Trends in developing information and communication technology (ICT) competencies for pre-service teachers

Abstract. In the digital era, ICT competency is a fundamental component of the teachers’ professional competencies. Therefore, it is necessary to empower pre-service teachers with sufficient ICT competencies to perform their professional activities in the future. Developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers has become a considerable interest in higher education. Based on analyzing the secondary sources, the study finds out current trends in the main aspects of the ICT competency development for pre-service teachers, such as policies, viewpoints, approaches, ICT teaching contents, ICT teaching methodology and training curricula. The study also proposes the solutions to develop pre-service teachers’ ICT competencies at higher education institutions in Vietnam.

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HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2017-0130 Educational Sci., 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 6, pp. 67-73 This paper is available online at TRENDS IN DEVELOPING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) COMPETENCIES FOR PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS Le Thi Kim Loan Phu Yen University Abstract. In the digital era, ICT competency is a fundamental component of the teachers’ professional competencies. Therefore, it is necessary to empower pre-service teachers with sufficient ICT competencies to perform their professional activities in the future. Developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers has become a considerable interest in higher education. Based on analyzing the secondary sources, the study finds out current trends in the main aspects of the ICT competency development for pre-service teachers, such as policies, viewpoints, approaches, ICT teaching contents, ICT teaching methodology and training curricula. The study also proposes the solutions to develop pre-service teachers’ ICT competencies at higher education institutions in Vietnam. Keywords: ICT, ICT competency, pre-service teacher, higher education 1. Introduction In the digital era, using ICT has become a basic skill, necessary for the employees to effectively join in the society [1]. Particularly, ICT competency is an essential professional competency of modern teachers [2]. Building up and developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers is a specialized topic, engendering the formation of expert research, and also the common interest of various education systems in the world. The importance of ICT in education, in general and teaching, in particular, is clearly visible. ICT has evidently led “to radical changes both in the role of teachers and learners and to the emergence of new teaching and learning environments and methodologies as well as new training modalities" [3]. With the help of ICT, teachers can give more effective teaching, have better connection with students and students can learn whenever and wherever they hope to [4]. However, ICT doesn’t outshine the role of teachers; instead, they are assigned to higher positions, as supporters, advisors and coaches for students in learning. To perform their work well in the digital era, teachers are required to have ICT knowledge, skills and their way to integrate it to their professional activities. Definitely, pre-service teachers hold the key to ICT competency’s formation and development for students in the 21st century. Therefore, they need to constantly improve their ICT competencies both in their training time and their professional performance later [5]. Being aware of that developing the ICT competency is necessary for any future teacher to practice his/her profession in the digital learning environment, various authors from all over the world have focused their researches on the issues related to developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers. Received date: 28/4/2017. Published date: 16/6/2017. Contact: Le Thi Kim Loan, e-mail: lekimloan@pyu.edu.vn 67 Le Thi Kim Loan The reality of teacher training in many countries all over the world which had been reported in the published researches, pointed out the limits in teaching ICT. The ICT knowledge taught in universities is backward from the current technological development and the teacher educators focused on it more than pedagogical methods of using ICT in teaching. The gap between what pre-service teachers are taught and how they will apply ICT in an authentic classroom still exists in teacher training programs [6]. This study intends to help higher education institutions and their teachers decide the suitable policies, strategies and methods of teaching ICT by firstly providing a brief overview of the current trends in developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers. Secondly, it suggests certain solutions to enhance pre-service teachers’ ICT competencies at higher education institutions in Vietnam. 2. Content 2.1. Theoretical framework 2.1.1. Basic concepts: competency, ICT and ICT competency * Competency: Competency refers to an element or a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes that an individual should be able to use to perform at work, school or other environments [2; 4]. * ICT: ICT stands for information and communication technology. UNESCO Glossary defines ICT as “a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to transmit, store, create, share or exchange information” ( . This broad definition of ICT includes technologies such as computer tools, which covers computer hardware and software, the network, other digital devices like video, audio, camera as well as the equipment and services associated with these technologies, such as videoconferencing, e-mail and blogs. * ICT competency: ICT competency is based on using tools and technical equipment for the reach, distribution and transfer of knowledge. In this study, ICT competency refers to the combination of ICT knowledge, skills and attitudes which an individual should be able to integrate effectively ICT in a task or work in certain situations. For teachers, the key components of ICT competency include: (1) Understanding ICT in education, (2) Skills to use ICT tools and resources in teaching and learning, (3) Pedagogy to integrate ICT in teaching, and (4) Skills to organize and administrate a classroom with ICT. 2.1.2. The UNESO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT-CFT) The UNESCO ICT-CFT was first published in 2008 and updated in 2011. The framework is arranged in three different approaches, named “Technology Literacy”, “Knowledge Deepening”, and “Knowledge Creation”. Each approach specifies the competencies which teachers need in six aspects of their work, including “Understanding ICT in education”, “Curriculum and assessment”, “Pedagogy”, “ICT”, “Organization and Administration”, and “Teacher professional learning” [7]. Based on the frame policy makers, ICT professional developers and educational institutions can define, conduct and assess ICT use in teacher education; therefore; contribute to the improvement of education quality and boost up the economical – social development of the country. Simultaneously, this frame aims to ameliorate the ICT use of teachers, including integrate ICT into pedagogical activities and lesson planning; develop professionalism to improve pedagogical skills; use ICT in leadership, cooperation and university renovation. 68 Trends in developing information and communication technology (ICT) competencies... 2.2. Objectives of the study The study aims to find out current trends in developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers. Based on that, some solutions to enhance pre-service teachers’ ICT competencies at higher education institutions in Vietnam are suggested. 2.3. Methodology This study is based on the secondary sources published after the year 2000 such as books, articles, journals, thesis, expert opinions and websites, etc. The method used is descriptive analytic method. 2.4. Results Base on analyzing the secondary sources, the study find out main three results: (1) The necessity of teachers’ ICT competency in teaching (2) The limits of teaching ICT in teacher training, and (3) Current trends in developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers. 2.4.1. The necessity of teachers’ ICT competency in teaching ICT plays an important role in teaching in the 21st century. ICT helps teachers interact with students, prepare the lessons, provide the feedback, improve teaching skills, renovate teaching methods, manage the classroom, assess and manage students’ learning results. . . ICT promotes learning anytime and anywhere, helps in accessing remote learning resources, prepares individuals for the workplace, improves the quality of education and transforms the learning environment into a learner centered one [4]. ICT benefits the education in general and teaching in particular. However, ICT itself can’t decide the success of improving teaching quality as teachers do. Recent research “Designing teacher information and communication technology competencies’ areas” has proved that to integrate ICT in classes, teachers are required to have basic ICT competency, technological, policy, ethical, integrating, methodological and teaching management competencies [8]. Sharing the similar viewpoint, Chaib and Svensson have supposed that students need to know about ICT to successfully perform their civic responsibilities in the future, and teachers are assigned to help them develop that skill [9]. Teachers will play their roles efficiently if they are ICT well-trained, gained familiarity with it and step by step, taken full control of the demanded ICT resources. ICT competencies in teaching significantly improve teachers’ effectiveness [10], the better their ICT competencies are, the higher their teaching efficiency becomes. 2.4.2. The limits of teaching ICT in teacher training In the first decade of the 21st century, higher education institutions promoted ICT integration in teaching and school management. Beside the achievements in technologizing and digitalizing, which contribute to the improvement of training quality and management efficacy, teaching ICT in teacher education has exposed some amelioration-needed limits. Firstly, the teacher training programs haven’t fully supported the process of developing ICT competency for pre-service teachers yet. The knowledge taught in schools doesn’t catch up with the speedy development of ICT. The studies of Gulbahar (2008) and Hans and Akhter (2013) indicated that teacher training programs fail to provide appropriate instructional technologies and educational curriculums at all levels were very narrowly defined for students in many developing countries in the era of the information technology [11, 12]. Secondly, teaching ICT in universities mainly focuses on providing students with ICT 69 Le Thi Kim Loan knowledge and skills, but the ICT pedagogy isn’t paid sufficient attention. Therefore, there is a big gap between basic ICT skills and the ability to use ICT in teaching [12, 13]. Even students who are good at using ICT in their daily life face hardships in designing and teaching in ICT environment. Thirdly, teacher educators do not integrate regularly and effectively ICT into their classrooms due to disinterestedness caused by their insufficient ICT competencies, overwork and lack of time [13]. They haven’t been trained on ICT professionally; as a result, the effectiveness of their using ICT in teaching can’t meet the expectation, even in higher education institutions with modern ICT infrastructure. 2.4.3. Current trends in developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers The education institutions are actually trying to narrow the gap between training quality and social demand, generally, as well as abolishing the limits of teaching ICT in teacher education. Full-scale renovation, including ICT’s policy, viewpoint, content, method, teaching curricula, in developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers has been conducted in many universities in the world. We can point out these following main trends: * Trend in policies and viewpoints Current ICT teaching policy and viewpoint are much different from the last century. These are the following: - Make the policy about developing ICT competency for teachers and students, consider it as the key to renovate the education. National policies related to ICT in teacher education focus on three main points: (1) Include ICT in the new basic competencies of teachers and develop ICT competency framework for teachers; (2) Prioritize ICT use in teacher training; and (3) Promote ICT integration in teaching and learning at all education levels [2, 14]. - Specify the UNESO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers in teacher training and set up ICT competency standard for pre-service teachers. - Change the viewpoint from “teaching about technology” to “teaching with technology” [15] and from “teaching ICT knowledge” to “teaching ICT pedagogy” [16]. The perspective of “teaching with technology” encourages teaching pre-service teachers to integrate ICT in their subject teaching and learning rather than teaching them what ICT is and includes. * Trend in approaches Competency based training is a suitable approach in developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers. “Diverse approaches to developing and implementing competency-based ICT training for teachers”, published by UNESCO Bangkok in 2016, clearly illustrates this approach [2]. The publication introduces four cases studies in Australia (Lloyd, Downes, and Romero), Korea (Heo) , China (Zhao and Jiang), Kenya and Tanzania (Global e-School Communities Initiatives - GeSCI). The key features of the competency based training approach are composed of the following ideas: - Integrate ICT into the overall national Teacher Standards and comprehensive career path (in Australia [2; 21]). - Involve teachers and practitioners in the process of competency modeling (in Korea, [2;45]). - Encompass different groups of experts to review and determine a national framework (in China [2; 67]). 70 Trends in developing information and communication technology (ICT) competencies... * Trend in teaching contents The two aspects of ICT teaching contents are: (1) Necessary ICT knowledge and skill to develop professional competency, including knowledge about ICT in education, the ability to use ICT in learning and professional training, the ability to work in ICT environment and lifelong learning. (2) ICT pedagogy to effectively integrate ICT in teaching. ICT teaching for pre-service teachers focuses on both ICT knowledge and how to use ICT effectively in subject teaching and learning. * Trend in teaching methodology The diversity of technology, the variety of available resources and the demand of pedagogy require instructors to change the ICT teaching method for pre-service teachers. The modern methods are being encouraged to apply include: - Constructivist teaching: ICT teaching is perceived as a process of guiding and facilitating pre-service teachers in the process of knowledge construction, and ICT learning is perceived as the active construction and reconstruction of knowledge (Cher Ping LIM, Nguyen Van Hien [17]). - Blended teaching: the combination of online learning and direct learning in classroom (Jianhua Zhao, Nguyen Van Hien [17]; Zhao and Jiang, GeSCI [2]). - Project-based teaching: Combined projects such as teaching programs, electronic lectures, and programs in secondary schools help pre-service teachers become familiar with professional activities (Nguyen Van Hien [17], GeSCI [2]). - Integrative teaching: ICT is integrated in the specialized units and teaching methodology (Hyeonjin Kim [17]). For instance, English pre-service teachers learn how to exploit the data through Reading and Writing units, how to use the software through Listening and Speaking units, how to use ICT in classroom through English teaching methodology units. * Trend in training curricula Apart from the units designed in the training curricula, optional courses about educational technology and ICT pedagogy have proved their efficacy in improving ICT competency for pre-service teachers. Three models of teaching ICT for pre-service teachers suggested include (1) separate ICT courses, (2) educational technology courses, and (3) ICT integration curricula [15]. These courses can be designed for online learning, face-to-face learning or blended learning. The standards of teacher training curriculum are also concerned. A teacher training curriculum needs to assure that future teachers have enough: (i) Ability of using ICT as a teaching tool, realizing teaching plan with ICT to widen the students’ learning opportunities; (ii) Ability of using ICT as an intellectual tool, selecting and using ICT resources to attract the students to learning activities; (iii) Ability of using ICT in assessing students’ learning results, (iv) Ability of using ICT safely, responsibly and ethically in teaching and learning [18, 19]. 2.5. Suggestions To catch up with the trends of teaching ICT for students in the world, higher education institutions in Vietnam should renew the process of teacher training to meet the rising demand of the society. Based on the analysis above, we proposed some solutions for developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers, which include: (1) Adapt a suitable training curriculum, ICT teaching contents and methods for pre-service teachers: Integrate ICT in teacher training curriculum via separate ICT courses (Basic ICT course, ICT in education courses) and integrative courses (Specialized teaching method courses); Blend 71 Le Thi Kim Loan ICT technological knowledge and ICT pedagogical methods; Encourage modern teaching methods such as constructivist, project-based and integrative teaching; (2) Improve ICT competencies of teacher educators at the same time as the development of ICT competencies for pre-service teachers; (3) Diversify ICT teaching models, organize ICT pedagogy courses for pre-service teachers: Apply online learning, traditional classroom and blended classroom in appropriate teaching contexts; Provide compulsory and optional courses on ICT pedagogical methods in teaching and learning for pre-service teachers; and (4) Equip the pre-service teachers’ learning environment with ICT infrastructure, modern devices and software. 3. Conclusion ICT is the key for teachers to open the door to the information world, update their knowledge, improve their teaching skills and develop their professional competency. Therefore, it’s necessary to empower pre-service teachers with sufficient ICT competencies to perform their professional activities in the future. The above analysis of the trends in developing ICT competencies for pre-service teachers has great meanings in the renovation of teaching and learning in universities to satisfy the demand for school education in the digital era. REFERENCES [1] Ananiadou, K., Claro, M., 2009. 21st century skills and competences for new millennium learners in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 41, OECD Publishing. [2] UNESCO, 2016. Diverse Approaches to Developing and Implementing Competency-based ICT Training for Teachers: A Case Study, UNESCO. [3] Marti, M,M.C., 2006. Teacher Training In ICT-Based Learning Settings: Design And Implementation Of An On-Line Instructional Model For English Language Teachers. PhD Thesis, Rovira i Virgili University, Spain. [4] Aktaruzzaman, Shamim, R.H. and Clement, C.K , 2011. Trends and Issues to integrate ICT in Teaching Learning for the Future World of Education. International Journal of Engineering & Technology IJET-IJENS, 11, 3, 114-119. [5] Aslan, A. and Zhu, C., 2015. Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of ICT Integration in Teacher Education in Turkey. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – July 2015, 14, 3, 97 – 110. [6] Xiong, X.B. and Lim, C.P., 2015. Rethinking the Impacts of Teacher Education Program on Building the ICT in Education Competencies of Pre-service Teachers: A Case of Teacher Education in Mainland China. Journal of Applied Research in Education, 19, 25 - 35. [7] UNESCO, 2011. UNESCO ICT Compentency Framework for Teachers. UNESCO Paris. [8] Sabaliauskas, T., Bukantaite, D. and Pukelis, K., 2006. Designing teacher information and communication technology competencies’ areas. Vocational Education: Research & Reality, 12, 152-165. [9] Chaib,M., and Svensson, A.K., 2005. ICT in Teacher Education - Challenging prospects. Jonkoping University Press and Encell. 72 Trends in developing information and communication technology (ICT) competencies
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