INTEGRATING ICT IN BLENDED LEARNING FOR TEACHER STUDENTS; CAMPUS BASED E-LEARNING
Stord/Haugesund University College (NORWAY)
In order to prepare future teachers for the learning environment they will meet after graduation, it is necessary to let them experience similar practice during their own training. It is often claimed that teachers are likely to copy all or parts of methods and principles demonstrated by their own favourite teachers in primary or secondary schools. This tendency makes schools more conservative than the rest of our society. The teacher trainers thus often have to properly present options and challenges that are introduced into learning situations by modern technology.
Special courses on IT for teachers started in the early 1980-ies, initially for experienced teachers, gradually also for teacher students. First approaches were mainly on technical skills, but rather early the involved staff at our institution moved the learning goals towards educational application and pedagogical skills related to ICT. This attitude gradually gained momentum, both nationally and throughout Europe. Our initial courses for further education of teachers were worked into bachelor programmes, and since 2003 established as a standalone master’s programme named ICT in Learning. During the past 12 years collaboration with different subject departments has strengthened the learning aspects of the programme through integration ICT into subject matters.
Around the turn of the millennium several European and national projects focused on distance education – or Open Learning (OL). Among four institutions we developed a new course in 1994, called Pedagogy in Open Learning (PiOL), delivered online to train educators in providing online learning. After several revisions, it is now offered as E-teaching 1 and 2, each awarding 10 ECTS in study programmes. E-teaching 1 teaches how to practice on-line learning, and E-teaching 2 how to develop online courses.
In 2014 the College was in acute need of a Physics teacher for students who had chosen Natural Science as their first year special. Through my role in development and initial running of the master’s programme ICT in Learning, as well as for both PiOL and E-teaching, this was a temptation I could hardly resist - despite my retirement 8 years ago. Here I could both brush dust off my Physics know-ledge and try to practice what I had been preaching about integration of ICT to other professors.
It took a couple of months to prepare a Campus Based e-Learning course in Physics, for a group of 12 students. Several documents were developed, like Course Description, Student Guide, Lab Instructions, Reflection guidelines and an Evaluation Form. All documents were posted on the Fronter learning management system (LMS). So were student lab reports and other hand-ins. Experiences from running the course, with all material exchanged through Fronter, and the face time was used for presentation of special topics, practical lab work and discussions, were recorded. Also students’ reactions, their reflections after each module and their final evaluation of the course, are collected, analysed and recorded to be used for improving the course for the next running. It has truly been a valuable experience, realising how hard it may be to practice what we have been telling others to do. The findings and possible further development of the first version of the blended learning course in Physics, as campus based e-learning, may be presented at ICERI2015 in November.