Using Technology to Broaden Horizons in Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs
Students enrolled in preservice teacher education programs are among the first groups considered to be digital natives. Their history with multiple forms of digital media makes integrating similar media into teacher education programs a logical transition from previously more traditional instruction practice. ‘Virtual university education’ is a developing concept that manifests in numerous ways (Willoughby, 2004), and distance education is expanding, due in part to convenience, access, and flexibility. While multiple forms of digital media provide convenience and access, teaching through technology also addresses a range of learning and communication styles, leading to greater student experience, understanding, and success. This presentation will contain discussion and demonstration of several technology tools used at a mid-sized Southeastern engaged metropolitan university and a large Midwestern research one university.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga serves the city and county, surrounding counties, and border counties of Georgia and Alabama. Previously, Teacher Preparation Academy faculty traveled to provide course work to graduate cohorts in neighboring states. With a growing emphasis on web-enhanced education, courses have been created and delivered through the Blackboard program. Recently, a masters program in elementary education was created and delivered totally online. Content and delivery methods from an undergraduate survey to exceptional learners and a graduate collaboration course will be shared, along with examples of past successes and goofs. Participants will have an opportunity to read discussion forums and view assignments.
The e-portfolio, or electronic portfolio, is used by preservice teachers for several reasons. Students gather digital artifacts in order to demonstrate attainment of required state standards for teacher certification and create examples of their multimedia digital teaching philosophies. At least two examples of the 2-4 minute movies featuring digital teaching philosophies from students in the University of Illinois Special Education Department will be shared. Students also use their eportfolios at the end of their preservice education as they interview for professional teaching positions. Presenters will provide anecdotal information about principals’ and other educators’ impressions of the eportfolios.
WebQuests (www.webquest.org) are inquiry-oriented lessons that use web-based information. Since their inception in 1995, WebQuest use has been adopted by educators around the world. WebQuests work well as instructional tools and student assignments or projects in university course work. Students follow steps provided by various templates to design WebQuests around topics of particular interest to their programs of study. Presenters will provide information about developing and using WebQuests as instructional tools, engaged learning activities, and assignments. Examples will be available for participant review.
Flip video cameras (www.theflip.com) are easy-to-use video cameras operated with the push of one button. Their ease of use lends to the creations of videos by teachers and students. In this presentation, we will show examples of video one teacher created to provide summer homework assignments for her students. Additional student-created videos containing teaching strategies demonstrations will be available for review.
Keywords: Instructional Technology, Special Education, Teacher Education
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education, University of Illinois
Dr. Janetta Fleming Bradley
Associate Professor, Teacher Preparation Academy, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga