Module 2: TPACK

Tpack-contexts-small

I’m the star (Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org)

Do you think the expansion of the “T” into “Tech” is significant or necessary? Does it help the framework?

Emphasising ‘tech’ over the other parts seems counter intuitive as TPACK seems to be more of a holistic approach that balances each of the three areas. In that sense I don’t think it helps the framework.

I’ve never come across TPACK before but it seems like a decent representation of the approach modern teachers needed in formulating a balanced curriculum that maximises the knowledge and tools now available. Having several years of hands on experience would put me a little towards the PK section but I lack a lot of the theory. TK is probably my strongest area and content, the weakest.

An article on a study done by English educators that questions the usefulness of TPACK as a framework:

Parr, Graham; Bellis, Natalie and Bulfin, Scott. Teaching English teachers for the future: Speaking back to TPACK [online]. English in Australia, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2013: 9-22. Availability:<http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=322818783063191;res=IELAPA&gt;

References

Koehler, M. & Mishra, P. (2008, March). Thinking Creatively: Teachers as designers of technology, pedagogy and content [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iCPLTz7Z-Q

Module 2: Our students and technology in the classroom

Are you what is known as a digital native or immigrant?

I’m a digital native, but only by a few years. Ever since my parents got a PC when I was in primary school I was hooked and rapidly became the head of household in terms of computer literacy, largely through trial and error (and a few viruses/reformats). It took my parents a decade or so to become comfortable with the technology and their emails are gradually becoming less stilted/formal. For me it was just fun. In early high school all my friends went home and got on MSN and would often chat until dinner. My students in Korea are thoroughly native, they spend most of their free time on smart phones and the strongest part of their English vocabulary is often technology related. Between my PC and Galaxy note I’m online 24/7 these days and even track my exercise/work progress with an app. Living overseas has probably led me into using technology even more heavily in order to keep in touch with my friends and interests.

As a teacher, how might you deal with the variety of attitudes and experiences of technology in your classroom?

I would always try to bring my passion for technology to the classroom. I’d relate it to what students like to use. Their chat programs or games. I’d make it fun by talking about common chat slang, creating memes/captions and have students produce material related to their online interests. I basically would try to invest them in the classroom by connecting it with their digital lives outside it. The main problem I anticipate would be gamers who spend too much time online. They come to class tired and disinterested. Engaging these students would be a priority.

References

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(1), 1 – 6. doi: 10.1108/10748120110424816

Module 2: Why do we have digital technology in the classroom? Should we?

Technology is such a major part of student’s lives and futures that it would be irresponsible not to incorporate it, to some degree, into modern pedagogical practices. Ideally it will allow students to better engage with and create material and increase their comfort in using a wide range of modern communication tools. Whilst technology is important, it shouldn’t replace tasks that can just as easily be done by hand, or face to face. The importance of maintaining teacher-student relationships and hands on activities is increased now as we move towards a highly digital classroom. Teachers should be careful not to embrace gimmicky new gadgets or technologies that don’t necessarily aid learning.

The ‘edudemic’ link is dead so I will use this article instead:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?_r=0

What are your thoughts about this rather drastic approach?

It seems more about schools using a system that appeals to rich, conservative parent’s nostalgia of how school should be. I can’t see any advantage in using chalk over markers, beyond the aesthetic. Kids will learn technology in or out of the classroom so I think it’s a missed opportunity not to harness their enthusiasm for it. A big part of teaching seems to be about making the content relevant to the students and I don’t see how removing technology from the classroom in a digitized age achieves this.

I think they will learn many digital literacy skills regardless, but without the guidance of teachers. This could be problematic in terms of online safety, privacy issues and a sense that technology is only for play/free time rather than education and eventually the workplace.

Digital literacy is the ability to read, analyse and create material on digital platforms. It is also the practical skills that allow users to operate a wide range of devices/software. Further, it is an understanding of how the digital world impacts our lives and being able to adapt to new technology as it emerges.

References

Doering, A., & Roblyer, M. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition (pp. 266-268). 6th Edition, Pearson.

Richtel, M. (2011, October 22). A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compete. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html

Belated Start to Thinking About Technology

Greg Whitby, claims that the focus on technology is a “waste of time”. He says: “If you focus on the technology, you ignore the central problem and the central issue.” What do you think he means by this, and to what extent do you agree? Why do you think we focus on the technology?

Greg is suggesting that the focus shouldn’t be on technology, but on the quality and style of teaching instead. He prioritises creative, flexible teachers using the same technology in relevant ways over using new gadgets. I agree that educators who understand and implement technology effectively in the classroom are far more important than the technology itself.

We focus on technology for the ‘wow’ factor. The new 3D cube search engine, mentioned later in the podcast, sounds fun and interactive. However, it doesn’t sound like it offers much to learning beyond what you’d achieve on more flexible devices like an ipad or laptop.

Saettler (1990) said “Computer information systems are not just objective recording devices. They also reflect concepts, hopes, beliefs, attitudes” (as cited in Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p.30)

How do you think these “concepts, hopes, beliefs, and attitudes” are reflected in our current approach to educational technology. What do you think our use of technology in schools is saying about what we want for our students and society?

I think one belief that is being reflected more and more is as gaming becomes more mainstream, it has an increasing place in education technology. Part of my student’s homework (Korean ESL) was a series of online games that aided vocabulary memorization. Students tended to spend more time on this aspect of homework than their bookwork (which could be a bad thing).

The flexibility, mobility and creative options of modern devices also reflects changing attitudes and the desire for these attributes in our tools, which Apple and Samsung are very successful at marketing.

I think the use of technology in schools is saying we want our students to be equipped with relevant tools and skills as they enter the workforce, and the ability to adapt to changes. In terms of society itself, school technology promotes equality, information sharing and equal access which is surely something we want in the broader world.

References

Davies, A. (Producer). (2012, August 19) 21st Century Education. Future Tense [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/21st-century-education/4197700#transcript

Doering, A., & Roblyer, M. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition, 6th Edition, Pearson.