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Flexibility and Responsibility in Teacher Education

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Flexibility and Responsibility in
Teacher Education: Experiences
and Possibilities in Iceland and
North Norway
ГћurГ­Г°ur JГіhannsdГіttir
Randi Skjelmo
NERA-congress in ReykjavГ­k
March 10 -13, 2004
Distance learning for northeners
Iceland University of Education
in ReykjavГ­k
Department of Teacher Education
in TromsГё University College
• serving the need for having educated teachers in sparsely
populated rural areas
Methods and theoretical
• How different needs of communities and individuals
have been met with flexible programs,
• and the important role that the Internet has played
in opening up new possibilities for distance
• How the use of diverse ICT tools has influenced the
structure of the programs as well as both learning
tasks and teaching methods
• Situated learning - learning is a function of the
activity, context, and culture in which it is situated
• Activity theory guiding us exploring the
effectiveness of everyday learning environments in
The Case of the Iceland
University of Education
• over 2000 students, of which more
than 50% are enrolled in distance
education programs.
• IUE has played a leading role in the
development of distance education
on the Internet in Iceland from the
start in 1993
The Case of the Department of
Teacher Education in TromsГё
University College
• roughly 1200 students enrolled in teacher
• about 40% of these students follow the
decentralized program
• the educational ministry of Norway has
– the development and use of ICT in teacher
education, as part of a policy to enhance use
of ICT in education at all school levels.
History - Changes
• How have the distance programs in
teacher education developed in the
last 5-10 years?
– Changes in ICT
– Changes in ideology
– Changes in policy
The Development in Iceland
• Policy to be an open and flexible institution that
offers all its educational programs at a distance
through the Internet
• This form of education is becoming a known and
popular form for learning
• Life-long learning centres in rural communities
support distance learners
• Positive effects of distance teacher education in
rural communities
• Teacher continue and take graduate studies in
distance learning programs
The development in Norway
• Meeting Different Needs of Heterogeneous
Student Groups
• Transformation in teacher education
• Reforms in primary and secondary schools
that will result in students graduating with
more differentiated knowledge and
• New legislation that gives adults the right
to admission to a university built on
evaluated real competencies
The driving motivation
• No longer shortage of educated
teachers in rural communities
• But demand for open and flexible
education in an educational market
• Emerging needs in society for new
form and content in education
• The universities’ role to be alert
participants in dialogue with their
social environment
Distance learning in social
• The first distance-learning programs
involving the use of the Internet
– in Iceland in 1993,
– and in Tromsø in 2000,
• good examples of how studies were
planned in a social and techno-cultural
context where distance teaching and
learning activity was scaffolded by both
ICT and the school communities in the
More challenges
• Heterogeneous student groups
• Distance students are in different places
and different social positions with inherent
differences in possibilities and interests
• The teachers’ challenge to learn to use
ICT-tools to support students
• Extend their professionalism to include
distance teaching and learning
• Both technical and social contexts are
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