College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University Education Department
The College of Saint Benedict (CSB) and Saint John's University (SJU) Education Department strives to prepare highly effective teachers who have a strong liberal arts background, exemplify Benedictine values, make sound professional decisions, and ultimately help all students achieve their full potential as persons and as responsible world citizens in a democratic society (Mission, Education Department Conceptual Framework). As we work toward this mission, we prepare teachers who can effectively use technology as a pedagogical tool in their classrooms. This Technology Plan describes our commitment to candidates' preparation for and use of technology in the educational settings in which they practice.
Our first unit technology plan in 2000 noted that our two colleges were among those described as the "most wired" in the nation with internet service in every residence hall, office, and most classrooms and public access computer labs in several classroom buildings. Our 2005 plan found that our two colleges were adding campus-wide wireless service, using mobile computer carts in every building to bring the internet and video projection to any classroom, and closing some public access labs as more students arrived on campus with their own computers. Eleven years later our third department plan reflects the result of our colleges' growing investment in hardware, software, and the many talented specialists who help us learn to integrate instructional technology throughout our curricula. Wireless service is everywhere, computers and mounted video projectors are in most classrooms, and instructors are using Moodle and YouTube to enhance their teaching with tablet computers and interactive "smart" boards.
In order to delineate the CSB/SJU Education Department's vision for technology, this plan is organized into four sections. In the first section we explain and provide a rationale for our approach to instruction in educational technology. This is followed by a brief overview of the current landscape of technology in K -12 classrooms. We briefly explore the implications of a continuing shift toward digital and blended technology in our schools for teacher education. In the fourth section of the report we focus on learning opportunities enjoyed by our candidates who are developing the technological knowledge, skills and dispositions stipulated by state and national standards. Our 2011 plan concludes, as did those before, with a set of technology goals and objectives to guide our continuing preparation of effective 21st Century educators.
Rationale for Our Approach to Instruction in Educational Technology
The CSB/SJU Education Department prepares candidates to teach with technology by consistently integrating digital tools across educational coursework and supervised clinical experiences. Our intent is to support preservice teachers in developing the technological, pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) needed to effectively prepare K-12 students for the future (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). We believe that the unique ways of knowing and processes of inquiry associated with education in general, and with individual disciplines specifically, necessitate opportunities for candidates to consider the educational use of technology within both foundational and disciplinary-based methods courses. We expect and support candidates' use of those applications during their student teaching experiences.
Content and instructional technology professors, while experts in their respective areas, cannot individually provide preservice teachers with the context needed to explore the intersection of technology, pedagogy and content in the K-12 classroom. Content area professors teach preservice teachers the key concepts, skills and methods of inquiry utilized in their academic discipline. They may also integrate and model the use of digital tools by professionals within their areas of expertise. They are not however, typically prepared to help preservice teachers explore how child development, learning theory, and best instructional practices influence the teaching of subject matter in the K-12 classroom. Similarly, instructional technology professors bring a deep understanding of digital tools and how they can be used to support learning but are not likely to possess deep knowledge of the many subject areas preservice teachers are studying.
Students preparing for teaching licensure at CSB/SJU are encouraged to begin thinking about the appropriate uses of instructional technology in their education foundation courses. It is within the context of discipline-specific pedagogy courses, however, that preservice teachers have the opportunity to integrate their knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge to inform their teaching practice. This approach to technology instruction allows faculty to model and guide appropriate uses of digital tools within a specific content area. This is particularly important because most of our students have not benefited from frequent, effective, or consistent uses of technology as part of their K-12 experiences.
Ultimately, we want our preservice teachers' instructional uses of digital tools to reflect "thinking that involves planning, organizing, critiquing, and abstracting for specific content, specific student needs, and specific classroom situations" (Niess, 2008, p. 224). We believe intentionally embedding the use of digital tools into our pedagogy courses provides the most appropriate context for teaching preservice teachers about technology. Mindful of studies confirming that many new teachers often report inadequate preparation to use technology to help their students develop advanced knowledge and skills (Grunewald, 2010, p.26), as they conclude their preparation for licensure, our candidates must have frequent and significant opportunities as student teachers to practice and refine their teaching with and about technology. Selected examples of opportunities for preservice teachers to develop their technological pedagogical content knowledge are described later in this report.
K-12 Students Need 21st Century Skills
Our vision for preparing future teachers who can effectively integrate technology into their professional practice is driven in large part by our understanding of the educational needs of K-12 students. Almost all future teachers will enter classrooms that include a computer with Internet access (Gray & Lewis, 2010). Additionally, they may find their classrooms equipped with a variety of other technological tools, including, but not limited to: interactive white boards, LCD projectors, and document cameras. Access to new tools does not, however, guarantee that K-12 students will have opportunities to use them to construct knowledge and solve problems.
A recent survey of teachers reported use of technology commissioned by Walden University found that about one-third of sampled teachers were "infrequent users" who reported spending ten percent or less of class time supporting learning with technology" (Grunwald, 2010, p.10).
Further, when technology is used to support learning, students are often engaged in tasks that only require lower levels of thinking (Project Tomorrow, 2008). According to Ertmer and Ottenbreit-Leftwich (2010), "we need to help teachers understand how to use technology to facilitate meaningful learning, defined as that which enables students to construct deep and connected knowledge, which can be applied to real situations" (p. 257).
Using digital tools to complete routine, lower-order tasks is not enough. Predictions for the evolving role of technology in society suggest that we need to prepare K-12 students to apply technological literacy skills, think creatively and innovate with a variety of information and communications technology (ICT) tools, and communicate and collaborate in a digital environment (New Media Consortium, 2009). The International Society for Technology (ISTE) in Education has identified the digital knowledge and skills K-12 students will need to become effective citizens in their digital world. Table 1 includes an outline of their expectations.
Table 1: National Educational Technology Standards for Students
(NETS*S) (ISTE, 2007, p. 9)
The ISTE standards released in 2007 reflect recognition of the complex, multidimensional role of technology in contemporary society. These new "NETS*S still address the need for basic technology competence," but they also, "incorporate the skills and knowledge that students require to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly digital society" (p. i). In other words, simply teaching K-12 students how to operate technological devices is not enough. Students must learn to use digital tools "in authentic, integrated ways to solve problems, complete projects, and creatively extend their abilities" (ISTE, 2007, p. 1).
Implications for Teacher Education
Preparing future teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for teaching to the NET*S will not be easy. We know that prior learning experiences have a powerful impact on the future teaching practices and beliefs of preservice teachers (Lortie, 1975) and that those experiences are unlikely to include experiences with effective use of instructional technology (Grunewald, 2010, p. 16-17). Students currently enrolled in teacher education programs, while increasingly sophisticated consumers of technology, are less likely to have had meaningful educational experiences as K-12 students that enhanced their digital literacy skills, their ability to think creatively and collaboratively using ICT tools, or advanced knowledge of how to communicate and collaborate in a digital environment that tomorrow's teachers will require.
The National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS*T) can be used to bridge the gap between preservice teachers' educational experiences with technology and the digital needs of contemporary K-12 students. The careful alignment between the NETS for teachers and the National Educational Technology Standards for Students supports teacher education programs that seek to prepare future teachers for the information age. The NETS*T are presented in Table 2.
Table 2: National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers
(NETS*T) (ISTE, 2008, p. 9)
Aligning the NETS-T with NCATE Standard 1
As the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers provide a structure to bridge preservice teachers' technological experiences and K - 12 digital needs, they also provide guidance for us as we work to meet the technology expectations related to standards advanced by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In particular, Standard 1 indicates that teacher candidates should be able to facilitate student learning through the appropriate use of technology. As written, this broad expectation offers teacher preparation programs freedom to decide how to prepare teachers to use digital tools in their future classrooms. We believe the NETS*T provides important guidance as to how we might best prepare our candidates to use technology to facilitate their K-12 students' learning. In the next section we illustrate the many ways we meet NCATE's standard for pedagogical uses of technology as we guide our candidates toward fulfillment of the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers.
NCATE Standard 1: Candidate knowledge, skills, and dispositions: Candidates use technology in their practice and facilitate student learning through the integration of technology
A survey of education department faculty revealed that our candidates typically have numerous opportunities to effectively use technology to support students' learning woven throughout our licensure programs. In the sections that follow, we present our findings aligned with the five National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers.
For clarity, the courses were divided into three groups, including:
NETS*S 1. Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.
In the Foundations courses, candidates are introduced to the role of technology in the educational setting through in-class demonstrations and activities and reading assignments. The practice and demonstration of digital tools in the foundational courses is limited to using technology as a mode of finishing an assignment (i.e. make a video demonstrating content understanding).
In the upper division elementary courses, the introduction, practice and demonstration of technology use is very well established. Faculty use a range of technological tools to deliver content and model teaching strategies appropriate for their subject area. For example, in elementary math pedagogy, the instructor regularly models how the Smart Board can be used to effectively teach important math concepts and skills, while in elementary social studies methods, the instructor demonstrates how Google Earth supports the learning of important geography concepts. Similar examples could be cited for all elementary-level pedagogy courses. Additionally, within these courses, candidates regularly create products using technology that are made publicly available for teacher use, such as digital book trailers posted on YouTube.
In the upper division secondary pedagogy courses, the introduction, practice and demonstration of technology use is varied, depending on the 9 - 12 licensing specialty area the student is involved in and if the mid-level course (EDUC 358) is included in the student's four year program. The "demonstration of technology use" is the most consistent part of the standard applied across specialty areas, with a variety of applications appropriate for the content area. In EDUC 355 Science, pre-service teachers collaborate with alumni, working on a Literacy Unit together via Skype and Google Docs. In many of the secondary pedagogy courses (World Languages, Math, Science, Language Arts), there is a focus on exploring, analyzing and using online resources as tools in the classroom, specifically for the area the pre-service teacher will be teaching.
NETS*S 2. Teachers design, develop and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS*S.
In the foundations courses, this standard is minimally covered. Pre-service teachers explore the integration of educational technology through class readings and discussion in EDUC 111, as well as when they write a lesson plan that integrates technology in EDUC 310.
Across the upper division elementary courses, there is a focus on providing opportunities to design, develop and evaluate technology to maximize content learning through the adaptation of existing lesson plans, as well as the creation of new lessons, using technological tools (Smartboards, Document Cameras, GoogleDocs, Google Earth, Clickers, Mobi Pads, and a variety of online tools).
The upper division secondary courses varied in the application of the standard, but were more robust than the elementary program courses. Within a specialty area, there was often a portion of the standard missing, but it was different for each content area. The main focus was incorporating technology tools and resources into lesson plans, or as adaptations to existing lessons, in EDUC 358 World Languages, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Math, as well as many of the secondary level pedagogy courses.
NETS*S 3. Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.
This standard is established across the foundations courses, with a consistent focus on use and evaluation of informational resources. All areas of the standard was covered, with "technology use that is best suited" as a focus. Pre-service teachers are introduced to the process of selecting and using hardware and software best suited to their particular learning experience through readings and discussions in class. Pre-service teachers deliver two group presentations during the semester, each requiring a digital presentation. Pre-service teachers also read about and discuss current trends of technology in education settings (EDUC 111).
In the upper level elementary courses candidates have multiple opportunities to know about and practice using technology. Each day in EDUC 325, students use the Smartboard for in-class instruction. Additionally, each pre-service teacher designs a lesson using the Smartboard for an in-class lesson and is required to use the Smart Board while teaching in their practicum experiences. All pre-service teachers are also guided on the Department of Education website to use as a guide to the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards and for reading NCLB report cards. In EDUC 334, pre-service teachers do a critical review of internet resources using a Tree Octopus Analysis and they explore internet resources available for each of the state's science standards. In EDUC 318 during the digital citizenship lesson, pre-service teachers explore ways they can help young children locate, evaluate and use information available on the internet.
The secondary-level upper division courses are fairly consistent in addressing this standard, if the specialty area mid-level course (EDUC 358) is included in the student's program. The "appropriate selection and use of tools for a particular learning experience" is the most consistent part of the standard applied across specialty areas, with a variety of applications appropriate for the content area. In EDUC 358 Social Studies, there is a focus on how to help the K - 12 student access, analyze and use information on the internet. This is echoed by EDUC 355 Science focusing on teaching high school students how to critically view information presented on the internet.
NETS*S 4. Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.
In the Foundations courses, there is an introduction to the issues and responsibilities surrounding technology use in the teaching and learning environment, such as reading about current trends in technology and discussing these trends. Pre-service teachers read, discuss and sign a waiver about appropriate use of technology out in educational sites, including privacy concerns. Pre-service teachers also learn about the importance of professionalism in email correspondence and in their online public document folders for Service Learning. There is not a focus on digital communication in regards to student awareness of various cultures.
In the upper division elementary courses, this standard is covered extensively, included in several courses in all areas such as the safe, legal and ethical care and use of technology, digital etiquette and responsible social interaction, as well as the use of communication and collaboration tools for developing K-12 awareness of various cultures. Pre-service teachers read and discuss how changing digital technologies require a change in the preparation of effective citizens. In addition to considering effective ways to use information-based digital resources, they also explore issues like cyber bullying, digital etiquette, and safe online behavior (EDUC 318). Pre-service teachers also blog about book chapters on Moodle where they also use responsible interactions to ask questions, comment or to challenge another student about their thoughts on a chapter. Pre-service teachers also study math in another culture and teach a lesson using technology about that culture (EDUC 325). In EDUC 334, pre-service teachers participate in safety presentations and Moodle forums.
In the upper division secondary courses, the standard is minimally covered, except for the secondary communication courses. While depending on the specialty area the student is involved in, the issues and responsibilities surrounding technology in the teaching and learning environment is a strong focus, as well as with professional communication with technology.
NETS*S 5. Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.
In the Foundations courses, standard five is minimally addressed to introduce that educators continue to update their professional practice as technology advances in EDUC 310.
In the upper division elementary courses, this standard is modestly addressed. In EDUC 334 and 319, pre-service teachers use websites that link them to professional teaching communities, providing connections to in-service teachers and lesson ideas, as well as highlighting the current issues in the field of education.
In the upper division secondary courses the standard is consistently covered in most specialty areas if the mid-level course (EDUC 358) is included in the student's program plans. There is a variety of applications appropriate for the content area, including the websites that link them to professional teaching communities, providing connections to in-service teachers and lesson ideas, as well as the issues and work the communities are focusing on.
In summary, NCATE Standard 1 is consistently introduced a basic level in the foundations courses completed by both elementary and secondary candidates. Opportunities to refine knowledge and use of instructional technology are provided throughout the upper division elementary courses, although not to the same extent in every course. Such opportunities are included in upper division education courses focused on grades 5-8 and 9-12 pedagogy, but occasions for secondary candidates to observe and practice using technology to enhance learning while enrolled in content-specific courses varies within their disciplines.
Related NCATE Standards 3, 5, and 6
NCATE Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practices: Candidates have opportunities during field and clinical experiences to use digital tools to support teaching and learning
While all candidates are required to integrate technology with their teaching during field, clinical practice associated with pedagogy courses, and especially during their student teaching experiences, the nature and use of digital tools reflects both teaching objectives and the resources available in their host schools and classrooms. Prior to licensure, all candidates will have used digital tools in a K-12 classroom setting on at least one occasion; most on several. All students pursuing elementary-level licensure are placed in classrooms with interactive white boards as part of EDUC 325: Mathematics Pedagogy: K-6. As part of this clinical experience candidates plan and teach a series of mathematics lesson plans, at least one of which integrates the interactive white board. At the secondary-level, all candidates are required to use technology as a teaching tool in a minimum of one lesson during their student teaching experiences. Additionally, K-12 world language licensure candidates are also required to incorporate at least one digital resource during their clinical experience.
Many of our candidates opt to integrate digital tools during field and clinical experiences because the technology will enhance students' mastery of the lesson's objectives. For example, as part of EDUC 318: Social Studies Pedagogy: K-6 many candidates decided to use Google Earth as part of the geography lesson plans taught during the course's field experience. Important to this process is the availability of LCD projectors and Mac Books that students can check out and bring to their practicum site. This option minimizes concerns about the availability of technology resources at host schools, while also allowing students to practice using the tools prior to teaching. Another example is that many candidates in the midlevel language arts and social studies courses had opportunities to support struggling readers as they built their skills using a computer assisted instructional program.
While we continue to expand and enrich opportunities for all candidates to employ technologies during each phase of their preparation for licensure, recent surveys of first year graduates find that most did not identify lack of preparation in the use of technology as an area of concern.
NCATE Standard 5: Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development: Faculty integrates technology into their teaching and understands the use of technology for assessment
We believe the knowledge, skills, and commitment of our faculty to teaching with technology distinguishes us from many other teacher education programs. Our faculty has developed the ability to use technology to enhance teaching and learning by attending workshops and conferences, taking classes, reading relevant literature, and participating in technology-enhanced professional learning networks.
As previously indicated, faculty integrate technology into virtually all education courses. Candidates regularly observe the ways faculty use technology to teach and assess learning. A number of technology tools are used by many faculty members, including: Moodle, SmartBoard, GoogleDocs, clickers, the Internet, YouTube clips, and Microsoft Office applications. We believe it is important for our candidates to consider how they can use features of individual tools to respond to the unique pedagogical needs of different content areas. In addition to multiple exposures to a collection of commonly used tools, candidates are also exposed to a range of tools individual faculty members find helpful for teaching their content. We offer a small sample of the many ways our colleagues are currently using technology to support their pedagogical goals.
Many more examples could be cited, but this short list illustrates some of the ways our faculty members use digital tools to instruct and assess preservice teachers.
Finally, a number of faculty members have shared their technological expertise at campus-wide professional development events, at state and national conferences, and via the Internet. Faculty members have publicly shared their experience with technology in a variety of ways.
NCATE Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources: The unit has adequate information and technology resources to support faculty and candidates
CSB/SJU faculty and students have access to a wealth of information and technology resources throughout our two colleges. All classrooms hosting department courses have wired and wireless internet access and are equipped with tethered podia supporting multiple program sources, including a computer accessing the internet, a videodisk and videotape recorder, and an audio amplifier linked to a wall-mounted speakers and a video projector. Mobile carts are provided for use in rooms not so equipped. The Education Department has a variety of digital tools found in schools available for use by faculty and candidates. The table below lists hardware and software used exclusively by the department.
Table 3: Hardware and Software Employed in Teacher Preparation
|SmartBoards in HAB classrooms||5||Mobi Pads||4|
|Turning Point Clicker Sets||2||LCD Projectors||1 per classroom|
|MacBooks||15||Mobile LCD Projectors||3|
|Document Cameras||3||MIDI Musical Keyboard||1|
|Video Cameras||2||Digital Cameras||2|
|Mobile Lab on Wheels||1||iPads||4|
Smart Notebook Math Tools
MCA II Item Sampler
Technology-Related Goals and Objectives
As a department we provide students with many opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions identified in both the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers and in NCATE standards related to educational technology. We recognize, however, that there is always room for growth. Analysis of our strengths reveals gaps that will influence changes in our practices and acquisition of technology in the years ahead. The following goals and objectives will guide those changes for the next three to five years.
Goal 1: To continue providing pre-service teachers with appropriate opportunities to learn, apply, and be assessed on the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) by...
1.1 Organizing faculty in-service training focused on the NETS-T.
1.2 Integrating requirements for pre-service teachers to use technology throughout the education program.
1.3 Requiring pre-service teachers to demonstrate appropriate and effective uses of digital tools during methods courses and student teaching.
Goal 2: To provide pre-service teachers with opportunities to learn about emerging digital tools and their appropriate pedagogical uses by...
2.1 Organizing faculty in-service that focuses on new digital tools and appropriate instructional uses.
2.2 Supporting faculty members' attendance at state and national technology conferences.
2.3 Introducing new technologies within methods courses and providing students with opportunities to use the tools and explore appropriate uses.
2.4 Providing pre-service teachers with alternative opportunities to explore Instructional technology (i.e. "Technology Days").
Goal 3: To provide pre-service teachers with opportunities to explore the uses of online teaching and learning by...
3.1 Developing a course that focuses on teaching and learning in an online environment.
3.2 Interacting with experts from around the world via online and face-to-face professional learning communities.
Goal 4: To strengthen learning to use instructional technology in 9-12 pedagogy courses by:
4.1 Providing opportunities for 9-12 methods course instructors to discuss and share appropriate uses of technology in high school courses.
4.2 Interacting with experts from around the world via online and face-to-face professional learning communities.
4.3 Providing the 9-12 pedagogy students with alternative opportunities to explore Instructional technology (i.e. required secondary-level Technology Days).
Goal 5: To assess the preparation and readiness of pre-service teachers to teach with technology appropriate for their grade level and discipline by...
5.1 Using the NETS-T to develop and administer a bi-annual survey of faculty members' uses of educational technology to identify needed hardware and software as well as to guide faculty development in technology.
5.2 Surveying candidates at the conclusion of their student teaching experience to discover the extent of their preparation and opportunity to effectively use educational technology in their host classrooms and schools.
American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2010). 21st Century Knowledge and Skills in Teacher Preparation. Available online at: http://bit.ly/8XFC7o
Gray, L., Thomas, N., & Lewis, L. (2010). Teachers' Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools: 2009 (NCES 2010-040). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
Grunwald and Associates. (2010). Educators, technology and 21st century skills: Dispelling five myths. Retrieved from Walden University, Richard W. Riley College of Education website: from www.WaldenU.edu/fivemyths
Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T. (2010). Teacher technology change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), pp. 255-284.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2007). National Educational Technology Standards for Students (2nd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (2nd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved fromhttp://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/general/article1.cfm
Lortie, D. C. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Niess, M. L. (2008). Guiding preservice teachers in developing TPCK. In AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (ed.), Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for Educations (223-250). London: Routledge.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2007). The Intellectual and Policy Foundations of the 21st Century Skills Foundation. Available online at: http://bit.ly/bZc7sL
Submitted July 2011
Revised July 2012