Teacher educators have increasingly integrated social media into their education courses with aims including improving instruction and preparing students for a connected world. In this study, the authors sought to better understand the possibilities and challenges of scaffolding 60 pre- and in-service teachers across two universities into professional learning networks (PLNs) through a social media assignment. Participants analyzed educator practices, participated in, and envisioned future uses of teacher Twitter. Consistent with previous studies, education students were positive about the relational and relevant aspects of Twitter use. However, students’ participation did not mimic the participatory cultures of affinity spaces often reported by connected educators in the literature. Instead, participants tweeted around deadlines and quit using their accounts for professional education purposes once the class ended. In contrast to recent literature, this article argues that social media integration for education students should focus on relational and relevant engagements and content, as opposed to attempting to build social media augmented PLNs for unknown futures.
Technology integration models are theoretical constructs that guide researchers, educators, and other stakeholders in conceptualizing the messy, complex, and unstructured phenomenon of technology integration. Building on critiques and theoretical work in this area, the authors report on their analysis of the needs, benefits, and limitations of technology integration models in teacher preparation and propose a new model: PICRAT. PIC (passive, interactive, creative) refers to the student’s relationship to a technology in a particular educational scenario. RAT (replacement, amplification, transformation) describes the impact of the technology on a teacher’s previous practice. PICRAT can be a useful model for teaching technology integration, because it (a) is clear, compatible, and fruitful, (b) emphasizes technology as a means to an end, (c) balances parsimony and comprehensiveness, and (d) focuses on students.
This literature review synthesized current research on preservice and in-service programs that improve K–6 teachers’ attitudes, self-efficacy, or knowledge to teach computing, coding, or computational thinking. A review of current computing training for elementary teachers revealed 21 studies: 12 involving preservice teachers and nine involving in-service teachers. The findings suggest that training that includes active participation can improve teachers’ computing self-efficacy, attitudes, and knowledge. Because most of these studies were fairly short-term and content-focused, research is especially needed about long-term outcomes; pedagogical knowledge and beliefs; and relationships among teacher training, contexts, and outcomes.
This article describes an examination of how undergraduate instructional design assistants (IDAs) scaled up an open badge system by assisting in creating open badges. External reviewers rated the open badge rubrics created by seven of these IDAs along with those created by instructors, and the results were compared by scored components as well as overall totals. Interviews were conducted with the seven IDAs, which were coded using cross-case thematic analysis. With the help of IDAs the number of badges increased without compromising the quality of the badge rubrics, as IDAs’ rubrics were of quality equal to those created by instructors. Benefits experienced by IDAs included technology skills and professional growth. Several practitioner tips are provided for those wanting to employ IDAs effectively in creating open badges, including finding students with strong content expertise, creating a rigorous mentoring process that guides the IDAs in their tasks, allowing IDAs to own their badge development from beginning to end, involving the IDAs as teaching assistants so they can see the implementation of their badges, and encouraging peer collaboration among the IDAs to share best practices.