CONTEMPORARY PRACTICES OF TECHNOLOGY AND ITS AFFORDANCES: PERCEPTIONS OF PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS ON THE UTILIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY IN TEACHING AND LEARNING PRACTICE
Whilst the perceptions of today’s pre-service teachers on how to utilize technology for learning varies, for the most part they share an obligation to use technology effectively. Within the Science Education programs at the higher education settings involved in this research, the pre-service teachers are provided with strategically placed science education learning opportunities by explicitly embedding collaborative, engaging and integrated eLearning experiences within teaching practice. The pre-service teachers are also supported to reflect on and examine how they negotiated their own ‘identity’, when using new technologies, in these dynamic settings.
This paper presents research to document and identify the thinking and pedagogical practices of pre-service teachers as they utilize technologies as learning and reflective tools. This research continues an ongoing investigation of changes to initial perceptions of technology of pre-service teachers. Previous research has shown that the use of social media technology by pre-service teachers is very high, and that most had a positive outlook for use of technology in their future classroom.
The participants involved were Science method pre-service teachers enrolled in the first semester of their teaching degree. Early childhood, primary Science and secondary Science pre-service teachers from two different universities were involved. During their first week, the pre-service teachers were provided with a link to an on-line survey. The survey focused on a number of areas including; their existing use and relationship to new technologies; perceived benefits of using technology in the classroom, and goals and vision for implementing technology in their teaching and learning practice.
The survey responses were coded and analysed using Positioning Theory, which values and assists documentation, through discourse analysis, of the perceptions and relationships people have of/to events, objects and artefacts, and referenced against Bloom’s taxonomy to determine their existing perceptions and approaches for using technology.
Data collected displayed a shift in pre-service teachers’ perceptions of future use of these technologies within their own classrooms, specifically on their ability to identify and articulate the broad range of uses and affordances of technology in their educational vision statement. Most respondents were able to provide a favorable vision for using at least one use of social media via personal devices in the classroom. As pre-service teacher educators, this research also informs our own practice, and helps align Science teaching in the subjects with students’ current usage of technology.