The world we live in is a result of constant change. What might be there one day is never there the next. Look at what has happened with Covid-19!
The changes that we have all born witnessed represent a significant period in our lives. For myself, these changes have been technological in their nature. With most of the world in lockdown, due to the pandemic, people are working from home if they can, students are learning from home in an online format, and parents are picking up the slack from teachers and supporting their children.
This unprecedented event has changed the world and has brought it into a new era - the time of online learning for all people.
Before we delve into why ICT in education is so important today, let us first understand the fundamentals of what ICT is.
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What is ICT?
It was not until later on in my teaching career that the term Information and Communication Technology (ICT) materialised before me and opened my eyes to what this meant in education. The term ICT simplified means any technology that has to do with information and communication.
Information can come in many forms such as sound, video, text, and images, so when you think of what technology it is available that produces these aspects of information and sometimes a combination of all these, we refer to such technology as mobile phones, digital cameras, video cameras for example.
Today information and communication technologies are the one thing and so the repertoire of technologies expands further to encompass computers and computer-related products, email, MMS, and other forms of communication (Finger et al., 2007).
The Importance of ICT in Education
Today we do not need to go any further than our own home or even room, to see some form of ICT in our lives. Whether it be a computer, plasma TV, or mobile phone, we all have them in some part of our lives. In today’s society, people as consumers of ICT, all strive for the one dream – the dream of a connected life.
This makes ICT a lifestyle choice for much of the population. In addition, this lifestyle choice is changing the way we communicate, increasing the rate of consumerism, and changing how we interact and gather information (Sherringham, Dec 2008/Jan 2009).
ICT has invaded and transformed many aspects of our lives to the extent that we live in an environment that is dominated by technology which itself is consumer-driven (Semenov, 2005). No matter how we perceive its presence, there is no denying that it is an important part of our lives and that it is here to stay.
Key issues to remember in relation to the importance of ICT in Education are that:
- E-learning or Online Learning: The presence of ICT in education allows for new ways of learning for students and teachers. E-learning or online learning is becoming increasingly popular and with various unprecedented events taking place in our lives, this does not only open opportunities for schools to ensure that students have access to curriculum materials whilst in the classroom but also allows them to ensure students outside the classroom such as at home or even in hospitals can learn.
- ICT brings inclusion: The benefits of ICT in education is of such that students in the classroom can all learn from the curriculum material. Students with special needs are no longer at a disadvantage as they have access to essential material and special ICT tools can be used by students to make use of ICT for their own educational needs. Despite this, it opens up new issues related to the 'digital divide' and providing access to ICT tools and resources for those who are less fortunate.
- ICT promotes higher-order thinking skills: One of the key skills for the 21st century which includes evaluating, planning, monitoring, and reflecting to name a few. The effective use of ICT in education demands skills such as explaining and justifying the use of ICT in producing solutions to problems. Students need to discuss, test, and conjecture the various strategies that they will use.
- ICT enhances subject learning: It is well known these days that the use of ICT in education adds a lot of value to key learning areas like literacy and numeracy.
- ICT use develops ICT literacy and ICT Capability: Both are 21st-century skills that are best developed whilst ICT remains transparent in the background of subject learning. The best way to develop ICT capability is to provide them with meaningful activities, embedded in purposeful subject-related contexts.
- ICT use encourages collaboration: You just have to put a laptop, iPad or computer in the classroom to understand how this works. ICT naturally brings children together where they can talk and discuss what they are doing for their work and this in turn, opens up avenues for communication thus leading to language development.
- ICT use motivates learning: Society's demands for new technology has not left out children and their needs. Children are fascinated with technology and it encourages and motivates them to learn in the classroom.
- ICT in education improves engagement and knowledge retention: When ICT is integrated into lessons, students become more engaged in their work. This is because technology provides different opportunities to make it more fun and enjoyable in terms of teaching the same things in different ways. As a consequence of this increased engagement, it is said that they will be able to retain knowledge more effectively and efficiently.
- ICT use allows for effective Differentiation Instruction with technology: We all learn differently at different rates and styles and technology provide opportunities for this to occur.
- ICT integration is a key part of the national curriculum: The integration of digital technologies or ICT is a significant part of the Australian Curriculum for example, and this is a trend that many global governments are taking up as they begin to see the significance of ICT in education.
- We live in a “knowledge economy": This is an economy where it is vital to have the ability to produce and use information effectively (Weert, 2005). It is a time when ICT is pervasive and permeates throughout all industries in the economy whether it may be health, education, environment or manufacturing (Moon, Feb/Mar 2007). The significance of ICT in the Australian economy was emphasised in the recent article by Alan Patterson, CEO of the Australian Computer Society, in his statement that the “ICT industry now rivals mining in terms of the contribution to the economy” (Patterson, Jan/Feb 2013, p. 8).
ICTs will continue to be a significant part of our future as it connects itself to more and more parts of our lives. It will continually evolve and change because as consumers we all like a choice. We like to use ICT for personal growth, creativity, and joy, consumption, and wealth (Semenov, 2005).
Importance of Students Engaging with ICT
It is important for students to engage with ICT so that:
- Learn 21st-century skills and develop their ICT capability and ICT literacy.
- Improves their attainment levels.
- Prepares them for an integrated society dominated by ICT developments.
- So that they learn the notion of using ICT as a tool for lifelong learning.
If you put a lot of thought into your planning, you will notice a higher degree of engagement and this can lead to the development of 21st-century skills such as complex thinking, creative problem-solving, and collaboration.
Technology integration in the classroom is an instructional choice by you, the teacher, and should always involve collaboration and deliberate planning.
The Benefits of Our ICT Training for Teachers and Their Students
In today's digital age, it's more important than ever for teachers to have a solid understanding and judgement about how to use ICT skills appropriately.
Not only can ICT training helps teachers stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements, but it can also benefit their students in a variety of ways. Having a digital pedagogy in early childhood education and primary education is about having the attitude and the aptitude
From improving teaching methods to enhancing student engagement, here are some of the key benefits of our ICT training for teachers.
Improved Teaching and Learning Experience.
One of the biggest benefits of ICT training for teachers is the improvement in the teaching and learning experience. With the use of technology, teachers can create more interactive and engaging lessons that cater to different learning styles. This can lead to better retention of information and improved academic performance for students. Additionally, ICT training can help teachers stay up-to-date with the latest teaching methods and tools, allowing them to provide a more effective and efficient learning experience for their students.
Increased Student Engagement and Participation.
One of the most significant benefits of ICT training for teachers is the increased engagement and participation of students in the classroom. With the use of technology, teachers can create more interactive and dynamic lessons that capture the attention of students and keep them engaged throughout the class. This can lead to better retention of information and improved academic performance for students. Additionally, technology can provide opportunities for students to collaborate and communicate with each other, which can enhance their social and communication skills. Overall, ICT training for teachers can have a positive impact on the learning experience of students and help them achieve their academic goals.
Access to a Wide Range of Educational Resources.
Another benefit of ICT training for teachers is access to a wide range of educational resources. With technology, teachers can easily access online databases, educational websites, and digital libraries that provide a wealth of information and resources for their lessons. This can help teachers to create more diverse and engaging lessons that cater to the different learning styles and abilities of their students. Additionally, technology can provide opportunities for teachers to collaborate with other educators and share resources and ideas, which can enhance their teaching practices and improve the overall quality of education.
Improved Communication and Collaboration.
ICT training for teachers can also improve communication and collaboration between teachers and their students. With the use of technology, teachers can easily communicate with their students through email, messaging apps, and online discussion forums. This can help to create a more interactive and engaging learning environment, where students can ask questions and receive feedback in real-time. Additionally, technology can facilitate collaboration between students, allowing them to work together on projects and assignments, even if they are not in the same physical location. This can help to develop important teamwork and communication skills that are essential for success in the modern workplace.
This importance of ICT training for teachers permeates throughout our online PD for early childhood teachers and Primary teachers, and throughout all our educational resources. We can help you ground the development of your digital pedagogy in the following ways:
Utilize Technology to Facilitate Student Learning.
Technology is a powerful tool for teachers to help facilitate student learning. By utilizing technology such as interactive whiteboards, collaborative software, and other digital resources, teachers can create engaging and stimulating learning experiences for students. Additionally, these technologies can help make more complex topics easier to understand by providing visuals and audio feedback. Technology can be used in both the classroom and remotely to enhance student collaboration, comprehension, and communication.
Learn the Best Practices for Classroom Integration
To ensure the successful integration of ICT into the classroom, teachers should become familiar with best practices for teaching with technology. This includes understanding different student learning styles and designing appropriate lesson plans to incorporate ICT tools. Additionally, teachers should be comfortable using the hardware and software needed to effectively teach ICT lessons. Taking part in ICT training for teachers can help provide teachers with the confidence and skills they need to effectively use technology in the classroom.
Introduce Your Students to Best Practices in Digital Citizenship
Now that you have the tools and approach to use ICT in the classroom, it is important for students to understand how to safely and appropriately use technology. Digital citizenship refers to the responsible use of technology and decisions which impact both digital as well as physical communities. It involves teaching lessons on internet safety, website evaluation, data literacy, online etiquette, and other topics related to using technology with a sense of responsibility and respect. Many resources are available online which can help teachers develop age-appropriate lessons on digital citizenship.
Identify the ICT Learning Objectives
Before launching into the ICT lessons, it is important to identify what goals you have set for your students in terms of technology. For example, do you wish for students to become proficient in a particular platform or language? Do you require that all students create and demonstrate specific projects using technology by the end of the year? Answering questions like these can help you determine what kind of activities would be most effective and how long each should take your students to complete.
Develop an Understanding of Key ICT Concepts.
Before you can begin teaching your students about ICT, it is essential to have a firm understanding of a few key concepts. Understanding elements such as digital citizenship, data storage and retrieval, network security, basic coding and programming, and computer literacy are the foundations on which you can build the bulk of the training. Once you have a grasp of these concepts, you can then introduce more advanced topics with confidence.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of ICT in Education
There are many reasons why you should use technology in the classroom. There are also disadvantages too.
My personal reason is that technology to use in the classroom should:
- Support subject learning
- Technology can be used as a tool for learning other than a media for fun and;
- Enable you to develop student ICT capability and ICT literacy alongside subject learning.
Below I have outlined what I consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the classroom. In general, school technology should always be used by students as a tool for learning and a means to an end by teachers. It should never be used just because it is there. Additionally, simple exposure to technology in the classroom and the haphazard teaching of ICT skills will not sufficiently develop a child's ICT capability either when it is integrated in the curriculum or as a subject itself.
Here are what I consider the pros and cons to technology in the classroom.
E-learning or Online Learning
The presence of ICT in education allows for new ways of learning for students and teachers.
ICT brings inclusion
Students with special needs are no longer at a disadvantage as they have access to essential material and special ICT tools can be used by students to make use of ICT for their own educational needs.
ICT promotes higher-order thinking skills
One of the key skills for the 21st century which includes evaluating, planning, monitoring, and reflecting to name a few.
ICT enhances subject learning
It is well known these days that the use of ICT in education adds a lot of value to key learning areas like literacy and numeracy.
Both are 21st-century skills that are best developed whilst ICT remains transparent in the background of subject learning.
ICT use encourages collaboration
ICT naturally brings children together where they can talk and discuss what they are doing for their work and this in turn, opens up avenues for communication thus leading to language development.
ICT use motivates learning
Society's demands for new technology has not left out children and their needs. Children are fascinated with technology and it encourages and motivates them to learn in the classroom.
ICT in education improves engagement and knowledge retention
When ICT is integrated into lessons, students become more engaged in their work. This is because technology provides different opportunities to make it more fun and enjoyable in terms of teaching the same things in different ways
ICT use allows for effective Differentiation Instruction with technology
We all learn differently at different rates and styles and technology provide opportunities for this to occur.
ICT integration is a key part of the national curriculum
The integration of digital technologies or ICT is a significant part of the Australian Curriculum for example, and this is a trend that many global governments are taking up as they begin to see the significance of ICT in education.
Disadvantages of the technology to use in the Classroom
In my opinion, there are much fewer disadvantages of technology in the classroom.
Technology use in the classroom can be a distraction
True! Students may appear usefully occupied with the task when in fact they are working very inefficiently and failing to exploit the potential of ICT. They may divert from the intended task without it being too obvious. However, this is the reason why you should monitor technology to use in the classroom in addition to observing their learning progression in ICT.
Technology can detract students from social interactions
Oh no! This is not true. Some believe it is, however, you need to remember that technology in the classroom has a way of bringing students together. It has a natural ability to promote collaboration amongst students and also, there are many ways for students to socially interact with technology in the classroom like blogs. Do I need to go….?
Technology can foster cheating
This is perhaps true. Although, there are many ways or tools should I say for teachers to prevent this. Tools such as Turnitin etc. If this is referring to the Internet….then you should also think it no different than a student passing on a book to another student and pointing out the same lines.
Not all students have equal access
Out of all the cons, this may be more valid and hold more weight. If there is one thing that a pandemic teaches governments is that technology at times like this, increase the digital divide.
As you can see, the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom are balanced in favour of the many opportunities that technology brings to teaching and learning. Despite this, for some change is not what is considered important to them as they cling to the teaching methods in primary school classroom practices that work the best for them.
For these people, the disadvantages of technology in the classroom have more weight and influence than the advantages of technology in the classroom and this is despite the continuing evidence that shows that if change does not occur in the classroom, those who favour the disadvantages the most will be left behind.
The pros and cons of technology in the classroom remain a deciding factor for many teachers in an online and digital world.
The Best ICT Tools in Education
Top 5 Reasons why these are the best ICT tools in the classroom today?
These ICT tools for teaching and learning are the best in the primary classroom for the following reasons:
- These ICT tools for learning are affordable - you probably have them in your classroom or school already.
- They are generic - this means that they are widely available and commonly used by both students and teachers.
- Content-free - this type of software challenges children intellectually.
- Children in control of technology - the ICT becomes a tool for learning in a variety of different ways and the demands
- Develop student ICT capability and ICT literacy - this is amplified when you support and scaffold ICT learning in key learning areas.
How to use ICT tools in the Classroom
To unlock the potential of technologies to use in the classroom, you need to:
- Establish a starting point each students' ICT learning and embed formative assessment in a primary school in key learning areas such as literacy and numeracy.
- Plan for progression in ICT learning progression in the Learning Continuum of the Australian Curriculum.
- Employ evidence based ICT teaching strategies that support ICT learning alongside subject learning.
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WHY YOU NEED ICT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT?
"Teachers need specific professional development opportunities in order to increase their ability to use ICT for formative learning assessments, individualized instruction, accessing online resources, and for fostering student interaction and collaboration."
How does ICT enhance Teaching and Learning?
There is a list of reasons which demonstrate how ICT can enhance teaching and learning in the 21st century. However, some of the main ones include:
- Student motivation.
- Student attainment levels.
- Student engagement in subject learning.
The following list of ICT tools used in classroom teaching is categorised into various areas of learning.
This will then go to illustrate the benefits of each for teachers and students.
INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGING TECHNOLOGIES TO USE IN THE CLASSROOM
ICT Tools for Developing Literacy
With the 'new literacies' comes new ICT skills as literacy is no longer limited to reading paper books and texts. Today, new literacies brings the learning of new technologies which are essential for students to master if they are to be literate for the 21st century. New technologies can be used to do traditional things in a different, more motivating way. As a consequence, teachers are challenged not only to integrate technology into traditional aspects of literacy instruction but also to engage students in emerging technological literacies.
- Word processing has close links to literacy and language development. Being proficient in word processing skills is something which students will continually use and build on throughout their school career.
- Blogs are an excellent way for students to collaborate and communicate using an online word processor.
- Wikis ('What I Know Is'): These can be a repository of knowledge for students and like blogs, the possibilities for wikis are wide open. There can be research projects, writing projects, and library projects just to name a few.
- Emails - great for developing online literacy skills. We all write differently online and for different audiences too.
- Web creation and design: These are really online word processors and so the possibilities in literacy lessons are endless but can be limited to the teacher's own capabilities in ICT.
- Web searching (Information literacy skills): The ability to find information is a vital skill to have in the 21st century. What strategies are available to navigate electronic texts and the internet? Where are the signposts and clues?
- Drawing and graphics programs: Visual literacy is equally important today than ever before. Imagine demonstrating to your students how to use one of these drawing or graphics programs so that they can use it creatively in order to add an image to a newspaper article, to understand how pictures can sometimes tell a thousand words just by the colour, expressions or medium used
- Digital video: Harness the power of video to help students develop their language skills.
- Spreadsheets and Databases: Who said that these can't be used in English lessons? What about opportunities for the teaching and reinforcement of a range of higher-order language skills, such as keyword selection and the skimming and scanning of text?
ICT Tools to Promote Literacy and Language Development in Early childhood Education
Child development is the most general educational goal for early childhood teachers.
ICT can be used to support the learning and development of both literacy and language in early years education.
This is mostly conducted through collaboration with other children around computers where the quality of discussions can be quite interesting.
- Computers offer a ‘print-rich’ learning environment for young children. You will most likely find that there is a lot more attention to detail in their conversations than in other situations. Some believe that this may to do with the abstraction the computer provides as it allegedly forces children to talk more and physically do less.
- Developmentally appropriate programs - There are a few things that you need to remember in terms of choosing the most developmentally appropriate programs. It is important that you look for programs that promote speaking, listening, reading, and writing. There are programs that can record children’s voices. The Gruffalo App is one such example that allows children to record their voices in time with the story being told. They can then listen to their own voice throughout the story as it is being told.
- Internet - The Internet can also help children learn literacy skills in their home language and in the language of their friends.
- Word processors - these offer possibilities for children to compose and write without needing to have mastered the production of letters by hand. ICT learning tools for early childhood education offers such a variety of ways for children and photos and videos is another method to develop literacy and language skills. The reason why this is the number one activity for this is that it allows children to weave together words and pictures.
So these are the main ICT learning tools that I suggest to use to aide in the development of literacy and language.
There are other tools such as multi-link headphones, digital cameras, webcams, audio recording software, walkie-talkies, telephones that also encourage the development of speaking and listening skills.
Interactive whiteboards and smartboards promote writing skills on a large scale. However, these are mostly used in collaboration with the ones I discussed earlier.
There are many ICT tools that can be implemented successfully in a learning environment. Learning environments in early childhood can now be indoor and outdoor, so these tools can have quite an extensive range.
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ICT Tools for Primary Schools
9 of the best ICT tools for the Secondary Classroom
Primary educators are charged with the task of developing ICT capability through effective technology integration in the classroom. From Foundation to Level 4 in Year 6, students are expected to progress in their learning in ICT capability.
Here is my top list of ICT tools for primary schools.
- Word processing – a basic and important skill to have for students through their formal schooling. Students are expected to progress in their skills through primary school and should be able to save documents, save them in different formats and understand what those formats mean. You should effectively help students to develop key typing skills and provide them with access to printers.
- Spreadsheets – as with word processors, to be able to save documents and to have sufficient typing skills. Primary exit skills include being able to set up columns, using basic formulas, inserting and deleting rows, changing font size etc.
- Information literacy skills – web searching is an essential skill in the information age. Students need to know practical skills and critical skills such as understanding domain names and what they mean; knowing which are more trustworthy; knowing which are more useful for information and research.
- Animation (clay or drawing) – stop motion is the best for students to practice and they can craft a story and develop their higher-order skills as they plan, monitor and evaluate their own work.
- Presentation software – you could use Prezi or PowerPoint, whichever one you prefer and are familiar with the most. Ensure that by the end of primary school, they leave with skills such as being able to create handouts and notes pages, setting up animations, designing their own slide design and inserting tables, images, and smart art graphics.
- Blogging – this is a type of website or part of a website that can be updated with new content from time to time. Most are interactive and allows students to have a controlled online presence.
- Web 2.0 – one of best ways to develop higher-order skills for students. It includes Twitter, Facebook where you can create a class page and Tumblr which is awesome for digital images with short titles.
- Publishing programs – the most familiar of these is MS Publisher which is great for developing literacy skills which makes it extremely useful in primary education.
- Making a video – yep….students can create a video, edit it, and evaluate it as most iPads contain a recording camera. Students can transfer it to a program where can continue to piece together their work.
- Web design – students can do this anywhere and at any time these times. Did you know that if they have MS Word that they can create a single web page using this program? Awesome right!
How can ICT in Education help your students today?
The other day, I came to understand a huge realisation of what is happening at the moment with the global pandemic. You may have noticed it yourself but the digital divide between those who are ICT capable and those who are not is being heavily exposed.
As a result, the value of ICT use in education has never before been so important.
In this blog, I will uncover the importance of ICT in education. You will learn this through the application of ICT in education example. However, before I start let us take a look at what is ICT in education.
So what does ICT stand for in education? ICT stands for Information and Communication Technologies. This is a term that has been given many variations and while it can be quite broad, defining the best ones to use will allow you to successfully use ICT in teaching.
What is ICT in Education?
There is much ICT entering the education sector these days it is almost hard to keep track of. However, depending on where you work you may not have access to them and so I will make this quite simple for you to understand. You don’t need the latest and greatest ICT in education to achieve your goals in integrating ICT in your learning environment.
So what is ICT in education? Your classroom ICT in teaching learning process can be chosen by using this criteria. They must be:
- Content-free and generic – meaning that most of what you can successfully integrate ICT with, you already have;
- Challenge students intellectually;
- Gives students full control over the technology;
- Provides a high degree of decision-making on behalf of students.
I am referring to here ICTs in education such as word processors, databases, spreadsheets, coding programs, multimedia programs like presentation software.
What are the most used ICTs in education?
Other blogs that I have written will explain the application of ICT in education. However, according to other sources the most used ways include the following:
- Blogs and social networks;
- Planning through ICT tools;
- Data storage in the cloud;
- Interactive whiteboards.
You will find more information on the benefits of ICT in the classroom here.
Understanding why schools need to invest in ICT in education
In a previous blog, I outlined the many reasons or advantages of ICT in education. However, to give you an idea about what are the benefits of ICT in education they would include:
- Increased motivation and engagement of the students;
- Develop student ICT capability;
- Active collaboration;
- Develops discernment;
- Searching for sources on the Internet;
- Increasing student interest in learning;
- Enhancing creativity;
- Increased communication and;
- The personalisation of learning.
At ICTE Solutions Australia, we are aware of your need for technology integration professional development. Through our online PD courses, we can show you how we can use ICT in education successfully.
The importance of ICT in education during pandemic is that when successfully integrated into your teaching and learning, you can help close the gap on the digital divide. You can help show students the ICT capabilities that they need in the future when and if another pandemic is to occur.
School ICT Policy Advice
One of the many responsibilities which senior management and ICT coordinators have in schools is to drive change. Schools today have well and truly entered the 21st century and what is the information age. This is a time where information is driven by ICT/technology integration. It won’t go away anytime soon. As an educational leader, if you are to make change happen then one of the things that will need to constantly be amended and reviewed is the school ICT policy. It is one of the factors which form the ICT culture of the school and influence the development of ICT capability and ICT literacy at the school.
ICT policies in schools consist of various sections that stand as a roadmap for staff to follow. ICT policies in schools should also form a vision of the whole school and therefore, should be partly constructed by various members of staff who are part of the ICT committee.
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What is a school ICT policy?
When determining 'what is ICT policy', the meaning comes to that a school ICT policy is a document that sets out how you use ICT in teaching and learning and indeed, throughout the wider context of the school itself. It should form the back-bone to the school’s developing ICT culture which is the combination of the realisation of relationships, beliefs, attitudes, and ideologies of all staff that works within the school.
The ICT policy in schools is important as they are a roadmap for staff to follow in terms of the school's vision in ICT.
It is the school’s approach to achieving the vision for ICT capability and ICT literacy over a period of time.
The school ICT policy consists of the following sections: (ICT policy template)
- Introduction - should outline what you want the policy to achieve.
- Vision statement - an agreed vision for the future of ICT.
- Mission statement - outlines how the school intends to achieve its vision.
- Shorter statement outlining what is meant by the term ICT in the context of the school and what exactly is its scope and significance.
- Overall aims - The aims are developed within the ICT Policy as the long-term goals that the school seeks to achieve.
- Explain how the school will meet the requirements for the National Curriculum in terms of ICT capability development.
- A statement about how ICT will be used and ICT capability developed in all subjects of the curriculum.
- Summary of the ICT resources.
- Brief statement about health and safety use of ICT.
- Relate the policy to other policies.
- Refer to whatever teacher professional development and training, including how individual staff needs are identified and how progress is monitored.
- Describe how planning and teaching are monitored.
- Describe technical support.
- Acknowledge the extensive use of ICT by children outside of school.
- Make reference to the use of ICT for administration purposes.
- Refer briefly to legal or ethical issues including licencing, copyright and data protection.
Assessing the Current Policy - ICT Audit
After you have set the long-term aims of the school for ICT, the next step is to audit the school’s current policy. Ensure that you know the school’s position and what factors will influence it from the outside.Gather the opinions of the staff on the current policy about how well it reflects the quality and extent of children’s learning with ICT across the curriculum.
It is a good idea to present the audit in two different ways: a detailed audit and a summary audit.
Your detailed audit should be thorough and comprehensive to enable administrative control to be exercised. The summary audit is not as meaningful as the detailed one to teachers. According to Crawford (2013, p. 275) “the summary audit should express the contents of the detailed audit in a form useful to teachers, curriculum planners, governors and others to whom a detailed audit would be confusing and, possibly, meaningless.”
Your school will need to the answers to questions about:
- Management structure e.g. What is the current management structure for organizing the staff involved in delivering the ICT curriculum?
- Curriculum organisation e.g. Do different groups of students have a different curriculum for ICT?
- Assessment, recording and reporting e.g. How is ICT assessed? What assessment evidence and what records are collected? How is students' progress and attainment reported?
- Hardware and software e.g. Is there a hardware and software inventory?
- Disaster recovery e.g. What backups of software is made?
- Security e.g. What physical security precautions are taken to guard against unauthorized access and theft?
- Data protection e.g. What systems containing personal data are registered with the Data Protection Registrar?
- Safeguarding and equal opportunities e.g. What rules and constraints are used to ensure equal and safe access to ICT resources?
- Staffing and CPD e.g. Who teaches ICT, helps students make use of ICT and assesses ICT?
- Funding e.g. What are the current costs and sources of funding for each element of the ICT Policy?
What is the importance of an ICT policy for teaching and learning? ICT policy for schools are important for any principal and teacher in the 21st century as more of the world awakens to the need for students have online skills such as information literacy and being able to actively participate in a technological-dominated society.
This article has highlighted how the school ICT policy can serve as a way for teachers to work towards the school's ICT vision. However, an ICT policy in education needs to assessed annually if not every few years in order to keep up-to-date with the demands of society with technology.
Having a primary school ICT policy is of particular importance as they are at the forefront of learning progression in ICT capability in Australia, and teachers are expected to ensure that this occurs across the curriculum.
The Benefits of Technology in Education
Technology has manifested itself in various ways throughout the ages, and although it has had a lot or little influence, is has always contributed to every age too. Due to these contributions provided, technology has progressed constantly and quickly to the point of influencing most of the things with which we interact daily.
We might think that technology refers directly to electrical devices such as phones, smart televisions, video game consoles, and many other devices like these ones, but all of these devices are the product of the innovation that technology brings.
In short terms, technology means the set of knowledge and techniques which are used to contribute to a specific area in order to improve it; said knowledge and techniques generate many benefits that increase technology's influence in our society. There are a great number of areas in which technology influences very deeply, and one of the main areas is education, so let's review many of the advantages of technology in education.
If you want know how does technology benefit education, it is best view our blog which details ways of which you can:
- Develop ICT literacy and ICT capability;
- Embed teaching strategies with technology in your classroom.
Benefits of technology in education – Primary Education
Primary schools appear to demonstrate greater curricular use of technology.
It supports the learning of subjects across the curriculum with features such as:
- Speed and automatic functions.
- Capacity and range.
There are many benefits of technology in education and as technology evolves, so will schools to ensure that teachers continually work to prepare students for their future in society.
The Importance of ICT in Primary Education
There are so many reasons, which you saw earlier, for using ICT in education and many of these also apply to the use of ICT in primary education.
However, ICT can be used for a wide range of other purposes too such as:
- To administer schools;
- To train students in skills which they will need in further education like literacy and numeracy;
- To provide access to information and communication outside the classroom;
- To support teacher development;
- To transform the teaching and learning process.
There are also pedagogical justifications for using ICT across the key learning areas. To be an effective teacher, you need to take into account the different learning styles of children.
You most probably will need to then present and explain material in different ways.
In Australia, the national curriculum now emphasise the integration of digital technologies throughout key learning areas.
This makes it an essential capability for primary teachers to be able to teach and assess ICT capability as a 21st-century skill in their classroom practices.
Watch this video to understand what is ICT in early childhood education.
The Importance of ICT in Early Childhood Education
There is tremendous educational value in the use of ICT in ECE as what is learned supports further learning in a child’s educational career.
The following points give an accredited online workshop for preschool teachers a solid base to build your capacity as an early childhood teacher.
- Young children live within a technological world and so begin their early learning with a degree of ICT capability and ICT literacy.
- This gives you an excellent opportunity to build on these home experiences of ICT and plan for learning progression.
- Children should find out about and identify the uses of ICT in their everyday lives.
- Employing an ICT integrated approach would develop the notion with young children of ICT products as tools for learning.
- The EYLF outcomes 4 and 5 require you to integrate ICT appropriately into learning and play.
- A child’s ICT capability and ICT literacy can be a development further in early childhood education and care with the promotion and facilitation of high impact teaching strategies.
Technology integration in the classroom of young children is guided by 8 key principles for Technology use in ECE.
Benefits of Technology in Early Childhood Education –
The childhood stage is a stage from which parents need to learn to take the best possible advantage as the rapid learning that their children can have during this time becomes evident. It’s clear that children learn to use technological devices very quickly, but that this happens doesn’t indicate that it’s best for them to use devices like these because such devices can generate some complications due to their misuse; To avoid any complications that may arise, parents should be very attentive to prioritize their children's use of technology, one of those priorities is education. The content that electronic devices offer can illustrate many dynamic ways to learn various things that our children can appreciate, instead of allowing them to play or see something that is not very useful, we can teach them to read through stories to children, creating drawings or landscapes from taking shapes that the device offers, learning new words, inventing stories with drawings, and many other things. It is important to consider the status of each child and adapt their capabilities to the use of technology so that more effective learning is generated.
When used correctly, ICT can be used to:
- Support children’s cognitive and emotional development, and the development of social and co-operative skills;
- Assist in the emergence of early literacy and mathematical thinking;
- “Level the playing field” for children with special learning needs;
- Enhance and strengthen relationships between children and adults, or give adults new ways to gain insight into children’s thinking or their interests, thereby providing opportunities to better support and scaffold children’s learning; and
- Facilitate the emergence of “new literacies” or “multiliteracies” in children (Hill & Broadhurst, 2001; Pastor & Kerns, 1997).
The use technology in early childhood can support and benefit young children in key areas of learning such as:
- Communication and collaboration.
- Socio-dramatic play.
- Learning to learn and help young children think about thinking.
Technology or ICT can be used to:
- Support literacy.
- Support numeracy.
- Support science.
- Help young children be creative and good problem solvers.
- Learn about music.
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