Comparing Pre-Service Technology Standards with Technology Skills of Special Educators in Southwestern Michigan
Alobiedat, Ahmad, International Journal of Instructional Media
Many colleges of education in the United States have recently elected to create, or adopt, "technology standards" by which to measure the abilities of their pre-service teacher graduates. The College of Education at Western Michigan University is one of those schools elected to adopt technology standards. The pressure to adopt technology standards has come from a variety of sources, including the public schools who are hiring new graduates and want them to have extensive technology skills, professional groups that are advocating the need for more technology skills by K-12 students and greater use of, or integration of information technology by schools, and from legislative groups frustrated by the lack of progress many schools are making in the adoption of information technology applications and integration of those practices into their instructional programs. (Moursund, 1999). The researcher felt it is important to determine if the technology standards being adopted by the college of Education match up, or exceed, the current technology practices and skills being employed in public schools. Adopting new standards are only useful, in the opinion of the researcher, if they relate closely with what is happening or expected in the schools systems where the pre-service students will likely be employed. This study is an attempt to compare the new technology standards with technology practices in school systems.
Schmoker, M & Marzano, R (1999) explained that, " ... the rationale for the standards movement ..." and ... "the most visible and influential manifestations [of the standards movement] are the state and professional standards documents." that have been created after it was perceived that schools were not keeping pace with the introduction of new information technologies. Kathryn Ley (1997) added that education colleges should use the "new technology" standards to develop and to evaluate teacher preparation in computer technology.
This study will explore the ISTE technology standards as they have been adopted by Western Michigan University. The study will not explore other important issues such as are the ISTE standards appropriate for schools, have colleges, particularly Western's College of Education, implemented the standards into their courses and curriculums, and have colleges, such as Western, improved their teaching of technology skills and practices. Maqny of the technology standards are based on work completed by the widely recognized professional education group, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 1998). The ISTE Standards for Teachers were developed using experts knowledgeable in the field. They have been generally accepted without negative comment. The ISTE standards used in this study included five key areas:
1) Professional use of technology,
2) Application of technology in instruction,
3) Utilization of information technology resources,
4) Technology use in professional settings, and
5) Facilitating student use of technology.
Many in the education community [school administrators, school teachers, and teacher education professionals] including the author assume that the technology standards should match or exceed the current practice of teachers if they are to make a positive impact on public schools and are to meet the expectations of legislators and professional groups interested in the topic (McGregor and Pachuki, 1996). According to Handley and Scheingold (1993), teachers need to use technology to meet curricular objectives instead of treating technology as separate content area. The purpose of this study is to determine what relationships exist between the new ISTE Technology Standards for teachers as adopted by Western Michigan University (Western Michigan University, 1999) and current technology practice by special education teachers in southwestern Michigan.
A survey of education technology use by special educators was conducted by the SPED 637 (Introduction to Special Educational Research Class) during the winter term 1998 as part of their required classroom activities. …