This morning we received the following question concerning increasing professional competence of preservice teachers to integrate instructional technology in teaching. We have shared our response below.
Subject: How can I improve professional competence of preservice teacher to integrate instructional technology in class
Message: Please guide me how can I improve professional competence of preservice teacher to integrate technology. Thanks.
Thank you for your inquiry. Here are some suggestions that are important:
1. The preservice teacher education program should have a vision for what it thinks technology integration into classrooms means.
2. The faculty and staff of the preservice teacher education program should know, understand, commit, and model this kind of technology integration in their teaching.
3. The program needs adequate technology resources that allow for experimentation by faculty, staff, and students. The program could have a lending library that allows for checking out equipment that is not owned by the faculty or teachers.
4. The faculty need to model content-based technology integration in their teaching, so the preservice teachers start to see how technology can be used to help students learn in content areas (as opposed to teacher-directed/focused technology use for administrative purposes or teachers allowing students to use technology for "free time".)
5. The preservice teachers need to develop an awareness of their own understanding and limitations of technology integration and have a path/goals set for lifelong learning of technology integration so that they do not think that what they learn in their preparation is the total knowledge that they need forever.
6. The preservice teachers and faculty/staff need to understand who children are today and what educators' roles are to help guide students to use technology as good digital citizens. While students use a lot of technology (outside of school), they rarely use it in school and rarely for educational purposes. This is a great opportunity for educators to help shape students to use technology wisely for learning.
These are our initial thoughts - we welcome continued discussion.
Innovative Examples Needed on K12 Cloud Computing, Mobiles, Game-Based Learning, Open Content, Learning Analytics, & Personal Learning Environments
Our website, TechEdges, is all about trying to figure out why and how teachers push beyond boundaries and limitations to enact incredible technology-supported content learning among their students.
The New Media Consortium is an organization that puts out popular publications called "Horizon Reports" which provide forward-looking, 5-year projections of what technologies are developing into wide diffusion. There are Horizon Reports for higher education, K12, and museums.
Right now through April 1st, 2011, NMC is collecting examples from K12 representatives that support their 6 topics that fit within their 5-year plan. These topics include:
- * Cloud Computing
- * Mobiles
- * Game-Based Learning
- * Open Content
- * Learning Analytics
- * Personal Learning Environments
If you want to share "any kind of research, pilot programs, innovative projects, or faculty work happening at your school in any of the six areas listed above," use the web form at go.nmc.org/horizon-example-project. The entry takes about 2 minutes to complete as they only ask for a few sentence description, a title, and a URL.
While you are at NMC's website, you might want to check out the Horizon Project Navigator. This site and tool and social media is best described by NMC:
The Horizon Project Navigator is a dynamic social media platform that allows users to fully exploit the Horizon Project's extensive collection of relevant articles, research, and projects related to emerging technology and its applications worldwide. Users can contribute new information, add their own commentary and analysis, configure and save custom searches, and rate anything in the dataset. (http://navigator.nmc.org/)
We recently presented at the inaugural SXSWedu conference on March 10, 2011 at 9:45 am. Our panel session, entitled "Middle School Case Studies of Technology Integration " was organized by University of Texas graduate student, Michelle Read. The abstract of our session and mini-description of our research is as follows:
Our school case studies examine how students are using technology in and out of school in ways that can directly influence teachers’ and leaders’ decision-making regarding technology integration. Data is collected via surveys from the students, teachers and school leaders, observations and interviews to develop a broader picture of what students are experiencing with technology. The study also explores how school leaders’ and teachers’ practice interact with the school’s human and technology infrastructure and how that interaction impacts technology integration. Each school case is specifically chosen to vary context such as AYP status, ethnicity breakdown, SES level and urbanicity.
At the session, the panel included the following participants from our research group who talked about certain aspects of our project:
- Dr. Joan E. Hughes - introduction to the research project
- Mrs. Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia - selected data from Saguaro Middle School
- Ms. Sara Jones - selected data from Porter Middle School
- Mr. Gregory Russell - selected data from focus groups with students
- Ms. Michelle Read - results from comparing Porter and Saguaro and issues related to digital inequity.
We have included the slides from our presentation below. We realize it is not as understandable without our audio-based comments. As soon as SXSWedu releases the podcast, we will update our post to include that information. If you are curious about SlideRocket, please see our comments regarding this software below the embedded video.
The short story about SlideRocket is: we do not recommend SlideRocket. We still recommend the ways we usually present using PowerPoint & SlideShare or Prezi to create and share our presentations. SXSWedu, for some reason, recommended presenters use SlideRocket. We looked at it, and at first, thought it was very cool. It had a slick look, included importing and exporting (or so we thought), integrated with Flickr for images, had what seemed to be robust analytics (something we like), and allowed for collaborators. We decided to use it for our SXSWedu presentation, and the five of us began to work on the presentation. Greg was the smartest of us all, as he created his slides in PowerPoint and imported them into SlideRocket. The rest of us created our slides within SlideRocket because we needed to use many of the animation features (and it indicated a free export function, so we thought we could easily export if needed at any time.)
Our experience with SlideRocket quickly went downhill. These are just a few of our dissatisfactions with the software:
1. It runs very slowly; VERY slowly;
2. When using a black background as we did, you cannot see any highlight when you are editing text;
3. You cannot highlight a word and change its color - you must retype the word after selecting the text color you want;
4. Working with text was less than a happy experience; it is very clunky;
5. It does not release access from one collaborator to another in a timely manner - it would shut us out for 30-60 minutes or more after another author had saved and quit out;
6. While you can access Creative Commons copyrighted Flickr images for your presentations, there is no built-in way that attributes the photos. We asked them about this, and the company responded, saying it was fine to use the images. However, we are very adamant about attributing what we use (the ESSENCE of good copyright!), and thus we were forced to identify the names of the images we had found through SlideRocket and research them in Flickr to find the author and then create our own attribution page at the end of our presentation; it would have been faster had we just searched directly in Flickr than use their plug-in;
7. After great dissatisfaction with the tool, we wanted to export our slides as PowerPoint and run it on our own, yet we found out: while the free license indicated it supported "import/export" on SlideRocket's website (as of early March 2011), it did NOT support export;
8. So I had to upgrade to the Pro account in order to export as PowerPoint;
9. Upgrading to Pro involved me having to delete my collaborators (something that was supposed to be built-in as I upgraded to Pro but failed to work); so I exited out of the upgrade to delete the collaborators manually in my account, which I did successfully, but then when upgrading to Pro (again), it did not recognize that I had deleted the collaborators. In the end, I just purchased 5 accounts ($120) because I had already typed in my payment information 3 times and was about to lose my mind. This whole process, mind you, was necessary because I was dissatisfied and wanted to export the presentation into PowerPoint;
10. After upgrading to a Pro account (which I planned to cancel immediately after I got the PowerPoint file), I then enacted the Export to PowerPoint function. Ta-da: ERROR. I exported it about 5 times with each of them giving me an error and failing to export.
11. I sent request to help people. It took them about 5 times of failed exports (it emailed me the failure every time they tried) and several days to finally export it "successfully" as PowerPoint;
12. The exported PowerPoint was A MESS; nothing was like it was in the SlideRocket presentation and was unusable unless we wanted to go in and essentially recreate each slide again. After the Help people sent me the PowerPoint, they warned me that export to PPT was "beta." I'm not sure how they can charge ($120 in my case) for people to use a beta version of export that does not work.
13. I deleted the Pro account and am only begrudgingly sharing our SlideRocket presentation (above) because I do not want to recreate my entire presentation in PowerPoint since I already wasted so many hours wrestling with SlideRocket.
14. To add to these concerns, I just tested the embedded presentation and now discovered that the shareable SlideRocket presentation does not support the built-in animations, so if I left it as is, you'd miss half the presentation. Instead, I have to go back into SlideShare, remove the animations (which involves deleting some pictures etc. - otherwise they will be on top of each other) and re-export. To put it mildly, I do not look forward to this last task. But since you are seeing it above, you know that I did spend the time to fix it up as best as I can.
We hope they fix many of these errors in the future, and if you choose to use SlideRocket, may the force be with you.