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Towards a pedagogical model of learning to teach with information technology; a study in a primary teacher education programme in Hong Kong

The research reported in this thesis arose from the author’s concerns that developed during his role as a teacher-educator in the field of instructional technology; specifically, in teacher education to facilitate pedagogical change by the use of information technology in teaching. The overall goal of the research was to investigate the effect of some pedagogical interventions involving with information technology, and based on constructivist views of teaching, for a primary teacher education programme in Hong Kong. This research involved two phases. The first phase was a one-year study of a group of final year students from a primary teacher education programme of the Hong Kong Institute of Education. This involved the investigation of the learning of a cohort of students in the Designing and Developing Instructional Media (DDIM) module - an information technology and teacher education module, and a ‘try-out teaching’ component that formed part of the students’ teaching practice. The second phase of the study consisted of a six-month investigation that took place in five different primary schools. This was an intensive study of the continuous development of five graduate teachers during their first year of teaching. In this phase of the study these beginning teachers attempted to implement an information technology project informed by an intervention developed and modelled by the researcher. Throughout the two phases of the study, data were collected by means of interviews, essays by the student-teachers’, field notes of class observations taken by the researcher, and journals kept by the student-teachers. Quantitative data from questionnaires also were used as a means of data triangulation. This study and the interventions developed in this study were informed by constructivist views of learning, which highlight the contribution of the cognitive, social and contextual aspects of the knowledge construction process. Drawing on a constructivist-based framework, a number of intervention strategies were subsequently identified from the literature: cognitive apprenticeship, collaborative learning and resource-based learning. These intervention strategies were adopted in the development of the interventions used in this study. The research reported in this thesis suggests that the participants underwent a professional development process of learning to teach with information technology, resulting in gains of information technology skills along with conceptual change about the application of information technology to teaching and learning. In the first phase of this study, the student-teachers showed improved understanding and mastery of knowledge and skills of applying information technology in education. The student-teachers also showed more concern about the effect of using information technology on their pupil’s learning outcomes. Positive attitudes towards using information technology in teaching were seen for the student-teachers, and although they were anxious about classroom management problems, they attempted a variety of new strategies in some of their lessons during their teaching practice. The intervention for the second phase of the study resulted in increased understanding and mastery of both the content and pedagogical knowledge and skills of using information technology in education: a variety of student-centred activities with the use of information technology were observed. A strong theme to emerge from this phase of the study was that the student-teachers saw information technology as a tool to facilitate learning. A second theme was that the student-teachers became more reflective thinkers, and became more critical about the implementation of information technology in their classrooms and their schools. Drawing on the above findings, the researcher developed an instructional model - the ‘Model-sharing, Interactive, Reflective and Contextual Learning Environment’ (MIRACLE) model. This model then attempts to summarise the intervention strategies that were developed in this thesis into a single comprehensive model, to help inform teaching with information technology. This model is intended to serve as a scaffold for the professional development process for beginning teachers, and thus serves as an agent to bring prospective teachers into a shared ‘technology-using subculture’ in education. The researcher also proposes that teachers experienced with the MIRACLE model may act as active agents and become leaders in pedagogical change in their schools, resulting in a more favourable learning environment. A variety of factors affecting the professional development process of teaching with information technology were identified in this study. These factors include: time and workload concerns; adequacy or otherwise of school computing facilities; the ‘technology-using subculture present in the schools; the subculture of a ‘newcomer’ in the education field; support from the school principal and colleagues; and, school leadership. The research also developed a conceptual framework, which consists of six areas of technology competency for designing an information technology and teacher education course. This research concluded with a vision of potential applications of the MIRACLE model, intended to nurture a ‘technology-using culture’ at both teacher training institutions and primary schools. The thesis concludes with some suggestions to enhance school leadership, and how it might be possible to develop a holistic model for teacher education programmes in the use of information technology. The literature suggests that the learning that occurs during teacher training involves conceptual change and that this conceptual change should be enacted in a favourable and authentic context, with appropriate scaffolding. The research findings reported in this thesis attempt to enrich pedagogical knowledge about learner-centred teaching, and to provide scaffolding for teacher training in the use of information technology in student-centred learning.
Type of thesis
Li, K. M. (2003). Towards a pedagogical model of learning to teach with information technology; a study in a primary teacher education programme in Hong Kong (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13923
The University of Waikato
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