How should information technology be used in teacher education?

In 2008, the National Education Association reported that 19 states had technology requirements for teacher certification. As use of technology in work and daily life increases, so does the role of technology in teacher education and the importance of technology in the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education has funded programs for more than a decade to help schools and education colleges integrate technology into curriculum because of the awareness that both new and older teachers need training in it. Technology use has been limited to administrative functions for years, but there is more technology available in schools and it is helping students learn.

The Growing Role of Technology in Teacher Education

Two programs—the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) Program and Teacher Quality Enhancement grants—have been funded by the U.S. Department of Education since 1999 to help states, education associations and higher education institutions integrate technology resources into teaching. The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act required that 25 percent of state federal technology funding be allocated for professional development and that the impact of professional development on the integration of technology into instruction be documented. The Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners (PTDAL) program replaced PT3 in 2008 but had not been funded.

As of 2018, the state of federal funding for public education has come up for debate in many bills. More federal funding is being funneled toward charter schools than every before.

The Importance of Technology in Education

Both teachers and the Department of Education agree about the role of technology in teacher education. They also agree about the importance of technology in education. But for many, there is an obvious stumbling block. More technology is available, but teachers do not know how to use it for instruction. NEA’s 2008 brief titled “Technology in Schools: The Ongoing Challenge of Access, Adequacy and Equity” asserts that technology training for teachers should focus less on administration, communications and research and focus more on applications for instruction. The goal of using technology in the classroom should be to help individualize education and develop cognitive skills.

Preservice and In-Service Training Help Close Knowledge Gaps

Because of the importance of technology in the classroom, many school districts are coming up with a variety of ways to train teachers in new educational technologies. Many studies have shown information technology training is effective when it occurs in higher education courses before teachers are certified. According to J.A. Abbott, and S.E. Faris in the "Journal of Research on Computing in Education," training in schools of education, known as preservice training, has been most effective when students are placed with teachers who use technology and when they are clustered in groups of eight to 12.

Ongoing in-service education is also important to help teachers already in the classroom start to integrate technology effectively. J. Roschelle, R. Pea, C. Hoadley, D. Gordin and B. Means found in "The Future of Children: Children and Computer Technology" that "Intensive and ongoing staff development that provides opportunities for modeling, practice and reinforcement of technology use with curricula should be linked to curriculum goals and objectives from the onset of technology implementation efforts."

The Importance of Technology in the Classroom

The importance of technology in education cannot be overstated. As stated in 2002's "Guidance on the Enhancing Education Through Technology (Ed Tech) Program" from the Department of Education, the goal of these grants is to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools, help students become technologically literate and encourage schools to develop ways to integrate technology into all levels of teaching.