Throughout our ICT training for teachers in our Academy we introduce you to a number of ICT tools for teachers beginning with those in the foundation stage through to Primary education where in Australia, digital literacy in education is embedded throughout the curriculum and expected to be developed progressively.
The following list of ICT tools for teachers will be accompanied with research-based strategies that you can apply in your classroom teaching and learning environment.
Early Childhood technology
By programming a toy to behave a certain way, children are able to view various problems from a toy’s perspective. However, a key benefit of using technology such as this is that it has functional transparency and this supports children to quickly learn how to program them.
Examples include Beebots, Roamer and Pixies.
DIGITAL IMAGES & DIGITAL CAMERAS
Digital cameras can provide more focus on activities as children can take pictures of themselves and their environments. This can encourage them to take more photos of things. You may also find that each time they do take a photo of something, that they can actually provide an explanation of why they were choosing to take a particular shot. In these situations, the camera helps to clarify and consolidate the children’s learning.
Continuing on with the digital images theme this program and others similar to it can provide children with a multimedia experience they will enjoy and be able to develop their creativity skills. These programs have colour, movement and sound so it is no surprise that it is quite appealing. It is just as appealing though for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. PowerPoint can make learning meaningful and relevant. With the use of transition effects, it can reveal a favourite character with a single touch by using it with the Interactive Whiteboard.
These are especially appropriate for young children because they operate through finger touch. Children can make drawings, rub them out and move objects together as I mentioned earlier, resize them. It is the large screen that allows for greater collaboration. For this reason, it is important that you become
familiar with all its ICT tools for teachers.
IWBs have great potential for adults working with groups on focused tasks or in exploring adventure games and simulations.
I already mentioned the potential with the use of IWBs. These programs allow children to do things they would not be able to do outside of the software. With the tools they provide they deliver ‘clean’ art that children can instantly rub out, undo or start all over again! Additionally, they can mix media combining both digital and traditional media.
Your children will enjoy exploring their own playful uses of the video camera so it is important to give them time to achieve this. Try not to structure their uses too soon or too often.
These tools are as cheap if not cheaper to use than digital cameras. If you add a USB extension lead to the webcam it can be moved quite a distance from the computer. You will find that they usually have a button on them for taking still images, if not children can use the webcam software to take photos of video.
Primary School technology
Word processing not only can enhance literacy in English lessons, but can enhance literacy throughout all key learning areas. It is a basic and important skill to have not just throughout formal schooling but later in the workforce. Typing skills, saving documents and knowing how to send a document to the printer are all associated with the use of the word processor.
Spreadsheets are undervalued by teachers at times despite being useful for even key learning areas such as English. Besides being a great ICT tool for mathematics and science this needs to be used throughout the curriculum.
Multimedia programs such as Keynote, PowerPoint and Prezi are commonly used in education settings as teachers often present lessons using them. They are also wonderful learning tools if used correctly to enable students to share their ideas and notes with others in the class. You can focus ICT techniques the students need and monitor their progress along the way.
Animation – Clay or Drawing
Creating animations has been one of my favourite projects in the past and has led me to undertaking animation courses. There are so many ICT techniques that students can learn and you as a teacher can promote the development higher order thinking skills as they manage, plan and evaluate their own work. Students can either work on 2D or 3D sequences of images.
Publishing programs such as MS Publisher can be a very useful ICT tool to learn during primary school. Much of the formats and templates tend to match learning outcomes. They also offer great opportunities to teach literacy with ICT. It too can be used right across the primary curriculum.
With ICT techniques such as filming and editing, you can integrate technology in the classroom effectively by developing ICT capability throughout key learning areas. Students can write original scripts, create their own television series and even record their own speeches if they are unable to do so in front of the class themselves.
Students can use programs such as Dreamweaver, FrontPage or even MS Word to plan and create a website. Web design or creation is actually another form of word processor and this makes it possible for you to explore options to teach literacy across the curriculum. Activities could include class web pages, web pages for particular issues being covered in class and also individual web pages as an ePortfolio.
This is another form of word processing (online) and so this lends itself to being exploited across the key learning areas to teach literacy in other subjects besides English. Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject while others function as online diaries. Lesson ideas can be things such as class blogs that students can use as a site for writing, updates on classroom activities and so on.
Podcasting is about students and teachers recording MP3 audio recordings on particular topics relevant to class learning. Students who may have difficulties presenting out in front of the class or in front of the teacher can find relief through recording their own speeches while still achieving the learning outcomes given.
Information Literacy Skills
This is to with web searching and there are valuable ICT techniques to learn that can be applied in any key learning area as students research online for their work and personal interests. ICT skills such as practical skills to make searching more efficient, critical skills to understand what they are searching for, and critical literacy skills to do with evaluating the quality of websites and the information that it provides.
Web 2.0 is also good for aiding digital fluency in common digital behaviours such as social networking, an awareness of Web 2.0 applications and how they contribute to digital fluency. Sites like Tumblr can be used to store digital images taken at class field trips and camps.
Coding Programs and Toys
Through the use of coding programs students can learn to code in order to create a digital solution for a particular problem. Programmable toys such as beebots can also be programed in KLAs.
Digital technology in the classroom Online Workshops
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