Introduction University of Helsinki is taking a digital leap in its teaching during the ongoing strategy period (2017-2020). As part of this strategy, a need to examine how teachers use digital systems in their everyday teaching life has been raised in several faculties. Recent studies show that both teachers and students use a limited number of digital tools, and teachers use them mostly for organizing teaching, not for promoting student centered learning (Bond, Marín, Dolch, Bedenlier & Zawacki-Richter, 2018). Because psychological variables may influence the use of digital systems (Choi, Cristol & Gimbert, 2018), it also important to explore how factors affecting teaching, such as approaches to teaching. Approaches to teaching are typically divided into two types: teacher-focused, concentrating on transforming knowledge, and student-focused, focusing on promoting conceptual change (Trigwell & Prosser, 2004). Basically, the question is about the different roles of a teacher and a student in a teachinglearning context. According to Biggs (2012), it is essential to pay attention to doings i.e. what the teacher does and what the student does. In teacher- focused learning environment student has often a more passive role in the teaching-learning environment, whereas in student-focused environment the teacher sees students as active participants in the knowledge building process. Kember and Kwan (2000) presented in their study also the concepts learning-focused and content-focused approaches to teaching. These are close to the above mentioned categorisations into student-focused and teacher-focused teaching (Postareff & Lindblom-Ylänne, 2008). For the learning-focused approach to teaching is typical, that the main focus of the teacher is to promote students’ learning and to develop their understanding as well as to engage students in the learning process, whereas the content-focused approach to teaching emphasises the importance of subject matter content and delivering information to the student (Kember & Kwan, 2000; Postareff & Lindblom-Ylänne, 2008; Uiboleht, Karm & Postareff 2018). When planning the teaching, content which is to be taught and transmitting information serve as starting points for a teacher with content-focused approach, and when assessing, he focuses on measuring facts and how well the students remember what he has taught. However, although these concepts (the content-focused approach and learning-focused approach to teaching) seem to be in opposition to each other, they form more a continuum than a dichotomy. The concept of added value has used in the domain on educational technology in discussing of what benefits using digital tools provide for teaching and learning (see e.g Rytkönen, 2014). To understand teachers’ motivation to use digital tools, it is crucial to know what benefits (over the costs) they perceive to get from utilizing educational technology. The aim of this study is to examine 1) what are the main purposes for using digital tools among teachers; 2) are teachers approaches to teaching related to use of digital tools, and 3) what added value teachers perceive in using digital tools in teaching. Methods Data and procedure
The data were collected via an online questionnaire among teachers in four faculties at the University of Helsinki: Faculty of Science (n=81), Faculty of Arts (n=85), Faculty of Education (n=55) and Faculty of Theology (n=28). The total sample was 249; 52 % females, 44 % males, 3 % other and three respondents did not indicate their gender. The questionnaire consisted of background questions, what tools are used and for what purpose, approaches to teaching in educational technology context. Four open-ended questions were addressed about what added value teachers perceive to get from using digital tools. The questionnaire included also other measures, such as attitudes towards using educational technology and role of students, colleagues and programme management in using technology, not dealt with in this paper, and it took about 20 min to complete. Measures Use of digital tools. The respondents were asked to think about their teaching given at the University of Helsinki during the two latest academic years and answer to nine questions concerning how they have used or instructed students to use online tools in their teaching, using a five-point Likert-scale (1=never; 5=all the time). The items covered different use of technology (such as “I inform my students about the course and studying” and “My students produce collaborative products (e.g. reports that have been written together)”. A Principal axis factoring was conducted with a Varimax rotation. Two factors with eigenvalues greater than 1 were extracted, that accounted 47 % of the total variance: delivery of information (alpha=.58) and activating students (alpha=.77). Approaches to teaching in technology context was measured by modified version Approaches to teaching – ICT scale by Nevgi, Tella & Nishimura (2010), which originally was adopted from Approaches to teaching (ATI) instrument (Triggwell & Prosser, 2004). There were six items measured on a five-point scale (1=fully disagree; 5= fully agree; such as “I think an important reason for using digital technologies is to give students a good set of materials” and “I use digital technologies in order to encourage my students to discuss the topic”). Using a Principal axis factoring with a Varimax rotation two factors were extracted with eigenvalues greater than 1, that accounted for 52.8 % of the total variance: content-focused (alpha=.68) and learning-focused (alpha=.80).
Teachers’ perceptions of benefit in using technology in teaching were measured with four open-ended questions. 1) What added values do you perceive students get from your use of digital tools in teaching?; 2) What added values do you get yourself from using digital tools in your teaching?; 3) What added values do the digitalization give to the administrative processes (e.g. course enrolments, grade registration)?; 4) What added values do the digitalization of teaching give to the work community? Results Most frequently the respondents shared study material with students (M=4.83, Sd=.47) and informed students about course and studying (M=4.72, Sd=.60). The most rare use was automatically assessed assignments to improve students' self studying (M=1.82, Sd=1.17). A 4 level (faculty: arts, education, science, theology) multivariate analysis of variance with two factors of using digital tools (delivery, activating) as dependent variables was computed. The multivariate F (Pillai’s Trace) was significant for faculty (6, 488)=7.09, p<.001, η2=0.08. The univariate analyses showed that activating students differed according to faculty (F(3, 244) = 15.01, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.16). The contrast comparisons showed that using technology for activating students was higher in faculty of science than in faculty of arts (p<.001) or faculty of theology (p<.001). Another multivariate analysis of variance with approaches to teaching in digital context as dependent variables was carried out. Again, the multivariate F (Pillai’s Trace) was significant for faculty (6, 490)=3.15, p<.01, η2=0.04. The univariate analyses showed that learning-focused approach differed according to faculty (F(3, 245) = 5.85, p < 0.01, η2 = 0.07). The contrast comparisons showed that learning-focused approach was higher in faculty of education than in faculty of arts (p<.05) or faculty of science (p<.001).
Both content-focused and learning-focused approach correlated significantly using digital tools for delivering information (both rs=18, p<.01) and using digital tools for activating students (r=15, p<.05 and r=.44, p<.001, respectively). The open-ended questions about added value of using digital tools were analyzed by qualitative content analysis using an abductive approach. According to the tentative analysis of the first question about added values that students get from your use of digital tools in teaching, the approaches of teaching do also appear in the open-ended answers of teachers. Content-focused approach manifests itself in added values such as “sharing materials is easy”, “all materials in the same place”, or “submitting assignments is easy”. For example, in the faculty of Arts, just under half of the respondents mentioned these kinds of added values for using digital tools in teaching. “Making it easier to form study communities”, “supporting discussions”, and “taking different learners into account” are examples of added values that focus more on activating the student and highlight learning. Discussion Concerning the frequency of using technology, our results are in line with previous studies (Bond et al., 2018) that most typical ways to use educational technology are focusing on delivering information and content, not to facilitate active learning. There were significant differences between faculties, showing that teachers in the faculty of science were more prone to use technology for student activation but were less learning-focused than teachers in other faculties were. The results from the open-ended questions shed some light to the differences between disciplines. We will discuss further, what might explain the differences and what faculties can learn from each other. Both approaches to teaching were related to both types of pedagogical practices in using educational technology. It is plausible that teachers use technology as a part of face-to-face teaching and that the interaction and activation is taking place in classrooms – and that they perceive that informing and providing materials are prerequisite for activation. The study indicates that there should be more research on disciplinary differences and that pedagogical practices of online and face-to-face teaching should be examined more in interaction with each other.
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