This week we discussing what we know about ICT…

What are ICTs in Education?

ICT stands for information and communication technologies and is a “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store and manage information” (Blurton, 2002, p. 1). ICT consist of a broad range including computers, iPad, the internet, various software and interactive whiteboards (IWB). ICT is complex and fast changing and can be very confusing for educators. In our modern society, most people have a solid understanding of ICT, but those understandings are often wildly divergent.

In today’s society, everyone needs to have a basic understanding of ICT and be able to use it productively. In the 21st century, ability to work with ICT is becoming an essential to education, life and workplace success similar to reading, writing and maths. You would have noticed in the Australian Curriculum there is a firm strategy to embed ICT into all aspects of classroom learning. The State Government decided that schools should meet and exceed the demands of the students by integrating ICT into the classroom.  By using ICT in the classroom, students can develop knowledge and skills to transfer to other environments. Students can learn to use ICT within a supportive environment that will enable them to use ICT with confidence and care. There have been many studies associated with the emergence of using ICT in the classroom, and the statistics are impressive with showing how ICT changes the way the students construct knowledge and interact – though I believe this needs to be delivered and monitored appropriately in every classroom.

The key ideas for ICT capability in the Australian Curriculum are organised into five elements shown here.

How do I learn a new ICT?

Learning in today’s society demands new technological approaches along with new pedagogies to implement the ICT into the classroom. Educators are responsible for preparing students for the requirements of the ever-changing world that we live in, and educators do not just learn about technology – we have to use it to achieve powerful teaching and improve student outcomes… How might you ask?

Many schools have resources to assist you with the practical use of ICT in your everyday practices. Again, this will come back to being organised, and schools and teachers need to work collaboratively together to plan the direction of the school and how ICTs will be embedded. There is a vision that teachers will include eLearning into their classrooms. This approach promotes a blended model of learning featuring a balance between online and face to face teaching. This sound amazing… right??! But how will we learn how to do this? There are professional development courses and a list of contacts in the Smart Classroom Bytes to assist teachers in gaining more knowledge.

Feeling that I have a good grasp on technology (let’s not talk about the WordPress site at the moment), I would be comfortable in approaching my colleagues and asking to sit in on their lessons to see how they incorporate a new ICT into their teaching. On my last prac, I went to a teacher’s lesson (with my mentor and two other teachers) to watch how she utilised the IWB. That was incredible – I had never seen a teacher use the IWB for an entire lesson with games. The students enjoyed it, and it was an interactive experience. At the school I am working as a Teacher Aide – we have a lot of internal PD’s where we learn how to use various software’s in the classroom to assist in student learning. I do reflect on individual lessons that I am in where the teacher has not gained enough information about using the ICT, and the lesson has turned into a waste with the teacher always asking students to help or just spent time fiddling with cords and so forth. I promised myself that I would never do that as it is very disruptive… and while students should see that we are human as well, I believe we need to be efficient with ICT before using it in your lesson. So while the Melbourne Declaration (MCEETYA, 2008) articulates as one of the key goals,

“All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens” (p. 8)

As a teacher, you need to be adequately prepared to provide direction in ICT and have an acquisition of these skills before using the ICT to enhance learning — so a good place to start is with learning it yourself.

 

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References

Blurton, C. (2002). New Directions of ICT – Use in Education. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.unesco.org/education/lwf/dl/edict.pdf

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf

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