The first years of teaching can be challenging for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) as they enter school contexts which may contradict approaches to teaching, learning and assessment advocated within their initial teacher education programmes (Clausen, 2007). This may result in campus-based preparation being “washed- out” (Tabachnick & Zeichner, 1984) as NQTs adopt a form of “strategic compliance” while adjusting to practices inherent within the culture of their schools (Flores, 2005).
In Ireland, the importance and potential of digital technology in teaching, learning and assessment is emphasised in all recent national policy on education. The newly published National Digital Strategy for Schools (Department of Education and Skills, 2015, p.33) now provides a five year action plan for the integration of ICT within practices in schools and aims to ensure that it is “embedded in the planning, design and delivery of all teacher education courses and programmes”. Research, however, on the use of mobile technology in initial teacher education (ITE) is limited.
This paper outlines findings from an ongoing study tracking the use of iPad by 12 purposively selected NQTs in their first and second years of teaching. iPad was deployed 1:1 with all student teachers on the ITE programme from which the participant sample is drawn, and this research project investigates if and how they continue to use iPad as NQTs.
A mixed methods approach is used in the study, incorporating semi-structured interviews with the 12 NQTs during their first year and again during their second year of teaching. An online questionnaire was completed also in their second year of teaching by all NQTs who completed the ITE programme from which the participant sample is drawn.
Findings show that while NQTs encounter a number of external barriers in schools, their ITE experience using iPad continues to exert a significant influence on their use of mobile technology in teaching, learning and assessment.