Publication Details

Howard, S., Tondeur, J., Ma, J. & Yang, J. (2019). Seeing the wood for the trees: Insights into the complexity of developing pre-service teachers’ digital competencies for future teaching. ASCILITE 2019 - Conference Proceedings - 36th International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education: Personalised Learning. Diverse Goals. One Heart. (pp. 441-446).


Developing digital competencies is a critical component in pre-service teacher training for future practice. However, this is a complex process which includes a range of strategies, and little is known about how they should be implemented. Methods that can address this complexity are needed to improve understanding of strategies to develop digital competency in teacher training. In this paper, data mining approaches are used to explore this issue, through analysis of preservice teachers’ experiences with six key digital competency strategies. Specifically, association rules analysis was conducted on a questionnaire dataset of 931 preservice teachers’ experiences in their training, with 24 different practices representing the six strategies. Results showed four distinct clusters of associated strategies, which illustrates how the approach was able to reveal some complexity among digital competency strategies. The most important strategies were Authentic Experiences, Instructional Design and Role Models, showing multiple relationships and effects across all four clusters. Implications for practice suggest certain combinations of strategies are necessary to support pre-service teachers’ developing digital competencies. Future directions for research are discussed.