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New pedagogies and the training of teachers and trainers (Part 1)

September 29th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I am writing a report on new pedagogic approaches to the use of technology for teaching and learning. In particular I am looking at three key issues:

  • A summary of definitions of digital pedagogy and/or pedagogic approaches to using technology for learning
  • A discussion of current approaches to using technology for learning and strengths and weaknesses in relation to teacher training generally and in the post 16 education sector in particular.
  • New pedagogic approaches that could be considered in the review of the curriculum and qualifications for teacher training, to provide the skills, knowledge and understanding required of the modern teacher or trainer.
  • The report is divided into a number of different sections. And at the end of each section I am attempting to identify a series of ‘highlighted issues’ requiring more attention, thinking or action. I will publish the entire report when it is finished. But in a short series of posts this week, I will publish the highlighted issues in the hope of gaining feedback from the wider community.

    The first section deals with how young people (and teachers) are using technology for teaching and learning. It also looks at new and extended definitions of digital literacy.

    Here are the issues I have identified as coming out of that section:

    Should learners or schools determine the adoption of particular technologies for teaching and learning?

    There has been concern expressed that educational institutions are failing to meet the expectations and practices of learners in their use of technology for teaching and learning. Equally, some research has pointed to the requirement to use technologies and forms of communication and expression that may lay outside learners’ everyday practice and experience. To what extent should educational practice change to adopt to the expectations and practice of learners in terms of technology? And to what extent is it appropriate for educational institutions to recommend or make compulsory the use of particular technologies.

    The changing contexts of learning and the social context of literacies.

    Research evidence suggests that computers and mobile devices are being used for information seeking, communication and knowledge acquisition in different domains and contexts, including in the home, in the community and in work. How should educational institutions react to these different contexts for learning and how can informal learning and learning outside the institution be linked to educational programmes and courses?

    Learners’ experience

    Instead of a digital divide based on generation, research suggests a far more complex picture, with wide variations in skills, interest and practice in the uses of technology even by younger people. Access to technology and to Internet connectivity would also appear to remain a critical issue. How can educational institutions and teachers manage these different levels of expectation and experience and at the same time ensure a minimum level of digital literacy for all learners.

    Managing myths

    The continuing dissemination of myths and moral panics around the adoption and use of practice around new technologies is disturbing? How can we ensure teachers (and teacher trainers and managers) have access to timely and accurate research around these issues?

    Digital literacies for teachers

    Research is leading to wider ideas of digital literacy. How can we ensure that teachers themselves are digitally literate and that Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Professional Development is based on these ideas, rather than the older and more restricted digital skills agenda?

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    One Response to “New pedagogies and the training of teachers and trainers (Part 1)”

    1. iVenus/Enza says:

      Hi Graham,
      very interesting post and very timely too as I am deliberating new pedagogies for teaching Italian in my area as well. Using technology as a tool for second/foreign language teaching and learning has additional implications too, in that adapting target language specific technologies vs. general technologies with language specific objectives (as I do with Twitter, blogging, iPod Touch, etc.) is always a tad challenging when I present them teachers (both seasoned and those in training).

      I did come across this that I thought you might wish to peruse: Guidance for Ohio Schools and Districts Considering Online and Technology-Based World Language Options ( It might provide some ideas for further consideration.

      Thank you again for this post and I look forward to this continued discussion.

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