Imperial College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Page: 5884 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2325
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The ubiquity of technology means that it has become a ‘normal’ part of our everyday lives. This concept of technology being a ‘normal’ part of teachers’ practice has been reoccurring in the educational literature. Bax (2003) talks about the idea of ‘normalisation’ of technology - a state when technology has lost its ‘wow effect’ and found its place in the classroom, arguably an aim for all educators to strive for. While some technologies can be considered as normalised (e.g. the use of PPT), the literature reports on new approaches linked to technology such as students as producers or integration of social media in education. Those are usually adopted in HE to a varying degree and associated with pockets of good practice.

The presence of technology in education and the emergence of those new approaches mean that the ability to effectively integrate technology in teaching and learning has become an important component of 21st century teachers’ repertoire of skills. This is reflected in Koehler and Mishra's (2009) TPACK which emphasises the importance of having technological knolwedge. Hence there is a link between the use of technology and being a good teacher. While there is a general conclusion in the literature that good teaching will incorporate technology, the opposite relationship, i.e. that the integration of technology automatically guarantees good teaching does not exist. Technology is often used as an add on, a motivational factor or a replacement for the current practice. This means that the potential of different technologies is often not fully realised. Hence the role of training the educators to utilise technology in an effective way is crucial.

We work in Educational Development Unit, a central unit that is responsible for teacher training in a STEM focused institution. In order to teach lecturers about effective technology integration we adopt a ‘lead by example approach’, i.e. we integrate technology throughout our training programmes. We do it on a spectrum – from basic use that could be considered normalised (e.g. the use of visuals to present content), emerging practice (e.g. using mobile devices for formative assessment in lectures) to more innovative approaches (e.g. students as producers). Hence we train through modelling good practice, giving the staff the first hand experience of working with different technologies. To put it in Prensky’s (2001) terms, we are putting our ‘digital immigrant’ staff into the shoes of their ‘digital native’ students.

The level of staff engagement with and the degree of openness to those interventions differed throughout the course, with some technologies being treated as a given, other approaches appreciated after initial reluctance, and other ignored. The purpose of this paper is to use the programmes as a basis for analysing staff experiences of various technologies they were exposed to throughout the course and treat that as a basis for exploring the concept of normalisation.

Our approach is ethnographic in nature, we draw on observational, interview and evaluation data. Having this insight into staff experience allows teacher trainers and managers rethink our approaches and put mechanisms in place to better support staff to integrate technology into their practice.
Normalisation, teacher training, barriers to technology integration.