Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Using Anchored Instruction to Teach Preservice Teachers to Integrate Technology in the Curriculum

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Using Anchored Instruction to Teach Preservice Teachers to Integrate Technology in the Curriculum

Article excerpt

    This case study addresses the use of the "anchored instruction
    approach" to restructure educational computing courses to enhance
    future teachers' learning of technology applications in the
    classroom. A cohort group of 22 preservice teachers from a typical
    teacher education institution in Southeastern Ohio was involved in
    the study. The preservice teachers were enrolled in both a
    curriculum development class and an educational computing class in
    the winter 2000 academic quarter. The instructors for both courses
    collaborated their teaching efforts whereby the preservice teachers
    used the educational computing class to research, record, and
    document their experiences in the curriculum development class. The
    theme of the curriculum development class was therefore used as an
    "anchor" for the educational computing class. Data collection and
    analysis were conducted on a continuous basis throughout the
    academic quarter. The findings indicate the effectiveness of
    anchored instruction for preservice teachers to learn about, and
    teach with advanced technology tools in their future practice. The
    authors recommend increased efforts to apply anchored instruction
    approach in educational computing courses.

Preparing technology-proficient teachers to meet the needs of 21st century learners has emerged as a critical challenge facing teacher preparation programs. Although institutions of higher education vary in their specific responses to this challenge, most institutions require at least one educational computing course as a core component of their teacher preparation programs. The goal of such courses includes individual development of both confidence and competency in the use of information technology in various learning environments.

Even though the structure and content of educational computing courses vary from one institution to another (Leh, 1998) such courses have usually been taught in a "didactic" manner where the instructor demonstrates the technology tools and then ask students to replicate a product (Ferguson, 2001). While learning technology skills is necessary, it is crucial to model to preservice teachers the way technology integration can look like. One alternative approach to the design of educational computing courses involves using a theme or anchor around which various learning activities take place. This approach has been referred to as "anchored instruction" (Bransford, Sherwood, Hasselbring, Kinzer, & Williams, 1990). This model provides learners with an authentic, situated, and social learning environment which encourages problem solving (Shih, 1997).

The anchored instruction approach has been used in a variety of disciplines such as language arts, social studies, math, science, and special education. In recent years, there has been a growing interest among educational technology instructors to apply the anchored instruction approach in educational computing courses to more effectively prepare preservice teachers to use advanced-technology tools in their future practice (Bauer, Ellefsen, & Hall, 1994; Bauer & Summerville, 1996; Bauer, 1998; Baumbach, Brewer, & Bird, 1995; Ferguson, 2001; Miller, Morano, Smith, & Mayes, 2002; Williams, 2002).

This article reports a case study in which the anchored instruction approach was applied to restructure an existing educational computing course to enhance future teachers' learning of technology applications in the classroom. First, the article discusses the pedagogical foundations of anchored instruction and its application in educational computing courses. Second, the article describes the experiences of a cohort group of 22 preservice teachers who used their curriculum development course activities as an anchor in their educational computing class. Third, the article reflects on the lessons learned by the preservice teachers and their educational computing course instructor from this collaborative experience. …

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