Implementing an Online Educational Technology Course in a Teacher Preparation Program : Challenges and Solutions

Implementing an Online Educational Technology Course in a Teacher Preparation Program : Challenges and Solutions

Heejung An (William Paterson University, USA) and Hilary Wilder (William Paterson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-899-9.ch003
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Abstract

To positively foster teacher knowledge, skills and beliefs regarding technology integration, a teacher preparation program at a university in New Jersey, USA carried out the process of revising a face-to-face technology skill based course into a fully online one in which the focus changed to “teaching with technology.” This chapter provides a detailed account of how the course was revised, and describes the challenges the authors faced. The solutions that came to the fore during this process are also provided. The chapter concludes with recommendations for other teacher educators who might be offering online educational technology courses to candidates of a similar population.
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Introduction

In order to support teacher candidates in becoming practitioners capable of understanding and applying technology integration in their future classrooms, research suggests that pre-service teachers should be prepared to teach with technology, rather than just learning about technology (Glazewski & et. al., 2001; Doolittle & Hicks, 2003; Mason et al., 2000; Mishra & Koelher, 2008; Wenglinsky, 2005). To address this pedagogical issue, the teacher preparation program at William Paterson University, New Jersey, USA, revised its technology course requirement, moving it from one focusing on only the acquisition of technology skills to one in which elementary school teacher candidates were encouraged to use a range of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to teach various types of subject matter content, while also promoting student-centered technology integration to ensure their future K-12 students meet state and/or federal mandates for technological literacy. This is clearly important in the U.S. since the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (ISTE, 2008) exemplify uses of technology to maximize teaching effectiveness as well as to advance students’ technological literacy. It is also important to note that teachers need to know how to use assistive technologies to maximize the effectiveness of the instructional experiences for all students.

The objectives of this chapter are three-fold. The first is to describe the rationale and theoretical underpinnings for developing an online educational technology course that addressed these aims, along with the collaborative strategies employed to successfully implement the online educational technology course. In describing this, we address the challenges encountered and how we attempted to solve them in order to bring the plan to fruition. The second objective is to report our findings, in order to show the effectiveness of this endeavor. Lastly, we will provide some lessons learned that might be applicable to other teacher preparation programs with similar student populations.

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