Digital Futures in Teacher Education: exploring the opportunities and challenges of creative uses of digital literacy in schools
Anna Gruszczynska & Richard Pountney, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Conference Theme: Collaboration
Summary: Digital Futures in Teacher Education: opportunities and challenges of creative uses of digital literacy in schools.
Abstract: This presentation will draw on early findings of a project "Digital Futures in Teacher Education" currently being undertaken as part of the third phase of the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) UK Open Educational Resources programme. The presentation will discuss issues emerging in the context of attempts to embed OER practice within the teacher education sector. Overall, the key goal of the project is to raise the status and quality of teaching and the level of digital literacies and the (re)use of OERs in the teaching workforce. The project considers digital literacy to be a blend of ICT, media and information skills and knowledge situated within academic practice contexts while influenced by a wide range of techno-social practices involving communication, collaboration and participation in networks. There is a pressing need for teachers to engage with digital literacy throughout education and, increasingly, the skills and experience that learners (and their teachers) have or need is changing and the baseline is being raised. The digital technologies available to students will continue to evolve alongside a greater expectation of the skills of teachers and the kind of learning resources they will encounter in further and higher education. At the same time, professional development in new pedagogies facilitated by digital technology is still patchy and, in terms of the potential of new social media for learning, relatively unaddressed. Therefore, the presentation will focus on the ways in which OERs can address the opportunities and challenges of creative and innovative uses of digital literacy in schools, with some of the questions being addressed as follows:
What sorts of attitudes and understandings about digital literacy do student teachers need? What are the needs of tutors with respect to digital literacy? How do teachers use digital literacies to promote creative approaches to learning in the classroom? How do schools frame the uses of digital literacy in the classroom? Finally, the presentation will also discuss issues emerging from the methodology adopted in the project which is embedded within a framework of communities of practice and emphasises reflection in the process of learning about OERs. Accordingly, in the context of the “Digital Futures” project we will create opportunities for project participants to reflect critically on their practice and their creative engagement with new technologies so that they can become more aware of the underlying pedagogical assumptions that are often implicit in the use and reuse of OERs. At the same time, the presentation will address any challenges arising from the adoption of this collaborative and reflexive approach to teaching practice in the context of exploring digital literacies.