Using Technology to Prepare 21st Century Educators
- Therese M. CummingTherese M. CummingUNSW Sydney
The use of real-time technology has caused the world to “shrink,” with society becoming more global and information- and communication-based. The amount of information that people are exposed to continues to increase exponentially, requiring a new definition of literacy that includes digital literacy and other 21st-century skills. However, the implementation of technology in education has not kept up with how it is used in peoples’ lives. The main role of teachers is to prepare students to become literate, globally informed citizens. Generation Z, or the technology generation, are tech savvy and used to instant action and access to information due to their experiences with the Internet. Although students are proficient with and regularly use mobile devices and other information and communication technologies (ICTs), their teachers have difficulty integrating these technologies into their pedagogy beyond basic functional uses. The goals of educational technology are often not readily apparent in classrooms; this is problematic, as technology has the potential to be used for critical thinking, collaboration, and the dissemination of new knowledge.
Therefore, teacher education programs have a responsibility to ensure that teachers of the future are globally aware, proficient with current innovative technology tools and information resources, and have the ability to adapt to tools and educational strategies of the future. Supporting preservice teachers in their acquisition of digital literacy can widen their views of the world and strengthen their skills in locating, assessing, organizing, analyzing, and presenting information. Teaching preservice teachers to use the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) model and embedding new technologies throughout teacher education programs can support preservice teachers’ global understandings and information literacy, as well as develop their expertise in the use of the technology itself. Instruction in digital literacies can help preservice teachers to hone their teaching skills and minimize the isolation and anxieties that are often experienced during their field experiences.