Digital Opportunities Within the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program: A Study of Preservice Teachers' Attitudes and Proficiency in Technology Integration

  • Karon Dragon University of Alberta
  • Kim Peacock University of Alberta
  • Yvonne Norton University of Alberta
  • Evelyn Steinhauer University of Alberta
  • Fern Snart University of Alberta
  • Mike Carbonaro University of Alberta
  • Patricia Boechler University of Alberta
Keywords: Aboriginal Education, Indigenous Education, Educational Technology, Technology Integration, Preservice Teachers, Teacher Education, Curriculum

Abstract

This article explores changes that occurred in preservice teachers' thinking about the use of educational technology in a post-secondary, Aboriginal, elementary teacher education program. The research explores relationships associated with changes in preservice teachers' attitudes and perceived proficiency with technology integration. Quantitative results indicate significant increases in several attitude constructs as well as overall computer proficiency over the course of the project. Supplemental qualitative analysis reveals participants' perception of technology integration as a contributing factor in this positive change. The findings from this study represent a research effort to better prepare teachers to meet the educational needs of Aboriginal students in a 21st century context.

Cet article explore l’évolution dans les idées des stagiaires quant à l’emploi des technologies éducatives dans un programme postsecondaire de formation pour enseignants autochtones à l’élémentaire. La recherche porte sur des rapports associés aux changements dans les attitudes des stagiaires et leur perception de leur compétence relative à l’intégration technologique. Les résultats quantitatifs révèlent des augmentations significatives tant dans les attitudes que la compétence technologique globale au cours du projet. Une analyse qualitative supplémentaire indique que la perception des participants quant à l’intégration technologique constitue un facteur contributif dans ce changement positif. Les résultats de cette étude représentent un effort de recherche visant une meilleure préparation des enseignants de sorte à répondre aux besoins pédagogiques des étudiants autochtones au 21e siècle.

Author Biographies

Karon Dragon, University of Alberta

Karon Dragon is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. She is also a practicing provisional psychologist with an area of focus on assessing culturally diverse individuals and at-risk learners in school and forensic populations. Her research interests are centered in the broad areas of technology-based education, assessment, and models of cognition. Related areas of interest include misidentification and disproportionality in clinical practice.

Kim Peacock, University of Alberta

Kim Peacock is a Senior Academic Technology Officer and sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta.  She works as a consultant for the faculty's EdTech Services unit, supporting and advising on educational technology initiatives.  Kim completed her M.Ed. in Educational Technology and her B.Ed. in Secondary Education at the University of Alberta.

Yvonne Norton, University of Alberta

Yvonne Norton has been the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) administrator at the University of Alberta from its inception, and was a co-author for the successful Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grant proposal.  Her research interests include off-campus program delivery and on-line education.

Evelyn Steinhauer, University of Alberta

Evelyn Steinhauer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, and is the Director of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta.  Her research interests are in all areas of Aboriginal Education (from K-12 through to higher education).

Fern Snart, University of Alberta

Fern Snart began her second term as Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, in July 2010. She has actively facilitated several off-campus Bachelor of Education programs with provincial colleges, including a thriving Aboriginal Teacher Education program involving tribal and provincial colleges.

Mike Carbonaro, University of Alberta

Mike Carbonaro is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. His research can be classified into several intersecting areas that include: curriculum design, computer games in schools, blended instructional delivery, robotics, computational modeling, health sciences interprofessional education, and Aboriginal education.

Patricia Boechler, University of Alberta

Patricia Boechler is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Master of Education (MEd) Technology in Education Specialization program in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. Her educational background is in psychology with a research focus on cognition, learning and technology. She has training and experience in the areas of cognitive theory and testing, learning theory, computational modeling as well as experience in investigating navigation and learning with educational technologies such as multimedia, web-based learning and virtual environments. For the past twelve years, her research has been interdisciplinary, incorporating aspects of psychology, technology, and education. She is interested in understanding how various technologies (web sites, on-line communication applications, video games, virtual reality applications) can be optimized for educational purposes.

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