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Edtech Advocacy &
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Start to Finish: A Programmatic Approach to Digital Literacy for Preservice Teachers

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Monday, November 30, 1:30–2:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Brandon Bush  
Karen Dunlap  
Dr. Rebecca Fredrickson  
Dr. Amanda Hurlbut  
Sarah McMahan  
Dr. Aimee Myers  

Continuous exposure, rather than single educational technology courses in teacher education is most effective in sustaining deep pedagogical practice and technology integration. This presentation will highlight a recent programmatic approach used to redesign a comprehensive digital literacy experience for pre-service teachers using the ISTE standards for educators.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Professional developers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: A QR code reader would be helpful to link to a Google slide/Google doc compilation of our student projects, resources, and examples.
Topic: Teacher education
Grade level: Community college/university
Subject area: Special education, ESL
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Build the confidence and competency of educators to put the ISTE Standards for Students and Educators into practice.
Visionary Planner
  • Share lessons learned, best practices, challenges and the impact of learning with technology with other education leaders who want to learn from this work.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

This presentation will cover the programmatic work undertaken to organize a systematic and cohesive integrated technology experience for preservice teachers within the Educator Preparation Program (EPP) at Texas Woman’s University. Before preservice teachers (PSTs) are ever accepted into our program, they must take a digital literacy assessment as an admission requirement. This survey is aligned with the ISTE standards for educators framework and operates as a pre-assessment of sorts to measure what students know and can apply about digital literacy and technology before entering the program. PST graduates take a post-coursework version of the assessment during their student teaching semester before graduation to measure their learning and competency with instructional technology integration. The survey was first administered in the Spring 2019 academic semester along with course redesigns that were specifically developed to introduce and interleave each of the ISTE standards for educators across their time in the EPP. While we do not yet have data to share from our pre-/post-survey since most of our PSTs are currently experiencing the impact of the program redesign, we hope to share preliminary data at the ISTE 2020 event from among our first set of graduates. We also hope to bring potential graduates to the conference to join in sharing their work with a larger audience before they begin their teaching careers.

Our program is designed to offer digital literacy integration across multiple courses, rather than in a single shot. Therefore, each course and each course instructor holds ownership in ensuring that students are digitally competent and can use these skills to integrate in instructional settings with students. In the current organization structure at our EPP, PSTs receive content training from professors whose expertise is that particular subject area. Therefore, required content courses are primarily taken by candidates in classes outside the College of Education. Furthermore, the teacher education program is continually challenged to find ways of bridging content and pedagogy in our courses. One way to approach the situation is through effective/authentic technology integration. We accomplish this goal through several purposeful design elements in the EPP.
This presentation proposal will outline our work to create purposeful integrated technology integration designed for PSTs as a way to incorporate the seven ISTE standards for educators across our program. Our presentation will focus on a summary of the steps taken to implement each project, including aligned ISTE standards, tools and resources that we found helpful to implement the work, and exemplars of PST projects created during our course redesign and implementation. We believe that our work can be used as a model for university educator preparation programs and districts looking to align the ISTE framework around a shared ownership model. Some examples of our technology integration coursework include the following elements described below:

Digital Assessment Portfolio in Google Sites
Google Sites provides an optimal platform for our preservice teachers to create a digital portfolio of their work related to teaching across their time in our preparation program. Because of the availability and relatively simply design platform, PSTs create and model a digital portfolio as a summative assessment of their competencies aligned with national, state, and local standards for teaching. Implications of the digital portfolio assessment in the classroom for future K-12 students are also covered as part of this project. The digital assessment portfolio occurs in three parts or phases, with each phase occurring at a different part in the program. Junior level PSTs at the beginning the teacher education program take a differentiated instruction course that includes how to use technology as a way to accommodate for different learning styles. In this course, students begin the first part of their digital assessment portfolio in which they attach various artifacts aligned to The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) national standards for effective teaching, the Texas Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) standards for pre-service teachers, and the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (TTESS) standards which are specific to Texas teachers. Later, in their senior level instruction and assessment course, PSTs add additional artifacts, prepare a digital resume, and fine-tune their portfolio. The final phase commences during their student teaching internship semester when the portfolio is presented to their university supervisor and program panel. The goal of the portfolio is to provide talking points during a potential teacher interview when their graduate from the program.

Flipped Classroom Teaching Demo
The Flipped Classroom Teaching Demonstration is a 7-10 minute teaching video that students create as part of a unit on research-based instructional strategies for learning that incorporates technology in a flipped learning environment. PSTs first study the components of direct instruction and the flipped classroom model. They view several examples using a variety of tools during in-class time. PSTs also explore various tools that aid in their video creation including whiteboard apps such as Educreations and VoiceThread, screen recording tools such as Screencastify and Loom, and video integration tools that allow interactive activities such as Nearpod and EdPuzzle. Students then choose a lesson topic and corresponding student standards to create a brief video. The video is meant to serve as an introduction to the learning topic and must including components such as the introduction and hook, lesson objectives, and presenting and structuring information through modeling. PSTs must include relevant ways of structuring information using a high degree of teacher clarity through examples and non-examples or graphic organizers to demonstrate relationships between learning concepts. PSTs may use any tool they choose to create the video, but must also create a low-stakes assignment proof activity to go with the video that the teacher could then use to gauge student completion and understanding of the video content. This can take the form of an online quiz, a scavenger hunt, entry ticket, reflection paragraph, or interactive activity embedded in the technology application.

Technology to Enhance Field Experiences
Quality early field experiences are imperative to PST development. Field experiences in school-based settings, along with other forms of field experiences where PSTs are able to practice skills are beneficial to PST learning. Various means of field experiences have transpired over the years to include augmented and virtual reality simulations. Virtual learning environments allow PSTs opportunities to practice skills in a low-stakes environment (Peterson-Ahmad, Pemberton, & Hovery, 2018). Our EPP uses the virtual reality platform known as TEACHLive to allow PSTs the opportunity to interact with digital avatars as a way to plan and reflect upon their teaching practice using simulated classroom settings. Additionally, our program utilizes Swivl robots that communicate with a video recording device to capture lessons for later analysis. Both of these tools provide invaluable experiences for our PSTs to use technology to enhance their own professional practice through reflection, feedback, and fine-tuning of teaching skills. Specifically, TEACHLive is used prior to the student teaching semester to evaluate lesson delivery and teacher clarity, classroom management skills, plan stakeholder meetings in which difficult conversations might take place (i.e. a parent conference), and align lesson planning with instructional delivery. The Swivl devices are used in the student teaching semester to capture lessons for the PST intern to watch and reflect upon in order to continue fine-tuning these skills.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Research using Web 2.0
Preservice teachers in a diversity class utilize Google Forms and a Digital 2.0 tools during their field experiences as part of the coursework through a Culturally Responsive Teaching Project (CRT Project). The class is heavily founded on a research-based framework for culturally responsive teaching (Brown-Jeffy & Cooper, 2011). Through the CRT project, PSTs collect primary data from in-service teachers by creating a survey based upon the CRT framework. The survey, created with Google Forms, asks teachers which of the five CRT principles is the most important in a classroom today and which is the most difficult to implement. Once they have collected the survey data, they choose 3 teachers from the field to interview in order to gather more in-depth data. Students then share their summary and analysis of collected data using a web 2.0 tool of their choice (examples: Piktochart, Weebly, PowToon, Venngage, etc.). After they have shared their data, they must create and implement an activity for the classroom that supports the principle most emphasized in the data they collected from in-service teachers during their field experiences. While the CRT project assists in deepening their knowledge of CRT, the project also supports preservice teachers’ digital literacy aligned with the ISTE standards of the educator as a leader, analyst, and designer. It is important that new teachers be more than just be consumers of digital information; future teachers need to also be creators of digital information (Cherner & Curry, 2017; Kuyatt, Holland & Jones, 2015).

Data Chat Analysis and Group Presentation
The data chat project presented in this section is a collaborative group project that provides PSTs with authentic standardized student data to examine. The project occurs over several class periods and occurs in several steps. The first class period is getting students familiar with the various reports that they will be accessing. Students complete a digital scavenger hunt in which they must watch assigned videos and answer corresponding questions by filling out a Google form. The second step involves analyzing three reports including a demographic report on student characteristics, a blueprint report that looks at the various components of the assessment such as the standards tested, the frequency of the standards, the number of questions, and the standard categories. The final report is the actual item analysis report that breaks down each test question with the correct/incorrect responses and the percentages of students who choose each answer choice. This helps PSTs to begin to see patterns in particular areas of strength and weakness and to address these areas in instructional interventions aligned to the standards. For practical and accessibility purposes, our program uses released data from the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness or STAAR (Texas Education Agency, n.d.) test given to Texas school children during the previous school year. The de-identified data are provided to use from a partner district which protects student confidentiality while teaching PSTs about data use in authentic contexts. During this step of instruction, course instructors use Nearpod as the formative assessment method to ensure that PSTs are analyzing the data correctly and performing math calculations with accuracy. The whiteboard feature of Nearpod allows students to submit their calculations in real-time and the instructor can correct misunderstandings immediately.
Once they have performed proficiently in this step, PSTs work collaboratively in their assigned groups to complete the data analysis worksheet which guides students through the various data analysis functions they must perform. PSTs analyze the data set, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the data, hypothesize underlying causes for the data results, and create an instructional plan of action based on the information available. By working in a group environment, the goals of the project are better able to simulate an authentic data meeting that would occur on a K-12 campus. Because the face-to-face time frame for students to work on this is limited (due to field observations and other course limitations), PSTs are encouraged to work on these steps through collaborative work in Google docs and Google slides.
After PSTs finish data analysis and interpretation process, the final phase of the assignment is to continue peer collaboration by creating an informational data presentation for the rest of the class. The purpose of this phase of the project is to create a simulated environment for PSTs to practice talking about student performance data in a professional setting. PSTs share their important data conclusions, instructional strategies, and assessments and then create a visual presentation to deliver. The expectation is that the presentation will be oriented towards a collaborative team of instructional professionals (campus principal, intervention specialist, special educator, etc.) and PSTs may choose a tool of their choice to create the data presentation.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Tools for Classroom Teaching and Assessment
While our program is organized around several major assignments that serve as the assessment and mastery of particular technology skills, we also integrate numerous synchronous and asynchronous tools embedded within small course activities as a way to engage learners and help them become familiar with the technology used in K-12 environments. Instructors both model these tools AND require PSTs to submit work and lesson plans using these tools. Some of the tools we implement for this purpose include:

EdPuzzle is a tool that allows instructors to create/import or select existing teaching videos and embed quizzes within the video for students to view. The video editing tool allows instructors to not only crop and edit videos for length or importance, but it also allows them to embed voice memos as a way to highlight the most important features. Additionally, EdPuzzle allows teachers to prevent students from fast forwarding through the video, tracks video completion, and checks for understanding and mastery of the content by allowing instructors to embed multiple choice and open-ended quiz items (Blackstock, Edel-Malizia, Bittner, & Smithwick, 2017).

Nearpod is another interactive web application that allows instructors to create engaging and interactive teaching presentations for students while combining interactive assessment features such as quizzes, open-ended responses, draw-boards, polls, and collaborative posts that students submit throughout the presentation (Dong, Kavun, Senteney, & Ott, 2018). A plethora of digital teaching tools exists to assist instructors in meeting all instructional needs of students, and Nearpod combines elements of many of them into a single tool.

Voicethread is an online tool that allows instructors to create narrations using previously established teaching materials such as PowerPoints (Vickers & Shea, 2017). Using an iPad or similar device, the instructor creates or imports visual presentation slides and then records a narrated teaching lecture while moving through the presentation. The recording is then posted online using a link that can be imported into a learning management system.

Flipgrid is a tool that acts as social-media inspired video discussion boards. Using Flipgrid, students access a grid board, view a prompt, and then record a brief oral response using their camera or smartphone device. The video can be re-recorded and saved as many times as the student wishes before being posted. Students can then view others’ videos and record their own responses. Students can design and facilitate their own classroom discussions using this tool.

Infographic tools such as Canva, Piktochart, Venngage, and Easelly are helping students to summarize information in visual form which is an important learning and differentiation strategy. Our PSTs use these tools to create assignments, summarize information, present important content to their peers, and integrate visuals into their lesson plans.


Overview - digital literacy and teacher education

Digital Assessment Portfolio in Google Sites project

Flipped Classroom Teaching Demo

Technology to Enhance Field Experiences

Culturally Responsive Teaching Research using Web 2.0

Data Chat Analysis and Group Presentation

Synchronous and Asynchronous Tools for Classroom Teaching and Assessment

Supporting research

In 2016, The United States Department of Education (U.S. DOE) sponsored a policy brief that identified challenges and offered guidance to teacher preparation programs in an effort to more effectively integrate technology acquisition and competence within the curriculum of new teacher candidates (DOE, 2016). Under its Guiding Principle #3, programmatic considerations, the DOE reported single educational technology courses were not sufficient to properly prepare preservice teachers for the future technology-rich classrooms that await them (Kopcha, 2012). Furthermore, the report noted that continuous exposure to instructional technology, rather than single, stand-alone courses, led to improved attitudes and beliefs toward technology and sustained appropriate pedagogical practice among preservice teachers (Polly, Mims, Shepherd, & Inan, 2010). Therefore, it is vital that any and all attempts to create digitally literate teachers should originate from within a cohesive program design rather than reside within single “drive-by” course attempts to integrate technology. Specifically, the U.S. DOE report stated, that attempts to integrate digital technology in teacher education should, “...ensure preservice teachers’ experiences with educational technology are program-deep and program-wide rather than one-off courses separate from their methods courses” (DOE, 2016, p. 14).

The purpose of this project is to provide a description and examples of the programmatic approach used to design a comprehensive digital literacy experience for preservice teachers using the U.S. DOE’s recommendations. Additionally, this work is organized around PST technology related projects aligned through the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Educators (2016); specifically, as learners, leaders, citizens, collaborators, facilitators, designers, and analysts in addition to the integration of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework within all assignments.
Some references related to this work include:

Blackstock, D., Edel-Malizia, S., Bittner, K., & Smithwick, E. (2017). Investigating interactive video assessment tools for online and blended learning. In International Conference on e-Learning (pp. 31-39). Academic Conferences International Limited.

Brown-Jeffy, S., & Cooper, J. E. (2011). Toward a conceptual framework of culturally relevant pedagogy: An overview of the conceptual and theoretical literature. Teacher Education Quarterly, 38(1), 65-84.

Cherner, T., & Curry, K. (2017). Enhancement or transformation? A case study of preservice teachers’ use of instructional technology. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 17(2), 268-290.

Dong, Y., Kavun, N., Senteney, M. & Ott, J. (2018). Interactive presentation tools using mobile devices. In E. Langran & J. Borup (Eds.), Proceedings for the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 743-748). Washington, D.C., United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved August 29, 2018 from

Greene, T. & Greene, J. (2018). Flipgrid: Adding voice and video to online discussions. TechTrends 62:128.

Kuyatt, A., Holland, G., & Jones, D. (2015). An analysis of teacher effectiveness related to technology implementation in Texas secondary schools. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 8(1), 63.

Peterson-Ahmad, M.B., Pemberton, J., & Hovey, K.A. (2018). Virtual learning environments for teacher preparation. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 54, 165-169.

Polly, D., Mims, C., Shepherd, C. E., & Inan, F. (2010). Evidence of impact: Transforming teacher education with preparing tomorrow’s teachers to teach with technology (PT3) grants. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 863-870.

U.S. Department of Education (2016). Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation: Policy Brief. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

Vickers, J. C. & Shae, P. (2017). Future directions for social presence. In Whiteside, A. L., Dikkers, A. G., & Swan, K (Eds.). Social presence in online learning (pp. 191-206). Sterling, VA: Stylus.

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Dr. Brandon Bush, Texas Woman's University
Karen Dunlap, Texas Woman's University
Dr. Amanda Hurlbut, Texas Woman's University

Amanda Hurlbut, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the Teacher Education Department at Texas Woman's University. She has served in public education for over 15 years as a teacher, administrator, and professor. Her primary research interests include practice-based pre-service teacher education, authentic field experiences, formative assessment for learning, and technology integration in K-12 and higher education settings. Dr. Hurlbut holds Google 1 educator certification, has a certificate in effective teaching practices from the Association of Colleges and University Educators, and has a certificate from the ISTE course in Mobile Learning practices.

Sarah McMahan, Texas Woman's University
Dr. Aimee Myers, Texas Woman's University

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