Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Levels of ICT Integration among Teacher Educators in a Teacher Education Academic College

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Levels of ICT Integration among Teacher Educators in a Teacher Education Academic College

Article excerpt

Introduction

The 21st century poses new challenges and requirements to the education system in general, and to the teacher training system in particular. As a result many countries, among them Israel, invest a great deal of resources and effort to upgrade their education systems in order to meet the demands of the era of information and globalization (ASTC, 2010; Barell et al., 2010; Mishra & Kereluik, 2011, p. 21). The investment in teacher training helps improve teaching and constitutes a way to leverage the achievements of students in preparation for their future (McKinsey Report, 2007). 21st-century skills require a shift in teachers' roles (Postholm, 2006), a shift in understanding the learning process, and a transition from traditional-style teaching to teaching using a social-constructivist approach (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000; Salomon, 1992). Thus, many studies focus on the need to adapt schools to the 21st century and the need for an essential change in the image and role of the teacher (e.g., Bransford et al., 2000; Barak, Ben-Chaim & Zoller, 2007). The goal of the Israeli program "Adapting Teacher Training Colleges to 21st Century Education" is to prepare teacher trainees who are intending to teach in the education system for the anticipated change by training them to make intelligent use of ICT technology, improve and vary traditional teaching methods, and develop innovative pedagogy that will lead to their successful and effective integration as teachers in schools (Ministry of Education, 2011). Thus, teacher educators' capacity to embrace the upcoming changes as part of the implementation of the national program is an essential condition for their ability to experience real-time situations that require planning, structuring, and implementation of innovative pedagogy for teaching (ASTC, 2010; Barell et al., 2010; Mishra & Kereluik, 2011; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2009).

The current study is derived from a broader study conducted as part of an intercollegiate collaboration, which included eight academic teacher training colleges in Israel, and examined the implementation of the national program for Adapting Teacher Training Colleges to 21st Century Education (Goldstein et al., 2012). The study presented in this article constitutes a case study within the larger collaborative and focuses on a single teacher training college located in the southern periphery of the State of Israel. The current study was designed to characterize the process of ICT integration and the implementation of this innovative pedagogy in a teacher training college, while taking into account the manner and degree of ICT use for pedagogical purposes by the teacher educators. This is an important study because it focuses on the population of teacher educators, which has an enormous and direct influence on future teachers' ability to develop and formulate innovative educational perceptions (Gronseth et al., 2010). Teacher training institutes throughout the world, as well as in Israel, have developed models for implementing ICT in the process of training technologically adept teachers (Bullock, 2004; Collier, Weinburgh, & Rivera, 2004; Dawson, 2006; Granston, 2004; Kay, 2006). The contribution of the current study is in taking an in-depth view of a single teacher training college, from which it may be possible to learn about the process in other colleges, identify aspects which influence ICT integration, and indicate characteristics that contribute to the effective integration of innovative pedagogy among teacher educators in teacher training colleges. In addition, the study highlights the factors that impede and those which encourage integration of innovative pedagogy, which can serve as a means for advancing teacher training processes, leading to the adoption of innovations by regarding them as a challenge, rather than as a threat, in this era of shifts and changes (Bransford, Darling-Hammond, & LaPage, 2005). …

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