Teacher’s gaps

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Teachers and the use of digital technologies: from technological deficit to methodological deficit. Fernando Albuquerque Costa, Institute of Education, University of Lisbon, Portugal

The work presented herein is the result of a reflection over recent years on how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is used in curricular practices by teachers and educators at different educational levels, and the most appropriate strategies for their professional development in this field in particular.

Given the diversity of the curricular areas in which the technologies may be used, the different phases and stages of teachers’ careers, and the wide range of perspectives they have about what teaching and learning comprises, and how to incorporate ICT into this process, we always considered it strange that these multiple factors were not specifically incorporated into teacher training.

This training on offer is usually non-systematised and does not take into account the teachers’ different characteristics and patterns of working with ICT. In the belief that these differences may be of capital importance for the impact on each teacher’s classroom practices, we propose a framework of thinking that allows us to identify and categorise four different patterns of working with ICT towards goals of a curricular nature.

Each pattern found matches each of the four quadrants defined by cross-referencing two orthogonal axes, one represented by the continuum referring to the “teacher’s teaching model” (constructivist to traditional), and another represented by the continuum referring to the “type of technology use” (teacher’s technology to pupil’s technology).

This approach leads to the conclusion that not only do clear differences exist among the four patterns of working with the technologies, but also the two types of deficit found are of a differing nature: one which is usually described as technological deficit and another that we call methodological deficit. The latter has more important implications from the curricular point of view, as it leads us to a more demanding intervention in terms of professional development, both for teachers and for those responsible for teacher training.

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