Author(s)Tennent, Leanne Janene
computer-assisted instruction (CAI)
preservice teacher education.
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AbstractAcross the period in which this research was conducted, there has been an increasing emphasis in government and university policies on the promotion of technology integration in higher education. This emphasis has also become evident in Commonwealth and State government policies relating to preservice teacher education because of the need to ensure that teachers enter the profession with the types of technological skills and competencies that can enhance teaching and learning. The research reported in this thesis describes the experiences and perceptions of computer-based technologies from the perspective of academic staff and graduates from two preservice teacher education courses in a Queensland university. The research was conducted in two phases using a repeated cross-sectional longitudinal design. In Phase 1 of the research conducted in 1997, and in Phase 2 in 2002, questionnaires were used to gather data. In Phase 1 of the research, participants comprised 43 academic staff members involved in two preservice teacher education courses and 72 first or second year graduate teachers from these courses. Items in the academic staff and graduate teacher questionnaires elicited information on a range of issues related to the technologies including knowledge and confidence levels, acquisition of knowledge, current and future usage in teaching, advantages and disadvantages of teaching with the technologies, the importance of the technologies to higher and preservice education and the adequacy of preservice teacher education to prepare new teachers to use technologies. Graduate teachers were also questioned about barriers to their classroom use of technologies. Further questions for academic staff investigated the existence of factors that facilitate usage of technologies and the degree to which the presence or absence of these factors constituted barriers or incentives to technology use. A number of questions also explored attitudes surrounding the valuing of teaching, research and publishing. Results from the first phase of research revealed that both academic staff and new teachers made little use of technologies in their teaching. The most salient barriers to academic staff technology use included lack of technical advice and support, time, and lack of evidence of improved student learning and interest. There was also a widely held perception among academic staff that teaching was not valued by their university and that, in particular, innovation in teaching deserved greater recognition. For graduate teachers, barriers to technology use included lack of computers and resources, lack of school funding, and lack of knowledge and training. In Phase 2 of the research, participants comprised 40 academic staff members and 123 graduate teachers from the same two preservice teacher education courses. Participants were again questioned about knowledge and confidence levels, acquisition of knowledge, current and future usage in teaching, and the adequacy of preservice teacher education to prepare new teachers to use technologies. In light of new research and building on findings from the first phase of data collection, several new questions were added. These questions related primarily to the nature and availability of training and how preservice teacher preparation in technology use could be improved. Results from the second phase of research indicated that, among academic staff and graduate teachers, there had been considerable increases in knowledge and confidence levels in relation to the technologies, along with increased levels of usage. Both groups were also significantly more likely than their earlier counterparts to report that preservice teachers were adequately or well prepared in the use of technologies. For graduate teachers, lack of equipment and resources were ongoing barriers to technology use. Training in technology use appeared to be less of an issue for graduate teachers than academic staff with most reporting access to, and satisfaction with, inservice training opportunities. Encouraging too, was the finding that these graduate teachers were significantly more likely than their 1997 counterparts to attribute their knowledge of the technologies to preservice teacher education. While positive change in technology use was evident across this period, continued efforts to support and integrate technology in preservice teacher education remains important, as does support for the innovative use of technology to promote learning in schools.