Monday, July 14, 2014

ICT in Primary Education

I have just started taking an online course on ICT in primary education, "The ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children's learning across the curriculum", from the Institute of Education at the University of London

(I hope this course will help me not only in using technology with my students in school, but I am also interested in seeing how the course is facilitated, as I am also taking (for the second time!) an online course from the IBO to become an online facilitator.)

The school I used to work at had a strong technology integration programme that was just beginning to be implemented. We had 6 ipads that we could check out to work with the students, and a technology specialist that was available to help. We were all struggling on how to incorporate technology in a thoughtful way to develop higher order thinking skills. This was no easy, I think mainly because we did not have the training that we needed, despite the hard work from the technology department, who really tried very hard to get the programme going as expected!

I think I might be sharing some of the resources, content, ideas and suggestions from this course, as well as recommending it to my friends there!

So far, something important that I think needs to be shared with anyone using technology with students is the following:

Every resource we use is good for different types of learning. 

When we use a book and ask students to read from it to gather information, we are fostering a certain type of learning style. When we use a small group discussion for students to gather information from each other, we are fostering a different type of learning style. When we use a video, we are pointing towards yet another learning style. Well, when we use technology, we are also pointing towards a different learning style. And just as we would not have students ONLY use reading to learn, or ONLY use discussion to learn, we should not expect students to ONLY use technology to learn. As we differentiate the resources we offer to students, and the styles behind our lessons, we should consider technology as another resource, oriented towards another learning style. 

When planning a lesson, we are basically "solving a problem": This group of students has not understood the concept of addition. How can I help them understand it?  Planning has to do with solving this problem. If all we ask ourselves is "What can I use this technology for?", we are not addressing the problem. We are just trying to "fit" technology in. So instead, we should ask:

This group of students has not understood the concept of addition; Can technology help? How?

The goal of thinking in this way is to "challenge the technology to help with the really important learning needs".

How do students learn? How can technology help?

This is what we need to ask ourselves, and in this order, not the other way around!

I wonder what your experiences are in implementing ICT in education. I'd love to know your thoughts and experiences!

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