.edu/~itec/techcamp/tech_camp.html.

There are a number of colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada that offer technological concepts courses. The table on the previous page offers 17; 15 in the U.S. and two in Canada including appropriate course names.

The courses are designed' differently from school to school. This means that some are very hands-on, while others are lecture courses. In some locations, the instructors use a combination of both methods. Only five are required courses for the university students. Having a required technological concepts course for future elementary teachers is rare. They are also offered at different times during the year. In the chart at the right, the category Other usually means that it is an in-service activity, seminar, or workshop. The chart also shows where and when they are offered.

Overall, there are a small number of programs that prepare teachers to use elementary school technology education in the classroom. The instructors who teach the technology concepts courses were contacted by telephone and asked some questions about the course. One question was: "what do the instructors feel are some of the reasons for ESTE not being taught in public schools?" Some of the reasons given were:

1. Lack of distinction made by education leaders between educational/instructional technology and technology education.

2. Lack of ESTE implementation in schools.

3. Lack of inclusion of ESTE in national, state, and local educational standards.

Having a technology education lab in every elementary school is not financially and politically practical. It does make sense to have elementary teachers prepared to teach technological skills and concepts. Future and current elementary teachers need assistance in understanding the value of teaching and correlating technological concepts and activities with elementary subjects. They also need to have access to the appropriate coursework and resources so that they will be able to create an environment where children are comfortable using and understanding technology. …