01 SES 07 A, Technology and Professional Development
As part of the European Commission’s DigitalAgenda for Europe, the recent Survey of Schools: ICT in Education (2013) has “benchmarked information from 31 European countries on the access, use, competence and attitudes of students and teachers regarding ICT in schools”. The study has highlighted the fact that there is a disparity across many European countries that face a number of challenges including: resources, Continuing Professional Development [CPD], as well as a widely held belief by many teachers “that there is a need for radical change to take place for ICT to be fully exploited in teaching and learning”. Therefore, the research project presented here needs to be considered within a European context.
The focus, and interest for this paper was sparked by findings from the British Educational Communications and Technology Association’s [BECTA]Harnessing Technology Schools Survey (Kitchen et al., 2007) which reported that nearly 40% of secondary teachers and 20% of primary teachers said that they had sought advice from pupils concerning the use of ICT. Although the notion of problem-posing education (Freire, 1972) and the dynamics of relationships between pupils and teachers is not new, this study explores students as instructors, alternative models of CPD and innovation concerning the use of technologies to support teaching and learning.
The epistemological premise for this research study is that if pupils can impart their knowledge of technologies, teachers can use their pedagogical understanding in order to deliver learning experiences which will be more likely to engage their students. This study, therefore, explores the conditions needed to bring about this step-change. The principal research questions are as follows:
(1) If the teacher-to-pupil model of instruction is reversed enabling the pupil to become the educator, and the teacher the learner, then how will this affect (2) The way pupils and teachers engage with technology; and (3) The nature of learning and teaching experiences, and therefore the relationships and distribution of leadership between pupils and educators.
This paper is theoretically framed and underpinned by the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1990; 1994; 1998) with a particular focus on his constructs of habitus, capital and field as well as his notion of ‘cultural lag’.
In 1965 Bourdieu observed that adolescent subculture is very distant from the culture of the teachers teaching them, and that the gap which exists between the values and experiences of teachers and their students is due to a ‘cultural lag’ in which society outstrips the education system at an ever increasing pace. Today, ‘cultural lag’ can be considered to translate itself into the digital tapestry of the 21st century where, in many cases, pupils’ knowledge and habitual use of ICTs outstrips that of the teachers teaching them (Becta, 2008).
There are ongoing discussions as to whether there is actually a divide between the technological competency of digital natives and digital immigrants (Li and Ranieri, 2010; Prensky, 2001). Some teachers feel threatened because they find themselves in situations where the pupil is more knowledgeable than they are (Condie et al., 2007; Office for Standards in Education [OFSTED], 2009). Initial findings from this study indicate that seeking advice from pupils should be encouraged because it can build relationships and break down barriers as well as encouraging pupils and teachers to work together in new ways.
The UK is contended to be one of the world leaders in the use of technology in education although the latest findings concerning Key ICT Indicators from OECD (2012) reveal a diverse digital landscape. This study therefore has implications for other European countries in the context of ICT and education.
British Educational Communications and Technology Agency [Becta] (2008) Harnessing Technology Review 2008: The role of technology and its impact on education: full report, Coventry: Becta. Available at: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/1423/1/becta_2008_htreview_report.pdf [Accessed 19 January 2014]. Borg, S. (2006) Teacher Cognition and Language Education: Research and Practice. London: Continuum. Bourdieu, P. (1990) The Logic of Practice. R. Nice [Trans.] Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu, P. (1998) Practical Reason. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu, P., Passeron, J-C. & De Saint Martin, M. (1994) Academic Discourse. R. Teese [Trans.] Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu, P. & Wacquant, L. (1992) An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press. Condie, R. and Munro, B. with Seagraves, L. and Kenesson, S. (2007) The impact of ICT in schools – a landscape review. Coventry: Becta. Available at: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/view/organisations/becta.html [Accessed 19 January 2014]. Elliot, J. (2009) ‘Building Educational Theory through Action Research’. In Handbook of educational action research, S. Noffke, & B. Somekh [Eds.]. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 28-38. European Commission (2013) Digital Agenda for Europe - Survey of Schools: ICT in Education. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/node/51275 [Accessed: 19 January 2014]. Fielding, M. (2001) Students as radical agents of change. Journal of Educational Change, (2) 123-141. Geertz, C. (1973) Thick Description: towards an interpretive theory of culture. In C. Geertz [Ed.] The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books. Kitchen, S., Finch, S., & Sinclair, R. (2007) Harnessing Technology Schools Survey 2007. Coventry: Becta. Available at: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/1554/ [Accessed 19 January 2014]. Li, Y. & Ranieri, M. (2010) ‘Are ‘digital natives’ really digitally competent?—A study on Chinese teenagers’, British Journal of Educational Technology 4, 6: 1029–1042. McNiff, J., Lomax, P. & Whitehead, J. (2002) You and your action research project. London: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] (2012) Key ICT Indicators. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/internet/broadband/oecdkeyictindicators.htm [Accessed 19 January 2014]. Office for Standards in Education [OFSTED] (2009) The importance of ICT: Information and communication technology in primary and secondary schools, 2005/2008. London: Ofsted. Reference no: 070035. Available at: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/importance-of-ict-information-and-communication-technology-primary-and-secondary-schools-20052008 [Accessed 19 January 2014]. Noffke, S. (2009) ‘Revisiting the Professional, Personal, and Political Dimensions of Action Research’. In Handbook of educational action research, S. Noffke, and B. Somekh [Eds.]. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 6-24. Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, In On the Horizon, MCB University Press, 9, 5: 1-6.
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