2020

I was reading this blog today (http://nixxuni.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/times-are-changing/) when I came across this article about ICT’s that will become non-existent by 2020 (http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/03/21-things-that-will-be-obsolete-by-2020/).

 

This post really excites me as there are many great things on the horizon – like no desks by 2020 – ICT’s will be so mobile that students will be able to flow between different learning areas with ease – no more ‘command style’ teaching like the baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Y experienced. This is great and I am excited to be a teacher in this time of change.

The other exciting thing is the organization of educational services by grade – children will be able to learn at the capacity they are capable of – no longer will there be ‘gifted’ and ‘special needs’ rather there will be a group of people who are developmentally able at the level they are at. Will there be social implications for this? For the better I say, I think there is too much ageism in our contemporary world and this sort of school system should be able to change that.

Additionally the EYLF and the NQF will be in full force by 2020… very exciting indeed.

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Today I have been reading Chelsea’s blog (http://chelseawolf.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/measuring-success/) and a particular post about measuring success in ICT’s caught my eye.

Success in ICT are important because children of today are growing up in an ICT literate world where ICT’s are taking over in many domains of our lives. How to measure it is difficult because some people are better suited to ICT’s and some are not – they are better suited to pen and paper or not at all. (I wonder if this is a cultural/environmental effect or a biological effect?).

 

What do you think?

Don’t take me to IKEA.

I was reading Sonia’s blog post (http://soniathistlethwaite.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/reflective-problem-solving-i-have-amazed-even-myself/) about problem solving in ICT, and I completely agree. It is VERY frustrating sometimes when one cannot work out how to use a new technology.

Last week I bought a professional SLR camera for my fashion/photography blog, and it had an instruction manual that was at least two finger widths long! I hate instruction manuals, so my preferred style of working out function is through trial and error. However this is difficult on a camera such as this – there are so many different toggles and functions – aperture, shutter speed, zoom, stability, filters, flash style, etc etc. Naturally I was having difficulty working out all the features though trail and error (luckily Callum is an instruction manual sort of person and read through it for me and then taught me how to use it). It raised the question for me about how instruction manuals are not always being included with new technology – as they assume that individuals will be able to trial and error their way around the technology (e.g. any apple product).

I think when we teach our children we need to do it in a way that they have the skills of both trial and error AND reading instruction manuals – the patience required is a skill that should and could be taught in the classroom. I certainly wish I was taught to have the patience to read long specific documents in depth (don’t take me to IKEA).

ICT’s – the arm to Special Needs Students?

It is very discussed and disputed in the literature and in various blogs about ICT as a useful tool for special needs students in the classroom. Often I think it is confused as ‘the only tool’, which it is not – it is simply one tool which is useful and is not the only answer. For example, a student with ADD sometimes has difficulty listening to and comprehending tasks that students their age would not have too much difficulty with. Some may turn to technology – a video or a webpage that they can comprehend at their preferred speed. However, I know a boy in my care who has been diagnosed with ADD cannot go near TVs, iPads, computers, etc. as it actually leads her/him to becoming more hyperactive than usual. So in this case ICTs are not a useful resource – puzzles, construction or mind puzzles are though, they make her/him more focused.

A second example is a child with downs syndrome, where technology is a useful resource because technology can help children with downs syndrome communicate – and this is one of their main deficits. Take one child in my care. She, though years of practice can operate simple ICT devices such as iPads, TV’s and computers which means that she can operate these devices independently and this increases her autonomy and consequently boosts her self esteem which is really important when individuals with special needs are in a classroom environment. She also takes pictures and with the help of an  assistant she makes these into communication cards to express her needs/ wants / opinion on a classroom topic.

Therefore, ICT’s are a great addition to a classroom environment and provide an additional resource for individuals with special needs.

The Validity of ICT’s in the Early Childhood Classroom

When I was writing my previous post I was trying to make the range of ICT’s I spoke about as wide and varied as possible – however I was having great difficulty. It would seem that many technologies that would have been separated by function previously now can be accessed by the same device – the iPad. We recently bought iPads for the children in the preschool I work in and they replaced so many different technologies – digital cameras, video cameras, voice recorders, the computer, paper… these little gadgets do an awful lot! The best bit about them is that they are so easy to use RE: the children’s accessibility, autonomy and independence. Additionally the children can be responsible for their own learning – whilst the responsibility is a skill that needs to be fine tuned initially (as Candy Crash Saga is understandably more fun than researching snakes on Google), the students learn that if they take the responsibility they will be able to do ‘fun’ things later on. Responsibility is an important skill for starting kindergarten, and it is great to see that ICT is one way to teach children this skill.

Decoding Learning

Innovations in learning according to this website details ways that students or people in general learn and the applications of these in the classroom through the use of ICT. I thought I would think of my own examples in an early childhood context as this context is often overlooked in the literature when it comes to ICT.

Learning from experts

Using a website like Khan Academy to teach children who wish to extend themselves (especially at the end of the preschool year – you often have quite a disparity across readiness for kindergarten).

Learning with others

Designing a block construction using KidPix or similar with another.

Learning through making

Making a video using iMovie or similar using a digital camera with technological help from their educator.

Learning through exploring

Exploring their environment using a digital camera to document their favorite/ most interesting objects/ experiences inthe classroom and provide a quote with each.

Learning through inquiry

Using a floor-book students make a mind map with questions surrounding snakes after watching a documentary in snakes by Steve Irwin. Students use Google with their educator to answer these questions and answer in the floor-book. 

Learning through practicing

A student films another student on the iPad singing a rhyme that they are trying to memorize, re-watch and use reflective practice to correct lyrical faults and improve the projection of their voice.

Learning from assessment

Students look at videos on the iPad of things they thought about snakes before they watched the You Tube video and started the ‘Snake Research Project’. They reflect on how much they learnt.

Learning in and across settings

Students use the accessibility and mobility of an iPad to record different sounds they hear on their bush walk – what are the animals and their different sounds?

SAMR Model

http://isupport.com.au/apple-news/application-of-the-samr-model/

ICT in the classroom has changed over the years to keep up with the latest technological changes. Many are skeptical with the usefulness of this – is the ICT there primarily to introduce children to new technologies so they will be able to use them in their futures? Or are they there to transform their learning? As far as I can gather, the SAMR model illustrates theoretical methodology towards this type of thinking. The way this model works is that it makes comparisons and categories from old technology to new – on the basis of function and design.

The SAMR Model has four categories-

Substitution- ICT replaces a previous resource in the classroom without changing it’s function. (e.g. blackboard and chalk replaced with whiteboard and whiteboard marker)

Augmentation- Direct substitute with functional improvement (e.g. whiteboard replaced by smart board – more uses -incl. same use as before)

Modification- Significant redesign of resource (e.g. encyclopedia books to google scholar)

Redefinition- Complete overhaul of design and function (e.g. drawing pictures to taking digital photos and manipulating them using photo-shop)

What do you think – I couldn’t even think of examples for all as I don’t really see technology changing function of items in the classroom all that often.

What I have learnt in EDC 3100 in Week 6.

Firstly, I can’t believe it is already week 6 – where has the time gone?

Things I have learnt:

1. Khan Academy – I never knew this resource existed – albeit it’s flaws it is a great resource that could be used in a classroom as an additional resource to reach students who are having difficultly with concepts.

2. The validity of internet resources – I guess I always knew that internet resources (much like basing lessons primarily on a textbook) were not going to include PCK. However this week this was explicitly pointed out to me. It is true – but it is still a useful tool.. it just depends how teachers decide to use it as to if it will be successful.

Looking forward to combating Week 7 !

PCK and Khan Academy

Following on from my previous two blog posts, there has been a lot of criticism of Khan Academy, one of the foremost arguments the lack of PCK, Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Being an online resource, there is no way that Khan Academy could made pedagogical resource which is altered after experience of teaching content or depending on the audiences interests and previous experiences. I think it would be fair to argue this is difficult of any internet resource available to millions that is not streamed live with an input from learners. Therefore, I think it is difficult to criticize Khan Academy about its lack of PCK when it would be almost impossible to have the reach and availability it has and PCK. 

A great way to combat the lack of PCK, albeit this solution only being available to students who have an individual who is willing to teach the desired content learnt on Khan Academy, is to use Khan Academy videos and quizzes as part of a classroom setting – as one would in a Flip Classroom. See below link for more information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip_teaching

Teachers in a ‘Flip Classroom’ have the opportunity to use internet resources and apply the PCK in the follow up to ensure misconceptions are not surfacing. Additionally, devising assessment depending on specific outcome of school/ state/country would be important as Khan Academy is based on American standards. In fact a teacher may see the need in his/her classroom to use Khan Academy recourses as a pedagogical choice.

 

Pedagogical Content Knowledge

http://mkoehler.educ.msu.edu/tpack/pedagogical-content-knowledge-pck/

The above article examines the important of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), which is basically an educators intuition as to how they should teach content based on the class that they have. So, it involves the educators experience of teaching the content, it includes the educators knowledge of the students in the classroom (their experience and interests), the atmosphere of the classroom, what makes a outcome difficult or easy to learn amongst other things.

PCK is a series of decisions that result in the ways in which a teacher will introduce content – for example, if an educator is introducing addition and he/she knows that his/her class is interested in ‘Littlest Pet Shop’ figurines at the moment, she/she may use these instead of counters to demonstrate simple one digit addition. This guarantees that the students in the class will be intrigued and they will be learning as they are simultaneously having fun. 

This is PCK and this is why it is terribly important in the classroom.