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Mentoring and information and communication technologies (ICT) in teacher education : synthesizing research literature and research practice Arntzen, Jenny

Abstract

Concerns persist regarding the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. How are teacher education programs providing for mentoring teacher candidates to use ICT? A review of literature shows that both instructors and teacher candidates need multiple forms of support to build ICT literacy. ICT literacy makes it possible for participants to build ICT fluency, which in turn makes ICT integration possible. It is possible mentoring could be part of a support strategy to make the transition from ICT under-use to ICT literacy. Mentoring is not easy to define. My purpose of engaging in this research was to investigate the phenomena of mentoring. I wanted to learn what needed to be considered when constructing a definition of mentoring. Through the process of this research I have developed a proposal for a mentoring program to support the acquisition of ICT literacy, toward building fluency and integration in teacher education. I used a dialogic process to systematically synthesize mentoring research literature data and experiential mentoring data to construct this proposal. The experiential data reported in this qualitative study was collected over two academic years 2005 - 2007 from a two-year elementary teacher education program. In the process of doing the research I developed theoretical perspectives to help me understand my experience. I learned that: 1) a universal definition of mentoring is not useful; 2) mentoring is a highly adaptable social learning phenomenon; 3) mentoring can support ICT use in educational contexts; and 4) there are specific institutional policies, programs, and curricula that can positively affect the success of a mentoring program. In the conclusion, I propose that an operational definition of mentoring should be based on foundational principles and values, well supported by the organization or institution. I further propose that an operational definition should be designed in response to situated, emergent, and authentic conditions.

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