teaching / Web 2.0

Do Teacher Ed Programs Prepare Students for Technology Needs of the Classroom?

I have a timely post from e-colleague, Jan Pierce, about how current teacher credential programs prepare students for the technology push they face in schools. Not only has Jan been

a fourth grade teacher for over 20 years, she also owns the website Elementary Education Degree designed to assist students interested in earning a degree in elementary education. She makes some good points. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section:

Are Elementary Education Programs Preparing Teachers to use Today’s Technology?

From smart boards and PowerPoint presentations to iPads, educational technology is becoming more of a regular element of today’s classroom. But are students in education programs being adequately trained and prepared to integrate technology into their classrooms?

Bachelor’s Programs

When it comes to bachelor’s programs in education, the answers vary. Top education programs around the country ensure that technology training is an integral part of their curriculums, by introducing students to the various forms of technology common to the classroom and techniques for using them effectively. However, many programs still use a traditional approach with classes in school subjects, child development, teaching methods, and practicum experiences, but little or no technology components.

It is important to note that most of today’s college students are comfortable with using technology in their everyday lives, and so they may not require as much technology training as older teachers do. Nevertheless, while younger students have this advantage, education programs still need to do a better job at training students to integrate technology into their lessons.

Master’s Programs

There are many master’s programs that allow teachers to specialize in educational technology or a similar field. Classes range from using the Internet and computers effectively in the classroom to learning how to measure the effectiveness of technology use. These programs usually take one or two years to complete.

Online master’s degrees in educational technology are becoming more common, since they allow teachers to earn the degree while they continue working. In fact, many programs require applicants to be working teachers, as class components may involve implementing technology in their own classrooms and observing whether that technology is effective. For more information about these types of programs, you can visit the site Masters in Teaching.

Certificates

Another option for existing teachers who don’t want to earn a full master’s degree is a certificate in educational technology. These can be completed in less time than a master’s program, as they usually last a semester or a year. This is a great option for experienced teachers to gain the extra skills they need to start teaching with technology. These programs exist in both real and online options as well.


6 thoughts on “Do Teacher Ed Programs Prepare Students for Technology Needs of the Classroom?

  1. I liked your point about how today’s students just intuitively seem to be more comfortable using technology! That’s definitely to their advantage here! The certificates are a great idea too – I think more and more disciplines are introducing these into their field, for extra skill acquisition.

      • I agree with Nicky in that today’s students are more comfortable in using technology. However, I would add that their “comfort” level may lean more toward technology as a social rather than academic (learning/teaching) vehicle. I believe that universities will still need to examine the level of importance currently given to instruction of technology, as both a tool and environment for learning.
        In total fairness to the post-secondary institutions, I have to include that with the ever-changing-and-increasing nature of technology it will be a daunting task to keep pace with Moore’s Law.

  2. You have an interesting question…. I’m a career changer with a tech background and considered obtaining a technology license for elementary ed. But my feeling is that in elementary level, the Ed Tech jobs and what is taught in the universities is targeted much more at middle and high school levels.

    I feel you can learn a lot more from blogs like this one for using technology in the elementary classroom.

    • That’s an interesting observation, Tom. My credential is targeted at technology, not the traditional single- or multi-subject, so I don’t have experience with their approach to preparing teachers for tech ed demands. I also switched careers after a lifetime in non-education. What grade levels do you teach?

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