Developing and Researching the International Dimension in Teacher Education and Technology: A SITE Invited Panel.

 

Niki Davis
Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching
Iowa State University
& Marie Curie Visiting Research Fellow in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
& London University Institute of Education
nedavis@iastate.edu

Therese Laferriere
TeleLearning Network of Centers of Excellence
Laval University
tlaf@fse.ulaval.ca

Bridget Somekh
Institute of Education
Manchester Metropolitan University
b.somekh@mmu.ac.uk

Wim Veen
Delft University, the Netherlands
w.veen@ivlos.ruu.nl

Jerry Willis
Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching
Iowa State University
jerrywillis@iastate.edu

 

Abstract
SITE'00's theme is building bridges among professional associations so it is only right that one the panels should look at the joys and challenges of developing and researching an international dimension in teacher education. The panelists come from both sides of the Atlantic and will stimulate the discussion though their experiences of collaborating across communities, cultures and languages. Niki Davis and Wim Veen have been developing and researching European teacher training enhanced through information and communications technologies. Bridget Somekh has been working with teacher educators in Europe to inform a view on pedagogy with new technologies. Therese Laferriere's focus has been the development of teacher education across borders and cultures in North America. Jerry Willis has recently been focusing on curriculum reform in the Ukraine.

 

Background

The theme of this year's SITE conference is bridges among professional associations. This panel will consider the growing importance of international collaboration for teacher educators. International collaboration between two associations also brought the panel together led by the first and last authors. Niki Davis was the current chair, or president, of the UK Association for IT in Teacher Education in the year that the Society of IT in Teacher Education formed in the USA. She met Jerry Willis, the founding president of SITE, at an international conference in Belgium and as a result of expressing the challenges of developing IT for teacher education was invited to give the Keynote speech for SITE'91 in Greenville North Carolina. The Associations formed close collaboration to the benefit of both (Davis, 1991). As the older but smaller organization, which aims to promote both good teacher preparation and scholarship, ITTE struggled to support the international community. However, ITTE was happy to support the growth of SITE and certainly has grown both in numbers and in participation across the world.

Why does the society need a panel on international collaboration?

The Society for IT in Teacher Education is an international Society that actively promotes collaboration for the benefit of its membership and the scholarly field. The current Vice President for International liaison is Niki Davis, the leader of this panel. In addition, there are at least three reasons to incorporate a global dimension in teacher education:
1. The context for education is becoming global
2. Communication and other technologies are being used to increase access to education on a global scale
3. Taking a global view can enhance teacher education through the provision of stimulating rich contexts for critical reflection.

At last year's SITE'99 conference Niki Davis argued this in some detail (Davis, 1999) referring firstly to the commercial situation, which is now possibly more influential that national politics:
As teacher education moves towards more complex organizational arrangements of collaboration and competition at different levels, we are following similar trends in commerce and industry pushed and pulled by Globalization. Dauphainais & Price (1998) edited together the views of prominent chief executives under six themes, with the first as Globalization. The others were radical change, leadership, culture, innovation and customer service. The five latter themes are already challenges in teacher education and this paper suggests that we must also face up to our role in the globalizing of our cultures as workers across the world struggle for job retention and standard of living enhancements made possible through the "uncoupling of the corporation from the nation state. Rapid free flows of technology, capital, and employment contribute to this 'global village' effect." (p21)

In that SITE'99 paper provided suggestions of exemplary technology resources linked to SITE's Principles for technology in teacher education as well as a framework for curriculum development created by the international T3 project working across Europe (Davis and Tearle, 1999). Both Wim Veen and Niki Davis may use T3 Core Curriculum within the panel discussion, see Figure 1 for the holistic treatment of the three main dimensions bound together by lifelong learning, globalization and management of change:
1. collaboration & networking
2. pedagogy
3. technology

Figure 1. The T3 Core Curriculum International Principles

 

For the international dimension it is particularly important to pay structured attention to collaboration and networking. However perhaps as other panelists explore the socio-cultural dimension we will together suggest that all these dimensions are important to all programs of teacher education across the globe.

Educating for Agency across the globe

Bridget Somekh's view of developing and researching the international dimension in teacher education and technology will draw upon two major scholarly activities. She has led the Community of Action Research Network and its international journal since its inception with John Elliott and colleagues. More recently the work of the REPRESENTATION Project, sponsored by the European Union, which is using concept mapping as a tool to capture children's mental schema for new technology, has informed her views (see for example Baron, Bruillard & Dansac, 1999). Representation is a research and development project funded by the European Union through the Multimedia Task Force. Kathy Kikis-Papadakis, FORTH, Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics, Greece, coordinates the project. The partners are INRP, France; Orfeus, Denmark; MAC, Ireland; University of Crete, Greece; University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Open University of Catalunya, Spain; and University of Huddersfield, UK. Associated partners are IUFM de Creteil, France; and the University of Mons-Hainaut, Belgium.

The project has led Bridget to question to what extent existing education systems are capable of meeting the needs of today's young children, given the rapid infiltration of new technology into their lives. Bridget may clarify how the comparison across different countries and educational systems has enabled her to better argue that it is imperative to change some of the structural factors in education systems that currently prevent teachers from meeting children' needs. Her argument is that changes are possible that would enable us to use the capabilities offered by new technology tools to meet the socio-cultural needs of local communities. Bridget will end by arguing that we should educate for agency, to produce teachers and young people who believe that they are capable of making a difference to existing systems and enjoy the challenge of change.

TeleLearning Professional Development schools

The North American experience of professional development through communications technologies also holds valuable insights into the collaboration across institutions and countries to create new professional communities. These communities "reach far beyond a school or university by including among their active participants teachers, students, undergraduates, and various other experts from a number of schools, universities and associations." Therese Laferriere and her colleagues in the TeleLearning Network of Centers of Excellence are researching and developing models of time and information management between and within sites (Laferriere, 1999). In this research they note the importance of providing opportunities for 'the construction of shared understandings of teaching and learning'. The panel may explore how close these are to the European T3 projects' core curriculum that includes a dimension for both 'pedagogy' and 'collaboration & networking'.

Central and Eastern European challenge

In addition to the fast moving changes of technology some countries are also experiencing enormous changes in their educational systems. Jerry Willis will reflect on the challenges of providing support through international collaboration from the USA to the Ukraine. Where colleagues are under such stress it can be difficult to avoid cultural imperialism. Yet there is no doubt that the challenges of a centrally imposed curriculum that has now been swept away, led to a reaction in education. At times there is evidence of a much richer appreciation of literature and culture than might have been expected plus an extraordinary appetite for study. Support for Ukrainians redeveloping their curriculum can have benefits for their supporters in promoting reflection of the important value for education across the globe. Such challenges to pedagogical and curricular change have also been evident in international collaborations between Western and Central Europe as in the MATEN project for example, which is developing on-line multimedia courses with colleagues in four central and eastern European countries including the Ukraine (Dovgiallo et al, 1998).

The panels' discussion questions

What added value does an international dimension provide for teacher education?
What are the keys points for implementing international collaboration?
What are the important research questions relating to international teacher education?
Should all courses of teacher education strive for an international dimension, or is only important for some? e.g. advanced postgraduate courses
What can SITE do to promote international collaboration and support in teacher education?

 

References

Baron, G.L., Bruillard E. & Dansac, C. (Eds.) (1999). Representations, modeles et modelisations; implications sur les strategies educatives et sur les processus d'apprentissage: synthese bibliographique. Deliverable 01 from the Representation Consortium to the Educational Multimedia Task Force of the European Commission in Brussels. Project MM 1045.
Dauphainais, G.W., & Price, C. (Eds.) (1998). Straight from the CEO: The world's top business leaders reveal ideas that every manager can use. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Davis, N. (1991). Information Technology in UK Initial Teacher Training. In Carey D., Carey R., Willis D.A. & Willis J. (Eds.) Technology and Teacher Education Annual 1991. Pp 1-7.
Davis, N.E. (1999). Why Should IT in Teacher Education have a Global Dimension? Proceedings of SITE'99 in San Antonio, Texas, March 1999.
Davis, N.E. & Tearle, P. (1999). The research and development of an international core curriculum for ICT in teacher training. Proceedings of SITE'99 in San Antonio, Texas, March 1999.
Dovgiallo, A., Kolos V., & Kudrjavtseva S. (1998). Ukrainian experience of teachers' training on telematics: distance course. Proceedings of TeleTeaching 1998, Vienna and Budapest, September 1998.
Laferriere T., Breuleux A., & Bracewell R. (1999). TeleLearning Professional Development Schools (TL.PDSs): Emerging patterns of time management within and between sites. Proceedings of SITE'99 in San Antonio, Texas, March 1999.

 

Acknowledgements

Telematics for Teacher Training (T3) and the MATEN were supported by DG XIII_C of the European Commission under the auspices of the Telematics Programme http://telematics.ex.ac.uk/. Niki Davis is currently a Marie Curie Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin supported by the Information Society Programme of the European Commission to assist in the establishment of the TCD Centre for Research into IT in Education (CRITE ) and to research the need for a global degree for 'Leadership in educational technology'.
The European Commission under the auspices of the Multimedia Task Force supports the REPRESENTATION Project.