10 SES 14 C, Partnerships and Communities of Practice
Computers and other digital technologies are ubiquitous in the lives of teachers and students in developed countries across the world. However this does not make teachers and students skilled users of ICT, as it is probable that there is little, or no, transfer of social media technological skills into practical school classroom teaching with ICT. Supported by findings from small-scale research carried out over many years, the views about ICT among students commencing a teacher education course are investigated.
Over a decade ago the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) reported that the major restrictions to classroom use of ICT by UK teachers were a lack of teacher confidence in using ICT in classrooms and a perceived lack of access to quality resources such as up to date hardware, software, and relevant professional training (Becta 2003). Later studies from a variety of countries and education systems have reported similar barriers to classroom use of ICT by teachers (for example Yildirim (2007), Drent and Meelissen (2008), Binglimas (2009), and OECD (2015)). In addition a number of recent large scale national and international studies have investigated factors including computer access in and outside schools, uses and perceptions of use of computers for teaching and learning, and ICT related knowledge and skills. Although these studies tended to focus on students, they also reported on school and teacher use of technologies. In several studies it was suggested that teacher education has not been able to keep up with the pace and scope of technological change in schools and society. For example OECD (2015) included the comment “For the first time, today’s parents and teachers have little, if any, experience with the tools that children are going to use every day in their adult lives” (p. 185). The report also argued that “difficulties in locating high-quality digital learning resources from among a plethora of poor-quality ones, a lack of clarity on the learning goals, and insufficient pedagogical preparation for blending technology meaningfully into lessons and curricula, create a wedge between expectations and reality” (OECD, 2015, p.190).
In many countries there is ongoing debate concerning the place of the use of digital technologies in schools. The OECD (2015) research investigated how students are being prepared for life in a technologically enhanced world. In relation to student reading, writing and mathematics it was argued that students need to be proficient both with and without technology, and noted that “greatest benefits accrue to those who have the ability to design digital solutions, adapting or creating machine algorithms to fit one’s needs. These capacities build on advanced reasoning and problem-solving skills and require good mastery of symbolic and formal language” (p.187).
As a teacher educator over several decades, the author has had annual opportunities to question students commencing their teacher education about their knowledge and use of ICT. Using both questionnaires and discussion groups, data was collected about digital and mobile technology use in their personal life, what subjects and at which levels they had used ICT in their primary and secondary schooling, and how they anticipated ICT would be part of their teaching practice and teacher education. The paper-based questionnaires were completed during the initial class, and some group discussions were audio recorded in subsequent classes. The final item on the questionnaire was a request to sketch what the beginning teachers thought a classroom in the school they had been assigned to, but had not visited, would look like. Analysis of the sketches of what beginning teacher education students anticipated a classroom would look like in an upcoming teaching round is interesting and informative. Not surprisingly there was a great diversity among the content of the sketches. Almost all the primary teachers showed themselves among, or at least next to, children. Most often this appeared to be on the floor or at tables arranged in a circle around the teacher. This contrasted with most of the secondary students who sketched themselves as a teacher in front of students sitting in rows. Sometimes the teacher was doing something, for example using scientific apparatus or writing on the board. Although repeated over many years, these sketches have never included any form of ICT. For many students it is a major shock to discover that they have to attend compulsory ICT classes and workshops, and that they could be expected to teach with ICT on a teaching round. Often they are unaware that in Australia it is mandatory for graduating teachers to have undertaken subjects that will prepare them to use a range of ICT skills and applications for both teaching and non-teaching purposes. When the following quotation is presented as a goal when using ICT with students there is usually disbelief/opposition. “In my vision, the child programs the computer and, in doing so, both acquires a sense of mastery over a piece of the most modern and powerful technology and establishes an intimate contact with … intellectual model building” (Papert, 1980, p.5).
The reports noted earlier in this paper, together with the research data collected and analysed, have identified issues that both experienced and beginning teachers reported as causing problems with using and integrating ICT into teaching. Five of these issues are that were present in several projects are: • the teachers did not learn with ICT when they were school students; • pre-service teacher courses focus on techniques for teaching whole classes in face-to-face mode, and neglect learning and teaching with ICT; • in some subject areas, particularly at secondary school levels, there is an expectation that content will be taught in a traditional way; • the focus of much teacher professional development is on technology rather than pedagogy; and • the educational hardware and software available is continually changing. The first of these issues was clearly shown by a lack of knowledge about ICT in classrooms shown by students at the beginning of a pre-service teacher education course. Other issues appear when busy classroom teachers are asked to take on the additional burden of working with someone transitioning from student to teacher, and often using ICT as an integrated part of classroom learning and teaching is neglected. These issues will be discussed in more detail in the full paper, and implications for both teachers and student teachers will be explored.
Becta (2003). What the research says about barriers to the use of ICT in teaching. Retrieved January 5, 2018 from www.mmiweb.org.uk/publications/ict/Research_Barriers_TandL.pdf Binglimas, K. (2009). Barriers to the successful integration of ICT in teaching and learning environments: A review of the literature. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 2009, 5(3), 235-245. Drent, M. & Meelissen, M. (2008). Which factors obstruct or stimulate teacher educators to use ICT innovatively? Computers & Education 51 (2008) 187–199. Fraillon, J., Ainley, J., Schulz, W., Friedman, T., & Gebhardt, E. (2014). Preparing for life in a digital age. Springer-Verlag GmbH. OECD (2014), A Teachers' Guide to TALIS 2013: Teaching and Learning International Survey, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264216075-en OECD (2015), Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection. PISA, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264239555-en Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas. New York: Basic Books Yildirim, S. (2007). Current utilization of ICT in Turkish basic education: A review of teacher’s ICT use and barriers to integration. International Journal of Instructional Media, 34(2) 171-186.
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