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Preparing for… Yesterday?

This year I have my first “student teacher.” While I have had multiple semester interns in the past for various courses, this is my first real peek into the total experience of a student intern today.

Today, I was catching up on my Google feeds and reading Karl Fisch’s post about Online Student Teaching. I’ll start by saying that I agree with his ideas about affording our teachers the opportunity to be properly trained in facilitating on-line courses. But, I am an elementary educator. We don’t deal as much in the realm of online courses. We deal in the classroom. What are the teacher prep programs doing to prepare our future teachers to teach in the 21st century?

My intern has spent one day per week in my classroom this semester. She constantly comments about her amazement over the technology that we are using in the classroom. She hadn’t heard about using blogs or wikis or podcasts in her classroom. She has a professor who is currently in Hawaii who uses Skype… for instant messaging. When she makes SMART Board lessons for my class, she has to print them out for her supervisors because they don’t know how to view them digitally.

How are we going to make a digital shift when the professionals entering our field aren’t prepared? Why aren’t our future teachers, who are so proficient in using social networking and technological tools, applying this knowledge to their views of their future classrooms?

I am fortunate because my intern’s budding enthusiasm to learn, absorb and apply is encouraging. When she leaves my classroom next May, I hope she will stay linked to the network she is creating. But what about the others? Are they prepared for today, tomorrow or yesterday?

Is this a local problem? Is this something that others are encountering?

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7 Responses

  1. Great start with your blogging! It is amazing that your intern has not yet been exposed to all the Web 2.0 tools. I would have thought that they would have a greater knowledge of these than those of us who have been in the classroom for many years. My first exposure to the internet was at University in 1997. I learnt a lot about integrating ICT while at University.
    This is a great post and valuable discussion. You could consider submitting it to the Education Carnival at http://www.blogcarnival.com. They are getting LOTS of submissions these days. It might be time for us to start up a sub-branch for elementary teacher blogs!

  2. Thanks Penny. It’s even stranger to me because she uses many of the social networking tools, but the educational applications are not even being submitted for conversation in the prep program.

  3. The reason the newer teachers aren’t linking technology and education is because they are being taught by professors who are not thinking 21st century. The professors I had in my college days were barely using email. They have been out of the classroom for so long that they don’t see the practical applications of some web tools like we do; therefore they don’t teach their college students about it. I hope that changes soon! =)

  4. Unfortunately I think we’re a long way from many of these skills working their way into the teacher preparation courses. I feel like I had an amazing preparation for Middle Grades teaching, but the technology training was minimal. Our program was considered “advanced” because we submitted our technology portfolio as an e-portfolio. The idea was, if we had the skills to create our portfolio electronically, we didn’t need to jump through the hoops of printing out an email to show we could use that technology, or printing out a PowerPoint presentation. At my University the Middle Grades program was the only one that completed the portfolio in that fashion, and this was just 4 years ago…not a positive sign in my opinion.

    I think one of the biggest challenges is to get teachers IN the classroom using some of the tools. Once that begins to happen and interns are expected to come in with that knowledge to be able to pick up where the classroom teachers leaves off, then some of the higher ed folks might catch on. Either that, or we completely overhaul the system a la Alvin Toffler’s recommendations…Either way, there’s a long way to go.

  5. […] Kelly Hines presents Preparing for Yesterday posted at Kelly Hines : Keeping Kids First. […]

  6. It seems to me like the background that new teachers have using Web 2.0 and all of the social networking sites will make them much better able to integrate technology. Even if they don’t get the training in college, I think they will pick it up quickly, once they choose to start using it.

  7. A subject close to my heart cheers, i’ve been thinking about this subject for a while.

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