Pedagogical Beliefs & ICT Integration.

Ertmer’s (2005) article argues how teachers’ pedagogical beliefs may be correlated with their involvement of modern day technologies in the teaching and learning process. She believes that there has been little research to prove this statement which is why she felt the need to explain herself over a 16 page article to simply make her point. However, it is due to the lack of research in this specific area that we do not know for certain if teachers’ pedagogical beliefs impacts on their use of technology in the classroom. This makes her article seem a little immobile as the majority was spent recommending why and how teacher’s beliefs should be changed although it has not even been confirmed that their beliefs make any difference to the subject. Clearly, you can see Ertmer’s article was a little frustrating to read. She also explains that a teacher’s beliefs about pedagogy flow from their general beliefs yet their beliefs are not always connected with reality. She then continues to clarify the link between beliefs and practice and the way that people do not always act out of their beliefs therefore impacting on the way teacher’s become connected with the adoption of technology in the classroom. To me, this whole segment seemed to be irrelevant and never-ending as she is basically contradicting what her main point is. There is no proper evidence to prove her statement therefore she seems to be standing alone when making her point.

Brown (2005) expresses concern in his article for the intense push for ICT and changes in pedagogy in education. He alludes to the words of C.P Snow (cite Brown, 2005), “Technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other”. This tells us that whilst technology used in schools is beneficial, it also has its downsides. However, Brown (2005) is not specifically against the use of ICT in schools and is not an advocate for anything with a “neo-conservative” nature. Rather, his agenda is to find out why ICT is so important within Australian schools.

Towards the end of the article, he makes the point that
“…most politicians and policy-makers appear to be enamored with the seductive appeal of what ICT can do for us and they give little or no attention to the unknown and potential negative effects of what new digital technology might do to us. The overriding impression is that teachers should be embracing ICT rather than critically thinking about the way in which the new pedagogy acts as a language of persuasion to legitimise someone else’s hegemonic agenda.” (Brown, 2005, p. 20)

This reminds me of the distribution of lap tops to every high school student. To be honest, it made me burn inside. Not because I missed out by a couple of years, but because I knew I didn’t need a lap top to get me through high school. Of course, I need my computer at home to assist me with research for class work and assignments, but I did not rely on one to sit beside me during lessons as a nasty temptation to distract me from doing my actual class work. Even during lectures, mature university students are using their lap tops to check status updates on Facebook and stalk friends’ photos from the drunken weekend before. ICT is clearly doing something bad to these students rather than for them. Consider me old fashioned or boring, but I still enjoy taking notes, highlighting and scribbling ideas onto a simple piece of paper. I better understand what I am learning by doing this. I refuse to conform to buying an iPhone or using a lap top at university because I honestly think it would be a distraction to my learning and would hurt me in the long run.

From a personal view, I think is important to embrace ICT and what it has to offer. However, like Brown (2005) suggests, those in the teaching profession should create a culture of “activism and reconceptualism” (p. 21) and ask themselves his suggested questions. That way, they are able to recognise what type of environment they want for their students and furthermore, the society they want to create outside of school.

References
Brown, M. (2005). The growth of enterprise pedagogy: How ICT policy is infected by neo-liberalism. Australian Educational Computing, 20(2), 16-22.
(Can be accessed through the UNDA Library Catalogue)

Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4), 25-39.
(Can be accessed through the UNDA Library Catalogue)

Teaching with Technology [Image] Retrieved April 8, 2011, from http://scgraham.blogspot.com/p/links.html

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Learning Design: Mobile Learning

MOBILE: not fixed to a particular geographic location, on the move.

LEARNING: acquiring knowledge and skills.

Prior to the lecture this week we were told to bring in our smart phones as we were going to use them during class time. This was such a novelty for us as we are usually given a warning against the use of our phones in class or given “the look” if we are seen just checking the time on our phones. Firstly, we were asked to use the internet on our phones to look up the answers to a range of questions such as the time in Paris or the definition of ‘Nomophobia’ (and in case you were wondering, it means the fear of being out of contact or not having reception on your mobile phone).

We then watched a video regarding the change of education at schools and the way that 21st century learning has transformed from learning what to learning how. Technology is used 24 hours, 7 days a week and is going to improve society and the way that we learn, schools included. Looking at a traditional image of a classroom, we were able to identify that the only technology used were books and a chalkboard compared to today’s classrooms. Students now do not know life without the internet and computing is ubiquitous. We were asked how educational technology has evolved up until the advent of mobile devices. Everything was larger and there were separation devices used for separate functions. Now, there are phones that you can access the internet from, listen to music from, take photos and videos with and can play a multitude of games on. Our current technology, especially on mobile phones, allows for fast access and provides all sorts of information at our fingertips.

During the lecture we found out that there are 8 pedagogical perspectives on mobile learning:

1. Problem based learning– learning takes place when students work on a problematic situation which is open-ended and goal oriented.
2. Context awareness learning- “virtual” visits to museums and galleries
3. Social-cultural theory- learning takes place within the cultural context of each system
4. Collaborative learning- group work, discovery of new things, learning from other people’s ideas
5. Conversational- interaction and communication between peers and other environments
6. Situated learning- learning that takes place based on real life situations
7. Constructive perspective- students constructing their own understanding through active involvement in the engagement rather than rote learning
8. Activity learning- experiential education through practical work

Source: Boris Handal’s Week 5 Lecture as referenced from NESTA Futurelab series Report 11: Literature review in mobile technologies and learning. Taylor, J. Pedagogy in the mobile learning environment. The Open University.

Simply put, mobile phones are like a reliable, knowledgeable friend. They are good to have around for those long train rides to university or boring visit to Great Aunt Joan’s house. They make you feel comfortable, like someone is with you, to fill you in on the latest news, status updates on Facebook or entertain you with a short game of Tetris. I have been a mobile learner in a variety of situations.

Depending on what information I need, I can be a mobile learner during a lecture if I need a definition of a term I have forgotten or when I am out with friends and we can’t remember an actor’s name from a movie.
What appeals to me most about the role of mobile learning in the classroom is that students are able to feel as though their mobile phones can assist in their learning as well as being a social medium. They can be used in class for assignment research, a stop watch for P.E, a calculator for Maths and the list is endless. Also, there are a variety of applications or “apps” that can be used on a mobile phone, specifically an iPhone, that would further the mobile learning experience. For example, iHomework organises homework and assignments for each subject, Wild Lab assists learners with identifying different species of birds and their habitats, and The Chemical Touch includes information about masses, melting and boiling points as well as a simplified version of the periodic table. There’s an app for pretty much everything…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhkxDIr0y2U

So, what do parents and teachers think of mobile learning?
According to the Speak Up data (2009), the following responses are from parents and their ideas about mobile learning.

This table shows responses from teachers about their concerns regarding the use of mobile learning in a classroom environment.

I believe that there will always be conflicting views about mobile learning in classrooms like there was about using the internet when I was in high school. I remember teachers would always warn us about visiting inappropriate websites but we would always find a way to access these websites that were always blocked. Obviously, this would distract us from doing our work and then we’d be behind at the end of the lesson. This is probably why some teachers may be against mobile learning. However, it will slowly make its way into high school or even upper primary classrooms (lower primary may cause problems). If used effectively, mobile learning has strong benefits on the teaching and learning process in the classroom. Could this be the future of our classrooms?

References
Garg, A. (2010) mLearning Demand is Growing.[Image] Retrieved March 29, 2011 from
http://www.upsidelearning.com/blog/index.php/2010/07/29/mlearning-demand-is-growing/

Handal, B. (2011) Information Technology for Teaching and Learning [Lecture Slides] Retrieved March 29, 2011 from
http://blackboard.nd.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_3241_1%26url%3D

Mobl21 (2010) Mobile Learning Blog September. [Image]. Retrieved March 29, 2011, from
http://www.mobl21.com/blog/2010/09/

SesameStreet. (2010) Sesame Street Song: There’s an App for That. [Video file] Retrieved March 30, 2011 from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhkxDIr0y2U

Speak Up. (2010) National Findings of Students and Parents. [Image] Retrieved March 29, 2011, from
http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/SU09NationalFindingsStudents&Parents.pdf

Social Constructivism.

In a 21st century classroom, the philosophy of teaching is built around constructivism therefore it is vital that we understand all facets of the constructivist theory and how to put it into practice.

During the lecture, we were presented with the following comparison between directed and constructivist learning approaches and similarly, teacher centered versus student centered learning.

Directed
-Focus on teaching sequences of skills and knowledge
-Behavioural objectives matched to test items
-Focus on teaching sequences of skills & knowledge
-Individual work
-“Traditional” teaching

VERSUS

Constructivist
-Focus on problem -solving, exploration, presentation
-General abilities and application in context
-Collaboration
-“Alternative” forms of assessment

However, as there are some criticisms that can be made about the constructivist theory, it is vital that the two teaching strategies are integrated into the classroom in order for successful student learning.

Directed learning provides:
-Skill remediation
-Mastery and fluency
-Systematic self-instruction

While constructivism…
-Fosters creativity
-Fosters inductive thinking and problem solving
-Fosters metacognition
-Increases transfer of knowledge to problem solving
-Fosters group cooperation
-Allows for multiple & distributed intelligences

Finally, when they are combined, the two models:
-Increase motivation
-Optimize learning resources
-Remove logistic hurdles to learning
-Foster communication skills and information & visual literacy

It is fair to say that when both models are merged, they cater for all student learning types allowing them to be motivated to learn whether they are participating in activities individually or as a team whilst being within discipline from the teacher. The development of the students’ creativity will flourish in a constructivist classroom as they will be able to apply their previous experiences and prior knowledge to their learning engagements allowing them to use their imagination to solve problems and understand concepts.

Brewer and Daane (2002) explain that children learn and build their knowledge through their own personal mental activity and interactions with the environment. This means that they are constructing and expanding on knowledge in different ways based on what they already know. It requires higher order thinking skills such as reflecting and discovering rather than objectivism, the opposite to constructivism, which uses transmission learning through memorisation, rote and factual learning. This article specifically focuses on the way that maths can be transformed through practising constructivism and the impact that this learning can have upon students. It regards the constructivist theory as one that provides teachers with frameworks for teaching maths by encouraging problem solving, reasoning and communication.

An experiment was conducted consisting of constructivist mathematics teachers who believed that constructivism was the underlying theory that drove their instruction decisions. Data was obtained through individual interviews, notes and classroom observations of their maths lessons. From the results, we were able to view that constructivist classrooms provide greater understanding and success of maths opposed to traditional classrooms. The four main results showed that:

-Learning is an active/constructive process
-Knowledge is built on prior knowledge
-Autonomy is promoted
-Social interactions are necessary for knowledge construction

These results show that students gain a sense of independence within the classroom and obtain a new approach in regards to problem solving where they are thinking first then making their judgements. Constructivism provides the opportunity for more than one way of problem solving. This form of learning enables creativity greatly as it encourages self learning.

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

Cameron, L. & Campbell, C. (2011) Information Technology for Teaching and Learning [Lecture Notes] Retrieved March 22, 2011 from
http://blackboard.nd.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_3241_1%26url%3D

Fisher, K. (2005). Teacher centred versus student centred learning [Image]. Retrieved March 22, 2011 from http://www.tefma.com/infoservices/papers/2005_FutureLearningEnvironments_Workshop_Mar05/KennFisher_TEFMA_EvolutionOfHybrid_Mar05.pdf

My Tutor (2010) Time for Student-Centred Learning [Image] Retrieved March 22, 2011, from http://www.mytutor.lt/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=38&Itemid=56

ICT as a cognitive tool (ie. Webquests)

The first time I had ever heard about a Webquest was in today’s lecture which made them sound quite interesting, especially for primary school students. They were described as “frameworks that allow for rich learning experiences”. Webquests are a discovery learning tool created online in the form of structured research project. They are cognitive tools that support individual and collaborative learning in the classroom environment. They are designed to be either short-term Webquests where they can be completed in 1 to 3 class periods, or long-term, requiring 1 week to 1 month of lessons.

Here is an example of an upper primary Webquest used to teach students about frog deformities…
http://projects.edtech.sandi.net/sessions/frogs/

Teachers use Webquests to provide scaffolded learning within a constructivist learning environment. According to Campbell’s (2011) lecture notes, Webquests can be used in the classroom when you want students to tackle complex or difficult questions, the subject area requires a deeper understanding and when students would benefit from collaborative learning engagements. The task is often posed as real-world experience which motivates the students and allows them to use their prior knowledge to apply to their assignment. The use of Webquests in the classroom enables the development of creativity by allowing students to present their work in various ways and use the internet and its resources to discover new and interesting information relevant to the task. The learning process is scaffolded to promote higher order thinking. Dodge (1995) describes the scaffold of a Webquest to include:

– Introduction
– Task (including what the end product will be)
– Information sources
– Process (divided into steps on how to reach the end product)
– Guidance/assessment (including a rubric)
– Conclusion

Although Dodge displays a great understanding of Webquests and provides examples of different types, I am concerned that it has not been updated since 1997 therefore is somewhat reliable. Dodge fails to note that Webquests can also include a Teacher’s Notes page and Credits/References page. Teacher’s Notes provide teachers with the learning stage, year level, outcomes and other important notes or instructions they may need before giving their students the Webquest to complete. The Credits/References page gives the location of where the information used to create the Webquest comes from.

McKenzie’s (2000)‘The Question is the answer’ discusses the affects of good research when producing a Webquest. This article explains how appropriate questioning when approaching research lead to affective learning. Appropriate and important questioning is based on asking

WHY?
HOW?
WHICH IS BEST?

Through having a research cycle it provides students with the ability to stay on task and to work efficiently. This article further discusses the benefits of research cycles and how they allow the researcher to be selective within their findings. Effective research cycles involve the following process by McKenzie (2000):

QUESTION– identifying and listening questions you need to explore.
PLAN– developing a strategy to find pertinent information rapidly.
GATHER– harvesting information which casts light on the key questions.
SORT, SIFT AND ANALYSE– rearranging the puzzle pieces, looking for patterns.
SYNTHESIZE– making sense of the puzzle pieces, getting the picture.
EVALUATE– figuring out what is missing, what else is needed.”

I found the reading by McKenzie to be very reliable and useful. It is appropriate for those who wish to further their knowledge on Webquests. The structure and layout of the article as well as the visual aids make it straightforward and easy to understand.

References

Dodge, B. (1995). Some Thoughts About WebQuests. Retrieved March 25, 2011 from
http://webquest.sdsu.edu/about_webquests.html

McKenzie, J (2000). The question is the answer. Retrieved March 24, 2011 from
http://questioning.org/module/module1.html

Solis, B. (1999) Freaky Frogs Webquest. Retrieved March 22, 2011 from
http://projects.edtech.sandi.net/sessions/frogs/

Digital Natives Debate.

Previously, I retold my childhood story about my adjustment to the world of computers and the internet. I suppose it was a little scary at first but now, looking at how I am successfully able to use new technology, such as the internet and mobile phones, I’d definitely count myself as a digital native.

I was shown this video in my first year of my degree. The facts are astounding.

Prensky’s (2001) article, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, delves into the issue of our ever-changing world and its technology. But firstly, what are digital natives and immigrants?

“Digital natives” is a term that refers to the somewhat “native” speakers of the digital language. This would include the Z Generation who were born in the early 90s until the early 2010s and are today’s children and students who have never known life without the internet or mobile phones. On the other hand, the term “digital immigrants” describes those who were not born into a digital world and have attempted to adapt an understanding of technology.

Prensky (2001) discusses the issue of whether digital immigrants/ educators should learn and adapt to the new ways of technology and its presence in the classroom or if digital natives should return to traditional ways. He describes digital natives to be those who can multi-task, enjoy games over serious work and prefer graphics over text. Therefore, he believes that these students should be taught differently as they are digital natives.

As a teacher in training, I believe we should offer learning for both categories and integrate ideas of new and old. This would work because then we would be able to cater for our digital native students by encompassing modern-day ideas and technologies into our classroom whilst staying true to traditional ways of teaching, such as through rote learning or explicit lecture-style teaching depending on the subject area. Students brought up in the new-age society are highly unlikely to take their learning levels backwards therefore it is the teacher’s duty to ensure they meet the learning requirements of their students by becoming more technologically updated and bringing this updated knowledge to the classroom.

Bennett, Maton, and Kervin (2007) challenge Prensky in their article “The ‘Digital Natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence”. They believe that many young people are highly proficient with technology rely on ICTs for various activities whilst others do not have the skills or ability to access this technology making Prensky’s assertions mere generalisations. They also consider Prensky’s promotion of ICTs for multitasking to result in a loss of concentration and promotion of “cognitive overload” (p779).

This mind-map is the information I was able to gather from either sides of this debate.

My personal view is that the technologies are not the issue but how they are used that can become a problem. Exposure to these technologies from a young age allows children to learn “the digital language” therefore it is vital that it is incorporated into learning experiences at school. Teachers must be trained in the area of new technologies so that they have the knowledge, understanding and skills to appropriately use these ICTs in the classroom with their students. This will allow students to use their creativity to devise games, web pages, blogs and other computer based tools to express themselves and their learning.

References
Bennett, S., Maton, K. & Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.
(See UNDA Library Electronic Catalogue)

Hawkwarrior7 (2010). Rapid increase in knowledge and technology. [Video file] Retrieved March 8, 2011 from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XXaZRHhmxY

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved March 4, 2011 from
http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

ICT current trends.


…he used to feel this way about his T.V!

Hello fellow Notre Dame-ian’s (if that’s what you’d call us) and welcome to my very own blog! The 6 next posts from me will give you an insight into the wonderful world of Information Technology and how it assists with teaching and learning in the classroom.

Being born in 1990, I went through my first few years of primary school minus the use of computers or interactive whiteboards. Then, in Year 4, I was thrust onto a chair in front of a computer screen and spent half an hour each day, as allocated “computer time”, to learn how to type with all my fingers on the keyboard. The program could even tell when I was doing it wrong. I hated it! Eventually I got the hang of typing but had to learn other things so foreign to a 9-year-old. I discovered that I couldn’t replace an “a” with a “@” symbol simply because it looked cooler and that I shouldn’t turn off a computer at the switch. Time went on and my parents decided that they would do the best thing for their childrens’ education and buy us a computer. A short time later, we got the internet. I remember being so foreign to what it was and how it worked but was mesmerised by the fun I could have with information popping up before me at the click of a button. My siblings and I had to teach ourselves how to search for things and how to create our own email addresses as my parents didn’t even know where to start. But that’s another story. And here we are, a decade later, and children are using computers the moment they can reach the mouse.

The development of Information and Communication Technologies, or ICTs, has dramatically changed the way teaching and learning occurs in the classroom. As discussed in the lecture, computers and online technologies can improve typing skills (it definitely did with mine), allow for fast access to information, teaches children to be critical of texts, stimulates the senses via the use of visual/written/auditory information and allows students to present their work creatively. As presented on slide 10, ICTs can promote higher order thinking by allowing students to manipulate the content through sorting, ordering, labelling and puzzle/game/simulation games. The Australian Government’s Learning Federation have copious amounts of learning objects that are a fun way of helping students learn whilst engaging them in an online experience. Here is a link to a Year 1-2 Science game assisting students with discovering what animals are mammals…

http://econtent.thelearningfederation.edu.au/ec/viewing/L1134/index.html

Today, it is the interactive whiteboard (IWB) that is one of the most significant current trends in ICT. In chapters 1 and 4, Kent (2008) discusses the differences between IWBs and PCs. Although PC’s can be difficult to teach with, they focus on the learning side of the teaching process as they promote individual learning. On the other hand, IWBs strongly promote group interaction as a class and have become a highly reliable and useful teaching tool. Kent (2008) also explains how IWBs and PCs should complement each other as teaching tools in the classroom. They both enhance student learning and promote different aspects for learning. Kent (2008) discusses that teachers should become familiar with IWBs and learn how to use them successfully, which can be achieved through obtaining good pedagogical framework. This will have a positive influence on students’ learning.

In chapter 4, Kent (2008) describes what is needed for good teachers to make their lessons meaningful and important through the use of an IWB. He gives six steps that allow students to think about their learning and gain a sense of independence in the classroom. These include:
– Students are able to create the content of their lesson
– Capture and share students’ ideas and comments
– Students are the subject of the lesson
– Using live data in lessons
– Scaffolding lessons from students’ prior knowledge and interests
– Making connections to the larger social context

Kent uses these steps to explain how students can use new technologies to make a leaning situation interactive meaningful and enjoyable.
Here is a good example of some of the wonderful things one can use on IWBs. This video is a 2nd Grade Maths lesson.

From the readings and prior research of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory, IWBs support a group learning environment where students may be first introduced to an idea or are working as a team to further understand a concept. The use of images, words, sound and size of the content allow all types of learners to understand and make meaning in their own ways about what is being presented to them. It is a hands on approach to learning for students that will enhance their understanding of the given content whilst still allowing the teacher to give instructions and talk to the class during the activities.

I am quite proud of my efforts to create my first “flipchart” on the subject area of Celebrations. I’m looking forward to making some more…I need all the experience I can get!

References

Computer Clip Art (2008). Retrieved March 3, 2011 from http://www.wilsoninfo.com/computerclipart.shtml

Curriculum Corporation (2005). Animal Search. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from
http://econtent.thelearningfederation.edu.au/ec/viewing/L1134/index.html

K12Math4u (2009). 2nd Grade Math- Shapes and Space . Retrieved March 12, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY-G7yJO7vM

Kent, P (2008). Interactive whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. Melbourne: Macmillan Teacher Resources.

The Age (2007). Schools to install digital whiteboards. Retrieved March 3, 2011 from http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/schools-to-install-digital-whiteboards/2007/06/18/1182019011079.html

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