Preparing Teacher Candidates to Integrate Technology into
Content Area Instruction
Needless to say, information technology is having, and will continue to have, a major impact on how we in education view schooling, teaching, and learning---especially the need for including information technology education in teacher training programs. The Virginia state Board of Education, for example, has set reasonable targets and expectations for what teachers need to teach and students need to learn. These "reasonable targets and expectations" are called the Standards of Learning; they have been adopted in four core subject areas: mathematics, science, English, and history and social science. As part of the Virginia Standards of Learning, computer/technology competencies have been identified as essential components of every student's education as well. They are the shared responsibility of teachers of all disciplines.
The SOLs, InTime, and the Conceptual Framework for Teacher Training
According to the Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools, the student will, by the end of grade five, show achievement in the following computer/technology competencies:
Demonstrate a basic understanding of computer theory including bits, bytes, and binary logic.
Develop basic technology skills.
Process, store, retrieve, and transmit electronic information.
Communicate through application software.
By the end of grade eight, the students will:
Communicate through application software.
Communicate through networks and telecommunication.
Have a basic understanding of computer processing, storing, retrieval and transmission technologies and a practical appreciation of the relevant advantages and disadvantages of various processing, storage, retrieval, and transmission technologies.
Process, store, retrieve, and transmit electronic information.
Furthermore, as specified by the Standards of Learning for the state of Virginia, the use of current and emerging computer/technologies is essential to K-12 science instructional programs. Specifically, computer/technology in science instruction must:
Assist in improving every student's functional literacy.
Be readily available and used regularly as an integral and ongoing part in the delivery and assessment of instruction.
Include instrumentation oriented toward the instruction and learning of science concepts, skills, and processes.
Be reflected in the "instructional strategies" generally developed at the local school division level.
In light of the above standards of learning for Virginia students, and interested in working to create new learning resources to implement new standards for computer/technology integration for teacher candidates into its teacher education program, Longwood, a Renaissance Group university, and widely recognized as a preparatory school for training teachers, became part of a U. S. Department of Education grant, Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3). Called Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education (TFQE), its model was established under the InTime project (Integrating New Technologies into the Methods of Education). The grant was established to help teacher candidates become more technologically skilled and thus better able to help their future students meet computer/technology competencies such as those specified by the Virginia Standards of Learning.
InTime addresses seven major interconnected computer/technology dimensions necessary for the training of teachers in the use of technology:
Students at the Center of Their Own Learning
Principles of Learning
Tenets of Democracy
Teacher Knowledge and Behavior
Surprisingly, these seven interconnected computer/technology dimensions align quite well with Longwood University's conceptual framework for teacher education:
Teachers as Reflective Leaders
Plan for Instruction
Implementation and Management of Instruction
Evaluation and Assessment
Knowledge of Subject
InTime, while addressing deficiencies in teacher education programs in preparing teacher candidates to use computer/technology effectively in the PreK-12 classroom, also provides the necessary resources for methods faculty to revise their methods courses, model technology integration, and require teacher candidates to integrate technology and components of quality education into their lessons and units. For instance, InTime developed and made available for viewing---online---several videos of effective classroom teachers using computer/technology in methods instruction. The videos included scenarios of PreK-12 teachers effectively integrating technology into their teaching along with components of quality education in a variety of grade levels and content areas.
Technology Integration Action Plan
As a faculty member at Longwood University involved in the training of teachers, and as a participant in the InTime grant, my Technology Integration Action Plan involved incorporating InTime technology components into my Principles of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction class (EDUC 450) in the spring of 2001; I revised my course syllabus to reflect the change (see page 10 for Technology Action Plan). This class focuses on teaching mathematics, science, and social studies methods to teacher candidates at the elementary and middle school levels.
The pre-course revision syllabus---prior to incorporating InTime into my methods class---included no strategies for training teacher candidates in the use of technology. However, the post-course revision syllabus---after incorporating InTime into my methods class---integrated two major components for using technology as a teaching tool. The course revision included the use of InTime's online videos that demonstrated scenarios of PreK-12 teachers effectively integrating technology along with components of quality education in a variety of grade levels and content areas. Another technology strategy integrated into my post-course revision syllabus required the completion of a WebQuest by the teacher candidates. Thus, the InTime teaching strategies allowed the teacher candidates to watch teachers model the use of technology in their classroom teaching. The WebQuest teaching strategy gave them an opportunity to practice using technology in their own teaching as future classroom teachers.
The teacher candidates enrolled in the class were also expected to complete InTime's pre and post test survey concerning their skill and comfort in the use of various pieces of computer hardware and software. Essentially, this survey, taken when the semester began and again near its completion, sought information about whether the teacher candidates were pre-novice, novice, apprentice, practitioner, or expert in the use of computer/technology. I, as well, took an SoCQ survey (Stages of Concern Questionnaire) to assess my level of concern prior to integrating the InTime model into my methods courses.
The InTime online videos selected for demonstrating scenarios of PreK-12 teachers effectively integrating technology into their teaching along with components of quality education in a variety of grade levels and content areas included:
"A Walk through History CD - ROM" by Kim Reed
"A Walk through History" by Cythia Hulse
"Dinosaurs" by Laurie Sybert
The teacher candidates were expected to access the three selected videos by opening the following web site: http://www.intime.uni.edu/video.html. They were to watch the three video clips and while doing so answer a series of focused questions concerning each one. Finally, they were to write a paper about what they witnessed and learned. The questions were:
What was Kim Reed's purpose in teaching "A Walk through History?"
What was Cynthia Hulse's purpose in teaching "A walk through History?"
For what grade levels are each of the two teachers' lesson plans designed?
How did each teacher incorporate technology into her teaching? Identify the form of technology each teacher used.
Identify at least two activities that each teacher incorporates into her teaching.
How will each teacher assess her student's learning?
How does each teacher adjust the material for the different grade levels? Specify the use of technology and the skill level utilized by each teacher.
What was Laurie Sybert's purpose in teaching "Dinosaurs?"
For what grade level is the lesson plan designed?
How did the teacher incorporate technology into her teaching? Identify the form of technology used.
Identify at least two activities the teacher incorporated into her teaching.
How will the teacher assess her students' learning?
The video observations and the narrative description of each teacher's use of technology further served as a focus for classroom discussions concerning the use of appropriate computer/technology in classroom teaching.
The WebQuest project required students to use technology in researching a particular topic related to mathematics, science, or social studies; it required a classroom presentation as well. The teacher candidates used the following format in completing their individual WebQuest projects:
- Your Challenge
- The Challenge
- Your Journey: Starting Your Search
- To get more information, visit these sites:
- To get even more information use these key words with search engines:
- Your Report: Sharing Your Results
- The report must be your answer to the Science WebQuest challenge.
- Which of these words best describes your report? (You may check more than one.)
___ Written summary of what I learned ___ Story ___ Play
___ Poetry ___ Music ___ Chart ___ Graph
___ Other: ______________________________________________
- In two or three sentences describe your science WebQuest report. In other words, tell what the reader or viewer will observe in your report.
- Now, write your science WebQuest report according to the area(s) you checked in section B above and be prepared to present your WebQuest project to the class.
Interestingly enough, many teacher candidates chose technology---the "Multimedia" category---and included a Power Point show as part of their class presentation.
The Technology Integration Action Plan and the Training of Teachers in the Use of Technology
By all indications, the inclusion of InTime or the use of the WebQuest project in my methods class had very little impact on how much more aware my students became concerning the use of computer/technology in their teaching. Twenty-seven Longwood University teacher candidates were surveyed during the fall semester of 2001. Of the twenty-seven students, ten were enrolled in my methods class. Pre and post test data results reveal that seven students, 7/10 (70%), showed no change in technology competencies; 1/10 (10%) showed a positive change in technology competencies; and, 2/10 (20%) showed equal distribution of scores split between no change and positive change. In other words, most teacher candidates (7/10) maintained their computer/technology competencies at an apprentice level.
At the apprentice level students can use operating system tools to install software, access programs or files in other drives (such as CD-ROM in drive d:/), and save and delete files within the context of Macintosh, Windows, and networked systems. They can create their own folders to keep their files organized and maintain backups of their work.
The results of the SoCQ questionnaire (Stages of Concern) further indicate that the concerns for all stages as mentioned on the questionnaire are constantly decreasing. Such results might also show that teacher candidates realize the need for more intense computer/technology training as they prepare to enter the teaching profession. For example, concerns on the questionnaire connected to increased awareness and needing more information about the innovation, as well as personal involvement and management of the innovation show a high score, while concerns related to the innovation's impact on students, collaboration with colleagues, and refocusing show either an average or low score.
Thus, it can be assumed that most teacher candidates from the state of Virginia entering the teacher education program at Longwood University are competent in the use technology at a basic level. Furthermore, it may be further proposed that this apprentice level of efficiency may be due to Virginia's insistence, through its Standards of Learning requirements, that all students moving through the state's public education system become computer literate and technologically aware by the time they graduate from high school and enter college.
In sum, based on what I have found from the research on teacher technology competencies as revealed through the InTime surveys and my revised course requirements, incorporating more technology strategies into my methods classes is much needed. InTime has given me cause to think about my teaching methods as they relate to the incorporation of more technology into my own teaching and to model technology strategies for teacher candidates.
According to the Standards of Learning for the state of Virginia, Virginia students entering the teaching profession "should" be at the apprentice stage of computer/technology development for those are the competencies required for all students by the state of Virginia and that is the level at which they enter the university. It is my job as a teacher trainer in methods instruction to help teacher candidates move beyond the apprentice stage of computer/technology awareness and to help them to become more proficient and comfortable in using a powerful modern method of teaching---technology.
Implications for the Training of Future Teacher Candidates in the use of Computer/Technology
In the future, not only will teacher candidates be expected to complete the WebQuest project as described above but I too will become more proficient at incorporating computer/technology instruction into my own teaching. Power Point presentations will become a standard part of my classroom lectures and they will be required components of all student classroom presentations as well. The use of electronic texts such as hypermedia and hypertext will be used by me as well as my students to help enhance teaching and to model the use of technology in teaching. A more efficient use of laptop computers, required hardware for all entering freshmen to Longwood University, will be further explored as well.
For demonstration purposes, the InTime videos will continue to be a part of the EDUC 450 syllabus because since joining the InTime project Longwood University has established four partnership programs with school districts surrounding the university---Buckingham County, Prince Edward County, Cumberland County, and Charlotte County. All methods classes are taught off site in an authentic classroom setting housed in a public elementary school. Each day the partnership professors and their students travel from five to twenty-five miles to work with "real" students in "real classroom settings." As a result, instructing students on how to incorporate computer/technology into their own teaching becomes more practical. They can watch the videos of teachers from other states incorporating technology in their teaching and, since most classrooms in the state of Virginia are computer and technologically equipped and most teachers are becoming more aware of the usefulness of technology in their own teaching, compare the two. Therefore, teacher candidates will become even more aware of how different teachers utilize computer/technology in their instruction---their own cooperating teacher as well as teachers in other states.
As an example, this past semester one of the teacher candidates in the Cumberland County partnership program witnessed his mentor science teacher using a laser disk connected to a television monitor to teach her students about the ocean floor and how scientists use sounding devices to measure the depth of the ocean. He, in turn, saw a way in which he could incorporate such technology into his own teaching. What a great opportunity for teacher candidates to compare this teaching strategy using technology with other such methods presented by other teachers in other states! As well, such demonstrations by competent teachers serve as a springboard for how teacher candidates might incorporate computer/technology into their future classrooms.
To be sure, information technology is having, and will continue to have, a major impact on how we in education view schooling, teaching, and learning---especially the need for including information technology education in teacher training programs. If teacher training programs in the state of Virginia are to keep pace with current technological requirements as specified by the Virginia Standards of Learning and help move teacher candidates beyond the apprentice stage of computer/technology competency, it is obvious that methods professors must become more adapt---as well as secure---in modeling and scaffolding the use of technology in their own teaching. As well, it is imperative that teacher candidates observe competent classroom teachers using information technology in authentic classroom settings. It is through such modeling and scaffolding plans that candidates for the teaching profession view informational technology as having an important place in enhancing all aspects of schooling, teaching, and learning.
Technology Action Plan
What do you want to accomplish?
Who? What? When? etc. Timelines, Arrangements, Division of Responsibilities
What do you need for success?
Criteria - What might you see, hear, feel, etc. when its completed?
Gathering Data/Assessment Techniques
How will you know you have reached your outcomes?
The goal is for candidates for the teaching profession to be able to:
· recognize the importance of technology as a teaching resource in the elementary and middle school classroom.
· evaluate experienced classroom teachers' pedagogical practices in the use of technology.
· gain some ideas as to how to incorporate technology into their own teaching practices.
· demonstrate their ability to incorporate technology into their future classroom planning and teaching.
· realize that technology can be integrated into various subject areas as a teaching tool.
Candidates for the teaching profession will:
· download and view three InTime video clips.
· use a series of focused questions as a guide for evaluating the use of technology by the three classroom teachers in the video clips.
· dialogue in whole class and small group discussions about how the teachers in the InTime video clips mesh technology with teaching strategies and subject areas.
· reflect on and summarize in narrative form the information presented in the videos concerning the use of technology in the classroom.
· complete two WebQuest projects to demonstrate how one kind of technology might be incorporated into either a math, science, or social studies classroom assignment.
InTime video clips,
Candidates for the teaching profession will be able to:
· discuss the importance of technology in classroom teaching
Rubrics for Assessing InTime Video clips
Rubrics for Assessing WebQuest challenges
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