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Arlene Borthwick

National Louis University

Developing Technology Excellence in Teachers Requires Lots of Practice

This article originally appeared on the ISTE blog and is reprinted with permission.

Two women working on computer

If teacher candidates are to learn how to integrate technology, teacher educators and PK-12 mentor teachers must value, promote and demand that technology be an essential element to good teaching. Furthermore, teacher candidates and novice teachers must have ample opportunities to practice teaching with technology during their field experiences and student teaching.

A new paradigm for practice

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the connection between practice and success. Experts, he writes, do not “float effortlessly to the top while practicing a fraction of the time their peers did.” Gladwell believes dedicating an enormous amount of time to practice is one of the most important factors in developing excellence. As such, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Educators concerned with developing expertise remind us that not all practice is created equal. In a recent blog post, James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (2018), writes, “…at any level of skill, (if you) practice in the same way you always have you’ll get the same results you always have.” Applying a more purposeful and powerful conception of practice to educational technology calls for teacher educators and PK–12 mentor teachers to distinguish between time spent in repetitive activities to integrate research-based teaching from how time practicing is actually spent as a way to improve teaching with technology.

Technology Integration vs. Technology Infusion: What’s the Difference?

Considering the ramped-up emphasis on online and remote learning, deans, department chairs, and their faculty are taking a new look at learning goals and related curricula in preparation programs to assure teacher candidates are prepared to effectively use technology for teaching and learning. Programs can no longer claim that a single “techie” faculty member or a stand-alone course on “ed tech” will provide teacher candidates with the knowledge and skills they need to be proficient with integrating technology into the learning experiences they plan. 

The COVID-19 pandemic we have all experienced has clearly illustrated the need to address technology integration in more depth than siloed approaches could ever provide. An infusion approach, where technology is addressed throughout an entire teacher preparation program—from beginning to end—brings methods courses, practica, student teaching, and even liberal arts and sciences content faculty and PK-12 mentors into this framework for scaffolding candidate development. 

But, wait. Just to be clear—What is the difference between integrating technology and infusing technology?

Teresa Foulger, associate professor of educational technology from Arizona State University, explains the difference in a new book, Championing Technology Infusion in Teacher Preparation: A Framework for Supporting Future Educators (Borthwick, Foulger, & Graziano, 2020):

Preparing New Teachers: How Collaboration Across Professional Associations Can Advance Technology Infusion

This article and photo originally appeared on the Advancing Research & Innovation in the STEM Education of Preservice Teachers in High-Need School Districts (ARISE) website and are reprinted with permission.

Teacher ar his desk working with 2 students using a laptop computer.

Despite heavy investment in STEM (e.g., STEM for ALL), most PK-20 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction remains heavily siloed. To date, educators have not agreed on a clear definition of STEM. Is it curriculum or a teaching technique/pedagogy? Can a science lesson be called STEM, even if the other domains are not fully represented? As technology advocates, we think STEM curricula should have a strong representation from all four domains.

The STEM movement was intended to address science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in order to produce students who are prepared for the unique needs of today’s workforce. With regard to the “T” component of STEM, the only way to develop teacher candidates who fully embrace the power of technology for P12 is to infuse technology throughout their preparation.

A “technology infusion” approach

Robotics Academy at Northeastern State to Win AACTE Technology Award

northeastern-state-ok-robotics-academy

On behalf of the AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology, I am delighted to announce the winner of the 2018 AACTE Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology: the College of Education at Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University (NSU), for its Robotics Academy of Critical Engagement (RACE) program. Representatives from NSU will receive the award on Saturday, March 3, during the Closing Keynote at the AACTE Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

This annual award celebrates and recognizes the innovative use of educational technologies in a school, college, or department of education in ways that stretch beyond established practice to enable change in teacher education programs.

Address Challenges of Integrating Technology in Teacher Preparation at #AACTE18 Preconference Symposium

Is it time to upgrade your candidates’ tech competency? Please join us for a free half-day symposium before AACTE’s Annual Meeting, organized by the AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (I&T), to share leadership strategies for better integrating technology in teacher preparation.

AACTE Tech Committee Joins Fall Summit, Plans Preconference Symposium for #AACTE18

group photo of aacte committee on innovation and technology
Members of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology at the 2017 National Technology Leadership Summit in Washington, DC

AACTE and its Committee on Innovation and Technology (I&T) are committed to being a leading voice in the preparation of educators to integrate technology within teaching and learning. The latest examples of this commitment include active participation in the 2017 National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) and plans for a preconference symposium at the 2018 AACTE Annual Meeting.

AACTE hosted the 18th annual NTLS September 28-29 at the Association’s headquarters building in Washington, DC. AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone welcomed NTLS attendees, acknowledging the importance of the work to be done during the summit. Six members of the I&T committee attended the event, including Chair Arlene Borthwick (National Louis University, IL), Jon Clausen (Ball State University, IN), Elizabeth Finsness (Minnesota State University-Mankato), Charles Hodges (Georgia Southern University), Lara Luetkehans (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), and Guy Trainin (University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

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