Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Integration of Computers and Related Technologies into Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Programs

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Integration of Computers and Related Technologies into Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Programs

Article excerpt

The study examined how computer technology is used, modeled, and taught in programs that prepare future teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Data were collected through two self-reported survey instruments sent to participants from two different groups: (a) deaf education faculty (n = 233) and Cb) administrators of programs serving students who are deaf or hard of hearing (n = 100). Among the faculty who responded to the survey, 99% said they used computers and printers for instruction during class, 84% said they used VCRs for instruction during class, and 56% said they used video cameras for instruction during class. The information that was reported on how technology was being used for instruction and how its use was being taught to students in deaf education teacher preparation programs indicates that the need persists for integration of technology into these programs. A need likewise continues for improved instructional strategies relative to computers and technology.

Computers and related technologies have become an integral part of daily life, changing the world in both business and educational systems. As computers become more commonplace in society, children will need not only to learn about computers, but to learn with computers. Teachers must be able to make use of computers and related technologies to get the most out of their tasks and time while providing the best possible educational environment for their pupils. The everyday tasks and projects that are part of a teacher's job can become burdensome. The use of computerized technology can minimize such burdens, increase teachers' productivity, and greatly enhance their instructional delivery.

Teachers in the classroom often model what they have seen in their own preparation to become teachers (Ball, 1990). Therefore, it is crucial to examine current teacher preparation practices to determine how technology is used and taught. Those who are preparing to become teachers would benefit from seeing and using technology during their own course work and practica in order to learn how to incorporate computer-related technology into their own classrooms. For new teachers, the most recent "school experience" consists of the college or university education classes they took as part of their own professional preparation. Teacher educators often do not model how to use technology in the instructional process, nor do they require their students to incorporate technology into projects and assignments.

In the field of deaf education, visual presentation of information is key to successful communication and instruction. When only the spoken word is used, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are not able to participate fully in the learning process. According to Gallaudet University president I. King Jordan (1993), "Visual access to information for people who rely on vision rather than audition must be regarded as a basic right" (p. 28).

Educational technology offers learners and teachers a method of presenting information both visually and interactively, regardless of communication method, enabling the communication of ideas and thoughts with all students. Educational technology, by offering visual methods of presenting information to students (e.g., presentation software, the use of the Internet, display of video segments) and effective modes of communicating with others (e.g., e-mail, real-time discussion forums), allows students who are deaf or hard of hearing to be freed from limitations in communication that had restricted their learning and participation because of the emphasis on the audible communication of information.

In view of these points, it is pertinent to investigate the readiness of teachers to use computer-related technology in their instruction of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. There has been limited research into the use or integration of technology in deaf education teacher preparation programs. …

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