Future teachers are not (yet) adequately prepared for a digital school: university rectors sound the alarm


BERLIN. Are prospective teachers being taught the skills they need to be able to properly prepare their students for the digital world at a later time? The Conference of German Rectors (HRK) reports doubts. This week, HRK’s Senate approved recommendations on digitization in teacher education, which provide information for the study of specialist sciences, subject teaching and educational sciences, as well as the changing needs of universities. Previous deficits become implicitly clear.

Student teachers are not always systematically prepared to use digital media in the classroom. (symbol photo). Photo: Shutterstock

“We experience every day that knowledge of how digital media works is indispensable for life in the digital world and essential for a stable democracy. For example, it can be difficult to distinguish target text from interest-based text on social media. This has to be learned and put into practice – the school plays an important role in this ”- says the President of HRK, Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt.

Universities are therefore required to prepare prospective teachers comprehensively during their studies so that they can support students in facing the digital world with confidence. This starts with the basic knowledge of computer science and extends to the potential of digital media for the support of disadvantaged children and young people. Universities would be tasked with integrating this range of themes into teacher training courses. “For this to be successful, we not only need universities to adapt curricula, but also a powerful digital infrastructure and people to bridge the gap between technology and educational application,” says Alt. “There are additional resources for education. university necessary. “

“We absolutely must also look at further and further teacher training”

“We absolutely must also look at further and advanced teacher training”, emphasizes Prof. Dr. Oliver Günther, HRK Vice President for Teaching, Studies and Governance. “It does not always do justice to the current problematic situation, the supply is confused and requires fundamental reform. A close link with the supply of universities is necessary to strengthen the scientific basis of education and continuing training”.

HRK’s Senate Resolution states: “Digitization is changing long-term teaching and learning processes. In this regard, and also against the background of the experiences made during the Covid 19 pandemic, it is necessary to welcome these changes and systematically align teacher training with the resulting requirements.

In addition to providing and maintaining the necessary infrastructure and legally secure framework conditions, it is necessary to select and develop suitable tools for teaching and learning in a digital world. Teacher education must be open to innovations and convey the different facets, opportunities and risks, possibilities and limitations of digital teaching, learning and exam formats so that these can be tested in practice and in the preparatory service and on to think theoretically “, it is said. Collaboration with partner schools, who supervise students during internships as part of the master, would be ideal for this.

“Digital tools and media are intended as extensions and additions to face-to-face teaching at school”

“In order to encourage experimentation and at the same time strengthen the reflective management of new technologies, project-oriented and experimental teaching-learning areas are also of central importance in the course. The modalities and forms of communication, values ​​and their development in the digitized world is an indispensable part of the teaching-learning process. What is needed is the ability to judge, in the media or on the Internet, to distinguish between factual information and opinions or commercial offers that try to influence them “.

As regards the “curricular anchoring of themes and skills”, the rectors of the University identify three levels in the use of digital technology in schools:

  1. IT skills: Pupils need to be empowered to act competently, confidently and independently in a digital world. This assumes that teachers are also capable of doing this and that they know the basic principles of the digital world and recognize algorithmic structures in digital tools. Responsible use of digital educational formats includes a basic understanding of IT systems (e.g. in the field of robotics, language processing or simulation), data management (keywords: big data, data protection, data sovereignty), licensing issues (involving learning objects, tools and apps) and artificial intelligence. The teaching of e-skills should be specific to the teaching profession and take into account relevant focal points. “
  2. Digital transformation in school development: The possibilities of digitization must be used by all teachers to respond to different learning speeds, different background knowledge, different interests and to work in different times and places. This also means that teacher education takes into account how digital transformation affects the school as an institution and requires a rethinking of school development. Teacher training courses must take digital transformation into account in all these aspects “.
  3. Digital transformation in disciplines and in disciplinary teaching: Digital media and technologies can be used to support the acquisition of technical skills in students. It is the task of teacher training to integrate digital media and technologies as a natural working tool for students in technical and educational events. Teacher education institutions should research digital tools in subject teaching even more than they currently are and develop them further in view of the specific potential of the subject. Overall, the digital transformation challenges us to redefine the relevance of technical content, which must also lead to a rethinking of school curricula ”.

In essence, it states: “Learning is and remains a social process. Digital media and tools should be understood as extensions and supplements to face-to-face teaching at school. For teacher training, this means creating freedom and opportunities where university students and teachers can creatively experiment with learning formats, media and methods and empirically justify and theoretically reflect on their didactically meaningful use in the classroom. Furthermore, continuous and advanced teacher training in schools plays a central role, because only in this way can teachers who are on duty be prepared for new challenges. The existing paradigms for continuing teacher education do not in any way do justice to this problem, neither in content nor in terms of the conditions of the organizational and financial framework. News4 teachers

Click here for the full resolution of HRK’s 150th Senate “Teacher Education in a Digital World”

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