This article appears in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.
Abstract: This paper examines how and why student teachers made use of information and communication technology (ICT) during a 1-year initial teacher education programme from 2008 to 2009. This is a mixed methods study involving a survey (N = 340) of the entire cohort and a series of semi-structured interviews with a sample of student teachers within the cohort (N = 21). The study explored several themes, including the nature of student teachers’ use of ICT; variation in the use of ICT; support for, and constraints on, using ICT; attitudes to ICT and to teaching and learning more generally. It was found that nearly all teachers were receptive to using ICT – more so than their in-service counterparts – and made frequent use of it during their placement (internship) experience. The Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) was central to nearly all student teachers’ use of ICT, in good part, because it was already used by their mentors and was widely accessible. Student teachers’ use of ICT was categorized in three levels. Routine users focused mostly on the use of the IWB for whole class teaching; extended users gave greater opportunities for pupils to use ICT for themselves; innovative student teachers used ICT in a greater range of contexts and made more effort to overcome barriers such as access. ICT use was seen as emerging from a mix of factors: chiefly student teachers’ access to ICT; their feeling of ‘self-efficacy’ when using ICT; and their belief that ICT had a positive impact on learning – in particular, the impact on pupils’ behavioural and affective engagement. Factors which influenced ICT use included mentoring, training and support. Limitations on student teachers’ use of ICT are explored and it is suggested that new teachers need to be supported in developing a more discerning use as they begin their teaching careers.