Learning 2.0: Teachers who chose to be left behind
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education / Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies
The digital divide is growing here in Australia as it is elsewhere. As a result of the rapid changes that characterise technology-enhanced teaching and learning in the knowledge era, many teacher education students, who are the future teachers of knowledge workers, are failing to obtain adequate skills to confidently incorporate technology into their learning and consequently into their plans for teaching. However, is this a problem of skills-development or attitude-change? A newly developed unit is used as a case study to explore the surfacing problems of Learning 2.0 as the new front in the culture wars, raising questions about teacher education, cultural diversity and the role of digital pedagogy in the education of newly graduating teachers. In this paper, I report on a pilot study that investigated students' utilisation of flexible learning provisions in a unit called 'Values Education'. The aim of the study was to measure engagement levels of teacher education students enrolled in their final on-campus unit prior to graduation. As these students are effectively one step away from teaching, their embrace of flexible online learning provisions is of particular interest. The preliminary results provide an insight into nextgeneration teachers' perception of the value-adding nature of digital pedagogy. They show the utilisation patterns of flexible online learning provisions, pointing to some concerning trends. The results indicate that problems of 'participation gap', 'surface engagement' and 'lack of motivation' that have plagued education on all levels for centuries and have fuelled debates in education since the introduction of mass education are now spilling over into online learning environments. These trends cannot be ignored; they need innovative and creative solutions and collaborative action.