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Conflicting paradigms

April 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Paradigm shift
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/askpang/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


This is the paper I’ve been waiting for! through my reading on teacher PD in ICT, I’ve been constantly amazed at the difference between theories of constructivist learning and the reality of teacher PD. The abstract of this paper from Sarah Prestridge and Glenice Watson articulated this point wonderfully, and gave me that “That’s exactly what I think” feeling. From their abstract;

The paper explores the alignment between the teachers’ understandings of their need for ICT professional development and the demands presented within the reform itself. Initial findings suggest that a conflicting paradigm exist in that the teacher’s demand for skill based ICT professional development does not equate with the constructivist ideology present within the school reform. This has consequently lead to two key prepositions. Firstly that skill based training in ICT may not enable the transition to a more constructivist approach to the use of ICT within the classroom. Secondly that the school based reform itself has created an antithetical position that is limiting to the potential educational use of ICT and can be seen as driving the form and function of professional development.

Amen. The paper is a little dated now, especially as it is based on teacher interviews and their PD experiences, but has the PD landscape changed that dramatically in the last decade? Sadly, I think not, perhaps making the messages of this paper even more relevant today.


  • Prestridge, S.J. and Watson.G. (2002). To skill or to construct? Effective Information and Communication Technology professional development within the context of current school reform. Proceedings of the International Education Research Conference. Brisbane, Australia: Australian Association for Research in Education. Retrieved from http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/10072/1452/1/19731.pdf