Preservice teachers learning to teach online: Developing teacher leaders.


  • Rebecca Cooper
  • Samantha Mrstik
  • Joye Cauthen
  • Jillian Schreffler



educator preparation program, TPACK, technology education, online courses, online instruction, educational technology leadership


Technology is woven throughout our daily lives now more than ever. Therefore, teacher education programs need to meet this digital demand and begin to prepare teacher candidates for their future in teaching with technology. Even before COVID-19, K-12 education included virtual schools, therefore, the necessity of preparing teacher candidates for the successful implementation of online instruction are of utmost importance. To meet the needs of their future students, candidates must be prepared to integrate technology into their teaching as well as be prepared to teach online. To prepare 21st century learners, teacher candidates must create learning opportunities for their students to learn with and through technology. The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) structure was designed for teachers to understand the relationships between and among technology, pedagogy, and content. The purpose of this research was to revise traditional instruction where the professor models and implements technology tools to allow candidates the opportunity to develop their TPACK in their two years in a teacher education program. To develop the TPACK of teacher candidates, education preparation professionals worked together to design and implement the School of Education, Technology Integration Project. Through this innovative approach developed by a team of professors, the School of Education has changed its’ coursework in all programs to include more online teaching, the inclusion of technology for teaching content, and the use of assistive technology. As a result, student teachers and graduates are reporting that they are now being recognized as teacher technology leaders and are showcasing technology lessons at their schools.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Cooper

Dr. Rebecca Cooper is a professor in the School of Education at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. She has a background in biology, environmental science, and science education. Dr. Cooper has served in a leadership position for eight years as Chair of Assessment and Graduate Department Chair. In her 21 years of higher education experience, she has taught general education and science content and science methods courses online and on ground for graduate (MAT, M.Ed., and Ed.S.) and undergraduate students. Dr. Cooper has developed and taught online courses for 15 years. She works with education faculty to incorporate technology into their courses and provides online teaching support and training. Her areas of interest include assessment, incorporating environmental issues with STEM learning in the K-12 classroom, K-12 students’ attitude toward science, the integration of technology tools in K-12 learning environments, and K-12 online teaching barriers and ways to over them.

Samantha Mrstik

Dr. Samantha Mrstik is an associate professor in the Special Education and Social Foundations Department in the School of Education at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Prior to her role as a professor, she was a special education teacher in high schools outside of Orlando, Florida, USA for 15 years. Besides teaching special education coursework to preservice teachers, she supervises preservice, special education students, and teacher candidates and serves as the School of Education’s Simulation Specialist. Her areas of interest are technology in the classroom and international special education.

Joye Cauthen

Joye Cauthen is an Assistant Professor and the Librarian Liaison for the School of Education at Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA, USA. She serves as the Acquisitions Librarian for the Daniel J. Kaufman Library and Learning Centre and is a member of Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honour Society. Her leadership roles include the Faculty Senate and service in the American Library Association. Her professional areas of expertise include collection development, procurement, and evaluation of electronic resources. “Digital resources are vitally important. They equal the playing field and empower and equip our students and faculty to reach their fullest potentials.”

Jillian Schreffler

Dr. Jillian Schreffler is an Instructional Advisor in the Cumberland Valley School District in Mechanicsburg, PA. She works with secondary, special education teachers to build their instructional practices, and she works with novice teachers to help them integrate into the special education classrooms. Dr. Schreffler earned her doctorate at the University of Central Florida. Her research interests include Universal Design for Learning and the sexual education of students with disabilities.




How to Cite

Cooper, R., Mrstik, S., Cauthen, J., & Schreffler, J. (2024). Preservice teachers learning to teach online: Developing teacher leaders. International Journal for Leadership in Learning, 24(1), 36–58.