Thanks to my colleague John Delany who has just arrived back from Canada for introducing me to this report titled Coming To Teaching in the 21st Century: A Research Study Conducted by The Galileo Educational Network. For those looking for a quick summary there’s also a 14 page executive summary.
The report explores the idea that preparing teachers today requires critical examination of what it means to teach and learn in increasingly networked, technology-rich classrooms, and notes that most young people entering teacher
preparation courses in Alberta have not, themselves, experienced such classrooms.
The objectives of the study were to:
- identify and describe emerging, innovative pedagogical practices that prepare and support pre-service teachers to integrate technology effectively in their practicum and pre-service education;
- situate these emerging practices within the context of the research literature;
- generalize themes from individual cases that add to the body of research knowledge and theory about the factors that contribute to the successful and sustained use of innovative technology-based pedagogical practices within teacher education; and
- provide recommendations for future action in terms of teacher preparation.
Key findings from the report are:
- Teaching and learning with technology is, fundamentally, a pedagogical rather than a technical matter.
- Fluency with technology does not translate automatically into the ability to teach effectively with it.
- Changes to transmissionist or presentational pedagogy and conventional teaching approaches on campus yield significant results.
- Well-constructed digital environments provide engaging and meaningful interaction for students
- Disconnects between campus and practicum experiences with technology integration impede the effectiveness of teacher preparation
- New approaches to professional development partnerships and to field placement practices show promise in bridging the gap between campus and practicum experiences
- Technology, infrastructure and support still present considerable challenges on campus and in schools.
- Innovation is often a lonely road.
The report contains a number of recommendations, each of which is followed by a list of implications for universities, government and schools & school districts.
No great surprises in this report, but heartening to see such a weight of research behind it. Really interesting to see the emphasis on pedagogy over simply technological skills development, or an emphasis only on digital content use and distribution.