Comparing graduate courses taught by the same instructor using competing approaches: traditional vs. technology-infused
The use of educational technologies as a tool to improve academic achievement continues to increase as more technologies becomes available to students. However, teachers are entering the classroom not fully prepared to integrate technology into their daily classroom teaching because they have not been adequately prepared to do so. Teacher preparation programs are falling short in this area because educational technology and the role of technology in the classroom is seen as an extra component to daily teaching rather than a central one. Many teacher preparation programs consist of one stand-alone educational technology course that is expected to prepare teachers to integrate technology in their future classrooms. Throughout the remainder of the program, the teachers are not seeing educational technologies modeled in their other core courses, nor are they getting the hands-on interaction necessary to become more confident in using these technologies with their future students. The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' views of educational technology in the classroom from those enrolled in a graduate program. The study consisted 74 first- and second-year teachers who were enrolled an alternative teacher preparation program. Thirty-four of the teachers received the Integrating Curriculum and Technology (iCAT) intervention and the remaining 40 teachers were part of the control group. Each teacher completed a pre- and post-intervention questionnaire and 23 of the 74 teachers participated in one of three focus group interviews. Additional data from the teachers' course instructors were gathered and analyzed to compliment the focus group and quantitative data. Results showed that iCAT participants' scores for confidence in using technology and efficacy for using educational technology increased at a faster rate than the control group participants' scores. Similarly, confidence in using technology, perceptions about integrating technology in the classroom, and efficacy for using educational technology could be predicted by the amount of hands-on interaction with technology that the teachers received during their graduate course. The discussion focuses on recommendations for infusing technology throughout teacher preparation programs so that teachers have the tools to prepare their students to use a variety of technologies so that their students can be better prepared to complete in today's workforce.