Graduate-entry pre-service teachers: The relationship between their experience using technology in their previous occupations and their technological pedagogical beliefs

Year: 2016

Author: Rowston, Kim, Lockyer, Lori, McMaugh, Anne

Type of paper: Refereed paper

An important aspect of teachers’ work is integrating technology to support student learning. Teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, and skills related to technology develop well before their pre-service teacher education begins. For those graduate-entry pre-service teachers, prior experiences may play a valuable role in shaping their self-efficacy for, and use of technology in their pedagogical practice. This paper presents findings from the first phase of a mixed method study of students enrolled in a one-year graduate teaching course (N = 146). Graduate-entry pre-service teachers at an Australian university were invited at the commencement of their course to complete a survey about their self-efficacy beliefs using technology in their previous occupations, and their self-efficacy beliefs for integrating technology into classroom teaching. The connections between previous occupational experiences using technology and technology self-efficacy beliefs were examined. Analysis revealed a significant relationship between the four variables: application of technology, types of technological tools used, general technology self-efficacy and technology pedagogy self-efficacy. The greater the experience in applying a wide variety of technological tools in their previous workplace, the higher the participant’s self-efficacy beliefs for both general technology and technology pedagogy. The results are particularly interesting of those participants (n = 58), who used specialised professional technology applications while working in these roles. For this subsample, there was a significantly higher positive linear relationship between the types of technological tools used in previous occupations, and their self-efficacy beliefs regarding both general technology and technology pedagogy. The implications of this study are to provide a greater understanding of the technological skills, expertise and beliefs graduate-entry teachers bring with them from previous roles. It aims to highlight how graduate-entry teachers’ experience of using specialised technology pertinent to their previous professions, could facilitate the achievement of mandated technology pedagogy reforms.