Integration of Computers into Teacher Education

Efforts to integrate computers into education have shown mixed results. This is especially true of attempts to integrate computers into teacher education. While there are large scale efforts to integrate computers into teacher education, research into the impact of these networks enumerates the many barriers to effective use. Efforts at computer literacy, while undoubtedly increasing knowledge about how computers work, do little to help practicing teachers use computers in the classroom. Individual courses on computers in subject matter disciplines likewise do not guarantee their eventual use in the classroom. The best apprach for educating prospective teachers about using computers is to integrate computers and other new technolgies into the pre-service teacher education curriculum, from the first freshman course to student teaching and beyond, so that prospective teachers regard computers as being as valuable as artists regard their palettes, accountants their spreadsheets, or biologists their microscopes.

Recent efforts to use computer networks in teacher education (Beals, 1991; Bull, Harris, Loyd, & Short, 1989) have illustrated the many barriers to implementation. Even beyond the numerous technical difficulties that face any new innovation, each of the efforts has faced the problems with developing new interactional forms that take advantage of the strengths of network-based interaction and avoid the limitations.

Over the past several years, we have been focusing on the nature of interaction on long-distance networks, especially educational interaction. Out of this research, we have developed a model for education which we call Teleapprenticeships. In previous research, we took an in-depth look at various forms of science and mathematics teleapprenticeships (Levin, 1990).

In this project, we focus on Teaching Teleapprenticeships, interactional structures in which teacher candidate undergraduates, student teachers, K-12 teachers, university supervisors, and university faculty interact within the context of ongoing educational network interactions, as well as the student teachers' use of and attitudes towards the use of telecommunications and computers.

References

Beals, D.E. (1991). Computer-mediated communication among beginning teachers. T. H. E. Journal, 71-77.

Bull, G., Harris, J. Lloyd, J. & Short, J. (1989). The electronic academical village. Journal of Teacher Education, 40(4), 27-31.

Levin, J. (1990). Teleapprenticeships in globally distributed electronic networks. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA.

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