10 SES 07 C, ICT Competence and Teaching for Equity
The place of ICT in teaching and learning continues to be fundamental, especially in knowledge-based economies. With the increase of social media, MOOCs and location-aware technology it is timely to re-examine the perceptions of Pre-Service Teacher Education tutors’ perceptions of the role of ICT in the professional education of student teachers. Some may see their role as ‘functionalist’, preparing student teachers to use ICT within current school curricula; others may consider their role in a more strategic way to include a critique of existing policies and practice, while in some instances tutors may regard their role as ‘transformative’ by enabling students to support new ways of learning through embracing highly innovative approaches with societal impact. However to what extent are these ‘models’ or paradigms evidenced in the pedagogy of the ITE tutor? To date little empirical evidence exists to address this question, nor have other models of practice been identified. The objective of the research was to investigate the attitudes and dispositions of pre-service Teacher Educators in Ireland and NI when embedding technology into their teaching, and the extent to which institutions can indirectly impose barriers to transformative practices.
This study uses The UNESCO Competency framework For Teachers as the lens for analysing the successive stages of a teacher educator’s pedagogy in using ICT ranging from Technology Literacy through Knowledge Deepening and finally to Knowledge Creation.
The research strategy employed in this study was an exploratory convergent mixed methods design (Essling et al., 2017, Creswell, 2014, Creswell et al. 2011) that used qualitative and quantitative methods to explore ITE tutors’ perspectives on the challenges and expectations of the 21st-century learner in ITE. An online survey explored how ITE tutors manage their own technological and pedagogical development. The questions used in this study consisted of a series of open and ordinal bipolar responses (e.g. strongly disagree, disagree, indifferent, agree, agree strongly) in response to a series of statements relating to the use of ICT in ITE. These scales did not apply to questions that provided nominal data asking for yes/no responses. The survey was distributed to eight ITE institutions on the island of Ireland, whose Heads of School had already consented to participating in the study. All teacher education tutors whose core role was teaching on a pre-service programme were approached to participate in the study. Following the judicious use of reminders, 37 fully completed responses were analysed using SPSS version 22.0. The reliability of the questionnaire was checked using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient on all scaled items that had an ordinal measurement scale. All item subscales for this study had a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient greater than 0.6. To further explore the use of ICT by ITE tutors and their students it was decided to carry out a series of semi-structured lecture observations and follow-up interviews with a number of these tutors. These observations were carried out in five different institutions on the island with a total of 12 tutors consenting to this second phase of data collection.
Overall, the survey responses seemed to suggest that at least some ITE tutors were moving beyond seeing ICT as merely functionalist in their preparation of student teachers, towards a more transformative orientation. However, in the observations and subsequent interviews, very few examples of ‘transformative’ practice emerged, and traditional teaching, albeit with embedded technology, prevailed in most instances. While transformative use of technologies was very much the exception, there was much good practice. Tutors were very quick to evaluate technologies and to reject those they saw as ‘gimmicks’; they used and modelled for students technologies which they could see would have an impact on learning and teaching. It is nonetheless the case that, in most instances, this use fell short of ‘transformative’, perhaps delivering ‘knowledge deepening’ rather than ‘knowledge creation’ (UNESCO, 2005). There were some instances in the observations, backed up by interviews, where technology was being used to ‘disrupt’ and challenge the students’ views of learning and teaching, and these were often useful in developing students’ conceptions of how best to use ICT to support learning and teaching. When approaches were approaching ‘transformation’, it was noted that both pedagogical alongside technological skills and knowledge of content were important to allow that to happen and it may be a challenge to get alignment in these areas to allow ‘transformational’ use of technology to happen. Analysis of the data reveals a negative institutional impact on policy implementation, curriculum knowledge and assessment, and the transition from basic ICT usage to pervasive embedding of technology. It would appear that pedagogy, organisation and administration of teaching and learning, and tutor professional development are less institutionally-controlled and as a result the capacity for creative development is greater.
Ananiadou, K. & Rizza, C., 2010, July. ICT in Initial Teacher training: first findings and conclusions of an OECD study. In Conference Proceedings: L. Gomez Chova, D. Marta Belenguer, I. Candel Torres, IATED (eds.), Proceedings of EDULEARN10 Conference (pp. 5-7). Retrieved from http://woulibrary.wou.edu.my/weko/eed502/ICT_in_initial_teacher_training.pdf Creswell, J. W., Klassen, A., Plano Clark, V. L., & Clegg Smith, C. 2011. Best practices for mixed methods research in the health sciences. Bethesda, MD: Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://obssr.od.nih.gov/scientific_areas/ methodology/mixed_methods_research/index.aspx Creswell, J. W., Klassen, A., Plano Clark, V. L., & Clegg Smith, C. 2011. Best practices for mixed methods research in the health sciences. Bethesda, MD: Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://obssr.od.nih.gov/scientific_areas/ methodology/mixed_methods_research/index.aspx Creswell, J.W., (2014). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. London: Sage. Dexter, S., & Riedel, E. 2003. Why improving preservice teacher educational technology preparation must go beyond the college’s walls. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(4), pp. 334–346. Doty, D.H. & Glick, W.H. 1994. Typologies as a unique form of theory building: toward improved understanding and modeling”, Academy of Management Review, 19 (2), pp. 230-51. Eifler, K., Greene, T., & Carroll, J. 2001. Walking the talk is tough: From a single technology course to infusion. The Educational Forum, 65(4), pp. 366–375. Enochson.A & Rizza, C. 2009. ICT in initial teacher training: research review. OECD. EDU Working paper 38. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/46456672_ICT_in_Initial_Teacher_Training_Research_Review Haydn,T. 2014. How do you get pre-service teachers to become ‘good at ICT’ in their subject teaching? The views of expert practitioners, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 23 (4), pp. 455-469. Haydn, T. & Barton, R. 2008. ‘First do no harm’: Factors influencing teachers’ ability and willingness to use ICT in their subject teaching, Computers and Education, (51), pp. 439-447
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