Teaching to Teach for Digital Citizenship in Postdigital Society –Teacher Educators on Conceptualizations, Digital Competence and Role, and the Possible Implications
Education is not only about skills and knowledge but also citizenship formation for which teacher educators (TEDs) need to prepare student teachers. In post digital society, the embeddedness of digital technologies places new demands on citizenship, for instance through fake news, post-truth politics, and digital surveillance, and, consequently, new demands are placed also on teacher education institutions (TEIs) and TEDs.
This PhD project paper focuses on TEDs’ views of digital citizenship and the professional digital competence (PDC) required for the dual-didactic task of teaching student teachers to teach for digital citizenship. Seven Swedish TEIs participated in a single-case study where a purposive sampling approach was used to carry out 16 semi-structured interviews with TEDs teaching the Education and Democracy module mandatory for student teachers.
The results show that TEDs generally believe that the digitalization of society impacts the democratic assignment of school and that this requires specific dimensions of TED and teacher PDC. TEDs tend to conceptualize digital citizenship as source criticism and ethical, safe and sound use of digital technologies, and to some extent the (im-)material means of democratic participation.
While believing that TEIs should address questions relating to digital citizenship and that TEDs have an important role in this context, digital technologies are discussed in relation to the democratic assignment only coincidentally, and TEDs are uncertain as to the degree to which student teachers receive such training. Challenges include lack of time and unclear links among Degree Goals between teacher PDC and the democratic assignment.
Locally, TEIs need to support TEDs’ development of PDC to include questions relating to digital citizenship in their teaching by providing continuous professional development, including reviews of course content and program structure while teacher education policy support is needed also at the national level.