Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

From the Classroom to the Field: Pre-Service Teachers Integration of Technology during Field Placement

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

From the Classroom to the Field: Pre-Service Teachers Integration of Technology during Field Placement

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Although there is a great deal of research on the issue of technology integration in teacher education (Adamy & Boulmetis, 2006; Best, 2002; Brown, 2003), much of it focuses on the use of technology during teacher preparation courses but does not address the integration and use of technology in the field. Further, research that has investigated the use of technology during field placements indicates that the integration of technology is often relegated to the periphery because of overwhelming demands placed on student teachers through coursework and pressures to focus instruction on 'covering' standard curriculum material to prepare students for standardized tests (Brown & Warschauer, 2006). Research by Brown and Warschauer (2006) indicates that the use of word processing applications and web search tools for information acquisition among pre-service teachers are the most common computer activities during field placements and that few pre-service teachers consistently use technology at their placement sites for higher-order learning or problem solving activities. The presence of a course focused on teaching pre-service teachers how to integrate technology into the curriculum and the lack of consistent use of technology during field placements and in student teaching indicates that there is a gap between students' knowledge and skills related to the integration of technology and implementation in the field. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between pre-service teachers' knowledge of instructional technology and their use of it in the field and to examine reasons for its use or lack thereof in field placements.

METHOD

Subjects

Subjects in this study consisted of 65 students enrolled in their third 'block' of the elementary education program at the University of Texas--Pan American in the Fall 2008 semester. The majority of the students were female (82%) and Mexican-American (97%). All subjects were required to participate in field observations two days per week for a total of six weeks and, as part of their field observations, were required to design and deliver three lesson plans. Prior to the Fall 2008 semester, students had completed a technology integration course.

Instrument

To assess the students' self-perceived expertise in using technology, the authors used the Technology Proficiency Self-Assessment Instrument (TPSA) published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (ISTE, 2003) created by Ropp (2000) at Michigan Virtual University. The instrument determines educators' perceived self-efficacy of their technology skills and consists of six measurement scales with 32 items. The instrument has a high reliability coefficient (alpha = 0.975) and strong content validity and consists of the following measurement scales aligned to the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS*T) and (ISTE, 2003; NSSE, 2005).

I. Technology Operations and Concepts

II. Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences

III. Teaching, Learning, and the Curriculum

IV. Assessment and Evaluation

V. Productivity and Professional Practice

VI. Social, Ethical, Legal, and Human Issues

Procedure

The NETS*T survey was administered at the beginning of the semester to assess subjects technology proficiency. During the semester, students were required to design and deliver three lesson plans during field observation. The authors conducted a qualitative analysis of the lesson plans to determine if students applied the technology skills acquired in the instructional technology course taken the previous semester to their lesson plans. In addition, to examine some of the reasons why students did not integrate technology into their lesson plans, the researchers administered a short survey following the administration of the NETS*T survey to determine the availability of technology resources, the logistics involved in procuring resources, and why students did or did not integrate technology. …

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