Technology Integration in Special Education Teacher Preparation: Lessons From the Field
Listen and learn : Research paper
Research papers are a pairing of two 20 minute presentations followed by a 5 minute Q & A.
This is presentation 2 of 2, scroll down to see more details.
Other presentations in this group:
|Audience:||Principals/head teachers, Professional developers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty|
|Attendee devices:||Devices not needed|
|Grade level:||Community college/university|
|Subject area:||Inservice teacher education, Special education|
|ISTE Standards:||For Educators:
|Additional detail:||ISTE author presentation|
Technology has been shown to be an incredibly powerful mechanism for providing access to educational resources and experiences. One of the biggest challenges is moving teachers forward in understanding and managing the effective integration of technology to create rich learning experiences for students (Chance, J., 2017). A critical factor in this process is how special education pre-service teachers are prepared prior to entering the classroom (Tondeur, J., van Braak, J., Sang, G., Voogt, J., Fisser, P., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., 2012; Kuo, Nai-Cheng., 2015; Perkmen, S., 2008).
As recommended by the National Educational Technology Plan (2017), special education teachers need to leave their teacher preparation programs with a solid understanding of how to use technology to support learning. Effective use of technology is not an optional add-on or a skill that we simply can expect teachers to pick up once they get into the classroom. Teachers need to know how to use technology to realize each state’s learning standards from day one.
Two major organizations that guide the integration of technology in education are the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). ISTE released its educator standards in 2017 (https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators) while SITE also released a series of recommended teacher competencies or TETCs (http://site.aace.org/tetc/) in 2017. The ISTE standards focus on the skills and understandings practicing educators need to have as part of their practitioner toolkit. The TETCs provide pre-service guidance so teacher educators are prepared to model and integrate technology in their teaching. These recommendations are not mutually exclusive, but in reality are part of the same road map.
Data collection included an electronic survey, optional recorded interviews, and optional focus groups. The purpose of three methods of data collection is to ensure that we gain a deep understanding of the phenomenon under study (Patton, 2002, Yin, 2016). Part 1 of the electronic survey were used to obtain non-identifiable demographic information for each participant. Surveys as a method of research provide insight into the attitudes, and opinions of the population studied (Brewer, 2009). Survey data can be of particular use for educators as it is both a flexible way to obtain information about a given population and inexpensive in terms of time and money (Pazzaglia, Stafford, & Rodriguez, 2016). Moreover, utilizing an existing survey instrument is appropriate when a subject has been studied in similar settings (Irwin & Stafford, 2016). Survey research is appropriate to determining current conditions in education and can be flexible in scope, because surveys can include questionnaires, observations, and interviews (Ebel, 1980).
Recorded interviews and focus groups were optional. At the end of the electronic survey, participants were asked to check a box indicating their willingness to participate in an interview, focus group, or both. They were asked to provide an email address where they could be reached to schedule the interview and/or focus group. Interviews and focus groups took place in the private online synchronous meeting site, Zoom. A constant comparison method was used to analyze each set of data collected in order to deeply understand the experiences and stories of participants (Yin, 2016). Interviews were transcribed and open coding was used to determine major categories of information. Electronic surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics and triangulated with interview and focus group data. As major categories emerged, all data was axial coded to gain a categorical understanding of the core phenomenon within instructional practice (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Lincoln and Guba’s (1985) criteria for establishing trustworthiness in qualitative research was employed throughout data collection and analysis. The resulting narrative is in progress and will include thick description of participant experience. Credibility and dependability were addressed through data triangulation, member checking, and peer review.
The broad source range of expected respondents allowed the researchers to examine how perceptions are similar or different across types of institutions (public, private, various enrollment sizes), preparation focus (special education push in, pull out, self contained), view point (preservice, inservice, preservice faculty, assistive technology mentors/coaches). We will present the findings and then lead a discussion on how university teacher preparation programs might streamline curriculum and integrate technology in order to better prepare special education teachers for the 21st century classroom. The results of this research will be shared via conference presentations, publications, and other means such as online webinars. The implications are anticipated to inform special education pre-service educators concerning strengths and gaps in teacher preparation programs and to provide the impetus for professional learning networks to share integration practices.
The results of this research could inform teacher educators and those who develop teacher preparation programs of the complexities of preparing special educators to use technology in teaching and learning. Findings reveal several additional layers of complexity inherent in special education teacher preparation including an overwhelming amount of curriculum to cover (e.g. IDEA, IEP process, disability profiles, working with parents, content expertise, classroom management, etc). Technology integration is considered an “add-on” if it is considered at all. There continues to be a divide (e.g. “your kids”, “my kids”) among groups of general and special educators. Although some universities offer common courses that include all pre-service teachers, this is not standard practice in teacher prep programs.
The results of this research could influence how knowledge of the ISTE standards is communicated to all stakeholders within the educational community. Further, study findings could inform special education teacher preparation programs in preparing new teachers for the variety of technology resources available to them at different school settings. Finally, results could be useful to educational leaders, superintendents, and policy makers in how we might move forward in the national adoption of the ISTE standards in educational decision making.
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Dr. Jennifer Courduff is a Professor of Education at Azusa Pacific University where she develops courses and teaches in the Master of Arts: Learning and Technology program. She is an active member of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and advocates for the needs of special education teachers in several professional learning communities. Her research and presentations focus on technology integration within inclusive learning environments and mobile learning.
Dr. Jean Kiekel received her PhD from Kansas State University in Curriculum and Instruction. She is currently the Field Placement Director at the University of St Thomas. She has developed an online master's program in Instructional Technology at the university which will be a track under the C&I Master's degree program at UST. Her current research interests include instructional technology in K-12 classrooms, online learning, and teacher induction,
Dr. Dennis McElroy is Professor Emeritus from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. He is the 2020-21 ISTE Teacher Education Network PLN President. Dennis is an Apple Educator, technology advocate, and passionate teacher educator. His career has included time serving as a high school science teacher, technology director, Iowa DOE technology consultant, school board member, and university professor. In his free time he is a devoted father and grandfather as well as a gigging musician.
I’ve been teaching at North Carolina State University for over 25 years, including almost 15 years of teaching online in some form or another. My Ph.D. is in Foundations of Education from UNC Chapel Hill, so I come at technology entirely from the humanities. My research is in the history of education, online teaching and collaboration, and pre-service teacher beliefs. I’ve been on the ISTE TEN leadership team for several years, usually participating heavily in the ISTE TEN Playground. Occasionally, I like to make short class videos using puppets.