January 31, 2023

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The AI ​​Debate: Are Student Teachers Not Getting Good Enough?

Very poor: Both the UiO researcher and the student organization believe that teacher education is poor.

The discussion about technology and artificial intelligence in the classroom is in full swing. The professor believes that Norwegian teachers are not getting the competence they need to deal with today’s technology in schools.

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VG is mentioned in several cases Tonje Brenna’s visit to Elvebakken VGS and comments on the use of artificial intelligence. Several teachers responded While not providing them with the appropriate tools to use technology in teaching in a constructive manner.

Marte Blikstad-Balas is Professor at the Institute for Teacher Education and Scholastic Research at the University of Oslo.

She believes the problem is deeper, and says that teachers in Norway are not getting the technological proficiency they should have during their studies.

There has been a fair amount of research on the extent to which teacher education can prepare students to be teachers in a digital classroom, and this research indicates that teacher education is only capable of doing this on a very small scale. Blikstad-Balas says this has been a problem for a long time, both in Norway and internationally.

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She points out that if the goal in Norway is to give students adequate digital proficiency, teachers must possess it first.

– And if they don’t have it, then there will be trouble. Today, it varies greatly from teacher to teacher how interested they are in technology and how much they want to use it. What the vast majority of teachers have in common is that they haven’t learned much about teaching in teacher training’s technology-rich classrooms, she says.

Blikstad-Balas heads a government-appointed panel of experts, who last year wrote A Report Where they shed more light on this, among other dilemmas in the analysis of learning in teaching in Norway.

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Points for short stories: Marte Blikstad-Balas believes that teachers of students today do not acquire sufficient digital proficiency.

What are teachers supposed to be able to do?

Blikstad-Balas believes that much of the controversy surrounding the use of technology, including artificial intelligence, in Norwegian classrooms can be traced back to this problem. And while the discussion of artificial intelligence is new to many, the general problem is not new.

– In general, when these discussions appeared, there were discussions about one topic, one tool. If you go back in time, there was, for example, a huge concern related to Wikipedia as well. A large encyclopedia, where you will find the answer to everything, is available to everyone. We see it every time there is something new that changes the basic premise of the school. Then there will be a lot of discussion.

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She thinks this is the wrong focus.

– What you have to look at is: how well new teachers are prepared for such changes, regardless of each tool. I miss a thorough discussion of what we want with technology, and clearer expectations about what a teacher is supposed to be able to do. They must be given a real opportunity to develop that competency during teacher training.

Support from a student organization

The leader of the Pedagogstudentene organization, Lars Syrrist, has been following the debate for the past few days. It supports Blikstad-Balas points.

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– There is a lot of truth in what you say. There is potential for improvement when it comes to what we are ready for and developing digital skills.

And he says that’s also the feedback they’re also getting from some 20,000 members.

– They want more focus on this. It also varies very much from one organization to another how much and what kind of focus it has. How digital skills and technological competence are integrated into teacher education is very diverse. Some do it outside, for example through courses, while others may only focus on certain subjects.

Listening to members: Syrrist says he constantly gets feedback from around 20,000 Pedagogstudentene members about a lack of technological competence.

Syrrist believes that challenges in teacher education are rooted in economics, among other things.

– There have been training courses for teachers that have been underfunded for a long time. It could particularly contribute to offering poor training in subjects outside educational subjects, such as professional digital competence, and at the same time the ability of organizations to adapt to the pace at which technology is evolving, he says.

The ministry is responding

State Secretary at the Ministry of Education Oddmund Løkensgard Hoel says robot-generated text will change the way pupils and students work with text in the future.

– But I do not know how these changes will be. Universities and colleges have the professional responsibility to teach teacher training courses, he writes in an email and adds:

The Teacher Education Guidelines already place great emphasis on student teachers developing digital skills. I am sure those who teach in this sector are keeping this topic high on the agenda and discussing how to approach what new technology means for the daily school lives of teachers and pupils.

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