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Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues

Drew Polly, Clif Mims, and Kay A. Persichitte

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education ProgramsDescription

Though technology is expanding at a rate that is alarming to many skilled laborers concerned for the welfare of their industry and jobs, teachers should feel safe in their position; however, teachers who refuse to adapt to technology will be left behind.

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe. Contributors from 32 universities from around the world came together as authors of case studies, methodologies, research, and modeling to produce the work that went into this reference work. The target audience for this book includes faculty, leaders, teacher educators, and administrators within higher institution and every level of education.


Teacher education programs, more than ever before, are under severe scrutiny from national and state government, policy, and accreditation organizations. Teacher education programs are being asked to provide evidence of their impact on teacher candidates, as well as the indirect impact of teacher education programs on PK-12 students. Reforms in teacher education programs focus on the integration of 21st century skills, which include knowledge and skills related to information technology, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004).  Technology is an essential component of these 21st Century reforms.

The focus of teacher education programs is to prepare teacher candidates to effectively teach in 21st Century learning environments. These classrooms have access to Internet-connected educational technologies, including computers, hand-held, or portable devices (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). As a result of the technology-rich nature of PK-12 schools, it is critical for teacher education programs to examine their effectiveness related to preparing teacher candidates to effectively use educational technologies to support teaching and learning processes.

The construct of Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) has explicated the knowledge and skills related to technology integration. Candidates develop the knowledge and skills related to technology integration through educational technology courses, methods courses, and technology-rich field experiences (Schrum, 1999). In this book, contributors address all of those contexts and provide examples of how technology-rich teacher education programs have developed TPACK and related skills in teacher candidates and faculty.

The purpose of this book is to provide examples and frameworks related to creating effective models of infusing technology into teacher education programs. This book is intended for faculty and others associated with teacher education programs as a resource of creating technology-rich teacher education programs.  As a result, each chapter has clear directions and implications for adopting their ideas into teacher education programs.  Further, the ever-changing landscape of what constitutes current educational technologies, has led the editors to focus this book on examples and models that address current educational technologies, but are likely to be relevant over the next decade or two as well.

The book is divided into six sections, which focus on:  Frameworks for Technology Integration, Web 2.0 technologies, Teacher Education Courses, Integrating Technology across Content Areas, Field Experiences, and Ways to Support Teacher Education Faculty.


“This book offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe.  Teacher educators are, indeed, fortunate to have this opportunity to make informed decisions that will transform teacher education at this important moment in the history of education.”

Kyle L. Peck, Associate Dean for Outreach, Technology, and International Programs and Professor of Education at Penn State University, USA

Personal Note

I’d like to thank everyone that contributed to this book and worked with us during the past year and a half. I’d especially like to note the contributions and dedication of my friends, colleagues, and co-authors, Drew Polly and Kay Persichitte.

I hope this work enhances teacher education and technology integration ultimately blessing the education and lives of all learners.

– Clif

Teachers’ Online Identities

Miguel Guhlin has once again pushed my thinking. This time its about the issue of personal content that K-12 teachers post online. I’ve spent a lot of time researching, thinking about and discussing this topic, but it struck me that this issue is actually a lot hairier than I’ve previously realized. There are a lot of different aspects that need to be considered.

Here are a few points from Miguel’s post. I encourage you to consider each question twice asking yourself Do.. the first time and Should… the second time.

  • Do/Should school districts have any say about what a teacher does after hours?
  • Do/Should school districts have any say about what a teacher posts online?
  • Do/Should teachers represent the district after hours?

Rather than commenting on the discussion at this point, I hope to further it by asking a few more questions.

  • Do/Should schools districts have any say about what staff members (Secretary, custodian, cafeteria staff, bus driver, mechanic, maintenance, etc.) do after hours? Post online?
  • Do/Should parents and the community have any say in these matters?
  • How does this translate to higher education?
  • If the answers to these questions are “yes” then is the same true for individuals in other professions (Nurse, news reporter, radio DJ, police officer, elected official, unelected government employee, or store clerk)?

New Diigo Group

DiigoI’m a big, big fan of Diigo. I appreciate that I can save and share bookmarks, highlight and leave comments on webpages, annotate resources, host and participate in groups and forums on particular topics, message and interact with friends and colleagues, and much more. It’s a very big component of my personal learning network (PLN). I’m also impressed and pleased that the Diigo founders and employees listened to its community of teacher-users and developed Diigo for Educators (More fondly referred to as EduDiigo). Here are some thoughts about about why teachers and learners might use Diigo.

I started a new group dedicated to the topic of design and development. I invite everyone with an interest/expertise in the topic to become an active member.

FYI, consider joining these other groups that started, too.

I encourage everyone to take a look at Diigo’s services and consider taking advantage of it. Please feel free to friend me because, as I frequently say, “Together we learn more.”

Advice for Student Teachers #2

The student teaching experience is thrilling and exhausting. By now you’ve begun to realize just how many responsibilities teachers have: lesson plans, attendance records, grades, duties, communication with parents, team meetings, and so, so much more. If you’re beginning to wonder how you can stay on top of everything Katherine Shaw suggests the following advice.

Keeping on Top of the Work

Advice for Student Teachers

The following tips are from Smart Teaching and are just a few items from their list. You can view the entire list of suggestions and resources here.

Smart Teaching's Advice for Student Teachers (Image 1)Smart Teaching's Advice for Student Teachers (Image 2)

1 Thing Student Teachers Should Know

Jennifer Nelson

Part of the ongoing 1 Thing series.

There are many things all student teachers should know.   Since I work with pre-service teachers every day, I thought I would ask a few of our cooperating teachers and university supervisors to comment.  Please feel free to add your remarks!

Pay Attention

Dear (Future) Teacher,

As we begin our journey into educational technology I encourage you to watch this video clip, Pay Attention, at least once and reflect upon its message. You might find it beneficial to review Karl Fisch’s Shift Happens before you watch this video.

For Discussion
What do you think are the implications for teaching and learning? For schools?

1 Thing Student Teachers Needs to Know!

Linda Eller

Part of the ongoing 1 Thing series.

Entering a classroom at second semester can be daunting for everything seems easy. It took work early in the year to make the wheels of an effective classroom run almost on empty. It’s all about preparedness, procedures, and practice. The inhabitants of the classroom know what do to when they enter the door, they know where to put their homework or have emailed to the night before. They know when the computers are open and low noise works. They know what to do during read aloud and what group they work with for math. These procedures for getting through each day are established during the beginning of the school year and are practiced often. Student teachers often do not see how an effective classroom is set up at the beginning of the school year.  With this in mind, it is imperative that student teachers ask questions. Things like – How did you establish your rules? How did students learn signals for your style of teaching?  What do your signals mean? What is the difference between a rule of behavior and a classroom procedure?

I’m reminded of the best book any new teacher should have that helps address some of these questions, The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry Wong. There is a new 2009 edition out now.  In reviewing the table of contents of the new edition, he writes about being successful on those first days, positive expectations to hold, classroom management, effective lessons, and assessing students. The book is free and new and easy to read. I think it is a critical resource for all teachers but especially student teachers.

One point in Wong’s book that still lingers with me is the importance of planning and preparation. You cannot over plan. Yes, it is work to plan for everything but when you do so, you’ll have one great day after another.  Be proactive and ready for anything before it happens instead of reactionary.  Those instant reactions set you the teacher up for a student to adult power play. Students don’t give up unless you are ready.

From my time in the classroom and having student teachers I’d also have to say that asking questions of the supervising teacher, sharing your ideas, listening to responses, and talking things out will be invaluable. If one doesn’t see or understand how something works then ask. Be mindful of the skills you bring with you and share those strengths. Keep a log of your experiences. It might be helpful when that first teaching assignment is won. Keep in touch with your supervising teacher especially if a good relationship was developed. I had a student teacher once that ended up being my substitute after she graduated. It was wonderful. She knew the expectations in my classroom and I knew she could handle whatever came along.

A teacher impacts student’s lives. A student teacher will do the same for a time. You leave a lasting impression on them as well as their parents and other teachers in the building. Make it a positive, open-minded but assertive impression. Listen to students but be firm with what you expect from them. They will test you over and over and over. Listen to your supervising teachers for they have experiences you can learn from. Listen to your heart and make sure you love working with children. Your days will be filled with new and different things with no two days the same.  Be kind to the children you work with for some will need all the extra attention. Be flexible but hold to your expectations.

With good procedures in order, students trained, expectations explained and lots of practice, the classroom can run smoothly. When you plan well, stay organized, and maintain a positive outlook even when it becomes stressful, you can bring new challenges and fun ways to learning. You will gain as much as your students do for it will be a rich and rewarding experience.

Now here is a young student teacher’s point of view: