Lee and Delaney (2018) contend few faculty in higher education have a working knowledge of Open Educational Resources and Practices, or realise their potential for educational transformation. This applies to professors in many teacher education programs across Canada. Due to a continued focus on solitary conceptions of teaching (Whyte, 2016), teacher education “does little to encourage open and collaborative behavior and may actually discourage it” (Albion et al., 2017, p. 800). The nature of reading, writing, and communication have fundamentally transformed due to the Internet, and literacy practices needed to fully function in the world today continuously expand as new technologies are introduced. Teachers, professors, and researchers are struggling to keep pace. Even though digital literacy is mandated in every Canadian province (Hoechsmann & DeWaard, 2015) change in the classroom has tended to be slow (Brown, 2017; Daniels et al., 2013; Lotherington et al., 2016).
My increasingly complex responsibilities as a literacy teacher educator involve preparing teacher candidates to not only teach print-based literacies, but also New Literacies (Dwyer, 2016; Leu et al., 2013). I have had student teachers demonstrate understanding of curriculum, theory, and pedagogies by getting them to create educational resources to share with classmates (e.g., by posting their work on the class Wikispace). More recently, I have expanded their audience by having them share these assignments on Twitter. My purpose is for teacher candidates to experience the benefits and challenges of digital authorship, OER, and OEP, and to learn the broader implications of what it means to teach and learn in the digital classroom (Ricaute, 2016). This case study from the Canadian context contributes to similar research (Albion et al., 2017; Littlejohn & Hood; Panto & Comas-Quinn, 2013; Shira Hagerman & Coleman, 2017), to illustrate how making such shifts in teacher education requires professors and student teachers to negotiate numerous challenges and opportunites.
In this paper, I reflect upon my experience as a teacher educator at a Canadian university introducing OEP into my Grades 4-8 Language Arts courses to tease out tensions and possiblities of promoting OEP in teacher education in the Canadian context. Teacher candidates in two Langauge Arts classes (85 students) are required to create literature anthologies that engage cross-curriculuar expectations as well as global and urban themes from critical perspectives, as a digital teacher resource. This research is part of an upon a three-year, funded study that theorizes teacher candidates making and sharing videos as a critical digital literacy practice (Ávila & Zacher Pandya, 2013). Research data includes: personal observations and reflections; student-produced teacher resources shared on Twitter; an analysis of online audience response; student questionnaires; and student feedback during in-class discussions. I hope to provoke a rich discussion during my session: When OEP are introduced into teacher education courses in literacies, what opens up? What continues to be difficult and/or risky? In light of these findings, how might we sustainably introduce critical, open pedgagogical processes (Morris & Stommel, 2018) in teacher education programs?
Funding provided by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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