As a researcher in Educational Technology, I’m interested in the strategic use (or lack of use) of ICT tools in educational settings, the factors that influence (positively or negatively) their strategic use by teachers (of all levels in educational systems) and in the (transformative) effects (or not) that their use has (or has not) on teaching & learning processes and on teachers & learners.
As an educator of pre-service teacher students, I want to know how to empower those future teachers so that they will be ready to make “optimal” use of these tools in their future classrooms after graduating from our study program.
Moreover, as an education activist, I’m currently trying to set up and sustain an informal network of TechnoSages at a national level (of a small country, Luxembourg), i.e., teachers who are “interested in making optimal use of technology for improving teaching and learning” (Thomas & King, 2006, quoted in Watts-Taffe & Gwinn, 2007). The aims of bringing TechnoSages together into a “community of learners” are (1) to encourage informal and formal exchanges between practitioners that already use digital tools in their classrooms (but often “feel alone” or are not sure about the effects or value of their integration efforts) and want to reflect deeper upon their current use together with practitioners, theorists and researchers, in order to optimize it in the future; (2) to raise awareness in teachers for the necessity to adapt their teaching strategies to the manifold external political, cultural, social, economic and technological pressures of “the digital age”, making them thus aware of the fact that, just like the industrial revolution heavily influenced the rise of public education (as we know it today), the digital revolution is bound to shape the sociocultural landscape within which public education will have to find (and maybe redefine) its place (in terms of goals, objectives, processes, methods and structures); (3) to “spread the virus”, trying to convince more and more people about the advantages (and transformative effects) of strategically integrating digital technologies into their everyday learning, teaching and schooling activities; and (4) giving them the conceptual tools to feel “in charge” when integration educational technologies into their teaching, instead of having the impression of being merely forced to by external pressures.
So, for these 3 reasons, I’m very much eager to gain sound knowledge (1) about the factors that (positively and negatively) influence teachers’ decisions to integrate ICT tools into their classrooms; (2) about scenarios, processes and tools that can be successfully put into place to foster strategic integration by teachers and (3) about the (supportive or transformative) effects that this integration of digital tools has (or has not) on learning and teaching in their classrooms.
In other words, I want to know more about the Design (and Evaluation) of New Learning Environments, to be able to make my (humble) contribution to ReThinking and ReDesigning Education, at a national and a global level. I do indeed believe that we need a Revolution in Education in order to help our kids to cope with the big (current and future) cultural, political, social, economical, philosophical and technological changes.