On the cusp of change: examining pre-service teachers' beliefs about ICT and envisioning the digital classroom of the future


Andrew Fluck, School of Education, University of Tasmania, Locked Bag 1307, Launceston, Tasmania 7250, Australia. Email: Andrew.Fluck@utas.edu.au


Few contemporary pre-service teachers would have completed their schooling with the extensive aid of computers. Yet, classroom use of information and communication technology (ICT) is now ubiquitous in much of the world. Today's pre-service teachers are the ‘cusp generation’ who, at a unique moment in history, straddle the two worlds of the ballpoint pen and the computer mouse. This study examined pre-service teachers' beliefs about their stakeholder role in terms of influencing ICT innovation and adoption. The pre-service teachers expected their future pupils to learn with computers much more extensively than they had; however, their beliefs about the transformative use of ICT in schooling were divergent. To address these findings, a teaching intervention was designed, which enabled pre-service teachers to ‘envision’ their practice in the digital classroom of the future. This involved the generation of new learning outcomes only achievable using ICT in pedagogy and assessment, and unfettered by the confines of the traditional pre-digital curriculum. Ninety-five per cent of the cohort was assessed as completing the intervention successfully. This paper finishes by discussing methods of equipping the cusp generation to negotiate the tensions inherent between current classroom practice and the rapid emergence of digital technologies in schools.