Experiencing new technology: exploring pre-service teachers' perceptions and reflections upon the affordances of social media.

Year: 2012

Author: Redman, Christine, Trapani, Fiona

Type of paper: Refereed paper


This paper analyses pre-service teachers' perceptions of the affordances of new technology after experiencing two social media tools embedded into their coursework. This sociological ethnographic study builds upon previously gathered data that highlighted that 72% of pre-service teachers in the Masters of Teaching degree use personal mobile devices. Personal technology use was high, and the previous survey demonstrated that participants held a positive outlook for technology use in their future classrooms. However, these pre-service teachers had difficulty in articulating an educational vision for this technology. This study draws upon data from 120, second year Masters of Teaching pre-service teachers. Our focus, as academic staff, was to provide opportunities for all pre-service teachers to meaningfully experience the possibilities for learning spaces offered by new technologies. We scaffolded learning opportunities for pre-service teachers into lectures and workshops focusing on two social media tools: 'Edmodo' and 'Twitter'. Participants were surveyed prior to their experiences, and their written reflections on the affordances of  'Edmodo' and 'Twitter' at the end of the semester were also coded. Personal mobile device use in this group increased, with more than 80% having a smart phone, and also at least one other personal mobile device (i-Pod, Laptop, i-Pad). Data displays a shift in pre-service teachers perceptions of future use of these technologies within their own classrooms. Their reflections on 'Edmodo' and 'Twitter' show a refined ability to identify the possibilities of both tools, with many respondents providing a new and favorable vision for using of at least one of these in their future primary classroom practices. This study also outlines for us 'where to next' for pre-service teacher preparation for teaching 21st century skills.