Technology in Education, Win or Fail?: Are Teacher Candidates Being Prepared?

Technology in Education, Win or Fail?: Are Teacher Candidates Being Prepared?

Elizabeth Gound (Stephen F. Austin State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8193-3.ch012
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Educator preparation programs and institutional polices should provide background knowledge and experience with digital literacies and emerging technologies in coursework and strategies. The emphasis on the integration of technology instruction is relevant in the literature today. This chapter will explore the intersections and disjunctures between digital literacy practices in an educator preparation program and personal digital literacy use from a recent study that examined the digital literacies of six teacher educators. The chapter will be organized into sections, examining technology tools, digital interactions, and online resources applied classrooms.
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During the pandemic, I defended my dissertation in a most unusual way—via ZOOM (technology win!).  I am thankful for the pandemic, being that I was able to share the ZOOM with all of my friends and family – (technology win!).  Knowing the outcome of this day put me into a bit of a panic; so I had two back-up plans to ensure I was up that early that morning. The first plan was for my mother to call me. If I did not answer, she was to call my friend, who happens to be my neighbor. My alarm did not go off (technology fail!) and again, thankfully because of the pandemic, my friend was home and rang my doorbell to awaken me. I did not have much time to practice or get ready, so I rushed to the office.

The day before the defense, I went to my office in higher education and set up everything for my ZOOM. I practiced with a colleague and made sure everything worked before I left. Once I got to my office on the morning of defense, I was already prepared for ZOOM (technology win!). However, I was not prepared for the audio failing that morning, when setting up with my chair (technology fail!); luckily, I was there 10 minutes early. In those 10 minutes, everyone who was going to watch had joined the ZOOM (technology win!), those who were there for family and friend support, as well as my committee. The next few minutes seemed to drag on forever. Colleagues came into my office frantic to assist in the audio fail and had discussions of possible alternatives to the office location, etc. There were multiple conference rooms already set up for ZOOM meetings (technology win!) in the office, so a colleague helped me move my things and set up in the conference room. Fifteen minutes later, I started my defense. After one hour and 10 minutes, I was successful at defending my dissertation, becoming Dr. Elizabeth B. Gound.

Whether you consider those events technology wins or technology fails, technology won on that day. Knowing that many people faced the same issues from March 2020 until now (i.e., August 2021), the above discourse is important in describing how technology was successful for former preservice educators, now teacher educators, during their teacher preparation program and beyond. This chapter is filled with technology “wins” from teacher educators who were former preservice educators in the coursework at a mid-South university. The chapter will outline the explanations of teacher educators’ pedagogy and how it aligned with standards for teacher educators within their program and beyond.

Knowledgeable conversations with these teacher educators provide examples of personal, instructional, and professional experiences with digital literacies both during and after their educator preparation program. To decipher the difference between the preservice educator and teachers in the classroom, these terms will be applied—teacher candidates (i.e., preservice teachers in their programs) and teacher educators (i.e., teachers in the classroom). 

While teacher preparation is important, these findings signified that there is no means to be prepared for it all (Gound, 2020). This chapter will provide evidence of online resources and interactions between preservice educators and coursework that shape the framework for educator preparation programs. Barriers that occurred when accessing digital devices in a classroom, as well as connections between teachers, learners, and parents, will also be prevalent in this chapter.

Figures and tables will produce visuals of teacher candidates’ digital literacies learned in their coursework, practiced professionally and personally. They will provide intersections of technology and digital literacies from teacher candidates and teacher educators. The findings of this study will be discussed related to the content of the literature review in the following sections.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Millennial: People born between 1981 and 1996.

Net Generation: People born between January 1977 and December 1997, the first to grow up with digital media surrounding their every being.

Digital Literacy: The ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers ( Glister, 1997 , p. 1). AU72: Key terms need to be short and, concise.

Title One School: Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies. Federal funds are currently allocated through four statutory formulas that are based primarily on census poverty estimates and the cost of education in each state.

Technology Tools: Resources to equip people with the ability to search out ideas for personal and professional advancement via networked computers.

Digital Literacies: Understanding digital literacies as plural and wrapped in social, religious, and economic values, or doing-being value combinations. Digital literacies focus is on students and teachers, and the way they use attributes of inclusivity, agility, critically, confidence, responsibility, and creativity to communicate and collaborate within their communities.

Information and Communication of Technology (ICT): Skills related to technology, such as web search, email, online discussion, and text messaging.

Teacher Preparation Programs: Programs at four-year universities that prepare teachers for teaching in contemporary classrooms. Teachers prepare for classroom management, diversity, students, literacy, and learning.

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