I interviewed Dr. Kolleen Homuth about her inspiring journey in educational technology and her valuable thoughts about the role of technology in education.
-Can you tell us about your educational journey?
I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University with a double major in Elementary Education and Early Childhood in 1987. After teaching in my own classrooms for several years, my passion for early learning and foundational readiness grew stronger so I achieved my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood from Grand Valley State University in August of 2006. As time went on, I wanted to gain more knowledge in leadership positions so I pursued my Education Specialist Degree in Leadership through Oakland University in August, 2010. As technology has become more important in the field of education, and the lack of teacher technology training continued to rise, my interest in this classroom resource grew stronger. I was accepted in the Doctorate of Educational Technology program at Central Michigan University. I achieved my Doctorate of Educational Technology in August, 2021.
-Have you always considered focusing on education and technology?
Educational technology became an interest which turned into a passion of mine throughout the past 17 years. I have seen a need for educators to become fluent in technology to confidently utilize technology tools within the classroom setting. Many educators have a lack of knowledge to choose the right tool and know how to utilize it to reach educational objectives. Through my research, I discovered that teachers realize the importance of technology in the classroom. However, like many other new skills needing practice for proficiency, many teachers feel they don’t have the time or resources to gain the proper skills.
-When did you start with this program?
I began CMU’s DET program in September of 2018. At first, I was apprehensive because, like many classroom teachers, I did not feel confident to fluently choose or utilize technology tools in the classroom setting. Through this program, I gained confidence, and knowledge to apply educational technology and even assist and educate other instructors through the expertise of the fantastic CMU DET faculty working within this program. I proudly received my degree on August 5, 2021. Thanks, DET faculty, for sharing your knowledge, support and encouragement to me!!
-What courses do you teach / have you taught?
Within a public school classroom setting, I have taught preschool through high school levels. These experiences provided foundational knowledge for me to share at the university level. I began my college instruction experience at a smaller college in northern Michigan; North Central Michigan College, teaching early childhood psychology. I then went on to apply my personal academic education as well as classroom teaching and learning experiences as a professor at Central Michigan University. Here, I have taught educational psychology, exploratory teaching, and reading courses. I am currently working with the pre-student teaching methods course as well as the student teaching field placement course.
-After you earned this degree, do you think it changed any of your thinking about the role of technology in education?
The DET degree from CMU definitely increased my passion about the role of technology in education. Technology is in everyday life. Technology is not only needed to keep up with global education but also as a social skill in today’s society now more than ever. Prior to COVID there was a need for teachers to be required to know how to choose and utilize technology within their classrooms. Currently, that need has only intensified with many school districts still needing to transfer over to virtual classrooms from face to face learning within a short notice.
-Which is your favorite technology tool in education and what do you like about it?
There are many technology tools that I find easy to adapt to and be useful. However, google tools probably come to mind first. They serve multiple purposes and are easy to use. Collaborative teaching and learning can readily be utilized through these tools.
-During and after pandemic most schools moved to virtual instructions, what do you think teachers should focus on while teaching online?
Know the student’s names and family background, as much as possible. This helps students feel welcomed and included in the learning process. This also helps the teachers to understand any issues that come up and how to best handle them.
-Do you think both f-2-f and virtual both have the same need of technology use?
They both have technology needs, however, in different ways. Virtual learning requires technology to continue the learning process when face to face learning must be removed. Proficiency is certainly best. However, on the job learning is manageable. Face to face settings also need to incorporate technology within a balanced curriculum. As mentioned previously, technology is a part of life and must be adaptable as consumers and producers.
-What do you think about PD and Technology use in education?
Technology training must be required in order to properly choose and utilize the appropriate technology tools within the classroom learning environment. Most teachers are not confident to use technology in front of students. Then these very expensive and educationally profitable machines sit idle in classrooms as dust collectors, when they could otherwise be used as the perfect resource for a specific skill. Professional Development can provide the proper training and confidence for educators to utilize these technology resources in a proactive learning environment.
-What do you think about new teachers’ ( students who are working towards their teaching degree) perceptions of using technology tools in education?
Through my study of preservice teachers’ perspectives on technology utilization in the classroom, most find a true value for using them toward the learning goal. They have an interest in learning more about how to choose and utilize the right technology tool for required educational skills. Preservice teachers need to build confidence and fluency toward using these educational resources and the proper technology training can get them to that point. Most preservice teachers agree that they can make time for this to happen. The biggest concern for utilizing technology tools is their professional image. Clearly, any resource used in front of students must be instruments that the teacher is familiar with so as to deliver teacher content knowledge in a smooth and fluid manner.
-Would you like to share any of your thoughts about your research?
Through my research with preservice teachers and educational technology, this process has increased my passion to assist preservice teachers, as well as experienced classroom teachers to develop the training needed to apply technology tools effectively toward educational learning goals.
am also proud to have presented a paper from this research at a SITE conference in the fall of 2021 and my paper has been published through this organization.
Thank you Dr. Homuth for your time.