Australian Council for Computers in Education
School of Education
This decade has seen unprecedented pressure on higher education institutions to deliver more instruction using online technologies; to the extent of some courses being entirely online. In this paper I address the question of how instructors of undergraduate teacher education courses in Australia should respond to this pressure? I present a rationale for employing a ‘blended’ approach to learning, which sets limits on purely online instruction by including some face-to-face activities. And I illustrate this approach by describing the planning and implementation of a new final semester undergraduate unit titled, ICT Enhanced Curriculum. The main aim for the unit was to develop the TPACK knowledge of students, and the skills to implement associated learning activities that included ICT use. With a focus on pedagogical knowledge and skills the use of face-to-face workshops, which featured the modelling of pedagogy, was crucial. This was supported with a comprehensive set of online materials giving rise to a successful blended learning environment, although an attempt at a ‘flipped’ environment was not successful. As a result, I argue for limits to the use of purely online learning in preservice teacher education. The unit was successfully implemented, and for most students their assignments showed strong growth in their TPACK knowledge, and greater confidence and awareness in how to implement ICT use with their curriculum. It illustrated my belief that even in ICT-focused units undergraduate teacher education students need a blended approach with the use of both face-to-face and online strategies. As teacher educators we need to strike a balance between online and faceto- face activities, and we need to resist the pressure from our universities to go fully online; that may suit business courses, but not pre-service teacher education courses.
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