In my 13 years of schooling (Reception-12), I came across many different types of information and communication technologies (ICT). I experienced the graduation from the dusty chalk board to the cleaner white board; the overhead projector (OHP) to the multimedia projector; the three and a half inch floppy disk to the 8GB USB; the progression from fiddly projectors to the flashy interactive white boards (IWB) and the list goes on. Over the last decade alone, the evolution of technology and the world as we know it has increased exponentially, and as the video below reveals, we are preparing our students for jobs and technologies that don’t even exist yet.
The most recent forms of technology that are being used by schools and students today are IWB’s, tablets, laptops and smart phones. With these technologies though, come pedagogical issues: are these technologies being implemented to their full capacity, and are they being incorporated in a way that will enhance learning? I believe that in some instances they are, and in others they are not. As Kent discusses in “Pedagogy before Technology”, “focusing on technology is unlikely to be successful in improving student outcomes” (Kent, 2007, p.5). To me, his ideas really hone in on the fact that technology can provide you with all the information in the world, but at the end of the day, you can’t plug a USB into your brain. On the other hand, technology can completely change the dynamics of a classroom. They can aide the generation of class debate, create new ways to help students learn and instantaneously save a lesson and pick it back up just as quick. As well as this, the technology we have now, allows us to share information at the touch of a button or flick of a finger.
IWB’s are great tools to aide the learning process of students. To some, programs such as ActiveInspire may sound very similar to a powerpoint presentation, but to those who have really experienced it, it is so much more. It allows you to move freely between slides using the control panels provided, draw and type on the page, create games and interesting ways for the students to learn and pay attention at the same time whilst interacting with the board itself and their classmates. It is much easier to stray away from the program to look at something online and you can even draw on the desktop screen without actually having the main program screen showing. The potential for the effective use of this type of ICT is monumental, immense, maybe even gargantuan, but as Tolley argues in “The Interactive Whiteboard – Principles and Practice” technology such as the IWB is in all probability “the most misunderstood and abused resource since the OHP” (Tolley, 2011). This, I completely agree with.
When I was at school, the majority of teachers repeated what was already written on the slides rather than use it as an aide to prompt discussion or other forms of interactivity. It was boring, disinteresting and no wonder some of my classmates decided to “play up”. But you can’t just blame the immediate teachers for their misuse of the technology. As I mentioned earlier, right now we are preparing students for technologies that don’t exist, so if you think about it, how were these teachers supposed to know how to incorporate this technology if they don’t even know how to use it? For many, it didn’t exist when they did their training and has only been completely embraced by schools in the last 5 or so years ,leaving a substantial gap in teaching and learning potential. Even for the more recent wave of teachers who would have been exposed to the IWB in their studies, again, schools, and the government for that matter, are only just embracing and funding this technology.
In my honest opinion, technology is an amazing opportunity for learning and teaching but due to the exponential advances we are experiencing, it is very difficult for education systems to keep up with it. The biggest thing holding schools and students back, is government funding. Even the Gonski Review, released in December 2011, hasn’t seen any major changes to proposed government funding for schools until now, May 2013. It’s this kind of funding that will allow education to keep up with the currency of technology.
The video below was created in 2008 but is still very relevant now.
This next video is an updated version from 2011 but focuses on social media
Kent, P., (2007, November), Pedagogy before Technology: The Pedagogical Underpinning of the Effect Integration of ICT. Paper presented at Latrobe University, Melbourne