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Assessing the impact of teachers' technology, pedagogy and content knowledge, and beliefs, in a regional vocational education and training context

O'Brien, Teresa (2015) Assessing the impact of teachers' technology, pedagogy and content knowledge, and beliefs, in a regional vocational education and training context. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the knowledge and beliefs that teachers have about teaching with technology in a regional vocational education and training (VET) institute in Australia. Vocational teachers must demonstrate teaching expertise (pedagogical knowledge) as well as industry expertise (content knowledge) to work with diverse learners in different contexts. Recent surveys have revealed that teachers’ use of technology within the VET sector is not effectively incorporated nor has it been embraced in pedagogically defensible ways. Thus there is a need for teachers to embrace ‘technology’ knowledge commensurate with industry and workplaces and to integrate it more effectively into their pedagogy.

Through the lens of the TPACK (technological pedagogical content knowledge) framework, this study examined teachers’ beliefs about the nature of knowledge (epistemology) and beliefs about effective ways of teaching and learning (pedagogy). Using a mixed-methods approach, this research sought to understand how VET teachers’ knowledge and beliefs influenced their technology integration practices. The study found that teachers’ beliefs had a significant impact upon their use of technology. In particular, their epistemological beliefs were reflected in their perceptions of students and thus shaped their decisions about integrating technology into their teaching.

These findings concluded that teacher beliefs about the nature of knowledge and its influence on teaching should be further studied since these core beliefs acted as a springboard from which to understand vocational teachers’ technology integration practices. Finally, this thesis illuminated the need for teacher education and professional development programs to focus on developing teachers’ knowledge by examining their beliefs across the technological, pedagogical and content domains.

Publication Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor: Maor, Dorit
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/27597
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