Researching the use of Technology in the Classroom

The issues raised by Cox (2012) offer food for thought. I hadn’t really considered how difficult it would be for researchers to gain accurate results regarding the use of ICT within education but the views expressed do make a lot of sense. We know that many of our students have access to large amounts of technology out of school time, however, how do we really measure how this access is impacting their learning? Cox discusses the situation that surrounds ICT in education includes:

  • teacher and student engagement with e-learning is still limited to a small range of IT technologies; • the focus of e-learning use in education has changed from purposely designed educational e-learning resources to commercially focused resources, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web, with timeless use; • there is a growing digital and cognitive divide across communities and even within schools impacting upon IT use and experiences (p.16)

With these very open perimeters that exist, it appears obvious that researching could be problematic. I think these perimeters show just how important it is for schools to continually conduct school based research of their own individual students, teachers and the ICT tools they use in order to develop accurate understanding of what is happening demographically and also what is working/not working within the school community. For instance, the school that I work in runs a ‘Learning to Learn’ program for all students in years 7 and 8. This was designed after there were gaps between how we wanted the students to work and the way they knew how to work in the classroom. It was interesting to see the evaluation of this program at the end of the year. It was encouraging to see what types of learning was identified at the beginning of the year and how our students have progressed throughout the year. This type of program works from school based research and has helped us teach the students how to use technology effectively to develop more higher level thinking skills.

The day I read these articles, I had just participated in a workshop on Flipped Classrooms. To me it appears quite a natural thing that, with so much technology being used, this will have an effect on how teaching occurs within our classrooms. Both Cox (2012) and Voogt, Knezek, Cox, Knezek, & Brummelhuis (2011) discuss a greater need of professional development opportunities for staff members to become more confident to be able to use ICT in the classroom more effectively. According to Voogt et. al (2011) ICT leadership can be successful when there are clear learning goals that can be accomplished with the help of technology, there is the creation of a learning environment for teachers and a designated ICT support system for teachers (p.5). When teachers feel supported they will be more likely to use ICT within the classroom.

Cox, M.J. (2012), Formal to informal learning with IT: research challenges and issues for e-learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00483.x

Voogt J., Knezek G., Cox M.J., Knezek D.&ten Brummelhuis A. (2011) Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? Acall to action. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 15 November 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00453.x.

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