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Aspiring teachers ill-prepared to use ed tech effectively

Teacher preparation programs aren’t meeting the expectations of K-12 principals, a new report suggests

Three-fourths of principals want new teachers to know how to use technology to create authentic learning experiences for students.

Students who are studying to become teachers use social media in their personal lives more frequently than in-service teachers do, and they want to use ed tech in their classrooms—but their teacher preparation programs aren’t fully preparing them to do this, according to a new report from Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow.

In spite of their comfort with using technology tools, two-thirds of aspiring teachers say they are learning how to integrate technology into instruction mostly through their field experiences as student teachers and by observing their professors, rather than the assignments they get in school.

What’s more, the survey revealed a troubling disconnect between principals’ expectations for how new teachers should use technology for instruction, and the ed-tech skills that pre-service teachers are learning in their teacher preparation programs.

For example, two-thirds of principals would like new teachers to be able to create and use video, podcasts, and other media, but only 44 percent of aspiring teachers say they are learning this skill. Forty-five percent of principals want new teachers to incorporate student-owned mobile devices into lessons, but just 19 percent of aspiring teachers say they know how to do this.

Forty-five percent of principals want new teachers to use social media in their instruction, but only a quarter of aspiring teachers have learned how to do this. And 25 percent of principals want new teachers to know how to teach an online class—but fewer than 10 percent of pre-service teachers are learning this skill.

The top three technology tools or techniques that pre-service teachers are learning in their methods classes are how to use word processing, spreadsheet, and database software (71 percent), how to create multimedia presentations (64 percent), and how to use interactive whiteboards (55 percent).

“While these are arguably valuable skills for teacher productivity, principals have a different set of expectations about the technology experiences they want to see in potential teaching candidates,” the report says. “Principals want new teachers to know how to use technology to create authentic learning experiences for students (75 percent) and how to leverage technology to differentiate instruction (68 percent) before they apply for a position at their school.”

(Next page: How pre-service teachers are taking education into their own hands)

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  1. gwen3p

    February 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    This bothers me…I fully believe that the more training principals and schools can provide for their staff on how to use these “new” tools to enhance the classroom experience and learning, the better. But, I think it’s a poor excuse to not use it if it hasn’t been handed to you. Just as with any field of work, there are times when you need to take the initiative to go out there and learn it on your own (whether you take a separate class or self-teach). For existing teachers use your PLN for help…and get the students involved in helping figure out how to make it happen. What a fab lesson in problem solving and team work. For those in school, maybe there are classrooms out there you can observe using the tools.
    Just as we ask our children to think out of the box to come up with solutions…we adults should also be doing so. Lead by example.

  2. myoung10

    February 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    As teachers, we all need to improve our tech saviness to keep up with our students. However, technological expertise is still only a small part of effective teaching. Today’s students seem to be in more need of interpersonal contact with teachers than past students. State governments and other organizations are championing technology as a panacea for education, but nothing replaces a dedicated,caring, enthusiastic and professional classroom teacher. A teacher’s tech skills are just the tip of a mammoth iceberg when it comes to educating students.

    • moronkee

      February 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      I agree with you 100 percent.I think they are trying to make technology the saviour for effective classroom learning.

  3. Candace

    February 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Unfortunately, our ‘training’ and PD for teachers still revolves around teaching the tool, rather than the pedagogical strategies/techniques/lesson design needed for tech-enhanced teaching! We will not move forward until we stop dragging teachers into ‘everything you need to know about social media’ workshops and engage them as learning partners in a true learning community about tech-enhanced teaching!

  4. Vikki Spencer

    February 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    We;re working on this right now. Research is not yielding any insight into the “How To” of 1:1 teaching.