Week 3: What are classroom technologies?

Hardware in classrooms

Blog – Write about your learning in your blog – what are the benefits and challenges of this hardware device?

I looked at IWB use, as I have not had any practical experience with one. It appears that this technology can be very good an enhancing learning in the classroom, but that in order to be successful, new approaches towards pedagogy are needed (Gregory, 2010). This makes sense, as trying to teach with any new technology without thinking about modifying pedagogy would likely limit any possible benefits to learning.

How does it enhance learning?

From Gregory’s 2010 study into the use of IWB in schools, it appears that IWB’s greatly increase engagement, promotes cooperation, and can be helpful for students with learning disabilities. This shows that the appropriate use of IWB’s in the classroom fits ideally with a constructivist approach to teaching that promotes student-centred, engaging, cooperative learning for a diverse range of students.

Have you discovered some good resources for the use of this device?

https://www.neamb.com/professional-resources/using-interactive-whiteboard.htm

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/09/creative-uses-interactive-white-boards/

http://www.teachhub.com/free-interactive-whiteboard-resources

The first two sites just provide some useful hints for IWB use. The third site is by far the best, and provides a whole load of free web resources for IWB’s.

Post to your blog your understanding of the affordances of the type of technology you are wanting to use might be. This may include aspects of the software as well as the hardware, but think about what these tools allow you to do.

The affordances of classroom technologies

Affordances of the IWB:

Mirrors a PC onto a whiteboard

Pen tool can be used as a mouse for selecting, drawing, etc.

Has all the affordances of a pc, but with an interactive element – as it is displayed on a whiteboard.

Software in the classroom

  • When should students start word processing?

As we move further towards a paperless society, most children would be using text-based communication from a very early age. I would say they should start word processing as soon as they learn to write. However, as the textbook mentions, would less hand-writing affect fine-motor skill development?

  • Is it necessary to teach keyboarding skills?

10 finger typing is an important skill, if you want to be fast and accurate at typing. Will students pick that same skill up without explicit instruction? Highly unlikely. Reminds me of when I was in high school and the thought was that there was no point teaching grammar, as we would pick it up as we read – it proved to be totally wrong.

  • What effect does world processing have on handwriting?

Well, as noted above, there will be fewer and fewer opportunities to practise handwriting, so it will likely deteriorate. Does that matter?

  • What impact does word processing have on assessment?

Interesting that the text notes a 1997 study by Roblyer, suggesting that word processed test questions received lower marks (Roblyer, 1997). Is that still the case after 20 years? Formal testing is garbage, anyway. Word processing is great for student assignments/projects, and that’s what matters for learning by doing.

  • Is the auto correction of spelling a problem?

Spell check is great, but I think it’s affected my spelling. Where I used to really have to think about how to spell, now I can just use spell check. However, in the digital age, does the quality of one’s spelling really matter? Auto-correct is a different story, and students need to be aware of proof-reading information before publishing – from text messages to essays.

 

Davies, N. (2014). 10 creative ways to use interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/09/creative-uses-interactive-white-boards/.

Gregory, S. (2010). Enhancing student learning with interactive whiteboards: Perspective of teachers and students. Australian Educational Computing, 25(2), 31-34.

NEA Member Benefits. (2017).  Creative ways to use your interactive whiteboard. Retrieved from https://www.neamb.com/professional-resources/using-interactive-whiteboard.htm.

Nicholson, D. (n.d.). Free interactive whiteboard resources. Retrieved from http://www.teachhub.com/free-interactive-whiteboard-resources

Roblyer, M. D. (1997). Technology and the Oops! Effect: Finding a Bias against Word Processing. Learning & Leading with Technology, 24(7), 14-16.

 

Week 2: Why do we include technology in the classroom?

Technology and learning

Bigum  (2012) looked at the relationship between schools and ICT. Schools have been caught in the trap of looking at how technology can be “domesticated” in order to fit in with current curriculums and activities, rather than looking at how technologies can revolutionise the relationships between student, educator, and educational institution.

Cox (2012) looked at research into CAL in classrooms and how it has been difficult to be able to identify clear benefits of CAL, as there are many confounding variables – eg. teacher and school culture, and attitude – as teachers may see technology as threatening their control over their students’ learning.  Benefits may also be unforeseen consequences of the adoption of technology, eg. students being in control of their learning, more innovative, creative, active learners.

Voogt J., Knezek G., Cox M.J., Knezek D.&ten Brummelhuis A. (2011) discussed the results of the International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, and develops a call to action based on these results. From their analysis, they developed 8 calls to action: role of ICT in 21st century learning; development of new approaches to assessment that measure outcomes of ICT-rich learning environments; restructure schools to be able to utilise different ICT pedagogies to individualise learning for students; better understand students informal use of technology in order to blend learning between formal and informal settings; develop models for teacher learning on ICT use in schools; to understand that ICT policy needs to be adopted at all levels of educational leadership, and must not be the role of single teachers.; the role of digital equity around the globe; develop a list of essential conditions which ensure benefit from investments in ICT.

So, what did I think? It’s obvious that there has been a major shift in education, and that technology has provided a catalyst for change. Students are now in control of their learning and teachers have become facilitators. This is a considerable change and could prove scary for teachers who rely on being able to control all aspects of the learning environment. It also means that teachers need to become experts in pedagogy and being able to help students to be able to individualize their learning experience, as technology now allows. This is all dependent, however on the equitable access to said technology and the successful meshing of formal and informal uses of technology for learning. This is highlighted by the video by Alan November which talks about utilising technology in the classroom and being able to identify, and train, the critical skills that are required to be successful in the future.

Use of technology in schools

The use of technology in schools is going to vary for a number of reasons: socio-economic status, location, student/parent attitude, teacher attitude, school attitude, among others. However, technology is a fantastic resource to be able to motivate and engage students – making learning relevant to their lives. I really liked the approach of the Singaporean school. It is interesting that some Silicon Valley parents have rejected technology, though it does show that a good education is not dependent on the amount of technology used, rather it is about how it is used.

Digital literacy

The textbook definition of digital literacy—Originally, the ability to use computer devices and soft- ware to locate and use information; now refers to skills in using the information that technological devices carry, in addition to skills in using the devices themselves

Should be seen as a digital version of 21st century literacies: how we communicate across different media, in different contexts and social groups, and with varying technologies.

Digital natives and digital immigrants

The idea of a digital native, vs digital immigrant, sounds nice, though there is no clear delineation between a native and an immigrant, as this will depend entirely upon when the person was born and what technologies they were socialized with – it is a continual process with natives and immigrants being created constantly.

It is a nice idea, however, that illustrates the differences between how students, of any generation, think, compared to their older teachers, as society, and technology changes. As is illustrated by Marc Prensky these changes have been significant in the past few decades and are likely to be far more significant in the next few.

Students are now coming to terms with the mobile age and are adapting to the new technologies and opportunities that have come with this. The true natives of the mobile information age, are only just coming to school age – if we take it from the introduction of the Ipad in 2010 – and highlights my point about this being a continual process.

What does this mean for teachers and teaching? This process means that teachers need to be aware of the differences in learning, processing information, communicating between themselves and their students, and make sure their teaching is appropriate for their students.

Students, circa 2016, will have differing attitudes towards technology, but they have no choice but to embrace it, as it is ubiquitous and even necessary part of their modern lives.

Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and computers: Tales of a digital romance. In Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms (pp. 15-28). Springer Netherlands.

Cox, M.J. (2013), Formal to informal learning with IT: research challenges and issues for e-learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29: 85–105.

Voogt, J., Knezek, G., Cox, M., Knezek, D. and ten Brummelhuis, A. (2013), Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? A Call to Action. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29: 4–14.

 

 

Week 1: Welcome! Technology and Teaching Standards

I really enjoyed the video by Punya Mishra, and, especially, about the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge) model (Koehler, Mishra and Cain, 2013). It provides a good model for the appropriate use of technology across classes and subjects, and really highlights the pitfalls of technocentrism, that is, the focus on, and use of, the latest technologies irrespective of any analysis into their potential benefits. It reminds me of results based, versus question based, research. One should always be focused on the question, and in regards to technology, this means focusing on what it is doing for students, and how it will enhance their learning.

It is true that technology has changed education forever. No longer are teachers the holders of content knowledge, instead, they are now facilitators of their students’ learning (Brown, 2008). Students are also now active participants in the global meta-knowledge of the species through the ability to collaborate, create and share their learning outcomes through the web.

Brown, J. K. (2008). Student-centered instruction: Involving students in their own education. Music Educators Journal, 94(5), 30-35.

Koehler, M. J., Mishra, P., & Cain, W. (2013). What Is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)?. Journal of Education, 193(3), 13-19.

Introduction

Hello all,

I’m Jonathan, and I’m working towards becoming a science teacher. I’ve tutored biology, and statistics, for quite a while, and am looking forward to learning more about how to utilise technology in the classroom.

Coming from an academic background, most of my experience is with the dreaded Powerpoint – something I’d like to rectify.

I’m living in the Blue Mountains, on a mountain called Mount Tomah.

I’m keen to explore new software that could help facilitate a more exploratory, constructivist, classroom experience for students.