The report has seven recommendations that span across “what digitally literate graduate teachers should know and be able to do”, to a “commitment to working with employer authorities” and a “proposed project to partner with the NSW Council of Deans of Education to share exemplary work by final year teacher education students on the integration of ICT within capstone teaching performance assessments”.
My experience in teaching pre-service teachers at three universities in NSW reveals that ITE is on the front foot in providing broad practices to understand, experiment and be competent with pedagogy and curriculum for technology-enhanced learning.
In a recent radio interview and in a blog post for the Australian Academic Research Association I set out four challenges i.e. connectivity, funding for professional development, developing digital fluency and a proposal for an annual five day ‘hands on experience’ for academics in ITE who teach pre-service teachers and whose research does not take them into the field.
When politicians and some sectors of the media suggest ITE is not doing its preparation work well it damages morale, good relationships and ignores the many excellent examples of successful digital literacy practices in ITE.
However, there is still more work to do.
All teachers, whether pre-service or in-service, require continuous professional development in technology-enhanced learning as hardware comes and goes, and software is in a continuous state of renewal. It is not just about the tools though.
Pedagogy and understanding learning in classrooms is a key focus and as a researcher who is in regular contact with schools, my involvement shows that K-12 teachers are taking significant footsteps into the area, and most are leaping into what it means to integrate technology in effective ways.
At the annual Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) conference in Austin, Texas, United States in early March (this is an international association for “teacher educators, researchers, practitioners to collaborate across multiple disciplines; it creates and disseminates knowledge to enhance teacher education through the use of technology across a global context. It is the only organization solely focused on integrating technology into teacher education”), a draft set of teacher education technology competencies were released.
These competencies (not standards) were “drafted to guide the professional development of teacher educators in colleges and universities. Their intention is to communicate what teacher educators working with teacher candidates should know and do”.
I am not certain that “competency” is the right word here, nonetheless they provide some thinking and guidance about this important aspect of ITE in universities. Some Australian academics have provided input to their development.
The competencies target 12 areas: designing instruction, pedagogical approaches, knowledge/skills/ attitudes, online tools, instruction differentiation, tools for assessment, effective strategies for teaching online and or in blended/hybrid learning environments, global connections, legal/ethical/socially responsible use of technology, PD and networking opportunities, leadership and advocacy, and basic troubleshooting skills.
You can read more here.
The SITE draft competencies are open for consultation until April 15 and are being led by Associate Professor Teresa Foulger from Arizona State University. You can go online and complete the survey to have your voice heard. It’s an opportunity for ITE in Australian universities to be involved in their development but also for local education jurisdictions to understand the breadth of what its expected in the preparation of pre-service teachers for their professional digitally literate lives in schools.