TITLE : LEARNING ABOUT PROBLEM BASED LEARNING: STUDENT TEACHERS INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY, PEDAGOGY AND CONTENT KNOWLEDGE
This study examined the complexity of pre-service teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) in the context of integrating problem based learning (PBL) and information and communications technology (ICT). Ninety-seven pre-service teachers in this study engaged in a collaborative lesson design project where they applied pedagogical knowledge about PBL to design a technology integrated lesson in their subject area of teaching. Data were collected from two sources: survey and lesson design artifacts. Data analyses revealed that while participants had theoretical understandings of pedagogical knowledge about PBL, their lesson designs showed a mismatch among technology tools, content representations, and pedagogical strategies, indicating conflicts in translating pedagogical content knowledge into designing pedagogically sound, technology integrated lessons. The areas that students perceived to be particularly challenging and difficult include: a) generating authentic and ill-structured problems for a chosen content topic, b) finding and integrating ICT tools and resources relevant for the target students and learning activities, and c) designing tasks with a balance between teacher guidance and student independence. The present study suggests the potential of two explanations for such difficulties: lack of intimate connection among beliefs, knowledge, and actions, and insufficient repertoires for teaching with technology for problem based learning.
As new advanced technologies have come into the classrooms, there is increased interest in the essential roles and qualities of teacher knowledge bases necessary for successful technology integration. However based on Fishman & Davis, 2006, it has been suggested that many teacher education programs have not been preparing teacher candidates adequately to integrate technology, and many teachers in schools are reluctant to use technology for teaching and learning. One of reasons for this phenomenon revealed by Vannatta & Beyerbach, 2000, is that student teachers have very little knowledge about effective technology integration, even after completing courses about instructional technology. Although technology courses have offered a variety of technological tools and provided opportunities to learn and practice technical skills, it has been pointed out that mere exposure to a number of technical tools does not necessarily mean that pre-service teachers can develop abilities to design successful, technology integrated lessons.
2.1 Knowledge Base for teaching
Teachers’ knowledge bases have focused on two forms of knowledge: content knowledge (what to teach) and pedagogical knowledge (how to teach). Shulman 1986, argued that different subjects have different content structures, so that teachers should have a deep understanding of how content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge are inter-related. In addition to pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), he proposed six broad types of knowledge as the teachers’ knowledge base: content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, curriculum knowledge, general knowledge of learners and their characteristics, general knowledge of educational contexts (e.g. classroom, school, communities, and cultures, etc).
2.2 Technological Integration
The theoretical notion of pedagogical content knowledge(PCK) is highly relevant in discussing teachers’ knowledge about technology integration. Technology can play a critical role in representing a certain subject matter to be more comprehensible and concrete, helping students correct their misconceptions on certain topics, providing cognitive and metacognitive scaffoldings, and ultimately improving learning outcomes. When technology is well integrated into curricular and assessment based on a full consideration of interrelationships among content, pedagogy, and technology, we can expect positive effects of technology integrated lessons on student learning outcomes. It has been suggested that knowing how to use technology for personal use is different from knowing how to use technology for instructional purposes. From the last studies, suggest that pre-service teachers need to develop a knowledge base that goes beyond technology proficiency, into learning about how technology can be used for various forms of representations of subject matter.
2.3 Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK)
Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) is grounded on an argument that pedagogically sound applications of technology require teachers to integrate their knowledge on content, pedagogy, and technology, rather than thinking of them as separate domains of knowledge. The conception of TPCK emphasises complex interactions amongst these three elements. Some studies have suggested that while teacher cognition affects pedagogical content knowledge, teachers’ beliefs may not be easily translated into actual teaching practices (Kane, Sandretto & Heath, 2002). In other words, teachers may have difficulties making intimate connections between believing, knowing, and doing. In summary, previous research suggests that there is a need to address the issue of TPCK for successful technology integration, and personal beliefs about pedagogy and technology should be considered for the development of TPCK.
3.0 Conclusion and Implications
The purpose of this study was to examine pre-service teachers’ perceptions of TPCK and their cognitive difficulties in applying TPCK into actual lesson designs. Participants were engaged in a Collaborative Lesson Design project where they designed a content specific lesson based on their understanding of PBL and ICT integration. The main goal of this design project was to help students make intimate connections among content, pedagogy, and technology by designing a concrete lesson artifact with a partner. Survey data and lesson design artifacts were analysed to identify participants’ understanding, perception, and application of TPCK.
Wholely, this study shows that while student teachers had good understandings of pedagogical knowledge on PBL, they experienced several difficulties applying their knowledge into designing a PBL based, technology integrated lesson. The areas that students perceived to be particularly challenging and difficult included:
a. generating authentic and ill-structured problems for a chosen content topic,
b. finding and integrating ICT tools and resources relevant for the target students and learning activities, and
c. designing tasks with a balance between teacher guidance and student independence.
Additionally, this study observed the discrepancy between pedagogical understanding of PBL and actual PBL lesson designs with ICT components, suggesting the complexity of believing, knowing, and doing related to teacher knowledge. Pre-service teachers in this study were able to understand the importance of PBL and ICT integration, and how such student centred pedagogy could help students learn higher order skills. However, actual lesson designs showed that pre-service teachers were not able to translate their beliefs and knowledge to create a pedagogically sound lesson package with integration of ICT components.
Then, an important question to ask is “why do pre-service teachers have such difficulties in designing an ICT integrated lesson?” The present study suggests the potential of two explanations:
a. lack of intimate connection among beliefs, knowledge, and actions, and
b. Insufficient repertoires for teaching with technology for problem-based learning.
First, this study suggests that there might be two types of TPCK: espoused TPCK that teachers can talk about what pedagogically sound technology integration means for their subject matter, and in use TPCK that teachers can translate their beliefs and knowledge to design and implement a pedagogically sound, technology integrated lesson for their content areas.
Second, it is possible that pre-service teachers in this study did not have enough repertoires about teaching with technology for problem based learning in their subject areas. Studies on expert and novice teachers provide some insights into this lack of pre-service teachers’ TPCK.
Some implication based on the findings is conflicts in content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge facing by the pre-service teacher. So, there are some possible ways to help pre-service teachers achieve deeper connections among content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge may include:
a. designing a series of integrated modules;
b. providing student teachers with situated practices for formative feedback and epistemological reflection related to their experiences for teaching and learning;
c. presenting various examples of subject-specific technology integrated lessons with
c. presenting various examples of subject-specific technology integrated lessons with
their impacts on student learning
A subject neutral and generic environment would not be successful in helping pre-service teachers to form a robust knowledge base for seeing the complex inter-relationships among content, pedagogy, and technology. Since content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge are all inter-related, this suggests that teacher education programs should be structured in a holistic manner to allow student teachers to see the connection.
Fishman, B. & Davis, E. (2006). Teacher learning research and the learning sciences. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 535-550). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kane, R., Sandretto, S. & Heath, C. (2002). Telling half the story: A critical review of research on the teaching beliefs and practices of university academics. Review of Educational Research, 72(2), 177-228.
Shulman, L., S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.
Vannatta, R. A. & Beyerbach, B. (2000). Facilitating a constructivist vision of technology
integration among education faculty and pre-service teachers. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33(2), 132-148.
JOURNAL REVIEW 2
ICT INTEGRATION INTO CLASSROOMS
This paper discusses the use of ICTs in primary education in developing countries with a focus on Turkey being itself a developing country.The literature review is divided into the following sections:
* First, it examines the definitions of ICTs, as well as some related pertinent issues.
* The next section evaluates the different approaches to ICTs in some detail.
* This section is followed by a definition of the “Digital Divide” and an assessment of literature on the “Digital Divide”.
* Finally, a general overview of ICTs in developing countries with a focus on Turkey is provided.
According to a United Nations report (1999)1ICTs cover Internet service provision, telecommunications equipment and services, information technology equipment and services, media and broadcasting, libraries and documentation centres, commercial information providers, network-based information services, and other related information and communication activities. In this review, the term ICTsdesignates multimedia, the Internet or the Web, as a medium to enhance instruction or as a replacement for other media (Pelgrum, W.J.Law, N., 2003).
2.1 ICTS IN EDUCATION
As Pelgrum and Law (2003) claim the issue of ‘computers in education’ started to become popular in educational policy-making in the early 1980s, when relatively cheap microcomputers became available for the consumer market. They (2003) alsonote that with regard to the early introduction of microcomputers in education in 1980s, there were high expectations that it would make education more effective and motivating.
Hepp, Hinostroza, Laval and Rehbein (2004) claim in their paper “Technology in Schools: Education, ICT and the Knowledge Society” that ICTs have been utilized in education ever since their inception, but they have not always been massively present.Although at that time computers have not been fully integrated in the learning of traditional subject matter, the commonly accepted rhetoric that education systems would need to prepare citizens for lifelong learning in an information society boosted interest in ICTs (Pelgrum, W.J., Law, N., 2003).
Moreover, Kozma and Anderson (2002)write in their paper “ICT and Educational Reform in Developed and Developing Countries” that education is at the core of the knowledge economy and learning society and that correspondingly, the role of ICTsin schools is shifting dramatically.
2.2 BENEFITS AND ROLES OF ICTs IN EDUCATION
Considerable resources have been invested to justify the place of technology in education, and many research studies have revealed the benefits and gains that can be achieved by students, teachers and administrators (Jhurree, V., 2005). Although not all of the existing studies can be mentioned here, the following authors have often been mentioned in the literature:To begin with, Hepp, Hinostroza, Laval and Rehbein (2004) state the following reasons for the application of ICTs in education:
A new society requires new skills: Due to the fact that ICTs are the pre-eminent tools for information processing, new generations need to become competent in their use, should acquire the necessary skills, and therefore must have access to computers and networks during their school life.
Productivity enhancement: Schools are knowledge-handling institutions; therefore, ICTs should be fundamental management tools on all levels of an educational system, from classrooms to ministries.
A quest for quality learning: Schools should profoundly revise present teaching practices and resources to create more effective learning environments and improve life-long learning skills and habits in their students.
Moreover, Papert (1997) identified the following positive effects on students of ICTsin education include:
enhanced motivation and creativity when confronted by the new learning environments,
a greater disposition to research and problem-solving focused on real social situations,
more comprehensive assimilation of knowledge in the interdisciplinary ICT environment,
systematic encouragement of collaborative work between individuals and groups,
ability to generate knowledge,
capacity to cope with rapidly changing, complex, and uncertain environments,
new skills and abilities fostered through technological literacy.
Similarly, Hepp, Hinostroza, Laval and Rehbein (2004) state that the roles ICTs play in the educational system can be pedagogical,cultural, social, professional and administrative.
Pedagogical Tool Role: ICTs provide a new framework that can foster a revision and an improvement of teaching and learning practices such as collaborative, project-based and self-paced learning.
Cultural, Social, and Professional Roles: The cultural, social and professional roles of ICTs are exercised primarily through an effective use of the vast amount of information sources and services available today via Internet and CD-based content for the entire educational community: students, teachers, administrators and parents.
Administrative Roles: ICTs have important roles to play in making school administration less burdensome and more effectively integrated to the official information flow about students, curricula, teachers, budgets and activities through the educational system information pipelines.
2.3 PLANNING FOR ICT INTEGRATION INTO CLASSROOMS
Jhurree (2005) argues that education reform is occurringthroughout the world and one of its tenets is the introduction andintegration of ICTs in the education system. The successful integration of ICTs into the classroom warrants careful planning and dependslargely on how well policy makers understand and appreciate the dynamics of suchintegration (Jhurree, V., 2005). Integration of ICTs in education has been a contentious issue (Jhurree, V., 2005). As Jhurree (2005) claims some people argue that technology will change the educational landscape forever and in ways that will engender a dramatic increase in the performance of learners (Papert, S., 1997). Unlike these extreme advocates, there are others who adopt a balanced approach (Jhurree, V., 2005). They are convinced that ICTs, if properly integrated, have the potential to enhance the teaching and learning process (Hepp, K., Hinostroza, S., Laval, M., Rehbein, F., 2004; Kozma, R., Wagner, D., 2003; Commission of the European Communities, 2001; UNESCO, 2003; Pelgrum, W.J., Law, N., 2003). Hepp, Hinostroza, Laval and Rehbein (2004) note that in order to have long lasting effects, an ICT policy should preferably not be designed in isolation. Rather, it should be part of a more comprehensive effort towards improving the equity and quality of an educational system.
Finally, the author focuses on Turkey’s ICT reform and depicts the related issues in order to illustrate that what kind of problems the developing countries might face when integrating ICT into their classrooms.