As I was reading Wellington’s article (2005), I couldn’t help but think that these are the questions that we constantly asking in our office when it comes to using technology in the classroom.
From a vocational standpoint, Wellington (2005) suggests that we need to be teaching students transferable skills for the workplace (p.29). This is something I really try to get across to teachers. Teaching them a specific tool that will be outdated within a few months or years is not helpful for our students, rather they need to understand the process of planning, implementing and revising. For example, students creating movies need to understand building scripts and storyboards, different film shots, etc. From there whether it is iMovie or another video editing software it doesn’t matter because the skills are at the core. There are a ton of tools to foster collaboration but it is more important for students to understand how to collaborate rather than what tool to collaborate with. These are the types of skills that can be transferred to any discipline or workplace not just restricted to a school setting.
I am constantly asking teachers if the use of technology is adding value to their learning. If they simple are replacing one tool for a technology tool, it isn’t transforming the learning. We need to push the integration further to make it have a purpose to change how students experience learning.
I am currently looking at how we can measure the impact of iPads and technology in general in our early years. Does it make a difference? Is it necessary? Just because we have technology doesn’t mean that we need to use it if it doesn’t enhance our pedagogy. Teachers need to understand how to choose the right context for technology integration in order for it to really add value to the learning (Wellington, 2005, p. 32).
From a societal point of view (Wellington, 2005, p. 26), it is interesting to look at how formal learning of ICT impacts ICT at home and vice versa. Are teachers really using the tools kids want to use? Does it make sense to use those tools? What about just choosing aspects of those tools? Our students are well versed in technology but it doesn’t eliminate the need to still facilitate learning as home and school ICT use often are quite different.
A number of the faulty assumptions about ICT are ones that still have relevance in my own school setting. Teachers do not change their teaching just because they have technology (Bain & Weston, 2012, 7). It is difficult for teachers to unlearn and relearn how to teach using technology in meaningful ways. Similarly, as students have more technology, it doesn’t meant they will be better at technology or achieve higher results (Bain & Weston, 2012, 8). Rather, students with technology just have a greater variety of tools to show their learning and understanding. Sometimes technology can help them share their voice more effectively, this showing the learning in more apparent ways.
Bain, A. & Weston, M.E. (2012). The Learning Edge: What Technology Can Do to Educate All Children. New York: Teacher's College Press.
Wellington, J. (2005). Has ICT come of age? Recurring debates on the role of ICT in education, 1982-2004. Research In Science & Technological Education,23(1), 25-39.