Teacher education students’ use of ICTs in teaching and learning on professional placement: Investigating influences and development within the activity systems of university and schools

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The preparation and performance of teacher education students (TESs) has long been of interest. Given the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in teaching and learning is seen as an important aspect of TESs’ practice, it is not surprising that it has been the subject of ongoing attention. The problem investigated by this study was TESs’ use of ICTs in teaching and learning in the classroom often being below researchers’ expectations, and in some cases non-existent. Part of the challenge of investigating this problem is the multitude of influences on ICT use in schools. Research has identified a range of influences including TESs’ beliefs, attitudes and confidence, the modelling of ICT use by teacher educators and supervising teachers (STs), and the design of the teacher preparation program itself. What is not as clear is which influences are most critical, and the interrelations between these elements.
The complexity of this situation points to the need for an encompassing approach to investigating the problem. Accordingly, this qualitative study collectively examined influences within the two contexts where TESs predominantly develop and demonstrate their ability to use ICTs in teaching and learning. These being the TESs’ university-based teacher preparation program, and the schools in which they undertook teaching placements.
As both a theory and an approach to practice, the application of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) guided and shaped the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data. The examination focussed on five TESs completing an Australian primary (elementary) teaching degree, the five STs who mentored them on their final professional placement, and six teacher educators that contributed to their preparation to use ICTs in teaching and learning. Attention was also given to the TESs’ prior teaching placements, and all four years of their preparation program to create opportunity for the origins of their practice with ICTs to be traced.
The study identified a broad range of influences from data collected through semi-structured interviews with the participants, observations of the TESs’ teaching, and examination of relevant documents. The data were analysed in a two stage process. Firstly, within-case analyses were completed for the activity systems of the university teacher preparation program, and the schools in which the TESs completed their professional experience placements. Secondly, a cross-case analysis was conducted resulting in the construction of six assertions. The findings and assertions from these analyses make a contribution to the literature as they explain the relationship between TESs’ preparation to use and their actual use of ICTs in teaching and learning while on professional placement, and also how development to use ICTs in the classroom takes place.
Notable findings included explanation of the interdependence between the university teacher preparation program and schools for the TESs’ development to use ICTs in teaching and learning, explanation of the mediatory influence of both implicit and explicit rules on TESs’ use of ICTs in teaching and learning, particularly those in the form of classroom routines and practices, and the influence of how school students responded to the TESs’ use of ICTs in the classroom. Also salient were findings that explained the nature of the influence of both technical and psychological tools on how and why the TESs used ICTs in teaching and learning, how causal processes influenced development to use and use of ICTs, and how perceptions of societal and employer expectations influenced the preparation program and the TESs use of ICTs with their students in the classroom. The significance of the study is also seen in its demonstration of how CHAT is capable of providing insight into the complex and ongoing challenge that teaching and learning with ICTs represents.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Davidson, Christina, Principal Supervisor
  • Hemmings, Brian, Co-Supervisor
  • Dalgarno, Barney, Principal Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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