Teaching Teachers

Now that I’ve defended and have at least a rough draft of my lit review, I can think about next semester when I will be teaching a two-credit “technology” course for pre-service teachers.  I have taught the course in various iterations over the past four years, starting with a pretty traditional course and eventually moving to wikispaces where I made a pretty feeble attempt to structure the course as a game.  Now, I’m sitting down to think about it again and wondering how to approach it.  I am sold on the idea of technological pedagogical content knowledge, which means that I can’t just do a technical skills course.  But technical skills are part of it.  So, how do I get them to think about the context while I’m also helping them learn about the wide variety of technologies available to them and letting them choose the ones they find intriguing?  And, how do I balance between the techno-constructivist view that learning is about process rather than product and the fact that they will be moving into standards-based classrooms where teaching content is the primary concern.

Even as I write, the ideas are bubbling.  Start with TCPK and the Engauge Range of Use chart.  The former will get them thinking about their own knowledge and the latter will be the intro into the technical part.  Use the chart to classify different types of technologies and have them pull content from the Standards of Learning.  But, I also want them to think about the bigger picture, beyond individual tech-enhanced lesson plans.  Maybe introduce them to the Understanding by Design model as a way of showing them how to organize individual bits of content into larger themes and projects?  I don’t want to let my own somewhat pragmatic perspective keep them from the more radical visions of some of my colleagues, who for lots of good reasons, aren’t happy with the status quo.

I guess I always feel very responsible here…I know from working with school principals, they are really looking to the next generation of teachers to bring technology into the classroom.  But, I worry that, despite their ability to use cell phones or IM, they won’t make the leap.  I guess my bottom line objective is that, no matter what content they have to teach or what pedagogy they choose to implement, they consider the possibilities of technology.

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