Given my role as eLearning Coordinator at my school, I have a passion for and firm belief in the application of technology in education. This does, however, rest on a couple of key understandings. Firstly however flashy and exciting, technology is a tool and like any tool, the outcome depends greatly on how it is used.
The statement quoted by Comi et al. (2017) from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) aligns with my beliefs
The availability of ICT-related educational devices (such as computers, tablets, software or educational programs) is not enough to improve student achievement, but it is the actual practice that teachers make of these devices – together with teachers’ digital literacy, level of ICT skills and ICT-related beliefs – that makes the difference.
The second understanding is that, again like any tool, you need to learn how to use it. Young people do not speak the digital language until, like preceding generations, they learn how to do so (Smith, Skrbis & Western, 2013). Not too long ago in my personal Blog, I argued that Digital Natives are a myth. The work of Prensky (2001) coined the term "Digital Native" and from it grew several assumptions about the new generation of learners:
Too often I see teachers throwing technology at their students and wondering why a lesson fails. They blame the technology or worse, the children. This approach generates anxiety in learners and lessens teacher trust in classroom technology. At the beginning of this year, I launched a technology training program with some of the youngest 1:1 students at my school. It focused on explicitly teaching then the skills to get the most out of their devices and the native software installed. Teachers of these students reported high rates of success in their classroom compared with previous years in relation to the application of student 1:1 devices.
My final understanding is that a balanced approach is best. New digital technologies are not the perfect solution for every learning experience. Coming from a primary education background has instilled a love of hands on experiences, play based learning and learning by doing. There is immense value in creating with your hands, reading a physical book and writing with pencil and paper. There are times when technology offers experiences or provides access in ways that we have need been able to achieve in the classroom. Learning should be engaging and fun and I love how school principal Adrain Lim speaks about this at the beginning of the video below:
Video URL: https://youtu.be/M_pIK7ghGw4
Having technology in schools doesn't mean that Schools have to let go of other things. Again it comes down to how the teacher leverages it and what they choose to use it for. There doesn't need to be a binary argument of one way or another. With a balanced approached, schools get the best of both worlds. In contrast, schools that are actively working to not incorporate technology are doing their students a disservice in my opinion.
Comi, S. L., Argentin, G., Gui, M., Origo, F., & Pagani, L. (2017). Is it the way they use it? Teachers, ICT and student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 56, 24-39.
OECD (2001) The practice and professional development of teachers, in learning to change: ICT in schools. OECD publishing, Paris. URL: https://www.oecd.org/site/schoolingfortomorrowknowledgebase/themes/ict/41289267.pdf
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1–2.
Smith, J., Skrbis, Z., & Western, M. (2013). Beneath the ‘Digital Native’ myth Understanding young Australians’ online time use. Journal of Sociology, 49(1), 97-118.
Hello, thanks for stopping by! I am Laura Bain and this is my reflective blog for ESC515. This is my 4th subject in my Masters of Education, in which I am specialising in Information and Communication Technologies. Very excited by the coursework for this subject and looking forward to reading what everyone's thoughts are along the way. Thanks for taking the time to visit and reading my entries.