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I hear… and I forget
I see…and I remember
I do…and I understand

Ancient Chinese Proverb

It is often suggested that a teacher education program should make available a number of short courses, workshops, and 1-credit courses designed to help students learn about ICT in education. It is also suggested that some of this instruction should be integrated into the non-ICT courses required in teacher education programs of study. In this Web Page, a variety of possible topics and approaches are briefly described. Possible uses in a preservice teacher education program are explored.

  1. ICT as part of the content of the content areas that are traditionally taught at the PreK-12 level. Click here for a relatively completed overview of this topic.
  2. ICT as part of the content of the "Non-Methods" teacher education program of study. Click here for a few initial thoughts on this topic.
  3. ICT as part of the content of Methods courses. Click here for a few initial thoughts on this topic.
  4. ICT topics that cut across most or all of a students course of study. Click here for a list of types of topics that seem to fit into this category.

 

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ICT in Non-ICT K-12 Content Areas

Each domain of study (each subject area in school) can be defined by the types of problems and tasks it addresses, the methodologies it uses, and the results it has achieved. We know that from a learner point of view, proficiency or a reasonable level of expertise in a language arts subject area is quite different than proficiency or a reasonable level of expertise in a science area. However, there can be considerable transfer of learning among different subject areas.

Within any domain, ICT helps to create new types of problems and tasks, adds to the methodologies available, and helps to produce new results. Moreover, ICT knowledge and skills tend to transfer across different subject areas and are an aid to transfer of learning. Here are a few examples to help illustrate these important ideas:

  • In Language Arts, ICT has brought reading and writing of interactive multimedia, a Global Digital Library (the Web), and Email (including distribution lists, instant messaging, and chat rooms) as a new communication media. These aids to communication and information retrieval are useful in all subject areas.
  • In the Social Sciences, ICT has brought us GIS (Geographic Information System), much easier access to primary sources of information, tools for searching the Web and other large databases, tools for content analysis, economic modeling, and modeling of social systems. It has enabled rapid progress in brain science, as ICT plays a significant role in brain modeling and in non invasive monitoring of brain activity.
  • In the Sciences, ICT has added a new dimension. All sciences now can be divided into three major approaches: experimental, theoretical, and computational. "Computational" is a computer modeling and simulation approach to representing and working to solve the problems in a discipline, such as the sciences. In addition, ICT has enabled the development of many new and quite powerful scientific instruments.
  • In Mathematics, ICT has brought us calculators, graphing calculators, equation-solving calculators, programmable calculators, and computer algebra systems such as Maple and Mathematica.
  • In Music, ICT has brought us computer-based musical composition systems (students can compose music) and music synthesizers (for example, that can play the music that students compose).
  • In Art ICT has brought us digital still and motion pictures that can be easily edited, and the whole field of computer graphics and animation.
  • In Business, I CT has brought us the Spreadsheet, automation of many mechanical and intellectual production tasks, the Web as a sales and marketing medium (E-business), and a large number of new consumer products.
  • In Mechanical Drawing and the Graphic Arts, ICT has become such an important component that the fields have changed drastically. They have evolved into fields in which ICT tools are a central component.

The point being made is that a teacher needs to have knowledge of the content areas that they teach, and ICT is now a significant component of each subject matter domain.

If we look far enough into the future, we can expect to see students at the K-12 level learning roles of ICT in the various subject areas that they study. We can expect that they will gain increased understanding of ICT within the non-ICT domains during their college education. However, that is occurring only very slowly. This means that teacher education programs are faced by the problem of what (if anything) they want to do to address the problem.

Here are three approaches:

  1. Work with the College of Arts and Sciences and the other non-Education components of the university to encourage and facilitate integration of appropriate ICT content within the content of the types of courses that preservice teachers take.
  2. Integrate such content into the Methods courses.
  3. Develop standalone courses (that are elective or required) that correspond to each content area in which our students are being prepared to teach.

Our students are required to demonstrate subject matter content area competence through a combination of coursework and passing tests. However, neither the current coursework nor the current tests adequately reflect the gradual increasing role of ICT as part of the content area of the various disciplines. Thus, a teacher education program will probably want to develop a strategy based on a combination of these three approaches.

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ICT as Content in the Non-Methods Courses

Teacher education programs of study include a number of courses that are not Methods courses and are not ICT courses. As with the content areas that are taught at the K-12 level, these content areas now include significant ICT components. Here are a very few examples:

  • ICT is now a significant component of the field of Study Skills. (At the University of Oregon, for example, we have a Center for Electronic Studying that is headed by Dr. Lynne Anderson-Inman).
  • ICT is now a significant component of a variety of learning theories and cognitive psychology.
  • ICT is now a significant component of the field of assessment.
  • ICT is now a significant tool in research (and thus, in research courses).
  • ICT is now a significant tool in law courses. Moreover, there are a number of legal and/or semilegal aspects of ICT in education that are important to teachers. Acceptable use policies and plagiarism provide examples.
  • ICT has created a "Digital Divide" that is a new problem in the field of diversity.
  • ICT is an important component of Special and Gifted education

The situation that a teacher education program faces here is that many of the regular faculty and adjuncts who teach these content area courses are not well versed in ICT as part of the content of the course areas they are teaching. Moreover, an ICT specialist is not apt to be well versed in the content area being taught. The problem is quite similar to the one that exists in the non-College of Education courses.

Eventually we can and should expect that regular and adjunct faculty who teach content courses in teacher education will be versed in roles of ICT as part of the content and will appropriately integrate such content into their courses. This will require a determined and continuing effort on the part of the teacher education faculty and its leaders. It will require continuing professional growth (capacity building, staff development) for the faculty.

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ICT as Content in Methods Courses

There is a growing body of knowledge and collection of software that is specifically designed to help teachers teach and help students learn within specific subject areas.

Computer-assisted learning (CAL) provides excellent examples. Preservice teachers can learn about CAL in general, and likely they have experienced the use of drill and practice software and "edutainment" software. However, it is unlikely that a student entering a teacher education program has up to date knowledge of specific pieces of CAL software designed for use in specific subject matter areas at specific grade levels. Research in CAL, Intelligent CAL (ICAL). and Highly Interactive Intelligent CAL (HIICAL) is gradually producing products that cover pieces of courses and entire courses, and that produce (on average) learning results better than an average teacher achieves with traditional teaching methods.

The "Help" features that are built into software tools are examples of CAL, and are increasingly examples of ICAL. Moreover, these are often used in a "just in time" mode when the user has strong intrinsic motivation to learn and/or use a particular feature of the software. Thus, if a particular software application package is commonly used as a tool in a particular subject area, then the Methods course covering that area can include a study of this aspect of CAL.

The Internet is contributing to a gradual merger of Distance Learning and CAL. Distance Education ranges from being completely n on-interactive (such as a radio or TV broadcast) to having the same features as HIICAL that is stored on a CD or DVD being played in a computer sitting on one's desk.

ICT is now a routine component of Project-Based Learning. PBL is a method that cuts across all Methods courses, but often it is quite specific to a particular subject area. Thus, we expect all of our students to learn general ideas of PBL (constructivism, situated learning, intrinsic motivation, group and individual project, cooperative learning, rubrics, etc.), but students also need to learn specifics of use of PBL within specific subject areas and at specific grade levels.

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ICT Topics That Cut Across Many Teacher Education Courses

ICT includes a variety of aids to communication, information storage and retrieval, and problem solving. Most of these aids are applicable in all areas of study and in a wide variety of careers/jobs.

A different way of talking about this category of ICT topics is to think about ICT topics that are relevant to teachers but probably do not belong in any specific teacher education course. Here are some examples that may fit into this category. They have been titled in a manner as to suggest course titles. Some of the topics can be taught as one-credit courses to a mixed audience of teachers interested in different grade levels and different disciplines. Some can be taught (or, at least introduced) in short workshops. Other topics take much more than a one-credit course.

  • Desktop Publication
  • Desktop Presentation
  • Paint and Draw Graphics
  • Still and Motion Digital Photography
  • Computer Modeling by use of Spreadsheet Software
  • Information Retrieval Using the Web and other Electronic Databases
  • Communication Using Email, Cell Phones, and Etc.
  • File Management, Transportation of Files, File Sharing.
  • Distance Learning
  • Computer-Assisted Learning
  • WebQuest: The cretion and use of WebQuests, a type of Web-based lesson plan and lesson.
  • Authoring Interactive Multimedia Documents
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • ICT Hardware: Rudiments of Hardware Problem Solving.
  • ICT Systems and Systems Software
  • Possible Futures of ICT in Education.
  • Strategic Planning for ICT in Education.
  • Software Engineering; Computer Programming
  • Running and Using a Computer Lab in Your Classroom
  • The One-Computer Classroom
  • Grant Writing for ICT in Education
  • ICT and Student Assessment

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