The dichotomy of the conquering hero: looking for the pedagogy in ICT.
Chris Jones, University of Sunderland, School of Education, United Kingdom
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
ICT is being taught and teachers have to a greater or lesser extent determined upon the received pedagogies that apply in their institutions. There is something happening; pedagogies exist; but is the teaching based on appropriate pedagogies for the teaching of ICT, or are teachers simply imposing a borrowed pedagogy for ICT that needs to be challenged? The teaching of ICT in secondary schools in England has been highlighted as having many weaknesses, (Ofsted, 2001) and in highlighting these weaknesses Goldstein (op. cit.) reminds us of the need for the development of a critical pedagogy for ICT and that, in order for the pedagogical and managerial development of ICT as a subject to be successful, schools would need access to "high quality national and local support" (p3). Skill development often begins the process of conceptual development. The problem that we have with the teaching of ICT and the development of IT capability is that teaching and learning in ICT often does not go very much further than the teaching of skills based courses. If we are to get any closer to a defined and accepted pedagogy of ICT we need to analyse and define what is, or perhaps what should be taught as part of the ICT curriculum. It is clear from experience that many teachers of ICT lack a well defined subject knowledge (Preston, et al., 2000) and the definition of the subject in the National Curriculum specification for ICT, though designed to be 'future-proof' has less clarity than other subjects. Passey (1998) identifies a need for teachers to begin to see ICT in the same way that their students do, and in coming to see the technology as part of their natural teaching and learning repertoire will support their own development of a pedagogic competence in ICT. McCarney (2000) in summarising conference responses to the issue of pedagogy and ICT stated simply that 'there is a clear need to develop the pedagogy of ICT in the curriculum'. Selinger (2000) acknowledges, in her analysis of the use of multimedia in schools across Europe, that "virtually all countries recognise that development cannot be effective is given to teacher training", and that any teacher training undertaken should focus in on the pedagogical application of ICT. We have seen in England that the approach taken by the DfES to the development of teacher knowledge and skills in ICT through NOF training has come under criticism from Ofsted (op. cit.) and from teachers themselves (creativenet, 2000). Classroom mythology describes a situation in which enthusiastic students who are willing to learn and who enjoy the structured and staged approach to the development of ICT skills people ICT classrooms. There is a distinct need to develop the curriculum content of the ICT curriculum and to specify the range of teaching and learning experiences that children should expect to benefit from as a consequence of schooling. (Webb, op. cit.) Subject knowledge is the main barrier here to pedagogical development and change in ICT classrooms. The development of the ICT capable school, one which acknowledges the curriculum importance of ICT and which invests in the training and development of staff in ICT, is an important step towards defining the pedagogies appropriate for the ICT classroom. An approach to the development of ICT in schools has been identified by a UNESCO project (UNSESCO, 2000) and has proposed four stages of school development and defined the learning pedagogy appropriate/characteristic of each stage: I have already collected observational recordings made by student teachers of ICT where they were asked to compare approaches to teaching and learning in ICT and another subject. Webb (op. cit.) also highlights the work of Linn and Hsi (2000) as establishing a useful framework for the development of a pedagogical foundation for ICT. ICT is being taught in our secondary schools. The pedagogy being applied varies from school to school and there is no real sense of an informed and critical debate taking place in schools about the relationship of what is being taught to school improvement and learner development.
Jones, C. (2002). The dichotomy of the conquering hero: looking for the pedagogy in ICT. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 52-58). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).