Blog Post

NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

This week’s blog post will highlight the point of intersection between new technologies and teacher professional development. As new technologies that have the capability to impact the way literacy happens in the classroom environment, the impact of these new technologies on teacher preparation needs to be discussed.

Authors, Bolter and Grusin (2000) suggest that “What is new about new media comes from particular ways in which they refashion older media and the ways in which older media re-fashion themselves to answer the challenges of new media.”  Yes we need to re-fashion older media with the introduction of new technologies, but are we ready to introduce the social practices associated with them into teaching as a way of promoting literacy?

Then there is the issue of access to these new technologies. All teachers and certainly all students do not have access to these new technologies. There are many dimensions to issues of access. First there is the issue of those who cannot afford to own devices. There is also the case of those who have access to digital technology in school but only have limited amounts of time to use it. Thirdly, there is also the case of which online communities they can access.

The introduction of these new technologies has altered the meaning of what it means to be literate in today’s world. Leu (2000) Today's definition of literacy is being broadened to include "literacy skills necessary for individuals, groups, and societies to access the best information in the shortest time to identify and solve the most important problems and then communicate this information" This broadened view of literacy must be taken into account in teacher professional development programs. This focus must be two-dimensional, teachers must be prepared during their pre-service years and during their continuous development as teachers.

What can we do in pre- service teacher education to take these understandings about the connections between these new technologies and literacy and guide future teachers to enact them in projects, practices, and pedagogies in their classrooms?

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