teacher education

New Research! Trends in Future Teachers’ Social Networking Activities

Graduate student researchers, Yujung Ko, Mihyun Lim, and Sa Liu, and I have published a research study that identified college students in one teaching certification program had limited exposure and use of social networking technologies over a four year period from 2008 to 2012, available in the current issue of the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education.

While nearly all of these college students reported using Facebook, 60% reported reading blogs, writing on blogs, or reading wikis. Only 10% wrote on a wiki, and 20% had read/wrote on Twitter. Those who were using these social networking technologies tended to consume/read content more than write/create/share content for others. Those students who used Facebook and Twitter, used it mostly for personal purposes. Reading blogs, wikis, and writing on blogs was done for both educational and personal purposes. Writing in wikis, which only 10% reported doing, was done predominantly for educational purposes. The majority of these students put “a lot” of restrictions on their social networking accounts, and they indicated being “somewhat unlikely” to use social networking in their future teaching.

Because these college students reported limited experiences with social networking technologies for educational purposes, the researchers concluded that as they graduate and become classroom teachers, they will be unprepared to involve social networking technologies for classroom/learning experiences or for their own professional learning in the future. Beyond Facebook, these teachers had little social networking experience for personal or educational purposes.

Using social networking technologies with children can include mainstream technologies such as Twitter (the minimum age for an account is 13) but also products designed specifically for PK-12 such as Edmodo, both of which may enable learning activities to have wider, authentic audiences, personalization through pursuit of child-driven interests that may be community-based inquiries, as demonstrated by many researchers. Choosing when, why, and how to use social networking with children requires teachers to critical consider the teaching context, content, and instruction. In addition, social networking activities among teachers undergird USDOE’s connected learning initiatives that support teachers in becoming connected educators. Every October is Connected Educator’s Month during which crowd-sourced learning opportunities become available for professional learning.

From their research, Dr. Hughes and her co-researchers concluded there is a need for inclusion of more explicit social networking educational activities across teacher education preparatory programs to ensure that future educators have experiences that will inform their decision-making regarding optimal social networking technologies for (a) teaching and learning in PK-12 schools and (b) for professionally developing themselves through technologically-connected experiences. In the research paper, the researchers developed and described a 3-part sequence of experiences for teacher education programs designed to expose preservice teachers to social networking technologies and consider the experiences’ educational affordances and risks.

The full research article is available at the journal’s website: http://www.editlib.org/p/130448/or by contacting Dr. Hughes at joanh@austin.utexas.edu.

Hughes, J. E., Ko, Y., Lim, M. , & Liu, S.(2015). Preservice teachers’ social networking use, concerns, and educational possibilities: Trends from 2008-2012. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 23(2), 185-212. Chesapeake, VA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Available: http://www.editlib.org/p/130448/

Situational ingenuity of teachers: The key to transformative, content-focused technology integration

Yesterday, I spent a very enjoyable day at the University of Houston, Victoria School of Education. In addition to meeting with them to discuss their new educational technology degree program, I presented for a colloquium that drew university professors, PK-12 teachers in the Victoria school district, and university students. I met several 5th grader teachers – two who were sitting near each other and work in two of the more rural schools in Victoria – so they got to meet each other. There was a gentleman who taught a plethora of subjects at a high school – crossing both science and history. I met about 6 undergraduates who are earning their degrees in teaching. And UHV university student recruited his mom, also a practicing teacher, to attend. Several of the COE and UHV administration was also in attendance. As advertised, it was quite a diverse audience.

In my presentation (see below), I share my vision for the use of digital technologies in education. I refer to it as transformative, content-focused classroom technology integration. I illustrate this concept through 3 stories of practice: from teachers, a school and its district, and a college of education. Tom is a mathematics teachers who designs a lesson with ropes, video, ipads, and graphing calculators to help students learn to write an equation for a trig function. Hilly High School began a iPad learning innovation in which all students receive iPads – I share how they developed their vision which included both a technology-focus and a learning-focus. Finally, I share data on preservice teachers’ use of social technologies and discuss how COEs could design a set of experiences that would develop preservice teachers to be connected educators. These will show the possibilities but also many of the challenges involved in this work. In these stories, I hope that you’ll discover ways that you, as a teacher, a school leader, a teacher educator, a parent, can assist in this transformation. I end by describing “situational ingenuity” and how I see teachers as most interested in this challenging work in their classrooms and how I see it as the key to designing content-focused, technology-supported innovations in classrooms.


Presentation at SITE Conference: On preservice teachers’ social networking

UPDATE 3/23/14: The audio of the presentation is enclosed below, above the slideshow.

There were two questions at the end of the presentation that may be difficult to hear:

  1. Could the data regarding preservice teachers’ restrictions on social networking be on themselves or on their students that they are interning with?
  2. Could the potential use of social networking in the program by faculty have impacted these preservice teachers’ use in their courses and for educational purposes?

In regards to the first question, the preservice teachers were definitely answering in regards to restrictions on their own use of social networking. The survey did not ask them about use of technologies with the students they worked with in the PK-12 fields. We definitely think that what happens with technology by faculty impacts what preservice teachers do with technologies. As Sa Liu noted, we did ask the preservice teachers about their perceptions of faculty use but we have not yet analyzed that data formally though it is low for social networking from our informal observations of the data.

Sa Liu (@liusashmily) is representing our team at the annual SITE conference where she’s presenting our new research paper that examines preservice teachers’ social networking use, concerns, and educational possibilities. This paper reflects four years of data from one preservice teacher education program.
She presents for us on March 18, 2014. I will be updating this post with the audio recording after she presents, which may assist in the interpretation of the slides.

AUDIO PRESENTATION:

Chapter Publication: “The Iron Grip of Productivity Software within Teacher Education”

We are pleased to announce the publication of our chapter, “The Iron Grip of Productivity Software within Teacher Education” (Ch. 12) in the new book Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs. I co-authored this chapter with several Ph.D. students in our Learning Technologies program, including: Gloria Gonzales Dholakia, Yu-Chi Wen, and Hyo-Jin Yoon.

Our chapter’s abstract:

This chapter discusses several challenges and recommendations in obtaining the desired outcome from technology-rich teacher education programs, including a novice teacher prepared to make decisions supporting students’ subject-area learning with technology. The authors shape the discussion using select findings from two studies of preservice teachers enrolled in a technology-rich teacher education program at a U.S. university. The authors discuss the importance of the modeling relationship between instructors’ and preservice teachers’ experiences with digital technologies and describe productivity software’s enduring grip as the most used digital technology among preservice teachers during teacher education – even in technology-rich teacher education programs. The authors argue that teacher education’s overemphasis on productivity tools is not adequately preparing new teachers for the knowledge society in which teachers live, work, and educate. The authors argue that educational change, such as shifts toward technology-rich teaching and learning, will only be successful with a concerted change effort in both teacher education programs and PK-12 institutions.

Please see our full Chapter Description and ordering information. You may read the abstract and first page of the chapter in this PDF sample.

Browse the book’s Table of Contents with its 34 chapters.

If you are unable to secure a copy of our chapter, please email me [joanh at austin dot utexas dot edu] to get a copy.

 

 

TechEdges presents research at AERA 2011 in New Orleans, LA; April 8-9, 2011

My research group is presenting several research papers at the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference in New Orleans, LA. We will be posting our handouts and presentation materials here at this website following our presentations. We would be delighted to meet you. Here are our sessions: 

Session 1: 

“Degree of Digital Equity in Schools by Race and Socioeconomic Characteristics” by Gloria Gonzales Dholakia, Joan E. Hughes, and Michelle Fulks Read
Friday, April 8, 2011 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Location: Sheraton Grand Ballroom B

In Session “Issues Associated with Technology in Teaching and Learning”

Abstract: This research examines and compares digital equity at two different middle schools. Focus is placed upon minority student in- and out-of-school technology use to explore the relationship of school characteristics and digital equity. The first middle school is a minority-majority school, with 93% Hispanic and African-American students. The second middle school is a historically white majority school participating in a district student-transfer program with a 50% white and 50% Hispanic/African American population. Digital inequities based on school socio-economic status and ethnicity are presented. Without addressing these unequal opportunities to acquire 21st century skills, educational change cannot be achieved.

Session 2:

“Research Snapshots from 2002-2010 on Preparing Preservice Teachers to Integrate Technology Into Teaching Within a 1:1 Laptop Teacher Education Program” by Joan E. Hughes, Hyojin Yoon,  Nikki Wen, and Minwook Ok
Friday, April 8, 2011 from 4:05 PM to 5:35 PM
Location: New Orleans Marriott / Mardi Gras Salon A

In Session: Laptops in Preservice Teacher Education
Abstract:  This paper is a compilation of recent research that has been conducted to understand the development of preservice teachers that are enrolled in a technology-rich teacher education program. This program is described as technology-rich to reflect its commitment to a 1:1 laptop environment in which all certification students had their own laptop for their certification studies. This paper attempts support dissemination and scale-up by providing a case of one technology-rich program including its programmatic description and the research base generated from studies set within it. Further, we aim for this work to generate discussion and orientation for future inter-institutional research in technology-rich teacher education.

Session 3:

“An Ecological Case Study of Two Middle Schools’ Technology Integration” by Michelle Fulks Read, Sara Jolly Jones, Joan E. Hughes, and Gloria Gonzales Dholakia
Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 10:35 AM to 12:05 PM
Location: Astor Crowne Plaza / Toulouse A
In Session: Clearing Technology Integration Hurdles in K-12

Abstract: In this series of ethnographic case studies, we utilize mixed methods to examine technology integration at schools that represent differing demographics, geographical locations and technology infrastructure. The first data set, collected from Saguaro Middle School in spring 2009, is compared with data collected from Porter Middle School in spring 2010 in which students, teachers and technology leaders are questioned. Results show wide digital technology usage for web, productivity, communication and creation domains for students and teachers at both schools. However, a large gap exists in the amount of student usage in- and out-of schools. The size of this gap differs between schools. School and district technology leaders rank a variety of elements important to their school’s technology vision.

Faculty use of technology: general faculty (chronicle of educ stats) and in teacher education (our stats)

A report from The Chronicle of Higher Education on faculty’s use of technology yielded the following data:

Pie Charts of Faculty's Use of a Range of Technologies

Image Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education; http://chronicle.com/article/Professors-Use-of/123682; June 25, 2010.

Discussion around these data include questions of whether technology makes a better teacher. Certainly an excellent question! We do not believe that using technology will magically make a teacher a better teacher – in fact, at first, many teachers (and university faculty) may face some hiccups as they learn to teacher in a more student-centered way, as many of these technological tools are best used by students to learn. Faculty do not experience hiccups when they adopt technology in support of the usual, teacher-directed pedagogy that we know very well.

We (Joan Hughes with Gloria Gonzales Dholakia, Yu-Chi Wen, and Hyo-Jin Yoon) have a book chapter currently under review called “The iron grip of productivity software within teacher education.” In the chapter, we discuss the importance of faculty modeling of optimal technology use for preservice teachers, as they learn a lot about what they will do as future teachers from what they experience in their teacher preparation program. Yet, we also describe productivity software’s (tools like PowerPoint, word processing, and spreadsheet suites) enduring grip as the most used digital technologies among preservice teachers during teacher education.

The Chronicle’s data (above) reminds us of the data we have collected from preservice teachers. Clearly, there’s ample room to discuss why productivity is emphasized so much (been around a long time, has affordances across disciplinary areas). But we believe an overemphasis on productivity tools is not adequately preparing new teachers for the knowledge society in which we/they live, work, and educate.

We are not faulting teacher education or PK-12 schools or preservice teachers. But we recommend that this focus will not change without concerted change efforts in both teacher education and PK-12 institutions because change in one won’t really have a ripple effect without simultaneous and complementary change in the other.

A glimpse into our data … reveals the high-use digital technology tools by student teachers in 2004-2007 were: email, presentation, search engine, web browser, word processing, and digital movies (student teachers are required to do a lesson study involving video recording their teaching). Overall, data from our student teacher respondents in 2004-2007 and 2008-2009 reflect a low, but emergent use of minimal Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, podcasts, wiki, and social bookmarking. We feel this is a positive trend toward better preparation of teachers to integrate technology into their future PK-12 teaching, but we feel a necessity for more emphasis and progress.