Final Post

Modern pedagogy should reflect the world our students live in. Our classrooms should not be isolated from a world increasingly saturated by media and technology. As Voogt et al state: “ICT has a primary place in 21st century skills and 21st century learning” (2011, p.2). By employing Gutierrez et al’s ‘Third Space,’ which involves the digital realms students inhabit outside the classroom, we can enable diverse, hybrid learning experiences that create “rich zones of collaboration and learning” (2009, pp.286-287).

Digital literacies are an essential skill for modern and future social and working spaces and cannot be taught without the use of technology in the classroom. However, current engagement with e-learning, across all levels of education, remains “limited to a small range of technologies” (Cox, 2012, p.16). The range being used obviously needs to be widened to better represent modern ICT and much of this responsibility for this falls on the relevant governing bodies, schools and teachers. This is not to say that we need blanket implementation of technology across the curriculum. Software and devices should instead be regarded as a compliment to core learning and judged on a lesson by lesson basis based on their affordances. By affordances I refer to the utility of technology in what it offers the user (Bower, 2008, p.5). For example, in the way Microsoft Word offers write-ability.

Teachers, not technological devices, are the key to successful integration of technology in the classroom. This integration is the “process of determining which digital tools and which methods for implementing them are the most appropriate” (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p.6). Teachers should be digitally literate, responsible role models as well as being critically aware of how different digital resources contribute to learning in the classroom. They should understand that each technology has its own “propensities, potentials, affordances and constraints that make them more suitable for certain tasks” (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

Teachers should also be conscious of the ‘digital divide,’ both in terms of student access to technology outside school, and also their levels of IT literacy. It is important to be aware of both digital and cognitive divisions that affect student learning equality and think about “how this affects the affordances that the technologies will provide” (Cox, 2012, p.15).

The use of technology in the classroom can also increase engagement in students who are otherwise dis-inclined to read or write. According to Roblyer and Doering “teachers are turning to the interactive and visual qualities of software and websites to increase motivation for reading and writing” (2014, p.270). The connectivity inherent in a lot of new technology is also allowing more back-and-forth interaction between teacher and student. This is making for a less positivist and more constructivist approach to teaching as the digital era brings about a more “active development of learning relationships” (Starkey, 2012, p.29). In other words, as a bi-product of technology, students are becoming more involved in classroom collaboration and discourse rather than being passive receptacles of knowledge.

In summation, the end goal of tech-oriented pedagogy should be to develop students who are adept, flexible, ethical and creative manipulators and users of digital tools that allow them to become valuable members of future workplaces and society.

References

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis—matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1) 3–15. doi: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Cox, M.J. (2012). Formal to informal learning with IT: research challenges and issues for e-learning. In Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(1). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00483.x

Gutierrez, D., Baquedano-Lopez, P. & Tejeda, C. (2009). Rethinking diversity: Hybridity and hybrid language practices in the third space. In Mind, Culture, and Activity, 6(4), 286-303. doi: 10.1080/10749039909524733

Koehler, M. J. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge? In Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/general/article1.cfm

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

Starkey, L. (2012) Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, Taylor and Francis.

Voogt J., Knezek G., Cox M.J., Knezek D. & ten Brummelhuis A. (2011). Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? A call to action. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(1). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00453.x.

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Classroom technology & collaboration

What are the key issues raised in this article about collaborative learning for teacher and for students? How do you think these difficulties might be overcome?

Relating to ICT there are regulatory, temporal, spatial and technical constraints. Specific support strategies should be designed to aid students in collaborating effectively through Web 2.0 technologies. Social confidence is mentioned as another issue, though for many the social aspect of collaboration is a motivating factor. This could be addressed by effective modelling of how groups should be interacting and breaking down the work into smaller, manageable components (like how our modules are structured).

Another issue raised was that whilst most students are comfortable with aspects of ICT, relatively few produce knowledge or content (independently or collaboratively). Learners are also often reliant on the instructor for links, rather than developing their own research skills. This can be improved by asking students to find additional material beyond what is provided.

Bringing social networking tools into the classroom for collaboration might also be problematic due to its association with free time and socializing. Perhaps using a similar online tool, that allowed more synchronous communication, but only for school purposes might address this. A shared google document with skype might also work.

Collaborative learning through ICT might be done too simplistically (lacking sophistication) and thus requires well-scaffolded learning and flexible teachers who are able to guide their students whilst still allowing them their own direction.

Describe briefly (one or two sentences) what a group of your students would look like if they were using a form of ICT of your choosing and participating in each of the following:

Form of ICT: group work to produce a poem via tweets and responses

  • Group interaction – they would be working independently with students by exchanging twitter handles (probably safer to have them make class ones) and communicating online without teacher involvement
  • Authoritative interactivity – I would be tweeting instructions and leading questions to which they would respond. Perhaps I would tweet the framework of a poem and they’d reply to fill in missing words.
  • Dialectic interactivity – I would give them a detailed framework to follow and question their choices as they collaboratively produce the desired poem.
  • Dialogic interactivity – This would involve the group really exploring their options and tweeting back and forth line options as they research and collaborate to create an original poem. I would point them in the direction of useful material/techniques but leave most of the decision-making to the group.
  • Synergistic interactivity – students reflecting on their own group work and analysing others, seeing issues and resolving them to create a more complete text whilst utilising the ICT medium to its fullest extent.

Which of these, or combination of these, do you see your assignment focusing on?

I would prefer to focus on dialectic interactivity to model the task before moving on to dialogic interactivity for the main task with the potential for synergistic interactivity if time in the sequence permits.

Which of the learning theories explained in this article best describe the approach you will be taking in your assignment and lesson planning?

I would  look at using a conversational framework rather than a more conventional teacher-dominated. I would want my students to be engaged in the activity and feel like they are actively solving problems through ICT and challenging each other rather than filling in the blanks and following instructions. I want students to feel like they own their work whilst developing their own understanding, rather than it being prescribed.

References

Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 54(3) pp. 759-766. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.033

Chai, C. S., Lim, W. Y., So, H. J., & Cheah, H. M. (2011) Advanced Collaborative Learning with ICT: Conception, Cases and Design, Singapore. Retrieved from: http://ictconnection.moe.edu.sg/ictconnection/slot/u200/mp3/monographs/advancing%20collaborative%20learning%20with%20ict.pdf

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Logan, K., Graber, R., Oliver, M. and Mee, A. (2009), Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning: practices, perceptions and profiles of 11-16 year old learners, Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2) doi: 10.1080/17439880902921949