By Michael Hilkemeijer
ICT capability is more than just a 21st century skill embedded in the Australian Curriculum. It is a tool for learning where students can use “ICT effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school and in their lives beyond school” (ACARA, 2016). The core strength of ICT capability development lies in a teacher’s ability to judge the decisions that students make in order to complete a finished product. A student needs to be able to demonstrate their knowledge of a wide variety of ICT software and hardware together with their awareness of this knowledge-base and their ability to make informed decisions as to whether this knowledge is appropriate to use.
The progression and continuity of student ICT capability in education is a crucial plan for teachers from early childhood education through to secondary education to consider. When individually examined, progression is more concerned with an individual’s learning and refers to how a student can learn concepts and skills of increasingly difficult nature. Continuity focuses more on the experiences offered to students and this can be achieved by students if they are presented by the teacher with “tasks that are designed to follow on from one another with no sudden jumps and no repetition” (Kennewell, Parkinson, & Tanner, 2000, p. 166). Both aspects of ICT capability is valuable to the management of students as work that is duplicated can lead to the stagnating of learning for them and this in turn can result in disruptive behaviour (Kennewell, Parkinson, & Tanner, 2000). It is imperative, therefore, that teachers design activities that build on a student’s previous learning and provide achievable challenges (Kennewell, Parkinson, & Tanner, 2000). The sharing of views by teachers with their colleagues is also then a key player to ensure that this occurs.
According to Kennewell et al. (2000), it is the increasing scope and transferability that defines progression in ICT capability. The development of ICT capability combines both practical and theoretical elements and this means that teachers need to ensure that students are continually working at a higher standard while undergoing complex hands-on tasks and are demonstrating their comprehension of increasingly sophisticated ideas and concepts. The use of sophisticated software and techniques is essential then to support a students’ learning if they are to progress through school (Kennewell, Parkinson, & Tanner, 2000).
Progression and continuity in student ICT capability is about teachers ensuring that their students are prepared for 21st century life by being an ICT capable student. To be ICT capable is to have the disposition to construct ICT solutions to problem situations that are relevant to the context and are based on the knowledge of the opportunities and constraints of the ICT tools available. Teachers should provide opportunities for students to go beyond developing a knowledge of a wide range of techniques and skills.
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