Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge Construction with Technology

Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge Construction with Technology

George Zhou (University of Windsor, Canada) and Judy Xu (University of Windsor, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4797-8.ch007
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Today’s teachers are expected to use digital technologies in their teaching. However, teacher education programs do not yet effectively develop teachers’ capabilities to teach with technology. In order to search for best approaches, this chapter starts with an epistemological discussion on knowledge, and then moves to a more specific discussion about the nature of preservice teachers’ learning about using technology to teach. Using the framework of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, the chapter argues that methods courses of a teacher education program are the key space where preservice teachers can be trained to use technology in subject teaching. Particularly, the Microteaching Lesson Study approach in methods courses was considered an effective way for the development of technology proficiency. A small recent supports the arguments and articulates the success and challenges of the Microteaching Lesson Study approach.
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Integrating technology in teaching has become a highly recommended practice for school teachers. This can be verified by the international movement of the development and revision of educational technology standards for teachers (ISTE, 2008; Zhang, 2007). Teacher education standards and curriculum policy documents have also explicitly suggested teachers use technology in teaching school subjects (National Science Teachers Association, 2003; Ontario Ministry of Education, 2008). Unfortunately, although teacher education programs have implemented various measures to develop preservice teachers’ capacity to use technology (Kay, 2006), there are continuous studies reporting that preservice teachers and beginning teachers are not well prepared in this area (Kay, 2006; Pope, Hare, & Howard, 2002; Selinger, 2001; Zhou, Zhang, & Li, 2012). In this context, it becomes a timely and serious issue to re-examine what teacher education programs have been doing and search for effective paths for teacher preparation. To this end, we need to understand the nature of preservice teachers’ learning. On one hand, preservice teachers are learners just as the students from other majors on a university campus. On the other hand, they are different since preservice teachers learn how to teach subjects rather than the subjects themselves. The picture gets even more complex when digital technology is brought into subject teaching. What type of knowledge do preservice teachers actually need to develop?

To answer this question, and others, this chapter starts with a discussion of knowledge and explores how digital technologies can help with its development. This is followed by an examination of the nature of preservice teachers’ learning about using technology to teach. With this background, we consider methods courses as the effective context for developing teaching-with-technology skills. An exploratory study of a teacher education program contextualizes this argument.

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