ICT Integration:

Throughout the entire blog there has been mentioned various Information and Communication Technologies that are being introduced into our education system. Interactive Whiteboards, Webquests, Wikispaces, and school laptops all have their own pros and cons and together have the potential to turn the classroom into a modern but yet still productive learning environment. However as mentioned in the previous post, a new ICT technology such as the recently implemented school laptops, can have negative effects in the class room. The way I see it, in order for a teacher to successfully maintain a learning environment, teacher pedagogies must evolve as the technologies which are implemented in the classrooms have.

ICT and Pedagogy 

In today’s day and age, there is no doubt that technology and its advancements have a huge impact on our everyday lives. So great is the impact that people have pushed for technological improvements in our schools (as listed above), but there are still those who argue that new technology in no definitive way of improving teacher pedagogy or student learning (Brown, p.17). I agree with such an argument only to the extent that if the teachers themselves do not know how to operate the ICT’s in a proper, educational fashion, then yes, ICT’s are useless in the educational process. Take the Interactive Whiteboard  (IWB) for example (as mentioned in previous post), if a teacher floods the screen with pointless graphics, audio and video clips the IWB would be another distraction in the classroom. The school laptops again, can prove to be a large distraction to learning in the classroom, and as stated in my previous post, I have seen first hand that maintaining classroom focus can be extremely challenging for teachers.

However I side with those who believe that ICT’s should integrated into schools as a evolution in teacher pedagogy. Just as teachers adapted to Powerpoint presentations the Office Copier, they will adapt the new ICT’s. If teachers are taught how to operate the ICT’s in an educational manner (like us university students), then ICT’s can prove to be valuable assets in a classroom. Again using the IWB for example, if a teacher creates interactive and educational activities that foster ideas and themes, whilst at the same time adding relevant graphics, audio and video texts, then he or she successfully uses the ICT in an educational manner. Peggy Ertmer (2005) quotes Becker who describes what ICT’s offer to classrooms: they serve as “valuable and well-functioning instructional tool”, teachers and students have thus a “a)… convenient access” to research and work online,” (b) are adequately prepared, (c) have some freedom in the curriculum and (d) hold personal beliefs aligned with a constructivist pedagogy (p.25)”.

As stated my other posts on Social Constructivism is the theory that focuses on seeing the students educating themselves through interactions (activities, challenges) with other students, having the teacher accompanying them as a ‘guide’. These ICT technologies can be used to reinforce a constructivist pedagogy as they encourage student-centered learning (see post on Social Constructivism). Thus used correctly ICT’s can serve as great cognitive tools, inside the classroom as well as at home for assignments and Webquests.

Even though there is still a lot of issues regarding the integration of ICT’s in the classroom, there is no denying that the classrooms will change according the the new technologies being developed as they offer so much potential. I can understand why people say ICt’s do not benefit classrooms as they can be distracting, but saying that, is a classroom without ICT’s distraction free? No they are not. That is why teachers must be taught and adapt new ICT skills into their existing pedagogies to successfully use ICT’s in a useful and successful manner. This video for example highlights successful integration and teaching with ICT technology in the US

References:

Brown, M. (2005). The growth of enterprise pedagogy: How ICT policy is infected by neo-liberalism. Australian Educational Computing, 20(2), 16-22.

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

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