Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Narratives of Collaboration: Inquiring into Technology Integration in Teacher Education

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Narratives of Collaboration: Inquiring into Technology Integration in Teacher Education

Article excerpt

A group of teacher educators researched their implementation of technology while trying to remain consonant with their philosophical frameworks. Four themes cut across the collected narratives. Commitment toward change describes the background attitudes and beliefs that propelled them to explore changes to their practice. Obstacles to using technology involved challenges in the teaching and learning environments. Struggles in using technology within instructional contexts highlights shared pedagogical concerns. Finally, attitudes toward technology use, outlines shifting understandings and their effect on their attitudes as teacher educators. Three conclusions emerged from the study. A match between the use of technology and the goals of instruction was necessary. Technology tended to make tasks more complicated, limiting the ability to incorporate technology into teaching. Perhaps more important than the exploration of technology as an instructional tool, however, was the insight gained into their own philosophies of teaching and learning through participation in the narrative of collaboration, and the ability to submit self-narratives for discussion by groups of colleagues.

**********

Recent reports from a host of task forces, national commissions, and accrediting bodies have focused on teacher preparation for the 21st century. Each report offers numerous recommendations which, when combined, require the virtual redesign of existing teacher education programs. Although these reports provide rationales and serve as directives for aligning programs in teacher education with the changing times, they offer little advice to the people responsible for implementing these changes: teacher educators. This article addresses the need for professional development of teacher educators to answer the growing call for redesigned teacher preparation.

In the fall of 1997, four teacher educators at a small liberal arts college came together to examine our own needs for professional development. Although they came from diverse disciplines and experiential backgrounds, they shared three common epistemological standpoints: (a) a constructivist philosophy of teaching and learning; (b) a belief in the benefits of collaboration; and (c) a commitment to qualitative, interpretivist inquiry. These shared standpoints made them unique at the college and within their department (and often placed them on the margins). Their group formed and met weekly to support one another in their teaching and research as they faced the challenge of implementing departmental policy within their own philosophical frameworks.

This challenge was intensified when they were given the mandate to incorporate multimedia into classes and coursework. Although the group initially formed to support individual teaching questions and research interests, it quickly took on a technology focus. This occurred for several reasons. First, with all of the demands placed on the time of faculty members at a small institution, they simply could not envision a way to increase technological proficiency and address individual professional development goals. Second, they believed that because they were all being asked to implement multimedia into their courses, although diverse, they could share ideas with and learn from the experiences of one another. Third, one of the group members was an educational technologist who left after the first year of the study. For her, inquiry into technology was self-chosen as well as required. For the rest of them, they decided to inquire into a problem chosen for them (integration of technology into teacher education cour ses) through means that they chose themselves: collaborative self-study. However, while combining the study of a program-imposed problem with self-determined methods seemed a reasonable compromise, the tension between their own desired directions for professional development and those mandated to them remained in the foreground of the inquiry. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.