Models of Teacher Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Professional Development that Empower Multiliterate Classroom Practices
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This thesis is concerned with examining principles underlying ICT professional development that can enable teachers to change their pedagogical beliefs and practices. In this study an ICT professional development model considered effective for its transforming potential is produced from the literature reviewed. This tentative theoretical model provides structure for the research design and analysis of data. An amended ICT professional development model that identifies a dynamic interplay of three professional learning activities within a core reflective process is presented as an approach to ICT professional development that enables teachers to see the transforming possibilities of ICT and guide changes in teachers’ beliefs and practices. The research responds to an unmet need in the literature on ICT in learning and the concept of multiliteracies. Scholars in these fields acknowledge the impact of new technologies on contemporary education through discussion of new communication patterns that young people are engaging in, globalisation and cultural change, and the characteristics of today’s students who are growing up immersed in digital worlds. This has led to the realisation that teachers’ pedagogy needs to be transformed rather than making adaptations to teaching practices to accommodate ICT in learning. The study explores the idea of a transformed pedagogy that effectively infuses ICT in learning as an outcome of the implementation of an ICT professional development model. A transformed pedagogy requires ICT professional development to engage teachers with transforming intention. Models of ICT professional development have been found to focus on ‘re-tooling’ intentions, that is they intend to augment the existing curriculum by developing teachers’ competencies in ICT skills focusing on specific types of ICT applications. What is called for by the concept of multiliteracies and the needs of our digital clients is the move to a model that will enable teachers to see the transforming possibilities of ICT. Working with teachers from the Suncoast Cyberschools, the implementation of the theoretical ICT professional development model was examined in two stages. In Stage 1 teachers were interviewed and observed to establish their existing beliefs and practices in regard to ICT in learning, multiliteracies and ICT professional development. These data had an informing role in the collaborative design of an ICT professional development activity for implementation and examination through action research methods in Stage 2. Conceptualising a transformed pedagogy and transformative ICT professional development are the purposes of this study. The desired outcome of ICT professional development is to enable teachers to transform their pedagogy. Indication of movement towards a transformed pedagogy was found when teachers embraced pedagogical beliefs and practices representative of three guiding ideas: mindset, bifurcation of literate practices and the infusion of ICT. Mindset refers to a particular way of thinking about and living with technologies. A teacher displaying a digital mindset understands the ubiquitous fashion in which today’s students access technology and caters for these different learning needs. The bifurcation of literate practices identifies the need for teachers to acknowledge students as users and creators of information rather than consumers and receivers of information. This is evident when teachers collaborate with their students to create knowledge through complex learning tasks. Lastly, the infusion of ICT refers to the way teachers use ICT in learning. The infusion of ICT was characterised by a learner-centred pedagogy that blends instructional and constructivist teaching approaches, where ICT are transparent to the learner and seamlessly integrated in learning experiences. To enable a teacher to move towards a transformed pedagogy that effectively infuses ICT in learning, a dynamic interplay of three professional learning activities is required during ICT professional development. The three professional learning activities of investigation, reflection and constructive dialogue together form a core reflective process. This thesis argues that teachers can transform their pedagogical beliefs and practices when ICT professional development involves these activities within a core reflective process. It has been found that the greatest potential for pedagogical transformation is achieved when the interplay of the three professional learning activities requires a teacher to focus on pedagogical investigation, making ICT skill training contingent on classroom inquiry. Classroom investigation occurs simultaneously as teachers engage in verbal reflection supported by their written reflection. This can be actioned when required through critical discourse with peers and critical friends in collegial groups internal and external to the teacher’s classroom. Elements internal to the school such as leadership, school vision and structures, and elements external to the school such as experts and workshops or events are linked to activities in the core reflective process. The finding that a transformative approach to ICT professional development requires the dynamic interplay of three professional learning activities has important implications for the design of teacher ICT professional development. The capacity to enable teachers to transform their practice is reduced if any one of the three professional learning activities is not present during ICT professional development. The capacity for transformation is also reduced if teachers are unable to engage when required with each of the professional learning activities. The understandings that emerged in regard to defining a transformed pedagogy in which teachers effectively infuse ICT in classrooms provides scholars, educators and curriculum designers a further framework for thinking about ICT pedagogy. This study presents to classroom teachers a means of systematically changing their practice.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Education and Professional Studies
Item Access Status
ICT professional development