Preparing 21st century teachers : the relationship of technology integration, digital equity, and the preparation of new teachers
This study aimed to understand the relationship between (a) student teachers' conceptions of classroom technology use and digital equity and (b) the teacher education programs in which they study. This mixed method study occurred during the spring semester of 2012. Forty-one student teachers enrolled in two different university teacher certification programs completed an online survey in regards to their technology attitude and beliefs, technology knowledge and skills, technology support and infrastructure, and digital equity perceptions near their graduation date. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 of the participants to allow for student teachers to expand upon their conceptions of classroom technology use and their understanding of digital equity. The study found that student teachers in both programs were inclined to integrate technology in their future classrooms, but were lacking in experiences of student-centric, faculty modeling of technology integration within their subject, content areas. In regard to digital equity, student teachers that completed a formal educational technology course had a more complex and conscious conception of digital equity and its impact on the classroom than student teachers lacking a formal educational technology course. Discussion focuses on (a) persistent traditionalist power and pedagogy, (b) lack of content-based modeling, (c) dodging digital equity, (d) varying digital equity conceptions, and (e) persistent societal inequalities within these two teacher education programs. I then introduce 'critical transformative technology integration' (CTTI), which needs to be established in teacher education. CTTI provides students with opportunities for contextually and culturally relevant integration of technology into subject-content areas. Additionally, CTTI considers existing power relations, and aims to empower action and change. Student teachers possessing an understanding of technology integration and an awareness of digital equity will be better equipped to offer CTTI in their future classrooms. By providing all PK-12 students with opportunities for CTTI, teachers can reduce classroom digital inequities. To empower future teachers with the knowledge, skills, and conceptions necessary for CTTI, teacher education programs must consider their approach to technology integration and the development of digital equity.