Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Millennial Teachers: Student Teachers as Users of Information and Communication - A New Zealand Case Study

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Millennial Teachers: Student Teachers as Users of Information and Communication - A New Zealand Case Study

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Based on Brown and Duguid (1991) notion of interrelatedness of learning and work practices in which learners acquire "embodied ability to behave" in a certain manner, the paper argues that personal usage of ICT within student teachers own learning will form their models of teaching practices. This paper draws on a survey conducted in 2005 at a teachers' education college in New Zealand. The aim of the survey was to examine the ways in which students are using Web-based learning technology in their initial training period. Findings of the survey reveal insights into the perceptions of students for the use of ICT in their own studies. The findings provide a snapshot into the current situation of teachers' education in relation to the use of Internet technology and online learning systems. The findings have implication for teachers' education in the new millennium.

Keywords: Teachers' Training; ICT; Education; New Zealand

INTRODUCTION

A meta-survey on the use of technology in education claims that the development of the use of ICT in the New Zealand education system is largely reliant on the ability and skills of the teachers(Prebble, 2003). Since 1998 successive New Zealand governments have facilitated ICT training and support for teachers, providing a variety of professional development programmes, such as for example the ICT- PD Clusters (Prebble, 2003). However, initial teachers' training programmes seem to lack a specified provision for ICT training. The New Zealand ministry of Education has no specific requirements for the provision of ICT modules in teachers' training programmes, and there are increasing expectations of the personal competence and ICT related pedagogical knowledge from the beginning teachers(Mawson, 2003). This situation creates some difficulties in establishing the ability of New Zealand's future teachers to incorporate the use ICT in their classrooms.

Building on Brown and Duguid's(1991) argument that "practice is central to understanding work"(1991 ,p.40), and that "The development of technological skill improves students' capacity to absorb technology"(Kozma, 2005; OECD, 1999), the paper argues that developing and implementing ICT skills while being in training will define the student teachers future ICT practices as qualified teachers. The paper investigates the student teachers approach and application of ICT in their own learning as a projection of their approach and implementation of ICT in their future classrooms. The paper will focus on two of the key ICT issues identified by the New Zealand government and published in the ICT in schools strategy document titled "Digital Horizons"(Minedu, 2003):

1. Implementing a wider range of teaching and learning strategies, implying the use of the techno-constructivist paradigm aligned with the skills needed for participating in the information society

2. Effective administration and communication with the surrounding community

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

The paper builds on a survey administered at a teachers' college in New Zealand's South Island. The specific institution was chosen for two main reasons:

* Pedagogic underpinning of ICT infrastructure

* The model of ICT implementation

Pedagogic underpinning of ICT infrastructure

Since September 2001 the college has been using an open source computer network system called Interact, designed as a Learning Community Environment, primarily geared for facilitating collaboration and the construction of online communities. The pedagogy underpinning the development of Interact was based on socio- constructivist notions of collaborative knowledge construction such as those expressed by Vygotsky(1978). The model of learning advocated by social constructivists is that of collaborative negotiation of meaning rather than instruction, and control of the learners and the learning process (Jonassen, Davidson, Collins, Campbell, & Bannan Haag, 1995), and is aligned with the educational aspirations expressed by New Zealand Governments in the "Digital Horizons" document. …

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