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2000 From Teaching Technology To Using Technology To Enhance Student Learning: Preservice Teachers' Changing Perceptions Of Technology Infusion

Date: 2000
Author(s):Barbara Beyerbach, Christine Walsh, and Rachel Vannatta
Affiliation: Oswego State University, Bowling Green State University
Keywords: teacher education, staff development, teacher attitudes


This article uncovers changes that occurred in preservice teacher's perceptions of technology infusion based on evaluation findings from the first and second years of an ongoing Goals 2000 Preservice Technology Infusion Project. The project design involved a summer institute each year, where teams of education faculty, content faculty, and K-12 teachers worked together to learn about specific computer technologies and their applications, planned for infusing technology into their respective courses, and created links among preservice teachers, and teachers and students in public school contexts. Teams participated in common professional development experiences and were supported during the summer and throughout the year to plan, implement, and assess technology infusion activities.

The study asks: How can technology assist educators and students as they work within a constructivist teaching and learning environment?

Key Findings:

The study found a number of common themes across preservice teachers' experiences in these courses:

* "We want more!" While what they experienced was highly beneficial, many suggested they needed much more, much earlier in their program to be prepared to enter today's schools.

* "We have no choice." Students felt that knowledge about using computer technology was absolutely essential on the job market, and while most embraced it, all felt it was mandatory in the teaching profession.

* "I need step-by-step instruction." Many voiced an appreciation for opportunities to explore programs hands-on, with step-by-step guidance from someone who knew what they were doing.

* "Collaboration is essential." In addition to step-by-step instruction, many thought that collaboration with peers was essential to their learning.

* "Technology is wonderful!" By and large, students saw technology as something to enhance their teaching, to motivate students, to make learning more interesting, to address various learning styles, to open up new worlds that cross geographic boundaries, and to improve student learning. Students tended to base these claims on their own observations and impressions, rather than substantiate them with systematic evidence or research. That is, in general, students took a noncritical stance towards technology and what it can do.

* "Before I Thought...and Now." Students commented on their changing notions of the role of the teacher. Before, some thought technology would be taught in the computer lab. Now they saw themselves as facilitators, using technology to enhance student learning. "Before this class I didn't know how to use technology without making it the main focus. Now I can really see it being part of my teaching" one commented.

* As a result of all the authors have learned on this project, both the program and the evaluation have been revised to focus more closely on instructional methods for infusing technology. Most preservice teachers and faculty recommend expanding technology integration to more education courses earlier in the program.

Source Article: http://www.aace.org/dl/files/JTATE/JTATE-09-01-105.pdf