FETICHE PROJECT

 

Integrating ICT into Teacher Education:

Guidelines

for

European Education Decision Makers

 |version téléchargeable| |version française|

September 1997

 

The experimentations carried out by the different partners of the FETICHE project were based on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in order to improve open and distance learning (ODL) in teacher education. It was both an aid for teacher education, enabling educators and trainees to keep in contact during the school practice, and enhancing collaborative working between educators, trainees, and tutors, but also a way to integrate new technologies as a content in teacher education. In teacher education, ICT is both an object and a tool. But it should not be a new subject: it has to be integrated in the whole teaching/learning process of all subjects, across the different school levels.

 

From the experimentations, we have made observations and analysis, and we have shared the reflection among the six partners in the project, taking into account their expertise and experiences. The present guidelines are the fruit of this work; they are adressed to teacher education institutions, policy makers and decision makers (national and local authorities) in european countries: they may help the teacher educators who want to integrate information and communication technologies in their teaching and practice.

 

The Guidelines are directly related to the three main objectives of the action plan for a european education initiative " Learning in the information society ": provide access to technology in schools, train the teachers, produce tools, resources and services.

 

1. Policy: a strong signal is a necessary starting point from decision makers.

  • ALL teachers must now be trained in the use of ICT in education. This needs changes at different levels, in classes, in schools, in educational structures, etc.
  • Political and socio-economic conditions for change are essential. Decision makers must give a clear insightful input to give direction to ICT into education.
  • Both national and school curricula should acknowledge the role of ICT in pedagogical practices.
  • Teacher trainees and educators need stimuli. Decision makers should feel responsible for these stimuli, and for their institutionalisation.
  • The "missionary spirit" is no longer enough in order to develop integrating ICT into education; strong policies and concrete action plans are needed.
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    2. Concepts: a step into a new culture.

  • A clear conceptual understanding of ICT is necessary before it is put in action. One must develop an "ICT culture", with its diversity. The concept of ICT should be an integral part of the curriculum in teacher training.
  • Educators should take into account the attitude and psychological state of mind of teachers, regarding ICT. Resistance to change must be acknowledged as a part of school democracy.
  • Teachers must not just use ICT tools, but also accept new concepts of teaching and learning.
  • Effective use of ICT relies on the desire of participants to engage. Consider teachers motivation: motivation for using ICT; ICT as a tool to develop motivation for learning and teaching. Having every one motivated needs a range of different possibilities, of different activities, of different levels of involvement.
  • Teachers should think about links between society/community and the classroom; and be aware of the external influences; design appropriate environments, taking into account the local conditions.
  • Teacher education now has a wider access to information and higher responsibility to deal with this new situation, keeping a critical attitude towards conflicting information.
  • Teachers must be producers, not only consumers of information and knowledge.
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    3. Curriculum development and open learning: new and integrated tasks and activities.

  • Teacher education curricula need constant redesign, in terms of content and methodology.
  • Implement training activities that serve as hints for teachers' future work. In their training, student teachers should have experience of activities which can be re-used and further developed.
  • Time is necessary ! and free time is necessary. Give time to people, to decision makers, to users. Make a clear statement about the length of time needed. Have time for free access to resources, self-service activities, etc.
  • Most teachers are enthusiastic, keen on learning new things. They may be fearing technology, but communication technology seems to be less threatening than computers were.
  • It is essential that teachers discuss within their own subject the role of ICT in their pedagogy.
  • Integrating ICT in teacher education must be activity based, task oriented and problem centered, with a view to project based learning.
  • Teachers must be encouraged and supported to learn autonomously, rather than always be trained.
  • It is essential that a range of ICT projects continues to be developed within teacher education.
  • Teachers must adapt evaluation materials by using ICT.

     

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    4. Experience for yourself new ways of learning !

  • Make teacher trainees, educators and tutors have their own experiences of ICT tools:
  • Make them experience by themselves learning something new in their own subject through ICT; make them experience by themselves learning in new ways (collaborative learning, learning by project...). It is only if they experience it by themselves, during their training, that they will be convinced that it can work with pupils. Projects should be integrated into the development of teacher education. To work collaboratively and not be fixed to tied static knowledge, there must be a re-thinking of teacher education.
  • Train the trainers ! And consider that all the competencies and abilities needed from trainees are first needed from educators ! All teacher educators must have a comprehensive understanding of the use, role and significance of ICT within the pedagogy of their own subject.
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    5. Networks, classrooms and institutions: combine on-site and networked activities for collaborative working and pedagogical integration.

  • Consider the class as a changing concept: originally, it was less expensive to have several pupils with one teacher, and easier to have them at the same moment at the same place. With ICT, new types of classes may be implemented: distance classes; asynchronous classes. Use all the possibilities, the new as well as the old ones: distance and local, synchronous and asynchronous. ICT requires changes in the structure of teaching sessions. Teachers must recognize there are other sites for ICT learning, such as the home.
  • Open and Distance Learning is more effective when combined with on-site instruction.
  • With ICT, the class is a collaborative group, and not only a collection of individuals. Use and experiment with the collaborative potential of ICT for pedagogical projects.
  • Pedagogical integration encourages cooperation between teachers, teacher educators and student teachers as well as parents.
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    6. Teacher education, practice and tutors: articulate practice and theory through networked activities.

  • Practice is an essential part of teacher education, but it must be strongly linked with fundamental and theoretical input. ICT may help this linking, making tutors and educators work together on a collaborative basis.
  • The role of tutors (experienced teachers who accompany and tutor the trainees in classrooms, especially during practice periods) is fundamental. They must be involved in the process of integrating ICT in teacher education.
  • Use communication tools and techniques to develop a more intimate teacher-student or student-student relationship.
  • Communication is much easier when the users have met before; opportunities for this should be included.
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    7. Conditions: certain levels of equipment and human resources are necessary in order to produce progress.

  • ICT, like videoconferencing, help organizational integration by making geographical, educational and administrative boundaries less visible.
  • Technical conditions, equipment, facilities are necessary. Proper technical infrastructure is necessary for ICT to progress. First of all, a network access and multimedia facilities in every learning site.
  • Schools and teacher education institutions should keep up with a technological development, in order to give teacher education a sound basis for the integration of ICT and pedagogical practice.
  • Human professional resources are necessary as well, in training institutions and in schools. Technical and human support competencies must be contexted within teacher education.
  • Heads and Principals must create conditions where there will be incentives to use ICT. And they should challenge teachers to be involved in ICT projects.
  • More generally, decision makers should be persuaded to promote ICT projects.
  • Teacher educators must be involved in an ongoing evaluation of the training process.
  • There must be Internet providers specific for education in each country.
  • Pre- and in-service training Internet tools for all teachers must be developed.