The teaching of the general capability or 21st century skill, ICT Capability, is a significant component in the Australian Curriculum. ICT capability is defined in the national curriculum as the integration of digital technologies and key learning areas such as English make a lot of use of its capabilities to develop literacy alongside its learning.
As quoted by Sutherland et al. (2009) the effective integration of ICT is about the here and the now of the available digital technologies and not about waiting for the next technological development to come along and solve your problems. The implications of this for you as a teacher is widespread as there is already a vast range of digital technologies at your disposal in most schools.Generic software to begin with such as that commonly found in schools like MS Office or Adobe programs is just the start of what is available.
The integration of digital technologies is not effective unless it is fully supported by such teaching strategies. Our use of digital technologies in our lives has made us to some extent become complacent with its use and it is now significant that you don’t transfer this to the classroom. Simply providing exposure to digital technologies is not sufficient enough to develop student ICT capability today.
Here are the steps that you need to take in order to TEACH ICT CAPABILITY in the Australian Curriculum.
Understand the nature of ICT capability
This 21st century skill comprises of five key elements that together constitute ICT capability. They include routines, ICT techniques, processes, higher order skills and concepts. Conceptual understanding underpins the ICT techniques that students use in a lesson to create an ICT solutions to a problem and an ICT capable student is someone who has the disposition to construction ICT solutions to problems. They must develop an awareness of the power and limitations of the software and hardware systems available together with a prediction to seek ICT solutions.
Employers today demand a basic understanding of ICT rather than a specific knowledge and the vocational justification of ICT capability does not demand knowledge of specific skills, techniques or applications of ICT.
Understand how students learn with ICT
At the heart of every good integrator of digital technology is a teacher who understands the key elements of learning theories that underpin the way ICT supports learning. Learning theories such as behaviourism, constructivism and social constructivism together with situativity, ‘brain based’ ideas and metacognition. This is start of an effective online PD in ICT integration.
Establishing a starting point for learning
Misbehaviour in lessons is often caused by boredom of learning as students may already be familiar and know the content of lessons. By establishing a starting point through implementing effective formative assessment strategies, you will be able to minimise this as assessment is linked to forward planning and progression and continuity can be achieved.
As one of our most recent students discovered, Kerrie, this can be a turning point for most teachers as they learn teaching strategies to support the use of digital technologies in their classroom.
Boost your competence in the integration of digital technologies
There is clear evidence that links the level of ICT capability of a teacher to that of students’ ICT capability. By conducting a self-audit, you can forget about your weaknesses and capitalise on your strengths. Remember, it is impossible for you to know all there is to know about digital technologies with the rapid rate of development today.
For you to become an ICT capable teacher it will require you to develop an understanding and judgement about how to use those skills appropriately, just like it is for students.
For example, you may know how to use MS PowerPoint for a presentation by creating a PowerPoint for every lesson. However, this would be rather to miss the point about what ICT is useful for. As a teacher, you need to decide when such a presentation is an effective use of the technology, and also to make a judgement about the class or group of students that you are teaching.
As we did with Kerrie O’Brien, one of our former students in Sydney, we can provide you with the expertise you need in order to achieve this. By completing the course, she was able to overcome the limitations of her own ICT capability as a teacher.
Develop the ICT capable classroom
These classrooms are a combination of teachers who are prepared to model the effective use of digital technologies to the students, ICT capable students (students who have the disposition to construct ICT solutions to problems which are appropriate to the context) and the ICT resources available.
Through the application of the theory Kerrie learnt from the online course she was able to effectively reflect on her experiences in the classroom using strategies such teacher intervention, motivating students and analysing the situation for effective planning.
Develop the ICT capable school
An ICT capable school is one where the students have a positive attitude towards ICT and a disposition to apply ICT to curriculum tasks. They plan and apply ICT to tasks, describing and evaluating their work with ICT with a high level of knowledge, skill and understanding. It also contains strong roles in ICT in the teaching and learning culture of the school and teachers help students to develop their ICT capability.
In this particular module, Kerrie understood and learnt how strategies such school and teacher liaisons, managing student transitions effectively and being able to solve any issues of discontinuity are able to ensure the progression of student capabilities. Additionally, she is able to pass on information to her colleagues on the importance of how a whole school approach can only be achieved if every teacher implements the same strategies and passes the relevant student information onto the next teacher every year.
Facilitate capabilities in ICT
The third part of Kerrie’s online learning involved the application of scaffolding and support for students. Do you know how to effectively demonstrate capabilities to students? Structuring and stimulating student ICT activities throughout learning areas is important if you are to facilitate student capabilities in ICT effectively.
Selecting the appropriate ICT tools
Digital technologies in schools these days is so widespread, but did you know that only specific digital technology can fully develop a student’s ICT capability? You may think that using subject-specific software such as Literacy software will do the job. On the contrary, it does the opposite as it will most likely help you as the teacher develop your ICT capability as you use the tools it provides to monitor their work.
The last two steps required for you to effectively teach ICT capability or integrate digital technologies in learning areas involves joining people such as Kerrie to collaborate and share experiences on key strategies implemented in the classroom to progress student capabilities in ICT. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the use of sophisticated use of software will achieve this! Then you need to ensure that everyone is included in the process of teaching and learning with ICT – participate and discuss at your own pace about evidence based teaching strategies that will deliver an inclusive technology-rich learning environment.
These are evidence based ICT teaching strategies that ensure that you continue to think like the experts in making instructional decisions, structuring ICT activities and employing sound ICT pedagogical strategies. All key elements of an effective online professional development for teachers.
So join Kerrie, Amanda and Louise in this accredited online course today and discover how to stand out as a ICT integrator today.
Completing this course will contribute to 4 hours of NESA and TQI registered PD addressing 2.6.2 and 3.4.2 of Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient teacher accreditation in NSW and Victoria.
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