Mentoring: Sharing Teacher Knowledge of Technology

This post is part of a series examining research and theory on mentoring and coaching from the perspective of mentoring school videoconference coordinators.

Article Reference

Margerum-Leys, J., & Marx, R. W. (2004). The nature and sharing of teacher knowledge of technology in a student teacher/mentor teacher pair. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(5), 421-437.


This qualitative study examined the mentor relationship between a student teacher and her mentor teacher, in the light of teacher knowledge (content, pedagogical, and pedagogical content knowledge), and the use and application of educational technology.

Educational technology is an area in which mentor teachers are eager to access content knowledge held by student students. … They also perceive that student teachers’ teacher education coursework will have contained more educational technology information than their own coursework (Margerum-Leys, 2004, p. 423).

Student Centered Learning & Information Technology
Another interesting quote makes connections between the move from computer as a logic teaching tool to a information and communication portal and the movement towards student-centered learning environments. The author suggests these two have occurred in parallel.

Sidenote: This article is from a dissertation written in 2002. The author suggests education is moving from acquiring hardware to focusing on educationally sound applications. Are we now focusing on the “acquiring of tools” still to the detriment of focus on educationally sound applications? I’ve heard rumblings of this from the recent NECC. Something to think about.

Learning to use the remote in the Jazz workshop
Learning to use the remote in the Jazz workshop

Learning From Each Other
The heart of the mentoring relationship in this study is that student teacher and mentor teacher learn from each other, and sharing knowledge about educational technology creates professional development on both sides of the relationship. In several example scenarios shared, one modeled a lesson for the other, and the other then taught that same lesson in later periods (it was a middle school with 5 sections). Sometimes the student teacher took the lead with a new technology tool, and sometimes the mentor teacher took the lead. The mentored each other throughout the process.

  • The mentor teacher took the lead in pedagogical and classroom management.
  • The student teacher often (but not always) took the lead with content knowledge of educational technology.

Pedagogical content knowledge

The author defines pedagogical content knowledge for educational technology as the

knowedge of appropriate instructional strategies specific to the implementation of technology-enhanced learning activities. (Margerum-Leys, 2004, p. 433).

The development of this knowledge builds on existing knowledge of content and pedagogy. The author suggests this can best happen by placing student teachers where there is access to technology and they can learn to use it well in the classroom.

Teachers Plan a VC Lesson Together
Teachers Plan a VC Lesson Together

Application to VC

  • Pre-service teachers. Wouldn’t it be great if all pre-service teachers could experience VC in their student teaching? With only 30% of schools in the U.S. having access to VC, it may be unlikely. But what are YOU doing with the local universities to make sure student teachers experience VC? Two of our local universities have VC experiences at Berrien RESA every year. Roxanne’s Bluebonnet program is another model.
  • Learning to integrate VC in the curriculum. It’s obvious from this study (and our experience) that you can’t just teach a teacher how to dial, click, type, hit buttons. There MUST be some modeling and learning how to use it in the curriculum. You can’t expect teachers to make the jump from “here’s a tech/tool” — now figure out how to use it in the curriculum.
  • Mentoring. We’ve talked about this already, but mentoring includes modeling and assistance on how to use VC in the curriculum.

What do you think? What is included in pedagogical content knowledge for using videoconferencing? Do you have a relationship with the local university that helps teach pre-service teachers about VC? Please comment!

0 replies on “Mentoring: Sharing Teacher Knowledge of Technology”

  1. Janine,

    I agree that developing “Pre-Service” teachers in the use of video conferencing is critical. I’ve tried to offer a ‘free” in-service training for pre-service teachers here in southeast Indiana but can’t get the University’s Dean of Education to bite on it.

    There is another avenue that teachers can use though and that’s their own students. Have you seen this podcast from edutopia where students are teaching thier instructors how to use technology?

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