ERG SES H 14, Teachers' Professional Development
Currently we are facing a new socioeconomic context that is affecting every human activity field, from health to education, from public to private, from global to local (Bauman, 2000; Courrier, 2000; Castells, 2006; Morozov, 2018; Sennet, 2005). In fact, we are at the beginning of what technology engineers and businesspeople call the 4.0 revolution (Big Data, the internet of things, biotechnology, 3D printing, robots, etc.) (Williamson, 2017).
According to IBM, every day we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, that means that 90% of the data in the world has been generated during the last two years. Every minute Internet generates 98,000 tweets, people download 23.149 apps, 27,000 people are connected on Facebook and 1.3 million videos are being watched in Youtube (Joyanes, 2013). These figures are all a good reflection of the frenzied pace of modern life.
This first approach to the XXI society made me reflect about something else: if someone like me, who belongs to a generation that has grown up with the creation and boom of the first digital devices (internet, mobile phone, digital cameras, videogames, etc.) and for whom they constitute a day-to-day, (sometimes even indispensable), I feel overwhelmed with so many changes, how much more challenging must the situation be for those who have had to learn how to use them “by force”? What is more, how are these technologies going to be perceived by these new generations, those already born in 4.0 revolution? In other words, and following Prensky’s (2001) terminology, how differently are they absorbed by the so-called digital natives and digital immigrants?
Focusing on education, what do these dramatic changes mean for students and teachers? For instance, nowadays 65 percent of children will end working in careers and jobs that have not been invented yet (Davidson, 2012). Due to this situation, the following research questions emerge:
- How are public universities training primary school teachers to face educational challenges in the digital society?
- Do undergraduate students feel prepared to face these educational challenges related to the digital society?
The transformations that society is undergoing have led initial and in-service teacher’s professional development towards new pedagogical and scientific insights. This is evidenced by the numerous studies generated by OECD, TALIS, UNESCO and other agencies concerned with the teaching profession. For instance, a study carried out by Sancho, Sánchez & Domingo (2017) showed that despite the reforms implemented on initial teacher education in Spain, to this respect there are a set of unfulfilled challenges. In my view, the changes operated in the education field, albeit significant, are insufficient to face this little-known environment as novice teachers.
As a consequence, the main objective of my PhD research is to describe, analyze and interpret the experience of the students of the bachelor’s degree in Primary Education and how prepared are they to face the educational challenges of digital society.
These would be specific aims:
- To Identify primary education challenges in digital society, including the increasing presence of migrant students in the classrooms.
- To analyze how curricula of bachelor’s degree in Primary Education are taking into account our society and its challenges.
- To describe and analyze the perceptions about our object of study of students, alumni and curriculum coordinators across different universities.
- To contrast the point of view of the students, alumni and coordinators about their professional development and the challenges of this new context.
This ongoing PhD is part of the European project Micreate. It is based on two case studies (Stake, 1995). It is carried out in two public universities of the area of Catalonia. For a deeper understanding of the phenomenon we will use different data collection strategies to listen to the testimonies of the different protagonists in the initial professional development of primary school teachers (students, alumni, curriculum coordinators): ● Analysis of documentary sources (Mason, 1996). ● Focus group with students and graduates from each case (Ibáñez, 2003). ● Semi-structured interview with curriculum coordinators (Latorre, Rincón, Arnal, 1996). ● Non participant observation in each university (Creswell, 2014) Due to the fact that this is a current project, we find ourselves in the first stages. Reading literature related to the research project, looking for similar projects, analyzing the curriculum, syllabus, as well as the recommended bibliography, the material given to the students… of each of both universities.
The research study focuses on the contemporary debate about the role of the education in the XXI century, specifically about the duties of the teacher and the current academic profile. The intention is not drawing how the future will be, but to reason about the role of the school in the digital society. Also, the importance that the professional development of teachers should have in order for them to be able to deal with the challenges of teaching future generations. Due to the fact of dealing with the initial phases of an investigation, only one test has been done. We have done a focus group formed by five students who finished the degree recently and studied at one of the two universities that are being studied. The results show that the participants have a critical perspective about their initial teacher education, although the university is not the only institution pointed out, but all the education system. We can highlight the following ideas: • They consider that they have not been prepared to carry on methodological changes neither reflective processes. • They feel that in the degree there is a lack of information about the following topics: cybersecurity, image rights, cyberbullying, Fommo, etc. • Initial teacher training does not contemplate the new student profiles (igen, digital natives, z generation). • The teacher should not reach a point of stagnation, they should keep developing their skills and methods in order to adapt to the evolving society. • They are aware of the changes that society has suffered, distinguishing the pros and cons.
Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Castells, M. (2006). La era de la información: Economía, sociedad y cultura: Vol. 3: Fin de milenio (4a ed.). Madrid: Alianza. Creswell, J. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. London: Sage. Courrier, Y. (2000). Societé de l'information et technologies. UNESCO Web World News/Point of View. http://www.unesco.org/webworld/points_of_views/courrier_1.shtml Davidson, C.N. (2012). Now you see it: How technology and brain science will transform schools and business for the 21st century. Nueva York, NY: Penguin Books. Ibáñez, J. (2003). Más allá de la sociología: El grupo de discusión: Teoría y crítica. Madrid: Siglo XXI Editores. Joyanes, L. (2013). Big Data: Análisis de grandes volúmenes de datos en organizaciones. México D.F., México: Alfaomega. Latorre, A., del Rincón, D., Arnal, J. (1996). Bases metodológicas de la investigación educativa. Barcelona: Ediciones Experiencia. Mason, J. (1996). Qualitative researching. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Morozov, E. (2018). Capitalismo Big Tech: ¿welfare o neofeudalismo digital?. Madrid. Enclave de libros. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1108/10748120110424816 Sancho, J.M., Sánchez, J.A., Domingo, M. (2017). Research-based insights on initial teacher education in Spain. European journal of teacher education 40(3), 310-325. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02619768.2017.1320388 Sennet, R. (2005). La corrosión del carácter: Las consecuencias personales del trabajo en el nuevo capitalismo. Barcelona: Anagrama. Stake, R.E. (1995). The art of case study research. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Williamson, B. (2017). Big Data in Education: the digital future of learning policy and practice. London: Sage.
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