Constructing Preservice Teachers' Knowledge of Technology Integration

Constructing Preservice Teachers' Knowledge of Technology Integration

Kathleen A. Paciga (Columbia College Chicago, USA), Angela Fowler (Erikson Institute, USA) and Mary Quest (Erikson Institute, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch663
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Abstract

Technology can be an amazing tool for teachers and teaching, but only when used in developmentally appropriate ways. With nearly 300 new applications being created everyday, it seems like teachers are staring into a technology-filled abyss that grows deeper and wider each minute. Teacher education programs can help preservice teachers be better prepared to consume, create, and collaborate in developmentally appropriate ways with children by: 1) unpacking what developmentally appropriate practice looks, feels, and sounds like; 2) exploring ways experts like writers or musicians authentically utilize technologies in their areas of expertise; 3) providing hands-on experiences with a range of technologies across content areas to build up preservice teachers' levels of comfort just in the technology realm; and 4) requiring preservice teachers to utilize technology in developmentally appropriate ways as they work with children. This chapter provides a theoretical foundation and exemplars-in-practice for each of the aforementioned topics.
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Introduction

Citizens today are connecting through social media and consuming more digital content than ever before (Sasseen, et al., 2013). There are nearly 300 new applications being created every day and, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, more than 10 new groundbreaking technologies created every year (2015). These new apps are placed into the app store (Vaala, Ly & Levine, 2015) with little regulation on “educational value” to help educators choose apps that are, in fact, educational as determined by the science of learning (Hirsch-Pasek, et al., 2015).

Though most know our technologically-rich society requires a more technologically-literate educator, teacher preparation has not yet caught up with this reality. There are many reasons for this gap: dwindling higher education budgets that make continually updating technology difficult; preservice students coming into teacher preparation programs with varying competencies and understandings of appropriate technology use (Carroll & Morrell, 2006); and teacher preparation/education faculty members who may have little competence with emerging technologies (Polly et al., 2010).

In order to support preservice teachers (PTs) in developing competency in technology integration we make four suggestions—PTs must:

  • Become knowledgeable about what developmentally appropriate practice looks, feels, and sounds like (NAEYC, 2009);

  • Explore and develop knowledge about ways experts authentically utilize technologies to consume, create, and connect in their areas of expertise;

  • Engage in hands-on experiences with a range of technologies across content areas to build their level of comfort; and,

  • Demonstrate their competency in integrating technology with content in developmentally appropriate ways.

This chapter provides a framework for how we construct this foundational understanding with PTs. It shares exemplars-in-practice, and suggests needed changes in order to support this practice across institutions of higher education.

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Background

We utilize the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework (Figure 1, Mishra & Koehler, 2006) as a theoretical lens for our argument. TPACK represents one (of many) useful models for thinking about specific knowledge teachers must have to effectively and meaningfully integrate technologies into their instruction. Every lens and model has its shortcomings and/or pitfalls (Schmidt, et al., 2009), but we selected TPACK because its compartmentalization and overlapping of three main pieces—Content Knowledge, Technical Knowledge, and Pedagogical Knowledge—are relevant given the ways in which American sets of standards for teacher preparation and student achievement have parsed out content knowledge as a distinct part of teaching and learning and have integrated pedagogy and technology into their standards. The framework holds the most effective way to integrate technology is for teachers to simultaneously draw on their technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge.

Figure 1.

The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework

Note: Image reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tinkering: Process by which students explore, create, and construct knowledge about the world around them.

Preservice Teacher: Student pursuing a degree for initial certification/licensure in teaching field (early childhood education, elementary education).

Reggio Emilia Approach [REA]: An educational philosophy focused on early education that was founded by Loris Malaguzzi in Reggio Emilia, Italy; its fundamental principles include that (1) children are capable of their own learning; (2) children form their understandings through their interactions with others; (3) children are communicators; (4) the child’s environment teaches; (5) the adult is a mentor and guide; (6) documenting children’s expression of knowledge helps guide the child’s learning.

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