Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Integrating Technology into Teacher Education: A Critical Framework for Implementing Reform

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Integrating Technology into Teacher Education: A Critical Framework for Implementing Reform

Article excerpt

Current educational reform efforts in the United States are setting ambitious goals for schools, teachers, and students (e.g., National Education Goals Panel, 1991; National Research Council [NRC], 1993; No Child Left Behind Act, 2002). Teachers are to help all K-12 students learn to value content, become confident in their ability to solve problems in specific content areas, and learn to reason and communicate from a content-specific discipline (National Council for the Social Studies, 1994; National Council for the Teachers of English, 1996; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989, 1991; National Research Council, 1996). Spanning across all of these goals is the recommendation that meaningful uses of technology be incorporated in all areas (International Society for Technology in Education, 2000). The new visions of classrooms called for by national and state standards pose great challenges for teachers as they represent a substantial departure from the K-12 classrooms in which most of today's teachers and prospective teachers were students.

The challenges to programs that prepare teachers are also great. Preservice teacher education programs are being called on to provide models of authentic teaching and to help teachers develop their knowledge of the content, discourse, and content-specific pedagogy. They also must provide multiple perspectives on K-12 students as learners and offer meaningful opportunities for teachers to develop skills in technology use (International Society for Technology in Education, 2000). Technology takes on increased importance as we continue to move from an industrial to an information-based society. Teachers must be skilled in technology applications and knowledgeable about using technology to support instruction and to enhance and extend student learning. The mere ability to operate various hardware and software does not constitute an acceptable level of proficiency. Rather, it is essential that all K-12 teachers be able to demonstrate an ability to use technology tools in their standards-based curricula to promote student learning, improve student achievement, and provide students with the skills they need in their future education and/or workplace careers.

In 1999, the U.S. Department of Education established the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) program to support organizational change in teacher education so that future teachers are able to use interactive information and communication technologies for improved learning and achievement. Since then, more than 400 institutions of higher education have received funding to restructure their teacher education programs so that they can prepare prospective teachers to effectively use technology in their own K-12 classrooms.

We are currently in our final year of funding from the Department of Education for a 3-year PT3 grant. In this article, we share the strategies that have guided the professional development of faculty and instructors in the teacher education program at a large, public, level-1 research university. Our program's primary objectives are to assist teacher education faculty and instructors in developing (a) a critical disposition toward technology that includes an understanding of why, when, and how to use technology in education and (b) the capacity to model and deliver technology-infused curricula, pedagogy, and assessment. Our professional development focus on faculty and instructors in the teacher education program stems from the challenge of understanding how to "meaningfully" use technology in education. Our strategies for meeting our objectives center on collectively developing such an understanding through the process of working with our faculty and instructors in content-specific technological enhancements of their own courses.

CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES ON EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY

The National Research Council (NRC), in its publication How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experiences and School (1999), has argued that the use of technology in teacher education involves much more than simply adding technology to an existing course structure. …

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