MOFET ITEC - Preservice Teachers’ TPACK Beliefs and Attitudes toward Simulations

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Section: ICT & Teaching
Preservice Teachers’ TPACK Beliefs and Attitudes toward Simulations
Country or Region: Finland
February 2016   |   Type: Summary

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 16(2), 151-171. (2016).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study was two-fold. Firstly, it examined how preservice primary teachers develop self-assessed technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK) in science through an intervention in which they were acquainted with using simulations in science teaching. Secondly, it studied the possible connection of preservice teachers’ beliefs measured through their self-assessed knowledge in the different domains of the TPACK framework with their attitudes toward simulations.


Methods
The study was conducted as an intervention that was a part of a science pedagogy course in the primary teacher program at University of Jyväskylä in Finland.
The participants were 40 preservice teachers, who enrolled in the course were offered the chance to participate in the intervention.
The authors used a single-group pretest-posttest design to study the possible changes in the preservice teachers’ beliefs related to TPACK over time. The data was collected before and after the intervention focusing on using simulations in science teaching.
In addition, the 40 preservice teachers took part in the intervention in two groups of 20 teachers each. The intervention was implemented during 8 weeks, consisting of group meetings, lesson planning, and teaching a lesson. The intervention started with five weekly meetings, which revolved around inquiry-based teaching of science with simulations. During and between these meetings, the preservice teachers planned a physics lesson for the primary level in which they used simulations.

Discussion

The results indicate that the introduction to simulations in science had a medium to large effect on the preservice teachers’ beliefs in the content knowledge (CK), pedagogical knowledge (PK) and TPACK domains of the TPACK framework.


As a part of the intervention, the preservice teachers had to revise the scientific content relating to the subjects of their lessons, possibly explaining the change in beliefs in the CK domain. The change in beliefs related to the PK domain is interesting, considering the fact that the items in the survey instrument relating to PK were not related to PCK in science but to general PK. The preservice teachers possibly could not distinguish between general PK and PCK relating to science teaching, possibly due to their lack of experience with teaching science.


Preservice teachers’ belief in their technological knowledge (TK) correlated with their views on the usefulness of simulations in science teaching. Their disposition toward integrating simulations into their science teaching also correlated with their belief in their TK. The authors observed during the intervention on the preservice teachers’ technological skills were that they all possessed the technological skills required to operate computer simulations from a technical viewpoint. The preservice teachers’ attitudes toward simulations may not be linked to the actual presence or lack of technological knowledge and skills required to use the simulations but to the preservice teachers’ conceptions about themselves as users of technology.

The fact that the belief in the TK domain correlated with the preservice teachers’ attitude toward simulations and not the TPACK domain provides new support for the previous claims that preservice teachers’ views of their PK are still being formed.

Implications
The results show that the belief in the TK domain correlated with the preservice teachers’ attitudes toward simulations in both the pre- and posttests. This result implies that the intervention did not change the fact that the more technologically confident preservice teachers were more positive toward integrating simulations in their teaching and saw simulations as being more useful.
Because preservice teachers’ TK correlates with their attitudes toward simulations, efforts to increase preservice teachers’ TK and self-confidence should be made throughout their teacher training. This strategy may raise the preservice teachers’ beliefs in their TK and improve their attitudes toward simulations.
In this study, a correlation was found between the preservice teachers’ beliefs about their TK (self-concept of abilities) and both their views on the usefulness of simulation (sense of utility) and their dispositions toward integrating simulations into their science teaching (achievement-related choice). This result combined with the expectancy value-model of achievement emphasized the argument that preservice teachers’ beliefs about their TK should be developed throughout their teacher training in order to encourage them to integrate simulations in science teaching.
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