Transforming Teacher Education with Digital and Collaborative Learning and Leadership

Transforming Teacher Education with Digital and Collaborative Learning and Leadership

David Parsons (The Mind Lab by Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand), Herbert Thomas (The Mind Lab by Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand), Milla Inkila (The Mind Lab by Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand), Philippa Nicoll Antipas (The Mind Lab by Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand), Frances Valintine (The Mind Lab by Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand), Truman Pham (The Mind Lab by Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand) and Darcy Vo (The Mind Lab by Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJDLDC.2015100103
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Abstract

This paper investigates some participant outcomes from a part-time postgraduate course for in-service teachers, focusing on digital and collaborative learning and leadership, delivered in several locations across New Zealand. In order to monitor the success of the course, regular anonymous feedback is gathered. One question in particular is essential to this feedback; to what extent does attending the course lead to transformation of classroom practice by the participants? The authors analysed free text responses to on-line surveys which posed this question to two different course cohorts. Their findings were that almost all of those who had completed the relevant course modules reported making changes their practice. Some were still making tentative steps towards new forms of pedagogy, but the majority were transforming the way they managed the learning processes within their classrooms, and many were beginning to apply their newly developed awareness of leadership skills to extend their ambitions to aim to transform their schools.
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Introduction: The Drivers For Pedagogical Change

Drivers for the transformation of pedagogy apply pressure to the current education system from a number of perspectives. One is the idea that the existing system is in some way lacking. For example Perkins (1992) refers to ‘fragile knowledge’ as being a chronic problem in the outcomes of schooling, comprising a number of factors and having long term social and economic consequences. Another perspective is that, even if the current system is not flawed, new generations of learners who have grown up with technology have different requirements and expectations. Rosen (2010), for example, refers to the ‘iGeneration’ and their technology-centric learning styles. A further view is that changes in technology in wider society provide new opportunities for education that need to be embraced, for example ‘pedagogy 2.0’, leveraging social media in learning (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008.) However, the introduction of such technology into the classroom is not without its problems, since it does not automatically bring changes in pedagogy, while its pervasiveness may lead to idiosyncratic knowledge construction (Sutherland et al., 2004). Thus changes in technology demand deliberate changes in pedagogy. A further, perhaps more problematic, view is that education operates within cycles of external short term political agendas (Waters, 2013) and in developed societies where technological change may even reduce the need for education (Chang, 2010.) Whatever the realities of these various arguments, one thing is evident; Education is unable to remain unchanged when all around it is in a constant state of flux and evolution.

The Move towards Digital and Collaborative Learning

While the forces of social and economic change have continued to evolve and impact on expectations of education, approaches to teaching and learning have not remained static. Over the last century, conceptions of learning have shifted from a largely instructivist approach to one that has as its core the concept of active student engagement in the learning process (Laurillard, 2008). During the same period, stable print and inscription-based technologies have been augmented by a rapidly increasing number of digital technologies that challenge traditional notions of time, space and place. New theories such as connectivism (Siemens, 2004) have emerged to address the relationship between technology and learning. In many countries, over the last two decades or so, digital and collaborative practices have been embraced in mainstream education as a means of embodying and addressing modern learning theories that emphasize active student engagement. However, education can only change where teachers are given the necessary support to self-reflect and innovate in an informed way.

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