Technology Policies and Practices in Higher Education

Technology Policies and Practices in Higher Education

Kelly McKenna (Colorado State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch343
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Abstract

This study investigated the personal technology policies practiced and modeled in teacher preparation courses at a teaching intensive university in the Rocky Mountain region. Both explicit and implicit classroom policies were revealed for teacher preparation classes to determine support for the allowance of technology by preservice teachers during their coursework. These teacher preparation classrooms are filled with digital learners who are mandated to integrate technology into their future teaching. But, how is personal technology assimilation being demonstrated to preservice teachers? Syllabi from all teacher preparation classes were reviewed, revealing that 45% contained an explicitly stated technology policy. Teacher education instructors were then surveyed with primarily open-ended questions to further investigate technology policies and use in the classroom. Overall integration of smart devices is not being modeled in teacher preparation classrooms at this teaching intensive university.
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Background

Technology is an integral component of life as we know it, and many students have mobile technology devices available to them. To meet learners where they are, educators must discontinue the use of outdated teaching methods and embrace a digital world (Rossing, 2012). But, out of fear that students may not be focusing on the instruction, educators are banning the use of smart devices in their classrooms. Smart phones are used by individuals in the workplace for a variety of purposes, so “why do we prohibit students from using these devices in the place where they do their own daily work?” (Hill, 2011, p. 22). Students should be encouraged to utilize the devices at their disposal to improve class participation, investigation, activities, and creativity. The real advantage of using smart phones in education comes when they are no longer supplemental, but essential components in the learning process (Hill, 2011). By utilizing the devices that are a part of their everyday lives, students have the ability to continue gathering information and gaining knowledge outside of school. Integrating technology that is utilized by today’s learners’ in their everyday lives has the potential to revolutionize formal education (Peluso, 2012).

Technology integration in education refers to the utilization of technology to promote teaching and learning. By meeting students where they are in respect to technology, educators can create more learner-centered instruction, solving the challenges of students’ needs and desires to learn differently (McCaffrey, 2011). The inclusion of technology in teaching and learning modifies the current teaching paradigm and empowers students through hands-on learning. By integrating technology into pedagogy, educators can engage students like never before and cultivate deep, meaningful learning (McCaffery, 2011). When mobile devices are integrated into education, students’ learning can be extended beyond the boundaries of the classroom; “students with these devices can go any place and anywhere to get their information, learning from the palms of their hands” (Hill, 2011, p. 24). But, for many teachers, technology use in the classroom is an intimidating prospect; the ability to effectively integrate technology into the existing structure of teaching is no easy task.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Preservice Teacher: Students who are currently in an educational program studying to become teachers. These students have not yet met the requirements needed to be certified teachers.

Learning Management System (LMS): The software system used for the delivery of courses online.

Technology Integration: Technology integration in education refers to the utilization of technology to promote teaching and learning.

Mobile Learning: The use of personal electronic devices for the purposes of education. These devices include: handheld devices, tablets, and smart phones, or any other devices that allow for the learner to be mobile.

Smart Phone: A cellular phone containing many of the elements available on a computer. Often these devices have access to the internet.

Teacher Preparation Program: An approved course of study that meets the requirements necessary for certification.

Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK): The framework required for effective instruction. TPACK is the integration of a teachers knowledge in the areas of technology, pedagogy, and content.

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