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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring literacy pedagogy with digital technologies in teacher education Vratulis, Vetta Kimon


Despite current emphasis in teacher preparation programs on developing pre-service teachers’ comfort and competence with digital learning technologies (DLT), research suggests that pre-service teachers struggle to transfer innovative applications of technology into their eventual teaching practice. In particular, they resist change from traditional constructs of teaching and learning. In this dissertation, I suggest that disrupting pre-conceived notions of teaching and learning is a requisite step to facilitating change in classroom practice. Neuman (1990) observed that classroom practice is “disrupted” when digital technologies are integrated “in a way that fundamentally alters the instructional environment so that teaching and learning occur differently than before the technology was appropriated” (p. 110). This thesis is composed of five chapters. The first chapter provides the theoretical framework that has informed the study and describes the case study methodology employed to explore the following two research questions: (a) How do pre-service teachers experience DLT in the context of a 12-month elementary teacher education program? (b) How do we disrupt pre-service teachers existing conceptions of literacy pedagogy? Chapters 2-4 are co-authored manuscript chapters. Chapter 2 examines the manner in which a community of learners working collaboratively within a wiki environment establish social hierarchies and negotiate power. Student engagement in this activity revealed much about social negotiation within such settings, and about the affordances of such software for formal education. This paper is included in its published form. Chapter 3 explores the participants’ experiences with “Slowmation” (a form of stop-motion animation). Findings reveal that reluctant uptake of slowmation on practicum by pre-service teachers appeared to be to the result of the weak support structure for the pedagogy and the lack of encouragement from some sponsor teachers. Chapter 4 explores pre-service teachers use of GarageBand™ and an electronic bulletin board in the context of a 3-month curriculum and instruction course in music education. Results reveal that the integration of digital learning technologies facilitates a reconceptualization of music education as well as a sociocultural interpretation of music literacy. In chapter 5, I draw comparisons across each of the manuscript chapters in light of current research in the field.

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