Younie (2006) suggests that the UK ICT implementation had many challenges at the micro level such as slow internet and lack of technology in schools. In an international school, this is very much the opposite. We have a plethora of resources available to use with quality internet speed, funding to support new technology initiatives, education technology coaches to support staff and students and access to a number of different platforms for technology. The biggest challenge at the school micro level is that we have comes back to teacher training. With all of this technology and the international school turnover rate, teachers are constantly needing to be trained and upskilled to use the technology we do have effectively. At times, I wonder if so much technology being available to staff can be overwhelming. My role as a technology coach is to support teachers in figuring out what technologies are best for which task to make the learning meaningful and the technology integration enhance their learning.
Thinking from my Canadian experience, it is sometimes challenging for schools to gain buy-in on policies that were created by individuals who are not on the ground working with children and the technology every day. There is often a disconnect between a policy being created at the macro level and practice at the micro level. Policy creating takes time and with the changing of technology so quickly, it is essential that a policy for ICT implementation is created with this mind to allow for innovation and change. It is also important for policies to be reviewed and reflected on a yearly (at minimum) to ensure that what is written fits the needs of what is happening in reality.
I think international schools are unique to government schools as the school has more control over the policies for education. This can be both good and bad. While we don’t have a government creating the policies for us, we do still need to answer to certain governing or accrediting bodies. Firstly, we have our board of directors that oversee what happens in terms of policies in the school. We are accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) as an IB World School as well as EduTrust (Singapore governing body). Our policies and procedures need to meet the needs of all of our accrediting bodies. This can be tedious when each are slightly different while also creating policies that meet the individual needs of our school community. The Singapore government requires are quite different than an inquiry approach for the IBO, which can be challenging when creating policies. WASC and IBO are more similar in their accreditation processes and expectations of evidence, which makes creating policies at the school level easier when the accrediting bodies are aligned.
Our school looks to a lot of other schools who are similar to ours to see what they are doing. This greatly influences our own policies as we combine various policies to meet the needs of our community. While we borrow some, we also have to make sure our policies fit our specific environment and community. Therefore, we are constantly reviewing, adapting and ensuring that our policies are guiding us forward.
We do not have any ICT specific planning documents that we use. For next year, we are generating a large database of appropriate, tested and vetted technology resources for staff that support the different ICT skills in the PYP (International Baccalaureate, 2011) for teachers to reference. If the resource/software is not on the list, then they must apply through a Google Form explaining their rationale for wanting to use the resource and how it would be incorporated into their teaching and learning. This will help us gather more data on how and what teachers are using technology for in their classroom. In addition, our budget serves as an inventory of paid subscriptions and purchases every year. I also create various documents to keep a record of technology resources such as a spreadsheet with the various iPad apps stored on the iPads at different grade levels. Overall, I create a lot of my own planning documents for various tasks to demonstrate how I’m planning out technology integration across the Primary school so it’s been great to see some examples.
International Baccalaureate. (2011). The Role of ICT in the PYP. UK: International Baccalaureate.
Younie, S. (2006). Implementing government policy on ICT in education: Lessons learnt. Education & Information Technologies, 11(3/4), 385-400. doi:10.1007/s10639-006-9017-1
As an education technology coach, I can definitely relate to the article by Devolder, Vanderlinde, van Braak & Tondeur (2010). On any given day, I am switching the hats that I wear in my role many, many times. I’m constantly moving from a coaching role to a consulting role to a coordinator role to an advocate and back again.
I would say the majoring of my time is split between leading professional development by supporting students and teacher and planning for implementation. Planning allows me to collaborate on curriculum development and changes with our teachers (Devolder, A., Vanderlinde, van Braak & Tondeur, 2010, p. 1652). I meet with year groups each week to support them in the planning process. I also spend a lot of time developing new school initiatives or developing policies related to my role. In terms of implementation, this includes me getting into classes to co-teach and support teachers and students. This role also always me to work toward implementation through formalized professional development sessions or one-on-one coaching.
As per Lai & Pratt (2004, as cited in Devolder, A., Vanderlinde, van Braak & Tondeur, 2010), my role does have a budgetary and resource allocation component but it is also shared with the director of education technology. Therefore I am not the one making the budget but suggesting ideas and reviewing others’ proposed purchases. In addition, I have to ensure that the resources we have are working for what we need them for and advocate for more resources when necessary.
In terms of the ‘nuts and bolts’ that Marcovitz (1998, 2000 as cited in Devolder, A., Vanderlinde, van Braak & Tondeur, 2010), I try to minimize my role in the technical and repair component of it. This is the role of our IT manager who is phenomenal at the technical side of our operations. That being said, teachers still come to me regularly to fix their problem. It is important for me to acknowledge when I am capable of supporting them and when I need to refer them to the experts. When possible, I do try my best to problem solve with teachers as it can be frustrating when things aren’t working and it is also part of my emphasis on building relationships whenever possible.
Devolder, A., Vanderlinde, R., van Braak, J. & Tondeur, J. (2010). Identifying multiple roles of ICT coordinators, Computers & Education, Vol.55(4), pp.1651-1655.
As Proctor et al (2003) suggest, the measurement of effective ICT integration is quite challenging. In my setting, we have teachers self-evaluate their technology skills and competence at the beginning and mid-year. This data helps us support the planning of professional development to meet the overall needs of our staff.
Currently, we do not have something to measure the impact of technology use in our organisation on a large scale. However, I am interested to look for ways to measure data and have data-driven dialogues to help move us forward. I’d be interested to hear what other schools are currently doing to help measure this data. A lot of our conversations with teachers are around the purpose of their technology integration: Is it achieving the desired learning outcome? How is it enhancing the learning experience for students (Proctor et al., 2003, p. 69). These informal discussions are great sources of informal data which can help us better understand teachers’ approaches to technology integration. The SAMR model is one way to help teachers understand how they are using technology for integration.
Much of the data that I gather for different trials I have been involved with (ie 2-to-1 teacher devices) is anecdotal. This can be challenging to measure growth. However, you can often see the changes in patterns and growth.
When our school became a 1-to-1 laptop school, there was a clear decision from the administration that ICT skills for students would not be assessed (ie, typing, etc). However, there would be more of a focus on transdisciplinary skills such as visual literacy, research skills etc. These skills would be a source of teaching points and commented on in reports but not given a numerical value. Because of this, it makes it challenging to gather concrete data on student skills as a way to inform future planning. That being said, I’d be interested in giving our students a survey at the beginning or end of year to see what skills they have and what skills need to still be developed according to students’ self-assessment.
Reading Voogt & Pelgrum (2005) really resonated with me. Our school pedagogies are definitely becoming more student-driven and inquiry based with the teachers in the role of facilitators and supports. ICT has become more woven and embedded into the curriculum with less focus on tools and more on what they are trying to achieve. Skills that can be transferred between disciplines are also emphasised with a focus on skills that will be long-lasting. Our inquiry approach to teaching focuses more on collaboration and creation with students exploring their own inquiries based on personal interest and sharing their findings. Because an inquiry model is a focus for our pedagogy, it changes how teaching and integration of technology in the classroom. Our school has invested a lot into professional development to support teachers in developing a transdisciplinary and inquiry classroom. Through planning with the education technology coach, the teachers and coach can work to support students with this model and find the most meaningful ways to integrate technology.
Proctor, R., Watson, G. and Finger, G. (2003). Measuring information and communication technology (ICT) curriculum integration.Computers in the Schools, 20(4): 67–87.
Voogt, J., & Pelgrum, H. (2005). ICT and curriculum change. Human Technology, 1(2), 157-175.
All teachers are responsible for teaching studies literacies whether they are traditional reading, writing and speaking or the new literacies we encounter. The idea of transliteracy was a new term for me. Transliteracy was defined as “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks” (Thomas, Joseph, Laccetti, Mson, Mills, Perril & Pullinger, 2007).
With these new literacies comes new skills that need to be unpacked and taught to students in order to succeed in this evolving digital age.
1. Critical Thinking & Questioning
As part of digital literacy, students need to think critically in conjunction with their digital tool knowledge (Anyangwe, 2012). Many students feel confident using technology but don’t truly understand the skills they need to be successful. So much of the content online is taken at face value by students and they need to understand who is saying it, why they are saying it and what are the other perspectives (November 2014). Students need to learn how to question the authenticity of content online and using these questions to drive their inquiries further.
2. Creating & Curating
With the rise of Web 2.0, it is no longer okay just to consume digital content. Rather, students need to learn how to create content and curate it. Not only that, they must be able to create content that effectively communicates a message. As a consumer of content, students need to take this content and sift through it, organising what is relevant and pertinent information and what content is not useful (Holland, 2013). These skills take time to develop and should be continually built upon.
3. Collaborating and Connecting
Working with others doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Building the skills and strategies to be effective with others takes time but the outcome of connecting and collaborating is phenomenal. Through collaboration, many ideas can be combined to create something better than any one individual’s ideas. In education, connecting with others allows you to learn from others and better yourself while being exposed to so much more knowledge and experiences that one could ever imagine. It is important to model appropriate ways to connect with others online in a safe and positive manner and how to make these interactions beneficial to everyone (Holland, 2013).
Anyangwe, E. (2012, May 15). 20 ways of thinking about digital literacy in higher education. The Guardian Newspaper. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/may/15/digital-literacy-in-universities
Holland, B. (2013, November 18). Packing for the digital exploration. Tedx Talks [video]. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJBwe1HPTtw
November, A. (2014, May 6). Who Owns the learning? Preparing students for success in the digital age. [video] Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOAIxIBeT90
Thomas, S., Joseph, C., Laccetti, J., Mason, B., Mills, S., Perril, S., & Pullinger, K. (2007). Transliteracy: crossing divides. First Monday, 12(12).
As technology becomes more readily available to the masses, students have more access to devices at home in addition to the classroom, leading to bring your own device (BYOD) models becoming a more viable option for schools to introduce. Schools should implement a BYOD programme to support student learning in a 21st-century classroom environment and specify the device the school has chosen for consistent learning experiences. When adopting a BYOD model, schools must look at a whole-school approach to learning and ensure policies, educational opportunities and effective infrastructure are in place for the success of the programme.
Adopting a BYOD model provides a school with the opportunity to cultivate a community of responsible learners in a safe educational environment. With the ability to connect online anywhere, anytime, it is normal for some hesitation about online safety (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 15). However, a BYOD programme implemented in conjunction with a digital citizenship programme educates students on how to engage with their devices in a responsible and resilient manner. Schools should tailor their digital citizenship programme to their school’s needs while accessing resources such as Common Sense Media and MediaSmarts. Through this, students gain knowledge about cyberbullying, digital footprints, safety, security, information literacy and referencing (Common Sense Media, 2015). A school-wide acceptable use policy for devices should be created for all students to abide by to support the cultivation of a positive online community (Smith, Worrel-Burrus, Davis, Newman & William, 2014, p. 18).
A BYOD programme allows students to gain a sense of responsibility for their devices (Burns-Sardone, N., 2014, p. 192). This responsibility raises the expectations students have of themselves and how they conduct themselves online. Schools may wish to implement a BYOD programme beginning in middle school where students are at an age to handle caring for, transporting and maintaining an expensive device, and are more knowledgeable about appropriate online choices. Prior to this, a school should support technology integration through school-owned devices at the primary level.
In addition to a proactive approach with students, schools must critically analyse their infrastructure to ensure it supports their BYOD programme. A benefit to BYOD is that the onus of the cost of the device is on the student and not the school, allowing school funding to be allocated for internet, resources and infrastructure for the programme. With any BYOD programme, the school needs to place high importance on training teachers in the device, online safety, learning platforms and effective technology integration to support students appropriate use, which ensures quality teaching practice throughout the school (Digital Education Advisory Group, 2013, p. 7). In addition, allocated IT support personnel can enhance the adoption and implementation of BYOD. These staff members have an important role in regards to protecting student data, connectivity, upgrades, firewalls and maintenance. A BYOD programme is effective when continually reviewed and necessary modifications are made to keep current with changing technology.
A BYOD model changes the class environment through ease of mobility, access to online resources, and assessment tools (Digital Education Advisory Group, p.5). Through the many available online resources, student learning can be differentiation to best meet the needs of the students (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 26). No longer is there a need for one-size fits all learning where students can be extended or supported with a few clicks and inquiries can flourish. Because of this, learning becomes more personalized and student-centred, increasing student engagement and performance (Digital Education Advisory Group, p.7). When students each have their own device, they become active participants in learning in school and at home (Ackerman & Krupp, 2012, p. 35).
Through the use of technology, students develop 21st-century skills that are transdisciplinary. BYOD provides students access to the tools and resources to collaborate online through programmes such as Google Apps for Education and Skype. BYOD helps students to easily inquire into their queries, allowing the teacher to transition to the role of a facilitator (Pangos, n.d). Students are able to use technology to create content using multimedia and higher-order thinking while using various resources to stay organised and communicate ideas in a multitude of ways.
There will always be challenges such as student safety online, the cost for students, ensuring the infrastructure can handle the adopted programme, professional development with BYOD programmes. However, all of these can be overcome with appropriate planning, guidelines and policies, and frequent review to ensure the all-encompassing programme continues to best support the needs of students.
Technology in education is evitably growing with BYOD leading the way (Thomson, 2012 as cited in Chen, Li, Hoang, Lou, 2013, p. 2). By allowing a BYOD programme to support an inquiry-based, constructivist approach to learning, students become responsible digital citizens and schools look closely at the effectiveness of their infrastructure. Students learn valuable 21st-century skills, create, curate content and collaborate globally. Together with a whole-school approach for next-generation learning, a BYOD programme provides students with an educational experience that is highly engaging, challenging and preparing them for their future.
Ackerman, A. S., & Krupp, M. L. (2012). Five components to consider for BYOT/BYOD. International Association for Development of the Information Society, 35-41.
Burns-Sardone, N. (2014). Making the case for BYOD instruction in teacher education. Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, 11, 191-201.
Chen, H., Li, J., Hoang, T., & Lou, X. (2013). [Working paper]. Security challenges of BYOD: a security education, training and awareness perspective,1-8.
Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Digital citizenship scope & sequence. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/scope-and-sequence
Digital Education Advisory Group. (2013). Beyond the classroom: a new digital education for young Australians in the 21st century. Retrieved from http://apo.org.au/files/Resource/deag_beyond_the_classroom_2013.pdf
Pangos, T. (n.d). The Future of Education: BYOD in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/09/the-future-of-education-byod-in-the-classroom
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching [Sixth Edition].
Smith, M. M., Worrell-Burrus, P., Davis, M. K., Newman, M. J., & William, K. (2014). Are we ready for BYOD?. Journal of Effective Schools Project, 21,16-23.
Plagiarism and copyright are very common amongst both students and teachers. It is easy to take a picture from online and include it in your presentation without crediting the owner. But it doesn’t make it right. Many teachers struggle to include a teaching component of plagiarism and copyright in their lessons. As teachers, we need to not only be educating our students but educating ourselves on how to credit various forms of media and information to avoid plagiarism and ensure fair use of work.
Plagiarism is defined as taking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own; whereas copyright allows the owner to prevent others from using their material without permission (All Right to Copy, n.d). These ideas are important to understand and be aware of because the owner of the work should be able to control if they give permission for others to use their ideas or work, especially if there are monetary amounts involved in the copyright licenses. A piece of media is copyrighted for 70 years either from the date it was released or the date the owner dies (depending on the medium) (All Right to Copy, n.d). Beyond this time, the work becomes public and anyone can use it without prior permission.
Often there are various stipulations with licenses for copyright. Creative Commons clearly outlines the various licenses using symbols or by including text to explain the type of license. Licenses may ask the user to give attribution, allow the content to be remixed, not use for commercial use or not allow for any variations (Creative Commons, 2014).
There are so many skills that students need to learn other than just ‘do not plagiarize’ and ‘cite your source’. Students need to understand how to find good sources, how to take notes, how to summarize, how to inject their opinion and perspective into their writing and support it with facts. These skills need to be scaffolded throughout the years of schooling so that students can feel confident using information from various sources to create their own content.
Whether you are using videos, text, images or music, indicating when it's’ other’s work ensures that the owner is properly credited and resources are used fairly.
Some resources to support teachers and students about copyright and plagiarism include:
Copyright Advisory Group. (n.d). All Right to Copy? Retrieved from: http://ar2c.smartcopying.edu.au/
Creative Commons. (2014). About the licenses. Retrieved from: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/
Mid-Term Impact Trend: Driving Ed Tech adoption in K-12 education for three to five years
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf
Learning management systems all have their pros and cons when it comes to using them in the classroom. The hardest part is finding the best one to fit the needs of the learners and the community. Careful consideration should be given to the benefits and downsides of the learning management system before committing to one as a school. Some of these benefits and downsides are included below.
Contact North. (2012). Is there a future for learning management systems? Retrieved from: http://teachonline.ca/sites/default/files/contactNorth/files/pdf/publications/the_future_of_learning_management_systems_eng.pdf
ProProfs. (2013). What is a learning management system? LMS Software [Video Log Post]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAsdtwj00Uo