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A New Dimension of Teaching in Digital Learning Environments - Teaching Teachers to Teach Between Schools PROCEEDINGS

, , Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

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

Abstract

That teachers are prepared by Faculties of Education to teach in schools is such a well-established platform of teacher education it is seldom questioned. In a growing number of schools though, a new dimension of teaching is emerging - teaching not only in schools but between schools. With the emergence of digital teaching and learning environments that link teachers and learners in schools across diverse sites, teachers are increasingly using collaborative technologies, a significant dimension of which is the potential to integrate classrooms, schools, teachers and learners. The integration of information and communication technologies and, in particular, the increasing presence of the Internet in teaching and learning, challenges traditional educational considerations of time, distance and location. It also challenges traditional notions of the school. The ubiquity of information and communication technologies in education systems enables teachers and learners to form new teleteaching and telelearning relationships. The development of Internet-based technologies and the choice these provide of synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning has encouraged some teachers to reconsider the organization of schools as well as the nature of their classroom work. The first part of this paper will consider issues in the integration of information and communication technologies to teaching and learning for the organization of schools in the context of a shift from distance education to telelearning. A significant consideration for the organization of schools in the emerging teleteaching - telelearning environment has been the recent creation of new electronic educational structures. Two of these new structures - digital Intranets and, within these, virtual classes, have, for example, enabled teachers and learners in the some areas of Canada to come together in new ways. The paper will provide a case study of senior high school students in selected small, rural Canadian communities who have been provided with opportunities to learn university-level Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics within virtual classes located within a digital intranet. Traditionally, students from schools such as the ones that will be described in the paper, have been encouraged to attend larger, usually urban institutions, or to study by distance education. New, electronic educational structures, it will be demonstrated in this paper, are key to the provision of expanded educational opportunities for students in small schools. It will be argued in this paper, on the basis of current research in Canada, that the successful integration of information and communication technologies in the education of senior high school students in small schools is in part dependent on the transition from closed to open teaching and learning environments. This environment has many implications for the teaching profession and, in particular, for pre-service and in-service education. This second part of this paper will explore professional development issues for teachers within the context of organizational change resulting from the development of new, electronic, teaching and learning environments that link schools across dispersed sites. The academic and administrative interfacing of schools across dispersed sites to form new educational structures challenges some teaching practices that are used in traditional classrooms. Teachers in parts of Canada are increasingly being required to teach not only in schools, but between schools. To be effective, pedagogy for integrating on-site and on-line instruction has to be developed. The ways in which schools manage change and in which teachers are offered opportunities for professional development vary, however, from site to site. The paper will conclude by considering the implications of the above issues for the professional education of teachers and for educational leadership and policy. That teachers are prepared by Faculties of Education to teach in schools is such a well-established platform of teacher education it is seldom questioned. In a growing number of schools though, a new dimension of teaching is emerging - teaching not only in schools but between schools. With the emergence of digital teaching and learning environments that link teachers and learners in schools across diverse sites, teachers are increasingly using collaborative technologies, a significant dimension of which is the potential to integrate classrooms, schools, teachers and learners. The integration of information and communication technologies and, in particular, the increasing presence of the Internet in teaching and learning, challenges traditional educational considerations of time, distance and location. It also challenges traditional notions of the school. The ubiquity of information and communication technologies in education systems enables teachers and learners to form new teleteaching and telelearning relationships. The development of Internet-based technologies and the choice these provide of synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning has encouraged some teachers to reconsider the organization of schools as well as the nature of their classroom work. The first part of this paper will consider issues in the integration of information and communication technologies to teaching and learning for the organization of schools in the context of a shift from distance education to telelearning. A significant consideration for the organization of schools in the emerging teleteaching - telelearning environment has been the recent creation of new electronic educational structures. Two of these new structures - digital Intranets and, within these, virtual classes, have, for example, enabled teachers and learners in the some areas of Canada to come together in new ways. The paper will provide a case study of senior high school students in selected small, rural Canadian communities who have been provided with opportunities to learn university-level Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics within virtual classes located within a digital intranet. Traditionally, students from schools such as the ones that will be described in the paper, have been encouraged to attend larger, usually urban institutions, or to study by distance education. New, electronic educational structures, it will be demonstrated in this paper, are key to the provision of expanded educational opportunities for students in small schools. It will be argued in this paper, on the basis of current research in Canada, that the successful integration of information and communication technologies in the education of senior high school students in small schools is in part dependent on the transition from closed to open teaching and learning environments. This environment has many implications for the teaching profession and, in particular, for pre-service and in-service education. This second part of this paper will explore professional development issues for teachers within the context of organizational change resulting from the development of new, electronic, teaching and learning environments that link schools across dispersed sites. The academic and administrative interfacing of schools across dispersed sites to form new educational structures challenges some teaching practices that are used in traditional classrooms. Teachers in parts of Canada are increasingly being required to teach not only in schools, but between schools. To be effective, pedagogy for integrating on-site and on-line instruction has to be developed. The ways in which schools manage change and in which teachers are offered opportunities for professional development vary, however, from site to site. The paper will conclude by considering the implications of the above issues for the professional education of teachers and for educational leadership and policy. v

Citation

Dibbon, D. & Stevens, K. (2002). A New Dimension of Teaching in Digital Learning Environments - Teaching Teachers to Teach Between Schools. In D. Willis et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2002 (pp. 87-91). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

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Keywords

References

  1. Collis, B. 1996. Telelearning in a Digital World - The Future of Distance Learning, London and Boston, Thompson Computer Press
  2. Information Highway Advisory Council. 1995. The Challenge of the Information Highway, Ottawa, Industry Canada
  3. Information Highway Advisory Council. 1997. Preparing Canada for a Digital World, Ottawa, Industry Canada
  4. Stevens, K.J. 1994. Some Applications of Distance Education Technologies and Pedagogies in Rural Schools in New Zealand, Distance Education 15 (4)
  5. Stevens, K.J. 1998. The Management of Intranets : Some Pedagogical Issues in the Development of Telelearning, In: A. Higgins (ed) Best Practice, Research and Diversity in Open and Distance Learning, Distance Education Association of New Zealand, Rotorua, New Zealand, pp: 279 – 286.
  6. Stevens, K. J. 1999.Telecommunications Technologies, Telelearning and the Development of Virtual Classes for Rural New Zealanders Open Praxis (1).

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