ICT and pedagogy

Hear and Say

For the first time on a prac placement, I was put into a class with 2 students with hearing impairments. One child had cochlear implants from a very young age while the other student had only been diagnosed with hearing problems a little over a year ago and had grommets. I was very interested in seeing what could be done to lessen or bring down some of the barries standing in the students way in the classroom. These students were supported by the Hear and Say organisation who would come into the classroom, assess the students needs and provide the teaching staff with instruments to aid in the students hearing such as a phonic ear and a microphone that was directly connected to the students hearing aid. I definitely recommend checking them out.

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Constructing and Transforming

In order to develop an engaging and worthwhile learning experience for our students, both constructing and transforming knowledge must be utilized. Constructing or declarative knowledge relates to the students static knowledge and understanding of the concept and specific facts. Once mastered, transforming or procedural knowledge can be implemented. This type of knowledge is more dynamic, providing students with ways of working and knowledge of how to do something.

Both of these forms of knowledge can be found in the Australian Curriculum. As identified by Benjamin, the remembering, understanding and applying stages of Blooms Taxonomy relate to constructing knowledge while the higher levels of analyzing, evaluating and creating align with transforming knowledge.

This knowledge made it far easier for me to select appropriate content descriptors for assignment two, where I will be creating a unit plan and assessment tasks for a year 2 history unit.

These content descriptors are:

Constructing knowledge: The impact of changing technology on people’s lives (at home and in the ways they worked, travelled, communicated, and played in the past) (ACHHK046) ( From the Historical Knowledge and Understanding strand)

Transforming knowledge: Identify and compare features of objects from the past and present (ACHHS051) (From the Historical Skills strand)

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Negative beliefs about ICT

While studying the use of ICT in literacy learning for one of my other classes, I was very interested to note some of the main reasons why teacher don’t use technology in their classes. As identified by Eileen Honan in Barriers to teachers using digital texts in literacy classrooms, many teachers are unaware of their students prior knowledge and experience with a range of digital technologies outside of the classroom. In addition, the teachers were unable to see the value of these skills within a classroom context. As a result of these beliefs, teachers often make the mistake of focusing their teaching on the operational skills needed to use the technology rather than authentic literacy learning from which the students make meaning.

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Using the RAT model

To ensure students are engaging in experiences deeper than ‘horseless carriage’ instruction as I discussed in my last post, these learning experiences should be evaluated using the RAT model. This model stands for Replacement, Amplification and Transformation, and is designed as a tool to self-assess the use of ICT and pedagogy within an instructional practice.  The ‘horseless carriage’ approach, where although the technology used serves a different means, it is still within the same practice, is an example of Replacement. For a practice to be classified as Amplification, it must increase the effectiveness and productivity of the same instructional practice. Finally, Transformation is achieved if the technologies used invent new learning, instruction or curricula.

As Tahnee states, this model will be very effective and useful, not only within our university experience, but also leading into our professional careers.

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ICT pedagogy as ‘horseless carriages’

As quipped by theorist John Dewey “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob children of tomorrow.”
This quote perfectly encapsulates much of the pedagogy and instructional practices within modern classrooms.

blended_cartoonAs shown in this comic strip, although new technology and resources have been introduced, these resources have not been appropriately used to amplify or transform the learning experience. Instead they have just been used to replace the previous method within the same instructional practice. Therefore, many of these practices can be linked to the concept of a ‘horseless carriage’ where even though the carriage has been altered to include an engine, the efficiency and productivity of the carriage have not been improved.

You can find this cartoon and many more like it at https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/students-and-teachers-again-cartoons/

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Justification for the use of ICT in schools

In 2008, MCEETYA released the Melbourne Declaration, an Australian education document identifying ‘Educational Goals for Young Australians’. Within this document, the use of ICT is advised as an integral tool to achieve the educational goals of equity and excellence, supporting all students to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. The declaration states that Australian students must be:

creative and productive users of technology, especially ICT, as a foundation for success in all learning areas (MCEETYA, 2008).

Supporting the inclusion of ICT capabilities in the Australian Curriculum, the Melbourne Declaration suggests that using ICT assist students in their development of thinking deeply and logically, and obtaining and evaluating evidence. ICT also supports creativity, innovation and resourcefulness, assisting students in problem solving. Finally, The Melbourne Declaration supports ICT as a way to promote and assist continued success in students lives following school, as a member of a family, the workforce and the wider community.

 

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Disadvantages of technology in classrooms

Up until now, my main focus on ICT in schools has been on the positive impacts. However, as with any source of learning, if not used appropriately, technology may become a hindrance. These negative effects have been described by Julia Klaus in her article,  Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom

In this article, Julia focuses on the negative effects of technology arising from the issues of taking away valuable learning time, overuse and the implications of a ‘game mentality’.

It is inevitable that within any class, students will be at varying levels of technological skill and experience. Therefore, it is important to educate students in ICT however this must be conducted at a pace which meets the needs of every student or time will be wasted. Additionally, many students learn best through other means such as physically interacting with what they are studying or through hands-on real life experiences. Consequently, it is important not to overuse digital technologies, using them as a supplementary tool rather than the primary source of learning. Finally, for many students, their primary use of computers is for games. As a result, these students may become quickly distracted or off task when required to use a computer for another purpose.
As outlined by Julia, when used appropriately ICT can be a valuable tool for the learning environment, however, the teacher must provide careful implementation to ensure that no students are done a disservice.

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Why use ICT?

In order to justify why we should use ICT in schools, I turned my attention to ‘The Big Three’ framework. This framework argues for the inclusion of ICT pedagogies in order to:

  1. Prepare the next generation for the workforce;
  2. Make schools more efficient and productive; and,
  3. Enhance and transform learning and teaching experiences

Through studying this framework, I created a concept map, expanding on these ideas to answer the question ‘Why use ICT?’.

New-Mind-Map_k4gi

After creating this concept map, I searched to see what other students thought of ICT and pedagogy. Similarly to me, Tanya agrees with the implementation of ICT in schools as justified by the Melbourne Declaration and the Australian Curriculum. Tanya explains that as technology has changed at such a rapid rate, these programs and devices have become more efficient, promoting productivity. As technology become more readily available, most students will have access to 1 or more technological devices out of the school setting. Therefore, I agree with Tanya that as teachers, we need to ensure that students are ready for these changes in the future as they move beyond the school environment.

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