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Digital Pedagogies and Teacher Networks: How Teachers’ Professional Learning and Interpersonal Relationships Shape Classroom Digital Practices.

By Elizabeth C. Homan


This study investigates high school English teachers’ collegial relationships, experiences, struggles, and successes as they integrated digital technologies into their teaching practice. Though many studies have argued that digital integration is happening slowly, few studies have investigated how teachers’ networks have an impact on their uses of new technologies, and even fewer have attempted to define what professional learning is required for teachers to develop pedagogical beliefs and practices that integrate technology in the interest of advancing students’ 21st-century literacies. This study combines methods of social network analysis and qualitative data analysis to examine teacher relationships alongside digital pedagogy. I followed four focal participants, English teachers at Borealis High School, over one semester as they integrated digital technologies into their classroom practice. Social network surveys of the BHS faculty inquired about teachers’ relationships and consultations about digital technology and their uses of web technologies in the classroom. Data included interviews with Borealis faculty members, observations of classroom practice and professional development sessions, analysis of teaching artifacts, and network survey data from 64 (of 83) teaching faculty. Analysis showed that teachers integrate digital technologies for different reasons and to different ends in their classrooms, and that few of these uses promoted the development of students’ digital literacies. Whereas facilitative digital pedagogies used digital technologies to complete tasks that may have otherwise been done in analog environments and separated technology from the space of the classroom, integrative digital pedagogies considered digital technologies an integrated component of content-based teaching and employed technologies as an interwoven component of the curriculum in the interest of increasing students’ digital literacies. Though facilitative pedagogies were ubiquitous at BHS, more student literacy focused pedagogies were rare. This discrepancy between literacy- and task- oriented pedagogies could be traced to teachers’ networks within and outside BHS and their learning experiences within BHS. These findings have implications for how digital integration initiatives engage teachers in professional learning, suggesting that experiential learning and digital “play” are necessary components of teachers’ digital learning and that teachers’ in- and out-of-school professional networks are integral to teachers’ digital literacy learning and digital pedagogical development

Topics: English Education, Literacy, Digital Literacy, Educational Technology, Professional Development, Social Network Analysis
Year: 2014
OAI identifier:

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