The Challenge of Integrating Technology Training into Teacher Education

In response to Chris Wejr's blog post about Autonomy in Teacher Training?

I found the original post and the resulting comments to be very thought provoking and quickly realized that a simple comment would not be enough.

Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that preservice training is simply the start of a lifelong learning journey. While it would be great if recent graduates had a complete understanding of current assessment & instructional practices, comprehensive literacy, digital/media literacy, 21st century fluencies, technology integration etc... These are skills that many mid-career teachers are still developing. One of the functions of preservice education is to plant the seeds of knowledge that will grow and develop with the support of skilled associate teachers and mentors.

This does not discount the need for teacher candidates to have a foundational understanding of the technological resources and strategies that can be used to enhance teaching and learning. I agree with many of the other commenters, that there are not enough teacher education programs that include technology integration and TPACK as part of their training. The challenge is finding the time. Teacher training programs are already jammed packed with too much information that is delivered in too little time (This is especially true in Ontario with its eight month program).

As noted in some of the replies to the Chris Wejr's post, the key to effective preservice education is pairing teacher candidates with skilled associate teachers that can build on the foundation of understanding that was provided to teacher candidates while on campus. For many teacher candidates, the lightbulb of understanding does turn on until they can see these theories and principles at work in the classroom.  While some educators would like to disregard educational theory and focus solely on current practice, it is important to remember that current practice is the result of previous theoretical principles. A foundational understanding of theory provides educators with a framework that can be used to analyse and synthesize new information so that they create innovative solutions to future challenges.

Being prepared to overcome future challenges is a key goal of the EdTech Leadership Cohort at Brock University. In addition to their technology training, they were provided with an opportunity to develop their leadership competencies and examine the benefits and challenges to classroom technology integration so that they would be able to provide insight and guidance to their colleagues and school community. Since the start of the program they have used their blogs, Twitter accounts and Googles Docs to reflect on and discuss the challenges, while also sharing what they have learned by creating instructional videos, blog posts and delivering numerous workshops and coaching sessions to their associate teachers, instructors, peers and practicing teachers. More important than anything they will do this year, is the future impact that they will have as they transition into the profession and have the opportunity to further develop their knowledge and leadership skill. When discussing the challenges of integrating technology into teacher education we need to focus on the future and how to prepare teacher candidates for the future of education.

If you plan is for one year, plant rice;
If you plan is for ten years, plant trees;
~ Confucius


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  2. A foundational understanding of theory indeed provides teachers with a framework to create innovative solutions to educational challenges. As a member of Brock’s Ed Tech Leadership Cohort, I have found that technological teaching tools are often an effective way to overcome such challenges and improve professional practice. Through collaboration and an increase in student engagement, the utilization of digital tools provides a platform for meaningful 21st century teaching.

    I feel the ‘big ideas’ surrounding educational technologies are touched on in the technology course required for the pre-service program. However, my fellow ed tech leaders and I are equipped with an additional understanding of how such technologies can be seamlessly integrated in the classroom, as well as an urge to share this knowledge with others. In this way, we will become a valuable source of information to guide fellow educators in the field who acknowledge how technology can improve their practice.