ICT-Assisted Project Based Learning in Early Childhood

Accredited Online professional development for teachers - ICT Teaching Strategies

By Michael Hilkemeijer

 

As technology is embedded into science, maths and engineering activities in PBL can be boosted with the assistance of ICT.

Technology can serve as a good tool then to facilitate PBL. According to Moursand (2003, p. xi), an ICT-assisted PBL lesson has the opportunity for children:

  • To learn in an authentic, challenging, multidisciplinary environment;
  • To learn how to design, carry out, and evaluate a project that requires sustained effort over a significant period of time;
  • To learn about the topics on which the project focuses;
  • To gain more ICT knowledge and skills;
  • To learn to work with minimal external guidance, both individually and in groups;
  • To gain a self-reliance and personal accountability.

 

As an educator, opportunities include:

  • To learn ICT alongside your children;
  • To gain skills in creating a constructivist learning environment;
  • To facilitate the creation of a highly motivating learning environment.

 

It is the advancements in computers and networks that facilitate and provide constructivist and cooperative learning environments, thus paving the way for cooperative activities and constructivist learning.

The pedagogy associated with PBL helps to achieve this as it involves hands-on, minds-on and experimental approach centred on an authentic problem.

 

ICT-assisted PBL helps children to develop various skills such as technological literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving and social skills.

 

There are 10 goals of ICT-assisted PBL stated by Moursand (2003) and a good ICT-assisted PBL is likely to include most of these. They include:

  • Developing content area expertise;
  • Improving research skills;
  • Improving higher-order skills;
  • Learning how to do a project;
  • Learning to use ICT;
  • Conducting self-assessment and peer assessment;
  • Developing a portfolio;
  • Assuming personal responsibility for one’s engagement in a relatively complex learning task;
  • Being a part of a community of scholars;
  • Working on important ideas.

 

The Challenge

There are a number of challenges ahead of you when you decide to use PBL particularly when assisted with ICT. The first one is that you need to accomplish the mission of your school and especially the education system in which you work in.

The use of ICT in this instance is merely recognised as a means to an end – a methodology, remember that there are other methods at your disposal.

Along with this, keep in mind that PBL is a more complex instructional tool than the didactic instructional approach.

There needs to be considerations made towards approaches in classroom management. For example, you need to manage children working in groups and moving around the room.

 

 

The use of ICT in PBL adds on a further challenge to you as may not have a deep mastery of ICT skills at your disposal. So the decision to use PBL in an ICT environment will enable you to grow and learn alongside children. Considering personal learning goals is a wise option when you begin your planning.

ICT-assisted PBL lessons also requires a different approach to assessment as demonstrated in our ebook Assessment for Learning: ICT Capability in Early Childhood.

 

ICT Pedagogical Approaches in Early Childhood - Online Teacher Workshop

Accredited Online Early Childhood Teacher Workshop.

Completing this course will contribute to 5 hours of NESA and TQI registered PD in 2.6.2, 4.5.2 and 5.1.2 of Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards achieving Proficient teachers accreditation.

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