The Use of ICT forLearning and Teaching Trudy Sweeney EDUC 9701
IntroductionThis presentation draws on the following two references: Oliver, M. (2011). Technological determinism in educational technology research: Some alternative ways of thinking about the relationship between learning and technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(5), 373-384. Halverson, R., & Smith, A. (2009). How new technologies have (and have not) changed teaching and learning in schools. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 26(2), 49- 54.
Technological determinism & educational technology research Oliver (2011) argues that “research on the educational uses of technology frequently overemphasizes the influence of the technology” (p. 373). “The use of technology should not be understood to operate on a causal model: it does not have straight forward ‘impact’ in some some mechanical way on the practices that it encounters” (p. 381)
Technological determinism & educational technology research “A growing body of work argues for the need for the development of a critical perspective on educational technology use, one that looks beyond the immediate context of learning gains and patterns of interaction to question the ways in which technology has been taken up in the first place” (p. 373). There is a need to focus on the social, political, economic, cultural and historical context within which educational technology is used (and not used). The purpose is not to reveal some claims about e- learning as being false or untruthful, but “call into question ways of talking about and justifying e-learning that obscure a more complicated reality (Freisen 2009, p. 181)” Cited in (Oliver, 2011, p. 374).
Technological determinism “If technology determines particular kinds of social effect, even if a ‘soft’ form [that recognises there are other factors involved], this raises important questions of power and morality. Such questions are not often asked of technology and learning yet, … the very idea of agency is called into question, particularly when technology is assumed to have the power to determine choices” (p. 375). For example, technology has been bought on a massive scale often based on the assumption that it will cause improvements in learning outcomes. However, teachers can struggle to integrate these into their practice and marginalise its use so that effects are minimised (p.376).
Activity Theory: One position to consider the relationship between technology and action.AT Builds on the work of Vygotsky and attempts to understand learning in termsof people’s intentional actions within social settings. At it’s core is theproposition that actions are mediated – the unit of analysis is of a subject (aperson) working towards an object (objective) using a tool.
Summary: It is not about the technology! “[T]echnology should not be understood to operate on a causal model; it does not have a straight forward ‘impact’ in some mechanical way on the practices that it encounters” (p. 381). Avoid simplistic claims about the impact, effect and technical causation of technology and concentrate instead on descriptions of practice, accounts of purposeful action and negotiated meanings (p. 382).
How new technologies have (and have not)changed teaching and learning in schools Halverson and Smith (2010) argue that “information technologies [ICT] have reshaped teaching in learning in schools. Specifically, there are technologies for learning and technologies for teaching. Schools have made significant use of assessment and instructional technologies that help promote learning for all students, whereas technologies for learners, such as mobile devices, video games, and social networking sites, are typically excluded from school contexts” (p. 49).
How technologies have shaped teachingand learning In the 1990’s in the USA there was massive investment in technology in an attempt to create universal access to technology in schools. There was also public investment in how to use technologies for progressive educational practices. These investments were supposed to result in revolutionary changes to education. “The direct consequence of these investments resulted in disappointingly meager changes in classroom practices (Cuban, 2001). The indirect consequences, however, was the development of a robust technology infrastructure to meet the demand of high-stakes accountability policies for the 2000” (pp. 49-50).
How will technologies shape the future ofteaching and learning? “Collins and Halverson (2009) describe how learning technologies have taken different evolutional courses in and out of schools” (p. 51). The difference in these two kinds of technologies can be seen in the contrast of technologies for learning and technologies for learners” (p. 51). “Schools tend to support technologies for learning. Technologies that succeed in schools tend to define learning goals, develop structures to guide students, and provide sophisticated measures of learning outcomes. Technologies for learning minimize the active participation of the learner; in fact, such technologies are developed so that they work for any learner, regardless of motivation or the ability of the particular learner” (p. 51).
How will technologies shape the future ofteaching and learning? “Technologies for learners, on the other hand, put the learner in control of the instructional process. Learning goals are determined by the learner, and the learner decides when the goals are satisfied and when new goals are in order” (p. 51). The key difference compared to technologies for learning is that success is measured by the degree to which the system supports and fulfills the learner agency. “Technologies for learners emphasize information resources, such as search engines, wikis, and blogs that allow for information retrieval, browsing, incidental learning, and participation” (p. 51). “Technologies for learners are notoriously unreliable for producing anticipated results” (p. 51).
Learning versus Winning “Virtual charter schools and fantasy sports illustrate that technologies that flourish in education and those that thrive outside of education. Both environments use information communication technologies to structure the goals and the experience of learners. … A key difference, however, lies in the contrast of learning versus winning. Virtual charter schools aim to create the conditions for all students to learn; fantasy sports create and environment in which some players can win” (p. 52). “The rise of information technologies has called the identification of schooling and learning into question. …Schools may well continue to be places that seek to provide safe, equitable, and reliable opportunities to learn for the majority of K-12 learners. .. Instead of opposing in-school and out-of-school learning. The advent of learning technologies describes a pluralistic world in which out-of-school learning can complement in-school education” (p. 53).
Conclusion Technology itself has often been the focus of implementation in schools and in educational research. “Technology should not be understood to operate on a causal model; it does not have a straight forward ‘impact’ in some simple, mechanical way on the practices is encounters” (Oliver, 2011, p. 381). It is important adopt a critical view of the use of ICT for teaching and learning that involves questioning the very idea of agency, particularly when technology is assumed to have the power to determine choices. “Instead of opposing in school and out-of-school learning, the advent of new technologies describes a pluralistic world in which out-of- school-learning can complement in-school education” (Halverson & Smith, 2009, p. 53).
Discussion Questions Group 1: How is ICT used in your educational context? What evidence is there that the use of the technology is rooted in constructivist pedagogy? Group 2: “Some technologies thrive in schools; other technologies that seem to run counter to the aims of schooling now flourish outside of schools and animate new learning environments, such as home schooling, learning centres, video gaming, and social networking” (Halverson & Smith, 2011, p. 51). Discuss how out-of-school learning could complement in-school education. Group 3: How might learning management systems be designed to support increased learner agency? Group 4: “Technologies for learners are notoriously unreliable for producing anticipated results” (p. 51). How could we reduce this risk?