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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Computer technology in teacher education : tool for communication, medium for inquiry, object of critique Mitchell, Jane Margaret

Abstract

The central question in this thesis is: In what ways, if any, can communications technology be used to extend and integrate the learning and intellectual engagement of teacher education students? Underpinning this question is an assumption that there is a need to take action by way of investigating technology practices in teacher education programs that are educationally defensible. More particularly in the context of teacher education there is a need to examine ways in which the technology can be used as a medium for integrating disparate parts of teacher education and for broadening channels of professional communication amongst those with an interest in teacher education. In order to respond to the question a number of technology practices have been established in one elementary teacher education program. In this thesis three projects, representative of these practices, are presented. The three projects set in an Education Studies course, a Language Arts Education course and a Mathematics Education course respectively, used either web-based or multimedia technology as a medium through which students could communicate, investigate and generate ideas related to the course goals. The analysis of the projects was concerned with both the means by which students engaged in the technology related tasks and the ways in which they represented their understandings. The data drawn on to conduct this analysis included the electronic texts produced by students, the comments and feedback on each project provided by students and instructors and my own observational notes. The key argument made in the thesis is that the technology served as 1. a medium for inquiry and 2. an object of study. In this respect student teachers were able to extend their engagement by making connections between people, resources and experiences in ways not normally possible and by learning about educational technology in ways that were practical, creative and critical. The conditions underpinning these extensions to student teachers' learning were collaborative writing, public audience, access to electronic resources and a research infrastructure.

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