With so many students accessing the net today – from such a young age – it is important that they and their parents know the risks involved and how to manage them. As ICT use increases in schools it is becoming an important teaching concern. I am currently doing a prac at a Saint Mary’s catholic college where ICT use is a part of every lesson. I attended a PD seminar last Friday which covered all the content of the online course we did. The next day there was a seminar for the students from year 3 to year 12 which I attended with my 6/5 class. It was interesting and disturbing what sites students were using and what they had experienced. The students were asked if any of them had been befriended by a stranger on line who asked for their address and I was shocked at the number who put up their hands. That for me hit home the importance of teaching cyber safety in schools.
The four teaching roles of Instructor, Coach, Model and Critic were the ideas of Davis and Shade (1994). Although written twenty years ago they are still mostly relevant for teaching in an ICT rich student centred classroom or today with just a few changes due to the computers increased integration in society and advancements in ICT.
- Instructor: When the computer is introduced into the classroom, an initial learning period occurs during which the children need time to become familiar and comfortable with the technology. Today the teacher instructs the students in the use of a new ICT. Be it a device such as a laptop or tablet computer or a program or application. The need for instruction is the same, only the technology has changed.
- Coach or guide: the great potential of ICT in education is its facility in student centred learning where the teacher is a facilitator, guiding students in the use of the ICT to learn for themselves. This potential is greater now with the ICT available today.
- Model: Davis and Shade’s description of this role tells how limited the role of computers was in 1994. They suggest using the computer during whole and small group instruction and for recording stories and producing classroom signs and charts are ways in which the teacher can be a highly visible user of technology and therefore encourage students to use them. Today computers are in just about every home and every business and students often know more about computers than some of the older teachers. So modelling the use of computers to gain student interest in using them is less important than maybe modelling the appropriate use of the internet and social media. This is where the fourth goal comes in today.
- Critic: the teacher needs to critically analyse web sites and online learning objects for there suitability to the learning goals of the lesson and whether they will truly enhance the students’ learning. today it is also the role of the teacher to instruct students in critical analysis of information sourced over the internet. This is possibly the most important change to the Critic role in the past twenty years.
Go to the highlighted link in the text above and read the whole article by Davis and Shade. Its interesting to reflect on the attitudes of then and now.
Reading the blogs of fellow students there’s a lot being said about the C2C lessons used in Queensland schools; I hope its only Queensland schools. One students blog (125) expressed mixed feelings about the C2C lessons. On one hand there was the missed opportunity of practicing the valuable skill of lesson planning and on the other the reduced work load. I personally don’t like C2C lessons. What’s the point of doing a four year university degree just to read from a script everyday. It reduces the job of a teacher to class minder, purely there to control student behaviour.
The C2C lessons may reduce the work load for a teacher but do the lesson plans benefit all students equally. When I used C2C lessons on my last prac there was no differentiation in the lesson plans to cater for the varying learning styles and achievement levels of the students. I didn’t find them particularly interesting or engaging nor did they align with what I have learnt at university.
Another student ( My Smart Classroom) pointed out the difficulty the C2C lessons are creating for prac students. Not only are they preventing student teachers from practising lesson planning; the C2C lesson plans are not openly available to students teachers. Education Queensland treat them like top secret documents. WHY?
For those seeking practicum placements I recommend you try to get one with an independent or private school. I am doing my prac at Saint Mary’s catholic college and though they do follow the National Curriculum they do not make their teachers use the C2C lessons.
SAMR which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition is a model or framework for categorising and describing the use of ICT in education. I think three levels would have been enough with substitution, augmentation and redefinition. substitution meaning that the ICT is used to replace paper and pen and even text books. Augmentation is the use of ICT to provide more information easily from the net and for additional learning aids. I would then go straight to redefinition, as ICT enabling students to be more in control of their own learning path. It also would apply to teachers using ICT to differentiate the curriculum more easily to suit individual students. Each level is important and the use of ICT for Augmentation and redefinition is of most importance’s. However I believe that to be able to use ICT effectively and get the most benefit from augmentation and redefinition you first should be using ICT for substitution. Transitioning from lessons using exercise books and pencils to computers waists valuable time and If you have to book a computer lab and get the class there and signed in and organised then you can forget any real benefit you were hoping to get through redefinition. I have seen it on every prac I have done and at the end of these sessions I have thought what a waist of time. The students need to have the computers on their desks and up and running from the start of the school day. They need to be proficient at saving work to folders and bringing up the next files and documents at each lesson transition. Without this, the use of computers does nothing more than give the students a very limited, token experience of what computers can do and comes nowhere near to showing them how computers are used in real life.
Neel Postman is a pessimist and doesn’t acknowledge the importance and inevitability of change. Technology is the result of the human ability to invent and create tools for purposes that are dictated by need. It started with tools needed for hunting and preparing food for growing numbers of people. Then there came the need for shelter, other than caves, which lead to building technology. As populations grew new needs arose that prompted the invention of new tools to cope with new situations. As Postman states, “new technology replaces old which means that for every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage”. These disadvantages are short lived in comparison with the advantages. Where would civilisation be today without the invention of the printing press? Those who are dependent on the old technology are forced to change their ways and the purveyors of new technology have the upper hand. But many purveyors of new tech are taking a great risk, as not all new technology catches on. For the technology that does, the advantages last only as long as it takes for the rest of the world to catch up. Today that isn’t very long. I can’t wait till laptops or whatever type of computer, replaces pens and paper and all associated stationary in schools for all time. It will cost jobs in the manufacture of these things and piss a few old teachers of but it will be for the better.
Today in the 21st century nearly all communication, storing and retrieval of information is done using ICT. Just about everything is done over the net. As a result nothing requires hand writing anymore. So why is school education still designed around hand writing. I can understand a need to learn how to write by hand as it is good for fine motor skills. But it should no longer be used for copying information off boards or writing. If any writing is to be done then it should be typed as it is done in THE REAL WORLD. I can remember from a teaching prac, a student that really struggled to copy stuff by hand into his exercise book off the whiteboard, which was typed text projected onto the whiteboard from the teachers laptop. It took him most the lesson and he didn’t even finish all of it and what he had done was impossible to read. So what was the point of this exercise? Handwriting practice? The lesson objective was for students to be able to recognise and give examples of noun groups in written text. This kid took so long to copy the information down, letter at a time that, he would not have been able to put the words together in his head to make sense of them. Even for the kids in the class that could write neatly and quickly the exercise just waisted valuable learning time. A photocopier could have saved valuable time by proving the necessary information on noun groups in a printout for the students to read and a copy of text could have been provided for the student to highlight noun groups with a highlighter. better still there could have been a laptop on each desk and the information brought up on screen, text highlighted with the mouse and saved for later revision. This way the entire lesson could have been used for actual learning about noun groups; not hand writing. So one great use of ICT in education is to increase efficiency in learning time. Sadly even photocopiers aren’t being used as they could to this effect.