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Sunday, February 09, 2014

Digital futures for teachers 

The need for teachers to engage with digital literacies at all stages of education has been articulated in numerous policy documents and directives in many parts of the world. Often the economic desirability of 21st century skills is seen as the central rationale for this, but commentaries also make reference to the increasing importance of digital literacy in citizenship and participatory culture. In education theory and research, the importance of acknowledging and using children and young people’s knowledge of popular culture has become a key theme, with a growing number of studies addressing the rise of digital culture. In the face of this, educators now realize that levels of participation in popular digital culture vary considerably between populations and social groups (Warschauer and Matuchniak, 2010). To add further complication, the understandings and experiences that learners and their teachers have, and need, are rapidly changing as technology itself changes (Davies and Merchant, 2009). Preparing teachers to operate effectively in this volatile environment presents a number of challenges. In our chapter in this book we look at some of the driving and constraining forces, concentrating particularly on the ways in which open educational resources (OERs) may have the potential to support teachers and trainee teachers in developing their capacity to address the ‘digital challenge’ (Abrams and Merchant, 2012). All this receives a detailed treatment in the chapter that Julia and I have written for this collection (now available). The chapter draws on the work of the DefT project.

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