Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Teacher Education: Preparing Teachers to Integrate Technology

Academic journal article International Journal of Instructional Media

Teacher Education: Preparing Teachers to Integrate Technology

Article excerpt

Over the years, a number of studies have been done on technology and teacher education (Blackmore, Stanley, Coles, Hodgkinson, Taylor, & Vaughn, 1992; Bruder, 1988, 1989; Carey, 1991; Davis, 1992; Logan & Sachs, 1992; Novak, 1991). In one such study, Davis (1992) reported that more than 50% of teacher education graduates surveyed indicated that they were `not prepared at all' or `poorly prepared', and 20% stated that they were `adequately prepared', `well prepared', or `very well prepared' to use technology for instruction. A more recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the United States, found that although a majority of teachers indicated that they have had some training in technology, only 20 percent felt "very well prepared" to integrate educational technology in classroom activities (NCES, 1999).

The preceding information is cause for concern. This is particularly so because of the impact of information technology on the different facets of society, including education and training institutions. Some colleges of education appear to be proactive in preparing teachers to integrate information technology to support pedagogy and learning, while others seem to be maintaining the status quo. Beck and Wynn (1998) stated that schools, colleges, and departments of education may be placed along a continuum in their integration of technology. Whereas there are those who are seeking to maximize the integration of technology in their programs, others are doing the best they can, given the availability of resources and their comfort levels, working with these tools. Many teachers who have integrated technology to support teaching and learning have only used it for activities which they can control (e.g., drill and practice and tutorials). Other teachers, however, have used technology for instruction in ways which are more student-centered (e.g., collaborative learning activities) (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). Yet other teachers may still be reluctant to integrate technology beyond the use of the traditional ones (e.g., overhead projectors, videotape recorders, 35 mm projectors) in their programs.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the extent to which teacher education programs are helping prospective and practicing teachers to integrate technology in teaching and learning activities. Consideration will be given to standards and teacher preparation, some of the challenges encountered in integrating technology in the curriculum, and some strategies for preparing teachers to integrate technology in education.

STANDARDS AND TEACHER PREPARATION

The need to prepare teachers to make effective and efficient use of technology to support teaching and learning has not gone unnoticed. The Office of Technology Assessment (1995), in its report, observed that much of the technology instruction was related to teaching about technology rather than teaching with it across the curriculum. One major U. S. agency responsible for the accreditation of teacher training programs, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), has been seeking to address this issue. In its report, Technology and the New Professional Teacher: Preparing for the 21st Century Classroom, NCATE noted that teachers, in order to adapt to take advantage of technology for instruction, need to develop new understandings, new approaches, new roles, new forms of professional development, and new attitudes. NCATE's influence in helping teacher education programs to integrate technology is pivotal because of its role as an accreditation body. NCATE joined with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISLE) to establish standards for teaching about technology in education and in encouraging schools of education to increase their emphasis on the use of technology in teacher training (NCATE, 1997; Roblyer & Edwards, 2000). ISTE recommended that teachers acquire the competencies in basic computer/technology operations, in personal and professional uses of technology, and in the application of technology for instruction (NCATE, 1997). …

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