Here a review of ICT tools for use in Primaty Education: ‘Emerging Technology Enhanced Learning Tools’.
Among the resources built in this Scoop site, I would like to reccomend these ones:
– The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You Can Use Now). A terrific collection of resources classified by category (Presentations, Link sharing, Electronic Note Taking,Screencasting and Capturing What Happens in Class…).
– The Future of Learning: Compelling, Customized, Connected & Competency-Based. A reflection on the possibilities of newly developing ICTs to to boost student achievement and improve working for teachers.
II. ICT PROMOTING EACH TYPE OF LEARNING
According to the author, there are 6 types of learning: learning through acquisition, discussion, investigation, practice, collaboration and production. Ideally best learning environments combine all of them, but there is no software or technology that can help achieve all of them at the same time.
Another important though from the video is that ICT are the tool, but the teacher must set the goals, closely track the process and decide on quality of the learning that is happening.
III. BUT… SHOULD WE EVEN USE ICTs AT PRIMARY EDUCATION?
Most participants in the MOOC think that ICT should be an important part of everyday teaching and learning. I’m, myself, a bit more conservative but still think they should be used by both teachers and pupils.
It’s true it’s important to introduce the use of ICTs to increase motivation, interactivity and boost creativity, and to promote digital competence from earliest courses. But I’m a bit reluctant to make them the axis of our methodology from the very first courses. I’m a bit afraid that introducing ICTs would restrain the lust for inquiry and investigation in contact with the real world. I.e. mainly educational reasons, according to the classification in the UNESCO report ICT in primary education.
Other reasons I would like to include after reading this document are that digital technology is an increasingly important part of our society, so much that technology is a style of life (external reasons), strategic development of ICT may enhance leadership in the school, and perceived improvements in effectiveness and efficiency of the teacher’s work (internal reasons) and the range of opportunities being opened up for improving teaching and learning with technology (educational reasons): mainly, ICT improves que quality and effectiveness of the learning experience for all children, and makes possible access to some learning experiences that are not otherwise not feasible (e.g. through virtual worlds and digital simulations). It enables interaction with children from all over the world and independent learning skills.
III. USEFUL EXAMPLES
Among the examples provided in ICT in Primary Education (chapter 4) I would like to mention the experience at Jamestown Elementary School (Arlington, VI).
The school mission is to educate all children in an optimal learning environment, preparing them for success in a global society. The vision for technology use is to reach every student and make learning engaging, relevant, and connected to real lives. They accomplish this through actively engaging students in challenging learning experiences empowered by the use of a multitude of interactive and mobile technologies which inspire higher order thinking, creativity, and solving real world problems. Digital learning is at the centre of pedagogical innovation. Classrooms are equipped with digital toolkits that include a variety of mobile devices, laptops, and interactive whiteboards. These digital toolkits enable students and teachers to select their preferred tools for learning; individualizing how students access information, collaborate, express their creativity, and share knowledge.
Digital technologies are integrated across the curriculum facilitating different ways of learning and providing immediate access to relevant curriculum resources. Students engage in challenge-based learning with multidisciplinary, collaborative learning experiences in which teachers and students work together to learn about compelling issues, propose solutions to real problems, and take action.
Through our digital connections, students participate daily in global learning linking them with students from around the world to carry out curriculum projects in science, history, geography, music, and world languages. Together with their international partners they share learning, culture and customs that promote a global awareness at a young age. For example, in the “Rock Our World”project, students from around the world create music together using digital recording studio software, share their experiences through digital movies, and communicate using online chat.
IV. HOW MUCH HAVE ICTs CHANGED LEARNING?
It’s undeniable ICTs are pervading our classes.Even within the western industrialised countries of Europe, with a degree of political and economic similarity, there is the full range from total provision to no provision of ICT in primary schools.
But how much do they have changed our education system? Do we just have a computer doing the work of a teacher, but following the same transmissive model? Primary schools are changing –slowly, it’s true, but digital technologies are now making classroom learning more varied and challenging, and also much more challenging for the teacher.
(Do not miss this webpage by the European Comission on Pillar VI: Enhancing digital literacy, skills and inclusion: Internet Use, Digital Skills and Online Content)
IV. SUPPORTING TEACHERS’ NEEDS
Teachers know what ICT can do, they have the confidence to use it, but how to use it effectively for the important aspects of children’s education? That’s where they need more help than they are currently getting.
An effective implementation which would take maximum profit from technologies would require intensive and much better focused teacher training programms.
This coincides with the issues identified by the report Survey of Schools:
ICT in Education (European Schoolnet Academy, 2013), which in fact haven’t changed that much from those identified by BECTA in 2008 (Harnessing Technology Review 2008:The role of technology and its impact on education). Interestingly enough, the former reports that teachers are confident, positive to the use of ICT and use them more and more frequently, and are likewise eager to get trained, often in their spare time. Still, the ESA’s report recalls that boosting teacher professional development makes a difference, and appears to be a condition for an effective and efficient use of the available infraestructure.
As such, my priorities for teachers’ and leaders’ needs as they plan the integration of ICTs would be (based in UNESCO, 2014. ICT in primary education):
– support teachers and remove external constraints where possible, and recruit people who can work with learning technologies.
– inspire teachers and provide consistent and frequent technology training sessions, and give them good conditions for their work, acknowledgement of their activities and opportunities to take part in conferences.
WHAT IDEA WILL I TRY NEXT?
I was so before I even took this module, but now I’ve reassured in my idea of investigating whether ICTs are really able to promote learning at higher levels of the Bloom’s taxonomy and the real possibilities of flipped classroom with Primary School students.