Collaborative Learning With Mobile Technologies in Teacher Education

Collaborative Learning With Mobile Technologies in Teacher Education

Carolyne Nekesa Obonyo (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5709-2.ch004
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The increasing use of mobile technologies in K-12 schools has challenged teacher educators to consider how to best provide preservice teachers with the opportunity to integrate mobile technologies into their teaching and learning. In this chapter, the author aims to highlight how mobile technologies that support collaboration in both asynchronous and synchronous learning can enhance preservice teachers' teaching and learning experiences. Drawing from the literature, this chapter focuses on facilitating collaborative learning using mobile technologies in teacher preparation. The affordances of mobile technologies, which promote a social constructivist approach to learning, are discussed in detail. These affordances include the ability to enhance computer-mediated learning conversations, co-construction of knowledge, and social interactions using social media. This chapter also provides information on the barriers to technology adoption that hinder preservice teachers from integrating mobile technologies into teaching and learning.
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The increasingly ubiquitous nature of mobile technologies has prompted educators to capitalize on their affordances by integrating these technologies into teaching and learning (Baran et al., 2017; Bernacki et al., 2020; Kuo & Kuo, 2020). However, it is challenging to incorporate mobile technologies and educational components (Purvis et al., 2020). Naylor and Gibbs (2018, p. 73) posited that “as teacher educators, we are preparing pre-service teachers for a future where mobile technology is likely to become increasingly used in schools as a pedagogical tool.” This is particularly relevant in New Zealand because many state schools are incorporating digital content and learning technologies into their practices along with the redesign of classrooms as innovative learning environments (ILEs) (Fletcher et al. 2020). ILEs involve not only profound changes in the architectural design of school buildings. They have also fostered the use of a rich blend of learning technologies and student-centered pedagogies; creating a challenge to teacher preparation (Fletcher & Everatt, 2021; Nelson & Johnson, 2017). The increasing use of learning technologies at all levels of education prompts this chapter to explore research literature on facilitating collaborative learning using mobile technologies in teacher education.

Mobile technologies have been identified to impact teaching pedagogies that support meaningful learning (Maher, 2018). Kärki et al. (2018) outlined that meaningful learning is active, constructive, collaborative, intentional, contextualized, reflective, and transferable. However, Kärki et al. (2018, p. 253) stressed that “meaningful learning processes do not require all [the] characteristics of meaningful learning to be met all the time.” In their study, Kukulska-Hulme and Viberg (2018) found that “the affordances of mobile technologies promote social constructivism, which is sustained by various learning approaches” (p. 211). Further, studies show that effective integration of mobile technologies provides preservice teachers with opportunities to connect and collaborate as they construct knowledge (Schuck, 2016), “contribute to the development of preservice teachers’ knowledge and skills of using mobile technology” (Kuo & Kuo, 2020), supports community centered learning (Naylor & Gibbs, 2018), and enhances authentic learning (Burden & Kearney, 2017) which makes learning more engaging based on real-world problems (Maher, 2018). Burns-Sardone (2014) suggested that mobile technologies need to be used as ubiquitous learning tools that may support collaborative teaching and learning purposes anywhere, anytime. Ubiquitous learning tools also enhance student-centered, authentic, and higher order learning (Lindsay, 2016).

Even though teacher educators are using mobile technologies to enhance their pedagogies (Burden & Kearney, 2017; Kuo & Kuo, 2020; Naylor & Gibbs, 2018), research shows that this use “does not automatically translate into effective teaching and learning practices” (Ng’ambi, 2013, p. 653) in ways that may link with K-12 schools. Most often this has resulted in a disparity between preservice teachers’ digital expectations and current practices in initial teacher education (ITE) programmes across the world (Maslin & Smith, 2017; Myers & Rivero, 2019). There is evidence to suggest that preservice teachers are not prepared for their future classrooms (Darling-Hammond & Oakes, 2021; Myers & Rivero, 2019). The literature argues for pedagogical practices that are relevant to practices in K-12 schools so that preservice teachers can adapt to and engage with mobile technologies as pedagogical tools in their own classroom teaching. Burden and Kearney (2018) pointed out “a need for greater exemplification of how teacher educators use mobile devices to model and practise approaches relevant to K-12 teaching and learning” (p. 88).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social media: Digital platforms on which users can create multimedia artefacts, share, and interact with the content and one another from different locations and times.

Collaborative Learning: A pedagogical strategy that involves peer-to-peer or a small group of learners co-constructing knowledge and interacting with one another to solve shared problems.

Learning Community: A group of preservice teachers working collaboratively to support one another in their learning.

Preservice Teacher: A student teacher studying at a university to gain qualified teaching status.

Mobile Apps: Multimodal software programs which are downloaded from distribution platforms, and they run on mobile operating systems.

Teacher Educator: An instructor at a university who supports preservice teachers in their learning.

Virtual Learning: Using mobile technologies in an online environment to support learning either asynchronously, synchronously, or a mix of both, across time and space.

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