Can new teachers be ICT change-agents?

Year: 2009

Author: Fluck, Andrew, Dowden, Tony

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Information and communication technology (ICT) has changed society. Yet schools have been largely untouched. For a change like business process re-engineering to occur in schools, it has been proposed that pre-service teachers should bring new ideas into institutions. There are tensions associated with the engagement of pre-service teachers as ICT change-agents. They represent a new generation and schools can expect them to encapsulate new ways of learning, of teaching. However they are apprentices to a profession, without power in the school organisation. The aims of this research were to examine a cohort of pre-service teachers' beliefs about ICT to establish a baseline and gauge their preparedness for change-agency. Using a mixture of new and pre-calibrated items, we surveyed 53 initial pre-service teachers on their attitudes to computers, teaching philosophy, ICT beliefs and both experienced and expected classroom computer use. The findings showed that overwhelmingly, they want their future pupils to use computers more frequently than occurred in their own schooling. The ICT beliefs variable significantly correlated (p=.002) with expected future classroom computer use, but did not meet accepted standards of reliability (alpha = 0.31). This elicited discussion about the naivety of respondents or the ill-formed nature of a common view about ICT-led transformation in schooling. In their prospective training, the group favoured learning about using the computer as an educational tool in the classroom over enhancing their computer skills. This paper discusses how ICT beliefs shape teacher training to better prepare pre-service teachers to become change-agents. One important point is that a common view of ICT-based transformation in schooling has yet to emerge. We also suggest, in a time when curricula are increasingly devised within the local school, that pre-service teachers need to become engaged in this level of planning.

Key Phrase: Teacher Education and professional development of teachers