Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Collaborative Professional Development of Mentor Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers in Relation to Technology Integration

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Collaborative Professional Development of Mentor Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers in Relation to Technology Integration

Article excerpt

Introduction

Integrating technology into classroom instruction can increase student motivation, learning efficacy, curiosity and creativity (Carle, Jaffee & Miller, 2009; Idris & Nor, 2010; Molins-Ruano, Sevilla, Santini, Haya, Rodriguez & Sacha, 2014). However, teachers frequently use technology to perform non-instructional tasks such as grading and monitoring attendance (Gray, Thomas, & Lewis, 2010; Russell, Bebell, O'Dwyer & O'Connor, 2003). According to Govender and Govender (2014), most teachers with access to technology and computer competency skills fail to incorporate technology in their teaching. Unsuccessful experiences in technology adoption in the classroom may inhibit teacher motivation (Slaouti & Barton, 2007), explaining the need to create successful classroom experiences of technology integration.

Akbaba-Altun (2006) verified that in-service training courses lack hands-on activities, and fail to prepare teachers adequately to integrate technology. Enabling teachers to integrate technology is more complex than simply delivering instructions and technology-related skills (Ferdig, 2006). Despite possessing valuable teaching experiences or proficiency in technological skills, in-service teachers may still fail to successfully apply technology in the classroom. Related studies have demonstrated that observing successful teachers enhances the professional development of teachers, increases the likelihood that they will adopt new technologies in their classrooms, and also improve their teaching methods and contents (Anderson, Barksdale, & Hite, 2005; Powell & Napoliello, 2005). Successfully collaborating with colleagues is essential to effectively integrating technology in the classroom (Tondeur, Kershaw, Vanderlinde & van Braak, 2013).

Although extremely familiar with related technologies, pre-service teachers tend to lack sufficient pedagogical skills. Although teacher education programs include various courses that provide pre-service teachers with technology integration-related knowledge, pre-service teachers lack opportunities to apply such knowledge. Related studies have shown that the design of teacher education courses varies considerably (Lee & Lee, 2014). Such courses also fail to help teachers to integrate technology into the classroom (Goktas, Yildirim & Yildirim, 2008).

According to Russell et al. (2003), pre-service teachers express more confidence and proficiency in computer use than experienced teachers do. In-service teachers with sufficient teaching experience tend to have fixed teaching philosophies, yet lack technological skills. However, effectively integrating technology with teaching involves both technological skills and teaching experience. Ideally, the ability of in-service and pre-service teachers to learn collaboratively would allow them to effectively integrate technology with classroom instruction.

Related studies have suggested that the professional development of pre-service teachers in technology integration depends on knowledgeable mentors and sufficient technology access for practice and curriculum development (Grove, Strudler & Odell, 2004). While demonstrating the effectiveness of pre-service and in-service teachers collaborating with each other (Chen, 2012), other studies have identified the advantages of collaboration as including mutual learning and providing professional support (Goodnough, Osmond, Dibbon, Glassman & Stevens, 2009; Spilkova, 2001). However, the collaborative professional development (CPD) of mentor teachers and pre-service teachers in a specific school in relation to technology integration has seldom been examined. Based on a case study involving a teaching team consisting of three mentor teachers and three pre-service teachers, this study examines the CPD of mentors and pre-service teachers in terms of their ability to integrate technology with classroom instruction. …

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