Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Richard N. Van Eck


In our technology-immersed society in which information is central to the economy, citizens should be fluent with technology and possess 21st century skills that support responsible and effective technology use (e.g., Lin, 2000; P21, 2009). Given the role of public education in creating citizenry with the skills society needs, these qualities should be developed at the K-12 level. This is best done if teachers integrate technology into their lessons (e.g., ISTE, 2008; NCES, 2002). However, research shows that inservice teachers are not integrating technology enough because of negative attitudes, poor confidence, inadequate education, a conflicted teaching philosophy, and other barriers (e.g., Ertmer, 1999). Some suggest that this may change because the current generation of preservice teachers, presumed to be technology-savvy digital natives, will not face these barriers (e.g., Prensky, 2001, 2005). Contrasting research shows that this generation is not uniformly technical, and that what knowledge they have does not transfer to professional settings (e.g., Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005). Furthermore, preservice teachers may be even less technically-inclined than their peers, making them more likely to face the same barriers as inservice teachers (e.g., Lei, 2009; Salentiny, 2010). Preservice education instructors may also face these barriers, and thus are unable to break the cycle (e.g., Ertmer, 2005).

If we are to encourage technology integration, we must understand more about the technology characteristics of preservice teachers, their instructors, and the barriers (e.g., attitudes and beliefs) they face. To determine how to avoid preservice level barriers, research needs to explore these technology characteristics. This will help determine whether barriers are present or developing during preservice education. 198 preservice teachers and 21 instructors at a Midwestern university were surveyed about technology use and beliefs. In addition, nine preservice teachers and three instructors were interviewed as follow up to this survey. Results indicate that preservice teachers and instructors display positive attitudes about technology, but only mid-level confidence in their skills with it. Factors that could lead to barriers were found. Instructors believed it was important for preservice teachers to learn pedagogical skills with technology. Implications for preservice education are discussed.