This article explores the possibilities of incorporating collaborative digital storytelling into preservice teacher education to support teachers in learning about their students’ rich perspectives on teaching and learning. Data were gathered in an elementary literacy methods course at a public university in the northeastern United States to explore the possibilities of a digital storytelling collaboration between undergraduate preservice teachers and elementary students. The article concludes with a discussion of ways teacher education researchers and practitioners might utilize digital storytelling to keep record of the ways diverse students experience teaching and learning.
Supporting novice educators in developing culturally sustaining and universally designed literacy practices, which are also socially situated and contextual, can seem challenging in online learning environments without access to classrooms. This study sought to understand how novice educators developed literacy teaching practices infused with culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) and universal design for learning (UDL) in an online learning environment. The authors used the P+E Framework to support the conceptualization of social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence in an online graduate elementary literacy methods course. While all three forms of presence were necessary in the course, social presence and teacher presence needed to be frontloaded and intentionally cultivated to support the type of cognitive engagement necessary for UDL and CSP informed literacy instruction. Additionally, elements of UDL modeled through course design served as a secondary layer of learning that participants were able to notice and name without explicit teacher presence. Implications for teacher education are discussed, including how high-touch online literacy methods courses should model the bending of curriculum toward learners.
Teacher education (TE) programs have been historically white spaces that too often devalue and marginalize women of color (WOC) and their intellectual contributions. This paper, cowritten by two graduates of a predominantly White institution TE program and one of their professors –all three authors WOC with familial roots in Latin America – traces the ways that the centering of WOC knowledges and ways of knowing in teacher education can serve as an interruption to whiteness and a salve to the racial trauma too often inflicted on WOC in these programs. Specifically, it takes a WOC feminist lens to analyze the ways that multimodal projects, at times aided by digital technologies, provided WOC opportunities to utilize and explore their raced, cultured, and gendered experiences and knowledges within their TE program. This work suggests shifts in teacher education that allow for the centering of WOC perspectives, theories, and ways of knowing to reimagine TE built for and by WOC and their future students of color.
Through a thematic and critical discourse analysis framed by critical literacy and mediated contact communication theories, the authors examined the discursive moves preservice teachers made when engaging in discussions on racial injustice through Flipgrid. Analysis showed that preservice teachers used language in productive and critical ways: moving from neutral stances to critical stances, challenging peers by questioning to understand, and reflecting on cultural assumptions. Preservice teachers thought Flipgrid provided the right balance of proximity and distance in order to see the issues in new ways and collaborating across locations and universities provided needed alternative perspectives for all and solidarity for some.
This article describes the Infusing Computing project, a 4-year study designed to support middle and high school teachers in infusing computational thinking (CT) into their disciplinary teaching. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, weeklong workshops held in summer 2020 were shifted to a virtual format and utilized emerging technology tools, synchronous and asynchronous sessions, explicit collaborative scaffolds, networking, and digital badging. Specifically, this study examined the experiences of English language arts (ELA) teachers (14 middle school, 13 high school) who participated in the virtual Infusing Computing workshops. Findings demonstrated that ELA teachers were able to leverage learning successfully from virtual PD to infuse CT into existing curricula, although teachers differed in the ways that they appropriated and adapted pedagogical tools for CT infusion.
This article reports on a case study of an English language arts (ELA) teacher education course that prioritized amplification as a method to decenter whiteness in English teacher preparation. The researchers demonstrate how they engaged in designing a course that aimed to use interactive digital technologies and multimodal texts to amplify racially and ethnically marginalized voices in ELA preservice education. Design principles that facilitated amplification included saturation of the learning environment with mediational resources and tools (Gutiérrez & Vossoughi, 2010) and the notion of “low floor and wide walls” (Resnick & Silverman, 2005). The analysis revealed ways in which the course design supported engagement with culturally sustaining pedagogies and the amplification of authors, literary characters, and preservice teachers from historically marginalized groups. Concrete examples are provided of intentional design decisions and course features that opened up opportunities for preservice teachers to engage in discourse that foregrounded identities related to race, ethnicity, language, and gender/sexual orientation.
The closing of universities and pK-12 schools in March 2020 pushed teacher preparation programs to explore virtual models of providing teacher candidates with clinical experiences. This case study chronicles a multiple-semester collaboration between a bilingual graduate-level teacher candidate (TC) and university faculty members (authors) exploring what it might mean to enact writing instruction in a fully virtual community of in-service teachers, undergraduate- and graduate-level TCs, and children in grades K-5. Drawing on Garcia et al.’s (2016) current/corriente metaphor, the TC’s translanguaging performances in the community across time were examined to track the multidirectional flows of mentorship that shifted the community’s engagement as digital writers and writing teachers. Findings identified three critical flows of mentorship made possible by the virtual infrastructure: (a) mentorship between TCs and in-service teachers; (b) mentorship between TCs and faculty members; and (c) and mentorship between families/caregivers and TCs. These multidirectional flows disrupted traditional hierarchical notions of university-pK-12 school demarcations, offering insights into possibilities for reimagining more effective virtual clinical models for preparing TCs who can enact culturally sustaining writing pedagogy as a means of sustaining all children’s cultural and linguistic practices.
Zeichner and Bier (2015) noted the “opportunities and pitfalls” of the shift toward a greater focus on field experiences in teacher education programs in the United States. In particular, equitable opportunities for all teacher candidates to experience and apply culturally sustaining ELA praxis are even fewer given the marginalization of these pedagogies in schools under pressure to meet curricular standards and improve test scores. The COVID-19 global pandemic rapidly transformed the landscape of ELA teacher candidates’ field experiences in 2020. Using Grossman’s (2009) theoretical framework of representation, decomposition, and approximation of practice to analyze teacher learning, the authors explored and analyzed the opportunities and constraints of virtual fieldwork during a global pandemic. Implications are addressed for technology-supported opportunities to learn in the field that will endure beyond the current moment.
At the start of the pandemic, a lot of talk occurred about reimagining education, especially since the inception of schooling in America is not built for Black children. Research has examined the violence against Black children in schools, not to mention the double pandemic that they are experiencing with COVID-19 and the country’s history of racism. As a Black scholar-practitioner, this author was hopeful for the future of education and teacher education. As the school year approached, however, and universities made a decision about virtual, hybrid, or in-person teaching and learning, the author noticed that the content or pedagogical practices had not changed or been reimagined, especially in English Education teacher preparation programs. As an effort to shift from talking about reimagining to action, the author utilized the framework of being, learning and teaching, and technology as a pedagogical tool to center Blackness in redesigning the course, English Language: Grammar and Usage, that did not enact linguistic violence or center white Mainstream English (Baker-Bell, 2020).
This study used the commognitive framework (Sfard, 2009) to study the learning of preservice teachers in a collaborative digital environment, examining a case of commognitive conflict around using informal and multimodal representations to discuss poetry as opposed to formal academic English. The analysis shows the complexity of power relationships around language use in collectively owned online spaces and the difficulty of shifting the leading discourse when teachers step back and allow students to drive digital discussions.
This study examined the types of online resources preservice teachers used when planning for their literacy instruction and whether the identified resources are research based. An online survey was distributed to preservice teachers enrolled in a literacy education course. Results reveal that participants (N = 77) use a mix of research-based professional resources, popular search engines, and content-sharing networks. Reasons for use included accessibility and convenience, content variety, visual aesthetics, literacy content, and source credibility. This research has implications for teacher educators and associate teachers, who are often the first to disseminate information to preservice teachers about effective literacy practices.
This paper foregrounds sociocultural learning theory and dialogic pedagogy to describe how instructors at two universities, one in the Midwest and one in the mid-South, used a web-based social annotation tool to spark conversations among English language arts methods students who crossed geographic boundaries and invited all students to share their voices and respond thoughtfully and respectfully to others’ ideas. Outcomes of this exploratory exercise include the following: methods students’ inquiries into the potential for social annotation to expand learning beyond traditional classroom walls, instructors’ reflections on student interactions with peers in virtual spaces, and a call for educators to be intentional with the digital tools they choose to employ.
This manuscript describes an inquiry into preservice teachers’ (PSTs) experiences composing a digital story around the concept of adolescent literacy as part of an English language arts methods course built on critical literacy and critical inquiry traditions. Part of the assignment was to examine adolescent literacy “in these times,” paying attention to the literacy lives of current adolescents. This inquiry used qualitative methods to gain insight into the ways digital storytelling about literacy might support PSTs to forge new connections with youth. The article reports three key findings about the role and value of including digital storytelling as a required part of an educator preparation program.
This report presents research on preservice (PST) and in-service teachers acquiring digital practices for addressing climate change related to knowing how to employ digital practices for studying visual representations of climate change and engaging students in critiquing online information about climate change. Study 1 examined PSTs understanding of climate change through participation in visiting a laboratory involving scientific study of ecological systems to interact with scientists, collect digital artifacts, and create a virtual field trip using these artifacts for instructional purposes. Study 2 involved PSTs and in-service teachers responding critically to the NASA Climate Change website, identifying digital literacies their sixth-grade students would need to employ in responding to this website and designing activities to foster critical response to the website. Some PSTs focused on issues of bias and ideological assumptions, while other PSTs focused on comprehension strategy instruction. Study 3 examined PSTs critiques of the reliability of two web sources containing conflicting claims and evidence about climate change based on analysis of screenshots of each source, a digital literacy web-based tool for critical analysis of the sources, and whole group class discussion. PSTs assumed the need to consider both perspectives on the validity of climate change claims.
This work addresses the potential for English teachers to prepare their students for the literacy requirements of the digital age. The authors reviewed the literature about media education and teacher preparation, focusing on the need for students to think critically about the information, technology, and media they interact with daily. Based on the authors’ experiences teaching a critical media literacy course in a university teacher education program, they designed a survey for former students to comment on their successes and struggles in bringing the ideas from the course to their K-12 students. Through this online survey, secondary English teachers and elementary teachers were questioned about the critical media literacy teaching they had been doing with their students. An exemplar secondary English teacher who regularly incorporates critical media literacy into her instruction was also interviewed. The data from the literature, surveys, and interview provide examples of the potential English teachers have to teach with and about media and to analyze media critically.
Almost 20 years ago, Pope and Golub (2000) published their seminal work on teaching with technology in English language arts (ELA) classrooms in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education Journal (CITE Journal). The purpose of this systematic literature review was to learn how subsequent research about ELA teaching with technology has taken up (or not) Pope and Golub’s ideas in CITE Journal since their initial publication. In addition, the authors were concerned with how articles about teaching and technology use have incorporated thinking about issues of access and equity to digital and online literacies in relationship to Pope and Golub’s principles. Findings of the review are presented and implications are offered for supporting teachers and educational researchers as they enact and study ELA teaching with technology to promote socially just classrooms.
This qualitative multicase analysis investigated the role of “educational niceness” and “neutrality” (e.g., Baptiste, 2008; Bissonnette, 2016) in preservice English teacher feedback on sociopolitical issues in student writing. As part of the field experiences for several ELA methods courses at two universities, one urban and one rural, the teacher-researchers used Google Docs and other technologies (e.g., screencasts and Google Community) to connect preservice teachers (PSTs) with high school writers at a geographical distance so that urban-situated PSTs could mentor rural-situated writers and vice versa. Five methods courses over two semesters served as cases, and 12 PSTs from those courses participated in focus groups. Data included audio recordings of nine focus groups and PSTs’ digital responses to student writing. Using thematic analysis, the authors explored how PSTs responded to sociopolitical perspectives in students’ writing — both engaging them and staying neutral. Although authentic opportunities for responding to student writers supported PSTs’ critical reflection on teaching writing, analysis of PSTs’ responses indicate that such authentic practice may not be sufficient for preparing PSTs to navigate sociopolitical issues and may, in fact, exacerbate PSTs’ impulse to enact educational niceness.
The Internet and other communication technologies can provide a powerful tool for social justice and civic action. These digital devices and social media have shown enormous potential by activists to mobilize the public, document their activities and the injustices they witness, and spread information to a wider audience. Individuals are often inspired to identify ways they can leverage digital technologies to work toward positive social change. The challenge is that youth are watching and learning from these events and texts as well. As youth utilize these digital, connected texts, educators need to know what makes their voices uniquely powerful. Perhaps more importantly, English language arts (ELA) educators need to consider ways in which they can bring these skills, practices, and texts into the classroom. This study examined how activists used digital, social technologies for the purposes of amplifying marginalized voices and enacting social change. Furthermore, the study explored how acts of digital activism can be leveraged to inform ELA teachers as they support inquiry, empathy, and connection in their classrooms. The findings identify opportunities for teachers to educate, empower, and advocate for youth as digitally literate citizens.
This article explores the writing processes of 22 English education scholars over the course of 23 months, resulting in the 2018 publication of an updated National Council of Teachers of English position statement, Beliefs for Integrating Technology into the English Language Arts Classroom. Through a qualitative approach, authors investigated the ways in which scholars (N = 22) examined theory, collaborated across institutions, and utilized technology. The discussion offers recommendations for teacher educators and researchers engaging in collaborative scholarship in a technological era.
This article describes a recent collective case study of English language arts methods students at a large university in the southwestern United States who created literacy-based welcome videos addressed to future students. By crafting “This is my Story” videos, preservice teachers practiced technology implementation with traditionally print-based approaches, integrating multimodal media text creation and biographical narration. Digital autobiographies support preservice teachers’ ability to interrogate their own contexts in ways that prepare them to facilitate diverse literacy communities in which all voices have value. Findings suggest that purposeful applications of technology can help English teacher candidates cultivate literacy identities and hone digital literacies as part of their teacher preparation.
The body of peer-reviewed research investigating literacy preservice teacher education is vast and broadcast widely in a variety of journals. What if there was a single, searchable, interactive platform where the literature was collected and synthesized? How might such a database inform research, practice, and policy? These were the questions faculty and graduate students from a large university in the Southwestern US set out to answer in 2015. Four years later, the authors introduce CITE-ITEL, a Critical, Interactive, Transparent, and Evolving review of literature on Initial Teacher Education in Literacy, an effort toward answering these important questions. The purposes of this paper are to share the methodology guiding the development of CITE-ITEL, to review some of the initial findings from the systematic review of the literature from 2000-2018, to describe the user experience of the CITE-ITEL database, and to propose future possibilities for CITE-ITEL and similar databases.
A model of connected teaching is needed to complement the model of connected learning. This special issue of Contemporary Issues in English Language Arts Teacher Education shares some innovative strategies teacher educators are using to prepare teachers to become connected educators. Each of the articles in this issue engages with the connected learning perspective of technology and education by focusing on an expansive ecology of learning and positioning tools as valuable insofar as they contribute to that ecology.
To better understand the impacts of participatory design in English language arts teacher education, this critical case study focuses on the National Writing Project’s Connected Learning Massive, Open, Online Collaboration (CLMOOC) that engaged educators in playing with the connected learning framework. The authors draw from 5 years of interaction data to question “open” as a fixed point of reference in the design of participatory, online learning communities. Through three rounds of remix inquiry, the authors argue that open as a design ideology is necessary but not sufficient in providing conditions for transformative professional learning. The analysis reveals a subtle shift from facilitative practices such as inviting for diversified participation and affirming for reciprocal engagement intended to elicit fuller open participation to those such as coaching toward imperfection and curating relational infrastructures that are grounded in an infrastructuring strategy that is intentionally fragmentary and incomplete. The findings illustrate facilitative practices that engage educators in dynamic connection – making in online professional learning, and prompt the field to critically consider the fallacies of open learning design.
Authentic field experiences are an important aspect of most teacher education programs, yet collaboration often is difficult because of distance and limited resources. This collective case study aimed to explore the experiences of 30 ninth-grade English language arts (ELA) students and 17 preservice English education teachers as they collaborated in a digital Third Space on activities designed with Connected Learning (CL) principles. Through the free, online tool Slack (www.slack.com), the participants cocreated video remixes and built connections without actually meeting face to face. The study aimed to assess if digital Third Spaces constructed with CL principles could provide an authentic field experience, potentially offering a chance to improve preservice ELA teachers’ self-efficacy with teaching digital literacies and offer high school students an opportunity to experiment with multimodal composition. Instruction was designed with CL principles and used digital tools to help forge human connection. The findings suggest that digital Third Spaces and online collaborative networks can serve as viable sites for authentic field experiences when face-to-face partnerships are difficult. However, they also suggest a need for ELA teacher educators to work with their preservice teachers to develop strategic ways to use digital environments to build genuine relationships.
This article is a commentary essay that uses the connected learning framework (Ito et al., 2013) as a lens to explore the relationship between making, coding, and critical literacy in the context of literacy teacher education. Critical literacy theorists have argued that it is important to understand the perspective and positionality of an author in order to make sense of a text in the context of history, society, and cultural norms (Alvermann, Moon, & Hagood, 1999; Gee, 1999; Jewitt, 2008). Likewise, software, written by coders, is also a form of media that requires interrogation and critical analysis. Increasingly, digital technologies have played a part in individuals’ social, political, and economic lives, yet only a small percentage of individuals can read the code that has designed this software (Rushkoff, 2010). Therefore, to foster greater civic literacy and engagement, an important aspect of literacy instruction in the digital era should include a basic understanding of the fundamentals of coding languages. However, few teacher educators have the knowledge of computer programming to integrate coding into literacy education courses and, therefore, this aspect is missing from much of current teacher education.
As the definition of literacy in the 21st century expands beyond print texts to include digital texts, media objects, images, sounds and social practices, what it means to be an English teacher in secondary schools also is shifting and growing in complexity. While there are many resources for integrating technology in the classroom, there remain few studies focused on how teachers are making choices related to technology use. This case study compares the ways in which two teachers make specific choices in relation to technology in their early careers as secondary English teachers. In doing so, the focal teachers are positioned as active agents (Lasky, 2005) in their professional development, from preservice to their early career classrooms, using technology strategically as a resource to within two distinct social settings: the preservice classroom where they are students, and the secondary classroom, where they are teachers.
Connected learning is “an emerging, synthetic model of learning whose principles are consistent with those of positive youth development, sociocultural learning theory, and findings from ethnographic studies of young people’s interest-related interactions with digital media” (Maul et al., 2017, p. 2). It seeks to harness new media technologies and human networks to support interest-driven, production-centered learning that bridges in- and out-of-school and intergenerational disconnects. As such, “it is a fundamentally different mode of learning than education centered on fixed subjects, one-to-many instruction, and standardized testing…” (Connected Learning Alliance, n.d.). The connected learning model has spread rapidly and widely; it has been taken up in the design of programs, courses, and research across interdisciplinary, international, and in- and out-of-school contexts. The goal for this annotated bibliography is to provide an overview of connected learning theory and research that is most relevant to teaching and learning in K-16+ school settings, which can serve as a resource for those interested in connected learning practice and outcomes.
This article describes lessons learned from an applied literacy course in which preservice teachers partnered with a local middle school to teach literacy actively through podcast and digital graphic novel creation. Future teachers need equity-focused, production-centered, interest-driven connected learning (Ito et al., 2013) and connected teaching opportunities (Mirra, 2017) that provide deliberate, scaffolded social support as they continually shape or reshape perceptions of self and other.
Although increasingly encouraged to incorporate digital media into classrooms to prepare students for engaged participation in a digital world, teachers are often taken by surprise when paradigm clashes arise between traditional school expectations and the affordances of these new spaces. Through data gathered from ethnographic methodologies during a rich teacher-researcher partnership, this research foregrounds tangles that emerged when a high school English teacher and a partnering researcher adopted new media tools and pedagogies in two traditional English classes. They concluded that each tangle found its genesis in two competing urges teachers experience when engaging in pedagogical design: the desire to maintain traditional English class norms and the desire to reshape and reimagine it. This collision of strategies and tactics emerged in five distinct categories: vantage points, genres, boundaries, tasks, and expectations. These results indicate a need for greater awareness of the difficulties in the maintenance of new classroom spaces; attention to the complex negotiations required when teachers juggle technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge; and the need for teacher education to create more space for future teachers to work with these tensions through reflection upon collaborative pedagogical design practices in authentic classroom environments.
This qualitative study examined in-service teachers who were enrolled in a graduate level course that focused on new literacies and the integration of technology with literacy. They also taught children enrolled in a summer writing camp as part of the course. The authors followed the teachers into their classrooms once the graduate course ended to see if and how they were integrating technology. The primary focus of this article is on ways some of the teachers began to integrate technology into their instruction. An additional finding was that testing was perceived to be an especially challenging barrier to technology integration.
This paper reports on one aspect of a large-scale nationwide study that surveyed English teacher educators about English teacher preparation programs throughout the United States. One aspect of the study focused on how technology is integrated within the context of English teacher education programs, asking the question, “As an area of emphasis in the teaching of English, how do teacher educators prepare beginning English teachers to address the teaching of technology and new literacies in the context of the English language arts?” This paper highlights the data and the findings from the self-administered questionnaire portion of the study concerned with technology use in the English language arts methods course.
Studies examining preservice teachers’ (PSTs) experiences with microblogging and activities that buttress and promote their social justice development have largely occurred in isolation from one another. To that end, this study examines in what ways pairing the popular social networking website Twitter with readings from a young adult literature course helped PSTs cultivate their awareness of and positionalities related to the social justice issues discussed in the course—and ones they will confront in their classrooms. Although students noted that engaging in this new dialogic space afforded certain benefits, the data suggest that PSTs encountered a variety of obstructions as they worked to develop and articulate their social-justice-oriented positionalities, including difficulty extending in-class conversations and trouble negotiating the social dimensions of Twitter. In examining the intersection between Twitter and its conduciveness to support PSTs’ social justice positionalities, the findings suggest that, despite its popularity, the forum did not prove to be an organic medium for students to engage social justice issues. Findings imply that teacher educators interested in utilizing microblogging to foster PSTs’ social awareness and growth should utilize Twitter as but one of many pedagogical tools to assist students in developing their social justice positionalities.
English teacher education programs often look for ways to help preservice teachers engage in critical reflection, participate in communities of practice, and write for authentic audiences in order to be able to teach in the 21st century. In this article, the authors describe how they used Twitter to provide opportunities for reflection and collaboration during methods courses in two English education programs. The authors examined the affordances and limitations of using Twitter in methods courses and suggest revisions to help other teacher educators consider ways to use Twitter in their own courses. Specifically, the authors suggest that Twitter is useful for ongoing reflection and provides potential for preservice teachers to engage with larger communities of practice outside of their own institution; however, preservice teachers may need scaffolding and guidance for developing critical reflection skills and maintaining involvement in communities of practice.
Engaging preservice English language arts interns in the analysis of mashups accomplishes two objectives: (a) it brings interns to a deeper understanding of action research and (b) provides a critical media literacy (CML) foundation on which they might build with their own students. In this paper CML is defined and recent literature is synthesized, including a specific focus on mashups and DJ Earworm. The author describes his pedagogical context and procedures for examining research paradigms, exploring qualitative methods, and generating findings while developing a foundation for CML. The paper closes with responses to these procedures and implications for English language arts teacher educators and teachers.
Three leaders of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference on English Education (CEE) reflect on the changes that have occurred in English language arts teacher education in the past 15 years since the first edition of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE Journal) was published. The authors take a historical look at the development of the CEE and CITE Journal relationship, reflect on the inaugural article in the CITE Journal English Language Arts Teacher Education section and the principles it presented, and provide a history of the evolution of NCTE/CEE belief statements, resolutions, and standards for teacher preparation as they relate to 21st-century literacies and technologies. The piece provides a snapshot of current practices in English language arts teacher preparation and considers the future of the field.
This article discusses the arts, multimodality, and new technologies in English language arts. It then turns to the example of the illuminated text—a multimodal book report consisting of animated text, music, and images—to consider how art, multimodality, and technology can work together to support students’ reading of literature and inspire their creativity. Illuminated texts are also discussed in terms of teaching considerations and alignment to Common Core State Standards. This project demonstrates that with new technologies come new possibilities for the arts and multimodality in English language arts.
Teacher candidates have few opportunities during their teacher preparation coursework to investigate practices associated with eliciting and responding to student writing. This article describes an attempt to address this problem with a searchable online digital archive of student writing, with and without teachers’ written feedback, as well as other instructional materials from elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms in diverse linguistic/geographic regions of the country. The archive also includes interviews with teachers about their approaches to teaching writing, especially the principles and practices that inform their responses to student work. The design of the archive is described, along with three broad paths through the archive, which were created by the author. These paths provide opportunities for instructors of English teaching methods courses, writing pedagogies courses, and linguistics courses to investigate with teacher candidates issues that are commonly addressed in those three types of courses, like modeling writing, machine scoring, and responding with sensitivity to writers who are English language learners.
This article presents research from a qualitative study exploring five secondary English teachers’ professionally oriented participation online. Drawing upon Cole’s (1996) “surround” and “weaving” views of context, the specific line of research featured here was guided by the following question: What are the features of the online contexts that selected secondary English teachers weave in exploration of teaching, learning, and literacy? The author collected archived online artifacts (e.g., blog posts, microblog posts, and posts within social network sites) and employed an ethnographic content analysis. Findings revealed five notable contextual features that emerged across cases: multimodal affordances and a/synchronous flexibility, as seen from a surround view, and classroom teaching experiences, connections among teachers online, and a touch of levity, as seen from a weaving view. While providing directions for future research, these findings stand to support more nuanced understandings of the teacher-generated online environments to which many educators are turning in an effort to supplement their professional growth.
This paper presents the results of a research study on preservice English teachers’ understandings of the interconnection of literacy and technology in relation to their teaching practices. The study was conducted in an English education program among preservice teachers enrolled in a year-long internship. The data analyzed consisted of interview and group discussion transcripts as well as semiotic artifacts (inquiry papers, written reflections, and short videos) produced by the seven participants. Particular attention was given to the ways school structures were affecting possibilities for productive transformations in the use of technology and the ways contradictory discourses were negotiated by the participants. Two contrasting approaches to the role of technology in the teaching of literacy were identified, which adopting Newman and Holzman’s (1993) terminology, were termed “tool-for-result” and “tool-and-result.” The paper concludes with an identification of the conditions afforded by the teacher education program and the school setting that facilitated the development of tool-and-result understandings among the preservice teachers.
This study explores teacher education candidates’ perceptions of technologies used to support K-12 student literacy development. Candidates scored each technology based on their impressions of its ability to support student literacy development. They also evaluated their own level of expertise with each piece of technology using a pre-post survey. Technologies included broad-based applications (blogs, wikis, podcasts, and digital storytelling) as well as more specific applications (Prezi, Glogster, and Voicethread). Results indicated an increased knowledge of technologies available to support K-12 student literacy development. In addition, certain technologies were rated as more effective in promoting student literacy development. Data were disaggregated for secondary versus elementary candidate populations.
This research investigated the use of blogs to promote collaboration between teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) teacher candidates and Adolescent English teacher candidates and to sensitize them to the writing demands placed on secondary English language learners (ELLs). Blogs offered an authentic experience for teacher candidates to interact with each other and with ELLs. Qualitative analysis showed Adolescent English teacher candidates’ desired more such fieldwork that would put them into direct contact with ELLs. TESOL candidates reported learning about the demands of high school academic writing through the tasks and the blog responses posted by their Adolescent English counterparts. Affordances and limitations of blogs as a tool in teacher education for ELLs, as well as the need for TESOL and content area teacher candidates to participate in collaborative fieldwork to strengthen instruction for ELLs, are discussed.
Geographically distant classrooms can be a ripe learning space for teacher educators who want to show preservice teachers the power of technology in the English classroom. A classroom teacher described how she used a social networking platform to allow for collaboration with a preservice teacher in the hopes of making student literary analysis more authentic for her high school seniors. The preservice teacher, as a member in the social network, learned to hone her discussion-leading and questioning skills. Teacher educators in partnerships such as this are able to better bridge theory to practice.
The purpose of this interpretive case study was to explore—through a close analysis of one class project—students’ use of audio signs and the teacher’s scaffolding of the use of audio signs. Two research questions guided this study: (a) In what ways did the fifth-grade students use audio signs, specifically transitions sounds, when constructing multimodal texts with different sign systems (e.g., visual, linguistic or audio signs)?; (b) In what ways did the classroom teacher shape the specific social cultural environment for audio sign use? The findings of this study argue for professional development opportunities for teachers where they not only learn how to use various software programs but also learn the content knowledge necessary for communicating with multiple signs such as audio.
Although K-12 teachers are frequently exhorted to maintain classroom websites, little is known about how they view or accomplish such work. To address this gap in the research literature, the study described here used qualitative methods, including computer-mediated interviews and document analysis, to explore secondary English teachers’ perspectives on how they designed and used classroom websites to support their pedagogy. Participants included 20 teachers with varying professional experience from five different school districts in the northeast United States. Data analysis was framed by sociocultural perspectives on literacy and technology. Participants reported five main reasons for creating their websites: (a) conform with school or district expectations, (b) communicate with parents, (c) help students catch up on in-class information and assignments, (d) position students for postsecondary success, and (e) respond to external pressure. Their uses for their websites ranged from providing online versions of existing in-class resources and materials to providing additional opportunities for interaction beyond class. Their efforts were supported and influenced by district administrators and by peers.
This study, using mixed methods design research, examined the achievement of third level preservice teachers when advice in the form of text and resources was provided based on students’ identified learning styles. In this study, Kolb’s learning style inventory was used to identify students’ preferred learning style preferences, and an online module was developed to link prepared advice for the completion of course tasks to particular learning style preferences. Advice was provided for grasping and processing stages of the learning cycle and served as a form of scaffolding through coaching provided via the online module. Data sources used to explore the value of advice specific to learning style preferences included student assessment results from the learning style preference advice module, student reflection journals following use of advice software, and student assignment scores. Data analysis indicated positive effects of advice linked to learning style preferences on student achievement.
This article describes an English language arts teacher preparation perspective that considers middle school students as part of the teacher educator team. Based on a recognized gap in the literature about students as powerful partners, the authors undertook a 3-year study to explore the question, “What do preservice middle school teachers learn when middle school students assume the role of pedagogical experts?” Using the ever-popular young adult novel, The Outsiders, as a nexus of literature study and an integration of technology and music, the authors created The Outsiders Project. They collected extensive qualitative data, including detailed field notes, preservice teachers’ reflections, and digital videos, across the 3 years to analyze preservice teachers’ views about the power of middle school students as teacher educators.
This paper focused on whether the use of online discussion boards can enhance the quality of interaction in the middle and high school English classroom, covering both the characteristics of online discussion boards and potential negative effects of their features. The features of online discussion boards, their effects, and how these boards relate to the forms of communication facilitated by Web 2.0 technologies are discussed, and recommendations are provided for using online discussion boards in the English classroom.
This article examines the case of the Winston Society, a short-lived wikispace created by a high school English teacher to foster collaborative knowledge-making and social activism among educators. Through an examination of the wiki, questionnaires, and a focal group interview, this paper describes an examination of reasons the Winston Society garnered limited uptake among classroom teachers. Scholarship in new literacy studies is then drawn upon to theorize key issues in the study, including teachers’ discomfort with digital epistemologies and the potential of online affinity spaces and social media to mediate teachers’ professional development, networking, and political activism. The purpose of this paper is to highlight key issues and tensions in this case that may help educators approach Web 2.0 technologies more strategically in other contexts of teacher education.
In today’s Web 2.0 world, teachers are perpetually struggling with how to incorporate technology into the classroom effectively in order to meet the diverse literacy needs of 21st-century learners. Utilizing the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE, 2008) Position Statement addressing these needs, the theoretical framework of Lankshear and Knobel (2006), and work by Cummins, Brown, and Sayers (2007) emphasizing the possibilities of technology in achieving literacy goals, a framework by which to assess the incorporation of technologies in classrooms as a means to build students’ new literacies was created. Finally, as a specific example, the framework was applied to the use of wikis to illustrate the literacy learning potential of both wikis and other new technologies.
Students entering teacher preparation programs often exhibit a desire to be shown the magic bullet of teaching practice. When they fail to be presented with recipes for success, or when the instruction they receive in methods classes does not match their own understanding of instructional methods and what they believe methods should be, they can feel a heightened level of discomfort. This paper describes the study of an Online Writing Partnership and examines participants’ discomfort regarding the use of online communication technologies to facilitate mentor relationships with high school students in writing. Findings indicated that this discomfort can provide opportunities for reflection on and examination of beliefs about writing instruction, as well as on the nature of writing itself as a recursive process. Further, using online communication technologies to facilitate practicum experiences can enrich preservice teachers’ understandings of and approaches to the complexities and challenges of teaching writing.
Understanding the tenets of copyright in general, and in particular, in online communication and publishing with Web 2.0 tools, has become an important part of literacy in today’s Information Age, as well as a cornerstone of free speech and responsible citizenship for the future. Young content creators must be educated about copyright law, their own rights as content creators, and their responsibilities as producers and publishers of content derived from the intellectual property of others. Educators should prepare them for responsible and ethical participation in new forms of creative expression in the Information Age. The recent integration of video and audio content and the implementation of Web 2.0 tools in the contemporary English language classroom has made this learning environment a particularly appropriate proving ground for the examination of current student practices with respect to intellectual property. This paper describes an approach employed with English education and communications students to prepare them for such a complex subject matter.
This article documents the curricular decisions made by a teacher educator research team whose guiding theoretical focus for intern practice is dialogic instruction. Over a 2-year sequence, teaching interns used video and Web 2.0 technologies to respond critically to and revise their teaching practices in collaboration with peers and instructors. This article describes how a focus on dialogic instruction and an adoption of a multiliteracies pedagogy guided the implementation and use of technologies within the project. Through multiple examples of curriculum, including excerpts from course materials, screencasts of the adopted networking platform, Voicethread, and video of class sessions, the authors describe how a focus on the dialogic creates spaces for interactions that allow responsive and revisionary attitudes toward not only teaching practices, but the potential and place of technologies in teacher education.
In a study of urban secondary teachers moving out of professional development and into their classrooms, the research team documented the learning processes of teachers and student groups during their digital video composing to make sense of the curriculum. Taken together, these ethnographic case studies provide evidence that digital video composing can be a potent literacy tool that leads to increased student engagement and learning. Important to English educators is this finding: Learning to use and to teach digital composing can induce changes in teachers’ epistemology and social practices that promote changes in their teaching and student learning. In this article, a framework for a multimodal literacy pedagogy is elaborated, generated from these analyses of teachers changing over time. Teachers who have transformed themselves and their classrooms to enact student multimodal composing on curricular concepts have these transacting principles in common: They (a) design social spaces for mediating students’ multimodal composing activities; (b) co-construct with students authentic purposes for these composing activities about curricular concepts; (c) focus explicit attention to multimodal design and critique of multimodal texts; and (d) persistently open opportunities for students to draw on their identities and “lifeworlds” (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain, 2001).
In this article the four pedagogical components outlined by the New London Group (1996)—situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing, and transformed practice—were used to focus attention on the case studies of three beginning teachers and their use of digital media (particularly the creation of a digital literacy autobiography) in an English language arts methods class and their subsequent and transformed use of digital media with their own students in the classroom. Their shifting perceptions of multiple literacies were explored, as well as how these shifts in thinking helped shape or transform their ideas about teaching and learning language arts. Through the analysis of the three case studies, four persistent themes were identified related to students’ use of digital media both in the program and in their teaching practice. Specifically, these themes focus on the performative, collaborative, and multimodal affordances of digital media, and they tap into the potential for using digital media as “identity texts” in student learning.
University researchers, teacher candidates, language and technology instructors, student learners, and families from diverse backgrounds partnered in an invitational teaching/learning experience—middle school student learners teaching their VIPs (very important persons) how to create stories and construct digital movies with reference to their family history. Prior to a university-based workshop, 2 weeks of structured activities using the Model of Digital Storytelling (Figg, 2005) focused on rich language development, oral history, and movie-making technology in a community-based summer enrichment program designed for underachieving student learners. Teacher candidates facilitated the workshop interaction between student learners and their VIPs. Data sources included interviews, exit surveys, reflective journals, research field notes, and student/parent-created artifacts. All participants were positively impacted through this digital storytelling process. Noted improvement of writing and technical skills, increased motivation due to VIP involvement, and greater awareness of future educational opportunities for student learners were among the key findings of this study.
This paper describes the results of a pilot study conducted in Ireland to examine the effectiveness of an online book review project. The project focused on the production of book reviews by primary school children in the form of digital video. The videos created were uploaded to a password protected website, which was available to the schools involved in the project. A total of six primary schools took part in the project, and children from infant level (4/5 years) up to sixth class (11/12 years) across the schools completed book reviews. The project was carried out over a 6-month period, and almost 100 book reviews were uploaded to the website. The primary aim of this study was to ascertain if and how the concept of online book reviews might be used in Irish classrooms.
This article examines the role of technology in preservice teacher reflection. Situated in informal reflection (Shoffner, 2008), preservice English teachers’ choice of a specific technology medium for reflective practice is examined for satisfaction with their choice and understanding of that medium’s influence on their reflection. The implications of the preservice English teachers’ views on technology use for reflection are then explored, with attention to the choice of “easy” forms of technology and the elements of journal length, choice of expression, and audience awareness in reflective practice.
One of the challenges of teacher education is to train preservice teachers to deliver a wide range of literacy skills to a diverse population. This article describes a mixed methods research study into preservice undergraduate literacy methods courses. This research examined how online, asynchronously conducted discussions influenced and impacted preservice teachers’ literacy understanding. Providing many opportunities for supportive and interactive online dialog enabled the preservice teachers to develop a richer base of literacy learning knowledge. Specifically, the study demonstrated how asynchronously conducted discussions supported preservice teachers in acquiring and refining the content and pedagogical knowledge needed to teach literacy.
Today’s children are bombarded by a range of media, and it is the responsibility of teachers to equip students to engage critically. Just as teachers are responsible to teach critical literacy, teacher educators must help empower teachers to become more critically literate. This paper explores the role of online discussion in the ways it fosters critical literacy by analyzing the online discourse of the teachers in an online literature course. Implications relating to both the online nature of teaching and the various strategies to foster critical literacy in everyday classrooms are described.
The purpose of the current study was to analyze the relationship between automated essay scoring (AES) and human scoring in order to determine the validity and usefulness of AES for large-scale placement tests. Specifically, a correlational research design was used to examine the correlations between AES performance and human raters’ performance. Spearman rank correlation coefficient tests were utilized for data analyses. Results from the data analyses showed no statistically significant correlation between the overall holistic scores assigned by the AES tool and the overall holistic scores assigned by faculty human raters or human raters who scored another standardized writing test. On the other hand, there was a significant correlation between scores assigned by two teams of human raters. A significant correlation was also present between AES and faculty human scoring in Dimension 4 – Sentence Structure, but no significant correlations existed in other dimensions. Findings from the current study do not corroborate previous findings on AES tools. Implications of these findings for English educators reveal that AES tools have limited capability at this point and that more reliable measures for assessment, like writing portfolios and conferencing, still need to be a part of the methods repertoire.
Developmental concerns challenge technology use with young learners; however, critical areas of literacy have increased when technology is available. This study was designed to measure when and what kinds of technology were integrated into literacy teaching and learning with second graders. The OTELL (Observing Technology Enhanced Literacy Learning) instrument was created to record teacher and student use of technologies over five components of best practice in literacy instruction. Observations and interviews established pre-intervention literacy practice in year 1, and the OTELL was used to measure technology use in year 2 after district and professional development support provided technology-rich classrooms. Thirty-five random hours of observation over a 7-month period revealed that the curriculum remained stable after intervention and that technology was used in literacy learning and teaching approximately 39% of the time. Within that increased use of technology, students used technology the most when applying their literacy knowledge, and teachers used technology 70% of the time when presenting literacy minilessons.
Reflection is considered an important aspect of teacher practice. Researchers examined 21 teacher-created language arts blogs to determine whether randomly selected entries within the blogs demonstrated reflection on professional practice. In addition, entries were examined to determine the depth of reflective practice. The amount and depth of reflective practice was measured by a researcher-created rubric. Results indicated that all language arts teachers in the study used their blogs as reflective journals and that the depth of reflection occurring in the blogs varied from casual reflection (i.e., regarding the proceedings of the school day) to metareflective posts that could lead to changes in practice.
Teaching with technology is a complex issue, at best, bound by issues of access, funding, support and time for both students and teachers (Young & Bush, 2004). When English teachers effectively integrate technology into their classrooms, however, they have the opportunity to positively engage students in the learning process. Considering the specific technology of weblogs, this article will explore the need for preservice teachers to construct a working pedagogy that includes the use of technology within the content area for teaching and learning.
This survey study of preservice teachers analyzed if technology is used as practice in the English language arts classroom, and if these practices transferred from the methods classroom to the field experience and beyond. The author examined which technologies and experiences were valued and used by preservice teachers to discover if they thought it possible to transfer these methods from theory into practice. Teacher candidates’ perceptions of integrating technology into their practices revealed their comfort or frustration with nontraditional teaching practices and classroom structures.
This research study investigated the use of technology tools to support constructivist learning experiences in a preservice teacher education reading methods course. Learning opportunities based on Kolb’s learning styles model were used to support understanding of course content in the constructivist environment. Technology tools were used during class presentations to communicate, scaffold, and clarify course concepts and content while engaging students with information. Technology was used outside of class as a collaboration tool in mediating and negotiating learning between the instructor and students as well as between students and students. In addition to demonstration and application of reading methods, students’ perceptions of their learning experience and understanding of course content were considered in analyzing the effectiveness of technology used to address multiple learning styles in a constructivist environment.
This paper describes an experimental exploration of special procedures used in a game-like online expository writing experience that was designed to help preservice language arts teachers develop descriptive writing skills. Participants were asked to describe a target picture within a picture set to their cohorts in an online discussion in order for the cohort to correctly identify the target picture. Cohorts’ responses provided feedback about the effectiveness of participants’ descriptions. It was predicted that participants’ descriptive text would improve over repeated trials by having received this feedback from their cohorts. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to analyze writing samples.
High attrition rates among new teachers are of concern to teacher educators. Support mechanisms may help teachers feel less isolated in their new profession. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies can connect novice teachers in ways that are both time and place independent. Most research on asynchronous online discussions has focused on achieving formal learning goals through highly structured scaffolds for reflective thinking and cognitive presence. Less attention is being paid to how novice teachers who are already accustomed to participating in online communities turn to these online spaces for the support they need. This case study examined whether and how eight preservice teachers completing English education internships at professional development schools chose to use an asynchronous discussion forum in the absence of a tightly structured or controlled communication task. The interns chose to use the online space for just-in-time informal learning and for psychological support on complex issues that were not easy to discuss face to face. The interns regularly responded to each others’ requests, thoughts, and concerns. The authors propose that highly structured online forums are not the only way CMC can be used for teacher support, particularly now that CMC is no longer a novelty, nor should formal learning be the only purpose for providing such online spaces to novice teachers.
This paper surveys recent trends and issues related to the integration of newer technologies in K-16 English language arts/literacy learning classrooms. The author argues that newer technologies are used too often in English courses as a tool to learn traditional skills and materials, and not often enough for the transformation of individuals and communities. The author suggests that identifying agents that act as inhibitors to such potentially generative outcomes for technology integration is a necessary first step, and then articulates a wide range of questions that the field might address.
This teacher-researcher case study examines the use of digital storytelling in a teacher assisting seminar. During the field placement, students composed a digital story of a teaching hour. Combining reflection with classroom footage, students exhibited their work for their colleagues. Digital stories added to the written narratives from the field. This technological opportunity provided teacher assistants with multiple views of themselves as teachers. Implications for future teaching and research include ongoing digital storytelling, mentoring, and the maintenance of the complexity of classroom teaching.
Effective communication between homes and schools can be essential in helping students experience success in the classroom. Unfortunately, the topic of establishing mechanisms for meaningful parent-teacher communication is often slighted during the preparation of teachers. New teachers entering classrooms need the opportunity to interact and communicate with parents during their preparation program. This article examines how one reading tutor used technology to communicate with parents about their child’s literacy growth while the child was enrolled in a university-based tutoring program called the Reading Improvement Clinic. Specific examples illustrate how this technology-based approach enhanced the communication process with parents while sharing tutoring information, student progress reports, and tutoring artifacts. Several advantages of using such an approach include easy access to student materials and assessments, timely postings of the child’s work and tutor comments, and a secure environment for sharing confidential documents.
As a commentary aimed toward revision of “Beliefs About Technology and the Preparation of English Teachers: Beginning the Conversation” (Swenson, Rozema, Young, McGrail, & Whitin, 2005), this paper encourages the authors to focus on the multiliteracies that technologies enable as a guiding theme rather than on technologies themselves. It also contends that revisions could be more congruent with current trends in K-12 literacy instruction, namely addressing how multiliteracies and design-based learning can connect with standards and assessment. In so doing, it suggests that the revision of this belief statement can expand the conversation from one primarily about technologies to one that focuses on the changing nature of literacy as well as the larger and long-term implications of this shift for English education.
The integration of digital tools and multimodal representations in the English classroom has the greatest potential when we define literacy as multiple socially constructed practices. If digital literacies are defined as autonomous tools and isolated symbolic systems, reduced to a set of skills and forms for students to reproduce, then school literacy practices will become further distanced from nonschool literacy practices. Instead, English teachers should engage school literacies in which digital and nondigital tools help students inquire into how multimodal symbols are used to construct and negotiate community identities, relationships, activities, and values. Digital literacies may be especially supportive of such critical inquiry practices.
As national teacher education and government organizations continue to endorse technology integration in K-12 settings, university doctoral programs in English education face a complex task. They are being called upon to prepare scholars who will contribute meaningfully to the latest corpus of research and also to prepare teacher educators who will be conversant in both traditional academic areas, as well as the cutting edge of the latest technology-enhanced (and frequently media-based) pedagogical and communicative tools. How should doctoral programs prepare students for such complex leadership roles? In answer to this question, this article presents a scenario describing effective technology integration in doctoral English education. It suggests specific ways of integrating technology into the three components of a doctoral English education program: coursework and comprehensive exams, teaching practicum, and research and dissertation.
Asynchronous discussion allows students to read and respond “out-of-time.” This form of online discussion, as experienced in a college literacy course, creates a text of talk that has the potential to be reflective given the freedom participants have in their response time. However, students often struggle with reflection. Instructors need to structure discussion online so that it becomes a forum for communication as well as critical thinking. They also need to view writing online as both process (discussion) and product (document to be assessed).
This article describes how students have made use of technology tools in several critical literacy activities that help to achieve the paramount goals of language and literacy education to enable students to develop critical consciousness and community agency through literacy. The technologies helped students define intertextual connections, pose questions about the basis for meaning, integrate multiple voices and perspectives, and adopt a collaborative inquiry stance. The technology tools include software programs for video editing, hyperlinked knowledge bases, and asynchronous virtual communication. Examples of technology projects are embedded as links in this article.
An English language arts methods course developed through a professional teacher network offers many advantages of a professional development school (PDS) but is easier for individual teachers and university instructors to initiate than a PDS. This report describes a writing methods course that an expert National Writing Project (NWP) teacher helped the university course instructor design. It helps preservice teachers synthesize knowledge of school practice from their prior school experience, the system of classroom organization known as Complex Instruction, and NWP knowledge. The designers of the course concluded, on reflection, that elements of the NWP summer invitational institute and the nature of annual review of NWP sites supported ongoing dialogue among the participating secondary school teachers, preservice teachers, and course instructor. Videotaped discussion among a participating preservice teacher, the NWP teacher consultant, and the course instructor; written and graphic work by this preservice teacher; and video and Internet information about Complex Instruction and the NWP are linked to this online article.
In order to cultivate the kind of technology literacy in our students called for by leaders in the field, it must simultaneously be cultivated in our teachers. While the literature in the field of English education demonstrates the efficacy of computer technology in writing instruction and addresses its impact on the evolving definition of literacy in the 21st century, it does not provide measured directions for how English teachers might develop technology literacy themselves or specific plans for how they might begin to critically assess the potential that technology might hold for them in enhancing instruction. This article presents a pedagogical framework encompassing the necessary critical mindset in which teachers of the English language arts can begin to conceive their own “best practices” with technology—a framework that is based upon their needs, goals, students, and classrooms, rather than the external pressure to fit random and often decontexualized technology applications into an already complex and full curriculum. To maximize technology’s benefits, educators must develop a heightened, critical view of technology to determine its potential for the classroom. The steps for doing this include:
- To recognize the complexity of technology integration and its status in the field.
- To recognize and understand the evolving and continuous effect computer, information, and Internet technology has on literacy.
- To recognize the importance of creating relevant contexts for effective technology integration by
- Developing a pedagogical framework.
- Asking the important questions.
- Establishing working guidelines.
- Implementing these strategies while integrating technology.
- Reflecting on the experience and revisiting these strategies regularly.
Included as part of the article are four brief cases of teachers whose practices demonstrate a critical approach to technology integration.