Online Games

Online games are a great way to get children to interact with the subject, experience, build on the kjnowledge they have and they are therefore more likely to retain the information. It will benefit kinaesthetic learners in particular and also visual learners.

Kinaesthetic learners will benefit from manipulate the technology and make their way through the game but doing certain things that the game requires. It encourages their creativity because children can see the different ways and methods of presenting and learning a subject rather than writing out information. It also shows them that learning can be fun and change an negative attitude they may have to towards learning.

This is an example of an online game that assists younger children develop they mathematic skills and addition…

Feed Fribbit Addition

This game was taken from a site that provides teacher will many games to use in the classroom that will assist the students learn focussing on Mathematics games in particular.

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Mobile Learning

Descriptive Reflection:
“Learning that happens across location, or that takes advantage of learning opportunities offered by portable technologies” (Wikipedia Definition)

Mobile learning is based on the development of technology that is now available for students to use. The types of technology that are used in class have evolved from televisions and overhead projectors to IWB, digital cameras, computers and iPods’. Most students in classrooms today have their own/or access to a mobile phone, iPod and computer which give them a significant amount of experience and knowledge in using these items.

Mobile learning supports the constructivist approach of learning allowing the students maximum interaction, collaborative learning and building their own knowledge and understanding of the topic. Students are now exposed to a new type of learning that involves handheld devices and using applications specifically designed for different tasks.

Mobile learning has many benefits such as:

  • Student engagement
  • Preparation for using technology in the real world
  • Improves communication with teachers, students and parents
  • Motivated students and higher participation

Some teachers and parents have some concerns in relation to using this type of ICT in class, such as:

  • Students become distracted
  • Harder to monitor the students work
  • Not all students will have mobile devices/access
  • Cheating may increase
  • The curriculum must also support the use of these devices
  • May result in cyber bullying

Critical Reflection:
Mobile learning is a useful and successful way of increasing student participation and creating learning experiences that students can relate to and feel confident in doing. It does however have some disadvantages as mentioned, that teachers would need to address or at least attempt to address if mobile learning using different ICT resources is going to be successful in the classroom.

The advantages of mobile learning, if carried out correctly, can have a significant impact on the student’s academic achievement because it specifically caters to their needs as a whole generation that is the most technology savvy and competent. Within the use of this technology it also has specific elements that will cater to the three main learning styles for example: images for visual learners, audio and sound for auditory learners and the ability to manipulate the technology and its applications for kinaesthetic learners. This is why mobile learning and ICT resources should be encouraged and implemented in schools.

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Sound Files

Sound Files (also known as audio files) are a great method of communicating information to students in the classroom. Auditory Learners in particular will benefit from the use of audio files because they learn best when the hear the information through audio, songs, discussions, group work etc…

Audio files could be used as a basis for an activity or the teacher can form questions for the students to answer based on the information to audio file provided. This will encourage their thinking skills, aim at high-order thinking and deciphering useful or relevant information.

This is an audio file that highlights the benefits of using an interactive SmartBoard in the classroom and outlines some of its features…

SmartBoard: Why they are so easy to use?

Instructional and informative sound files are a great way of teaching students by getting them to listen. It can encourage their creativity by them carrying out the activity explained in the sound file and seeing their interpretation and how they pictured the work and finished product to be. This will also better help the teacher understand the students abilities and how best to help them learn.

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Graphics and Images

Graphics and Images are useful multimedia devices that can be incorporated into a lesson. Graphics and Images can be used to specifically cater to a specific learning style for Visual learners.

Visual learners learn better with the use of images, diagrams, graphics, pictures, drawings, graphs etc. This allows they to have a clear picture in their mind of the content and information they are learning and they therefore remember better than a block of information.

By incorporating images and graphics in lessons and using other iCT resources, this will encourage children to be creative in developing an understanding of the content area by using images provided and creating their own that will assist them build their knowledge. They can explore through images and designs which will in turn have an effect on their creativity and ability to create different images and understandings.





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Pedagogical Beliefs and ICT Integration

Descriptive Reflection:
“Technology is now considered by most educators and parents to be an integral part of providing a high-quality  education” (U.S. DOE, 2003, p. 3) in (Ertmer, 2005).

The integration of ICT, as discussed in (Ertmer, 2005), has been increasing in recent years and statistics show that most teachers in classrooms have access to computers and other technologies to use while teaching. One of the main aims of encouraging the use of ICT in classrooms is to bring about the constructivist approach that allows for students to experience the content and build their own knowledge based on previous understandings.

Pedagogical beliefs refer to a teacher’s understanding and beliefs about what the best and most effective way of teaching is. In relation to ICT, (Ertmer, 2005) shows that most teachers feel moderately confident when using these technologies and attempt to include them in the lesson plans. This shows how teachers are trying to adapt their teaching methods to better suit their students.

Furthermore, some teachers however do not feel this way and some see that it is important to address these beliefs about teaching through the use of ICT and changing the way in which teachers see and do things. These beliefs could be as a result of being unsure in how to best integrate the use of this technology in a lesson, change their routines and teaching styles/habits.

Critical Reflection:
I believe that the integration of ICT in schools and classrooms, beginning now to the near future is inevitable. Technology is changing/developing and advancing at such a rapid rate that it is only a matter of time before there is extensive integration of ICT resources in schools and classrooms. These resources have been proven to have a significant impact on student’s academic achievement and development of skills that can otherwise not be explicitly taught by a teacher. When technology advanced even further than its current level, it will basically be a guarantee that classrooms have certain types of ICT resources available.

Pedagogical beliefs in relation to the integration of ICT resources in schools are constantly changing. Most teachers believe this to be a useful resource to help with student’s academic achievement and participation in class however some resist the change for fear of taking a risk that may be irreversible in relation to their teaching style and habits.

If all teachers were to believe and attempt to demonstrate a constructivist approach to teaching and be competent enough to use various ICT resources in their classroom, this will have a significant impact on the academic achievement of the students and their participation in class. However, the varying opinions on the subject creates a complicated environment and process of finding a solution that will be successful and ultimately benefit both the students and teachers.

References:
Kent, P. (2008). Interactive whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. Melbourne: Macmillan Teacher Resources.

Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for         technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4), 25-39.

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Social Constructivism

Descriptive Reflection:
Social constructivism can be explained as an approach/understanding of teaching and they way in which students learn the information taught to them. It defines the understanding that the needs of students have changed in comparison to previous years and student now learn through interaction, social experiences/group activities, application of knowledge and skills in the correct context, alternate forms of assessment and building knowledge based on previous experiences/knowledge.

The opposite approach to constructivism is also known as objectivism where a teacher assumes students have the same needs and therefore has one main style of teaching that involves teachers teaching and communicating the information that the students should know instead of letting the learn and experience it themselves. The focus is on transmitting the knowledge and skills in a more traditional form of teaching e.g. lecturing the students and giving them information.

Criticism

Objectivism has been criticised frequently recently because it has resulted in:

  • the students being unmotivated and unwilling to learn
  • lacks development of social and problem-solving skills.
  • Teacher centred learning

Constructivism’s flaws include:

  • a need (and often assumption) of prior knowledge
  • ability of the students to follow correct instructions effectively
  • heavily based on effective communication with students and teacher
  • identifying which subjects would be taught the best using this method.
  • Transferring learnt skills into practical application.

Critical Reflection:
While both constructivism and objectivism have their independent benefits, i believe the most effective way of teaching students is through the constructivist approach. This approach addressed many of the key areas that teachers need to address when educating students so they effectively build their understanding of subjects and skills.

Constructivism will help students because it allows them to take responsibility for their learning, sparking their interest and enabling them to explore the topic area and skills required. It provides a social setting where learning can take place in a safe environment and children can work with the peers to discuss the content, learning from each other and helping others to understand as well.

Constructivism is therefore a more effective approach to teaching because it involves certain elements that are guaranteed to increase student involvement and the amount of information they retain will be significantly higher if they experience it, rather than sit by and try to take it all in. This approach is a clear example of understanding the needs of the students have changed and a successful attempt to try and overcome learning obstacles by catering to the student’s new needs.

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ICT as a Cognitive Tool- Webquests

Descriptive Reflection:
Webquests can be defined as a research activity made for students that require them to use the internet to find relevant information relating to the selected topic. The students utilise numerous resources to answer the questions provided to scaffold their learning, increasing in difficulty and aiming at higher-order thinking.

Webquests, if made correctly by teachers, can be a very useful and educational research activity for students. It allows them to use different resources and use their existing knowledge to:

  • Identify and decipher useful information from irrelevant information
  • Develop an understanding of research behaviours and techniques that will help them in future online researching
  • Develop their higher-order thinking
  • Become confident and competent in using ICT etc…

Critical Reflection:
I believe Webquests are very useful and valuable activity/tool for teachers to utilise. It allows students to manipulate technology, potentially catering to their different learning styles.

An important aspect to remember is student’s motivation and participation within the lesson. With the use of Webquests students will be motivated and interested in the lesson therefore increasing their ability to learning and take information away from the lesson. They will be excited to work in groups and explore the online resources themselves.

Webquests provides students with numerous and extensive opportunities to learn and discover in a safe way with the guidance of the teacher and subject.

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