Cox, F. (2001), "Infusing Education with Technology: Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) Annual Conference", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 18 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/lhtn.2001.23918eac.001Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited
Infusing Education with Technology: Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) Annual Conference
By Fannie M. Cox with contributions by Beate Baltes, Jerrie Smith Jackson, LuAnn Jordan, Jean Kueker and Joyce Pittman
Fannie M. Cox
"Technology is the Catalyst" was the theme for the 12th Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference held in Orlando, Florida, March 5-10, 2001.
According to SITE President, Niki Davis, "SITE 2001 had approximately 1,500 participants representing 45 countries, a truly international conference ... a wonderful, friendly, inclusive and international flavor appreciated by all." Participants at the conference could choose from an international smorgasbord of concurrent sessions, which included: keynote and invited speakers, panels, paper presentations (both full and short), poster, institutional and interactive sessions, a video festival, roundtables, mentor meetings and corporate demonstrations. Founded in 1990, SITE's first conference had 42 papers. In 2001, the papers and presentations, having grown to over 1,000 in 26 topic areas that relate to how information technology is used in teacher education or instruction about information technology as it relates to pre-service, in-service, graduate teacher education and faculty and staff development, were presented. Each year, 26 awards are given for "best paper" in a topic area. The 26 topic areas are: concepts and procedures (CP), distance education (DE), diversity (DI), the educational computing course (EC), educational leadership (EL), electronic portfolios (EP), faculty development (FD), graduate and in-service education (GI), instructional design (ID), international (IN), mathematics (MA), new media (NM), pre-service teacher education (PT), preparing tomorrow's teachers to use technology (PT3), research (RE), reading, language arts and literacy (RL), science (SC), special needs (SN), social studies (SS), technology diffusion (TD), Theory (TH), telecommunications: graduate, in-service and faculty use (TG), telecommunications: pre-service applications (TP), telecommunications: systems services (TS), and young child (YC). SITE is also a society of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). It is designed for those interested in improving education through technology. From this author's perspective (an electronic resources librarian), this organization would make a great organizational partner with the American Library Association (ALA) on the issues of information literacy (IL). Contributions to this conference report are by educators from various aspects of the field of education.
Following a day of pre-conference tutorials, workshops and a symposium, the first day of concurrent sessions started with invited speaker, Thomas Carroll, moderating a "Keynote Panel." Carroll is the program officer for the PT3 initiative from the US Department of Education. A total of $75 million in grants from this initiative are expected to support 225 teacher education programs and consortia to recruit, educate and prepare future teachers to become "technology-proficient educators," by infusing technology into the core subject areas of mathematics, science, English and social studies. A teacher education professional associations representative spoke briefly about what that association was doing to make the initiative a reality. Randy Bell from the University of Virginia's teaching program demonstrated the "Doppler effect." He pointed out that, traditionally, this concept was taught from a textbook. However, today the same concept assisted with technology allows the students to visualize the effect under various conditions, an exercise not possible without the use of technology.
Overall, the conference provided a wonderful atmosphere to learn, share and discuss ideas and form new collegial networks. While the weather was a bit cool, it was not typical of Florida's tropical-like climate; SITE attendees had the option of going to SeaWorld for a Polynesian luau dinner, music and a show featuring the famous killer whale Shamu performing amazing feats with her trainer.
A Collaborative Approach to Integrating Technology and Information Literacy in Pre-Service Teacher Education
In this session, Education Professor, Lolly Templeton, and Librarian, Signia Warner, of Westfield State College (Westfield, MA, USA) discussed how technology and Information Literacy (IL) are bringing about an important shift in pre-service teacher education. Basic skills once considered sufficient are no longer sufficient. Various organizations such as the American Library Association (ALA), Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the National Education Association (NEA), the National Council for Accreditation of Teach Education (NCATE), and the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) have adopted IL into their programming. This collaboration allowed them to go beyond the "traditional bibliographic instruction lecture method," and create a new IL Model. The IL Model uses principles of constructivism and calls for active learning by working in teams, critical thinking and problem solving, flexibility, collaboration and ongoing consultation.
Fannie M. Cox (email@example.com) is Electronic Resources Coordinator University of Louisville Ekstrom Library, Louisville, Kentucky.
Dr Beate Baltes
The Worthiness of Simulating Current Teacher Training
Most sessions at the SITE conference discussed how technology could be infused in the current programs that institutions of higher education offer. The session led by Dr Alfred Bork (University of California, Irvine) on "The Dilemma of Teacher Training," however, evaluated the worthiness of simulating existing programs through online courses. Teacher training, the "Achilles' heel of education," influences all learning in one way or the other and thus might just be the most important program.
An honest look at teacher training reveals that it is not doing an excellent job. Students in teacher training programs and, in turn, their students are failing or receiving bad grades. If teacher training would be successful, all teacher candidates and all their students should be learning and receiving good grades. In addition, all students would enjoy learning, which the high drop-out rate in high schools does not indicate.
One of the main reasons for the failure of successfully educating teachers is the large number of people. Alone in the USA, two million teachers need to be trained in the next decade to meet the demands of the future. If the goal is to have all people learn, education needs to reach six billion people in the world, regardless of location, gender, race, wealth or any other such factors (Bork, 2001). The experience after the Soviets launched Sputnik shows that hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into education were not the solution. Consequently, money alone will not solve our current problem either.
Bork's suggestion for overcoming inadequate teacher training is computer-based tutorial learning for students. Tutorial learning with human tutors has long been proven to be effective with students of all ages. Since in traditional tutorial learning a skilled tutor works with only one or a few students, this approach is far too costly for all learners. Hence, a computer should take the role of the skilled human tutor. The critical features of successful computer-based tutorial learning are:
Interactivity: Frequent and quality interaction are the basis for the constructivist learning process. For example, students should not be passive for more than 20 seconds. To discover knowledge is hard work and only frequent interactions ensure the necessary motivation.
Natural language: Students should be communicating in free form and not in multiple choice. Voice input should replace the need for typing, in English or in any other language.
Individualization: Each student has unique problems in learning. Thus, the computer program constantly seeks out the student's learning difficulties. Then, the tutor can offer individualized assistance and later verify that the assistance was effective.
Adaptation: Student inputs and stored information about recent interaction (the long-term memory of the electronic tutor) allow for adaptation to the student's zone of proximal development.
In summary, current education is not doing a particularly good job. Alfred Bork had the courage to say it out loud. The message is clear: We need to reconsider how our students learn and how we should teach/facilitate more effectively. Computer-based tutorial learning offers an economically feasible solution that allows each individual student to learn at his/her own pace and ensures mastery of the content knowledge.
The Educational Technology Center at the University of California, Irvine has been developing tutorial programs for 30 years.
Bork, A. (2001), "Tutorial learning for the new century", Journal of Science Education and Technology, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 57-71.
Beate Baltes (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education, National University, Los Angeles, CA.
Dr Jerrie Smith Jackson
Teacher Preparation and Online Learning Is It Working?
This presentation by Patricia Ragan, University of Wisconsin, began with a brief review of current issues in teacher preparation literature. These areas include:
body of knowledge about how students learn best (content must be relevant and hands-on);
demographic change of students (by 2004 minority will be majority);
standards based learning (Title II accountability system supports performance based assessments, extensive and intensive pre-service field experiences; mentoring of teachers and infusion of technology); and
partnerships with school districts with overarching goal to improve student achievement.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has restructured their teacher preparation program to include performance-based assessments, mentoring and online courses. The process includes: analysis of course materials, preparation to digitize materials, and practice with technology. The analysis of course materials includes lecture notes, transparencies, articles and handouts, time spent on course with office hours, phone calls, etc. The next step is preparation. The goal is to digitize course elements; often redoing lecture notes and putting them in an electronic format; scanning pictures and articles as well as determining the format of the document. For example, a PDF format does not allow the reader to change the document, while an RFT or HTML format facilitates easy transfer. This issue must be addressed, so that an instructor can open a student's assignment and vice versa. The final step involves practicing with WebCT (putting a sample course online, practicing how to upload documents, file management issues, including how to create and organize files, and how much of the course will be online initially).
The obstacles to putting courses online include:
time, time and time;
access to expertise in instructional design;
student content (need back-up plan, so still learn material); and
Suggestions to overcoming obstacles include:
reward faculty recognize work with regard to promotion and tenure;
address issues of workload;
provide strong support system, as mentoring is critical.
Talking with Teachers about Computer Use: Insights for Pre-service Teachers
This session was also a full paper and was presented by Peter Albain (University of Southern Queensland, Australia). In this study, pre-service teachers used Web-based CD-ROMs that had problem-based scenarios. The scenarios dealt with:
curriculum planning; and
problems with content and how to use instructional technology (one computer in class vs. three to five computers shared with class next door).
The CD-ROM included not only the scenarios but also a video response from experienced teachers and their responses to the scenarios. The pre-service teachers found the video interviews to be very important and relevant to their needs.
A total of 22 pre-service teachers participated in the course. The pre-service teachers were interviewed about their learning from the CD-ROM and the problem based scenarios. The following themes were identified:
development of pre-service teachers' skills;
methods of teaching with instructional technology;
general issues; and
First, the purpose for using computers was relevant; comments included: students must be prepared for the work- force; students must be prepared for their jobs; it is the way of the future. Second, the development of pre-service teachers' skills increased; the pre-service teachers networked with peers, learned through trial and error, attended more in-services, and read software catalogs to learn about available IT resources; became more open to change, and learned that it is OK to learn with kids and beside them. Third, the pre-service teachers increased their knowledge about the different methods of using instructional technology; they became aware of the need to manage multiple activities, because not everyone can use the computer at once. They also learned that open-ended projects allowed students to work at different levels, and student needs were better met; and finally, the students saw the importance of integrating technology into the curriculum as opposed to building curriculum around the teaching. Fourth, the pre-service teachers observed the positive impact on student motivation, efficiency, and quality of children's work. Students were excited about using computers and often produced more work at a higher quality than when they were not using computers. Fifth, general issues included observations about:
time how to manage groups and whole class activities and balance multiple tasks; and
hardware and software.
The final observation dealt with the increased interaction. The computer is primarily a means of communication but has secondary value as a source of information. The idea of a global village was discussed; students can e-mail and have live chats with others around the world; they can learn to appreciate differences and see how they are similar.
In conclusion, 15 of the 22 pre-service teachers believed that they had increased their knowledge about the different uses for instructional technology, beyond just drill and skill, as well as ways to use the computer to increase student learning, not just as a reward or as a filler for when the student has done with worksheet, assignment, etc. the student may have computer time. This project demonstrated the need to help pre-service teachers develop skills as well as to provide models of good practice through an interactive process.
Jerrie Smith Jackson PhD (email@example.com) is Assistant Professor, School of Education and Clinical Studies, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas.
Good Online Practices = Good Online Students
Judy Lee PhD and Kay Allen PhD of the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, provided strategies for successful online teaching to a packed room. The professors freely shared their success stories as well as their challenging situations with the audience, many of whom were investigating their own online course building. The presentation was filled with concrete examples of quality online teaching.
Lee shared her experiences in teaching media classes online. She reported that her online courses are limited to 25 students. Because she teaches a number of courses in one program, students usually have more than one online course with her. Her key to successful instruction is the preparation work done before students ever begin the course. "Getting students started" includes the development of a class schedule that includes as much detail as possible. She has also developed a Web site for her courses, which provides descriptive information and contact e-mail addresses and phone numbers. In addition, Lee sends letters to students enrolled in her courses to introduce them to the course and her online practices.
Lee also provides a "start here" tutorial for her students, which introduces them to the online course. Lee communicates course expectations through the tutorial. Early in the semester, she starts to build community in the course through a "virtual happy hour" assignment at the discussion board. During the happy hour, students share introductory information (for example, hobbies, favorite books) and have a chance to ask questions about the course.
Lee develops routines in her courses that also assist students. For example, she keeps colors consistent in the courses, and places the menu bar in the same position on the Web page each time. She reports that consistency in the course helps the students focus on the course content.
Allen teaches an online course in human development. Many students take her course at some point in their program. She begins class with a face-to-face orientation. She reports that her goal is "self-directed, self-regulated, intentional learners." Allen delighted the audience with her description of the "technology abuse cycle," where computers lull us into a false sense of security only to subsequently let us down...hard. It was obvious by the audience's laughter that many in the audience had experienced the cycle she described.
Allen's description of her use of chat rooms provided excellent strategies. She uses chat rooms to simulate small group discussion found in traditional classrooms. She provides specific instructions for students before they go in to chat. For example, she may assign readings, observations, or Internet searches for the students to do in preparation for their chat. Allen sets a maximum of three students per chat room and explained that more than three is too many for balanced participation.
Both professors use an e-mail strategy where students are required to put specific subject headings on their e-mails. This enables the professor to organize e-mails and respond efficiently.
Both Lee and Allen are to be commended for their concrete examples of effective online instruction. The participants left the sessions with ideas that they could implement immediately in their own online courses.
LuAnn Jordan PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Using an Electronic Discussion Board to Supplement Classroom Sessions with Postgraduate Students
Recently, the UNITEC Institute of Technology in New Zealand developed and approved a postgraduate computer education program designed by Donald Joyce, C. Nodder, A. Williamson and Alison Young. This program targets students in full-time employment, and meets once a month on four weekends. The classes meet for four hours each on Saturday and Sunday.
The course on which the researchers gathered data was "The Impact of Information Technology on Society." The researchers surmised that most students would have experience in the area of technology, but more than likely much less experience in exploring social issues. Therefore, interaction within the group appeared to be an important facet of the class and the electronic discussion board provided the means for accomplishing this.
The researchers reported data on two groups (Semester 1 and Semester 2). In the Semester 1 class, out of 16 students, all but four had English as their first language. All students have significant practical computing experience. In the Semester 2 class, for 32 students English was not their first language and, overall, their practical computing experience was much less.
In Semester 1, two weeks before the class began, students were invited to provide personal information about themselves. By the time the class began, 13 students had responded. The active participation in the first semester varied widely. The most active participant was an experienced computing practitioner. Only one student never contributed. The researchers found it interesting to note that the total number of accesses was 5,645; however, a certain number accessed but did not always contribute. Also the researchers report that the most hits by a single student was 1,173; however, the student did not contribute significantly to the discussion.
In the Semester 2 class, even though the class was twice the size of the Semester 1, fewer accesses occurred. Three students did not contribute; the contributions that were made were briefer, and the lecturer saw the need to respond twice as often.
As the researchers analyzed the postings, an engaged person was one that asked open-ended questions, initiated a new conversation, elicited opinions, and asked challenging questions. A remote contributor expressed an opinion without attempting dialogue. The Semester 1 students, while polite, appeared to enjoy dialogue challenging and questioning each other. Semester 2 responses were mostly literal introductions of themselves, remote, with little discussion. Interestingly, the researchers stated that the students of Chinese origin were more likely to attempt engagement.
Assignment 2 focused on the potential impact of an emerging technology on a sector of society. The Semester 1 students equally discussed both the societal issues and technology; whereas Semester 2 maintained a focus on technology. Semester 1 students were informal, engaging, participatory and more likely to debate and offer resources. Semester 2 students responded more with process and procedure of technology, with little reference to the role of society.
The role of the facilitator was very important in encouraging participation and finding ways to create and expand on discussions. Also, the different cultures and languages represented influenced participation, as students of some cultures were hesitant to make public statements. If the researchers decided that participation in the electronic discussion board was an important component to the class, either participation may have to become a requirement or offered as extra credit.
Based on student ratings, the electronic discussion board offered a valuable means for maintaining student-to-student communication between class meetings. The role that the facilitator played by offering support and assistance was viewed as vital to the overall success of the discussion board.
The Impact of Instructional Technology on Student Achievement
This presentation by Lorraine Sherry, S. Billig, and D. Jesse of the RMC Research Corporation in Denver, Colorado reported the results of a five-year Technology Innovation Challenge Grant. The partners included were nine schools in Vermont. Sternberg's model (1998) provided the basis for assessing the impact of instructional technology on student achievement.
As the years passed, the theory began to emerge. Students' progress fit into phases. Pre-tests were administered to 137 students who had not yet participated in the project; later, following the intervention, a post-test was administered. In phase one, motivation was linked to increases in student encouragement and improvement in time on task. Motivation further influenced strategic thinking skills and promoted the use of constructive feedback, and thus increased metacognitive skills. In phase two, as the researchers looked at process and product, increased use of higher order thinking skills resulted in greater depth in reports that were produced. In the third phase, significant increases were seen in traditional grades and test scores. As the researchers assessed both the improvement in the processes of learning and the product produced, motivation appeared to be the factor that related to improvement in both. Path one revealed significant correlations between motivation, metacognition, inquiry learning and the student learning process score. The second path showed significant correlations between motivation, metacognition, application of skills and the student product. These findings validated the researcher's findings that support increases in student performance as a result of engaging in technology-supported learning activities. Rubrics were designed and used by teachers to assess student learning process and product. Their scores validated the researchers' findings. Over the five years of the grant, instructional technology did significantly affect student achievement.
Jean Kueker (email@example.com) is Professor of Education at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas.
Dr Joyce Pittman
An Interpretive Review of Three SITE 2001 Sessions
Thursday Keynote Speaker A Sight of Educational Leadership for the Emerging Knowledge Society Dr Nikki Davis, SITE President Iowa State University, USA
A Framework for Integrating Technologies in Teaching and Learning: What a Wonderful World (song) Dr Grace Lim, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore
Solving Educational Problems during Learning Computer Visualization Applications and Raising Students' CreativityDr Vladab Zdravkovic, Univ. of Gavle, Sweden; Boris Vian, VT LAB-AFPC, The Netherlands
According to Dr Nikki Davis of Iowa State University and Dr Grace Lim, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore, putting a world-class education at the fingertips of all children may not always mean a computer keyboard. It may be something as low-tech as a hand puppet dancing to the sounds of musical voices and dancing stems in a bed of flowers being carried by the wind in a PowerPoint presentation. It was metaphors in presenters' efforts more than words that attempted to bring man and technology together as cohabitants of the new learning environments described for tomorrow. Lim used toys, songs like What a Wonderful World sung by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, an old-fashioned overhead projector to drive home the notion of technology as a tool and how people interacting with the technology is the most empowering aspect of teaching with technology. After all, multimedia is bringing together audio, visuals, movement and text. Therefore, can we not continue to create meaningful multimedia learning experiences for young children with many of the simple low-tech toys? Alternatively, the question emerged, "Is multi-media still an acceptable form of interactive, inquiry and project-based learning?"
For example, in contrast, Zdravkovic brilliantly demonstrated the use of art, performing arts, principles of design, and technology to teach almost any subject. The Web-based simulation does this by bringing together different subjects to create virtual worlds of theatrical learning and virtual communications that encouraged much collaboration amongst participants and attempts to build visual literacy skills at the same time. However, after presenting this brilliant product, opportunities to learn in different ways, exciting graphics and plug-in-play features to make it more teacher-user friendly in a multidisciplinary learning environment, the report was less exciting. The presenter explained that building a community of learning was the ultimate goal, but hardly any teachers ever used it after two years of promotion, much development effort, and funds. Yet, she shared several pillars for those who are thinking about building a learning community.
The first lesson that she shared is that learning communities are not built. Second, learning communities are not necessarily networks, and third, they certainly go far beyond building a Web site with links to everywhere and often nowhere. She says the project taught them that learning communities or communities of learning are evolutionary. They grow out over time based on shared interests, experiences, and visions with people who are looking for a human connection beyond themselves, the technology and, most importantly, their own discrete knowledge.
Davis, Lim, and Zdravkovic all seemed to carry a similar message. The most profound message was that expanding e-learning to support world-class teacher education programs in this country is a global topic. It is about discovering new ways to use the technology to connect schools, families and the community, creating resources and maintaining the humanistic values by using technology more extensively, effectively and caringly.
To conclude, there were three points that might capture the gist of the papers observed:
Significant attention to diversity and digital equity was evident in every aspect of the conference sessions observed. The diversity was eminent from the people to the papers. The definition of diversity in these sessions seemed to expand before one's very eyes and in one's ears. The idea seemed to be that the equity and access theme would be infused throughout each presentation.
The infusion was so much that it was difficult to determine the very nature of digital or educational inequities that we know exist. Then one wonders if the solution to equity could be as straightforward as recognizing that there may be an inadequate supply of time for people to explore and connect resources. The time to do this might bring groups together with shared interests and solve some of the problems. The points presented in this paper beg the question that maybe using the tools to solve these types of issues might well serve to build this knowledge base as it emerges in dialogue.
The question is whether the issues of equity and diversity were infused or somewhat confused in these presentations. And being the former, how can we clearly address these issues in the future? More importantly, how do we get this information to new potential leaders, who are guiding education reform policies and innovations, as further debate among faculty in teacher education programs continues? Where will we find new leadership and knowledge needed to prepare our future teachers to work in a world classroom such as those that emerged in technology environments in Lim's Wonderful World or in Zdravkovic's virtual world of visualization?
Perhaps, the point that Davis made about breaking the SITE organization down into smaller pieces to better define and focus on the issues, solutions and opportunities for dialogue provides a solid roadmap for building new knowledge and leadership in education. This call may be long overdue. Yet, this bold move may prove to be easier said than done but is obviously greatly needed. Therefore, Dr Davis should be applauded again for taking this step to help increase our understanding of the "leave no person behind" concept, as we move into twenty-first century e-learning and teaching, a world where dreams can become reality.
Joyce Pittman (Joyce.firstname.lastname@example.org) is PT3 Project Director, University of Cincinnati.