The Preparation of Preservice Teachers for Integrative Technology Use
Technology use continues to be an integral component of 21st-century education. Educational leaders and teachers are tasked with using technology as an approach to forge new ways of thinking, effectively connecting educational content with real-world understanding. This new era of technology-driven teaching and learning includes new skill development and applications of 21st-century technology concepts. The use of technology within educational practice is critical, and understanding how to best prepare future educators for effective technology use will impact future generations of learners. The technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK) framework supports educators with effectively integrating technology into their teaching as a way to deepen understanding and mastery of the subject matter. Teacher education programs need to adequately prepare future teachers for effective technology integration into the classroom, as well as to address the gap that exists between future teachers and 21st- century teaching and learning practices. The literature supporting this study examined 21st-century skills and learning, the TPACK framework, and actions currently taking place within teacher education programs supporting technology integration into the teaching and learning environment. This study was a mixed-methods design, including survey responses and focus group interviews. Data were collected from one university and analyzed via the lens of the literature and the theoretical framework of phenomenology. Research findings included preservice teacher candidates feeling adequately prepared for technology integration, based on a combination of preservice teachers’ prior knowledge and the preparation and organization of the university faculty. The use of informal mentoring proved important for validation and support of technology use in the teaching and learning environment, and the value of face-to-face instruction for the learning, acquisition, and use of digital tools and resources surpassed digital instruction. Areas for future research include longitudinal studies at multiple universities, the use of the TPACK framework within university-level programs for the instruction of pedagogy and methods courses, single standalone technology course versus an integrative approach to teaching and instruction at the university level, and university partnerships for facilitating and supporting best practices toward technology use for effective 21st- century teaching and learning.