A Partnership in Preparing Preservice Teachers to Teach with Mobile Technologies

Tiffany Hill, Emporia State University, thill7@emporia.edu
Jo Couch, Olathe Public Schools, bcouchrr@olatheschools.org
Nancy Smith, Emporia State University, nsmith@emporia.edu
Lori Mann, Emporia State University, lmann@emporia.edu

 

In response to an increase in the number of mobile technologies used in public schools in the state of Kansas [KSDE, 2016], and in an effort to prepare teacher candidates to use those technologies upon entering the classroom, the Hornet Connected Learning [HCL] initiative at Emporia Sate University [ESU] was launched in Fall 2014. The one-to-one mobile technologies initiative, which has become an essential element of the Professional Development School [PDS] program at ESU, has an articulated mission of putting pre-service teachers in a position to be leaders in connected learning and teaching through the use of current technologies.

 

From the conception of the program, HCL was designed to be an initiative that would better prepare preservice teachers for teaching with mobile technologies. In turn, all preservice teachers at the level of sophomore and above are required to bring an Apple iPad to classes, and instructors have integrated within their courses learning experiences to help pre-service teachers to understand methods of using the iPad to make them more productive in their professional activities and more effective in their instructional practice.

 

To the benefit of our pre-service teachers, the HCL initiative paralleled a one-to-one iPad initiative that was also launched in Fall 2014 in our largest PDS partner district, Olathe Public Schools. With the launch of their initiative, the district provided professional development for their teachers and welcomed our pre-service teachers to attend that same training. With pre-service teachers learning alongside their mentor teachers, pre-service teachers reported a clearer vision for how the iPad could be used as a tool to improve instruction.

 

Outside of their ESU coursework and professional development within the school district, interns continue to develop as a result of support received from their mentor teacher in the field. For example, Mrs. Jo Couch, a third grade teacher in Olathe Public Schools, showed her intern how to use an iPad application called Educreations in a mathematics lesson. In the lesson, students solved mathematics problems in writing within the application, and then used the application to record verbal explanations of their strategies for solving the problem. The intern was further taught to use the recordings to make sense of student understanding, and reteach, if needed. From the lesson, the intern noted how the application enhanced student engagement and improved her awareness of student understanding in the lesson.

 

Since the launch of the HCL initiative, data has been collected to monitor the progress of our pre-service teachers and their use of mobile technologies in their field placements. Initial results indicate that 60% of mentors indicate that their intern has better than average skill with the iPad. Further, just over 70% of mentors agree that their intern has leadership skill and confidence with the iPad. Mrs. Couch notes, “Interns come to me already confident with the use of technology, however by the end of the semester, my interns tell me that integrating the iPad into their lessons challenged them to be creative and to strategize its usefulness in their teaching.”