PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS’ SELF-EFFICACY FOR TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION: EFFECTS OF AN EXPERIENTIAL METHOD
With advancements in information technology, there has been a growing interest in the use of computers and computer-related technology in second/foreign language teaching and learning. However, despite the positive effects of technology use on student motivation, self-direction, sense of accomplishment and critical thinking skills (Van Scoter, Ellis & Railsback, 2001), and increased availability and support for classroom computer use, many higher education instructors are observed not to be integrating emerging educational technology in the classroom (Debevec, Shih, & Kashyap, 2006). Among other factors, e.g., the nature of curriculum, personal capabilities and external constraints, teachers’ beliefs in their capacity to work effectively with technology, i.e., their self-efficacy for technology integration was found to be a significant factor in determining patterns of classroom computer use (Albion 1996, 1999; Compeau, Higgins & Huff, 1999; Oliver & Shapiro, 1993).
Studies have shown that technology education in pre-service teacher education is still not adequate and that pre-service teachers hesitate when asked to use technology and integrate technology into their instruction (Gür?im?ek, Kaptan & Erkan, 1997; Y?ld?r?m, 2000). A recent study carried out by Wang, Ertmer and Newby (2004) has shown that the use of vicarious learning experiences and the incorporation of specific goals positively affected preservice teachers’ self efficacy beliefs and the effective technology use within their own classrooms.
Thus, the present study aims to investigate the effects of a technology oriented methodology course, in which the participants were asked to integrate technology into their lesson plans and presentations, on the computer self-efficacy beliefs of Turkish prospective teachers of English. Data were collected by means of a scale (Wang, Ertmer, & Newby, 2004) measuring participants’ self-efficacy beliefs for technology integration and open-ended questionnaires. Pre- and post-surveys were administered to prospective teachers to measure their self-efficacy beliefs regarding technology integration and interviews were conducted to gather in-depth information about their percieved efficacy beliefs about technology integration in their future classes.
The participants of the study were 84 PTs randomly selected from two intact classes of the ELT department of a state university. The 12-week methodology course aims to provide PTs with knowledge on teaching skills in L2 while experiencing the use of technology. To improve their practical skills regarding technology integration, PTs were asked to work in groups of four and prepare lesson plans on teaching different skills, by integrating technological tools such as podcasting, blogs and wikis, emails, webquests, corpora, websites, etc. While doing so, they were told to consider a particular group of learners, i.e., age and proficiency level, anticipate potential problems and think of solutions for each. After each presentation, group members received feedback from the peers, i.e., whether the planned goal was met, whether the lesson was suitable for the intended group of students and relevant to their needs, and ways to improve the presentation. Data from the posttests will be collected at the end of April along with the post interviews. The results of the study will be discussed with specific implications for teacher education programs.