|Dr. Len Austin, assistant
professor of education at Black Hills State University,
presented a workshop at the 11th International Conference
for the Society for Information Technology and Teacher
Education (SITE 2000) recently in San Diego, Calif.
presentation titled "E-mail for Preservice Teachers
in the Year 2000" focused on original research
conducted by Austin in the area of facilitating
out-of-class interactions between students and
instructors, and between students themselves.
Austin also discussed his two-year survey of
preservice teachers regarding how they think e-mail could
be better used in the year 2000. His data revealed that
students want quicker access to class information
(especially up-to-date information on their grades),
notification of cancelled classes, and the ability to get
class information if they are absent. Students also said
they want to be able to have private conversations with
their instructors, and access sample tests.
In addition, Austin discussed the effectiveness of
utilizing e-mail to communicate with cooperating teachers
(inservice elementary school teachers) in the field who
are supervising BHSU student teachers.
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|Austin, who teaches
educational psychology and child development courses at
BHSU, also described his unique use of "e-mail
masters" in his college courses; wherein he
designates one student to coordinate the flow of
information to all students enrolled in that class.
the conference Austin said, "With the increased
access to e-mail by most college students, college
instructors in the next millennium must use this
technology to much greater effect than in the past. At
this conference instructional technologists and
advanced-thinkers in the field of electronic
communications shared ideas about e-mail and internet use
with college students. The overriding purpose of this
international group was to find ways to better prepare
future teachers to use technology effectively in their
classrooms to improve learning."
Austin pointed out that South Dakota has the highest
ratio in the nation of computer to student, with one
computer for every four students. "That means our
future teachers had better be technology literate upon
graduation from BHSU, because their students will
be," said Austin.
Austin has a doctorate degree from the University of
Wyoming in educational psychology and counseling and was
an assistant professor at SDSU before coming to BHSU in
1997. He currently serves on the College of Education's