Redesigning Initial Teacher Education

Redesigning Initial Teacher Education

Mary Simpson (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Bill Anderson (University of Otago, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-296-1.ch004
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A teacher education programme previously taught in distinct on-campus and distance forms was redesigned to take advantage of the affordances offered by a blended learning approach. The redesign process described here drew on three areas – the research and practice base of adult learning, knowledge of and experience with the design of learning communities, and the findings of research activities focused on the original distance form of the programme. The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) enabled blending of technologies, media, modes of delivery, and learning activities and was central to the redesign process. However that process was driven overall by a commitment to educational principles not the potential of technologies. Other considerations in the redesign process include the demands placed on staff, the value of programme-level redesign, and the need for ongoing monitoring of the redesign process and evaluation of the programme during implementation. The implications for blended learning in teacher education programmes are discussed.
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Blended learning is not new. What is new is the widespread recognition that new ways of blending technologies, media, modes of delivery, and activities provide opportunities to enhance and possibly even transform teaching and learning in the higher education sector. Those new ways are particularly focused on changing traditional patterns of on-campus teaching and almost inevitably involve the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs). They represent attempts to meet the challenges of student engagement and connectivity, the requirements of lifelong learning for a diverse student body, and demands for high quality learning experiences.

The challenges to which blended learning is a response are difficult and multi-faceted. The distinction between the ‘traditional’ young, full-time on-campus student cohort and the ‘non-traditional’ older, part-time distance student group is blurring as these modes of delivery converge and both groups are becoming increasingly diverse. Agencies funding higher education are demanding higher quality courses with higher qualification completion rates. The uptake of ICTs in social and work lives is considerable and means students bring ICT experience and expectations of use with them to their higher education experience.

Blended learning offers considerable potential to meet the challenges outlined, but also confounds many attempts because of its own multi-faceted nature. Stacey and Gerbic (2007) describe blended learning as “the combination of modes of learning and teaching made possible through the mediation of ICT” (p.166). The simplicity of the phrase ‘combination of modes’ belies the complexities of finding ‘combinations of modes’ that are manageable by staff and students, effectively support student learning, and are cost-effective for both students and institutions.

Many aspects of teaching and learning can be combined to create blended learning environments. Four areas that each contain many possibilities were noted above – technologies, media, modes of delivery and activities. The generic term ‘ICT’ signals blended learning’s engagement with a range of digital technologies and these are complemented by the older, ‘softer’ technologies associated with on-campus teaching represented by such areas as knowledge of face-to-face group processes or mastery learning. Use of a range of media in on-campus teaching is not uncommon, but the possibilities that ICT use affords for combining media is considerable and relatively new. Our use of the term ‘modes of delivery’ represents the space-time dimension of study. Are learners and teachers present in the same or different physical spaces? Are learners and teachers present at the same or different times? Combinations of responses to these two questions create a range of spaces for learners and learning. Finally, activity and interactivity is the basis of learning. Structuring activities and interaction with the resources, and within the frameworks implied by the previous areas to ensure consistent, sustainable and effective blended learning opportunities, requires considerable knowledge, careful planning, and thoughtful integration.

Garrison and Kanuka (2004) assert that institutions taking advantage of consistent, sustainable and effective blended learning opportunities will transform the higher education learning environment they provide to students. The emphasis on transformation reinforces the notion that blended learning is about integration rather than addition. Blended learning is undertaken effectively when courses and programmes are re-designed to integrate components and activities rather than adding more or replacing those past their use-by date. Effective integration ensures that courses will be media-rich, collaborative, interactive and personalised, assisting in the movement from teacher-focused learning environments to those that are learning-centred.

In this chapter, we report on the redesign of a university-based initial teacher education programme to take advantage of the potential of blended learning, and the research that underpinned that redesign. At the time of redesign the programme had been delivered for the past ten years with both a traditional face-to-face option and a distance option that integrated online communication with a more traditional print-based resource-driven approach. These options had been delivered, quite separately, at a dual-mode university with a long and successful history of provision of distance education. The redesign presented an opportunity to reconceptualise the delivery options, blending modes, activities and media, and to integrate, from the outset, affordances offered by new ICTs.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Robin Mason
Elizabeth Stacey, Philippa Gerbic
Chapter 1
Elizabeth Stacey, Philippa Gerbic
Blended learning is now part of the learning landscape in higher education, not just for campus-based courses but for courses designed for students... Sample PDF
Introduction to Blended Learning Practices
Chapter 2
Philippa Gerbic
Online discussions are now available as a pedagogical option in blended learning environments in universities. Much of the research to date has... Sample PDF
Including Online Discussions Within Campus-Based Students' Learning Environments
Chapter 3
Ruth Geer
This chapter describes an investigation of strategies for fostering higher order cognition in a blended learning environment. The exploration, which... Sample PDF
Strategies for Blended Approaches in Teacher Education
Chapter 4
Mary Simpson, Bill Anderson
A teacher education programme previously taught in distinct on-campus and distance forms was redesigned to take advantage of the affordances offered... Sample PDF
Redesigning Initial Teacher Education
Chapter 5
Ana A. Carvalho, Zdena Lustigova, Frantisek Lustig
This chapter describes two European projects that respond to blended learning by integrating innovative technologies into blended learning... Sample PDF
Integrating New Technologies into Blended Learning Environments
Chapter 6
Guglielmo Trentin, Steve Wheeler
This chapter provides a further two European perspectives on blended learning. The first section is an overview of the ways in which the concept of... Sample PDF
Teacher and Student Responses to Blended Environments
Chapter 7
Peter J. Smith, Elizabeth Stacey, Tak Shing Ha
The majority of research and literature in collaborative learning online has been focussed on groups of students organised into units of study by an... Sample PDF
Blending Collaborative Online Learning with Workplace and Community Contexts
Chapter 8
Terrie Lynn Thompson, Heather Kanuka
The growing need for professional development to help university instructors with the adoption of online teaching is being propelled from several... Sample PDF
Establishing Communities of Practice for Effective and Sustainable Professional Development for Blended Learning
Chapter 9
Julie Mackey
Blended learning is examined via the experiences of teachers participating in qualification-bearing online professional development courses while... Sample PDF
Virtual Learning and Real Communities: Online Professional Development for Teachers
Chapter 10
Suzanne Riverin
This chapter examines the use of blended learning in an online community which supported teacher professional development in the province of... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and Professional Development in the K-12 Sector
Chapter 11
Faye Wiesenberg, Elizabeth Stacey
This study explores the similarities and differences between Canadian and Australian university teachers’ face-to-face and online teaching... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and Teaching Philosophies: Implications for Practice
Chapter 12
Gayani Samarawickrema
This chapter focuses on the factors relating to adopting blended learning by teaching academics and the associated social world around technology... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and the New Pressures on the Academy: Individual, Political, and Policy Driven Motivators for Adoption
Chapter 13
Gail Wilson
This chapter draws on a collective case study of six faculty members working in ICT-enhanced blended learning environments at a large regional... Sample PDF
Case Studies of ICT-Enhanced Blended Learning and Implications for Professional Development
Chapter 14
Cathy Gunn, Adam Blake
An accredited course in Academic Practice aligns with university and national strategic goals related to teaching and learning enhancement within a... Sample PDF
Blending Technology into an Academic Practice Qualification for University Teachers
Chapter 15
M. Brooke Robertshaw, Heather Leary, Andrew Walker, Kristy Bloxham, Mimi Recker
For teachers in the 21st Century it has become critical that they develop the skills to be able to teach in a world that is being transformed by... Sample PDF
Reciprocal Mentoring "In The Wild": A Retrospective, Comparative Case Study of ICT Teacher Professional Development
Chapter 16
Conclusion  (pages 298-311)
Philippa Gerbic, Elizabeth Stacey
The conclusion draws together the main themes identified under the sections of the book with a synthesis of the recommendations presented by the... Sample PDF
About the Contributors