At the beginning of this course, I felt I was reasonably ‘tech savvy’ but how wrong I was!
I consider myself neither digital native nor immigrant, but sitting somewhere in between. The course has reinforced for me the need to persevere when a task initially seems daunting, and that a solution CAN be found if you change the strategy you are using to look for it.
I have discovered some fantastic ICT’s for future use in the classroom as well as an excitement and motivation to use them.
During the progression of this course I have come to realise that there are so many Web 2.0 technologies out there and that they are the way of the future for 21st century learners.
It is absolutely vital that teachers are aware of this new technology and how to utilise it effectively in the classroom. Gaining this awareness takes time and a keen desire to keep up with technology. Following blog postings is an excellent way of keeping informed of another’s experiences with new technologies. The opinions and thoughts of peers can be invaluable when evaluating new information and the collaborative element involved in blogging is of much worth.
Blogging is an excellent way for students to learn collaboratively. It also allows them to reflect on their learning and that of others along the way. Engagement is the key word in education & learning today, as without it, students misbehave and fail to connect with their learning.
Master the art of engagement and watch the learning take off.
The fundamental concept underlying Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory(1999 ) is that “students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks”. The use of ICTs in learning can greatly facilitate engagement and it is imperative that teachers are able to make this connection and learn to use technologies to their fullest potential for their own benefit and that of their students.
By virtue of the simple fact that students are ‘digital natives’ (Prensky 2005), they are demanding. They demand to be engaged or they ‘power down’ in class. These students are often much sharper in the ways they process information, thanks to the digital media they are exposed to each day, yet they are not motivated to use the digital skills they have acquired, in a classroom setting.
Prensky also says that educators need to create engaging curricular game play for students, as their long term engagement depends far more on what they do and learn than on what they see.
Technology has reorganised our world over the past 20 years and according to Siemens (2004) “learning needs and theories that describe learning principles and processes, should be reflective of underlying social environments”. The circumstances and experiences of our students should inform our teaching practice. That which is occurring in their everyday lives and society generally will have a huge impact on their learning.
Working through this course has piqued my curiosity in regard to what other Web 2.0 technologies lay in wait for me to discover in the future. The ICTs I particularly connect with, keeping in mind teenagers are my student group, are WebQuests, Podcasts, Blogs, VoiceThread and Slideshare.
The WebQuest particularly, I feel has enormous learning value and merit. It’s a fun activity which is also engaging and interesting for students. The vital aspect of a WebQuest according to Tom March
(2003) is that newly acquired information transforms within the learner. Transformative learning needs to occur to realise the full potential of a WebQuest. It is an excellent example of learning engagement theory in practice.
My subject areas, English and SOSE, particularly lend themselves to utilising many of the technologies I have just become familiar with in this course. I can’t wait to use Google Earth for teaching geography- students have the opportunity to actually view the locations and situations they are learning about. Some of the new tools have the ability to connect to more than just one subject.
The wide range of exciting new ICTs can help teachers to cater for students differing learning styles. A best match between the needs of the student and what the environment can provide enhances learning and motivation (Dunn et al. 1989; Honigsfeld & Schiering 2004 as cited in McInerney and McInerney)
As educators, these ICT tools open up a wonderful world for us, we just have to reach out and grab it and want to be a part of that world. There is really no alternative if we want to be excellent teachers and engage our students. It’s not possible to stay ahead of our students in terms of being digitally savvy, but I think we should expect and strive to be at least somewhere close to their level.
Often resources are limited in schools and not all of us will have the opportunity or indeed the supportive environment all the time in which to practice all of these ICTs. I have found in my school placement that teachers are having a tough enough time just staying ‘caught up’ with their tasks, but I will have the opportunity of putting some of these tools into practice.
I have really enjoyed learning how the pedagogy ties in with the technologies and honing my skills throughout the course.
Part of the purpose of blogging is to receive feedback and share ideas with others through comments, but disappointingly this has been one aspect of the course that I found lacking. I have commented on others’ blogs, and would have really appreciated some feedback on mine. Thanks Jim for your comments.
I have enjoyed reading other posts on various topics and look forward to part 2 of the course.
March, T (2003) The Learning Power of WebQuests Viewed August 10, 2009.
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, M. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Viewed August 20, 2009
Mclnerney, D. M, & Mclnerney, V. (2006) Educational Psychology: Constructing Learning. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education. Australia.
Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Viewed August 18, 2009. http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0553.pdf
Siemens, G. (2005), A Learning theory for the Digital Age. Viewed August 8, 2009. http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm