Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age Laboratory
The Learning to Teach in a Digital Age laboratory is affiliated with the Learning for a Lifetime Research Center in the Faculty of Science, Department of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. The director of this laboratory is Dr. Julie Mueller, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education.
The lab was initiated through an internal Short Term Research Grant and is currently operating under a SSHRC standard research grant. Much of the research conducted by the lab is done in the field with partnering schools and school boards.
Research questions address current educational issues surrounding the individual and environmental variables influencing teacher integration of technology in classrooms. Specifically, what are the characteristics of teachers who are successfully integrating computer technology in their classrooms, and what are the characteristics of digital learning that make it an effective cognitive tool. Investigation of the strategies and techniques that are most effective for incorporating digital technology includes evaluation of pre-service teacher education through a Professional Development School model (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005) of concurrent school improvement and teacher preparation.
Teacher quality can have strong influences on student outcomes, apart from important contextual variables such as poverty and parent education. Identification of the important factors impacting teachers’ integration of computer technology provides insight into the most effective professional learning techniques for both in-service and pre-service teachers. Examination and evaluation of strategies and techniques for technology integration are imperative for improving student learning outcomes and directing system change. An emphasis on evidence-based practice and practitioner-initiated inquiry calls for changes in both pre-service and in-service teacher professional learning. Evaluation of programs designed to promote on-going learning and inquiry will provide a strong theoretical foundation for development of quality teachers.