As this is my final subject of my Masters of Education, I reflect on how my personal position towards technology within the classroom has changed from my initial ideas in this area. One of the reasons I began my Masters was I was witnessing so many changes in education. I really wanted to remain current and my lack of IT skills had me very nervous.
Remaining current as a teacher, is an area where I have definitely changed my initial opinions. I’d see other teachers using IT within their classrooms and feel that was something that I needed to do also. This subject in particular has stressed however, that technology is a tool, one that must be chosen because it is the best tool for the job. Back in module one, Whitby (2012, ABC Future Tense audio) suggests that the central issue regarding technology in education shouldn’t be the technology itself (relating to the amount and type of technology being used) but the quality of the teaching and the quality of the learning. I believe we have learnt to look deeper than Prensky’s (2001) ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’ debate to understand that technology should not be used just because our students have been born within a technologically rich age. Bain & Weston (2012) actually state within their Faulty Assumptions about ICT and Schools that “increasing access and use of ICT has no effect on student achievement”(p.9). As I continued working through the modules and assignments within this subject, these ideas were further reiterated and this enhanced my opinion of technology within my own classroom.
Technology should not just be used in our classrooms for the simple sake of using it. It must, like any other tool at our perusal, assist in achieving our specific learning outcomes for our subject and be used to create meaningful learning experiences (Simmons & Hawkins, 2009,p.62). It is highly important to view technology on the basis of what it can achieve for our students. Again, is it the BEST tool for the job, or will more traditional materials, such as pen & paper, do exactly the same thing (and then one doesn’t have to worry about some of the technical problems, costs and management issues that can arise from using IT). Technology can be used to successfully integrate learning theories to achieve the best experiences for students (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p.46).ICT is the tool for successful teaching and learning, not the catalyst (Watson, 2001,p.264).
Bigum (2012) refers to an idea of ‘domestication’, where new technology is used in a familiar way. When I first went looking for software resources to use for assignment 1, I was initially turned off by eduCanon (which I actually decided to go with) and I was turned off for this very reason. I felt the resource did ‘domesticate’ – as I was using technology to do something that was familiar (the viewing of a youtube video). Although the program allowed me to provide focus questions, overall, I felt that it really didn’t allow for much extension of students. However, I decided it was a resource that is a little different & students may initially engage with it. This experience of critically evaluating why I was using the resource, I found very helpful in establishing my own guidelines for choosing, out of the enormous range of software available, what would be most successful for my own classroom. This is a skill that I will take with me to use in future considerations.
Another important aspect that has changed my personal position about using technology is that I need to allow myself the opportunity to discover it. Research suggests the importance of professional development opportunities for teachers in providing them with the confidence to use technology within their classrooms (Rackley & Viruru, 2014, pg. 2603). One thing I have discovered however, especially from the assignments within this subject, is that having the opportunity to find and play with various software applications can be a highly effective way to gain skills in technology. I can not expect myself to be an expert, and I have discovered I do not need to be one. I can create effective lessons where both myself and my students are learning together (Chai, Lim & Pek, 2005, p.393).
Overall, as I complete this subject, and my Masters, I am excited by how my attitude towards using technology in my classroom has changed. I feel energised and confident to try new software and strategies, as well as equipped to evaluate why I’m using it, and I believe this will enhance my lessons tremendously.
The ABC. (2012). 21st century education. Future Tense. Retrieved 25 November, 2014, from http://www.cshe.unimelb.edu.au/resources_teach/framework_teach/docs/9principles.pdf
Bain, A. & Weston, M.E. (2012). The Learning Edge. New York: Teachers College Press.
Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and Computers: Tales of a Digital Romance. Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms. L. Rowan and C. Bigum, Springer Netherlands: 15-28.
Chai, C., Lim, C., & Pek, M. (2005) Classroom management issues in information and communication technology (ICT)-mediated learning environments: back to the basics. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. 14(4) p391.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.
Rackley, R., & Viruru, R. (2014, March). Preparing Teachers for the BYOD Classroom. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (Vol. 2014, No. 1, pp. 2608-2613).
Roblyer, M.D & Doering, A.H. (2013) Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed). Pearson: Boston.
Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. In Teaching ICT (pp. 54-105). London ; Sage Publications Ltd.
Watson, D.M. (2001). Pedagogy before Technology: Rethinking the Relationship between ICR and Teaching. Education and Information Technologies, 6(4), 251-266