Are We Part of the Problem?: Teacher Preparation Programs, Educational Technology, and the Mis-Education of Future Teachers

Are We Part of the Problem?: Teacher Preparation Programs, Educational Technology, and the Mis-Education of Future Teachers

Heidi Lee Schnackenberg (State University of New York at Plattsburgh, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7763-8.ch006


Do a quick search in Google Scholar and you will find overwhelming evidence that teachers both are and are not using technology in meaningful ways to enhance student learning. Actually, just do a simple Google search and you will find many news and magazine articles revealing the exact same confusing information. Yet despite all of the Internet traffic, are teachers any better at using technology to enhance student learning now than they were when educational technologies first arrived in schools? And are teacher preparation programs hindering or helping pre-service teachers in this endeavor? As Gen Z enters college and becomes practicing teachers, with their own particular characteristics and digital abilities and needs, it is important that we re-examine these questions and find out how to best serve the newest generation of teachers.
Chapter Preview


Generation Z, or Gen Z, is the group of individuals born generally between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000’s, although sources rarely agree on a specific timeframe. They are essentially the generation that was born subsequent to the Millennial generation and they hold their own sets of characteristics, wants, needs, fears, hopes, and ideas, different from the generations who have come before them. Gen Z has also been referred to as Generation Wii, iGeneration, Digital Natives, Gen Tech, and Net Gen (Horovitz, 2012) - monikers which are likely very telling about the way the group sees and interacts with the world. Seemiller and Grace (2015) fascinatingly describe Gen Z as ascribing different characteristics to their peers than they ascribe to themselves. Gen Z considers their peer group as adventurous risk-takers, who are inquisitive and impulsive, as well as highly aggressive. However, when describing themselves, a Gen Z would typically label themselves as reliable and trustworthy, reflective and open-minded, as well as, kind yet possessing grit - a word that they may have learned through their KIPP character education program in school (Knowledge is Power Program [KIPP], 2018). Perhaps most notably, Gen Z is our first generation of true Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001) – individuals born into an age of computers, smartphones, high-speed Internet, WiFi, data plans, social media and a host of other hardware and software applications. Digital Natives are exposed to advanced technologies from birth and gain facility with them at a very early age, rather than learning to use digital technologies as an adult. Although some Millennials could arguably be characterized as Digital Natives, Generation Z is the first full generation to truly be Digital Natives. Their use of, need for, and perceptions about technology are like nothing educators have ever encountered before. Thus, an examination of technology, specifically educational technology, and how it interplays in the teaching and learning of Generation Z is critical.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technology: (For the purposes of this chapter) machinery and equipment developed from scientific knowledge.

Instagram: An online social networking service where users can share photos and videos.

Twitter: An online social networking and news service where users post 140 character messages called “tweets.”

Generation Z: People born from the mid-1990s to early 2000s; the generation after Millennials.

Educational Technology: The field of study that facilitates learning through the effective and appropriate/ethical use of technological resources.

Google: (For the purposes of this chapter) an internet search engine.

Digital Immigrant: A person born or brought up prior to the proliferation of digital technology.

Digital Native: A person born or brought up during or into the age of digital technology.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: