Module 2 (Part A): Why do we include technology in the classroom?

Technology and Learning:

Post your opinion about the use of technology in schools.

Bigum raises a critical point regarding the introduction of technology in the classroom. Schools are no longer the innovative destinations of learning they once were and are often a step back in time for students following the emergence of mobile technologies (Bigum, 2012, p. 22). Cox argues that greater research is required to inform decisions about the role and place of technology in the classroom and central to this research should be a change in focus, looking at the impact of technology on formal and informal learning environments (2012, p. 17).  With rapid and fundamental change taking place in our technological society, a paradigm shift between the interfaces of learning is occurring. Increasing access to technology beyond the classroom has blurred the distinction of learning environments. If learning is no longer constrained by the four walls of a formal learning environment, perhaps development of pedagogy that embraces a global classroom and inverts the teacher/student dichotomy would be better suited to 21-century learning outcomes. Bigum points out that technology simply needs to be “practice” in classrooms and not viewed as a separate entity (2012, p. 24).

Further to this, if schools are unable to keep pace with the development of technology, perhaps then it is crucial to adopt a holistic approach to understanding technology and redefine its place at a fundamental level. The provision of hardware and infrastructure should not overshadow the need to prepare teachers and students with the skills to engage with technology before it redefines the classroom. ICT certainly offers attractive opportunities for improving the quality of education but as Cox argues, research is needed to reinforce that ICT is a guarantee of success (Cox, 2012). Until this time, the role of technology in schools and arrangement of learning processes should be solely reserved for the educational vision of teachers, learners, schools and the society in which they operate. Alternatively, if technology is used to engage and motivate students with new challenges as evidenced by Singapore’s 21st-century teaching strategies, then this is surely a good thing and is worth serious investigation and incorporation into teaching practice. When children are engaged, and interested, that’s where the learning takes place (Edutopia, 2012) no matter what hardware, software or traditional text they are using.

November (1998) aligns his views of technology in education with the constructivist approach and welcomes a global curriculum that enables students to be contributors of knowledge. He indicates that not only is there a need for 21st-century skills but learner-centred 21st-century learning. The P21 Framework promotes this global awareness as a key interdisciplinary theme where open dialogues are established and students can work collaboratively to understand and address global issues (2009). This approach is an exciting shift and I welcome the opportunity to act as coach and guide of students’ learning processes in a role where student mastery of ICT is likely to exceed my own.

allan-november-1

Post a short definition of Digital Literacy and briefly discuss how you think it is relevant to teaching and learning in the classroom:

As new technologies emerge, new ways of thinking and working demand new literacies (plural) that enable students to gather information from a variety of formats, make sense of that information, use it, and communicate it to others (Stripling, 2010). Students also need to develop skills that enable digital inquiry by making connections with ideas rather than simply gathering facts. Dr. Belshaw (2012) explores the idea of digital literacies as context dependent and socially negotiated. This broadened definition of literacy is relevant to the classroom as it supports students to critically engage, use and interpret new information. Which raises a point about the need to develop information literacy as well as digital literacies. Thus, a crucial role of teachers is to adapt and reconceptualise their view of literacies as the concept is not static, much like technology.

 

References

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2016). General Capabilities. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/information_sheet_general_capabilities_file.pdf

Belshaw, D. (2012). The essential elements of digital literacies. Retrieved from TedX Talks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8yQPoTcZ78

Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and Computers: Tales of a digital romance. In C. Bigum, & L. Rowan (Eds.), Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms : Future Proofing Education (pp. 15-28). Netherlands: Springer.

Cox, M. (2012). Formal to informal learning with IT: Research challenges and issues for e-learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 1-21. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00483.x

Edutopia. (2012). Singapore’s 21st-Century Teaching Strategies (Education Everywhere Series). Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_pIK7ghGw4

November, A. (1998). Myths and opportunities: Technology in the classroom. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/3930740

P21 Partnership for 21stCentury Learning. (2009). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

Stripling, B. (2010). Teaching students to think in the digital environment: Digital literacy and digital inquiry. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 16-19.

Wohlwend, K., & Lewis, C. (2011). Critical Literacy, critical engagement, and digital technology: Convergence and embodiment in local spheres. In D. Lapp, & D. Fisher, The handbook on teaching English and language arts (3rd ed., pp. 188-194). New York: Taylor & Francis.

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