Teacher Education and Digital technology

This R&D Community on Teacher Education and Digital Technology concentrates on theoretical and practical questions related to digital technologies in education, primarily through the spectrum of teacher education. 

It invites researchers, teacher educators, policy-makers and teachers to be part of an international community. The aim of this community is to collaborate on research or educational activities related to digital technology. Our ultimate goal is to achieve general conclusions and formulate common strategies for teacher education in digital technology.

Digital technology has radically been changing both people’s life and the global economy. Yet, in a curriculum of school education, its role varies from country to country.

In some countries, pupils familiarise themselves with how to work with digital technology thanks to courses such as Computer Science or Technology and Media. Other countries rather support the idea of applying these technologies to the direct solving of particular problems or in creative activities that touch upon various subjects.

Computer professionals active in worldwide federations such as ACM or IFIP have dealt explicitly with the need to focus school education not only on ICT user skills, but most importantly on the development of computational thinking.

Is it really necessary to establish a (compulsory) subject focused on computer science into the school curriculum?

Is it really imperative to develop computational thinking or programming for all pupils?

The inclusion of digital literacy as one of its eight most important competencies proves that the European Union emphasises the importance of digital technology in schools. This change is in line with the UNESCO and OECD’s positions that see digital technology as essential for learning and societal development.

Both the EC and the OECD organise surveys examining the influence of digital technology on educational performance. These aim to find out whether or not digital technology can improve the conventional teaching and learning process; where digital enhanced technology stand in governmental strategies in specific countries; etc.

How can governments and policy makers support the implementation of digital technologies in schools?

Digital technologies have become an essential component of the working practice of teachers and learners. They should imply a change in how teachers think, with new teaching methods and continuous awareness of the latest scientific findings. Teachers are increasingly expected to apply digital technology in their daily  teaching activities, in a sophisticated and professional manner.

Digital technology is developing and improving rapidly, which makes it impossible to maintain an all-in-one training package that would incorporate the use of up-to-date technological solutions. Teachers and their pupils are the ones who can define the pedagogical value of digital technology.

Do we know how to apply these technologies in activities with pupils?

Do we know in which way to train teachers and to teach student teachers to apply these technologies in education in schools?

Will schools be effectively able to adapt immediately to facilitate the introduction of these new technologies?

Which knowledge and skills are the most important for the teaching profession and professional development?

Digital technology points at the need for changing learners’ thinking, how they communicate and collaborate with each other, as well as the problems they will face in the real world. It changes how they acquire knowledge, how they organise their learning environment and how they adapt to new requirements and equipment.

Simulations, modelling or augmented reality can contribute to a better understanding. On the other hand, there is some research pointing at a negative impact of digital technology on learning.

Will teachers be capable of advising their pupils on how to integrate digital technologies into their own learning environment, even though the teachers themselves are in a similar situation where they have to learn it by themselves?

Who should design an appropriate compromise and model of interconnection between traditional learning methods and learning with digital technology?

Different countries, different roles

Digital technology has radically been changing both people’s life and the global economy. Yet, in a curriculum of school education, its role varies from country to country.

In some countries, pupils familiarise themselves with how to work with digital technology thanks to courses such as Computer Science or Technology and Media. Other countries rather support the idea of applying these technologies to the direct solving of particular problems or in creative activities that touch upon various subjects.

Computer professionals active in worldwide federations such as ACM or IFIP have dealt explicitly with the need to focus school education not only on ICT user skills, but most importantly on the development of computational thinking.

Is it really necessary to establish a (compulsory) subject focused on computer science into the school curriculum?

Is it really imperative to develop computational thinking or programming for all pupils?

A political priority

The inclusion of digital literacy as one of its eight most important competencies proves that the European Union emphasises the importance of digital technology in schools. This change is in line with the UNESCO and OECD’s positions that see digital technology as essential for learning and societal development.

Both the EC and the OECD organise surveys examining the influence of digital technology on educational performance. These aim to find out whether or not digital technology can improve the conventional teaching and learning process; where digital enhanced technology stand in governmental strategies in specific countries; etc.

How can governments and policy makers support the implementation of digital technologies in schools?

Teacher training

Digital technologies have become an essential component of the working practice of teachers and learners. They should imply a change in how teachers think, with new teaching methods and continuous awareness of the latest scientific findings. Teachers are increasingly expected to apply digital technology in their daily  teaching activities, in a sophisticated and professional manner.

Digital technology is developing and improving rapidly, which makes it impossible to maintain an all-in-one training package that would incorporate the use of up-to-date technological solutions. Teachers and their pupils are the ones who can define the pedagogical value of digital technology.

Do we know how to apply these technologies in activities with pupils?

Do we know in which way to train teachers and to teach student teachers to apply these technologies in education in schools?

Will schools be effectively able to adapt immediately to facilitate the introduction of these new technologies?

Which knowledge and skills are the most important for the teaching profession and professional development?

Predicting impact

Digital technology points at the need for changing learners’ thinking, how they communicate and collaborate with each other, as well as the problems they will face in the real world. It changes how they acquire knowledge, how they organise their learning environment and how they adapt to new requirements and equipment.

Simulations, modelling or augmented reality can contribute to a better understanding. On the other hand, there is some research pointing at a negative impact of digital technology on learning.

Will teachers be capable of advising their pupils on how to integrate digital technologies into their own learning environment, even though the teachers themselves are in a similar situation where they have to learn it by themselves?

Who should design an appropriate compromise and model of interconnection between traditional learning methods and learning with digital technology?

Ideas for common projects

To prepare a special edition of the EJTE focused on digital technology and teacher education

To develop a book about the importance of the teaching profession mastering digital technology

Main themes

  • National policies for the implementation of digital technology in education (in curriculum, in teacher education).

  • The role of digital technology in the curriculum (subjects Informatics, Computer Science etc.).

  • Models and strategies for the integration of digital technology into teacher education, as well as in teacher professional development (including teacher education of informatics, computer science, ICT)

  • Research about: (i) the impact of digital technology on learning; (ii) digital technologies in teacher education/teacher profession; (iii) digital technology in teaching; (iv) digital literacy of teachers/pupils.

  • Good practices using digital technology in (school) education.

  • The main barriers for and inhibitors to the integration of digital technology into education.

  • The need for a new pedagogy: e-Pedagogy: yes, or no?

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