The Use of ICT forLearning and Teaching Trudy Sweeney EDUC 9701
IntroductionThis presentation draws on the following three references: Coppola, E. (2005). Powering up: Supporting constructivist teaching with technology, National Educational Computing Conference. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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.
Learning Objectives Describe the nature, scope and use of ICT in education Describe the influence of ICT on approaches to learning Describe the particular issues in school development in ICTStudents will understand that: ICT skills are important for students and citizens in modern society. ICT, itself, is unlikely to transform teaching methodology. There is confusion and debate within educational systems regarding the value of ICT and of constructivist learning
The four traps schools fall into whenimplementing technology for instruction Cosmetic Use The technological Imperative Romantic Visions Competition for access drains energy for instruction Coppola (2005)
Trap 1: Cosmetic Use Schools and teachers feel pressured to use technology so they respond by “looking like they are using technology” (p. 4). The physical infrastructure is in place and “students can be observed sitting at computers, even though there may be little or no actual instructional value in the work they are doing” (p. 4) Hardware and software may be firmly in place, yet it is used in very limited and superficial ways. Teachers make sure students are sitting in front of computers even when they know very little about what the students should be doing” (p. 4) with them as that is what the school community expects.
Trap 2: The Technological Imperative Well-meaning people focus more on the technology than the teaching i.e. the cart is leading the horse. There is “an urgent sense in the school that as new technologies become available, educators should take advantage of them” (p. 5). “It seems as if new technological developments should be embraced, but, in fact such new developments are only as valuable in classrooms as their educational use is well- founded” (p. 5). “The technology cannot drive instructional use: the instructional need must find the technology” (p. 5).
Trap 3: Romantic Visions “Romantic visions drive technology use when leaders entertain overly hopeful, very abstract notions of its possibilities” (p. 5). “Some people believe computers will replace teachers, be more efficient than teachers, increase class size, decrease cost, and motivate students” (p. 5). “The idea behind this was that … computers would do what not teacher could: motivate and guide the learning of 70 young individuals in a single room” (p. 5)
Trap 4: Competition for access drainsenergy for instruction When access to scarce resources is a struggle, this can result in less careful and thoughtful work being dedicated to instructional design. “Where computer use is highly valued by administration, those who do it well gain status in the organization. Others can resent that status, engendering conflict among faculty. Subgroups often form which consist of users versus nonusers, creating intergroup dynamic laced with competing values and assumptions” (p. 6). The important question is to ask how are computers being used and to what ends.
Findings from Coppola’s study “To help teachers learn about computers [ICT]… place the problem of pedagogy front and centre, then support teachers as they explore ways that technology might strengthen their teaching” (p. 7). Motivate teachers to do this difficult learning by allowing them “the flexibility to choose computer [ICT] uses that make sense to them, as professionals, in the context of their classrooms – and in the context of their own prior knowledge” (p. 7). Support teachers ”to solve problems they were wrestling with anyway: how do I help kids learning to revise their writing many, many times?” (p. 7).
Coppola Findings (continued) Support teachers to learn about technology in authentic, self-motivated and self-directed ways that are well- supported. Engage teachers in the difficult process of intertwining new tools with their existing knowledge of pedagogy, subject matter and curriculum – a truly constructivist process. Good teachers that resist using technology can often easily defend the decision not to embrace technology. “If the teacher is not good, no computer will change that; the source of improvement will come from new learning and motivation” (p. 8).
Recommendations by Coppola Make technological and material support a predictable constant. Accept that learning to integrate computers takes a lot of time and that the best users will be locally created. Understand that the best technology use will be rooted in sound pedagogy. Keep pedagogy front and centre. Urge teachers to use classroom technology though expectations of high quality instruction, not requirements that they use technology. Open the system and accept expertise. Keep in mind that the best teachers are intellectuals (empower teachers). Coppola (2005)
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) “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 “Affordance neatly illustrates the concept of technological determinism. … This is the belief that technology shapes society in some way – which includes social practices such as learning)” (p. 374). Oliver proposes three possible interpretations of technological determinism:1. As simply causal of change [i.e. nomological accounts of an inevitable technological order based on the laws of nature].2. As technicist(it remains an essentialised cause of change, albeit not the only one). [ These are normative accounts in which technology is unquestioned because questions about efficiency and productivity replace political and ethical questions about use].3. As socially constructed. [Unintended consequences account which recogniseswilful, eithical and social actors but suggest they are simply unable to anticipate all of technology’s effects].Technocrats: are fascinated by technology and see it as supplementing old teaching methods.Reformists: Believe in school reform with ICT. They see ICT transforming and changing teaching methods.Holists: Question the value of ICT and the direction of society.Aviram, R., Talmi, D. (2004). Are you a Technocrat A Reformist Or a Holist?, eLearning Europa, recovered 25/2/12 fromhttp://tinyurl.com/7ra6zm8
Technological determinism “If technology determines particular kinds of social effect, even if a ‘soft’ or technicist 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). Social and cultural perspectives on the educational use of technology include Activity Theory, Communities of Practice and Actor-Network Theory.
Activity TheoryAT 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.
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. It is essential to avoid over emphasising the influence of technology as this can lead to misguided educational ‘traps’ and unrealistic educational research findings. “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. School leaders need to engage teachers in the difficult process of intertwining new tools with their existing knowledge of pedagogy, subject matter and curriculum (TPACK). “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 9n-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: Which interpretation of technological determinism do you think characterizes the dominant view in your educational system? Is technology use believed to be: (a) simply causal of change? (b) as an essential cause of change ( albeit not the only one)? Or, (c) socially constructed with questions raised about power and agency? Explain why you think this.