Course Revision Report: INTIME
“Improving the Technology Competencies of College Students and Changing the Concerns of Faculty Toward the Use of Technology in the Classroom: the INTIME Project and Its Impact on Preservice Teachers”
Project Summary of the INTIME inclusion in teacher preparation courses:
- INTIME was incorporated into courses for both education majors and music education majors during the 2001-2002 AY. Due to the fiscal recision, only education majors were instructed during the spring semester of the year, reducing the sample for this project. The education classes convened for 50-minute classes twice weekly, completing a required course (one of three that can be elected to satisfy the requirement) for teacher certification and licensure, “Music in Childhood Education.”
Theoretical Framework as a basis for INTIME inclusion which encompassed:
- Infusing technology with Teacher Knowledge and Behaviors, used as a model for future teachers.
- Using the Tenets of Democracy to provide communal observation, discussion, and interpretation of the videos; to enhance critical thinking skills; to balance power sharing within the group and place individual responsibility on them to think, participate, and learn from these experiences.
- Integrating Content Standards to observe what is and can occur in contemporary classrooms to ensure student learning; to bring focus to structured and organized content learning in relation to standards; and to demonstrate teacher effectiveness in tandem with student learning.
- Highlighting Information Processing to bring awareness to the different means by which processing occurs, i.e., appreciation of the different ways these are demonstrated by teachers and students; to search for evidence, demonstrations, and suggestions that contribute to understanding, application, and evaluation; to enhance interpretation of the observations including personal insights, emphases on particular foci in the videos, and communication of the learning each teacher preparation student notices; to foster higher-order thinking and communication in terms of holistic and specific observations as prospective teachers; and to connect evaluation of teaching and learning in videos in relation to personal learning through this process.
- Using Principles of Learning by involving each teacher preparation student in discussion; by directing them to notice particular patterns and connections; by observation of classrooms which demonstrate informal learning and direct experiences, and using reflection to promote application based on those observations; and by providing immediate and frequent feedback in discussions related to the observations of class content, teacher and student behaviors, and learning followed by feedback.
- Focusing Students at the Center of their own Learning by directing teacher preparation students to note active learning experiences, individualized activities, and student interactions as they work and teach each other, and the processing of information in different ways as we replicate these models in our own class.
Evidence of Improved Student Learning through the use of INTIME:
- Informal data gathering involved noting of casual comments from the teacher preparation students, providing a general consensus that INTIME is a valuable classroom tool that should be continued in subsequent semesters; and occasional confidential and anonymous comments included on the instructor’s student assessments, generally applauding the INTIME inclusions.
- Formal data gathering included pre- and post-test surveys. The results suggest that half of the students indicated that no change occurred in their respective levels of technology competencies through the use of INTIME: 1 (novice level) and 5 (apprentice level); 8 showed positive change of levels, 4 of which suggested an increase from novice to apprentice levels; and 2 have an equal distribution of scores for no change and positive change. Because the sample was small and several of the students had INTIME experiences in other education courses, it is difficult to accurately interpret these data. Perhaps the degree of learning is not clearly recognized by some of the sample participants and is confounded by their additional INTIME experiences.
Elements of Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education (TFQE) Model
Theoretical Foundations: While an attempt to include all elements was made, the greater emphases occurred with Teacher Knowledge and Behaviors because it is important for prospective teachers to observe effective teachers and learners as often as possible; the modeling of methodology and pedagogy are critical to improving effective teaching.
Tenets of Democracy: We engage in power sharing through discussion, providing a model for teacher preparation students to lead, participate, and learn through the group’s sharing of ideas and interpretations.
Content Standards: The video observations bring further focus to student achievement and productive learning in the elementary setting, allowing concerted focus on the connections to the communicated goals and standards.
Information Processing: Interpretation, communication, and evaluation of the observed videos is necessary in order for teacher preparation students to replicate these through application in their own classroom teaching. Hence, we practice the integration of these in our classroom teaching, instructing both peers and elementary students.
Principles of Learning: The videos demonstrate active learning, concerted efforts to provide learning connections through patterns, and modes of informal learning, all of which we simulate in our classroom. Ultimately, the model serves as a way of conducting learning for us through direct connections and immediate application.
Students at the Center of Their Own Learning: Great emphasis is placed on active learning in our classroom, one greatly demonstrated through the videos. The interaction with other students is also of great import for the teacher preparation students share, communicate, teach, and learn from each other throughout the semester.
Selected Videos/vignettes: Three particular videos serve as the focus for our INTIME use, those of Marilyn Western, Lyn Countryman, and Marlin Jeffers. Western’s vignettes are used to demonstrate the teacher as facilitator, the connection of learning and goals, the organization of specific plans to achieve the goals, active learning, and shared empowerment. Countryman’s vignettes demonstrate active learning, higher-order thinking skills, and effective pacing. And Jeffers’ is used to demonstrate that music learning is typically more hands-on oriented due to the group’s work with instruments; this vignette, therefore, demonstrates different approaches with respect to management, modeling, and assessment.
Revised Syllabi: During the first semester of the INTIME Project, the syllabi specifically stated that the students would view the videos in class and then participate in email conversations during a particular timeframe. We made one observation of each designated vignette. In preparation for the second semester, the guidelines were revised to better accommodate immediate learning and greater participation. We again observed each vignette in class, but frequently observed some of them several times in order to focus on different elements, e.g., the level of activity of the students, the teacher’s directions and facilitation, the kinds of learning that were occurring, the necessary preparations for the instruction, etc. The re-observations were designed to enhance the teacher preparation students’ focus and direction and to provide a means of observing a variety of teaching and learning elements within a relatively short amount of time. This provided well for the discussion that occurred both verbally in the classroom as well as for the written observation reports.
Professional Reflection: INTIME is an important means of providing observations of teachers, students, classroom content, and effective learning regardless of content area. A primary message that I communicate to my teacher preparation students is that an effective teacher can teach virtually anything, for only the content varies. While this is a bit simplistic, this is important for them to learn at this juncture of their educational preparation. They have been introduced to the idea that teaching skills, those of preparation, delivery, feedback, management, and motivation are constant and can easily transfer among content areas. This is particularly important for my classroom since I have education majors who are enrolled in a course that is interpreted as being “outside” of their major. INTIME is yet another way that I can help them to focus on preparation, delivery, management, and motivation even though they are teaching music to peers and elementary children, rather than the typical contained classroom subjects. A great deal of fear is dispelled as they recognize that they can successfully teach music using skills they have already acquired.
Second, my invitation to participate in INTIME was delayed due to the job change of the former music participant. A disadvantage for me was that I did not get to participate in the INTIME Training Workshop that occurred, so my perspective and approach were different from those of other colleagues.
WebCT: We began to use WebCT during the first semester, but both the teacher preparation students and I were dissatisfied with the product. We mutually decided that open classroom discussion was much more practical and productive as well as being more immediate to the in-class observation. We did not continue to use WebCT. This is an area that needs better facilitation by the instructor. My discomfort with the program, I believe, was directly and indirectly communicated to the teacher preparation students, thereby influencing them.
Conclusions and Recommendations: INTIME was used
As a way of extending technological utilization both for the instructor and the teacher preparation students through concerted classroom facilitation. It required that the instructor enroll in a WebCT class, practice the use of INTIME before using it in the classroom, and initiate conversations with fellow colleagues about its use.
As an important model of teacher preparation students, for they need to think of ways to integrate technology learning into their own classrooms and not solely rely on technology for personal use. Technology is pervasive in our society, therefore the educational value is great.
As a means of revising course curricula and syllabi, for the education classes meet for only 30 sessions during the semester and the music education classes for only 45 sessions. INTIME then had to replace other curricular inclusions, creating course reorganization.
Not only as a means of observation, but also as a basis for analyzing, evaluating, communication, and applying learning to the teacher preparation students’ teaching assignments.
An important recommendation for future INTIME use is that all participating faculty be brought together to share the particular ways technology were used, the specific learning gleaned from INTIME use, and interpretation of the value of the INTIME learning. It would be quite beneficial to teach each other about INTIME after having different individual experiences.