Technology training for teacher candidates earns national award

Teresa Foulger, Keith Wetzel, Ray Buss and LeeAnn Lindsey

A team from ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has earned national honors for a research paper describing the college’s evolving approach to teaching technology skills to future teachers.

The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) presented its SIGTE (Special Interest Group of Teacher Educators) Research Paper Award to Teachers College faculty members Teresa S. Foulger, Keith Wetzel and Ray Buss, and academic professional LeeAnn Lindsey, for “Preservice Teacher Education: Benchmarking a Stand-Alone Ed Tech Course in Preparation for Change.” The award was presented at the annual ISTE conference in San Diego in June.

The topic for the “Preservice Teacher Education” paper originated from the major curriculum redesign process under way in Teachers College. Among the changes being implemented in the new iTeachAZ curriculum is the elimination of a stand-alone course focusing on the use of technology in PreK-12 classrooms. Instead, technology is infused into a group of content methods courses for teacher candidates.

“The paper benchmarks the best practices from the stand-alone educational technology course that we don’t want to lose as the college moves towards an integrated, programmatic approach,” Foulger said. “Educational technology faculty were charged with leading the process. Our first step was to conduct this benchmarking study of the stand-alone course to determine the best practices that could be incorporated into the new program design.”

“Technologies seem to saturate our lives, but their purposeful use in K-12 teacher preparation classrooms sometimes eludes us,” Wetzel said.

“In Teachers College we strive to prepare K-12 teachers to integrate technology appropriately in their future classrooms, not just take children to the computer lab several periods a week,” he said. “The redesign of the teacher certification curriculum allows us to model and practice technology use in all of our methods courses. This study explains the promise of the new approach and sets the benchmarks for comparing the standalone course to the new approach.”

Results from quantitative and qualitative data in the study indicated students’ confidence and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) scores increased in the stand-alone course. TPACK is a framework to understand and describe the kinds of knowledge needed by a teacher for effective pedagogical practice in a technology-enhanced learning environment.

Benchmarks that arose from the study included those associated with computer skill development and TPACK development. The authors will share those benchmarks with program developers for adoption or adaptation where appropriate.

ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offers challenging education programs that prepare highly qualified and successful teachers, leaders, and researchers. Teachers College serves all four ASU campuses in metropolitan Phoenix and students across Arizona.