Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Modeling, Training, and Mentoring Teacher Candidates to Use SMART Board Technology

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Modeling, Training, and Mentoring Teacher Candidates to Use SMART Board Technology

Article excerpt

Introduction

Technology has the potential to provide new methods for teaching and learning in our K-12 schools (Rakes et al, 2006, Siemens and Matheos, 2010; Knezek, Christensen, Bell, 1998).

Studies have shown that school administrators believe that technology is a critical component of the educational experience for students (Brush & Bannon, 1998). Instructional technology is associated with increased academic achievement, and may increase student motivation for school work, by providing students with opportunities to interpret and construct meaning and to present data in meaningful ways to their instructors and peers (Bell, 2002; National Council for Accreditation {NCATE}, 2008). Technology can provide students with greater access to a vast array of information and resources, empowering them to become free agent learners able to create mean- ingful personalized learning experiences outside the traditional classroom.

Nevertheless, many practicing teachers in our public K-12 schools struggle to keep current with the implementation of emerging and rapidly advancing tools of instructional technology, which can be largely attributed to inadequate professional development and training (U.S. Department of Education, 2005; Raynolds & Morgan, 2001; Yildrim, 2000; Teclehaimanot, Mentzer, and Hickman, 2011).

A national survey designed to examine the availability and use of educational technology among teachers in K-12 schools looked specifically at teachers' use of computers and the internet in the classroom; availability and use of computer devices and software; student use of educational technology; and teachers' preparation to use educational technology for instruction and technology-related professional development activities (NCES, 2010). While 97% of the teachers surveyed had access to computers in their classroom, those teachers reported that they most often used technology for administrative purposes, and only 40% percent indicated that they or their students often used technology for instruction (NCES, 2010). From the same study, although 57% of all teachers reported that they sometimes or often use interactive whiteboard for instructional purposes, only 23% of all teachers have SMART boards mounted in their classrooms, while another 28% reported they had access to a SMART board in the building. Despite increasing access to technology in our schools, many practicing teachers are not comfortable integrating technology into the daily teaching and learning process, making it difficult to assess the impact of instructional technology on student achievement (Barton, 2001; Cuban, 2001; Keengwe, 2007; Yau, 1999). A lack of confidence in integrating technology and a lack of understanding of its benefits to student learning may exist among teachers (Teclehaimanot, et al., 2011).

A large body of literature supports the idea that technology training and mentoring is the major factor that could help teachers develop positive attitudes toward technology and increase the likelihood that they use technology to enhance and support classroom instruction (Berson, 1996; U.S. Department of Education, 2005; Reynolds & Morgan, 2001; Yildirim & Kiraz, 1999; Yildirim, 2000, U.S. Department of Education, 2005; NCES, 2010). School administrators are engaged in efforts to develop effective policies that would enable students to gain greater access to learning resources beyond the school walls. They seek to secure sufficient funding to purchase technology and to provide on-going professional development for teachers. The recent NCES research reported that during the 12 months prior to completing the survey, 53% of the teachers had received between 1-8 hours of professional development for educational technology, 18% received 9-16 hours and 9% received 17-32 hours. Only 7% received 33 or more hours of training in the use of educational technology. Of those combined 87% of teachers who had received training in instructional technology, 81% reported that the training "met my goals and needs" (NCES, p. …

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