Importance of improving ICT capability in the Victorian Curriculum
By Michael Hilkemeijer
General Capabilities Victorian Curriculum
The Victorian Curriculum has three general capabilities which it draws from the Australian Curriculum which include:
- ICT capability
Each of these do not constitute a learning area or what is known as a capability in the Victorian Curriculum itself.
Despite this, the use of ICT in the curriculum represents many opportunities for learning such as that in literacy and numeracy. Both of these are learned throughout key learning areas.
In this article, you will learn the importance of the general capability - ICT capability - in the curriculum and how you can build your capacity as a teacher in relation to teaching and assessing student learning progression in it. First, it is pertinent to understand ICT capability.
What is ICT Capability?
The Australian Curriculum defines ICT capability as the integration of digital technologies in key learning areas. Its counterpart in Victoria, states that:
"...the ICT general capability skills are either specifically embedded in the content descriptions of Mathematics, Media Arts, Geography, English and Digital Technologies or schools have the flexibility to determine how these skills will be used in their teaching and learning programs for other curriculum areas.
The Literacy, Numeracy and ICT general capabilities from the Australian Curriculum F–10 are therefore represented in the Victorian Curriculum F–10 as embedded in each curriculum area and are not discrete areas against which teachers should report student progress."
ICT capability is much more than the teaching and learning of ICT techniques! It is the ability of a student to carryout out the following processes which constitute as ICT capability.
- ICT techniques
- Higher order thinking skills
An ICT capable student is someone who has the disposition to construct ICT solutions to problem situations that are appropriate to the context and are based on the knowledge of the opportunities and limitations of the hardware and software available at the time.
High level ICT capability factors include if a student could:
- Use ICT to support their own learning in all subjects.
- Use common ICT tools
- Take responsibility for their own learning, developing strategies to help them learn how to use unfamiliar ICT tools used in the classroom, and work collaboratively.
- Use current ICT hardware and software and understand its potential and limitations.
- Understand that using ICT affects social processes.
Victorian Curriculum General Capabilities - Literacy, Numeracy and ICT
ICT has a lot to contribute to both literacy and numeracy learning, particularly in early years and primary education. Yet for the general capabilities to be developed you would need to make effective use of the provisionality inherent in ICT.
Research has shown that the extent to ICT was used to support the development of literacy or numeracy depended to a large extent on your own ICT capability as a teacher and in literacy and numeracy teaching.
What do I mean by teacher ICT capability?
A teacher's ICT capability is very much similar to that of a child's. It is not about knowing every ICT technique or software or hardware, but understanding how you can best use these ICT techniques appropriately. For example, PowerPoint presentations may be good for a particular class, but questions need to answer like "why this would be better than other teaching techniques"?
What is the importance of improving ICT capability in the classroom
In the Victorian Curriculum, there is a requirement for teachers to report on the progress of their students’ ICT capability. These include critical thinking, creative thinking, personal, social and intercultural abilities among others.
Many studies have concluded that incorporating ICT into the learning process provides students with opportunities and tools that they need to be able to be successful in the information age.
The traditional educational environment is just not suited to preparing learners who can be productive in the modern workplace. Basically, any teacher who is not embracing the use of ICT in the classroom cannot claim to be preparing students for careers in the 21st century.
Whereas it was originally used to improve efficiency in the overall educational process, institutions have realized that there are many other benefits that are associated with using ICT in education.
What are the factors influencing the use of ICT in education?
The successful implementation of ICT in schools that use the Victorian Curriculum largely depends on the support of teachers. If teachers have a positive attitude towards technology, they can easily provide the insights needed for the ICT to be a part of the curriculum.
ICT competence is, basically, the ability to handle various computer applications for varying purposes. If teachers have a higher competence, then their schools are more likely to have a higher ICT capacity. It goes without saying that a teacher who has experience using computers will be more confident when using them to teach in a classroom.
Access to the necessary ICT infrastructure plays an important role in determining whether ICT is integrated in schools or not. Without important hardware and software, it is impossible for schools to adopt ICT.
Without technical assistance, regular breakdowns of computers can end up interrupting learning and hindering ICT capacity in the Victorian Curriculum. That is why it is so important for schools to have a good level of technical support so that ICT integration is quicker and successful.
As the use of ICT in education in the Victorian Curriculum continues to grow, the need for teachers to have the necessary competencies is also growing.