With technologies like satellite distance learning telecommunications that can be espe
cially useful to educators are satellite
and computer-mediated communications, teachers are delivery of instruction and computer- -
beginning to set educational goals that were not mediated communication.
possible before this age of electronic communications.
LYNNE SCHRUM Commonly called distance education,
satellite delivery of instruction involves
It turns on the light for me! I keep Second, and perhaps more impor combinations of interactive equipment.
up with educational literature, tantly, the technologies provide an A satellite signal, sent from an "uplink"
research, and general information opportunity for educators to become station where programming originates,
plus I can discuss things online that familiar with interactive media in can be received in schools equipped
we do not talk about in my school. with a targe receive dish. Paired with
natural and comfortable settings in
which the equipment becomes almost two-way audio communication, the
Kathy, an elementary teacher video signal allows students and
invisible within the learning experi
ences. Most new teachers, even those teachers to interact regardless of
who have taken a course in educational geographic location. Following are three
sing technology to communicate
technology during their preservice examples of how this type of tech
with geographically distant
training, report they are not comfortable nology is used in teacher education.
colleagues, Kathy is part of the
with the technologies (U.S. Congress Iowa State University. One of the
new Information Age. Politicians and
policymakers constantly remind educa 1988). Yet educators face continuing most difficult tasks of teacher prepara
tors of their duty to introduce students demands to become proficient with tion has always been demonstrating
technology in many forms and new examples of good teaching. Student
to the tools of this new age. Yet educa
tors seldom get the time to experiment, teachers are expected to leave the interns typically observe five or six
leam. and practice integrating these university with knowledge in this area. master teachers. Iowa State University's
technologies into their classrooms. This Although many reformers charac unique program provides many more
article will describe current innovative terize teachers as resistant to technolog diverse, high-quality introductory expe
uses of technology in the education of ical innovations, they typically ignore riences of exemplary teaching.
future teachers and inservice of prac the teachers' perspectives in imple Now in its fifth year. Teachers on
ticing teachers, and provide an overview menting changes (Cuban 1986). In a Television (TOT) chooses teachers for
of ways in which these information study of one statewide telecommunica their diversity in grade level, teaching
technologies can be used to enhance tions system for distance education, style, and educational philosophy.
educational experiences in teaching and teachers were almost entirely ignored in Before each broadcast, the participating
learning. planning and implementation meetings. teacher supplies information about the
Not surprisingly, the teachers have instructional setting. During the broad
refrained from supporting the system cast, an education faculty member helps
(Schrum 1991). students bridge education theory with
Educators are using information tech If we incorporated technology into actual teaching practice. At the end of
nologies to achieve two simultaneous teacher education and professional the broadcast, students participate in a
goals. First, telecommunications can development activities, we might follow-up interview with me teacher.
provide educational opportunities not provide educators with the time they They discuss that teacher's teaching
previously possible and enable users to need to gain confidence, identify appro style and their own future plans and
overcome distances, interact with model priate uses, and experiment with identify successes and problems (U.S.
teachers and experts, and reduce turn specific techniques for their own class Congress 1989).
around time for collegia! interactions. rooms. Two frequently used forms of Turn to page 41
Learn Alaska. A number of states are sent an electronic message to former instructional resource" (U.S. Congress
currently delivering professional devel classmates and instructors around the 1989, p. 13).
opment programs via satellite. Teachers country. Within hours of sending this This project began with an equipment
in rural areas may not have easy access SOS, Houck received practical advice grant from IBM, software donations,
to graduate courses, recertification and moral support. Afterwards, Houck and support from the local telephone
classesj or updates for regional or felt relieved: "I was really lost. The service. Operating costs have been
national mandates (special education or emotional support I got back helped" shared by local school systems and the
AIDS information, for example). With (Rodman 1989, p. 33). Curry School of Education. Students
satellite transmissions, however, This incident took place on an elec and faculty exchange lesson plans,
geographic isolation no longer means tronic bulletin board in one of several obtain peer support, provide feedback
educational isolation. Teachers around experiments to better prepare and and clarification, schedule meetings,
the country are now able to learn from support new teachers. Computer-medi and share curriculum ideas.
recognized experts in specific fields ated communication (CMC), defined Harvard School of Education.
with reasonable costs. here as communication across distances Harvard University's Graduate School
In 1987 Alaska began an extensive using personal computers, modems, of Education has found a way to better
distance education project, "Learn phone lines, and computer networks, address the needs of teachers (Rodman
Alaska." One part of the project focused has several unique characteristics. CMC 1989). Typically teachers in their first
on professional development for educa provides immediate communication, job are some distance from the support
tors using video and audio transmis access to previously unavailable and wisdom of trusted colleagues and
sions. Programs featured educators like communities, multiple participation in instructors- Fifteen percent of new
the internationally known "Art Maker," activities, and a window to the richness teachers leave teaching after the first
Dan Mihuta, who described techniques of our world. year, perhaps because of this lack of
for art instruction in elementary schools, Two important features stand out: support.
or provided instruction on the use of CMC is essentially a medium of written Katherine Merseth, former director
drama in counseling teenage students discourse with the spontaneity and flexi of teacher preparation at Harvard,
(Bramble 1988). bility of spoken conversation, and it is a came up with a unique idea. Using a
Los Angeles staff development. This powerful tool for group communication personal computer and modem, faculty
technology is not limited to use in rural and cooperative learning. In a case can provide support to first-year
areas, however. In Los Angeles, where a study of a graduate seminar that used teachers, as can their own peers. Using
late afternoon drive across town can take face-to-face meetings in combination grant money, Merseth launched the
up to two hours, the County Office of with electronic projects and communi project in 1987. During the first two
Education provides staff development cation, participants felt they had better years of the project, approximately 90
via satellite. Programming is provided at collegia! interactions, worked more participants transmitted more than
no charge to 62 districts in the county cooperatively with others, and had a 7,500 messages.
and 25 others around the state. Staff more substantive relationship with the This network also helps former
development telecasts in curriculum professor than in other classes (Schrum students continue discussions about the
reform are the most frequent broadcasts. 1990). education issues, theory, and policy that
Programs are live and interactive; Curry School of Education. For had become so much a part of their lives
viewers are able to call in their questions example, the Curry School of Education at the university. After listening to the
and comments. Many programs allow at the University of Virginia created testimony of dozens of Harvard gradu
time for participants at local sites to Teacher-LINK, an electronic bulletin ates, Merseth is certain she is "on to
discuss ideas and then offer them to board system to connect student : something. This is a coming thing."
presenters and other groups. teachers in the field with their university Mary Driscoll, a teacher in a Boston
professors. Students, who are given an alternative school, agrees: "Being on the
account on the network when they enter network helped me keep a sense of the
the program, are-able to communicate bigger picture and what the whole
with professors, colleagues, and class endeavor of education is all about"
"I'm in dire need of help! At this point I room teachers. The originators of the (Rodman 1989, p. 34).
feel like one of those teachers I always program hope that "by graduation, they University of Oregon. When the
said shouldn't be teaching," stated Anita will use the network as fluently as the University of Oregon briefly imple
Houck's message. Houck asked for help blackboard and become the first genera mented a fifth-year teacher certification
from colleagues, but not on the tele tion of teachers trained to use an program, it made integration of tech
phone or in the teachers' lounge. She extended academic community as an nology into the curriculum one of three
main themes for the teaching strategies arrange for their students to interact
and instruction. Faculty and students with classes around the world, investi
began to communicate with each other gate remote sources of information, and Anderson-Inman, L. (1990). "Enhancing
electronically and to use the common facilitate the democratic process as the Reading-Writing Connection: Class
electronic bulletin board system for groups share information equally. room Applications." The Writing Note
announcements and general discussions. Students learn to recognize the similari book!, 3 : 12-15.
Originally it was hoped that cooper Bramble, W. J. (1988). "Distance Learning
ties among all citizens and to celebrate
in Alaska's Rural Schools." Networking
ating teachers, supervisors, and student the distinctive aspect of each culture. in Education: Learning Tomorrow,
interns would share experiences and Teachers are beginning to set educa edited by S. Ambron and R. Pennington.
feedback using the network. But there tional goals that were not possible before Cupertino: Apple Computer Company.
was not enough time for participants to this age of electronic communications. Butler, G., and H. M. Jobe. (1987). "The
learn the system and there was limited These goals support all curricular areas, Australian-American Connection." The
access to equipment. One supervisor but especially the writing process. Computing Teacher 1 4, 7: 25-26.
said, "I can't see using it for immediate Recent research validates teachers' long- Cuban, L. (1986). "teachers and
feedback or evaluation yet Later on, held belief that students write more care Machines: The Classroom Use of
when we become more comfortable fully, edit their work, and plan more Technology Since 1920. New York:
with the computer system, I would like Teachers College Press.
extensively when they are communi Riel, M. (1987). "The Intercultural
to offer the students opportunities to cating with an audience of peers Learning Network." The Computing
interact with other preservice classes (Anderson-Inman 1990, Kiel 1990). Teacher 1 4. 7: 27-30.
around the world." Projects reported in educational jour Riel, M. (1990). "Building a New Founda
CMC is also being used in teacher nals reflect this diversity: tion for Global Communities." The
development and enhancement The Inter Puerto Rico and San Diego classes Writing Notebook 7, 3: 35-37.
national Society of Technology in Educa participated in bilingual education Rodman, B. H. (1989). "An Online Life
tion (ISTE) offers an independent study projects (Sayers and Brown 1987); line." Teacher, 1 ,1: 33-35.
course, 'Telecommunications and Infor Australian-American connections Sayers, D., and K. Brown. (1987). "Bilin
mation Access for Educators." Partici shared national information and planned gual Education and Telecommunica
pants exchange electronic mail, participate tions: A Perfect Fit." The Computing
a joint Halloween party (Butler and Teacher 1 4, 7: 23-24.
in computer conferencing, and search Jobe 1987); Schrum, L. (1989). "Hooked into Science."
remote databases. The entire course takes Sixteen countries produced a water The Computing Teacher 1 7, 1: 14-17.
place online, which speeds turnaround collection and usage survey (Schrum Schrum, L. (1990). "A Descriptive Case
time for assignments and increases the 1989); Study: Telecommunications Enters the
number of student/instructor interactions. Tokyo and San Diego university Doctoral Seminar." Manuscript
Educators earn four graduate credits from students discussed issues such as submitted for publication.
the Oregon Stale System of Higher suicide, peaceful alternatives to war, Schrum, L. (1991). "Innovation and the
Education while learning the technologies and water supply systems (Riel 1987). Process of Change: A Case Study in
they will need for the future. Distance Education." Doctoral diss.,
University of Oregon, 1991.
U.S. Congress, Office of Technology
The activities reported here are demon Assessment. (1988). Power On! New
Tools for Teaching and Learning.
stration projects. Technologies like
(OTA-SET-379 ed.). Washington, D.C.:
Once teachers are comfortable with satellite distance learning and computer- U.S. Government Printing Office.
these emerging technologies, many mediated communications can be used U.S. Congress, Office of Technology
classroom uses become possible. The to accomplish dual goals for teacher Assessment. (1989). Linking for
technologies provide exceptional oppor preparation: they enhance meaningful Learning: A New Course for Education.
tunities to meet educational goals, preservice experiences and they give (OTA-SET-430 ed.). Washington, D.C.:
enhance personal and professional teachers knowledge and confidence U.S. Government Printing Office.
development, and diminish teacher about using these tools in their class
isolation. All levels of education rooms. These technologies are changing
universities, K-12, and continuing preservice and staff development educa
education can now be electronically tion. Once teachers become familiar and s Instructor and
linked to each other and to informal comfortable with these technologies, Researcher, Center for Advanced Tech
learning institutions such as museums unlimited opportunities exist for their nology in Education, University of Oregon,
and public libraries. Teachers can students and themselves. D 1787 Agate St.. Eugene, OR 97403.