The problem to be addressed #edchat #edtech

My research addresses the problem of teachers’ ICT perspectives and practices assumed but not prepared. This has led to a continuing problem of teachers’ lack of innovative uses of ICT in their professional practice. With this lack comes an undeveloped technological disposition in the cultures of schools. Despite billions of dollars invested worldwide in equipping schools with digital infrastructure, there is evidence that these investments have not been utilized to actually influence the emergence of social learning practices. More troubling, these investments have not resulted in a teaching cohort with sophisticated knowledge of digital technologies and their significance in the formation of future human societies. At present we do not have adequate leadership to develop sophisticated understandings of the significance of digital technologies as an apogee of human connectivity and communication. Instead, we have corporate and government initiatives that would assign our technological communicative capabilities to serve the interests of administrative expediency and market messaging.

We have a problem with in-service teacher learning regarding ICT perspectives and practices, we also have a problem with pre-service teacher learning ICT perspectives and practices. This makes sense, because the teacher education system is a quasi-mentoring system: more experienced educators teach pre-service teacher candidates how to teach. If the more experienced educators have not developed an innovative ICT disposition and an ethical commitment to ICT leadership as an integral component of the teaching profession, they are not going to be able to convey these dispositions, and ethical values to a new generation of teachers coming into the field.

However, we can interrupt the cycle of non-ICT engagement in the teaching profession, and we have a very real opportunity for the teaching profession to assume a leadership role in education citizenry for the 21st century. At present, there is no system in place to: 1) address the problem; and 2) implement a systemic intervention for change.

Part of the problem is that traditionally the teaching profession has been concerned with a very narrow realm of educational activity. Specifically, educators have been concerned with conveying pre-determined knowledge about pre-determined disciplinary fields (e.g. math, science, language arts, etc.). It is only in recent decades that teachers have been given the responsibility of more diverse topics and issues (politics, the environment, ecological studies, social justice, etc.). Throughout the history of the field of education, technological knowledge has been relegated to hard sciences and vocational studies. There has never been an educational focus, or leadership, investigating our social uses of technologies, including digital technologies. However, at this point in our human evolution, we must pay attention to our human involvements with technologies, all technologies, as it is through our technological phenomena that we are destroying natural resources, habitats, human populations, and the humanities.

What is at stake, as we consider preparing teachers’ ICT perspectives and practices isn’t simply figuring out how to load a powerpoint lecture into Slideshare, or reversing instructional activity using Khan academy videos. What is at stake is the kind of human societies we want to create as we evolve as a species. Our involvements with digital technological phenomena signify a developmental ‘level-jump’ at a par with the invention of the Guttenberg press. We absolutely need a cohort of educators capable of providing leadership and instruction to our citizenry to ensure the amplification of human communicative capabilities made possible by digital technologies is used for the betterment of living conditions for all humankind, and not to simply empower and enrich a few, at the expense of the many.

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