Enhancing Teacher Candidates’ Digital Competencies


Enhancing Teacher Candidates’ Digital Competencies is a project that was proposed by Natasha Boskiç and FoE partners including Yvonne Dawydiak, Technology Integration Mentor. It was granted funding from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) and began in May 2016. Its main purpose was to “create an integrated and sustainable way to support Teacher Candidates and faculty members in selecting, evaluating, and implementing digital media technologies in their practice”.

The focus was on digital media and tools that support the following activities in:

  1. LLED360, Classroom Discourses and Teaching English Language Learners – language acquisition;
  2. EDCP357, Secondary Physics Methods course – student classroom engagement and simulations, and
  3. EPSE317, Development and Exceptionality in the Regular Classroom – communication with students with exceptionalities

600 students in the Teacher Education program take at least one of these three courses.


The objective of this project is to create a sustainable way to support both teacher candidates and faculty members in finding, evaluating,learning about, and implementing technology in their teaching practice. The opportunities for mentorship, hands-on exploration and discovery, as well as self-paced resources will build capacity among teacher candidates and faculty members to use networked digital tools to create learning environments that are collaborative and stimulating. The online portion of this project will enable participants to share knowledge, and use and re-purpose resources for their own context. Expertise reconfigured as such, will reside in a distributed network and be readily available from one starting point. The site will allow participants to add resources and provide feedback and comments.


Specifically, the expected outcomes are:

  1. Modified assignments and student engagements in LLED360, EDCP357 and EPSE317 so that teacher candidates have more opportunities to critically examine technologies, evaluate their pedagogical potentials, and implement various digital tools in their courses, and later into their practicum and teaching,
  2. Creation of the support system that will help teacher candidates in achieving those goals,
  3. Enabling teacher candidates to help each other with their inquire and employment of digital competencies and educational technologies in their learning (as part of curricula and in meeting lifelong learning goals),
  4. Inspiring and engaging students, and generating enthusiasm for communicating and creating with technology,
  5. Making teacher candidates aware of their leadership roles and responsibilities in the field of education, recognizing they assume critical positions in the classroom, school, school district and university for implementing informed technology practices.

The  Scarfe Digital Sandbox website, one of the key deliverables of this project, houses video tutorials and resources to support digital technology integration and teacher competencies.

Prior to completing their BEd program, an exit survey was released in summer 2017 (Digital Competencies for Teachers Exit Survey). In this survey, teacher candidates had the opportunity to reflect and share their impressions of how this project impacted their digital competencies. Results were positive and showed that students felt more prepared to select, evaluate and integrate technology into their teaching practices. Specifically, areas noted as ‘needs’ in the pre-boarding survey (assessment and media creation) were seen as areas of growth in the exit survey. It was clear from the results that those who attended workshops and information sessions found it to be helpful in their teaching practices. In addition, teacher candidates expressed great regard for the Scarfe Digital Sandbox resources and expressed gratitude for the opportunities provided by this project:

“In practicum, I found that the key to better student engagement was varying methods of assessment. Additionally, I learned that full integration and modelling use of educational technologies is important. It cannot be incorporated halfheartedly.” (Teacher Candidate in exit survey)


“I feel that I’m much more comfortable and more knowledgeable regarding many different media platforms (e.g. Plickers, padlet, google apps, etc.).” (Teacher Candidate in exit survey)


“I loved all the digital tech workshops!! I only wish we had more!” (Teacher Candidate in exit survey)


“I really appreciated this aspect of the teacher education program. I only wish that it was more integrated into the program as, say, a three-week class like in the summer terms, as opposed to only having guest lectures.” (Teacher Candidate in exit survey)

Please visit the UBC TLEF website to view the final project report and visit the Scarfe Digital Sandbox to read a reflection from Yvonne Dawydiak, Project Coordinator and Faculty-wide Programs Instructional Specialist.

Project Team

Principal Investigator
Natasha Boskic, Senior Manager Learning Design, ETS (Project Management)


Dr. Wendy Carr, Associate Dean, Teacher Education (TEO)

Yvonne Dawydiak, Technology Integration Specialist, ETS, TEO (Project Coordination)

Dr. Mark Edwards, Assistant Dean, Professional Development and Community Engagement (PDCE)

Dr. Kedrick James, Senior Instructor, Language and Literacy Department (LLED)

Dr. Elizabeth Jordan, Senior Instructor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education (ECPS)

Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy (EDCP)

Jo-Anne Naslund, Instructional Programs Librarian, Education Library

Administrative and Technical Support – student staff

Melissa Liang, Coop Student, Faculty of Arts

Bruno Bachmann, Coop Student, Faculty of Computer Sciences

Kateryna Baranova, Coop student, Faculty of Arts

Xinwen (Wendy) Zhang, Faculty of Arts

Liza Navarro, LLED PHD Candidate

Mary Kostandy, EDST PHD student