Improving pre-service teachers’ digital competence: Scenarios for a blended future

Speakers: A/Prof. Sarah Howard and Prof. Jo Tondeur

Date: 4pm Thursday 29th April 2021


Abstract: In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the field of education has undergone a massive shift from face-to-face to online and blended learning. This has provided a challenging but at the same time interesting opportunity for teachers from all educational levels to reconsider their educational practice. The difficulty of this was that many teachers had very little or no experienced teaching online. In this keynote, we will unpack how a person-centered approach can be used to develop the digital competencies of pre-service teachers for online and blended learning practice. Therefore, we will first consider pre-service teacher profiles in relation to readiness to teach online, including individual and institutional factors, to consider what support is needed to teach online in a range of educational contexts. We will then present scenarios of how to best design teacher training to be responsive to different profiles in the development of digital competence for a blended future. This is an important consideration in the field, because teaching online is not only in the short-term to manage COVID-19. It is also important to consider the long-term goals of providing better support to integrate online and blended learning approaches in different educational contexts. 

Short Biographies

Sarah Howard is an Associate Professor of Digital Technologies in Education, at the University of Wollongong in Australia. She is the Education Lead in the SMART Infrastructure Facility and a full-member of the Early Start Research Institute. Her research looks at technology-related change in education, specifically teacher practice and integration in learning. The driving question of her research is: how can we help teachers best use digital technologies to support what they value in learning? To explore this, she works collaboratively with educators to improve how digital technology use and change are researched, to better understand how complex digital learning and teaching practices occur over time. A key focus of this work is experimenting with new approaches, technologies and multimodal data to observe the classroom and explore digital technology integration, with the aim of conducting research that is meaningful and useful in practice. She collaborates closely with academics across Australia, internationally, and industry partners, such as Google and Intel, to build the critical public-private collaborations needed to support cutting-edge and exploratory research.

Jo Tondeur is professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Prior to academia he was a teacher across various levels of schooling. His research interests are in the field of educational innovation, technology use, online and blended learning, and professional development. Most of his current research focuses on the interplay between (ICT) innovations and pre/in-service training and how this can be associated with teacher and school characteristics. To present how these themes relate, the SQR-model was developed, focusing on strategies to prepare teachers for ICT integration. As a lecturer of Instructional Design he is also committed to finding solutions to real problems by setting up design research. Moreover, Jo Tondeur is also exploring how ICT restructures the classroom as a spatial setting and the influences this has on pedagogical choices. For more info see