Using the Internet: To Enhance Teacher Education

By Zirkle, Chris | Techniques, May 2002 | Go to article overview

Using the Internet: To Enhance Teacher Education


Zirkle, Chris, Techniques


At The Ohio State University, new technological approaches are being implemented in an alternative licensure program for career and technical education teachers in an attempt to meet their diverse learning needs and to develop their skills in the areas of instructional and information technology.

The alternative teacher licensure program, utilized primarily by new teachers in trade and industrial education, health occupations, and business education, consists of 38 quarter credit hours of teacher educator visitations/observations and coursework in such areas as curriculum, teaching methods and class/lab management. The teachers enrolled in the program are employed by comprehensive high schools, career centers, or in juvenile or adult correctional education programs.

Infusing technology into teacher education programs has grown in importance as technology itself has rapidly advanced. The requirements of stakeholders such as the Ohio Department of Education, national accreditation groups like the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and professional societies such as the National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators (NAITTE) and the National Business Education Association (NBEA), have prompted Ohio State to add technology literacy components to virtually every aspect of the alternative licensure program.

Research and Reference

Course assignments frequently require significant use of the computer and information technology. For example, students in the teaching methods course conduct research on the Internet and construct an extensive list of Web sites related to their teaching occupation, which is then compiled into a master list and distributed to all members of the class. Teachers in the class and lab management course are given Web addresses (URLs) for various articles on topics related to teacher safety and liability issues, which are then discussed when the topic is covered in class. These assignments illustrate some of the many opportunities to incorporate the use of information technology in a relevant manner.

Many of the courses in the program are "Web enhanced," i.e., they are offered primarily on campus and provide Web-based information or testing as a supplement to the on-campus instruction. Specific courses have synchronous components, with some class sessions held online. To facilitate this approach, some Ohio State faculty utilize the campus Web-supported software, WebCT, while others use Blackboard or construct other learning tools and resources using programs such as Microsoft's FrontPage, loaded onto their own Web pages. A recent course on class and lab management was offered through a combination of lectures on CD-ROM and a Web site, necessitating only two visits to campus-an introduction to the course and the presentation of final projects. All other coursework was completed online, with course communication through asynchronous means, without the need for "real-time" attendance.

The need for these types of courses is evident, given the geographic distribution of the teachers accessing the courses. While many of the students teach in the Columbus metro area, some of the career centers are in outlying counties, and for those employed by correctional institutions, a two-hour drive to campus is not uncommon.

Additional Advantages

Web-enhanced courses offer other significant advantages. For faculty, Web-enhanced classes can help with instructor organization. Areas for course documents, assignments, class notes and other information can be readily categorized. …

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