All preservice teacher activities and reflections were scaffolded by means of template documents. While I collaborated with other instructors, I also took the lead redesigning the templates, resources and/or activities for the placement inventory and video cases. I also experimented with blogs as an alternative to the university's Oncourse course management system.
The inventories helped preservice teachers determine what technologies and support are available to them at their placement schools. The original inventory
1) lacked a clear context for conducting the inventory
2) did not require preservice teacher to identify potential barriers to technology integration
3) was designed with the assumption that they did not have a clear idea about the lesson they might conduct.
The revised inventory addressed the first weakness by requiring the preservice teacher to identify a possible lesson for technology integration. It also included questions at the end of the inventory asking preservice teachers to identify potential pitfalls and solutions.
|Click on the thumbnail above to see a visual concept of the rationale for the alternative inventory.
To address the third weakness, I created an alternative inventory. This inventory was designed based on the assumption that the preservice teacher already had something in mind or was required by their supervising teacher to teach a particular lesson. Rather than require a broad search, this inventory met the needs of those who already had clear agendas.
2. Video case studies
As W401 went online, the video case activity required online cases for review and critique. I contributed to this activity in three main ways by:
1) selecting two contrasting video cases
2) redesigning the scaffold to focus on technology integration
3) writing post-activity summary documents to highlight important issues on technology integration
I selected video cases from INTIME, a video database that was reliable and provided much information on each case. The selections   were based on the content areas of the secondary teachers I had that semester. The cases were also carefully selected to contrast integration approaches, e.g., cross-disciplinary or not, regular students vs. special needs, peer mentoring vs. teacher guidance, group work vs. individual work, wide range of technology vs. narrow.
While I taught W401, I attended the W301 instructor meetings and observed some classes (taught face-to-face). I did this as part of my dissertation study and to learn what preservice teachers did in W301. The preservice teachers taking W301 critiqued a different video case using a template that covered three major areas: Activity, Learning, and Technology. I felt that they needed to focus more on technology integration when they took W401. This video critique template was a result of that goal.
on the thumbnail above to see the W401 video critique
template for Fall 2005.
The two most important aspects of that template I included were questions on:
1) identifying instructional strategies that went hand-in-hand with technology integration
2) reflecting about what they had learned as a result of watching the video.
Finally, I summarized pertinent issues and discussion points for the benefit of my classes. This required me to process their online postings and identify both strengths and weaknesses in their understanding of technology integration issues. Here is an example of one such summary document from Spring 2006.
on the thumbnail above to see the W401 video critique
summary I wrote for my classes.
I also experimented with using a class blog as a course management tool and individual preservice teacher blogs for submitting assignments and recording reflections.
|Click on the thumbnail above to see the W401 class blog for Fall 2005.
I created a W401 class blog and personal blogs for every preservice teacher in one of my classes. Not only did I have to prepare blog use tutorials and a slightly different set of weekly instructions for this class, I had to modify the templates so that they could be easily submitted using both blogs and forum tools.
I believe that my effort provides one model of how to use blogs as a course management tool and specifically how to:
1) set up and summarize online activities
2) create online groups using blogs
3) provide new bloggers with technical support
4) faciliate individual and group reflection
In Spring 2006, I revised a few course requirements, supervised the creation of new activities, and established an online knowledge repository for instructors.
4. Revised requirements
Based on my experience the previous semester, I removed a redundant discussion on ISTE standards as it was already covered in W301.
We faced strong resistance from some methods faculty about requiring preservice teachers to integrate technology during their field placements. As a result, the team of instructors had design two new activities. I assigned these activities to two instructors to give them the experience of planning an activity from scratch.
Given that this was my final semester of teaching, I think that the experience was not only valuable to those instructors, it was also a good way of mentoring them and managing transition.
5. Instructors' wiki
I created a W401 instructors wiki* to:
1) serve as a knowledge repository of materials and ideas
2) offer another medium for collaboration and planning
3) record the evolution of the course
|Click on the thumbnail above to visit the W401 instructors wiki.
*To access this wiki as a guest, use the following:
-user ID: testuser