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4.4.2: Teachers school based engagement with digital literacy

442 Students and ICTOnce established in schools teachers’ continuing professional development is dependent on a range of circumstantial and personal factors. David Buckingham argues that we must move beyond giving teachers technical skills with ICT and inserting ICT into the formal curriculum to helping teachers and students come to terms with the implications of digital literacy(Buckingham 2001).

4.4.2: Teachers school based... Tags COMMENTS (public) ANNOTATIONS (private) Teachers Engagement with Digital Literacy

Research on teachers’ attitudes towards the use of digital literacy is patchy and tends to focus on pre-service rather than experienced teachers. Most studies use teachers engaged in teacher training (e.g. Kafai and Nixon 2007; Guo, Dobson et al. 2008; Burnett 2011). Studies that do exist of the latter group tend to be very small scale and often come from different countries. Caution must be used considering how these studies relate to an English context. Student teachers are easier to access as research subjects; however their age (assuming direct progress from school to university) puts them in the same category as their students in terms of growing up with technology. Very few studies take into account age differences in teacher attitudes which is curious given the age emphasis on the ‘digital natives’ debate.

4421 laptopA small scale study of teacher perceptions for the Canadian Centre for Digital and Media Literacy (MediaSmarts 2012) found a general caution amongst teachers in using technology because of the disruption in causes. It also challenges digital native/immigrant assumptions in suggesting that older teachers have an advantage over younger teachers because their stronger classroom management skills enable them to use technology with less disruption than younger teachers are able to do. O’Brien and Scharber note that those in senior roles may resist some technologies on the basis of an ethic of conserving resources based on an outdated view of digital scarcity (O’Brien and Scharber 2010).  A Spanish study found general support amongst secondary school teachers for the use of the internet in the classroom with no reported differences between men and women. (Ramírez-Orellana, Cañedo-Hernández et al. 2012). However they did find some differences in support according to years of experience with teachers with fewer years of experience reporting more positive attitudes than those with over fifteen years of experience. The study also found subject differences with a sceptical attitude reported in science and technology subjects.

Student teachers constitute the largest group studied with regard to their attitudes towards technology. Studies show a positive attitudes towards the use of technology which increases when technology is covered in their training that relates to their subject (Friedman and Kajdar 2006). Research indicates that a single course on technology is not enough successfully effect the practice of student teachers (Vannatta and Reinhart 2000). Teachers Engagement... Tags COMMENTS (public) ANNOTATIONS (private) Use of technology by teachers

As has been stated, a difficulty of literature reviews on technology is that conclusions may be outdated very quickly; a study published in 2006 may draw on research carried out a year or so earlier when many of the technologies common today were non-existent or at very early stages. For example Underwood and Dillon cite research into involvement with video games that suggested that the it is not age or sex, but membership of the teaching profession, that is the defining characteristic of low involvement with video games (Sandford, Ulicsak et al. 2006).  However, just because teachers may not be enthusiastic games players does not mean that they are ‘inherently low technology users’ (Underwood and Dillon 2011). Teachers may not be devoted games players but social networking and technologies of relevance to their particular professional interests may indicate high levels of technology use. There is evidence that personal use of computers outside of school is a significant indicator of teacher use of technology in the classroom (Wozney, Venkatest et al. 2006)

Before its closure BECTA produced a report (Rudd, Teeman et al. 2009) that provided a positive assessment of the state of technology in schools. The Report argues that there has been good progress in the provision of infrastructure and that teachers, school leaders and ICT co-ordinators are broadly happy with the ICT resources that they have (ibid: 26).

4422 studentsHowever, as Underwood and Dillon (2011) comment, introducing new technologies into the classroom does not automatically bring about new forms of teaching and learning. They type of technology is important. According to Merchant, popular classroom technologies such as the interactive whiteboard and PowerPoint tend to extend didactic pedagogies, rather than transform classroom practice (Merchant 2005). Use of technology by... Tags COMMENTS (public) ANNOTATIONS (private)