The Need to Integrate (Pt. 2 of 5)

Teacher education professors and teacher candidates are having the same struggles as PK-12 educators when attempting to implement computing options into teaching and learning.  These challenges carry even greater pressure when one considers the importance of implementing 21st Century skills across the teaching and learning spectrum.  We have previously discovered that bridging this gap and ameliorating these issues requires a focused three-step process that includes:

  • a change in paradigm;
  • exposure and training on 21st Century methodologies and tools and;
  • a practical and authentic application of new 21st Century methodologies and tools (Broda, Schmidt, Shutt, & Wereley, 2009).

To initiate a change in mindset, teacher education programs need to develop a foundation of core beliefs that reflect the needs of a flat world, promote the exploration of engaging technologies, and encourage 21st Century skills (Friedman, 2005).  Three core beliefs that promote this transition include:

  • Developing an ethic of progressive teaching and learning
  • Helping candidates understand and believe that they are being prepared to teach in the world that is progressively different from that in which they, and especially their teachers, were educated
  • Developing the skills to become leaders in the paradigm shift (leading by influence rather than authority)

The adoption of a progressive ethic for teaching and learning supports a candidate’s efforts to think differently and use the technology tools to explore and embody the fluid nature of learning and teaching.  It is through this exploration that students come to realize that they are not, and should not, be prepared to teach in the world in which they were educated.  A progressive ethic will not only allow for this realization to occur, but it will prepare candidates to be intrepid and creative.  Finally, students need to be given 21st Century skills and tools necessary to become leaders in the midst of a paradigm shift.  With the old theories shifting under their feet, candidates need to hone the ability to lead by influence rather than authority.  The rate at which technology changes should mirror the rate at which educational practices also change and adapt.  This rapid movement begs for leaders who freely share ideas and question mandates that may be outdated or stagnant.

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