Research has suggested that, despite support through policy and resource provision, information and communications technologies (ICTs) have made little impact on the practice of education and that limited teacher preparation for the use of ICTs represents a partial explanation. The purpose of this study was to investigate what form of professional education might be effective in preparing pre-service teachers to integrate ICTs into their teaching. Self-efficacy beliefs about teaching with computers were identified as a potentially significant source of influence on teachers’ use of ICTs for teaching. It was proposed that interactive multimedia using a problem-based learning design (IMM-PBL) should be an effective tool for increasing self-efficacy. Principles for the design of IMM-PBL were derived from the relevant literature.
An IMM-PBL package was designed and developed for delivery in a web browser format using content relevant to the integration of ICTs into teaching. Interviews with and sample responses prepared by computer-using teachers provided the basis for ensuring the relevance of content.
The completed materials were evaluated in use with a group of 24 final year pre-service teachers in a Queensland university. Participants in the trials reported that the materials were engaging and assisted their learning about integrating computers in their teaching. A statistically significant increase in self-efficacy for teaching with computers was found for users who had initially low self-efficacy for teaching with computers.
The principles proposed for IMM-PBL design were found to offer a practical basis for the development of effective learning materials. With further development, IMM-PBL promises to be a powerful and flexible approach to supporting learning for teachers and other professionals.
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