Before I became a teacher educator I was an assistant professor in educational science and a researcher in the field of ict in education. I was asked to give a series of lectures (an elective course) on ict in secondary education as a guest lecturer at the Teacher Education Institution (TEI) I am currently employed at. The course I had planned turned out to be too much ict and too little teaching in secondary education. One of the biggest surprises for me, was the low level of basic knowledge of ict, tools, experiments with ict, sharing useful sites and tools together I found in these pre-service teachers almost at the end of their training. I was almost as if they had not encountered any use of ict during their training.
I talked about this with the teacher educators a bit and noticed a combination of lack of knowledge and skills, lack of time, lack of space in the curriculum and for some a lack of urgency. These same factors have been found time and time again when it comes to ict in education, (see for example Mumtaz, 2000; Buabeng-Andoh, 2012). Based on these experiences I slightly adapted my series of lectures, and after a while I became an assistant professor at the institution, with amongst others, the (non-formal) task of professionally developing the other teacher educators with regard to ict. In this blogpost I share some of my thoughts and actions on this issue.
In his blog post, Jo Tondeur presented the SQD (Synthesis of Qualitative Research) model on which strategies best prepare pre-service teachers to integrate technology into their future classrooms (Tondeur et al., 2012). An important strategy is having teacher educators act as role models. By using ict in their own teaching, making their choices for the ict use explicit, and encouraging their students to discover these tools for themselves, teacher educators can help pre-service teachers to integrate ICT in their teaching and learning practices. However, in practice this is easier said than done.
One of the first questions that comes into mind is: do teacher educators WANT to be a role model for ict use?
A part of the respondents said they did not want to be a role model with regard to the use of ict and when they did consider themselves to be a role model, they often used ict, but did not make this explicit. In terms of Lunenberg et al. (2007), most teacher educators do not model ict use explicitly, nor do they facilitate the translation into the student teachers’ own practice or connect exemplary behaviour to theory.
I try to tackle these two ‘problems’: lack of knowledge and skills and lack of explicit modelling in a few ways. I explicitly model my use of ict in my own teaching and share this with my colleagues (while talking to them, or by providing a link to my blog). I occasionally write about a tool in our newsletter and I write how the tool can be used in secondary education and how we can use it in teacher education. I also try to create resources my colleagues can use in their own teaching. An example of this is my Blendspace (in Dutch) where I discuss the model for Explicit Direct Instruction (with phases like activating prior knowledge, instruction/concept development, guided practice, etc.) and useful tools in each part of the model.
Colleagues can provide this as a source to students, without having to know all these tools themselves. I think it is important to match ict with content that has been in our program for quite some time and will probably be there for years to come. Furthermore I have been involved in co-writing our new vision on ICT in our curriculum and based on that we will soon have some time as colleagues to view, use, try and reflect on some tools and ideas. Sharing our own use of ict, discussing our own questions, seeing what we all do or don’t do is going to be a powerful step in integrating the use of ict in our own teaching. I am looking forward to the future!
Buabeng-Andoh, C. (2012). Factors influencing teachers’ adoption and integration of information and communication technology into teaching: A review of the literature. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 8(1), 136-155
Lunenberg, M., Korthagen, F., & Swennen, A. (2007). The teacher educator as a role model. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 586-601
Mumtaz, S. (2000). Factors Affecting Teachers’ Use of Information and Communications Technology: a review of the literature. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 9(3), 319-342
Tondeur, J., van Braak, J., Sang, G., Voogt, J., Fisser, P., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2012). Preparing pre-service teachers to integrate technology in education: A synthesis of qualitative evidence. Computers & Education, 59(1), 134-144
Amber Walraven (1980) is an assistant professor at the Radboud Teachers Academy in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. As a researcher she is interested in both students and teachers and how they can 'make the most' of education, teaching and learning together. What is the role of a teacher, or a student, how do their views on learning impact teaching and learning, what is the role of the curriculum? How do you help students and teachers to take a look at 'today' and use that to shape their next lesson, course, project?
She firmly believes education is 'on the move' and we can improve it by asking and answering the right questions, together. She has an extra interest in the role of ict in this whole process. As a teacher educator she teaches general didactics, ict in education, educational design and design & research.