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Teacher Colleges Struggle to Help Teachers Learn How to Use Tech in the Classroom

Teacher Colleges Struggle to Help Teachers Learn How to Use Tech in the Classroom

Teacher colleges and education programs are struggling to teach teacher hopefuls how to integrate technology into their future classrooms, The Hechinger Report said.

With districts across the country spending billions of dollars to improve and increase tech in the classroom, ensuring digital savviness is a crucial part of teacher preparation programs.

But while teacher prep programs are able to ensure teachers can use and navigate the technology, many are struggling to train teachers how to use the tech to supplement classroom instruction.

"While would-be teachers are coming in comfortable with technology, this doesn’t translate into knowing how to use it to engage young minds or to tailor a lesson to meet the learning needs and styles of individual students. Although teacher candidates know how to operate the devices, they need to be taught how to use them to help kids learn," the article said.

According to The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, there is currently no standard in existence that dictates how the 2,100 of the country's schools of educations should teach teacher hopefuls how to integrate tech in the classroom.

Standards and programs, then, differ on a school-to-school basis.

“'Presently schools of education develop their own technology-based curricula that build on best practices in the field, in compliance with the recognized standards in the profession,' Sharon Robinson, the organization’s chief executive officer, wrote in an email," said The Hechinger Report.

Many experts argue that teacher hopefuls need to be better educated on how to critically assess the value and purpose of technology in the classroom- how it can both inhibit and prohibit learning depending on usage.

And "[c]ompounding the teacher colleges’ challenge is the belief by some principals and administrators who recruit new teachers that a background in literacy or math is more important than a candidate’s technological know-how," the article said.

While one principal told The Hechinger Report she doesn't look specifically for technology proficiency at all, another principal in a county over told the news outlet he makes sure a candidate can enhance lessons with technology before hiring.

In other words, standards for technology proficiency across schools is extremely different depending on the school, making it hard to enforce a national expectation.

One learning model, called TPACK, could be a starter solution to this problem.

"Ball State, like many other teacher education programs around the country, is experimenting with various models to determine how best to work technology into its core courses and thus ensure that teacher candidates know content, pedagogy and technology. The model most often mentioned is titled 'Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge,' commonly referred to as TPACK," the article said.

Learning models like TPACK that combine pedagogy and technology for teacher hopefuls could be the way of the future, and certainly will be necessary to create a standard.

Read the full story here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/01/2015

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