Technology Integration into Pre-service Teacher Training

Technology Integration into Pre-service Teacher Training

Anne Koch (Duquesne University, USA), Misook Heo (Duquesne University, USA) and Joseph C. Kush (Duquesne University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2012010101
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This study evaluated the perceptions of pre-service teachers in their ability to integrate technology into a learning environment based on coursework and student teaching experiences. Pre-service teachers were surveyed using the 2008 ISTE/NETS*T standards as a framework. Results were collected across four academic years at a university that has identified technology as an underlying theme. Conclusions from the study provide an insight into technology savvy characteristics of pre-service teachers. Results also show that technology modeling and program design within a teacher education program can have a significant impact on pre-service teachers, thus improving their perceptions about their ability to integrate technology.
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The efforts to restructure America’s schools for the demands of a knowledge based economy and to deal with the impact of globalization on America’s workforce have been redefining the mission of K-12 education and their teacher preparation programs (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004). Many standards from professional organizations (e.g., INTASC, NCATE, NCTAF and NCLB) point to the importance of university faculty and quality teacher education programs in supporting the needs of pre-service teachers, particularly through pedagogies that better integrate technology into education. Within university teacher training programs, the term pre-service teacher is commonly used to distinguish university students preparing to be teachers from the K-12 students they will ultimately serve. The improvement of technology integration in K-12 instruction has become a “national imperative” in the United States (Brown & Warschauer, 2006). Unfortunately, current professional development involving technology is inadequate to address the needs of 21st century teachers (Ansell & Park, 2003; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). Even within university settings where more technology is provided than K-12 institutions, many university professors often prefer antiquated means of developing lessons (Cuban, 2001; Fabry & Higgs, 1997; West & Graham, 2007).

Within the last decade, approximately 2.2 million teachers entered the teaching profession (Riley, 1998). However, limited exposure to technology and inadequate pedagogical integration continue to be reported as obstacles by classroom teachers (Ansell & Park, 2003; Lawless & Pelligrino, 2007; Smith & Robinson, 2003). Since the goals of teacher preparation include increasing the comfort of pre-service teachers with pedagogical resources such as technology, instruction in technology is particularly important and needs to be included in higher education. Increased integration of technology in K-12 teaching is more likely to occur when prospective teachers are exposed to a variety of computer uses in the majority of their undergraduate courses (Wheatley, 2003) and integration of technology into their academic coursework (Dexter, Doering, & Riedel, 2006).

Unfortunately, the term “technology integration” has been used without a clear, standard definition (Bebell, Russell, & O’Dwyer, 2004; Belland, 2009; Hew & Brush, 2007). Many educators have used the term to differentiate between the uses of technology to make learning more effective and the use of technology to help students solve problems (Belland, 2009). Within this paper, the term is used to reference the use of technological tools in the classroom with an understanding of its relationship to pedagogy. That is, technology integration is part of the pedagogical process and instructional delivery of a set curriculum; technology does not cause learning, rather learning occurs due to effective teachers (Palloff & Pratt, 2000).

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