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Drawing on technology: An investigation of preservice teacher beliefs in the context of an introductory educational technology course

, University of Delaware, United States

University of Delaware . Awarded


Research suggests that teachers with more constructivist, student-centered beliefs use technology in more frequent and meaningful ways (Ertmer, 2005; Wang, 2002). Many preservice teachers, however, enter their teacher education programs with teacher-centered beliefs established during their twelve years as students in traditional classrooms (Calderhead & Robson, 1991; Lortie, 1975). The purpose of this Executive Position Paper (EPP) was twofold. First, it examined preservice teachers' initial beliefs and ideas with regard to the role of technology in teaching and learning. Second, it looked at specific technology-integrated pedagogical strategies and their potential to help preservice teachers shift from a traditional instructional approach to a more constructivist, student-centered mindset.

The work reported in the EPP was conducted in the context of an introductory educational technology course for elementary preservice teachers. Qualitative data sources were used to gain a better understanding of preservice teacher (n=27) beliefs and the ways in which those beliefs changed throughout the duration of the course. Data sources included pre and post course drawings on the role of technology-using teachers, written drawing reflections, and a reflective blogging assignment. Pre and post-course drawings were analyzed using a Student Drawing Rubric (adapted from Park & Ertmer, 2007). Participants' reflective blogging assignments were open coded and analyzed to determine recurring themes.

Findings suggest that preservice teachers enter their training programs with traditional, teacher-centered beliefs about the use of technology and the roles of technology-using teachers and students. These findings are consistent with research suggesting that preservice teachers base their initial teacher belies on their “apprenticeship by observation” (Lortie, 1975) as K-12 students. Analysis of post- course drawings, however, indicated that participants' beliefs began to shift from largely teacher-centered to more mixed teacher- and student-centered. Technology use showed the largest shift, while teacher roles changed the least. Analysis of the reflective blogging assignment suggested that participants reflected predominantly on how technology can provide opportunities for students, teachers and parents to collaborate. To a lesser extent, participants reflected on how technology can enhance teaching and learning.

Long-term change in preservice teacher beliefs is unlikely to occur in a six-week course. Providing beginning preservice teachers the opportunity to examine and reflect on their images of teaching, however, can be an important step in this evolution (Keren-Kolb & Fishman, 2006). Recommendations are made for future course instructors and schools of education.


Funkhouser, B.J. Drawing on technology: An investigation of preservice teacher beliefs in the context of an introductory educational technology course. Ph.D. thesis, University of Delaware. Retrieved October 20, 2019 from .

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