Teaching and learning with technology: how the best teacher education programs are preparing preservice teachers
Susko, Dana M.
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This study explored the utilization of best practices surrounding content and delivery strategies for educational technology preparation of undergraduate preservice teachers within some of the top public U. S. institutions of higher education (IHEs). This study was needed due to the changing nature of technology, a critical need to better prepare preservice teachers, and mixed opinions on what should be included in their preparation. The respondents were representatives from 11 NCATE-accredited, public IHEs. The 54 participants included deans, teacher educators, librarians, instructional technology staff, and department heads. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, surveys with selection and open-ended questions, and course syllabi related to technology. Data were analyzed using content analysis to review and code the documents, interview data, and survey data, which included constructing categories. The constant comparative method was used to determine emerging themes. Results revealed that the responding IHEs are preparing undergraduate preservice teachers to implement technology in their future classrooms both within and beyond required educational technology courses and that they are using many best practices and strategies as presented in the research literature and standards. However, only one of the 11 IHEs reported preservice teachers were required to take a technology course concurrently with a methods course, considered to be an important practice. Technology sandboxes were reported to be an effective way for preservice teachers to explore and learn about emerging digital tools, and meeting the challenge of the ever-changing nature of technology. Respondents reported challenges surrounding technology integration including a deadline to meet revised accreditation standards in spring 2016 as IHEs transition from NCATE to CAEP standards (CAEP, 2013). This study found IHEs are still facing historical challenges, such as varying technology dispositions among teacher educators, inservice teachers, preservice teachers, and institutional constraints. Some of the solutions to these challenges included the use of consultants to work with teacher educators and inservice teachers and preparation using digital tools outside of the required technology course. Implications of the results are discussed relative to the reported solutions of the IHEs, despite past and new challenges surrounding undergraduate technology preparation.
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