Preservice Teachers and Cognitive Literacy Skills

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This article was downloaded by: [The Aga Khan University]On: 09 December 2014, At: 01:12Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UKJournal of Research onTechnology in EducationPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information: Teachers andCognitive Literacy SkillsJoyce Pittmanaa University of CincinnatiPublished online: 24 Feb 2014.To cite this article: Joyce Pittman (2002) Preservice Teachers and CognitiveLiteracy Skills, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34:4, 375-388, DOI:10.1080/15391523.2002.10782357To link to this article: SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. 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Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014 Teachers and Cognitive Literacy Skills: Implications for Technology Pedagogy Joyce Pittman University of Cincinnati Abstract Technology in education is raising unprecedented levels of new concerns for educators. Per-haps one of the greatest challenges is building college students' advanced literacy and techni-cal skills, especially those ofpreservice teachers. In dealing with technology issues, educators and policy makers are foced with problematic decisions about how to attract, sustain, and prepare students for careers and living in an increasingly technological society (Prager, 1993 ). Educators need direction for retooling to restructure instructional approaches to help enter-ing students develop knowledge and skills they need to succeed in this ever-changing envi-ronment (Lieberman & Linn, 1991). Though educators embrace the emphasis on high-quality education, they may have justifiable concerns about teaching new and more challenging subject matter to students who need to develop advanced literacy skills to im-prove achievement (Palumbo & Reed, 1991). (Keywords: advanced literacy, teacher prepa-ration, technology and pedagogy.) Today's students are faced with a great challenge as the first generation ex-pected to have knowledge and skills to meet industry's demand for more high skilled and qualified workers (U.S. Department of Labor Secretary's Commis-sion on Achieving Necessary Skills [SCANS], 1991). Mathematics Equals Op-portunity (Riley, 1997) provided information about problems college students face when they do not take rigorous science and mathematics courses. Given the emphasis on advanced literacy skills in these courses and in technology pedagogy environments (teaching with technology), students, especially preser-vice teachers, may have serious gaps in advanced literacy and critical processing skills (Riley). These students risk having doors to colleges and new career op-portunities closed because they lack required advanced literacy and technical skills now in demand by our technological society. Advanced literacy skills are those that require students to demonstrate a high capacity to think, reason, solve complex problems, and communicate their ideas to others while continu-ing to learn basic skills. Ongoing support is especially important in environ-ments where pedagogy and technology are being interconnected. National stud-ies report that minority students continue to be less likely to have challenging academic courses in their secondary education experience and are most likely to need additional support to develop these skills (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 1996a). DEFINING COGNITIVE LITERACY Research on guidelines for preparing students to function in a 21st century workforce indicates that literacy is being redefined by technology integration in Journal of Research on Technology in Education 375 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014education, and this presents new instructional challenges to teacher educators (National Council of Teachers of English, 1998-2001; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989). Because I believe the proposed new definition of literacy is rooted in cognitive science, I will use the term cognitive literacy. Cognitive literacy defines the process of demonstrating a high capacity to think, reason, solve complex problems, and communicate ideas while continuing to learn new basic skills. THE PROBLEM The International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) project is leading the nation in making teachers and teacher educators more aware of the need to further de-velop their basic computer and technical skills (ISTE, 2000). During the past few years, reports from a number of experts on the skills and competencies of students entering college support findings that some college students lack the advanced literacy skills necessary to master more challenging subject matter (Levy & Murnane, 1996). Research shows that the highest concentration of students lacking rigorous academic skills may be education majors or those planning to enter the teaching profession (NCES, 199Gb, 1997). Too often, it appears that the problem may be more deeply rooted in the definition of what it means to be literate than in our students' ability to perform and learn chal-lenging subject matter. As new technologies continue to transform education, research suggests that our understanding of literacy is being reconstructed by cognitive learning theory. Sticht and Armstrong ( 1994) discuss concise and comprehensive re-search about literacy and assessment, which led me to reason that cognitive lit-eracy may be premised in cognitive science. These findings are reflected in my discussion about methods to instruct, assess, prepare, and improve students' cognitive literacy skills through new instructional strategies and ways of think-ing from a more prc..gmatic view. My primary assumptions are: Learning takes the form of both knowledge- and skill-based domains in tech-nology pedagogy. Human cognitive systems emphasize the role of knowledge in literacy along with the information processes involved in oral and written language use and reasoning with graphic tools of thought (flow charts, tables, etc.). Information processing views of learning emphasize the active, constructive nature of cognitive development (including literacy) in social contexts. The connections between these three concepts may provide new information for policy makers and educators to develop guidelines about the extent of stu-dents' needs and how to best meet these needs with programs and new instruc-tional approaches (Herman, Aschbacher, & Winters, 1992). 376 Summer 2002: Volume 34 Number 4 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014BACKGROUND The first years in college for new students can be the most critical of their educational experience. They will no doubt be a :?rimary determinant in whether a student remains or joins the open-door generation (those who leave without their desired credentials) (U.S. Department of Education [ED], 1999). When we consider the shortages projected for tea.chers in the next century, the potential lack of early success is a major concern. It becomes more of a concern when we reflect on the number of potential teacters lost during the beginning years, the time when students are considering the teaching profession or some other direction. The best way to prevent untimely departures from the halls of higher educa-tion is through early intervention strategies for high-risk students and new in-structional approaches. We must continue to explore learning and teaching con-ditions that may contribute to declining enrollments in preservice teacher education and graduate programs for inservice teachers. The intent is not to im-ply that teacher education is the only program aftected by students' inadequate literacy skills or that higher education faculty me=nbers are solely responsible for the resolution. However, historically, teacher education programs enroll more students who are less likely to enroll in programs that require more rigorous skill and preparation in the science and mathematics (ED, 1999). In addition, beginners who have poor basic skills often enter postsecondary education with misleading ideas of knowledge and the groundwork to acquire it (California Postsecondary Education Commission, 1997). Therefore, it is nec-essary to reflect on how these students have gained their traditional knowledge and how we can develop ways to harmonize the new cognitive literacy skills within existing higher education programs to improve student achievement and perceptions of learning, especially beginning students. In Student Perceptions of Information Systems Careers: Misconceptions and Declining Enrollments, Cale, Mawhinney, and Callaghan (1991) found that student enrollments in disci-plines related to information systems began to de~line i::1 1990. Students held misconceptions about work styles and conditions associated with preparation for such careers. Many beginning students have constructed their knowledge in environments favoring direct, teacher-led instruction that placed a high emphasis on right and wrong answers and mastery of skills (e.g., the three basic skills of reading, writ-ing, and arithmetic). Though these will likely remain the foundation skills for building more advanced cognitive literacy skills, the level of specificity and defi-nition of competency may be substantially altered by new technology environ-ments in both education and society. Thus, if we are preparing students and fu-ture teachers for new and more challenging subject matter using the new technologies, we must build and model these new instructional and learning ap-proaches in our programs (Herman et al., 1992). journal of Research on Technology in Education 377 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014Many students can succeed if we work to identifY and infuse cognitive literacy instruction into not only general education but also specialized curricula. The next section reviews instructional approaches that are conceptualized to sur-mount the challenges inherent in educational institutions with highly diverse student populations. PURPOSE There is a need to examine the definition of cognitive literacy through tech-nology pedagogy perspectives and the most effective approach(es) for infusing new instructional strategies into general and specialized academia. These skills are being called the "new basics" (Wetzel, 1999). More important is how we de-termine which comes first: the knowledge building or the technology skills in connecting technology pedagogy. Are the two increasingly dependent on each other in new learning environments? The review discusses five issues centered on educators helping college students develop cognitive literacy: 1. Cognitive Literacy in Education 2. Revisiting Literacy through Cognitive Literacy Perspectives 3. Implications for Restructuring Pedagogy by Focusing on Cognitive Literacy 4. Software for Building Cognitive Literacy Skills 5. Potential Impact on the Teaching Profession Connecting Technology Pedagogy and Epistemology The research evidence indicates that computers have a dynamic effect on what educators in higher education must come to understand about literacy and the relationship to academic and general education cultures. Through new information and understanding, educators must construct their own knowledge and understanding about how to help students improve cognitive literacy skills through instructional practice (pedagogy). For example, we should not think of technology as a replacement or substitute for students' development of basic skills requiring the use of paper-and-pencil activity. In fact, for solving more complex problems, it may be highly appropriate for students to gain firsthand experience with the information to understand the computer capabilities and the output before they can develop new knowledge and understanding (e.g., re-search, writing, and mathematics applications). By helping beginning college students through systemic and programmatic change, we can provide an envi-ronment to support new ways of knowing (epistemology) in a technological education environment. In doing so, we may extend general education, minor-ity, and low-income students' stays and completion of both general and aca-demic programs (Prager, 1993). In other words, we may need to rethink the pedagogy and epistemology of higher education curriculum and instruction. Olson and Astington (1993) sug-gest a need for more dialogue. Dialogue must be supported by policy makers in ways that encourage and support educators in talking more about what they think, know, expect, remember, wonder about, have decided, guessed, assumed, implied, and concluded to encourage students to expand their perceptions about learning. 378 Summer 2002: Volume 34 Number 4 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014Technology, Language, and Thought A nurrber of studies argue that we begin by exploring theories of mind that look at t~1.e relationship between thought and language (Groppo, Antonietti, Liverta-Sempio, & Marchetti, 1999). Traditionally, language is viewed as are-flection of personal experience and a symbolic expression of self and the world. In other words, through social context, students have learned how to build learning upon learning through their use of the language (Goodman, 1986). The extent of one's ability to link the language to new experiences and informa-tion is defined by what is often referred to as literacy skills in society. Shoulc we examine whether technologies change the relationship of thought and language? Will this change our interpretation of the meaning of literacy (Kozma, 1994)? One approach suggested in the research involves exploring ways to help students connect technology, language, and thought. Vygotskian principles may be compatible as instructional guidelines to support mediation to develop cognitive literacy skills in technology pedagogy settings. These prin-ciples may be important because they focus attention on integrating social and cultural context factors in the construction of knowledge and in understanding one's ow::1 and others' mind through interpersonal communication, ways of knowing, and ways of thinking (Groppo et al., 1999; Wertsch & Stone, 1985; Willis, S:ephens, & Matthew, 1996). Vygotskian perspectives take into consideration the student's zone of proximal development (ZPD) (Wertsch & Stone, 1985). In general, the ZPD has been de-scribed as the gap in learning or understanding that an individual may need help or s::>me type of stimulus to move from point A to point B in developing new knowledge and understanding. Teacher educators can use strategies such as mentoring, scaffolding, coaching, and collaborative learning activities that take place through authentic experiences in meaningful context for the learner to help other learners make appropriate connections (Slavin, 1990). COGNITIVE LITERACY IN EDUCATION Experience Students Need to Develop New Cognitive-Literacy Skills What is the aim of education? Perkins (1992) argues that the goal of educa-tion is simple. Education strives for the retention, understanding, and active use of knowledge. Others claim that a narrow definition of education can lead to profound misunderstandings of key concepts (Goodlad, 1984). On the con-trary, if we view cognitive literacy competencies strictly in terms of the skills business and industry need to fill jobs, are we fulfilling the mission of the insti-tution of education (U.S. Department of Labor, 1991)? Do we want to take an ideological or a pragmatic view of education? What is the place of education and knowledge in the grand scheme of imagination and creativity in society? Palumbo and Reed ( 1991) present findings from a study about programming language and instruction, problem solving, and computer anxiety that signifY profound implications about technology pedagogy and the lack of evidence to support claims about positive relationships between technology and critical-thinking skills. In their discussion, they call attention to the need for more re-search al:out the relationship between technology and critical-thinking skills. journal af Research on Technology in Education 379 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014How then should educators proceed in technology environments to help stu-dents draw connections from ideas and derive knowledge that is relevant within their different social and cultural contexts in technology environments? Some assumptions and questions raised .in the literature suggest that developments of new cognitive-literacy skills are evident and more readily defined in technology environments through metalinguistic-metacognitive instructional strategies. To some extent, I equate the minority students' and language-minority stu-dents' development of new cognitive-literacy skills with this theory, which I have observed seems to become more evident and more readily defined in tech-nology environments by integrating metalinguistic-metacognitive instructional strategies. Transfer of Metalinguistic Knowledge theory posits that knowledge is transferred from the learners first language into the performance of cognitive and linguistic tasks in the second language. The cross-lin-guistic hypothesis suggests that the greater the similarity in the writing systems of the two languages, the greater the degree of transfer, thus reducing the time and difficulties involved in learning to read and write the second language. (.l'v1ora, 1999) In this work, I make the distinction between metacognitive ("to think") and metalinguistic ("to say'') based on finding that currently drive cognitive process-ing research (Olson & Astington, 1993). I believe cognitive literacy becomes critical in inquiry- and project-based instructional activities, both of which are prevalent in educational technology methodology. Students must be able to think about the process of thinking, learning, and performing in their approach to constructing new knowledge. In other words, teacher educators may need to employ more strategies that help students understand or think about how they came to know what they think they know (Goodman, 1986). These strategies are often described in discussions about constructivist learn-ing approaches (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992). The technological learning environ-ment is promoted as one where students are encouraged to develop competen-cies to determine meaning and understanding within the context of different social and cultural environments, sometimes referred to as a social constructiv-ism, socially constructed knowledge, and/ or multiple understandings in education conversations (Duffy & Jonassen, 1997). REVISITING LITERACY THROUGH COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVES New Cognitive-Literacy Skills What is the nature of these new competencies and cognitive literacy skills? How do educators begin to prepare students to develop literacy skills in such a way that will help them link ideas between printed material and technology that results in the construction of new knowledge and understandings? The following skills consistently emerged in the literature and in statewide school performance assessmenrs describing what is being defined in this article as new literacy skills (Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, 1993): 380 Summer 2002: Volume 34 Number 4 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 20141. problem-solving and analyzing perspectives, 2. mental and mathematical modeling, 3. conceptualizing and implementing experimental inquiry, 4. applying academic content to authentic tasks, 5. interpersonal skills (working with others), 6. production of products (papers, presentations, and art objects), 7. computer technology skills, and 8. expression through writing. Interestingly, these skills are characteristic ofbasic, applied, and advanced lit-eracy described by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) scales. However, to test my definition of cognitive literacy skills, I posited the question "can students perform these eight skills without the traditional basic skills?" The answer is, it depends. Under what conditions will students perform these skills? Considering these questions, does the integration of technology into education mean we no longer want to focus our efforts on what is com-monly referred to as the skills-based approach? Does the skills-based approach place too much emphasis on the functional uses of language versus understanding or do we want to give more credence to such theories as Gardner's multiple intelligences (Doecke, Sharpley, Walters, & Romeo, 1999; Gardner, 1985)? We can ask ourselves many questions about how we help students develop cognitive literacy skills in technology pedagogy. One of the many issues to emerge in the research is that students who enroll in both two- and four-year programs seem more engaged with specialized learn-ing than with general education (Prager, 1993). At this point, it seems there are far more questions than answers. How then do we begin to negotiate the meaning of cognitive literacy in higher education and especially teacher education to support our beliefs about what being competent, literate, or educated means? Can educators provide new learning opportunities that will support new cognitive literacy skills and bridge the gap between two different academic cultures, general and academic education? IMPLICATIONS FOR RESTRUCTURING PEDAGOGY BY FOCUSING ON COGNITIVE LITERACY Extending Language and Learning It is time to consider a negotiated pedagogy that encourages students to ex-tend their language and learning into meaningful new dimensions, though our beliefs about epistemology and pedagogy may at times seem compromised. Re-searchers tell us that metacognitive instruction encourages students to think about what they are learning (Groppo et al., 1999). This indicates that educa-tors will need to employ strategies that force students to become more con-scious about what they are learning, how they learn, and how to monitor their learning. Some competencies can be integrated into existing content-based curricula. An exceptionally important implication is that educators can improve the effi-cacy of their instruction by simply restructuring learning and teaching activities Journal of Research on Technology in Education 381 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014for diverse learning styles (Gardner, 1985). Attention to new learning styles may help students develop interpersonal skills that support learning. By devel-oping interpersonal skills of students through cognitive literacy, the benefits of more team and project-based work may be realized (Berge, 1990). Students can experience how knowledge is socially constructed in group situa-tions by expanding the use of cognitive literacy skills. Mayer (1992) suggests that new frameworks have contributed to generating worthwhile curriculum that supports the complexities of language and learning and meet the needs of a more diverse student population. Other strategies may include more focused instruction around problem solv-ing, diversified mentoring models, peer review, self-evaluation of skills, and use of case studies based on real practice. These ideas may have significant implica-tions for refocusing general education curricula (O'Neil, 1994). Though restructuring curriculum and instruction seems to be an immediate approach to the problem of helping students develop new cognitive literacy skills, it raises new arguments. These arguments are rooted in beliefs that the emphasis on practical skills ignores the "extent to which intensive study in more abstract contributes to the capacity for thoughtful application-in the arts, in the sciences" (Prager, 1993, p. 4) and in the new technologies. New Assessment Strategies Research indicates that a consensus about assessment and evaluation in educa-tion must be renegotiated. Much research exists about traditional approaches to testing, but few studies exist about the reliability of new methods such as port-folios and performance-based approaches (Herman et al., 1992). These issues and others continue to permeate an intellectual divide amidst the ideas of change brought on by technology pedagogy and new interpretations of literacy. Nevertheless, it is important that we continue to study new assessment strate-gies to maintain the credibility of certifying knowledge and quality standards that gauge the extent of knowledge and understanding. A group of teacher edu-cators in Iowa known as the Iowa Consortium of Assessment of Learning and Teaching (ICALT) is doing just that. ICALT was established to study the con-nections between technology pedagogy in teacher education programs and in classrooms (Thompson & Schmidt, 1999). Undoubtedly, the conversation about certification and standards to certify literacy is one that never ends. How-ever, my purpose is to focus on cognitive literacy as an intricate part ofknowl-edge construction within the learning process. In this process, dimensions of students' skill development are viewed within the context of the learning envi-ronment. The whole idea is that the learner is able to connect new knowledge and understanding in all part of their lives bridging the communication gaps. Communication gaps occur from linguistic or cultural differences, which often interferes with building cognition skills. Therefore, the development of cognitive literacy extends beyond stated educa-tional standards to include life skills. This expanded learning environment will allow teacher educators to identify new ways to help students increase achieve-382 Summer 2002: Volume 34 Number 4 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014ment, ways of knowing, and understanding through instructional and learn~ng experiences that make sense within their own zones of development, whether at home, school, work, or community. In this way, teaching and learning is transi-tioned to a multidisciplinary process rather than discrete knowledge domains to be mastered. SOFTWARE FOR BUILDING COGNITIVE-LITERACY SKILLS A practical example of a literacy skill that can be applied across disciplines is writing. Extending writing across the curriculum is not a novel idea (Herman et al., 1992). In fact, research shows that writing provides a more naturalistic way of building cognitive literacy skills. Literacy development includes many skills that are effectively supported with new technologies, such as word processing, semantic mapping, and multimedia programs. These include technology appli-cations such as the product Word (1983-2000), Inspiration (1982-2001), Pow-erPoint (1987-2000), HyperStudio (1989-2000), the Internet, and many other new technologies. However, when we change the way we teach, we must change the way we test. O'Neil (1994) emphasizes that we must rethink testing as an instructional tool. This idea is reserved for future discussion as we think about how we identif}' cognitive literacy criteria and assessment strategies. POTENTIAL EFFECTS ON THE TEACHING PROFESSION The research indicates that literacy is being redefined by many new require-ments as a part of education reform efforts. Among these are technology stan-dards for the teaching profession. It appears that drivers of new standards for teaching quality must incorporate cognitive literacy into expectations for new and practicing teachers. It is evident in the new licensing that teachers along with students will be required to demonstrate new learning and performance levels (Darling-Hammond, Wise, & Klein, 1995; ISTE, 2000; National Council for Accredita-tion of Teacher Education, 1997). A meta-analysis of the performance of preservice and practicing teachers on the PRAXIS I and II indicate a considerable gap in performance of certain groups of students and teachers on these tests (Gitomer, Latham, & Ziomick, 1999). In addition, the study found a direct relationship between college students' perfor-mance on SAT/ACT and qualifying criteria for the teaching profession. Most important, based on studies by Educational Testing Service and the ED, the definition of poor literacy skills is based on the historical context of literacy (Gitomer et al., 1999). Therefore, it is not surprising that despite re-form efforts, the traditional definition continues to define criteria in there-cruitment, selection, and retention of qualified teachers, especially for minority groups, which means minority students could be seriously jeopardized without appropriate intervention (Gitomer et al.). However, it is encouraging to find that teachers and students from accredited institutions scored higher on these assessments than those not attending accredited programs. journal of Research on Technology in Education 383 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE In closing, my suggestions for restructuring curriculum and instruction to build literacy skills in postsecondary education are not new. The ideas are mirrored in the research; in psychology; and, more specifically, within cognitive learning science and theory. These suggestions are adapted from A Practical Guide to Alternative Assessment, which presents strategies for aligning instruction and as-sessment (Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 1992). Cognitive literacy attempts to identify the context in which the learner learns a way to accomplish a task, and the role of developing thinking skills that are best suited to the learner or the situation. For example, logging on to the Inter-net on one computer may not be the same as logging in on another computer; however, students must be guided based on the extent of their ability to move from one step to the next. I believe this cognitive literacy theoretical perspective describes two important educational implications. First, building thinking literacy increases students' capacity to learn and con-struct new knowledge. This empowerment can help students and teachers bridge the gap between cognitivism and constructivism by preparing teachers and faculty members regarding when and how to use technology and new con-structivist pedagogy to mediate divergent thinking and action among students. Second, attention to this proposed area of research may reveal new informa-tion that will enable students to survive the halls of higher education in the early years by introducing them to skills and ways of thinking to interpret mul-tiple realities in the learning process. In this way, the learner is better able to deal with real-life situations in and out of the classroom. If learners are prepared to solve problems, they may become better students, and thus teachers, who are able to apply their existing knowledge to a unique situations. Eight Guiding Principles Educators, Policy Makers, and Students Must Understand It is my belief that if educators will incorporate these concepts in new ways of thinking and teaching, faculty can help develop new learning paradigms that include cognitive literacy skills of all college students, but especially teacher education students (Mackowiak, 1991). Gardner (1985) presents convincing evidence from his research that people learn in different ways. Educators and future teachers alike must understand that: 1. Knowledge is constructed. 2. Learning is a process of creating personal meaning from new information and prior knowledge. 3. People perform better when they know the goal, see models, and know how their performance compares to a standard. 4. It is important to know when to use knowledge, how to adapt it, and how to manage one's own learning. 5. Learning new skills is not necessarily a linear progression of discrete skills. 6. There is great variety in learning styles, attention spans, memory, develop-mental paces, and intelligences. 384 Summer 2002: Volume 34 Number 4 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 20147. ~.1otivation, effort, and self-esteem affect learning and performance. 8. Learning new skills has social components; therefore, group work is valuable. CONCLUSIONS The power brokers between general, specialized, and teacher education must be open to tolerating disruption to institutional programs that can occur during a rime of culture change. Prager (199 3) has advocated that academic deans, chairs, and vice presidents can foster the environment for discussions about re-search, curriculum changes, effects on accreditation requirements, and other critical considerations about how to improve student performance through cog-nitive literacy. Tl-_e recruitment, selection, and retention of students who are unable to learn new and more challenging subject matter present a problem for general and academic curricula and, ultimately, create an increased need for qualified teach-ers to fill classrooms in the future. Educators cannot make change happen alone; they will need much support from leadership in homes, schools, commu-nities, policy-making arenas, and industry to introduce new ideas about cur-riculum and instructional changes. Undoubtedly, the greatest unfilled need for students will be disciplines that are most heavily influenced by new technologies that require students to learn st:..bject matter that is more challenging and to perform at higher levels, which now includes teacher education programs. However, t1rst we must prepare and st:..pport educators and help them make the cultural change in education brought on by technology pedagogy. II Contributor Joyce A. Pittman is an assistant professor of teacher education and instruc-tiond technology at the University of Cincinnati (UC). She earned her PhD in education at Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames. She has a special interest and degree emphasis educational technology and sociocultural cognitive perspectives of transforming traditional learning and teaching in con-temporary society to close the sociocultural education divides. She has worked on numerous education and information technology projects involving teacher education, digital education divides, literacy, and industrial training. Currently, she cirects a $2.7 million Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers Project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The project focuses on restructuring the teacher education program at UC by infusing technology, preparing faculty, and implementing an electronic performance-based portfolio system to assess stu-dent performance. She has recently published articles on technology use for cre-ating inclusive learning communities, a theory-based approach to preparing fac-ulty :o restructure technology-pedagogy to improve teacher education, and cyberspace safety for children. She is a contributing author to a book, Toward Digiz:al Equity: Closing the Education Divides. (Address: Dr. Joyce Pittman, Uni-versity of Cincinnati, Division ofTeacher Education, Cincinnati, OH 45221; joy-ce. pi ttman @uc. ed u.) journal of Research on Technology in Education 385 Downloaded by [The Aga Khan University] at 01:12 09 December 2014References Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (1992). A practi-cal guide to alternative assessment. Alexandria, VA: Author. Berge, Z. L. (1990). Effects of group size, gender, and ability grouping on learning science process skills using microcomputers. journal of Research in Sci-ence Teaching, 27(7), 751-757. Cale, E. G., Mawhinney, C. H., & Callaghan, D. R. (1991). 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