Perceptions of Senior Academic Staff in Colleges of Education Regarding Integration of Technology in Online Learning

Merav Hayak, Orit Avidov Ungar
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 21  •  2022  •  pp. 077-094

The goal of the study was to examine the perceptions of senior academic staff who also serve as policymakers in Israeli colleges of education, regarding the integration of technology in teacher education, and the shift to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is little research on this issue and consequently, the aim of the present study is to fill this lacuna.

In Israel, senior academic staff in colleges of education play a particularly important role in formulating institutional policies and vision regarding the training of preservice teachers. They fulfil administrative functions, teach, and engage in research as part of their academic position. During the Covid-19, they led the shift to online learning. However, there is little research on their perceptions of technology integration in teacher education in general, and during the Covid-19, in particular.

This qualitative study conducted semi-structured interviews with 25 senior academic staff from 13 academic colleges of education in Israel.

The study has practical implications for the implementation of technology in teacher education, suggesting the importance of establishing open discourse and collaboration between college stakeholders to enable enactment of a vision for equity-that allows programs to move swiftly from crisis-management to innovation and transformation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The findings obtained from content analysis of the interviews reveals a central concept: “On both sides of the divide”, and points of intersection in the perceptions of the senior academic staff. The central concept encompassed three themes: (1) centralization - between top-down and bottom-up policies, (2) between innovation and conservation, and (3) between crisis and growth. The findings indicate that in times of crisis, the polarity surrounding issues essential to the organisation’s operation is reduced, and a blend is formed to create a new reality in which the various dichotomies merge.

The study has practical implications for the scope of discussions on the implementation of technology in teacher education (formulating a vision and policies, and their translation into practice), suggesting that such discussions should consider the perceptions of policymakers.

The findings reflect the challenges faced by senior academic staff at colleges of education that reflect the ongoing attempts to negotiate and reconcile different concerns.

The findings have implications for colleges of education that are responsible for pre-service teachers' teaching practices.

An enacted vision for equity-based educator preparation that allows programs to move swiftly from crisis-management to innovation and transformation. Future research might reveal a more complete picture by investigating a broader spectrum of stakeholders both in Israel and elsewhere. Hence, future research should examine the power relations between senior college staff and external bodies such as the Higher Education Council (which determines higher education policies in Israel).

Covid-19 pandemic, senior academic staff; the new institutional theory, online learning, colleges of education
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