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Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education
 Sponsored by the Society for
Information Technology and Teacher Education

The Introductory Technology Course at the University of Minnesota

Aaron Doering

The introductory technology course, Technology for Teaching and Learning, prepares preservice teachers to use, integrate, and successfully think with technology in their future classrooms. The course is both content- and cohort-specific allowing for content-specific technology learning in a supportive environment that encourages collaboration across methods courses. This 1.5 credit course is required for all preservice teachers.


Fit in Teacher Education Program Preservice teachers enroll in this course in the beginning of their post-baccalaureate licensure program and during the same semester as their methods course allowing for collaboration.
Technology Tools Learned Content-specific technologies are learned in the Technology for Teaching and Learning course. Therefore, the hardware and software ranges greatly depending on the 13 content areas that enroll in the course. Some of the software programs are mindtools that span multiple content areas. For example, programs such as InspirationTM and HyperstudioTM are taught to develop semantic networks and multimedia projects in the social studies, science, English, agriculture, business, and art cohorts. KidspirationTM and KidPixTM are taught in the elementary education, early childhood, and special education cohorts. There are also technologies specific to just one or two content areas, such as global positioning systems (GPS) and ArcViewTM which were used with the social studies cohort.
  • Communicating/delivering information
  • Developing curriculum/creating teaching materials
  • Engaging students in learning and problem solving in ways that could not be done without the technology
Relevant Subject-Specific Technology Uses

Each individual content-area course has a separate syllabus that highlights the specific technologies and pedagogy that is relevant to the content area. The technologies were selected after numerous meetings between methods and technology course instructors. After identifying the most appropriate technology, the methods and technology course instructors co-develop their syllabi with projects that span the two courses. Therefore, students learn about a specific technology in the technology course and they integrate it in their practice teaching experiences within their methods course.

In a research collaboration with a methods area faculty member, the technology course instructor found that although preservice teachers may know how to operate the technology, they do not know how to integrate it effectively within their daily lessons plans, mainly citing that they were not able to envision the type of projects their students could develop (Doering, Hughes, and Huffman, 2002). These findings influenced the technology course instructor to develop exemplary models of technology projects and pedagogy for each of the technology course sections (i.e. content areas). For example, an InspirationTM project was modeled that illustrated how students could construct an understanding of clouds using concept mapping within the science cohort. This project was supplemented by the instructor modeling effective teaching practices using concept mapping in the science classroom. The goal was to move the preservice teachers from focusing not only on the development of a final technology project in the course, but encouraging them to think about successful integration in their future classrooms. These examples were placed online so the preservice teachers had access to them at all times in the development of their own projects for the technology course.

Student Examples

The following two links showcase the uses of various technologies to enhance literacy practices using a multi-genre writing project with English preservice teachers – a collaborative activity between the methods and technology course instructors. Preservice teachers identified a place that they wished to research and developed a “sense of place” project. The teachers used various technologies to capture their sense of place and also wrote about the development of their social worlds and various narratives within their methods course.


The following link showcases a concept map developed by a preservice teacher during a collaborative activity between her methods and technology course. She, together with a middle school student, developed this concept map as they brainstormed a collaborative multimedia project that they were asked to develop together.


Connections to the Methods Courses

The technology course and methods instructors collaborated to identify the most appropriate content-specific technologies to be taught and modeled in both courses. Once the technologies were identified, the syllabi were co-developed so technology projects spanned both courses allowing for the preservice teachers to learn the technology while being provided with technology-rich examples in both courses. Ultimately, the preservice teachers developed and taught their final lesson plan for both courses modeling the effective use of technology to provide an added value to learning.

Connections to Student Teaching The close collaboration between the technology and methods instructors allowed for the encouragement of technology infusion into the preservice teachers’ student teaching experiences. The methods instructors facilitated the student teaching experiences. Therefore, the methods instructor’s knowledge on technology integration along with the fact that the preservice teachers were not only required to integrate technology in their lesson plan development but model teaching at the university in the technology course provided an excellent foundation for technology integration during the student teaching experience.
Course Syllabus