Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Learning to Become a Teacher in the 21st Century: ICT Integration in Initial Teacher Education in Chile

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Learning to Become a Teacher in the 21st Century: ICT Integration in Initial Teacher Education in Chile

Article excerpt

Introduction

This paper presents the results of a study about the availability and use of ICT in the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in Chile, conducted in the context of the international study "ICT and Initial Teacher Training" developed since late 2008 by the OECD. It stems from the concern shared by several OECD member countries about what they see as a deficit in their ITT systems in providing the required vision, experience and skills for enabling future teachers to integrate ICT into their professional practices in primary and secondary education levels.

Although several studies show that teachers are among the most skilled ICT users, it seems that they are still unable to apply these skills to the way they teach (Pedro, 2009). Some feasible explanations for this paradox highlight the experiences in ITT among the most important factors. However, a claim about the existence of a link between ITT and teaching skills with ICT needs to be supported by empirical evidence: this study aims at generate relevant information on this matter.

In this context, the international study investigates the current use of ICT in ITT in a number of countries from a comparative perspective, analyzing the future prospects and the possibility to formulate recommendations on applicable policies and strategies. Accordingly, the Government of Chile decided to participate in this project to get a deeper understanding about the use of ICT resources in its ITT institutions.

The obtained results provide an overall picture that could contribute to strengthen the processes related to the integration of ICT in this educational level.

National context about ICT in Initial teacher education in Chile

Initial Teacher Education in Chile is conducted by higher education institutions which are officially recognized by the State: Universities and, under certain conditions, Professional Institutes. In early 2009, approximately 65 of these institutions were offering more than 700 programs oriented to all levels of the national system: preschool, primary, special and secondary education.

Chile has a comparatively long history in the introduction and use of ICT in K-12 through the Enlaces project, its "official" nationwide initiative for ICT in education: it has been aiming to integrate ICT as a pedagogical resource for all students and teachers in Chilean public schools (Hinostroza, Hepp & Cox, 2009). However, just recently the Ministry of Education (MoE) has started to pay attention to the use of ICT in ITT institutions: during the last years, the MoE has been developing some actions explicitly aimed at fostering the integration of ICT in ITT, such as the development and promotion of ICT related standards and the integration of ICT-based items in the teachers' professional certificate implemented on a voluntary basis. Regarding this certificate, the "Inicia" program conducted since 2008 by the MoE for encouraging the transformation of institutions, curricula and practices in ITT and ensuring the professional quality of graduated teachers at a national level (Meckes, 2010)- proposes a set of pedagogy and content related standards, including the evaluation of new teachers' "computational skills In addition, the MoE produced the report "ICT Standards for Initial Teacher Training" (Ministry of Education, 2006) and later, the "Functional Map for ICT training and teaching skills" (Ministry of Education, 2007): These documents present an articulated set of teaching competences organized in five functional dimensions, viz. pedagogical, technical, managerial, ethical and legal, as well as professional development.

The presented framework aimed at support the implementation of an ICT curriculum in ITT, opening a space for reflection and debate about the ways in which teacher education institutions are responding to the demands of current society, from a more complex and global perspective related to the appropriation of ICT. …

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