Coming to teach in the 21st Century

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:

  1. Teaching and learning with technology is, fundamentally, a pedagogical rather than a technical matter.
  2. Fluency with technology does not translate automatically into the ability to teach effectively with it.
  3. Changes to transmissionist or presentational pedagogy and conventional teaching approaches on campus yield significant results.
  4. Well-constructed digital environments provide engaging and meaningful interaction for students
  5. Disconnects between campus and practicum experiences with technology integration impede the effectiveness of teacher preparation
  6. New approaches to professional development partnerships and to field placement practices show promise in bridging the gap between campus and practicum experiences
  7. Technology, infrastructure and support still present considerable challenges on campus and in schools.
  8. 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.

One thought on “Coming to teach in the 21st Century

  1. Hey Derek,

    good to see the key findings of the report in your blog (not into having a ‘quick read’ of the 14 page summary)..

    I agree with point 2 that even though you may be technically able, doesn’t mean you can teach effectively with it. I find myself in that situation where I have more technical knowledge than teaching knowledge. When I first started out teaching stuff like blogging and garageband, it was pretty crappy for my students – it was better to have preparation and communication skills than technical skills.

    Slowly, as I teach more people and develop my communication and preparation skills, I am beginning to realise that my students get more out of what i am teaching them, instead of looks of bewilderment.


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