Teacher Training and Technology: Current Uses and Future Trends

Teacher Training and Technology: Current Uses and Future Trends

Jeremy Dickerson (Coastal Carolina University, USA), Joseph Winslow (Coastal Carolina University, USA) and Cheng Yuan Lee (Coastal Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8632-8.ch111


How is technology being used to train teachers to keep up with the rapid pace of change in schools and society today? This chapter discusses the utilization of technology for in-service (practicing) teacher training, a process known as professional development within the field of education. The chapter analyzes both formal and informal methods of technology integrated teacher training, presents examples of each, and discusses positive and negative implications. The chapter concludes with an examination of future trends in technology and their potential for significant impact on teacher professional development.
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Previous inquiry has identified the continuing development of teachers as one of the key factors to improving student performance (Desimone, Smith, Hayes, & Frisvold, 2005). This finding is echoed by earlier large scale meta studies reported by national-level entities, including the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF, 1996), and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES, 1998), both of which emphasized that student performance is closely related to the pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge, and instructional practices of teachers.

Improvements in technology impact how we work and play by providing advantages and conveniences to various daily workflows. Technology-enhanced approaches are widely adopted by schoolteachers in both their instructional practice, as well as their continued credentialing through the professional development process. Through DVD/CD, the Internet, videoconferencing, and online professional communities, teachers are accessing instructional resources and participating in collegial networks to improve their teaching practice. Today, it would be rare to find a professional development project of any magnitude and duration that does not leverage at least some type of technology to facilitate communication or enhance information sharing.

As of February 2012, the indexable web contains at least 7.82 billion pages. The Internet and its potential impact on teacher training have been the subjects of frequent inquiry, especially the development of online professional communities (Gibson & Bonnie, 2004; Marx, Blumenfeld, Krajcik, & Soloway, 1998; Palloff & Pratt, 1999; Patahuddin, 2008; Ruopp, Gal, Drayton, & Pfister, 1993; Schank, Fenton, Schlager, & Fusco, 1999; Timmerman, 2004). For example, in an ethnographic study about uses of the Internet for teacher professional development and teaching mathematics, Patahuddin (2008) concluded that resources alone do not have any impact on teachers’ learning and their teaching practices. The result echoed previous findings that Internet availability in schools does not guarantee rich student learning or successful teaching (Becker, 1999; Gibson & Oberg, 2004; Wallace, 2004).

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