ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children’s learning across the curriculum – COURSE JOURNAL (WEEK 2)

In the previous post, I wondered HOW MUCH HAD ICTs CHANGED LEARNING. This week we’re looking at the dimensions of change that schools have reported to be happening in primary education since ICT started to be integrated.

Teaching and learning has been transformed into a 24/7 process that occurs inside and outside the classrooms walls“.

In particular, they report changes in teachers, pedagogy, lerners and administration and paperwork, together with the changing roles and relationships between these four areas.

  • Changes in the teacher profession.  There has been more collaboration and sharing among teachers.  Teachers use technology to support their teaching and also for administrative tasks.
  • Changes in pedagogy: New forms of pedagogy that are more attractive to children, supporting more project based and cross-curricular activities.  Children have more space to be creators of their own ideas ideas and initiatives, and not merely consumers of knowledge.
  • Changes in learners: Mainly through an evident increase in motivation, which allows children to acquire – and practice – new skills. Some children who are labeled as “underachievers” in traditional curriculum subjects have found opportunities to excel, and many children have chance to learn acting as educators themselves.
  • Changes in administrative tasks: Many teachers have seen reduced their routine administrative tasks with the use of ICT Systems at school, which allows them to keep a focus in teaching and learning.

Maybe more interesting that the expected changed which didn’t occur are the wide set of unexpected changes (see here the report).

In my context, I don’t expect ICTs to take the place of teacher, curriculum and schools but to mainly support a greater awareness between students of their agency in their learning process and help make STUDENT FACING, TEACHER DIRECTED learning environments.

However, I must admit I’m not as positive as most of my colleagues about the actual degree of implementation of the ICT. ICTs are supossed to make more active learners, belonging their own learning process, while the teacher becomes a faciiltator. I’m afraid to say in my context it has not been so. Engagement level and digital literacy is very variable among teachers, and it usually depends on individual interest and dedication, which hinders coordinated implementation. In these conditions it’s very difficult to step from using ICTs as occasional methodologies to introducing real changes in the curriculum (PBL…). Students are very familiar with technologies, but they’re too linked to leisure, and have difficulties in seeing them as educational tools. So, every activity implying ICTs involves a though training work, which adds to the already packed curricula.

In the same line, students are familiar with technologies and there’s little we can do to impress them, Witohut a solid pedagogical background, an activity based on ICT will be just a firework.

Sorry for the pessimism, but I do feel some of the participants are optimists without a reason.

II. CHILDREN’S VOICE

However, interviewed children from across the world feel enthusiastic about the use of ICTs. They feel ICTs help them to learn, and enables creation far beyond what they would be able to do without resource to technology, although they usually fail to indentify what they do for fun as educational activities. In fact, for children ICTs at home and at school are very different domains. Other thing they appreciate is the possibility to digitally communicate outside the school walls.

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