Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology: Attitudinal Impacts of Technology-Supported Field Experience on Pre-Service Teacher Candidates

By Bahr, Damon L.; Shaha, Steven H. et al. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2004 | Go to article overview

Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology: Attitudinal Impacts of Technology-Supported Field Experience on Pre-Service Teacher Candidates


Bahr, Damon L., Shaha, Steven H., Farnsworth, Briant J. Lewis, Valerie K., Benson, Linda F., Journal of Instructional Psychology


The research discussed in this manuscript was supported by a capacity building grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education as a Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to use Technology Grant (PT3). The problem was to determine the effect on teacher candidates of a field experience in which candidates used technology to support the teaching of a science topic to elementary children. Pairs of teacher candidates were divided into three groups to provide science instruction in one of three ways: (1) instructing with the support of multi-media (HyperStudio(tm)), (2) instructing with the support of the Internet, and (3) instructing without technology support (control group). Pre- and post surveys designed to measure attitudinal gains were administered to all participating teacher candidates. Findings revealed significant advantages associated with the inclusion of technology upon the attitudes of teacher candidates. Implications for maximizing the impact of technology in instruction are discussed.

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Someone once defined a genius as a person who could find something hidden in plain sight. If something were hidden in plain sight, why would we need a genius to find it? It could be because we respond to the world from mental patterns that we have created during the learning process. As a result of these mental references something that is obvious or should be obvious isn't obvious at all. It isn't until individuals retreat from pre-determined patterns that they can see things in a new way. At that point, the things that should have been obvious all along become visible. We shake our heads and wonder why we didn't see it in the first place.

For example, in today's world we accept controlled powered flight--airplanes--as common place. The physical laws that govern controlled powered flight have always been there. However, the Wright Brothers were the first to see those laws so they have been given credit for inventing controlled powered flight.

They didn't accomplish this achievement over night. It took years before they finally discovered the secrets of flight. In addition to their passion for flying, the Wright Brothers had a bicycle shop. After a great deal of experimentation, the secret to controlled powered flight was revealed when a cardboard inner tube box was twisted and the brothers saw the way the wings of a plane could be shaped to achieve lift. They finally understood a principle that had been there all the time.

Attitude remains the critical factor in feeding the drive toward progress. Had the Wright brothers not been actively seeking ways to use what they learned, the useful learning would have gone to waste. Implementation of beneficial innovations is driven by the motivational reinforcement of small successes experienced during the discovery process--testing and succeeding results in implementation. Without motivationally driven testing, discoveries remain undiscovered. The key is an attitude that focuses on seeing the discoverable, then trying it, and then making it an integral component of subsequent progress.

The effective introduction of technology into instruction represents a struggle similar to those with which the Wright brothers and their contemporary competitors grappled. Among the more important factors is the importance of the attitudes of teachers toward seeing ways in which technology can assist in instruction, and then leveraging that positive attitude toward incorporating technology into instruction. If teachers and future teachers do not have positive attitudes toward the usefulness of technology in instruction and toward actually using technology in instruction, then even the best systems and methodologies will remain unused.

Teacher attitudes have long been understood as an important factor in educational progress. For example, teacher candidates may lack favorable attitudinal patterns related to their anticipation of the impact of teaching with technology. …

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