When children use ICT to learn to communicate, collaborate and create – three very important aspects of their education - they begin to understand what life is about today by demonstrating the types of things we do ourselves in an ICT-integrated society. ICT is and will become much a part of their lives as it is ours today and in the future. Communication for young children is essentially important and practitioners can introduce them to other ways of communicating such as emails or blogging. Blogging itself, adds on the prospect of child collaboration and even creativity.
However, just as early learning lays the foundation for knowledge in things such as literacy a child communicating, collaborating and creating with ICT also begins their journey towards ICT capability. For example, even learning how to use emails and blogs for children this age can have a considerable impact on their learning in their future if they are taught effectively how to develop their own ICT capability and are supported appropriately. With each ICT tool comes the opportunity to teach them new ICT skills or more capabilities in ICT.
Here lies the challenge for teachers though. With ICT being omnipresent, it is easy to believe that providing exposure during these times of communicating, collaboration and creativity with ICT is sufficient to develop child ICT capability effectively. It doesn’t and only haphazardly develop ICT skills in children.
Let me tell you how one of my students in May this year supported the use of ICT in her learning setting.
Leann works in the outer west of Brisbane. Her classroom setting contains a moderate range of ICT tools such as a few laptops, but she also has access to iPads for the students if she needs them. The availability of ICT in her classroom meant that she included its use in students’ work as much as possible and therefore, she believed herself to be a keen ICT integrator.
Her classroom consisted of students of mixed ICT capabilities. There were students who she could see clearly had an advantage of the other students and there were those who less able. Despite what she did, her students quickly got bored with the lesson and this created behavioural problems. It began to dawn on her that despite having a teaching aide as an extra help, she wasn’t providing the right support and scaffold for the students when it comes to ICT use.
Another problem which arose was that she was noticing that her students’ ICT skills hadn’t progressed in any way. She had tried to overcome this by exposing them to more sophisticated ICT tools and resources, but eventually would not go any further than the basics.
All this despite Leanne believing she had moderate ICT skills herself. She began to worry that curriculum requirements weren’t being met and that the students were not going to develop strong capabilities in ICT.
Her worries began to turn around when she learnt to unlock the potential of ICT for her students after completing an accredited online course. She understood how children learnt with ICT and learnt how she could gain control of her lessons with ICT.
I think what I learnt from that was the need for teachers to feel confident and competent in their classroom practices with ICT. At times, I think, we all get complacent with technology in the classroom. She believed that by providing them with as much ICT activities throughout the curriculum as possible she would be doing them a favour. As an experienced ICT teacher, I could understand how she felt before she began implementing the teaching strategies. It is hard to challenge students with technology when so many of them often more about it than you do. Teachers do need to be supported with teaching strategies when using ICT in the classroom and they need to know that it will work for them the first time or at the least, most of the time anyway.
And that’s why I think you should enrol in an accredited online course today. It will challenge the way you integrate ICT by taking you on your own ICT capability learning journey and helping you achieve curriculum goals. Student learning experiences in communicating, collaborating and creating with ICT will be enhanced with the teaching strategies you implement. You will strengthen your knowledge in teaching and learning with ICT when you share and learn from other’s experiences in their classroom. Most importantly, you will be able to successfully use these teaching strategies key learning areas such as English, Science and Mathematics.
It is time for you to begin to think like the experts in making instructional decisions, structuring ICT activities and employing sound ICT pedagogical activities.
Become a part of this success story today.