Academic journal article Education

The Impact of Training in Technology Assisted Instruction on Skills and Attitudes of Pre-Service Teachers

Academic journal article Education

The Impact of Training in Technology Assisted Instruction on Skills and Attitudes of Pre-Service Teachers

Article excerpt

The research discussed in this manuscript was supported by a capacity building grant funded by the Department of Education, Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to use Technology Grant (PT3). The problem was to determine the effects of course work and field experience on perceived technology skills of teacher candidates and the attitudes developed by them toward the use of technology during this experience. Teacher candidates self assessed their technology skills with a pre and posttest skill survey (E-KIT). After completing course work and field experience, a randomly selected group of students took part in an interview to determine the attitudinal impact of using technology as an instructional tool with elementary students. Findings revealed an improvement in perceived technology skills and in the development of a positive attitude regarding the use technology to support instruction.

INTRODUCTION

Teachers have a desire to provide the best education possible for their students. The support and accountability to bring this about takes many different forms, the latest coming from President Bush with the legislative mandates made by the "No Child Left Behind Bill" of 2001. As teachers effectively teach "hard skills" such as math, reading and higher level thinking skills and "soft skills" emphasizing working cooperatively in groups and communicating effectively orally and in writing, many also focus on technological skills (Murnane and Levey, 1996). The addition of these technological skills has changed the intensity or level of teacher training needed for professionals as they enter the classroom.

The full impact of technology on teachers and education often cannot be foreseen. Who could have predicted the effects of the printing press, the telephone, the television set, or the World Wide Web? Yet today, education continues to pass through an "expansive phase in which technology is being tried, tested, adapted and disregarded" (Trinble, 2001). To a great extent, this expansive phase comes about because of the inclusion of technologies within the learning environment of the classroom. These technologies provide teachers the opportunity to reflect on good practices, which help develop strong beliefs about pedagogy, contend, methods, and student learners (DarlingHammond & McLaughlin, 1995).

Technologies have opened up a trove of resources that can readily be searched and accessed, not only locally, but also worldwide. As users, and soon to be providers of technologies, educators and pre service teachers need to understand educational applications of technology based tools. They also need to have the opportunities to learn, practice and be trained to integrate technology into their curriculum and instruction (Lanenburg, 1998). Rebsten (2001) advised that teacher training should focus on competency in using hardware, software and multimedia resources. Teachers should be qualified to instruct students in basic technology skills using tools such as Internet, multimedia applications, and CD-ROMs. Teachers also should be able to use electronic mail to communicate with parents and colleagues, manage record keeping and generate instructional resources. Because of these technology dependent skills and requirements, including learning technologies in teacher education programs is necessary. This technology training cannot be ignored if pre-service teachers are to enter the profession and the classroom as competent beginning teachers.

To respond to the challenge of technology, a federal grant, Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3), provided resources to assist teacher training institutions to determine what training was needed to help pre-service teachers learn technology skills that could increase learning advantages for all students. Because technology training for teacher candidates might either facilitate or hinder their learning of the instructional process, the purpose of this research was to explore the following three questions:

1. …

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