Thursday, August 20, 2009
Making a difference! That’s what it is all about for me. Whether is be in a mainstream classroom, an indigenous community, a class of special needs children, the disadvantaged, English as a second language or the gifted and talented students. It is my goal to engage students to take initiative for their learning through the use of ICT’s. I am thankful to this course for bringing to my attention the vast variety of delivery techniques I can use in my class room.
Education must take us into the future (Robinson, 2000). If students are disengaged they disconnect and disappear (Sjoquist, 2009). Pesce is a constructivist who believes children learn through continuous interaction with the world. Today’s youth are living in accelerated change. Change is the only constant in their lives. They have an abundance of tools to communicate with each other. Mobile phones, My Space, MSN and Face Book, why not use similar tools in the class room to engage students. They are born into a digital world where they expect to be able to create, consume, remix and share material with each other (Pay Attention, 2007)
George Lucas is a prime example of not engaging in school, he claims he didn’t fit inside the curriculum box. But when he did have access to different technologies it provided him with new opportunities for learning. He believes the teacher is the facilitator and the students do the learning. The digital age facilitates age old techniques of learning. That being; project based, interactive working and co-operative learning. Children learn out of curiosity and given the chance to view their learning as a creative endeavour make for authentic learning. This is in correlation with Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) Engagement theory and Oliver’s (1999) Learning Design framework. They both promote pedagogy for technology-based learning and teaching. The productive pedagogy framework could also apply to increase a student’s intellectual quality by manipulating information and ideas in ways which transform their meaning and implications, understand that knowledge is not a fixed body of information, and can coherently communicate ideas, concepts, arguments and explanations with rich detail (Queensland Government, 2004).
Aurukun, a remote indigenous community in Cape York has the lowest attendance rate in all of the state. The current education system has failed these children. There needs to be a way to engage indigenous children into the classroom and into learning. A media initiative has done just that. David Vadiveloo talks about the necessity of raising the expectations in the young for themselves. The digital era is a new time for them to succeed. The croc festival media initiative motivated the students to tell their own story through film, music and dance. It was something they could relate too, it came from them, it was about them and they were proud to present the five points of a star story and see themselves on the big screen. These children through ICT’s not only attended school but became motivated to succeed in school and for their future. A teacher teaching in an indigenous community must understand the holistic view the people have on their world which incorporates the vital link between land, language and culture. These three elements can be contextualised in terms of time, place and relationships and together the six components provide a flexible framework; My land My Tracks for organising and presenting information on a range of topics. (Grant, n.d)
Utilising a web quest in a classroom provides the integration of many delivery technologies throughout an investigation. Is Global warming affecting the sustainability of the Arctic region? Using their scientific investigative powers the students go on a quest to find answers to:
• What is Global Warming
• Where is the Arctic region
• Why is Global Warming such a hot issue at present
• How is Global Warming affecting the Arctic region
• Is Global Warming a result of human activity or a natural climate cycle
• What other changes are occurring in Australia as a result of Global Warming
• What can you do personally to help control Global Warming
• What legacy will your generation leave for the future generation.
While investigating and answering these questions students will complete a range of tasks:
• Create your own greenhouse effect diagram
• Written information report
• Create a poster
• Oral information report
• Create an eco friendly house design
• Create a PowerPoint or photo story using 5-10 images that reflect your learning about Global warming and the legacy you would like your generation to leave. The presentation must include a vision statement for the future and can be put to music, text or voice over.
This style of learning allows the students to develop higher order and creative thinking skills. According to Blooms Taxonomy (Pohl, 2001) the three higher levels of thinking include:
Analysing – Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships.
Creating- generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things.
Evaluating- Justifying a decision
Like Blooms Taxonomy, Shneiderman and Kearsly’s Engagement theory (1999) facilitates the development of higher order and creative thinking through a cognitive process of creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation.
A web quest allows the integration of many delivery technologies. You could expand this particular quest to include a blog. Students can write and comment on each other’s reflection of the topic. The investigation process could include you tube clips, power point slides, animations and simulations, Google Earth and music. Tasks could incorporate a quiz designed through class marker. There is no reason a web quest should not involve many delivery technologies to engage and motivate students to acquire a meaningful understanding of the knowledge being taught.
The beauty of ICT’s is that they can be used to support and enhance learning regardless of location or age. Through experimentation of the delivery technologies I can confidently say I have expanded my knowledge and capabilities in this field. I am inspired to continue keeping up to date with the latest technologies, to develop a deeper understanding so in turn I can be the facilitator of providing the opportunities for my students to develop and engage in higher order and creative thinking skills. The workplace is also changing; students must be prepared to work in a global environment where team collaborations through the use of technology will be common place and it’s our responsibility to prepare students for this changing workplace (Waterhouse, 2005). Student’s have high expectations about the use of computer technology in their education , I hope to aspire to a teacher who not only utilises technology but engages in elearning pedagogy (Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory, 1999 and Oliver’s 1999 Learning Design) to provide student centred learning activities relevant to the real world.