The purpose of this paper is to empower teacher candidates to integrate technology into classroom learning. The participating teacher candidates were provided with tools – iPads and software applications to enhance their ability to better meet the needs of all K-2 students. Teacher candidates had the opportunity to explore the range of pedagogical strategies the iPad facilitated through lesson planning and instructional practice. In addition, this research study found that when teacher candidates are given individualized training on the iPad, they have greater comfort with integrating it into their daily practice.Design/methodology/approachThis study employed a case study approach, using both quantitative and qualitative measures. Quantitative methods included the use of two surveys to better understand how teachers have been trained on educational technology. The qualitative analysis explored how teacher candidates utilized the iPad to better meet K-2 student learning outcomes through focus group interviews.FindingsFindings from this study suggest the need for embedded technology integration – through current graduate pedagogical coursework to better prepare K-2 teachers. Teacher candidates require time and regular practice to develop skills and understanding of how best to integrate iPad technology into their teaching. Redesigning a methodology course whereby candidates are developing a deeper understanding of pedagogy, while embedding technology into practice offers students this much needed opportunity. The findings from this study also indicate that, with appropriate training, teacher candidates have the ability to effectively integrate iPad technology into lessons which benefit student learning.Research limitations/implicationsResearchers should be asking whether teacher preparation programs are effectively training teachers for the twenty-first century classroom. This research explores this question and suggests ways to improve current programs to better prepare candidates to meet the variety of learning needs in today’s classrooms. Although the study was small in scale it has broader implications for teacher education programs.Practical implicationsAddressing the diversity of students’ learning needs present in today’s classrooms is a common goal for all teachers. As evidenced through the findings, having the ability to access a variety of learning resources, in particular, iPads, will help teacher candidates better achieve this goal. This research demonstrated how teacher candidates used the iPad to support differentiated instruction in K-2 classrooms.Social implicationsA one size fits all approach to learning does not work and teachers need to have access to every available resource, including iPad technology, to individualize learning. Findings from this study recommend providing teacher candidates with multiple opportunities to practice utilizing the iPad as a means to adapt, modify, and differentiate instruction to meet the variety of learning needs in K-2 classrooms.Originality/valueIt is important to note that while iPad integration throughout K-2 classrooms is on the rise, there is still limited research in how this technology is actually being used by teachers. This study explored how eight teacher candidates implemented the iPad as a technology tool within K-2 inclusive classrooms.
The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 21, 2018
Keywords: Training; Educational innovation; Teaching methods; iPads; Lesson planning