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Editorial 28(6): Preface to the Special issue
Building the ICT capacity of the next generation of teachers in Asia
Cher Ping Lim
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
Information and communication technologies (ICT) offer schools opportunities to improve their student learning outcomes; when ICT are used in classrooms, students are provided with opportunities to develop the skills and attributes that prepare them for an increasingly ICT-mediated, globalised world. These skills and attributes include accessing information, communicating, building knowledge, representing ideas, problem solving, creating and developing ideas and products, collaborating, and learning how to learn. In these ICT-mediated classrooms, the role of the teacher is pivotal in designing and implementing effective teaching and learning activities that engage students in the development of such skills and attributes (Lim & Chai, 2008). Therefore, teachers have to be equipped with the necessary ICT in education competencies from their pre-service teacher education days onwards.
Despite the financial and human resource investments made to equip pre-service teachers with these competencies in their programs, a gap still exists between what they are taught in their ICT in education courses, and how they use ICT to enhance student learning outcomes in real classrooms (Pope, Hare & Howard, 2002; Enochsson & Rizza, 2009). The challenge for teacher education then is to prepare teachers who can constantly learn, unlearn and relearn; and construct new practices with ICT to enhance teaching and learning in schools. This special issue aims to identify and analyse the strategic dimensions within and among Asian teacher education institutions (TEIs) and agencies that support the use of ICT to build the capacity of the next generation of teachers to teach and learn in 21st century schools and classrooms. More specifically, this issue aims to (1) document and examine good practices with and lessons learnt about ICT in teacher education, across different sociocultural contexts; and (2) examine the support mechanisms for ICT in teacher education in different Asian countries.
Two papers in this special issue, one by Chai, Koh, Ho and Tsai (2012) and the other by Romeo, Lloyd and Downes (2012), have drawn upon the TPACK framework to examine the impacts of an ICT in education course and a national Teaching Teachers for the Future (TTF) project on pre-service teachers' competencies. The first paper examines the relationships among Singaporean pre-service teachers' perceptions of the constructs pertaining to TPACK and their perceived ability to integrate cyberwellness knowledge when designing web-related learning. For the latter paper, TPACK provided a framework for the resources built in the TTF project, guided the development of a national student survey, and provided the project with a common language among its various stakeholders. In another paper, Dionys (2012) describes how the TPACK framework was adopted by the Teacher Training Department of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) of Cambodia and VVOB (Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance) to implement the Science, Environmental and Agricultural Life skills (SEAL) program. The program aims to enhance the integration of ICT in pre-service teacher education in Cambodia. Peeraer and Petegem (2012) also adopt the TPACK framework in paper on the design of a professional development program to build the capacity of teacher educators in Vietnam.
Besides the TPACK framework, the revised ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT-CFT) developed by UNESCO (2011) also provides a set of practical guidelines for the types of competencies that teachers have to develop, by setting curricular goals and the expected ICT competencies in six aspects of a teacher's work: understanding ICT in education; curriculum and assessment; pedagogy; ICT; organisation and administration; and teacher professional learning. The teacher education institution capacity building toolkit described by Lim and Pannen (2012) in this special issue has drawn extensively on this framework. The authors document how the toolkit has been used by four Indonesian education universities to build their capacity for ICT in education. Importantly, this framework and earlier versions of it have informed the development of various national standards that identify the ICT in education competencies expected of teachers in countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Rwanda, and the United States. For example, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in the United States developed the National Educational Technology Standards for teachers (NETST) together with the standards for students (NETSS) and for administrators (NETSA). The standards for teachers define a set of ICT in education competencies that teachers have to acquire to engage students in their learning.
These national standards have been used to guide the program development and implementation phases documented in the papers by Chang, Chien, Chang and Lin (2012) and Yan, Xiao and Wang (2012) in this issue. The first paper refers to the ICT Literacy Standards for Primary and Secondary Teachers established by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan in 2008 to identify gaps in the existing teacher education courses and redevelop a science teacher education course at the National Taiwan Normal University. The second paper refers to the Ministry of Education of the People Republic of China's set of professional standards for teachers - Educational Technology Competency Standards for Primary and Secondary Teachers established in 2004. They explain how the Modern Educational Technology Centre of East China Normal University enhanced the educational technology course for pre-service teachers by emphasising knowledge and skills transfer, focusing on common ICT and cutting-edge technologies, and creating a supportive learning environment by using an online platform.
Although national and international standards have been in place in some Asian countries for the last decade, South Korean teacher educators, Kim, Choi, Han and So (2012) in this issue highlight that due to the academic autonomy of universities, many governments have not formulated centralised policies for ICT in education for pre-service teacher education. This has led to the varied approaches of developing ICT in education competencies across teacher education institutions within the country and between countries. These authors examine the pre-service teacher education program in three South Korean universities and identify common themes and challenges, despite the differences in approaches and practices among the universities. The approaches adopted by all three universities have focused on developing pre-service teachers' new media literacy skills and adaptive expertise; however, many of the pre-service teachers have indicated difficulties in integrating these new ideas into their classrooms, making sense of the various course activities in the program, and understanding the design contexts in their projects.
These approaches, as discussed by the authors in this special issue, are consistent with work by Steketee (2005), Kay (2006), and Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Glazewski and Newby (2010). Steketee's (2005) review of the approaches to ICT in education competencies development in pre-service teacher education programs is based on journal papers published between 2000 and 2004. She identified and analysed four main approaches: (1) ICT competencies development, (2) ICT pedagogy, (3) subject-specific, and (4) practice-driven. Based on a review of 68 journal papers from 1995 to 2005 that focused on incorporating ICT into pre-service education programs, Kay (2006) identified ten different strategies adopted by programs: (1) delivering a single ICT course; (2) offering mini-workshops; (3) integrating ICT in all courses; (4) modelling how to use ICT; (5) using multimedia; (6) collaboration among pre-service teachers, mentor teachers and faculty; (7) practising ICT in the field; (8) focusing on education faculty; (9) focusing on mentor teachers; and (10) improving access to software, hardware, and/or support.
A recent, thorough examination of teacher education programs regarding developing pre-service teachers' ICT in education competencies is provided by Ottenbreit-Leftwich and colleagues (2010) who analysed over 100 teacher education programs. They proposed a conceptual guide that addresses three main elements of teacher education programs: approaches (information delivery, hands-on activities, practice in the field, observation or modelling, authentic experiences, and reflection), ICT content goals (e.g., NETST standards), and the broader context (e.g., stand-alone course, full implementation). With this conceptual guide, they aimed to provide an instrument for TEIs to evaluate various experiences and select the most appropriate ones to achieve their goals of preparing pre-service teachers to use ICT in their future teaching.
The three reviews may each have a slightly different focus, but they share several commonalities in developing ICT competencies, subject/content knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge through campus-based courses such as ICT-mediated pedagogy course, and authentic learning experiences in courses such as the practicum. Chai, Koh, Ho and Tsai (2012) in this issue describes an ICT-mediated pedagogy course in Singapore entitled "ICT for Meaningful Learning"; the course has been designed to facilitate pre-service teachers' development of TPACK-related knowledge so that they are well prepared for ICT integration in the classrooms. Similarly, the paper by Yan, Xiao and Wang (2012) documents an approach commonly adopted by Chinese universities, namely implementing an ICT-mediated pedagogy course in pre-service teacher education programs, to focus on how to integrate ICT into classroom practices. Pre-service teachers are expected to complete two compulsory ICT skills courses within their first two years of the teacher education program; an ICT-mediated pedagogy course, and an integration of ICT within the teaching subject course. Such practices are also common in Australia; for example, at La Trobe University in Australia, first year pre-service teachers learn about interactive white boards (IWBs) in an ICT course in the first semester, and in a mathematics education course in the second semester, they are expected to apply their skills in using IWBs to enhance teaching and learning in mathematics classes (Campbell & Kent, 2010).
Although none of the papers in this special issue focus on how pre-service teachers' ICT in education competencies are applied and developed during their practicum, most of the papers acknowledge the pivotal role of the practicum in teacher education programs, to develop these competencies. Educational researchers have observed that pre-service teachers often adopt traditional teaching and learning practices in ICT-mediated classrooms, based on their own experiences as students; these researchers argue that unless ICT in education is included as part of their practicum, pre-service teachers are likely to remain uncommitted and reluctant users (Bielefeldt, 2000; Willis & Sujo de Montes, 2002). Mehlinger and Powers (2002; p.68) explain that a field-based ICT in education course "provides authentic contexts for the learning of technology and offers a meaningful setting for teacher candidates to learn how technology tools can support learning in K-12 classrooms" and "provides teacher candidates with opportunities to observe professors modelling integrations of technology in teaching and learning".
In this regard, an increasing number of teacher education programs have embedded ICT in education as part of pre-service teachers' practicum experiences. Pre-service teachers are encouraged and supported to design classroom activities that centre on ICT-mediated teaching and learning. For example, as part of their ICT-mediated pedagogy course, pre-service teachers at the University of Notre Dame Australia design ICT resources for their practicum experiences (Steketee, 2005). Ward and Overall (2011) document how pre-service teachers use ICT in classrooms during their practicum as part of the requirement of the course. Pre-service teachers are provided with opportunities and support to integrate ICT into a teaching unit based on learning theories and current research, and spend quality time in high school classrooms with a mentor teacher. The findings suggest that these opportunities and support enhance pre-service teachers' competence and confidence in using ICT in the classroom.
Besides the approaches adopted in the examples cited above, Romeo, Lloyd and Downes (2012) in this special issue highlight the importance of teacher educators modelling the use of ICT for teaching and learning within their program. These authors explain how ICT may become part of the everyday practices in teacher education programs. These practices may include the use of ICT as communication platforms for pre-service teachers and teacher educators, use of learning management systems by teacher educators, delivery of courses in an ICT supported platform such as the wiki, and adoption of computer-mediated communication tools to facilitate supervision of programmes. Fleming, Motamedi and May's (2007) study of 79 pre-service teachers revealed a positive relationship between the extent to which they are exposed to teacher educators or mentor teachers modelling the use of ICT in teaching and learning, and their self-assessment of their own ICT in education competencies.
Research studies have shown also that ICT in education competencies among pre-service teachers may be developed by learning with ICT rather than about ICT (Drier, 2001; Guy, Li & Simanton, 2002). Geer and Hamill (2007) used electronic journaling (via discussion forums) to promote collaboration between special education and general pre-service education teachers, during the field experience of their method courses. ICT is being used increasingly as a communication platform during pre-service teachers' practicum, to connect them to one another, their supervising university teacher educators, and mentoring school teachers (Dawson & Dana, 2007; Mayer, 2000; Paulus & Scherff, 2008; Robertson, 2008). Digital portfolios have been used also, in various teacher education programs, to allow pre-service teachers to monitor and manage their own learning (e.g. Chuang, 2010; Maher & Gerbic, 2009).
Pre-service teachers' development of ICT in education competencies is a complex process (Tondeur, Braak, Sang, Voogt, Fisser & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2012). Teacher education programs need to support them in developing knowledge of good pedagogical practices, technical skills, and content knowledge, as well as how these concepts relate to one another (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). Koehler and Mishra (2009) introduced the concept of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK, or sometimes 'TPCK'). TPACK emphasises the importance of preparing pre-service teachers to encompass an integrative knowledge base of technological knowledge and skills, as well as knowledge of learners, subject matter content, and pedagogy necessary for teachers to be competent to teach with technology in the classroom. ICT integration includes a spectrum of approaches to teaching and learning (Tondeur et al., 2012), however, the growth in technological, pedagogical, and/or content knowledge will not automatically contribute to the growth in TPACK (Angeli & Valanides, 2009). Education researchers (Angeli, 2005; Jang, 2008; Koehler et al., 2007; Wilson, 2003) have observed that many existing pre-service teacher education programs treat technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge as three isolated elements of technology integration. The most common criticism is the lack of linkages of courses/units in the program that appears disconnected to the pre-service teachers (Hammerness, Darling-Hammond, Grossman, Rust & Shulman, 2005). Therefore, a single course is unlikely to equip pre-service teachers with all the necessary competencies for ICT integration. It is expected that all courses need to build on one another and collectively support the pre-service teachers to progress beyond the mastery of basic ICT competencies (Lim, Chai & Churchill, 2011).
The papers in this special issue show how pedagogical approaches for most core or compulsory ICT in education courses have shifted away from a transmission-based ICT skill training approach, towards a more problem-based learning, constructivist approach. Yan, Xiao and Wang (2012) explain how the Modern Educational Technology course in East China Normal University was revised after the course coordinators and tutors conducted a comprehensive analysis of pre-service teachers' ICT knowledge and skills, aptitude for learning and the requirements of curriculum reform. However, they highlight certain ICT in education competencies that have to be developed at the program level, such as, how to effectively use new ICT tools to support and enhance teaching and learning in different subjects. The courses reported in Kim, Choi, Han and So's (2012) paper also have shown a pedagogical shift of ICT in education courses towards more constructivist approaches, where pre-service teachers become more media-fluent by designing, creating, and expressing themselves with technologies. Tsai and Chai (2012) in their position paper based on their analysis of the three short papers (Lim & Pannen, 2012; Yan, Xiao & Wang, 2012; Dionys, 2012) in this issue highlight that a third-order barrier to ICT integration in schools is the lack of design thinking among teachers. Hence, pre-service teacher education programs have to consider how the design thinking skills and dispositions of pre-service teachers may be developed.
Many TEIs in Asia have recognised these challenges and have been working out ways to redesign and refine their pre-service teacher education programs, to be able to not only meet the learning needs of the pre-service teachers, but also the schools and education systems (Goktas, Yildirim & Yildirim, 2008). The papers in this special issue intend to provide readers with some of these efforts by the various TEIs and teacher education agencies in Asia, spanning from Cambodia and Vietnam to Indonesia and Australia. The papers by Yan, Xiao and Wang (2012), Chang, Chien, Chang and Lin (2012), and Dionys (2012) have explained how the teacher education programs have moved away from a piece-meal approach in the development of ICT in education competencies, towards a more holistic one; this is being done by ensuring the vertical alignment between the ICT in education competencies standards, the program learning outcomes, and the course learning outcomes. The papers by Romeo, Lloyd and Downes (2012), and Lim and Pannen (2012) have documented how the capacity of TEIs may be built to ensure that they are better positioned to develop the ICT in education competencies of the pre-service teachers.
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Willis, E. M. & de Montes, L. S. (2002). Does requiring a technology course in pre-service teacher education affect student teachers' technology use in the classroom? Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 18(3), 76-80.
Wilson, E. K. (2003). Preservice secondary social studies teachers and technology integration: What do they think and do in their field experiences. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 20(1), 29-39.
Yan, H., Xiao, Y. & Wang, Q. (2012). Innovation in the educational technology course for pre-service student teachers in East China Normal University. In C. P. Lim & C. S. Chai (Eds), Building the ICT capacity of the next generation of teachers in Asia. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(Special issue, 6), 1074-1081. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet28/yan.html
|Editors, Special issue: Professor Cher Ping Lim|
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Hong Kong Institute of Education
10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: https://oraas0.ied.edu.hk/rich/web/people_details.jsp?pid=117829
Dr Ching Sing Chai, Assistant Professor
Learning Sciences and Technologies, National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616
Email: email@example.com Web: http://www.nie.edu.sg/profile/chai-ching-sing
Please cite as: Lim, C. P. (2012). Editorial 28(6): Preface to the Special issue. In C. P. Lim & C. S. Chai (Eds), Building the ICT capacity of the next generation of teachers in Asia. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(Special issue, 6), iii-xv. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet28/editorial28-6.html
in AJET 28(6)
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