Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Expectation Discrepancy in the Integration of Constructivist-Instruction Technology into a Teacher Education Course

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Expectation Discrepancy in the Integration of Constructivist-Instruction Technology into a Teacher Education Course

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Foreseeing technology's potential to enhance teaching and learning, researchers have been developing various teacher education programs to encourage pre-service teachers to integrate technology into their future practices [1]-[9]. To prepare pre-service teachers for effective technology integration, teacher educators must go beyond introducing students to knowledge about how to operate a computer. Rather, pre-service teachers need opportunities to learn ways to combine technology with appropriate instructional approaches [10]-[15]. Pre-service teachers need exposure to instruction consistent with their expected future practices [16]; therefore, a familiar expectation is that teacher educators should integrate technology into their courses to promote the active knowledge construction, the problem-solving skills, and the collaborative learning of pre-service teachers. However, my article illustrates a teacher education course in which the teacher educator strived to combine technology with constructivist instruction but in which the students felt unsatisfied with the technology integration owing to expectation discrepancies in technology use and course content.

BACKGROUND

Most researchers would agree with Cuban's argument that we cannot expect to solve educational problems by putting technology into classrooms [17]. However, most researchers regard technology as an important element in constructivist approaches to fostering students' active knowledge construction and problem solving rather than as a tool that simply transmits facts and skills [18], [19]. Papert argued that technology offers the best possible means to foster children's reflective thinking but that most practices in the area of "educational technology" or "computers in education" were simply mixing old instructional methods with new technologies [20]. Likewise, Tunison advocated that teachers should substantially change how they use technology rather than simply use it to replace old tools [21]. Even though most teachers regarded the computer as a learning tool, many did not include this tool in their daily teaching repertoire [22]. Not only are most teachers and students rare users or nonusers of technology, but also the integration of technology into classrooms accommodates existing teacher-centered instruction [23], [24]. Large-scale studies indicate that word processing, Internet research, and practice drills were still the most commonly used technology applications [25]-[27].

Regarding the U.S. education system's preparedness for the integration of technology into education, the U.S. Congress' Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) reported that only three percent of teacher education graduates felt "very well prepared" to use technology in the classroom [28]. Many teachers may know how to do word processing or to search the Internet, but they still do not understand how to effectively integrate technology into their teaching [13]. The Web-Based Education Commission also found that younger teachers, although they might have more basic technology skills than their older colleagues, frequently did not know how to apply these skills to teaching [29]. Similarly, Russell, Bebell, O'Dwyer, and O'Connor found that young teachers use technology less often for delivering instruction or engaging their students in learning activities than do experienced teachers, although young teachers are usually more confident and more comfortable with their use of technology [30]. In fact, most new teachers who graduate from teacher-preparation institutions lack even moderate knowledge about how technology can enhance the teachers' professional practices [25]. In addition to their anxiety at heading a class for the first time, new teachers may experience anxiety about how to successfully integrate technology into their teaching [31]. In the United States, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education emphasized the assertion that to successfully prepare for the 21st-century classroom, a teacher education program needs a vision of fully integrated technology [32]. …

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