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12 04 2011

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Pedagogical and ICT Integration

12 04 2011

When I had began writing this blog, as you would have read there are many words you may have not been familiar with before ,such as digital immigrants, digital natives, interactive whiteboards and so many more. Personally I think the point of this blog is to question ourselves whether technology is useful in the classroom and whether we need to use all of these ICT and technologies that I mentioned in this blog throughout our unit plans. If so, how do we implement these technologies in our lessons?

These queries are normally asked by teachers before they go about teaching in the classroom and even before deciding on using a particular type of technology in their lesson.

Ertmer and Brown (2005) wrote an article called “Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration?” where they discussed ways to best integrate technology into school units.

“According to Becker (2000), computers serve as a “valuable and well-functioning instructional tool” (p. 29) in schools and classrooms in which teachers: (a) have convenient access, (b) are adequately prepared, (c) have some freedom in the curriculum.” (Ertmer, 2005).

Currently, this statement is taken into full consideration and it is definitely true in this revolution of ICT and technology. At present, teachers no longer need to book computer labs or projectors as students are now being supplied with their own laptops and the school’s Internet wireless network. In addition to this, teachers don’t need to mention researching information in books from a library as everything is supplied online in the form of eBooks.

This technology revolution has taken so much rapid progress in the education system that there are now learning objects available online everyday. Teachers have been provided with so many possibilities and opportunities to make their teaching more interesting and engaging for students. An example of a learning object is on the following site as listed. The pin number is GGGBUF. http://econtent.thelearningfederation.edu.au/ec/pin

It may seem that these learning objects are in full use in the classroom however Erimar (2005) claims that “high technology use is surprisingly low”. Students can interactively use the above learning objects and learn simultaneously. Indeed, it is a great example of implementing technology into the daily learning nature of the classroom – making it interesting as well as to the point. However, with this technology rise many controversies and this is where teachers need to change their beliefs on technology.

The views presented by teachers on technology get controversial because every teacher holds their own personal beliefs on why and how technology should be used in the classroom. The teachers that have been in their profession for more than a decade must know that they should adapt to technology otherwise they will face difficulty with their students in the future.

Ertmer (2005) has described that teachers need support in every manner of technology used in the classroom and that which is implemented in relevance to their teaching. A key note to be noted is that technology is only to be used with relevance to making learning EFFECTIVE for students in the classroom. In my opinion, technology has already begun taking major steps in making the learning process for students purposeful and exciting.

I also strongly agree that teachers must take big steps in order to keep up with changes in the education system and one of those major and rapid changes that are being taken is technology. Teachers must fully adapt to these rapid changes in technology as they may face severe difficulties in the future with teaching students. If teachers are provided with the right support and training, I am sure they can make big changes in the way they teach in the classroom.

REFERENCE

Ertmer, P.A (2005) Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration? ETR&D, 53(4), pp. 25-39





Learning Design and LAMS

12 04 2011

Logical thinkers, linguistic learners, musical learners, visual learners, ICT, interactive whiteboards, blackboards, laptop, presentations, exams, games, sound files…………………the list just keeps growing!

The way a teacher organizes a lesson will eventually dispose the learning of the students. This is in reference to how the activities in a lesson are layered out and it also depends on the range of activities there are in a lesson. The teacher’s responsibility is to organize their lessons and aim them at their students’ abilities. Simply said, a lesson should be organised and created for LEARNING.

Mutual learning is the key for the development of students’ social and academic skills. Students that use eLearning and ICT are well underway to making mutual learning both fun and interesting but also more difficult too.

“Thus, while instructional computer use appears to be increasing (at least as measured by self-report data), the most common and frequent uses have resulted in only incremental, or first- order, changes in teaching style and remain far removed from the best practices advocated in the literature” (Ertmer, 2005)

How do we change it? Getting students to work between others and learning mutually can be quite difficult. Although Wikis and WebQuests show the path to assist this process, they do not show the full road.

LAMS

A tool that is probably helpful in implementing into the classroom environment is called LAMS (Learning Activity Management System). It is a simple process to carry out collaborative tasks in the classroom (LAMS Foundation, n.d.).

LAMS gives us teachers to look at all opportunities that we have at our control when confirming how to coach their class. The video above shows how lessons can be created using LAMS. It is a really good way of creating lessons and can be applied to any subject at school.

Students are able to have a mutual and collaborative learning environment but they can only do this by being online to the world. There are very secure chat rooms and blogs that students can work with and achieve the same goal only by accomplishing it online.

 

IS IT HELPFUL IN THE CLASSROOM?

This step is of central importance in designing lessons for students. Since ICT has been discovered, it has had many limitations due to its distinctiveness. But now in any case, we are able to access technology and bring it into the community. Students in the classroom have a natural nativeness towards the acceptance of technology, for instance, when they are using a chat room, they must be familiar with it as they use them outside of school on a daily basis. It surely is of central importance that the students’ prior knowledge is brought into the classroom environment to its advantage in the learning process.

As teachers, we should use LAMS to its full advantage in the classroom learning environment but they should not be used as the MAIN MATERIAL in teaching. LAMS is a learning design but it is not supposed to be used as an entire part of a lesson plan or subject .

References

Ertmer, P.A (2005) Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration? ETR&D, 53(4), pp. 25-39.

LAMS Foundation (n.d.) Available online at: http://www.lamsfoundation.org/

LessonLAMS (n.d.) Available online at: http://lessonlams.com:80/lams/cloud/index.do





Social Constructivism and the Classroom

7 04 2011

What is social constructivism and what does it have to do with ICT and the classroom?

As Brewer and Daane (2002) have explained, a constructivist teacher is when he/she allows students to construct their own knowledge from within using their personal mental interactions and the interactions with the environment. Therefore, students are creating their own learning and meaning with the support of a teacher. The teacher is able to process the students knowledge by assimilating them with the knowledge they require.

SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISM IN THE CLASSROOM

In an article called Translating Constructivist Theory into Practice (2002), a math teacher discovered that when working with a constructivist approach: “students were actively involved in the learning process, made their own decisions about appropriately problem solving strategies, negotiated new rules to math games and solutions to problems, and questioned each other as well as the teacher.” All of these effects are positive as they demonstrate that pupils are able to understand and engage with the content rather than just be spoon fed and repeat it.

The teacher plays a central role with students by increasing their knowledge and constructing it from prior experiences. Social interactions are of central importance in the classroom as they increase knowledge and learning in the classroom. These different types of interactions may occur in many different ways, especially through digital technology.

Correspondingly, Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, tells in his theory on the Zone of Proximal Development that it is of central importance that students are pushed to acquiring new information by demonstrating their social skills and interactions with people who are mature and knowledgeable than them but also on the same level so that learning takes place simultaneously.

DOES IT WORK?

In my opinion, social constructivism and other constructivist teaching approaches have a very fundamental place in the modern classrooms and in reality, they actually work. Constructivist approaches allow students to dominate their learning pace and also ensure they have understood the content very thoroughly.

In Mathematics and Science, constructivism works very easily as these units involve problem solving and thinking processes skills. However, constructivism is less promoted in the units that are less ‘clear’, for instance, there is art, music and English. Although constructivism is a great process to be utilized whilst discussing a topic collectively – teachers are still able to direct learning and students can absorb information however it still needs deep thought and absorption of information.

Constructivism is successful where students construct their knowledge from the way they understand the content they are learning. Once content is taken in by students, learning HAS taken place and that is very clear that constructivism has played it’s role. Personally, I think Brewer and Daane are right when they exclaim that “a strong foundation in the theory of effective teaching and learning, couples with corresponding classroom instructional practices, which can help promote higher quality” learning and I strongly believe social constructivism plays its role here.

REFERENCES:

Brewer, J., & Daane, C.J. (2002). Translating constructivist theory into practice in primary-grade mathematics, 123(2), 416-417.