Aligning Means and Ends: Developing Technology Integration Skills and Digital Competencies within an Educator Preparation Program

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Biola, J. Scott, Curriculum and Instruction - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Wheelock, Matthew, ED-CISE, University of Virginia

Beyond student learning outcomes, there is a growing emphasis within the teacher education field on training preservice teachers to think holistically about the various ways in which their technology integration practices can impact P-12 students’ health and wellbeing (Falloon, 2020; Krutka et al., 2020). A focus on P-12 student outcomes is consistent with the stated mission of Marbury College’s (a pseudonym) educator preparation provider (EPP) and supports the program’s goal of remaining fully accredited. In order to comply with accreditation expectations and state policy, Marbury’s EPP is also obligated to train preservice teachers to enact innovative technology integration practices that engage and empower P-12 students in hands-on ways to foster higher-order thinking and accommodate diverse learning needs. Given the Marbury EPP’s mission, accreditation goal, and institutional obligations, it is problematic that previous graduates from the EPP often struggled to leverage digital technologies in ways that furthered P-12 student cognition. In light of recent contextual changes, and the Marbury EPP’s upcoming 2025 accreditation audit, this case study assessed the ways in which 10 of Marbury’s preservice teachers used digital technologies with P-12 students during their fall 2023 field experience placements. This study also explored various factors that seemed to influence the technology integration choices of participants belonging to the EPP’s Class of 2024 (n = 5) and Class of 2025 (n = 5) cohorts. Based upon survey, lesson plan, interview, and observational data, this study found that participants often positioned students as passive receivers of digital learning content. This study also found that participants’ stated concerns about technology overuse seemed to contribute to a proclivity to limit student access to digital screens. Ambiguous program-wide messaging pertaining to technology integration and discrepant levels of formal and informal programmatic support also seemed to impact participants’ technology integration choices. Findings from this capstone inquiry can be used to inform changes within the Marbury EPP’s curricular programming so that the program can maintain its accreditation status, produce more digitally competent graduates, and cultivate a more comprehensive regard for P-12 student outcomes.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
technology integration, preservice teachers, case study, digital competencies
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