Preparing teachers to integrate technologies strategically to support student learning is one of the most important issues facing teacher educators around the world (Dede, Jass Ketelhut, Whitehouse, Breit, & McCloskey, 2008; Edwards & Nuttall, 2015; Greenhow, Robelia & Hughes, 2009; Hwee, Koh, Chai, Hong & Tsai, 2015). Pre-service and in-service educators need to be well versed in the theory and application of diverse digital tools to support student learning so that, by extension, they feel equipped to prepare children to thrive in a complex, globally networked age (Mishra & Koehler, 2006).
Although the Internet has become a central part of personal and professional life for the more than three billion people who access it daily (InternetLiveStats.com), the more challenging demands of digital and web literacies, especially for academic purposes, are little understood and seldom taught in school (Leu et al., 2011; Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, Castek & Henry, 2013). As teacher education programs work to redress existing skill and knowledge gaps in educational technologies for their teacher candidates, they must also be aware of the contexts into which their students will be graduating. Evidence suggests that new teachers are very much influenced by the ecology of technology integration that they find in their workplace (Zhao & Frank, 2003) and that generally, teachers experience a diverse range of resource support for technology integration (Hixon & Buckenmeyer, 2009; Lim, Lee & Hung, 2008; Ramorola, 2013).
The challenges for teacher education programs are therefore multifaceted. These programs have a responsibility to prepare novice teachers to both acquire and learn to teach advanced digital literacies (that are not especially well understood). Plus, they must equip these teachers to continue to use and teach digital literacies skills once they are hired into professional contexts, many of which cannot (yet) provide adequate technology support or mentorship in situ.
Given these complexities, teachers and teacher educators would benefit from research that accurately portrays both the nature and scope of digital literacies teaching and learning in schools. These data would provide a much-needed point of departure on which future curricula and professional learning programs could be based. Even more essential to this conversation are global perspectives that could enable important comparisons and inform policy. Despite the transformative possibilities associated with the inclusion of the Internet and other communication technologies (ICTs) in instruction, relatively little is known about the regular use of these technologies in classrooms across global settings, or how promising practices that work to support students in one country might be adapted for others (OECD, 2015). For literacies educators in particular, understanding how best to teach using digital and web literacies comprehension on the Internet is central to our future, yet it is surprisingly under developed as an area of research.
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Edwards, S., & Nuttall, J. (2015). Teachers , technologies and the concept of integration. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 43(5), 375–377. http://doi.org/10.1080/1359866X.2015.1074817
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Lim, W. Y., Lee, Y. J., & Hung, D. (2008). “ A prophet never accepted by their own town ”: a teacher ’ s learning trajectory when using technology. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 36(3). http://doi.org/10.1080/13598660802232605
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x
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Ramorola, M. Z. (2013). Challenge of effective technology integration into teaching and learning. Africa Education Review, 10(4), 654–670. http://doi.org/10.1080/18146627.2013.853559
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