Access Denied: Preservice Teachers' Integration of Technology for Teaching Writing

Access Denied: Preservice Teachers' Integration of Technology for Teaching Writing

Kristine E. Pytash (Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA) and Elisabeth Testa (Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJDLDC.2015100104
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore three preservice teachers' experiences teaching writing with technology and digital tools during a year-long student teaching experience. Research found that while the three student teachers demonstrated conceptual understandings about the teaching of writing, their use of technology (or lack of) did not always reflect their views. When considering what influenced their transformations as teachers capable and willing to integrate technology into their writing instruction, the school context, particularly the notion of access, significantly shaped their appropriation of pedagogical tools for the teaching of digital writing. In addition, the student teachers were influenced not only by the resources that they had access to, but their perceptions of students' abilities and needs, as well as their own needs and efficacy as novice teachers.
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Cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) is a framework that examines “the interaction of human activity and cognition within relevant environmental contexts” (Leko & Brownell, 2011, p. 230). This theoretical stance takes into consideration people’s beliefs, thoughts, actions, and also the context where the activity takes place. Rooted in Vygotsky’s theories (1978) about how knowledge is acquired, this perspective views learning as “intimately connected to human activity, which is socially situated in one or more activity systems” (Brayko, 2013, p. 48). Activity is mediated by elements in the system and is in relationships with particular communities (Engestrom, 2001); therefore, it is “shaped and constrained by cultural factors” (Brayko, 2013, p. 49). Because schools are sites where preservice teachers are engaged in significant learning about teaching, researchers have drawn on activity theory to investigate the ways teachers transfer their learning in university methods courses to how they enact this learning and instructional practices in school settings (Grossman, Smagorinsky, & Valencia, 1999; Grossman, et al., 2000; Smagorinsky, 2011).

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