Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
In today’s world technology is seen as an important
tool to improve professional efficiency in various fields including
education. There are, however, some concerns about how pre-service
elementary teachers are prepared to integrate technology into their
classroom instruction. This research was carried out to determine the
usefulness of online videos as a tool in elementary teaching methods
classroom. This study was part of a U.S. Department of Education funded
project which included video scenarios of Pre K-12 teachers effectively
integrating technology, along with components of quality education, in a
variety of grade levels and content areas. The participants in the study
were 57 juniors and seniors majoring in elementary education at a regional
Mid-Western university. The data were collected from spring 2001 to spring
2002. First the pre-service teachers watched three videos, available online,
to see the use of technology in real classroom settings. They wrote a
critique on each of the three videos commenting on the teaching style and
student behavior and their motivation toward learning the content. The
student comments were very positive and no negative comment was seen. They
admired the teaching style and appreciated the use of technology that
motivated the students. Looking at the student critiques and their positive
comments, it was inferred that the watching of the videos helped reinforce
the ideas that the use of technology is an effective tool in the elementary
teaching methods classroom. Subsequent observation in the field confirmed
the inference. Most of the students used student-centered teaching
approaches in their elementary classrooms. Several of them also used
technology quite frequently to aid their teaching.
Technology as an
Instructional Tool for Teacher Educators
Few people would argue today
that information technologies are having and will continue to have major
impacts on how we in education view schooling, teaching, and learning. Most
people see technology as the driving force for all that will be good about
education in the future. They are, however, concerned about how pre-service
elementary teachers are prepared to apply the tools of technology into the
teaching learning process.
Educators have been
questioning the ineffective instruction in pre-service teacher education
programs. They claim that such ineffective teacher education programs are
producing future elementary teachers that are not equipped with the
appropriate teaching tools for the new millennium (Khalid 2001). Lord (1999)
describes the reason for this ineffectiveness and says because of
ineffective classroom instruction, our pre-service teachers do not retain
the information that they learn in their science classrooms. Lord cites
Shymansky (1992) and says,”…in many of the most celebrated teacher-training
programs in the nation, science education professors are schooling students
about innovative and effective methods of teaching but doing so in a
pedantic, traditional teacher-centered fashion”(p. 24). Recent advances have
made possible the use of various tools to improve the teaching-learning
process in the classrooms.
Technology is a set of the
powerful tools that the teacher and learner can use to facilitate the
learning process (International Society for Technology in Education, 2000).
Technology resources can be used to provide opportunities for learning and
create the conditions that optimize learning (Switzer, Callahan, & Quinn,
1999). As the technology is getting more and more popular in daily life
activities, the need to include technology in the classroom instruction is
increasing even in the elementary classrooms (Martin, 2000). Moreover,
technology can be used to access an enormous amount of information for
children. Some tools of technology are simple and safe that can be used by
young children (ibid). That’s why the National Science Education Standards
describe technology such as computers as “exciting tools” (p. 24) to do
inquiry activities in the classroom (National Research Council, 1996).
In order to help pre-service
teachers learn how to make use of the technology tools, a project entitled
Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) was
launched at the University of Northern Iowa. The INTIME (Integrating New
Technologies Into the Methods of Education) project is a part of the PT3
project. This project is intended to bring about changes in teacher
education programs in various ways. First, it has generated new learning
resources on the web to support new teaching and learning processes in
education methods courses. New learning resources include video scenarios of
Pre K-12 teachers effectively integrating technology, along with components
of quality education, in a variety of grade levels and content areas. These
videos are accessible online. Second, the methods faculty in various subject
areas revised their courses to model technology integration using the video
scenarios and online discussion forum, requiring the pre-service teachers to
apply technology in their field experience. This change will provide
pre-service teachers with an opportunity to see how classroom teachers use
innovative teaching methods to enhance their students’ learning. They will
learn various instructional strategies and their impact on student learning
in a real classroom situation. This will enhance pre-service teachers’
understanding of various instructional processes they discuss in their
methods of instruction class.
The INTIME project uses the
Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education (TFQE) model. This model
includes seven major dimensions organized in a circular fashion to their
interconnections: 1) Students at the center of their own learning; 2)
Principles of good learning; 3) Aspects of information processing; 4)
Standards from content disciplines; 5) Tenets of effective citizenship in a
democratic society; 6) Teacher knowledge and behavior; 7) Technology.
In this study we concentrated
only on the two dimensions: 1) Principles of good learning; and 2) Teacher
knowledge and behavior. The use of technology was an integral component in
these two dimensions. One objective of this study was to determine the
usefulness of videos in enhancing pre-service teachers’ understanding of
various innovative teaching styles and their effects on student learning.
The second objective was to determine if the pre-service teachers are able
to use the technology in their classroom teaching.
Design and Methodology
In order to determine the
effectiveness of online videos as a technological tool in a teacher
education classroom, an elementary teaching methods course was revised and
taught. The major aspect of revision was the inclusion of online videos. The
course was made more web-supported. Most of the assignments and their
rubrics were put online for easy access by the students. The course was
taught for three semesters from spring 2001 to spring 2002 at a regional
Mid-Western university. The participants were 57 junior and senior students
majoring in elementary education. During the course of the semester, the
pre-service teachers were first provided with hands-on knowledge of how to
use technology in elementary classrooms. Then the pre-service teachers were
given an opportunity to watch the online video clips. As this was a teaching
methods class, the students were looking for teachers’ knowledge and
behavior, students’ learning, and the use of technology in real classroom
settings. All the students watched three online videos. In those videos, the
teachers were teaching various subjects such as science, math, and social
studies using various types of technology. They were also modeling the
student-centered approaches in their teaching. After watching each online
video, the students filled out their assignment sheets in which they talked
about the teaching style and their impact on student learning.
The students wrote a critique
on each of the videos they watched. The student comments were on various
teaching methodology used by those teachers, and as a result, student
behavior and their motivation toward learning the content. In their
critiques, not a single student gave any negative comments. They admired the
teaching style and appreciated the use of technology that motivated the
students. A majority of the students said that they found some useful
teaching ideas that they would certainly use in their own classroom. These
pre-service teachers were amazed to see how excited the students were to do
their class work. They noticed that the students were able to construct
their own knowledge without a long and “boring” lecture. In their comments
several students said that the teachers were not really teaching, they were
acting as facilitators. However, students were learning and were actually
having fun. They also said that the students were enjoying their work.
Comments such as “I will use such strategies in my class” were also noted.
Some of the student comments are the following.
Comments on Teaching
The students described various
teaching styles and methods in their comments on the online videos. They
said that the teachers in their teaching:
Used student background knowledge.
Used examples from daily life—Meaningful learning was taking
place in the classroom.
Provided supportive and corrective feedback to their students.
Continuously assessed their students’ progress.
Used technology frequently in enhancing student learning.
Encouraged student reflection and ideas.
Encouraged group work, and monitored student performance.
Used lecture, hands-on, problem-solving and cooperative
Involved students in decision making, challenged the students
to think critically.
Used no textbook, teacher was not teaching, students were
Used no horrible “W” in the classroom. (W=worksheets)
Integrated various content areas, and technology in her
Learning and Their Behavior
pre-service teachers described the classrooms they watched in the online
videos as providing a very good learning environment that was evident from
the students’ behavior during the classroom activities:
Actively involved in learning, asking questions.
Self motivated, excited, enjoying their work, eager to learn,
Having a positive interaction among each other
Involved in decision making.
Working well in democratic fashion.
Using technology– doing research on the internet to find the
Using technology to compile their data and prepare
Well behaved, no time to goof around.
Comments on the Videos
pre-service teachers were also asked to give their overall opinion on each
video they watched. Some of their comments are given below.
I would like to use this type of active learning project in my
classroom because I think the students would gain more from this type of
learning than from reading textbooks or listening to a lecture.
The ideas given in the video are fantastic and worth using in
my future classroom. After watching this video, I would encourage my
colleagues and other pre-service teachers to consider the concepts of this
lesson in future planning.
I enjoyed this video. As I watched the video and saw the
excitement of the children, I found that I could also use this lesson in
upper elementary grades with some adaptations.
Looking at the student
critiques and their positive comments, it is quite obvious that the watching
of the videos helped enhance the ideas given in the class that the use of
technology is an effective aide in the elementary classroom. Subsequent
observation in the field confirmed the prediction. Several pre-service
teachers did use computers including internet sites, CDs, videos, PowerPoint
during their teaching in the elementary classrooms. It also confirmed that
the pre-service teachers learned innovative strategies more by watching the
use of this strategy in a real classroom than by reading a book or by
listening to their teacher.
These findings were presented
at various national and international conferences. At the annual meeting of
National Science Teacher Association, the audience was very appreciative of
the scenarios in these videos. They considered these videos as a good
professional development tools that could be used anytime anywhere. Many
teachers expressed views that they could watch these videos at home also and
learn the new teaching strategies. Those teachers thought it was a very good
idea to present these teaching strategies in real classroom situations. Some
teachers were willing to link the INTIME website to their own websites. This
positive feedback indicates that these online videos are not only helpful
for pre-service teachers but also a good professional development tool for
in-service teachers. It is also hoped that after watching the videos and
writing critiques on them, the pre-service teachers will be able to retain
most of this information, which they will use in their classrooms in the
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