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Technological Literacy In A K 5 Teacher Preparation Program

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Technological Literacy for K-12 and for Community College Students: Concepts, Assessment, and Courses

Tagged Division

Technological Literacy Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1194.1 - 15.1194.16

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Paper Authors

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Stephen O'Brien The College of New Jersey

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Technological literacy through a K-5 teacher preparation program

Introduction Attaining a certain level of technological literacy in our society is important for a variety of reasons. In this extremely technologically-rich age, citizenry will need to participate effectively in our democratic society on a variety of complex problems; such as global warming, energy supply, quick-paced biomedical advances, complicated healthcare reform and statistical-based arguments galore. This will require a level of technological, quantitative and scientific literacy. One might call this STEM-literacy, where the literacy level not only includes literacy in each on the four components but also in how the four components work synergistically together. Additionally, technology/engineering can provide valuable contextual education settings resulting in effective learning (of math, science and “non- technical” subjects like history, social studies and language arts). At our institution, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), it was felt that an effective place to impact technological literacy, as well as increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning is with future K-5 teachers. So, approximately 10 years ago a multidisciplinary science-technology- engineering-math (“STEM”) K-5 major was defined and implemented, where the teacher candidates receive a deep level of content knowledge in all four STEM components, as well as education tools for “integrated-STEM”. 1 The program is referred to as the Math/Science/Technology, or MST, program, even though all four elements of STEM are represented in the program. [That is, a more accurate name would have been the “STEM” K- 5 program.]

An obvious potential benefit of the MST program is numerical in nature; an effective technologically literate K-5 teacher should impact the willingness to “think and learn technologically” for thousands of young students, and hundreds of colleagues. Another large potential benefit is pedagogical in nature and deals with, for example, deeper contextual learning and open-ended design/problem-solving. With deep experiences in all four areas of STEM, our K-5 MST graduates have high content knowledge and high skill levels in STEM, resulting in overall higher teacher effectiveness. Perhaps more importantly, MST program graduates have comfort (low anxiety) in a broad set of subjects and experiences.

In this paper we give a detailed description of (i) the K-5 MST program, (ii) a brief overview of a quantitative characterization of the program and (iii) unique research topics made possible with our K-5 STEM graduates and their students.

Summary: The K-5 MST program at our institution offers a unique opportunity both for increasing teacher effectiveness and K-5 student interest in STEM and non-STEM subjects. However, having a population of technologically literate K-5(8) teachers and teacher candidates also offers many unique research opportunities. [The definition of “technologically literate” here likely entails being literate to some degree in the S, M and T&E.] Leaving the teaching effectiveness benefits aside, a population of technologically literate K-5 teachers, and presumably their K-5(8) students, should enable technological literacy instruments to be better designed and calibrated. This has broad implications. Measurements of technological

O'Brien, S. (2010, June), Technological Literacy In A K 5 Teacher Preparation Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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