Applied Sciences University Teachers on the Digitalization of the Bioeconomy

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The bioeconomy is being disrupted due to global trends of digitalization and automation. Knowledge-intensive businesses and sustainable solutions in carbon-smart food production have resulted in various consequences for the professionals working in and for bioeconomy. This blog post refers to an article which is originally published in Technology Innovation Management Review. The article  examines bioeconomy teachers’ perceptions of digitalization.

“The article draws on research data from semi-structured focus-group interviews that were conducted with bioeconomy teachers in applied sciences higher education. The theoretical frame for the analysis was Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) teacher knowledge framework for technology integration called Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK).

The results suggest that although applied sciences university teachers have strong Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), they need more systematic approach and support to develop Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) in a disruptive field. Teaching in a rapidly transforming discipline, like bioeconomy, requires continuous co-development of all TPACK knowledge components by teachers” (Ryymin, 2021).

Figure 1. The TPACK framework and its knowledge components (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Koehler et al., 2013). Published in Technology Innovation Management Review, 11(2): 24-32.

“The profession of an applied sciences university teacher in the field of bioeconomy is in a flux due to rapid current digital disruption of the industry. Following the framework of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Koehler et al., 2013), the teachers in this study considered themselves quite competent in their Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), Pedagogical Knowledge (PK), and Content Knowledge (CK) related to current (university) curricula. However, they expressed concerns about updating in the near future their Content Knowledge (CK), and especially their Technological Content Knowledge (TCK). Despite having many proactive initiatives to update their knowledge, they longed for a more strategic approach to develop their disciplinary knowledge, intertwined with technological innovations. Research, development, and innovation activities, along with stronger partnerships and collaboration with the bioeconomy industry and businesses were mentioned as important activities for teachers in embracing digital disruption. Also, the micro, meso and macro level contexts were deemed as meaningful for applied sciences teachers’ development. Positive changes in these contexts may accelerate positive development in teachers’ knowledge components. Hence, the strategies of HE institutions play an important role in teachers’ knowledge development and adaptation to global changes.

The TPACK-framework states that the core components of teachers’ knowledge are in continuous interaction and co-development. Challenges and changes in one core component, sooner or later, effect the other components. Therefore, when supporting teachers to reconcile changes in a disruptive industry, one must pay attention to the co-developing all of the knowledge components. Especially, teachers should have strategies and approaches to develop systematically their CK and TCK as related to their rapidly transforming discipline.

An applied sciences university teacher can become an agent of change by systematized development, as suggested by Pozos and Torelló (2012). They can commit to generate and share new knowledge in a critical and responsible way. In future research, it will be important to find out what kinds of possibilities and challenges bioeconomy teachers face in their continuous learning and content knowledge development at work. Likewise, questions arise about how to support teachers’ development efficiently and optimally during transformations in the digital age.”

Source:

Ryymin, E. 2021. Perspectives from Higher Education: Applied Sciences University Teachers on the Digitalization of the Bioeconomy. Technology Innovation Management Review, 11(2): 24-32. http://doi.org/10.22215/timreview/1420

Essi Ryymin
Principal Research Scientist, HAMK Edu
Häme University of Applied Sciences

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